Darla Ortiz

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Darla Ortiz

  • A Luminous Future on June 20, 2012

    The whole time I was reading this book, I felt like I was part of something really special. Now that I have finished, I feel so privileged to have met these characters, if only by reading about them. They truly came alive on the pages and through the words of Mr. Flonta. I especially loved that this book is based on someone’s real life who isn’t famous and talking about their fame or latest drug addictions. This book is real…it’s about what is really real, and what really matters. It gives a grand view of life that is so different from what we may be used to, yet we can totally relate to at the same time. I loved all the characters, but in particular, I thought Teodor’s mother and father were simply amazing, and I found myself rooting for them and supporting the father from the very beginning. The stories moved me in a way that I didn’t expect at all, and I’m thankful for having read this book. You should too!
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 24, 2012

    This book had a little bit of everything…action, drama, romance, shapeshifting, time-travel, alien-human-hybirds, you name it. The main character Mickey is having these recurring nightmares, and his girlfriend Patience is worried about him. She wants him to go to a doctor as these night terrors are really starting to affect his life. What he finds out is not only are the dreams really happening, but he isn’t at all who he thought he was, and the whole world could be at risk unless he saves it. I was glued to my kindle from start to finish and was totally wrapped up in this intricate universe and layers of plots that Michael Barnett weaved. I felt like this could almost be made into a series, or at least continued on more. I wonder if there are any plans for that? Anyways, I really liked this book and think almost anyone would find something to appreciate
  • Margaret of the North on Aug. 24, 2012

    First and foremost, I must commend the author E Journey on writing such a beautiful and moving novel. It must have taken a long time and much effort, and it really shows in the pages of Margaret of the North. I’ve read too many books where it is obvious the author rushed the process or was just “winging it”, and this is clearly not the case here. The narrative was tight and strong, and the plots were well thought out and artfully woven together. I am a stickler for grammar and punctuation, and was pleased at the level of editing found here that is rare to find in many Indie published books. Bravo. I do wish, however, that there could have been a bit more action and tension that would propel the reader forward. While the prose was lovely and lyrical, I felt a certain lack of urgency that made me HAVE to turn the page…I just did it because I wanted to. This is not a light or a quick read, but it is one that will consume you for days and leave you happier for having read it.
  • Blood Skies (Book 1) on Sep. 05, 2012

    I struggled with trying to decide whether or not to give this novel 4 or 5 stars. Only rarely do I give out 5, but this book won out eventually simply for the fact that I couldn’t put it down and read it in one night (pretty rare), and also because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since! It is memorable and haunting, with some of the best characters I’ve come across in a long time. But it was the scenery and the way that Steven Montano created the world-building as the setting that has really stuck in my head. The imagery was so descriptive and real-feeling…I got the goosebumps more than once and had to keep reminding myself it was just a book! It felt like I was watching a movie at times, and the writing was better than most I’ve seen in this genre. It was almost literary, but still easy to read. Cannot recommend this book highly enough and can’t wait to get my hands on the next one.
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 17, 2012

    I don’t give out five stars very often and I wavered a bit on this one because I felt there were definitely some parts that dragged and didn’t feel necessary. However, at the end of the day I have to give it the highest praise (5 stars), because this is one of the best stories I’ve read all year (and I read a LOT!) The level of intimate details, the wide –ranging plotline, the building suspense and tension, and the overall authentic, gritty feel of the portrayal of the drug life was downright impressive. Mr. Rafkin and Mr. Pagano did a great jobt of making the reader feel like we are inside the novel at all times, not at arm’s length with the details being “told” to us. And the whole time I was reading it I was wondering if it was “really” true, but I want to believe that it is. But the fact of the matter is this was an engrossing read that was excellently written and kept me entertained for hours, and I will definitely be telling my friends about it. So it doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion.
  • Sugar and Spice: A Karma Café Novella on Jan. 26, 2013

    Sugar and Spice was a bit too predictable for my tastes. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with being predictable on some level, in fact many readers take a great deal of comfort in it, and to some extent they expect it. But to me I felt like I was reading something I’d read before, and the most interesting parts that could have made the story more unique were kept to a minimum. Personally, I like my stories to take some unexpected risks somewhere to catch me off guard or surprise me even a little bit on some level, and unfortunately this story don’t have any of that which for me is necessary to make it stand out from a crowded crowd. It’s not bad, but not mind-blowing. A safe, predictable romance that will appeal to those types of readers.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 26, 2013

    Although this book moved along at a slower pace than what I am used to, I felt the message of the book was good. The writing was good enough to keep me involved and turning the pages, but I could put it down. The other reviews give some synopsis detail so I won't repeat. Let me just say that I liked the way the author depicted characters dealing with choices and situations. The writing style switched from different characters point of view which added to the depth of the book. I think if it had been written from just one point of view, I wouldn’t have been as good. Overall, I like the book and liked the enchanted landscape the author created.
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Dec. 22, 2013

    This was a great book with excellent information. I would have liked to see some footnotes with links to source material for some of the facts and statistics, even though I could probably double check the info myself, it seems in a book like this it would be standard. Apart from the information Swami Achuthananda is imparting on readers about Hinduism and India, he also doesn’t hold back his feelings, whether it be about Americans approach to the accents, or other authors’ approach to teaching/studying Hinduism. The best word I can think of is at times “caustic” and I didn’t really like it. But that was only in a few places and on the whole I’d say this was an excellent book, one that would fit nicely into almost any bookshelf in America or elsewhere. Obviously the author is a skilled writer and thinker and if he writes more in the future I’d be very interested in reading it.
  • The Sense of Touch on Aug. 02, 2014

    I read a lot. I mean A LOT! I read all kinds of books and from all sorts of different authors, from big traditionally published, down to the indie author with one book under his or her belt. But I have to say that it is really rare to come across someone with such natural raw talent at Ron Parsons, and I’m not just saying that. He is the kind of author that you either have it or you don’t… it can’t be taught, or even learned. It’s instinctive and strong and his word choice is near perfection. It makes all the difference between creating something average and forgettable, versus creating a memorable, moving piece of art, which is what he did here. I really hope he writes more of these in the future and soon!
  • Thadius on Nov. 22, 2014

    I have mixed feelings of “Thadius” by Lawrence BoarerPitchford. On one hand the premise is very interesting and captivating, as is the setting and the characters. The author clearly knows his business when writing historical fiction in terms of voice and detailing. On the other hand, I felt that for much of it, the tension just wasn’t there that I’d need to thrust the story forward, at least not until way later in the book. There were several scenes and conversations where while nice to read, really didn’t add to the plot, so it just sort of weighed it down and slowed the momentum. In another genre (say, straight literary historical fiction), this would not be a problem at all, but in a thriller/mystery/suspense, there needs to be more of a compelling thrust throughout. Overall a decent novel that could use some tweaks, but the story is a good one indeed. I’d be interested in reading more from this author in the future.
  • Planet Woman on June 12, 2015

    Planet Woman by Judith Rook is by far one of the most original, well-crafted, and best-written novels I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the get-go, and absolutely loved the author’s use of description of the World, the different scenery and locales, and her attention to detail with the characters. LOVE this concept behind this. There is something of everything… Besides the obvious science/fiction/fantasy angle… it is also part mystery, mystical, thriller, action, drama, and of course romance! Excellent editing, and I will love to read more from Ms. Rook in the future!
  • Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons on Sep. 02, 2015

    I suspect many believers will happily gobble this book up, as it is a very coherent and impressive study of the role that God intended Lucifer/Satan to play in His plan for mankind. Because wondering the role of Good and Bad in this life, and questioning why God would even create Lucifer is something that almost every Christian questions at some point. I appreciated Mr. Shaw’s coherent and well-thought out questions and arguments, and his evidence from Scripture and his reasoning. Very relatable and quite astute. I enjoyed reading this and would recommend this to others (Christians and non-believers) alike without hesitation.
  • Howlers in Heat on Oct. 22, 2015

    I’m one of those people who after reading “fifty shades” and the “crossfire novels” basically started inhaling everything I could find in the genre. I don’t want just ‘sex’ in my books… I want a story and some character development. I want to be caught up in the emotions and genuinely wonder about the outcome, like I did here reading “Howlers in Heat”. I think the author has great talent, even if at times I did feel he perhaps played it a bit safe at times and I would’ve liked to have explored the characters and their motivations deeper. I think bottom line is while I really enjoyed the story and will recommend it to others, there wasn’t one time where I wondered if the characters would work it out. For me that’s something I like feeling… the deep conflict that is almost impossible to overcome, although the ending shows more promise. A few minor editing things, but nothing terrible. Great dialogue, and the characters were genuine and believable. Hope the next one comes out soon, as the ending leaves us wondering what will happen next. Recommend for adults only as this is firmly in the erotica genre.
  • Gol on Jan. 07, 2016

    I praise “Gol” by J.W. Webb not just for the fine writing and clean editing (THANK YOU!!) but also for the deeply emotional and multi-layered complexity of themes that made it such a rich and rewarding reading experience. Rarely do I get so sucked into books like this where it feels like every page is something that affects me on some level, whether just enjoying the lovely prose, or being mad at characters, or worrying about them, or laughing at something they said… . It was such a brutal, heart-tugging experience from the beginning all the way through to the end. And just when it looked like things might be all fine, the author had a huge twist in store for us. Ugh. But so, so good. Ready for more from this amazing series and can’t recommend highly enough to fans of the genre. Adults only.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Jan. 07, 2016

    I found THE URBAN BOYS: DISCOVERY OF THE SENSES to be absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters who you grow to care about deeply, but it is also surprisingly relevant on various aspects of life that we face in the day-to-day, whether or not we realize it. Deeper, profound questions and scenarios that examine life beneath the surface, and raises questions that make you think even if it just seems at first glance to be another YA paranormal. It has more heart, character, and depth than most I’ve seen, and the writing is exceptional. Happy to read the next one in the series… hope it doesn’t take too long! Recommend for readers 15+
  • The Shattered Crown on Feb. 18, 2016

    "Shattered Crown” (Legends of Ansu Book 3) is a respectable display of fantasy at its finest: grim, inspiring, vivid, real, and intensely moving. I fell in love with this novel early on and that feeling still hasn't gone away even after I turned its last page. It is a phenomenal ride and what I love about this novel is that it doesn't need to dwell on worldbuilding. For a fantasy novel there is so much heart and intelligence with lessons and analyses of all types of human nature, inviting you to think of the nature of humanity when the odds are completely stacked against them. It is an incredibly human novel in an inhuman world and the characters that inhabit it are beautifully, achingly real. I’m intensely enjoying this series and while not technically perfect, it delivers what I look for in great book: exquisite writing and a story that takes me away from my real life and that is done wonderfully here.
  • Friend & Foe on April 01, 2016

    I’m not one for rehashing the plot (that’s what the summary is for on the book description page), but trust me when I say you’ve never read anything like this before! It’s not a fast and easy read by any stretch, but it will take you through new concepts and perspectives that you’ve never thought of before. I felt a connection with each of these characters that I didn’t expect, and I thought the author’s narrative prose was some of the best I’ve read in a while, the way he brought the scenes to life, and the attention to details, from being in the middle of a warzone to being in the middle of a prison chatting with a fellow prisoner. Very cool!
  • The Lost Prince on April 01, 2016

    3.5 stars I don’t know what is it with these books that keep me captivated and compelled to read more and more and more. The characters' growth is fantastic, my boy Corin is fascinating and fun, the plot way more surprising than I always think it will be… but it still contains several tropes that I usually don't like - BUT for once in a way that I can accept and understand, and without the constant contrived elements that drives me nuts. This is the type of book that fans of Tolkien and Martin will appreciate, and their influences are felt heavily here, to the author’s own account – the themes and characters feel they are paying a respectful ‘homage’ to the characters of yore, each in their own way. We feel like we have met them before, yet they continue to surprise us as we see sides we didn’t expect. Betrayals, clans, gods, wizard, old charms, war... What's not to love? Ready for more!