Laura Johnson


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Smashwords book reviews by Laura Johnson

  • Legends of Marithia: Book 1 - Prophecies Awakening: Uncut and Extended Second Edition on Aug. 24, 2012

    I received a free copy from the author in return for a review, so here it is! :) What do you get when you add magic, dragons, treason, prophecies, and (surprisingly) vampires? A enjoyable and fresh fantasy world. The dragon lore and world-building was well-done, although sometimes the jumps to different scenes (flashbacks, visions/"spying", etc.) was a bit disorienting, and I found the prophecies a touch on the cheesy/obvious side. I like my prophecies cryptic, with multiple meanings, so that I can look back at them later and go, "Oh! Damn, that was clever" and be hypothesizing throughout the story. Still, the book earned a solid 4 stars. Kassina (our vampire villainess) is deliciously wicked (and with a healthy sexual appetite, hehe!), and Vartan is an easy-to-like character whose POV I enjoyed following.The idea of dragon reincarnation fascinates me, and I look forward to seeing how Vartan will cope with his relationship with the princess should he become a dragon The artwork in the book was a nice treat. Kudos to all the artists for the gorgeous images.
  • Echo Island on Oct. 15, 2012

    I received a free copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review. For some reason, my review never came through when I tried to post it a couple of weeks ago, so let's try again. (As a side note, I did not realize that this was the second book in a series when I read it.) Echo Island is a paranormal romance that contains an equal amount of action and a bit of horror-esque mystery on the side. Cassandra, a Vampire, and Harper, a Shapeshifter, are the main players, although the cast is large and there is a wide range of supernaturals, including Valkyris, Sirens and Selkies. After being invited to a supernatural conference known as the "Fundur," supernaturals begin to get attacked one by one until the remaining supernaturals decide to take action. Despite their differences, they must work together and play on each other's strengths if they want to stay alive. Throughout this, Cassandra and Harper struggle with romantic feelings despite knowing that they are not meant for each other (due to the concept of "mates"). This is the second book I have read by this author, and I have noticed a significant improvement, both in writing style/plotting and in grammar. It was much harder to put down than All That We See Or Seem . There are still mistakes present, but they are much less frequent, limited to apostrophe usage, and did not irritate me. The dialogue is still relatively loose, as much of it could be trimmed. Because the cast is so large, and the author tries to include all of them in the action, there can be a lot of characters talking in one scene. I found this difficult to follow. There was also a bit of info dump in the dialogue to explain the various characteristics of each supernatural. I didn't see how the Valkyries played a significant enough role to merit inclusion in the story. They seemed present just to increase the variety of supernatural critters, and I never really understood under which circumstances these immortals will/will not die. The pacing of this story is good. The disappearances/attacks happen in intervals that are neither too short, nor too long, although I felt that Cassandra and Harper did not take enough initiative. They seemed mostly swept along until the very end of the story. Cass is sexually aggressive and is not ashamed of her past flings, which makes her a character who does not take anything from anyone. This book handles the problem of soul mates well. I dislike, in general, stories that have soul mates who, because they are mates, fall instantly in love with each other and go all sappy about it because they are "meant to be." This does not happen with Harper and Cassandra. This book earns a four from me. A low four, but a four all the same.
  • Open House (Pool of Souls Series, Book 1) (Novella) on April 24, 2013

    I won a free copy of this book from the author; here is my honest review. Open House is a short novella in which two young soul mates, Rebecca and Robert, are match-made by the Goddess Aphrodite after years of being apart and not realizing they had highschool crushes on each other; however, Aphrodite's lover, Ares, has other plans that might tear them apart forever. I'll be straight up - this book gets 2.5 stars from me, but not quite high enough to round up to Goodreads' 3 stars. I wanted to love this book--I really did. It seemed to have a great premise. I'm a huge fan of mythology, and I was intrigued by Aphrodite being a matchmaker for soul mates. Her conflict with Ares, God of War, seemed like it might pose disastrous for the lovers. However, I felt that the bonding of Rebecca and Robert demanded a larger plot arc than was developed here. I just didn't feel enough conflict. Sure, there are a few small obstacles, but they were resolved without much difficulty. Even with these minute speedbumps, the conflict was all external -- there was not a single moment of doubt in my mind that Robert and Rebecca were going to be okay in the end despite Aphrodite mentioning that souls that are almost bonded but then separated are forever incapable of finding each other. I wanted to see their relationship develop (ex. maybe Robert says something stupid because of Ares that pushes Rebecca away and Aphrodite has to find a way to make to prevent them from messing up, or something). Instead, they meet and then all they can think about is making love 24/7. I wanted to see more of their personal and professional lives clashing, of what their friends think of the relationship, of what their family thinks, maybe. Ares' interference could have done so much more. The struggle between Aphrodite and Ares was much more interesting; it seemed that they were the main players, not Robert and Rebecca. If this was the intent, however, I didn't feel that Aphrodite and Ares got enough of a stage. I liked the descriptions of Aphrodite's realm but still felt there could have been more development. Open House was a quick read overall (it's 60 pages), although it took me a while to finish because I wasn't super hooked by it, unfortunately.(less)