Krystal Larson

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Smashwords book reviews by Krystal Larson

  • Legacy - Book One of the Balancer Chronicles on May 22, 2011
    (no rating)
    Good Reads Summary: Legacy begins with Katrina (Kat) Blake’s return to her childhood home after a five year absence. She has come back with the sole intention of reading the letter her estranged grandmother (Rosemarie) left her, before she sells the estate—but it’s not that simple. The letter comes with a journal which promises to unveil all the mysteries surrounding her life which have confounded her for years. She soon realises that the account was not written by Rosemarie but by a man named James Blackburne, and according to him they are related. James is a four-hundred year old immortal; a balancer. His primary function is to protect the natural world from supernatural entities. In an attempt to connect with Kat, and aid her in her adjustment to her new life, he tells her his life story, starting with his birth in 1625, his death in 1650 as well as his subsequent rebirth as a balancer and the adventures which ensue. James’s story takes Kat on a journey she never imagined possible. He weaves a gripping tale of life, love, adventure and self-discovery which ensnares her interest and compels her to keep reading, but he does a lot more than that. He reaches across time and space to connect with her in the present, as well as explain the motivations behind her grandmother’s apparent cold dismissal of her when she was a sensitive and fragile girl of eighteen. For Kat this is a precious gift as the emotional wounds their parting inflicted have never really healed. This book is a great rainy day read, very enjoyable. The plot is interesting and leaves the reader wanting more; the characters are mysterious, yet very honest. The writing style of the author is good, nothing undesirable there. The reader will enjoy the subtlety of the author in explaining delicate scenarios and their resultant affect on the characters' feelings. The connection between the past and the present is strong in this novel, the reader will enjoy two stories: that of the main character and her male counterpart, James. The reader will be happy throughout James' forays into love and romance and feel unhappy along with him as his life inevitable leads to sorrow. The reader will hold on to residual anger at Kat's grandmother for her seemingly hard facade in front of her granddaughter. This book is a great read for young adults/adults who enjoy discovering well-kept secrets.
  • Dirty Little Angels on May 22, 2011
    (no rating)
    Good Reads Summary: Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses' lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses' twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape. The author really captures the young adult mind-set and feeling in this novel. The novel is very "dark", even depressing; however, the author means to represent a certain reality in many societies. The reader will have to restrain her/himself throughout the book from wanting to shake the characters and tell them what to do, however, this is likely the author's intention. A good author evokes a response in the reader, a quality Tusa has down pat. Hailey makes for a good protagonist, definitely eliciting sympathy in the reader. Her brother is arrested at least three times for stealing, yet doesn't attempt to change his lifestyle and doesn't consider Hailey at all. Hailey's mother is no role-model and constantly depressed; Hailey is surrounded by drinking, fights, drugs, etc... The author's writing style kept the reader interested throughout the majority of the book, some of his words and/or phrases were a tad redundant in areas, but otherwise good. The reader may feel that there is no "guide" in this novel, a trait that could be seen as negative, but the author crafts into a positive trait-the book builds upon itself, the plot unfolding slowly and the characters developing throughout the novel. Hailey gives an "assumed to be" true account of the events surrounding her. The ending could have used more explanation and detail, but the reader will be mostly satisfied.
  • The Second Fly Caster: Fatherhood, Recovery and an Unforgettable Tournament on May 22, 2011

    Saturday, May 21, 2011Miya Black, Pirate Princess I: Adventure Dawns: Ben White Good Reads Summary: There's no place like home. For Princess Miya Black, 'home' is Clover Island, a tiny dot of a place not even named on most maps. Founded fifteen years ago by her parents, ex-pirate Tomas "Boots" Black and ex-princess Lilith "Lily" Brightburn, it's a place for second chances and new beginnings. It's there that Miya was born, there she grew up, and there she now lives, spending her days riding with her best friend, practicing swordsmanship with her fake uncle, sailing with her father, and avoiding book lessons with her mother. To Miya it's the best place in the entire world, and she knows how lucky she is to have it. So when her home is threatened Miya doesn't just sit around around sulking. She's the princess of Clover Island, with the blood of pirate legends running through her veins, and she'll do whatever it takes to protect her kingdom. This novel makes for a good, quick read on the beach or somewhere just as pleasant. Miya is a very likable and fun character to read about, constantly active and always inquisitive and caring. There are spikes of excitement for the reader when he/she becomes aware that the small island Miya lives on is being threatened by outside forces. The overall plot is interesting, a little bland in places, and will keep the reader entertained for most of the book. The reader will find the pirate history a nice touch and that will help to pique his/her interest. The supporting characters help to amplify Miya's main role and serve to move the events along at a quick pace. This is a great read for children, teens, or anyone who is a child at heart. Posted by Krystal at 3:54 PM 4 comments Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz Legacy - Book One of the Balancer Chronicles: Chris Adonn Good Reads Summary: Legacy begins with Katrina (Kat) Blake’s return to her childhood home after a five year absence. She has come back with the sole intention of reading the letter her estranged grandmother (Rosemarie) left her, before she sells the estate—but it’s not that simple. The letter comes with a journal which promises to unveil all the mysteries surrounding her life which have confounded her for years. She soon realises that the account was not written by Rosemarie but by a man named James Blackburne, and according to him they are related. James is a four-hundred year old immortal; a balancer. His primary function is to protect the natural world from supernatural entities. In an attempt to connect with Kat, and aid her in her adjustment to her new life, he tells her his life story, starting with his birth in 1625, his death in 1650 as well as his subsequent rebirth as a balancer and the adventures which ensue. James’s story takes Kat on a journey she never imagined possible. He weaves a gripping tale of life, love, adventure and self-discovery which ensnares her interest and compels her to keep reading, but he does a lot more than that. He reaches across time and space to connect with her in the present, as well as explain the motivations behind her grandmother’s apparent cold dismissal of her when she was a sensitive and fragile girl of eighteen. For Kat this is a precious gift as the emotional wounds their parting inflicted have never really healed. This book is a great rainy day read, very enjoyable. The plot is interesting and leaves the reader wanting more; the characters are mysterious, yet very honest. The writing style of the author is good, nothing undesirable there. The reader will enjoy the subtlety of the author in explaining delicate scenarios and their resultant affect on the characters' feelings. The connection between the past and the present is strong in this novel, the reader will enjoy two stories: that of the main character and her male counterpart, James. The reader will be happy throughout James' forays into love and romance and feel unhappy along with him as his life inevitable leads to sorrow. The reader will hold on to residual anger at Kat's grandmother for her seemingly hard facade in front of her granddaughter. This book is a great read for young adults/adults who enjoy discovering well-kept secrets. Posted by Krystal at 3:44 PM 0 comments Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz Friday, May 20, 2011Chasing After Wind: RW Holmen Good Reads Summary: A short story about life as a soldier in Vietnam. This is the fourth installment in the series of Vietnam short stories entitled "LRRP Rangers Vietnam". The first three short stories were set in the mountains and jungles of Vietnam's central highlands, but "Chasing After Wind" takes place on the Ranger company grounds in the base camp of An Khe. Yet, this installment is no less bold, dark, and intense (the words of a reviewer) than the earlier stories that recounted missions in the field. The title is borrowed from the Old Testament, and the short story begins with this epigraph: "No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle ... all is vanity and a chasing after wind." Ecclesiastes 8:8 & 1:14 "Chasing After Wind" considers twists of fate in the context of a barracks poker game, the uncontrollable wind, and a malevolent joker in the deck. The reader should be prepared to read about the gloomy, gory reality of Vietnam. ""Chasing After Wind" is the fourth volume of a series entitled LRRP Rangers Vietnam. The LRRPs of Vietnam (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) were the cavalry scouts of their war, traveling by helicopter rather than mustangs into remote and unfriendly territory. The mountainous jungles of the central highlands were especially inhospitable, filled with snakes and wild animals, and criss crossed with the tributaries of the Ho Chi Minh trail that lay hidden beneath the thick, triple-canopy jungle foliage. It was the job of small teams of LRRPs to penetrate the ridges and valleys of the rainforest to track and identify enemy activity." The above is taken from Amazon. The novel itself is super short, but no less powerful. The main character "keeps things real" throughout the novel, giving what the reader can only assume to be a true account of his surroundings. The characters are not glorified or portrayed as "heroes"; they are meant to be men performing feats that are expected of them in times of battle. The reader will enjoy the camraderie and the details provided by the author; the plot becomes real. This novel is terrific for young adults and adults alike...as long as they are not expecting an action-packed novel. Posted by Krystal at 11:12 PM 0 comments Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz Dirty Little Angels: Chris Tusa Good Reads Summary: Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses' lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses' twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape. The author really captures the young adult mind-set and feeling in this novel. The novel is very "dark", even depressing; however, the author means to represent a certain reality in many societies. The reader will have to restrain her/himself throughout the book from wanting to shake the characters and tell them what to do, however, this is likely the author's intention. A good author evokes a response in the reader, a quality Tusa has down pat. Hailey makes for a good protagonist, definitely eliciting sympathy in the reader. Her brother is arrested at least three times for stealing, yet doesn't attempt to change his lifestyle and doesn't consider Hailey at all. Hailey's mother is no role-model and constantly depressed; Hailey is surrounded by drinking, fights, drugs, etc... The author's writing style kept the reader interested throughout the majority of the book, some of his words and/or phrases were a tad redundant in areas, but otherwise good. The reader may feel that there is no "guide" in this novel, a trait that could be seen as negative, but the author crafts into a positive trait-the book builds upon itself, the plot unfolding slowly and the characters developing throughout the novel. Hailey gives an "assumed to be" true account of the events surrounding her. The ending could have used more explanation and detail, but the reader will be mostly satisfied. Posted by Krystal at 10:54 PM 0 comments Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz The Discovery of Socket Greeny: Tony Bertauski Good Reads Summary: Work comes first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother ever since his father died. That was 11 years ago. Now, in this tech-driven futuristic society, he's zoned on energy drinks and living in virtual worlds because Mom rarely comes home. He doesn't know what she does for a living. The bills get paid and the refrigerator is full, so why bother with details? His only real world thrill is fighting. He doesn't always win, but that's not the point. Breaking skin is a reality rush. But a world can change in a single moment. It's a school day like any other, until Socket starts hearing other people's thoughts. He's hallucinating, maybe brain rot from too much virtualmode. Even when time seems to stop, he ignores it. The mind playing tricks. But when his mom arrives at school, he knows it's for real. She's there to take him to work. The Paladin Agency. He discovers an evolved race of humans that have existed for centuries, where thoughts can be heard. And felt. They are people that can manipulate time through the body's metabolism. They protect the rest of humankind and strive to bring them understanding of their full potential. But some Paladins see humankind as inferior. Imperfect. Cancer. Socket soon finds himself in the center of controversy when he's anointed a Paladin prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice, he just wants to go home and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mom tells him. And when humankind is threatened and the Paladins are forced into the public eye, Socket discovers what his mother means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, the world will change forever. This novel presents a very possible reality, where technology is at the forefront and everyone and everything revolves around technology. Socket, the main character, will appear likable to the reader. His two best friends, Chute and Streeter, make for good supporting characters. Chute is the more likable of the two while Streeter, a brilliant hacker, lusts after Socket's girlfriend. Socket and his friends endure an attack, his "sim" is badly damaged. It is on this prophetic day that he discovers he can feel and and touch in virtual mode-a feat which should be impossible. After this day, Socket learns about his past and his parents in great, excruciating detail; he faces danger around every turn of the page. The world the author creates could easily appear great to the reader. Who wouldn't want to transform themselves into any sort of person they wanted to be? The plot is excellent, a great idea for this technology-driven society. The characters will affect the reader separately. Some appear to support Socket throughout his many disappearances and problems while others, especially his mother, will leave the reader with a cold feeling. The reader will always remember that there lurks a traitor somewhere within the pages of this intriguing book. This novel is terrific for young adult and adults who enjoy mystery, action, drama, and a novel that touches on a possible future outcome for our own society. Posted by Krystal at 10:43 PM 0 comments Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz Element Zero: James Knapp Summary:Would you allow the military to reanimate your corpse, knowing it would commit atrocities, if it meant avoiding service in a brutal war during your lifetime? What if your level of citizenship depended on your answer? To gain a chance at a better life, or feed your family, which would you choose then? Or would you choose neither, and accept a life of hardship and poverty? What if you came face to face with your own death, and realized too late you had made the wrong decision? Nico Wachalowski has been waiting for years for the other shoe to drop, and finally it has. When Fawkes resurfaces and awakens his hidden army of revivors, the city streets turn into a war zone in a matter of hours. Before anyone can react he finds himself maimed, the streets overrun, and parts of the city literally crashing down around him. As the chaos unfurls, he follows the last lead he had which hints at something even more sinister than the attack itself. When the violence escalates, and the revivors begin spreading out toward the city limits, he determines what Fawkes true plan has been all along - but has he realized too late? Faye Dasalia has played an instrumental role in letting Samuel Fawkes execute the final phase of his plan. No longer needed by or trusted by Fawkes himself she discovers the truth he's kept from her for so long. With this new information in play, she finds herself at a crossroads; will she put her trust in Nico and help undo everything she's worked for? Or will she follow through with a plan that turns out to have been much broader than she ever believed, and which might end up changing the world forever? Calliope Flax has found her place in society as a soldier with the private contracting firm Stillwell Corps. Leveraging the revivor nodes that still lay half-formed in her brain, she helps track down others who have been injected in an attempt to round them up before Fawkes can activate them. When that day comes, and Fawkes' enemies discover her secret, they attempt to use her as a weapon against him. Caught in the middle of the war zone, she realizes that she might be one of the only people left who can help Nico stop Fawkes and save the city. Zoe Ott now lives and works with the elite members of Ai's organization. Cut off from Nico, her visions have been a key to helping them understand the future they might all be facing. When she finally realizes what the specifics of that future are, she also realizes that she might be the only one left with the ability to stop it. Backed up against the wall, she finds herself faced with an impossible choice, and millions of lives in her hands. This book has it all, from conspiracies to massive, full-scale wars. The reader will never be bored, the scenes are fast-paced and intriguing, the characters are designed to make the reader feel a connection to them-no matter their choices in the novel. The idea, the ability to reanimate a corpse and possibly use that corpse to commit atrocities, is very interesting and begs for deep, detailed questions. What if there were stipulations to your theoretical answer? Would your answer vary if your life or loved ones depended on it? The author chose a completely new topic, the reader will never come across a novel quite like this one. This book is great for young adult and adults who relish the challenge of a novel that asks hard questions and reveals a completely new idea. Posted by Krystal at 10:24 PM 0 comments Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz The Second Fly Caster: Fatherhood, Recovery and an Unforgettable Tournament : Randy Kadish Summary: Erik, a young boy, is proud that his father, the winner of several state championships, is probably the greatest long distance fly caster on earth. But then a threatening prelude and an unexpected outcome of a casting tournament leave Erik reeling with unanswered questions about what once seemed to be only a sport. These questions linger and then, years later, deepen when Erik’s idealistic plans and actions are crushed when he experiences combat in the Vietnam War. He struggles, unsuccessfully, with his demons, until a seemingly accidental discovery lead him back to the ways and new meanings of fly casting. Through their prism Erik learns to see himself and the world in a forgiving light. This novel is very short, but well-written. The characters really serve to draw the reader into the novel, the reader will soon come to know them as friends and be able to predict their actions and thoughts. This novel contains a universal truth: parents cannot be as perfect as their children would like to believe. The author finally understand this when he fights in Vietnam, an important lesson that should not be dismissed or taken lightly. Flaws are a fact of life, the sooner we realize this the better off we will be. The reader will enjoy the author's journey from a more oblivious childhood to a realistic, competent adult. The novel moves along fairly fast, the reader will not have to drag through scenes. This book is great for young adult and adult readers.
  • Soul Quest on May 22, 2011

    Amazon Synopsis: Do you remember how horrified you were about the idea of attending high school? I remember ticking off those last miserable days of my summer vacation following my eighth grade year. Maybe you don’t, maybe you were one of 'those people.' You know who I’m talking about, people like Melissa Small, the distinguished District Attorney, Larry Small’s daughter, popular, gorgeous... and absolutely terrifying to someone like me, Liv Glyn. No, I am far from measuring up to the standards required to make Melissa’s crowd. I’m not even close. I’m just a simple man’s daughter, mostly tolerated by my peers with average looks. If this isn’t depressing enough for you, stay tuned, it gets worse. I was commanded with Spirit at birth by the Great Spirit, Hala. I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. If you think it's difficult being a teenager, try being a teenager who was born destined to save the world from soul sucking Daevas and their mutant progeny Aengels. There are four of us. My companions of Spirit are Laith, Brayan and Meena. Melissa Small is Laith’s step sister and she is always meddling where she doesn’t belong, further complicating our lives. To make matters even worse, my best friend Jedd is apparently aware of things that are typically undetectable to ordinary humans. So, I have to lie to Jedd, the boy who has been my constant standby since the third grade, to shield him from the horrible and very dangerous truth. Did I mention that I think I’m falling in love with him? The term awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it, trust me. Welcome to the mess that is my life. This book is great. The author captures the true young adult voice and creates a teenage atmosphere. The plot is intriguing and novel, the characters fresh and charismatic. The mystery moved the book along quickly with the romance being the added draw-in for the reader. This book wasn't a run-of-the-mill teenage romance, the plot prevents the reader from thinking that. The main character easily endeared herself to the reader, the meddling supporting character provided a good foil for the main character as well as some comic relief. The background of the plot is both exciting and interesting, the reader will not be disappointed. There is a bit of something for everyone: intrigue, romance, action, drama, young adult, mystery, comedy, etc... The ending was a little bit surprising to say the least, but this reader was happy to learn that there would be another book to come! This book is great for young adult readers.
  • Bandits on May 22, 2011

    The first quality of the book that struck me as amazing was the ability of the author to describe the scenes in such descriptive detail. The reader will literally be able to see each scene through the main characters eyes; the scenes will be tactile, the reader will feel as if they are truly in the moment. The main character lives on Zukar, an area where thieves/criminals live. The main character is trained by his father to become a criminal. Quite quickly, his father dies and the main character is left with the need for revenge and a need to know why his father as killed. His best friend, Faulk, accompanies him on his journey to find out the truth. He discovers that his father had stolen a treasure, his father had not shard with the Zukar. The treasure may have the potential to destroy the world. The book is littered with pirates, the characters are exciting to read about and follow. The plot is very interesting, a new twist containing pirates. The scenes are graphic and tangible. This book is great for teens/young adults.
  • Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide on May 22, 2011

    The story was told simply, without unnecessary details. The reader will endure Jill's struggles with Ultrasport, the possibility of leaving her job as a newspaper editor and her home in Juneau. Her boyfriend of eight years will break off the relationship. The author gives the reader the straight-forward facts, revealing all and hiding nothing. The reader will be impressed that the author is willing to share some tough choices and events in her life. This comprises the first part of the story. The second part is not less emotional. Jill goes to her childhood home in Utah, trains, and builds up her abilities and emotional/mental fortitude to perform in the Tour Divide. Even with bad events and tough choices, Jill is able to ready herself for the race. The reader will enjoy living vicariously through Jill, experiencing the ups and downs and the incredible mental/physical endurance that Jill possesses. This novel is terrific for young adults/adults.
  • Paradox - The Angels Are Here (Book 1) on May 31, 2011
    (no rating)
    This novel will have the reader at the first page. The reader will enjoy Patti Roberts’ view of guardian angels. The main character, a little girl-Grace, has the power of sight. The very same guardian angels sent to protect her father protect her; her father perishes and leaves the little girl and her mother on their own. Grace conveys her deep sadness and hopelessness to the reader with extreme clarity. The angels watching over young Grace are meant to be “good”, however, there are two factions of angels-ones who destroy and ones who seek to help and are “good”. Grace’s story is interwoven with this important fact that the reader must remember in order to fully understand this novel. Grace puts the emotion into the novel, the angels build the structure. The reader will be introduced to a world of angels and their background, very interesting and intriguing. The reader will enjoy the conspiracy, good, and evil parts of the novel. The ending is a somewhat surprising, but satisfying conclusion. Patti Robers writes clearly and evokes an emotional reaction as well as deep thought in her readers, clearly an amazing writer. The reader will look forward to the sequel of this novel.
  • Paradox - The Angels Are Here (Book 1) on May 31, 2011

    My review is below
  • Twin Rivers on Aug. 14, 2011

    This story was short, but enjoyable. The main character, Rhiannon, has been in a coma for 2 years. In that short time, her parents have both died and her life as she knew it is gone. The reader will experience Rhiannon's nightmare with her, it appears very real. Rhiannon is a strong character, she has her ups and downs; the reader will want to know her better, the book crops her story closed rather quickly. She meets Mal, befriends him, and quickly becomes "something more" to him. She eventually remembers that Mal was an integral part of her earlier life; it should not be lost on the reader that Mal means "bad" in Spanish. The end of the novel is both surprising and somewhat horrifying, but the author plays it out so the reader must make his/her own decision on deciding if what was done was just. This book is very short, a reader should be able to finish the novel in less than an hour. This book is recommended to young adults/adults who enjoy horror stories.