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Smashwords book reviews by Michelle McRoberts
- Faelorehn - Book One of the Otherworld Trilogy
on July 01, 2012
I received a free copy of this e-book through connections on Goodreads - This has not had an effect on the quality of my review. I do, however, tend to go a little easy on the first book in what is quite obviously meant to be a series, so take that as you will...
I really enjoyed this book, and I'll be looking up this author's other works very shortly.
I love the fantasy genre, but I haven't really read faerie stories as of yet - and I tend to be wary of them. Oftentimes the fae are background characters in other stories - a part of the magical landscape of a story. The part I like so much about this story is that the faerie mythology is present and elaborated upon. The Celtic history of the fae in the story is rich, and the author's study of the subject matter is obvious.
A couple of things would have made this story better for me. One, I wish even more of the mythology had been revealed to the reader. It seemed that Ms. Johnson passed up some opportunities to relate Celtic mythology and/or history to the reader, so we could have more insight to the story. However, I can understand the decision to refrain at this point, because the story is told in first person and the main character has had so much hidden from her.
Second, I wish it were longer and that the climax were a touch more involved. The plotline in this story reads like the typical short story plot. It wasn't the complex plot of a novel and there aren't any subplots that I've been able to identify in the story, so far.
Overall, I enjoyed the slow and deliberate style of information delivery and would have liked to see more character interaction and development of the secondary characters in the downtimes. I look forward to reading the next book though and finding out more about Meghan's life and just how Cade will fit into it!
- Angel Evolution
on July 03, 2012
I liked this book...it was easy to read, went quickly, and I'll be reading the subsequent books, too; however, there are a few things that made me delay writing the review for the story. I had to go back and take a second look after a separation from the book.
What I liked - The story was interesting. The plot was engaging and the style of delivery was relaxed and engaging...I liked the characterization of the relationship of the best friend more than than the main character (more on that below). I liked the usage of the dreams to relate and promote the mythology. The use of the snake image is good, too. I like the back story of how the special abilities of the angels and demons developed, I just don't like the use of those particular terms...(more below)
What I didn't like - Rather than saying that I didn't like these, I'd rather express "What really made me wonder"...
* Why use angels? (view spoiler) Using iconic mythology is helpful in some situations, because you gain the reader's prior knowledge of the type of character that is used. Fundamentally, I have a problem with the ultimate roles of the angels and demons in the plot of this story, not just because of existing religious implications in my mind, but due in part to the depth of literary history that has contributed to the existing mythology of the "angel" and the "demon," and their subsequent roles in literature and religion. Once again, I like the background story David developed, just not having it applied within existing mythology - the more daring move would have been to create a new mythology not to create a controversial twist on the old.
* I also struggle somewhat with the characterization. I think another reviewer touched on this as well, but the inconsistency of the character's personalities lend to their relative ages being in the teens, not of college age. I expect to see a girl who loses herself entirely in her boyfriend or changes who she displays to the world or goes against everything she has been trained to be as a woman from a high school student in her first or second relationship, not a college student with the benefit of maturity on her side, whether or not she has much relationship experience.
- In the Middle of Nowhere
on Aug. 29, 2012
This was a well-written story about a girl who stumbles into trouble simply because she is still too disillusioned with life after the death of her father and the upheaval her family faced after his death. The situations and events in the story are realistc situations a girl in high school might face - from ending up at a party and ending up so drunk she doesn't remember the events that are chronicled in the resulting photos to getting caught sneaking out to meet friends when she was supposed to be babysitting her brother.
The love story is sweet and touching, but begs more development. This book seems to need some fleshing out in the middle and the burgeoning relationship could only benefit from including another 50 to 100 pages. I like the author's voice; it is clear and honest and represents the groups present in high schools pretty accurately.
The only thing I thought was out of place was the swiftness with which a relatively good girl took steps that would have previously been out of character if not for the influence of the lonely rich girl she befriends.
- Katarina the Dragonslayer and the Foebreaker's Curse
on Oct. 23, 2012
I gave this four stars, because I genuinely liked the story - It was unique; borrowed on existing mythologies, but didn't attempt simple imitation; built and revealed mystery well; and moved at a great pace - but I almost gave it three because it is completely unfinished...I mean, it just stops...Some action had just occurred there had been a recent climax, with a little bit of falling action, and I hit the end of the chapter and boom...glossary and other miscellaneous stuff sat there taunting me with the fact that I'd been torn from a great story all too soon!
I loved Katarina as a character, and Oren is very "Yoda" in his teaching of her as his disciple. The mythology is very well developed, although it can be a little confusing in places when the reader doesn't have quite enough background until a couple paragraphs later to make sense of what has already been read. That is a stylistic choice, however, and didn't cut in to my enjoyment of the story itself.
My one disappointment here was the ending...and cutting off for continuation in a series is so common anymore that so few series-ists bother to finish the book well. *my biggest pet-peeve* ...sigh...
*I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
- The Moon Dwellers
on Jan. 04, 2013
First of all, I'd like to thank David Estes for granting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I positively love the character of Adele. She is tough, awkward, and stand-offish after living the last 6 months of her life in self-imposed isolation in The Pen. She's independent and capable of defending herself. When she meets 2 other "guests" her life really starts to change, and she learns what it is like to feel human again. Within a handful of days, her life becomes very, very interesting.
I love the mysteries that surround both Adele and Tristan. The alternating points of view are woven together very smoothly, and although the two characters' chapters often overlap chronologically, it is very easy to follow.
I really like Mr. Estes's writing style. It is relaxed, well-paced, and easy to read, but it is also emotionally complex. I couldn't stop reading this book...
- The Star Dwellers
on Jan. 26, 2013
Amazing series. David...so much better than your first series, which served the purpose of introducing me to you and your writing style, so I must thank it for that, at least. I adore your characterization, the depth of your characters and their background stories, the slowly developing worlds you create as the reader is introduced to each new realm. Beautifully crafted story. I spent a very enjoyable weekend reading these books and was actually disappointed to be ripped from your world when I finished book three.
- The Sun Dwellers
on Jan. 26, 2013
Excellent conclusion. Full of action, pain, flawless and unshakable friendship, lessens about the good and bad present in humanity, and the strength that one can find when all sources of strength seem to have melted away. Loved it.
- Subverter (Lost Road Chronicles #2)
on Feb. 26, 2013
OK...so, after I finished Down a Lost Road, the first book in this series, I'll admit it - I was hooked...
I fell in love with the world and the characters created by J. Leigh Bralick. I love that this story accounts for the missing time in between the first book and when the action actually starts in this one, without dwelling too long and keeping me waiting for the good stuff to start.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of Ms. Bralick's telling of this story is the consistency of her characters. All too often in a series, a character will go through an "out of character" episode that functions to fit the character to the story - not the story to the characters involved. This is not to say that Merelin is unchanged after her experiences in the first book, as she most certainly is, but her interactions are not out-of-character and her character growth is believable.
I love Merelin as a character; although she is uncertain of who she is and what her purpose really is, she does not let it keep her from taking action.
While there are still some rough spots in the mystery building/story weaving, it did not detract from my fascination with the story, even though in places it did lead to some confusion (especially when dealing with "connecting the dots" between current goings on and what has happened in the past).
- Prism (Lost Road Chronicles #3)
on March 04, 2013
Alrighty...well...I love Arah Byen, and I want to go live there. After all this crazy stuff has happened it sounds like a much nicer place to live, and Merelin Lindon and Yatol will be my dear friends.
I thoroughly enjoy Bralick's world. Her descriptions and characters are wonderful, I still struggle with the obscurity some of the writer's dialogue in her effort to create mystery, but these things are easily fixed with some careful editing.
Highly recommend this series.