C.C.

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Smashwords book reviews by C.C.

  • Gargoyles on Dec. 04, 2011

    Amoreena Daniels is a top-of-the-class pre-med student and she’s helping her mother fight a losing battle with cancer. On top of everything else her mother lets her health insurance lapse and now she’s not covered for any of the expensive treatment for her cancer. What is a daughter to do? Well, Amoreena finds out about a surrogacy program and, after much thinking, signs a contract. Then finds out things aren’t all what they seem to be. This book was an easy read for me. It flowed smoothly, the characters were well-fleshed and the story progressed in a timely manner without excess description. I had a hard time putting it down. I wanted to know what the heck was going on, so I was compelled to keep turning the pages. Alan Nayes dropped breadcrumbs to the mystery in well-timed proportions. In other words, before I got too frustrated in the unraveling and peeked ahead. A fine balancing act! The only problem I had was that Amoreena was an excellent pre-med student and she kept ignoring not only factual information about pregnancy in general, but her own gut feelings as well. I kept wanting to smack her upside the head, but it was only an occasional urge, so I was able, for the most part, to ignore it. All-in-all a most excellent read! I definitely look forward to reading more books by Alan Nayes.
  • How Gods Bleed on Dec. 10, 2011

    Thousands of years after Cada Varl unwittingly sired the vicious werewolves and became an immortal he believes he has found a way to destroy them all. The way is dangerous, so he travels into the heart of werewolf territory with six of the finest warriors from the country of Helluv and hopes he can carry out his plan before the werewolves figure out what he is doing. First, the concept of this story is sound and I liked it. It is what I refer to as a ‘Lord of the Rings’-type story where someone or several people set out on a quest or mission in order to save or protect the world at large. I like to read about the journey, the hardships conquered, the friendships formed and the battles that must be fought. However, the writing needs some heavy editing. Punctuation is missing, paragraphs sometimes were two pages or more long and sentences were awkwardly worded or stilted. This would be a wonderful story if it had a lot of polishing and fine-tuning done to it.
  • The Merzetti Effect on Jan. 18, 2012

    Ainsley Crawford is an unemployed trauma nurse answering an advertisement for a job with Dr. Delano Bowen who needs a research assistant/secretary/phlebotomist. When she goes to the nighttime interview she’s attacked by a vampire. Fortunately, Delano saves her. Unfortunately, he’s holding buttloads of information from her. By learning about vampires her world has just been turned on its ear. Little does she know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I enjoyed this twist on the vampire world. Well-written, smooth-flowing and well-fleshed characters. There were no jarring holes in the plot, no gaps in the story and I loved the resolution of the bad guy situation. I’m still smiling about that. Gotta love Karma. I very much look forward to the next book in the series. *The author provided a copy of this book to me for review. Please see disclaimer on my blog.
  • Nightfall on Jan. 25, 2012

    Aiden Afflack is a 200+ yr old vampire who also happens to be a vampire hunter. Samantha ‘Sam’ Shea is a photographer with a gift for more than fantastic weather pictures. Her dreams tell her where weather in its violent beauty will be and she travels to photograph it. Then her path crosses Aiden’s and she starts dreaming of violent vampire attacks. They team up to stop the rogues from preying on humans and that’s when things get interesting. I loved this story! Aiden is a strong, hot, dangerous, yummy, intelligent, hot (did I mention that?) vampire with a sense of humor who is also a fantastic cook. I want him! Sam is a beautiful, intelligent, independent, spunky mortal with a special talent for finding violence in her dreams, be it weather or vampire. Loved the characters and writing style, the story flowed smoothly and the sexual tension between the characters was great. I loved that Sam didn’t give in to her lust for Aiden right away. That can be so annoying! I also loved the humor interspersed throughout (the scene with Sam’s leg cramp had me LOL-ing because I’ve so been there!) and the action scenes were paced just right. I hate long action scenes. I hate long descriptive scenes, too. What can I say? I’m an impatient person. I want more of this world! Impatient, remember? And hungry for more! Bring on the stories for Eli, RJ, Garret and Liss then maybe I’ll be satiated. *The author provided a copy of this book to me for review. Disclaimer on my blog.
  • The New Death and others on Feb. 29, 2012

    'The New Death and Others' is a collection of 44 stories and 19 poems. Some of the stories are so short they could be a vignette…if they’d been drawn instead of written. Irreverent, cheeky, sarcastic and very amusing is how I’d describe this collection. I skipped only three items: Under the Pyramids, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune and The Garden of Adompha because I couldn’t get into them. The rest were pretty funny, at least to me they were. I’ve been told I have a strange sense of humor sometimes though, so what amused me in this collection may not be quite so amusing to others. A fast easy read and an enjoyable way to pass the time. I groaned, snickered, giggled and even LOL’d my way thru this hodgepodge collection. A great way to pass the time. *The author provided a copy of this book to me for review. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
  • Shattered, Western Romantic Suspense on March 14, 2012

    Tessa MacLean was running for her life. Her boss was trying to kill her, had already killed a co-worker and she had no idea why. The only person she could trust was her former fiancé, Jay Rawlings. Jay is a former Detective turned rancher after a case goes horribly wrong and his sister is murdered. Three years have passed and he’s still subconsciously wallowing in guilt when Tessa shows up and the past and the present collide. Decent writing and good storyline, but I couldn’t get past how whiny both Tessa and Jay were not to mention Tessa comes off as wimpy and Jay emotionally abusive. Also, Tessa has a killer on her tail. Someone who hasn’t hesitated to kill at least once already and has made no secret of the fact he’s on her tail every step of the way as she flees. And yet, that doesn’t stop her and Jay from doing stupid things to put her life in jeopardy. Such as leaving the safety of the house more than once or practically tearing each others’ clothes off in the barn right after Jay’s dad is attacked there. It was too much for me. I had no respect for them and started hoping one or both of them would get shot for being so hormonal and idiotic. While I didn’t care for this particular story I won’t let that stop me from reading more by Kate Kelly because I did like her writing style and the plot was a good one. *The author provided a copy of this book to me for review. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
  • Master's Email on July 12, 2012

    Alexis is a submissive and Colt is her Master. Everyday he sends her an email and she must do the things listed in it or be prepared for punishment. What will today’s email bring? Will she be able to perform the expected duties? Let’s click ‘Open’ and see. This is a very hot short read. Told from the POV of Alexis we get an idea of what it’s like to be a submissive and the things a Master will order his sub to do. A very enjoyable read and even more enjoyable to read out loud to my husband who also liked it very much. ;) I (we) hope there will be more stories about Alexis and Colt. *The author provided a copy of this book to me to review. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
  • The Contract on Jan. 23, 2013

    Sondra Prentice has joined Nick Carrington’s investment firm. She brings many clients, a can-do attitude and more than a little sexual attraction. Mixing business with pleasure is always a risky, but Nick wants much more than simple pleasure. He wants Sondra’s submission. This is a great short story about the beginnings of a D/s relationship. The dialogue is just a tad stilted at times, but otherwise the writing flows easily around well-developed characters and hot steamy sex. I enjoyed being a witness to Sondra and Nick’s beginning.
  • Angel Evolution on Jan. 24, 2013

    Taylor Kingston heads off to college with her best friend Samantha Collins. Sam is a normal teenager, but Taylor is something else. She’s special to angels and demons and their century long war. She just doesn’t know it yet. Gabriel Knight is an angel. Christopher Lyon is a demon. They both want Taylor, but for different reasons. Gabriel makes the first move and initiates contact. Then Chris starts dating Sam. Things get really interesting after that. Well-written with in-depth characters, a fast plot and hidden agendas. I have to say I wanted to shake Taylor. I realize she’s a teenager, but she ignored her own first rule, listen to her gut. Then she didn’t get both sides of the story before making a decision. Never make decisions, especially monumental far-reaching decisions without getting all the info you can get from all sides. *sigh* Love! And boys! They’ll mess up a girl’s mind if given a chance. I’m sure we’ve all been there. This is the first book in a trilogy and it ended in a bit of a cliffhanger. I look forward to reading what happens next in 'Demon Evolution.' *Many thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
  • The Nightlife: New York on Feb. 11, 2013

    It’s just another boring normal night in the life of Aaron Pilan. He’s being groped at work by a regular restaurant patron, his roommate calls telling him to bring home beer, his ex-girlfriend is hanging out at his apartment waiting for him to get home so she can ignore him and Aaron is too apathetic to change any of it. Lucky for him, as he’s leaving work he encounters a sexy woman, but before he can even think of approaching her he witnesses two men attack her and he takes a fatal gunshot to the chest. In an instant, instead of letting him die for her mistake, the woman decides to save him, to make him like her. Aaron wakes up three days later no longer normal, boring, apathetic or human. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and yet having everything turn out better than expected. Aaron was just minding his own business leaving work when he sees a gorgeous blond walking down the street. He’s captivated by her, but just as it looks like she’s, wonder of wonders, going to come talk to him, a car with two corrupt cops pulls up and demands her attention. When they get out and attempt to assault her, she takes them down, but not before Aaron is shot in the chest. Feeling remorse for her part in his impending death Michelle decides to save him. In doing so he will be bound to her for all time, she the Master, he the slave. It sounds like a bad thing, but after some rocky patches they end up rubbing along together quite well. This was a very enjoyable read. The writing was smooth, the plot flowed quickly, the characters were interesting and the multiple POVs were insightful. I happen to enjoy multiple POVs, too. I look forward to continuing this series. *Many thanks to the author and the Making Connections Group on Goodreads for providing me with a review copy. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
  • Gears of Wonderland on Feb. 18, 2013

    James Riggs is a guy letting his boss and his fiancé boss him around. One evening his fiancé gets upset about a chess set he purchased when he promised to give up the ‘silly game’ and then his boss calls to tell him he has to cancel his planned vacation to come into work and cover for him. She kicks him out and he walks to his old friend’s apartment to stay the night there. However, just after he gets there a strange man comes to the apartment, murders his friend then chases James out to the street where a yet another strange man in a white suit grabs him and sends him down a hole into Wonderland. That’s when things get even stranger. James is now in Wonderland, but in a very different one than Alice was in. The Knave of Hearts has taken the throne, conquered the other kingdoms and is mass-producing stream-powered machinery. Steampunk Wonderland has emerged, but James arriving from Otherworld has thrown a massive spanner in the works. I haven’t read Alice in Wonderland in um, *cough* many many years (let’s leave it at that) and I haven’t watched the Disney® movie since the kids were little, so many of the references to the original book were probably lost on me. However, I do remember enough to know that this book is a clever take of a favorite tail. Well-written and fast-paced, with a twisty plot, interesting world and likeable characters, I enjoyed this book very much. *Many thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
  • Breakfast In Bed on April 04, 2013

    Nick likes breakfast in bed. Julie enjoys being breakfast in bed. Well-written, sweet yet steamy this short will make you smile wickedly and say, 'Please, Sir, may I have another?' Book source: Picked up for free on Smashwords.
  • Educating Autumn on Aug. 10, 2013

    4.5 Book source ~ Won in a giveaway on LibraryThing. Many thanks to LibraryThing and the author. Amber Clare is a product of the time after the Underground Age. The devastation after WWIII was so vast that it was only the 1,000 people in the underground bunkers who survived. After 100 years they emerged to an ecology that was once again thriving. However, those initial 1,000 people split into three groups and when they emerged they declared each group a country, Josiathan, Pacifican and Retois. The country of Josiathan is a very pious country who believe the Earth was destroyed because of the sins of women. So the women in Josiathan have no rights and are owned by men, first by their fathers and then by the husbands who purchased them. The two other countries are not so rigid in their laws and are considered heathen countries by those in Josiathan. Unlike her sister Katrina, Amber is not entirely happy with the laws restricting women. She is intelligent and curious, so when her brothers would leave their schoolbooks strewn about she would borrow one and eventually taught herself to read. Soon after Katrina’s engagement announcement is made Amber finds herself engaged to a wealthy man named Orion Louis. A man she’s never even seen. But he paid her father two Roseway horses for her as well as a promise to pay for her housing and care while he was away at school, so they were wed. Orion is away at school for four years, so it isn’t until he graduates that he returns for her, takes her to the home he has built for her and they begin their life together. Orion already loves Amber, but will Amber fall in love with her husband? Will he be a good husband to her or will Amber resort to running away? Only time will tell. This is a very interesting story about how women are at the mercy of the men. They have no rights, no chance at schooling, they eat after the men are finished, can be punished or beaten for any infraction (except while they are pregnant) and have no independence. And to think it hasn’t really been all that long ago that this way of life was common and is still common today in some societies. How far we have come from those days where women were just another piece of property and used for breeding the next heir. I love Orion. He and his family are not so rigid in the Josiathan beliefs because their family actually had a written record of what truly happened to send the 1,000 people underground. It was most definitely not the sins of women that caused the devastation. Amber is a wonderful character, too. Watching them build a relationship in a backwards manner (married first then getting to know one another) is an enjoyable experience. The shocking ending came almost completely out of left field. I feel so sorry for the Louis family yet there is also hope. All-in-all a wonderful read.
  • Leximandra Reports, and other tales on Oct. 12, 2013

    4.5 *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. This anthology is set in the world of Draykon and includes: Mr.Warvel’s Red Cloak Leximandra Reports Rikbeek Earns His Keep Sigwide and the Broken Birds I haven’t yet read Book 1 in the Draykon series, titled Draykon, though I do have it in my review queue. After reading this fantasy anthology I can tell you I can’t wait to dive right in! Each story is short, told from various viewpoints and all four can be read in a relatively short period of time. The writing is wonderful, the world is fascinating and the characters are very, very interesting. These four shorts have only whet my appetite and I want more, more, more.
  • First Blush on Oct. 26, 2013

    *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Maria is a headstrong, intelligent and educated woman in a time when women were encouraged to be biddable in order to secure a husband. She doesn’t want to be biddable or marry for security and the concept of love was silly in her eyes. However, when she meets Thomas her thoughts of love are changed dramatically, but instead of getting all doe-eyed she does the opposite and leads him a merry chase. But Thomas is determined to have her as his and eventually his patience pays off. They are married. After hearing all about her sister’s wedding night though, will Maria and her love for Thomas, survive her own? This is a sweet and sexy short about a husband and wife’s wedding night in a time when having sex before the wedding is greatly frowned upon. Maria is a virgin and Thomas has no idea that Maria’s sister has put all kinds of unpleasant ideas in her head about what the wedding night will entail. Very well-written and the characters are wonderful. The sex is steamy and sweet and not overly graphic. A perfect short read that will leave you smiling.
  • My Lady Coward: An Episodic Regency Romance on Nov. 05, 2013

    4.5 *Book source ~ Picked up for free on Amazon Richard, an impoverished Duke, marries Maria, the daughter of a Cit. She gains a title and a position in Society and he gains a vast amount of wealth. However, what she really wants is his love. Can wishes really come true in a practical arrangement? This story is told in 10 small installments. The writing drew me in from the beginning. It is well-written with characters that are interesting. I especially enjoyed Maria with her strengths and vulnerabilities. She despairs over the fact Richard is still keeping a mistress and that it’s a well-known fact and gossiped about. She has no idea if he feels anything for her other than the fact she brought a shitload of money to the marriage and she tries to gather her courage to talk to him about it and his mistress, but well-bred ladies just don’t do that. I know that it’s just because of the time period she’s in, but I want to shake her and tell her to pull up her big girl knickers. lol I also want to shake Richard for being a stubborn idiot and for his stupid actions that hurt Maria. However, it all works out in the end. All-in-all this is a wonderful short historical romance.
  • Redemption on Nov. 05, 2013

    3.5 *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Miles and Darius (Dare) Prestwich are twins, sons of gentry if not title. Lady Guinevere (Gwen) and Lady Genevieve (Jenny) are twins, daughters of a Duke. Miles loves Gwen and the feeling is mutual even if they have not declared it to each other yet. Dare and Jenny fall into lust. Suddenly Jenny is no longer a virgin and Dare runs away. When Jenny discovers she’s pregnant, Miles steps in yet again to clean up his brother’s mess. But will that really solve anything? Ok, I have no idea how to start with this historical romance. The good part is it is very well-written with great characters. Except for Dare. I cannot express how much I dislike this guy. A selfish immature asshole, he does whatever he wants whenever he wants with no thought for anyone but himself. Everything is a joke to him and he takes nothing seriously. He thoughtlessly creates chaos wherever he goes and it matters not to him who he disrupts or hurts in the process. He had no redeemable qualities in my eyes and the fact he uses charm to manipulate his way out of everything is beyond annoying. I would have loved this story if he wasn’t in it. But without him there is no story. If he had gained some humility he would have been much more likeable. Unfortunately, though his thoughts from his POV reveal he believes he is sorry for the messes he creates, his actions prove loud and clear he isn’t. Actions speak louder than words. I think Jenny is an idiot to love him, but you can’t help who you love. So…if you are more flexible and forgiving than I am then Dare and this story will be fantastic for you.
  • Cuffed Vol. 1: Stop, Or I'll Shoot & Out on a Beam on Nov. 24, 2013

    *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Cuffed Vol. 1 includes two tales: Stop, or I’ll Shoot! and Out on a Beam. The stories are short, humorous and not made up. The names of the officers have been changed and some of the points may have been exaggerated a tad, but for the most part these are funny officer anecdotes suitable for all ages to read. I’m looking forward to reading Vols 2-6. Stop, or I’ll Shoot! Office Lance Yandell is on patrol when the call comes in that an alarm has sounded at a shoe store. Yandell responds and sees the broken glass. He waits for back up before going in. He’s never had to fire his weapon before. Will tonight be the night? Out on a Beam Officer Kim Brunetti is a seasoned officer. She’s not afraid of most things, but when she responds to a possible theft at a construction site, she realizes as she crosses a beam that she’s afraid of heights. Not just afraid. Petrified. Oh, what a pickle for the veteran to be in.
  • Rose Of Skibbereen, The Beginning on Nov. 24, 2013

    4.5 *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. In 1880 Rose Sullivan left her home in Skibbereen Ireland and sailed to America with her cousin Mary. Another cousin, Kate, had gone to America years ago and she made enough money to send home so that her family lived like royalty in the poverty stricken country. She wrote and told Kate and Mary that she could get them jobs as serving girls in the household where she works. So Rose and Mary left the only home they knew and crossed an ocean to America. I thought it was a bit strange that the evening before Rose and Mary left there was a party to see them off. That wasn’t the strange part. It was called an American Wake. Why call it a wake? I guess because family, friends and neighbors figured the girls (or whoever the party was for) were never coming back. So, even though Rose plans to return in 10 years, they were given an American Wake. Fascinating. This short story is part one in a series documenting Rose’s life after she leaves Ireland, docks in Philadelphia and ends up as a serving girl in a rich man’s home in Pittsburgh. At her party she meets a handsome mysterious 16-year-old boy/man named Sean McCarthy. They talk, he kisses her and then he walks away. Rose spends a lot of time thinking of him on her journey to America and even after though she’s so busy working she falls asleep exhausted. The ending is a cliffhanger as Rose’s life takes a serious turn. What is she going to do now? Very well-written and I’m looking forward to reading more about Rose’s story.
  • Gape on Jan. 22, 2014

    3.5 *Book source ~ Many thanks to Sirens Call for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Rose, a human, and Priest, a demon, are two unlikely companions, but Priest is having some sort of mid-life crisis even though he’s thousands of years old and Rose intrigues him. When she dies homeless in a shop doorway he takes her to his hideaway between places and that’s when things get really interesting. I’m not sure exactly what I thought when I picked up this book, maybe an interesting new paranormal adventure or something along those lines. While it was that, it was also more. This is a book that is a bit beyond me in terms of philosophical and existential viewpoints and really big words that made me get out a dictionary, something I haven’t had to do in donkey’s years. Not necessarily a bad thing, but at this point in my life I just want to be entertained and not think too hard. This story made my head hurt at times. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s very well-written and the main characters, for the most part, are complex and intriguing even if their actions are sometimes not so complex. And once I got past the heavy reading the underlying story is a suspenseful and often times humorous read. The ending is left a bit up in the air, but I would definitely read the next installment to see what happens to Rose and Priest. But I’d take ibuprofen first, just in case of imminent headache. *winks*
  • Choosing Chase on Jan. 25, 2014

    *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Tess is approaching 40 and feeling very middle-aged even though she is far from that in body or spirit. Her best friend Chase is nearly a decade younger and no matter how hot he is, she is determined she will not be a cougar. Plus, he’s her best friend. If by some chance they do the horizontal polka, she’s likely to lose the best friend she has when they stop sleeping together. Having been burned in the past, she’s too afraid to take that chance. But Chase is made of sterner stuff. He loves Tess and he means to have her for all time. He just needs to convince her he’s in for the long haul. This is a great story about overcoming fears ingrained from the past and really living life. Even though this is a short story I got a pretty good feel for both Tess and Chase since it was told from both POVs. Well-written and fairly spicy, this is one steamy read. Chase did do something that was pretty dumb (he’s not the only guy to do it and you’d think all guys would learn by now, like that’s ever going to happen) and he’s lucky it didn’t screw everything up for good. Anyway, that’s my only complaint. This one will leave you smiling.
  • The 11th Commandment: A Serial Regency in Ten Parts on Aug. 19, 2014

    *Book source ~ Free on Smashwords Lady Katherine Henschel, Duchess of Jarvis, was back in London after two years of exile in Scotland. Exile for breaking the 11th Commandment of the ton; Thou shalt not get caught. And caught she was by her husband while she was in bed with Simon Delacourt. After Jarvis’ petition for divorce was not granted by Parliament, Katherine retreated to Scotland, still his wife, but shunned by Society. She would have stayed in Scotland except Jarvis died and she was required to present herself for the reading of the will. She hadn’t expected to see Simon there nor was she prepared for the generosity shown to her by her husband. She no longer need worry about how she and her daughter would live, but worrying about her reactions to Simon are another thing entirely. Why does she still burn for the man responsible for her fall? And will Simon confess what he knows about that fateful day even if it makes her hate him even more? This is an awesome historical story with romance, fierce attraction and betrayal. The characters are very well-developed and the story moves along at a great clip. My only complaint is they seem to swing wildly from one emotion to another without much time to transition. I know this is a short story that was originally produced in separate monthly installments for InD’tale Magazine, so space was short, but I wish they didn’t hop around emotionally so much, like a leap frog. That’s my only complaint though. If you want a short historical tale with some meat to it then I recommend picking this one up.