Britt Oosterlee

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Britt Oosterlee

  • Whorticulture on June 21, 2012

    Really loved this book! A surprise, I must admit; I was a bit hesitant since it's, well, about whores, and I was a bit scared it might turn into cheap porn, but it was nothing like that. The book tells the stories of women, who all find themselves in situations they weren't prepared for, and have to make difficult choices. Not all of them are actually whores, but two have unconventional relationships, one is indeed a whore, and the fourth is a different story altogether... All women are connected through the men they are with. It's well written, and I really got drawn into the stories. The stories give you something to think about, and give a diverse view of life in the times of slavery and the gold rush. Though one of the things that the 'whores' say is that all men are bad, one thing I found is that it's not that simple. Though the men in the book do have their bad sides, it also shows that they aren't only bad, they also have good sides. And the same counts for the women: though these women might generally be thought to be 'bad' women, they all had difficult choices to make, and all have good sides as well as bad sides... All in all a very enjoyable read; am looking forward to hearing more from this author.
  • In The Company of Angels on April 11, 2013

    A very nice short story, a pleasure to read. At the beginning you wonder where the story is going, and the ending was a surprise to me. Bittersweet and lovely.
  • Amgalant One: The Old Ideal on April 11, 2013

    I found this book somewhat difficult to get through. In itself the story was great and it was very interesting to read about the Mongol culture, but because I knew very little on the subject, I had some trouble getting into the story. A lot of cultural aspects are entangled in the story, and without any prior knowledge it is a bit overwhelming in the beginning. At first the unfamiliar names and customs sometimes confused me, and I really needed to look up the Mongol names and terms used to keep track of the story. Later on I did get drawn in more, and did enjoy the story. It is very interesting to read and I think it gives a good view of how people lived and their customs and ideas. Apart from giving a nice insight into Mongol culture, the characters in the novel are also very real and worked out very nicely, we really get to know the main characters. I would very much like to read more about the Mongols and Temujin (Tchinggis Khan), I find the culture and history very interesting, and since I knew very little of it I would like to read more. All in all, a nice book with a good story and a wealth of information, but not a light read in my opinion.
  • The Scientific Method: A Horror Tale on April 19, 2013

    I didn't really like the story. It starts up very slowly, and the introduction just drags on. Only the very last part is really the horror part. It's not very well written, sometimes words are used in a rather weird way. The events are unlikely and strange (A girl hitting somebody with a table? Seriously?) and description just seem rather off. I did think the ending was surprising and nice, but since it's only a very minor part of the story, it really doesn't make up for the fact that you first have to make your way through the first part. Also, I really hated the bullying by the school kids, it really made me consider putting the story down and not finishing it.
  • Prudence & the Indelibly Edible Holiday Gift: A Short Horror Story on April 19, 2013

    Terrible; badly written and a completely uninteresting story. The characters are stiff and unreal, language use is sometimes weird, there is no good flow to the story, it is disorganised and unoriginal, the ending is just random (I think it's meant to be funny... or shocking, I'm really not sure).
  • The Accident at 13th and Jefferson on April 19, 2013

    The book really tells us three stories; each begins on the same day when an accident happens, and in the three stories different people get killed in the accident, which leads to different subsequent storylines. I like the way the three stories show how a small difference in a single event can lead to a totally different future. Though I thought that sometimes the stories might have diverged too much (especially Max and Josh are very different), I do agree that small changes can have large consequences. Especially events that happen in one's youth can have a lifelong effect, and Carlton nicely illustrates this in this work. Especially in the first part the storytelling sometimes gets a tad monotonous, but all in all I liked the stories. The characters were described very well and seemed very human and lifelike.
  • All The Way Gone on April 19, 2013

    Good story about a missing woman. We follow the police on their search for the missing woman, get to know her husband, and are given glimpses of her situation. I really liked the story, it keeps you reading because you want to know what is going to happen. The story begins with different plot-lines that seem unrelated, but they come together nicely and in the end form a coherent whole. The characters are built up nicely and you really get the feeling that you know these people, they are very lifelike. Does contain graphic descriptions of sex and some strong language, so not a book for people who find this unpleasant.
  • Accomplished In Murder on April 19, 2013

    I have this story in a bundle combined with 'Accomplished in Detection'; my review refers to both stories. Two short mystery stories; an enjoyable read, the mysteries are not very complex, but still nice enough to make for a pleasant quick read. I did find the characters not wholly convincing; they didn't quite seem to fit in the time in which the stories are set, much too open in their conversations and behaving in ways that would not have been suitable in those days.
  • Unshackled and Free: True Stories of Forgiveness on April 19, 2013

    I got this book through the member-giveaway program, but maybe I didn't read the description very carefully or misread it somehow, either way, the book wasn't what I had expected. I had expected more of a focus on pratical advice; though the stories are examples of how forgiveness has helped people move on with their lives, it doesn't really say much about how we can achieve this forgiveness. Also, it was way too Christian for my taste. Again, maybe I just didn't read the description very well, but the book is really focused on Christian faith and has very little to offer for people who are less religious. All in all, it was a disappointment for me and I didn't like it at all. However, if you are a very religious Christian, it might be a good book for you and might give you some stories to support you.
  • After The Darkness: Episode One on April 19, 2013

    First episode in a longer story. I enjoyed the story, it was nicely written and very compelling. Mistwalker paints a grim dystopian world, which reminded me somewhat of the Hunger Games trilogy. A very promising start, I'll definitely keep an eye out for the next episodes. Too bad it's only one episode, I personally prefer a complete story in stead of parts sold separately.
  • Ghost from the Past - Paranormal Mystery Novella on April 19, 2013

    Second story about Catherine, a real estate agent who sees ghosts. I liked this story better than the first one; it contains some more original ideas than the first one, and the first one was quite straightforward and therefore not very mysterious. Though the question of who committed the murder is still rather easy to solve, I thought the ghost was more interesting, and the interaction with the ghost was more interesting as well. I still very much like Catherine, and think her reactions to the ghosts are quite convincing.
  • Ghost Lovers - Paranormal Mystery Novella on April 19, 2013

    Third story about Catherine, real-estate agent who can see ghosts. Really nice story, I really like the development from one story to the next, I'd definitely advice people to read the stories in order. Though the first story of the series was rather simple, the stories are getting more complex as more characters are added and the characters are fleshed out more. Some of the stuff on ghosts is original, but the actual murders remain a bit simple and unimaginative. I very much liked the ending of the story, I've been feeling a bit down and Monson's stories really are feel-good stories that cheer you up (even though they are about ghosts). I'm very curious to read the next story. The characters are starting to develop more and we are getting to know more about ghosts as well. It would be lovely if Monson would continue the series and perhaps publish all stories in a single volume at some point.
  • What Was Lost on April 19, 2013

    Short story about life after death. Not badly written, but it feels too bare to really draw you in. It's very short and has little plot development; the underlying idea is promising, so perhaps if the story were expanded it would have been better.
  • Angelic Encounters: True Stories of Angelic Protection, Assistance, and Comfort on April 19, 2013

    An interesting work in which the stories of people who believe they have seen angels are told. The book contains stories relating different encounters and ways in which angels have helped people, directly or indirectly, in a corporeal manifestation or just as a voice or sensation. I personally don't believe in angels and find it especially interesting to see how people are sometimes willing to interpret anything as an angelic encounter. Sometimes they meet a person who somehow helps them, and then they assume that just because this had a positive outcome this person was an angel, whereas in my opinion it could very well just have been an ordinary person who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That being said, there are also stories that are unexplainable and leave you guessing at what could explain an occurrence. One thing that I find odd about the angelic encounters is that often only some people are saved, and not everybody. It seems strange to me that, if there are angels, they would act so randomly, saving for instance one child, but not his or her brother or sister. Usually some void explanation is given ('it was his/her time', 'he/she fulfilled a purpose'), but there is no real reason as to why some people are saved and others not. I know it is said that we cannot know why god takes away some people, but it leaves me somewhat dissatisfied with the concept of angelic intervention.
  • Who Tells the Moon to Sleep? on April 19, 2013

    Nice short children's book about slavery, with lovely illustrations. I think the book does a very good job at explaining slavery in a way that is comprehensible to children and tackles the issue in a way that is not too serious or traumatizing, but still conveys that slavery was a terrible thing. I did find it a bit repetitive, but I guess that for a children's book that's ok.
  • Living Half Free on April 19, 2013

    An intriguing story, and a great read. I was really captivated by Zachariah's story, it really keeps you reading. One thing I really liked about the book is that it tells of slavery, but also tells of native Americans in the early reservations. I really didn't know much about the ideas of native Americans on slavery, so I found it very interesting to read about this. The novel is very descriptive, and really brings the characters and the era to life. Though I do wonder if the story could actually have occured, it is quite convincing. It really leaves you with something to think about. The situation of a slave who is white, but treated as black makes you wonder about what the colour of skin really means, and the fact that Zachary is respected as long as nobody knows his descent shows how strange it really is that people judge others purely based on race. Zacharies thoughts on slavery really show how important freedom is, even if your 'master' treats you well. A very enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to reading more of Whitehall's work.
  • An Abandoned Woman on May 17, 2013

    Great book, really enjoyed it. It's a bit of a cross between a murder case, a historical novel and a touch of Austen/Brontë thrown in. In the novel Murray of Letho tries to solve the murder of a young, unidentified woman. We follow his search for the murderer, but also get a glimpse of the life in the village of Letho, as well as the duties Murray has as a landowner. Aside from that, we get to know the villagers and Murray's friends, and his servants. Another aspect of the story is the life of the gentry and the attempts of the youngsters (and their parents) to find suitable husbands and wives. A nice read; sometimes the pace gets a bit slow, but I really liked the combination of the murder case with the descriptions of 'regular' village life, as well as the combination with intrigues amongst the more wealthy inhabitants of Letho. Well written and with an interesting conclusion. I only found out after having finished the book that it is in fact the fourth book about Murray. The book is very suitable for reading as a stand-alone, but there are some references to Murray's past that I thought were somewhat vague, and I think those might be clearer if you've read the other stories.
  • The Lucky One on July 05, 2013

    Short story about second world war survivor; listed as prize winning, but I wasn't blown away by it. Though the story in itself isn't bad, it's well written and has a good flow, I just found the story rather confusing. To me, it never really became clear what happened; was she abused? did the guard just let her go? The latter option seems highy unlikely, since he would have gotten in trouble for that, but it is what seems to have happened. I also found it confusing that the story seems to describe gass chambers in the fragments from the woman's memory. The camp the woman visits is Bergen-Belsen, which was a holding camp, not a destruction camp, and it didn't have any gass chambers. So, if she was held in Bergen-Belsen, she can't have this memory. There are also other points in the story which just don't seem to match with historical fact. It just feels a lot like the author wanted to write about the second world war, put in the common horror stories about death camps and never bothered to check his facts, which, personally, I find rather annoying, and for me makes the story rather odd, since the woman's memories just don't make sense. Also, Hamburg looks nothing like New York.