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Smashwords book reviews by LE Olteano
- Paradox - The Angels Are Here (Book 1)
on April 11, 2011
The first thing that I truly liked about it is the style of the writing; it instilled in me the acute sense of being present to something quite wonderful. I, for one, always love the art of the word above the more action-oriented way of writing, but I also know that there are those who value the easier to read style. For me, the writing here scores a lot of points. It’s adequate to tales of angels, demons, gods, and mighty, legendary creatures. I was especially pleased by Patti Robert‘s descriptive talents, they’re a godsend to my personal tastes; however, I will say, the ‘voices’ of the human characters could benefit from a simpler approach.
Another thing that I loved, and this is always a make or break deal for me, was the “villain”-ish category of characters. If your book doesn’t have one guy that I wanna be kidnapped by, then it’s not going to really work out between us. Well, Patti Roberts has offered at least one character so far that I seriously wanna petition to have me kidnapped and taken back to his lair. I’m not going to go spoiler-y on you guys, but I’m telling you, there’s one epic hot guy in here. I am sort of sad that he isn’t featured in the story so far as much as I’d like him to, but I am hopeful that he’ll make more of an appearance in the future.
I appreciate the way the book introduces you to Grace, really introduces you to her and her growing pains and difficult or better moments; you get a real, vibrant sense of who Grace really is and I suspect the entire series will benefit greatly from it. Of course, I’ll have to wait and read it all in time to be sure about it. One excruciatingly well done part was the one dealing with Grace’s loss; it felt so intensely real, that you literally have no choice but to go through it with her.
There were a few moments where I felt disoriented, or slightly confused, along the way; the story has a tempo of its own, a sort of very personal beat that you have to get into. There are also a few loose ends in the story so far, not to mention The Angels Are Here ends with a major (evil) cliffhanger, but I suspect a lot will become clearer with the fallowing installments.
I must say I love the cover too, it looks very, very promising. Until next volumes are available, The Angels Are Here and me have good chemistry, this is the beginning of a potentially beautiful relationship.
- If You Go Into The Woods
on June 19, 2011
Though it will be tough to achieve, I'll try my best to not fangirl all over the place about this marvelous work of art. Ok, so maybe I will fangirl all over the place, but if you've read "If you go into the woods" then you will completely understand why; and if you haven't read it yet, you're missing out on major art of the word, in my opinion.
The ebook consists of two beautiful short stories, "If you go into the woods" and "The reset button".
I cannot speak highly enough of the mastery of word in both of them, the wealth of vibrant images and the buzz of thought that they both possess came as a delightful surprise on a torrid summer day.
I've always been one for sort of classical, artistic writing, though the action-focused style has its merits no doubt, and its own place in my heart. But this work of art, this gem of words, has the style you've encountered in all-time masterpieces of literature. There is no doubt in my mind, we're dealing here with quite possibly one work heading that way. Poetry in prose-form, these short stories capture your imagination and mold your thoughts into a deep, and somewhat frazzling storm of wonder.
While short, but undoubtedly sweet, these stories manage to instill in you a deep sense of anxiousness, of momentary despair and ultimate thrill. Both their worlds are cleverly sketched and vibrantly depicted. It is the art of the short story to focus on this just one moment, on this just one day, to zoom in right into the core of the character's soul without losing anything of the natural pace of life and ephemerous of the moment. It is in my opinion a given that a short story will not offer an in-depth analysis of characters by length, but by great intensity focused in a short span of time. It's the acute sensation that takes lead, and not the vast cognitive line of knowledge.
If I were to pick a favorite between the two stories, I quite possibly may not be able to make a choice. Each deals with different instances of life in such a lovely way, that I couldn't pick a favorite; I'd favor them both :)
I am doing my best not to go into details about each, as I believe that would spoil the pleasure of your read guys, and I'd hate to be the author of such crime.
I heartily recommend this masterful piece of work to any and all that thoroughly enjoy the art of the word, and especially to those that have a special place in their hearts for short stories, as I believe this to be a fabulous exponent of the genre.
on June 20, 2011
And here I am, again talking about David Gaughran‘s artful wording again. It feels like only yesterday I was talking about his amazing work, If you go into the woods. Wait, it actually was yesterday Well as you can clearly see, when I say I love someone’s work, I mean it; I was yearning for an encore. And here it is.
Transfection is a different ballgame altogether. The topic, for one thing, falls in a completely different area. We’re talking of a thrilling sci-fi work here, as opposed to rich fantasy, again delivered in the short and sweet form that Gaughran seems to so skillfully master.
Obviously, as the great writer I believe him to be, David Gaughran demonstrates the acute ability to shift between styles with such grace and eloquence, that you’ll be left wondering what it is that he can’t do, really. I know what reading this work of his left me with, and that is the clear desire to read more by him.
The characters are well built, the author again demonstrating the keen ability to condense in few words great impressions. His quirky and quite charming character, Dr. Carl Peters feels like an old acquaintance, a dear old friend even, after the first 2 pages of the story. His life is bound to stir some strong emotion within you, I know it did for me. As the read went on, I found myself focused entirely on the writing, and guessing what would be next very little to not at all – that is one of my most annoying habits when reading, watching movies, plays, and so on, my mind’s always rushing with possibilities of what would be coming next; a lot of the time, I guess the plot lines before they’re presented to me, leaving me with a somewhat disappointing flavor for the story itself, though I am aware this is my own fault.
Well, for this story, there was none of that. And although I did get a somber feeling there would be something big happening next, mostly because of the fresh memory of Gaughran’s strong twists from yesterday’s read, I totally did not expect that ending. I really didn’t see it coming, although evil corporations and big-league business always seem to go hand in hand with dramatic happenings (just in books, movies, and so forth, in reality you don’t really get to know about them surely…of course, I mean they probably don’t exist! *stares around nervously*).
Yet again, the author uses some very strong images in his great work. The notions he plays with do have a haunting quality to them, just like the case was with If you go into the woods, though here I’d say they are less poignant, for me at least. It seems I am unable to stop comparing the two, and it is somewhat unfair of me, since they have different writing styles, subjects and everything.
And the unfairness goes on still: I’m giving this beautiful read a full-hearted 4 butterflies rating. It’s a piece of beauty, well written, well thought, well put together. However, had I not read If you go into the woods so recently, I might have been persuaded to actually give this lovely work a 5 butterflies rating, for many reasons. But right now, with yesterday’s beauty still lulling in my soul, I wouldn’t be able to.
The cover though, the cover is absolute full-on 5 butterflies material, just like the cover for If you go into the woods, Kate Gaughran, you’re an amazing artist!
All in all, I recommend this to people who do enjoy a well written sci-fi, and surely to those who enjoy short stories. But what I’d wholeheartedly recommend is, after you read this beautiful piece of writing, you go and read If you go into the woods too; David Gaughran’s writing is so good, you’ll be left craving for more.
- 30 Failures by Age 30
on June 25, 2011
Oh my God!
When I started reading this magnificent little jewel I had a plan: just look it over, get a general idea and leave it for a Sunday read. I failed, oh how I phailed! I just couldn’t stop reading it, and then all of a sudden, there was no more!
No more of the funny, witty, touching and generally enchanting writing of Katharine Miller. “More”, my little black soul screamed, “more”!
Her writing is genius, and I am going to fangirl all over this post. Oh yes I am!
Structured in 30 fabulous essays, Volume 1 of, I hope, many many more, deals with all sorts of topics, ranging from health issues to the proper etiquette in nudism and being flat chested. The light, fun, and impossible to resist way she writes effectively covers a heap of “little life pleasures” many of us I’m sure have had to deal with.
I will not expand on the content though, I don’t wanna spoil your read guys. Sufficient to say, if I were strand on a desert island, and I’d be sure I’d never be rescued, I’d certainly choose her essay series to keep me company till my very last moment. I mean that in the most positive way, being me, I’d be extremely picky about my last ever read. And if ever there was a way to go, that’d be giggling, I say!
Though Katharine Miller hasn’t paid any 50$ fee to enter a contest (reference to one of her essays, don’t get any wacky ideas!), I do award her my most special award, the highest distinction on the fun-o-meter scale, and the all-around “tee-hee” magnificence distinction.
I wholeheartedly encourage everyone and anyone to read her beautiful essays, as I sure they’ll lighten your mood, brighten your day, and make time fly by in the most pleasurable of ways. Don’t miss out on reading this, I guarantee you’ll love it to bits, just as I do.
on July 20, 2011
What a refreshing idea! Literally, refreshing. With the heat tormenting me, reading about a world of ice made it all better, at least for my mind.
I’ll be honest, I’m quite torn between a 3 and 4 butterflies rating. I’d give it a 4 for originality, age-appropriate tale-like structure, content and characters, but a 3 for the chemistry I had with said characters. Admittedly, I am well above it’s target; so, to make up my mind what rating I’d give it, I thought, if I had a kid, would I give him/her this book to read? And it’s a definite “YES”, something I wouldn’t quite say for some titles out there. But my reading experience does point more to the 3 segment, therefore, I rate Hexult a 3 (and a half) out of 5.
The atmosphere is very much tale-like, if a bit…chilling. A world engulfed in ice, where some knowledge truly does set you apart – that setting got my full attention right from the beginning. I loved the description of the environment, it is both built and presented beautifully.
The characters are interesting, especially the twins. As I kept reading, I had these flashbacks of an animated series I used to watch when I was younger, I’m not sure I remember the name, but it was about these twins traveling together, and when they’d hold hands they did some sort of Magic thing; anyway, I really loved the series, and I’ve been since a big fan of twins. It was a great pleasure for me to follow twin adventures, if I may call them so.
The plot itself is quite engaging, and I could definitely see a successful movie made based on Perry Aylen‘s work, I believe it would translate into a big time success. If I could have had something different about it, I think I would have liked the characters to be a bit more…charismatic? There’s something endearing about some of them, the twins especially, but maybe someone could have been just a tad more edgy perhaps, but that’s a very personal aspect of course.
As usual, I can’t keep from commenting about the cover. I love the cover, I mean, just looks at it; it’s beautiful!
All thing considered, I find Hexult to be a very charming tale, that I do recommend with a dear heart. It has that sprinkle of fairytale charm that we find so little of lately.
- All Night by the Rose
on July 24, 2011
Dear God! If I read any more fabulous short stories I might be tempted to give up reading anything else!
Now, as far as styles go, this is the very original, gutsy kind. Boy, do I love that sort! But I am aware there are those that might not like this sort of writing; to those I say, to each his own. My opinion is writing, as an art form, should be gutsy, and awesomely unique, and intimately personal. The more edgy the writing style, the more personal the reading experience is.
All stories are wonderfully peculiar; I couldn’t quite decide on one favorite.
Words are so wonderfully put together, images so powerful, this collection is bound to leave a strong impression. You might feel disoriented, or slightly dizzy at some point, they are quite intense in my opinion, the atmosphere quite thick. It’s a crazy fun ride though, a delectable ride through the wonders of a beautifully creative mind.
His voice is crystal clear, mature, assertive, and it just seduces you completely.
I think I felt most touched by Janey Chu, and I deeply, deeply enjoyed Red Backed Betty and Down with Me. I believe no matter your personal preference, you will find at least one short story that will bedazzle and fascinate you.
Who would I recommend this to? Well, the braver of heart, I’d say; those that are not looking for an easy, quicky feel-good read. If you’re a lover of stereotypes, you might want to look elsewhere for your literary pleasure :)
- Anathema (Causal Enchantment, #1)
on July 24, 2011
God, I loved it! It was one of those rare cases where I’m totally into it from the very beginning. I was fidgeting and giggling and “omg”-ing all the way through. I don’t know if it was the fabulous writing, light, and suggestive, and very fun, or the characters, strong, and real, and sort of mean/nasty (and you know I love the villains, always!), or the settings, lush and powerful, or the plot, original and very well built…but man, I’m in love!! Totally, irreversibly in love !!
Eve (I just have to call her that :D) is a darling; with a tough history, and issues of her own stemming from her pain and loneliness, she manages to do the right thing, even when it’s really tough to do it. She’s brave, open, cute and a bit naive, but not in the annoying “Get a clue” way, in the “Omg! Adorable!” way. Her reactions to whatever it is that’s happening are always endearing, and there’s just something about Eve, you know?
Obviously, the vampires are a total home-run. I mean, I have something of an innate love for them (even when they’re sparkly and eating ferrets, or something – lol), but K.A. Tucker‘s vampires aren’t on their way to sanctification. They’re beautiful, at times ruthless, vicious, stubborn, manipulative…*fangirls fangirls*, but not uncaring, not unfeeling. Though what they do care about varies from case to case, they all do care, and love someone, or something. It’s an art to build characters that are evil-ish by nature, without making them monsters, or going the totally opposite way and making them these goody good vangel things that spurt rainbows out of their ears.
Of course, I love Caden; he’s nothing shy of awesome, but I even liked Rachel, and she’s nasty. I found the Mortimer/Viggo duo really amusing, and throwing in the third wheel to their chariot of awesome, Sofie, I loved their interaction, especially the conflict moments.
Now, as I’ve said, the plot is really smart. There’s all kinds of fun stuff going on, witches, vampires (obviously), vampire mutants (like vamps on vamp steroids, fu~fu), werecreatures, dimensional traveling, curses, goods smuggling, fighting (the yummy kind, that keeps you focused on the nature of both fighters)…I mean, this is like YA heaven! You know, if there were vampires and witches and vampire mutants, and werecreatures and stuff there…[I'm sure there are!]
What I didn’t like about this novel is the fact that it ends. No, seriously, I hated that part. Couldn’t it just go on? Just a few hundred pages more…is that so much to ask? And this is the reason I do my best to avoid reading books that are volume 1 of the series until at least volume 2 and maybe 3 are out as well. I can’t deal with waiting for a tortuously long time (and it always is, tortuously long) for book 2, and 3, and so on to come out. I wanna read them, now!!
Eh…cr-cram. So, as I was saying…a definite must-read. Go ahead, read it now, I need to have people to share the misery with while I’m waiting for the next book!
All in all, K.A. Tucker‘s Anathema gets the highest rank on my fangirl-o-meter, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to paranormal romance lovers, and YA lovers, this one is pure gold!
- Monster Story
on July 30, 2011
Yummy, yummy horror story. I hadn’t realized how much I did miss horror stories until I read McCarty Griffin‘s writing. Rich, descriptive, suggestive, McCarty Griffin‘s world sweeps you off your feet, and you find yourself right there, in the middle of that forest, waiting for the non-romanticized monster to feed on you, instead of romancing you (the more popular outcome of meeting a were-thing). Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the monster romances you too, but every once in a while, it’s good for the bloodthirsty beast thingy to be just that, bloodthirsty. Puts things in perspective a bit, you know?
The key element in any horror-related type of thing, be it movies, novels or images, is the mood setting, the atmosphere. This is the brilliant part of Monster Story, it sets the mood superbly. This, to me, was the strongest point of the read. From an easy, fairytale like scenery, morphing gradually into a horrifying scene, this world is quite captivating, despite some stereotypes that do float around, like the small-town related things for instance. But stereotypes, a much hated instrument for some, are effective in one thing, they capitalize on all previous suggestions, they’re quite effective if you’re not actively fighting them off, all the time, every time.
I liked the way the plot developed; it could have gone any way, really. It could have become a classic paranormal romance, it could have become a truly horrific tale, or just a mild cautionary story. The buildup was there, and it could have been steered into any direction. When it did take a clear and final turn towards horror, it did so smoothly but effectively.
Over all I can say I have enjoyed it quite a bit; I wouldn’t say I’m in love with it, but I really did like it. If you’re into thrilling horror, by all means give this a try, it’s a beautiful exponent of the genre.
(And, that cover is super-kicka$$! Love it!)
on July 30, 2011
Ahh…this one was actually sort of fun, in a dark, morbid sort of way.
Half-Inch makes use of some stereotypes we’ve talked about earlier, in a much similar clever way. They just work wonderfully with a criminal twist, what can I say?
The strange and interesting mix of crime and chick-lit with a pinch of humor is quite memorable, the story quite engrossing. I was totally into it from the first page.
The thought processes of Pammy were very fun to follow; of course, there were moments when I felt like strangling Bobby myself, and I will be honest, what happens to him in the end isn’t lawfully justified by any means, but in the deep, dark part of my little black heart, I sort of felt like he kind of deserved it…a bit :D
What I found most amusing was the irony of it all; Pammy tries to set herself free, and ends up being “captive” of her own doings. Poetic justice goes a long way, I guess.
If you don’t mind a bit of a violent end to a bit of a violent story, then you should give this a try. I’m sure you won’t regret it.