Helen Baggott

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Smashwords book reviews by Helen Baggott

  • Twelve: After Midnight on May 02, 2012

    All good books begin their lives with a seed of inspiration, that idea. Writers are only limited by their imaginations and that’s never truer than with science fiction. Thinking out of the box is a given. Alisia Compton is a young talent from America, her work may need a good edit and a thorough polish, but she will never be limited by lack of imagination. This novel rests on a very contemporary issue – that society demands perfection and some will go to any length to steal it. Add cloning to the mix and you get a tale that twists and turns - you’re never sure who the bad guy really is. Do we push the boundaries of medicine towards that horizon, or accept life, with all its imperfections, as we’re dealt it? Despite the rough edges this book did what all books should do – got me hooked until the final page. Alisia has written several novels. A generation ago we would never have read them. Twelve: After Midnight is a work in progress – the progress of a developing author.
  • What I Did On My Midlife Crisis Vacation on July 01, 2012

    By definition, a memoir is always going to be a little self-indulgent. But what I enjoyed about Debbianne’s book is the way she sets about telling her story like a friend updates you after an extended break. You get the whole saga – good, bad and warts and all. What friends always do, as Debbianne does, is balance the story with commonsense and humour – bucket loads of it. To begin with, her hyper writing left me breathless and I fought to keep up, but once in her groove I was at her shoulder, flexing with her energetic prose. A big question mark seemed to hang over Debbianne – she sought the answers through some honest and hysterical means, mostly spiritual. Some worked, some didn’t – most just moved her on to another American town and more questions. And that’s the key – she’s definitely a free spirit and the constraints of any structured studying were clearly at odds with her sparky personality. Debbianne’s quest to become a clairvoyant, to experience life-changing moments of spirituality, was fascinating to read. But I concluded that her life itself is the big experience. The author has lived through some difficult periods and come through them all – stronger, wiser? Only she can answer that – maybe there should always be a question mark?
  • Far Out on Jan. 12, 2013

    Saffron lives a hard life. She has none of the comforts that a 17 year-old in our world might take for granted. Second-hand clothes, the taste of a juicy pear, fresh water – these are the luxuries of the 22nd century. But this isn’t a bleak tale – the author doesn’t fall into a trap of demanding pity from the reader. As Saffron joins her father in the fight against the Servers, this novel develops into a subtly moralistic and hopeful story. There’s delight in the common hedgerow, of connecting with the power and potency of natural remedies. Modern technology allows for a new level of communication, but Saffron’s a young girl that realises there are more important matters than communication via holograms. I found the story complex and interesting; the author manages to engage the reader by weaving threads and ideas that are timeless – family, commitment, love and freedom. Those are key to any age.
  • Blackfeather on June 26, 2013

    I loved this book and here's why. Even plots of fantasy must have credible characters and Nel Ashley has gone beyond this with Blackfeather and written a story I so wanted to be true. It ticks many boxes for me - history, romance, fantasy and genealogy (yes, really!). I've spent many a happy hour examining historical records and headstones, so straightaway I felt a connection with Kate. This multi-faceted heroine unravels a story that spans centuries - how I wanted to be her! There's good pace, thrilling moments and even a touch of gore - but not too much. I already knew the author was writing a sequel - and sometimes that can be counter-productive. Can there be a satisfactory ending if the author hasn't finished telling her tale? Yes - most definitely. As a debut novel this is remarkable and it was no surprise to me that it had been shortlisted for The Festival of Romance New Talent Award 2012.