Nora Lee

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Smashwords book reviews by Nora Lee

  • Laundry Day (Short Mystery Story) on July 21, 2011

    I thought I was getting a book; instead it's a nine page sample, about the length of a short magazine article. The story got a little goofy at the end when the husband is bouncing all around the room while Dennis is strangling his wife and Dennis doesn't even hear him. I'd be generous in giving it a 3.5 rating but the system doesn't allow for that.
  • Reverse Metamorphosis Book One of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy on July 23, 2011

    This story is not for the faint of heart. The language is coarse and the violence is abundant, but not overdone considering the characters; it's what I expected in a novel about an assassin. I was drawn to the humanity of the characters and amazed by the details of the planning and executions. A lot of internal thoughts by Clay let me feel who and what he was as he turned from a nice young man into a killer. A very good read.
  • The Assassin Evolves Book Two of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy on July 23, 2011

    The author continued to amaze me in the second story. I liked it a lot. The violence was almost over the top, but in all cases was not so explicit as to be graphic and gory The story line kept me fully involved and I felt myself attached to Clayton and cheering for him. I bought book three and have started it.
  • Larson's Point on July 28, 2011

    Good plot and action. The book had good bad characters and a very interesting main character. The editing is good which made reading easy. It's not a superb story but a good solid read.
  • The Devil’s Homecoming Book Three of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy on July 28, 2011

    I expected the action to slow in the final book of this trilogy, but it kept up at a breakneck pace. Clayton is one bad killer and drinks too much. He isn't perfect and screws up sometimes and that made him seem more real. The storyline is consistent throughout and the characters are believable. There are very few editing errors and the characters seem real.
  • Heller on Aug. 11, 2011

    Just finished reading Heller and am disappointed. The personalities of the two central characters quickly change from one extreme to the other. It's like both of them are bipolar. Having read Blood Ties by the author I was prepared for over the top characters, but characters I could relate to. The situations the heroine is placed in, her actions and the results of those actions are not creditable and I lost interest before the book was finished.
  • Bury Me Deep on Aug. 11, 2011

    I had trouble getting into this book. From the middle to the end I found myself skipping through paragraphs to get finished. I didn't find the characters interesting and there isn't a coherent plot. The author used excessive hyphens, I guess to create an ethnic dialect in the prose, and it was simply distracting. There is confusion abut use of first person and third person in the same paragraphs, and between past and present tense. Sorry author, but I did not enjoy it.
  • Blood Ties on Aug. 11, 2011

    The characters in this Australian tale are over the top. The good people of Little Town are eccentric to say the least and the bad guys are pure evil. Character development is great and there are many characters on both sides. I did notice a few missing words, maybe a dozen or so, which isn't a big deal to me in a 150,000 plus word book, but I do suggest the author take the time to edit and put them in. The main characters are interesting and their conflict as they grew to know each other was well balanced between dislike and affection. Both of them harbor dark secrets they are unable to share. I'm looking forward to a Little Town sequel.
  • The Blonde Heiress, a Carter A. Johnson novella on Aug. 19, 2011

    I have enjoyed The Blonde Heiress thoroughly, so much that I read it twice. The editing is good and character development is great, especially the way Carter A. Johnson was introduced and shown to be a stubborn and focused contrarian. The action scenes are well thought out and detailed. The plot and dialog are believable and fast paced. I anticipate this is going to be a series and look forward to the next book.
  • Blood Brothers on Aug. 19, 2011

    Editing needs a lot of work; missing & wrong words, at least four different font sizes are used (as read on my Kindle). It seems that 90% of the story is narrative. Plot is contrived, woman sleeping on her side is rolled over onto her back, each hand tied to a headboard and she doesn't wake up; has to be slapped to waken her. She's not drunk or on drugs! The central character who doesn't do drugs or drink excessively, randomly goes to a bar he's never been to before, picks up a woman who is planted there to wait for him, is so mesmerized by her that he drinks too much and takes drugs. Please get real. Too much detail while skipping back in time to set the stage for the plot, I understood that Mikey was a fat child who was brutalized and molested repeatedly by tougher kids in his class, and that his father beat and verbally abused him, the first or second time it was told was enouth. I like detail in the right place but one scene set in Memphis doesn't warrant a detailed description of the entire city. Detail beyond being able to picture the scene only serves to slow the story down and makes it boring. Reference is made to dialog in the same scene that didn't happen. There are several instances of conflicting statements. In one Mikey says it's too cold to go outside, but an hour or so later, "Night had fallen, but it was still warm on this late summer evening." This is pathetic and the whole story needs rewriting. The storyline is interesting and could be very good, but I'm not sure I can finish after having endured 40% of it. A 2 rating is very generous.
  • Free To Die: A Short Story on Aug. 19, 2011

    This short story is full of action, but was hard to follow at times. Character development was good considering the length, but the storyline is contrived and story continuity was erratic. It's a decent read but nothing great. At this time I don't believe I will try other short by the author.
  • The Ghosts of Varner Creek on Aug. 25, 2011

    I scanned through ten percent of this story and got bogged down in the mud of boredom. The story at that point was about an eighty seven year old man in a nursing home who sees, and has always seen ghost. About ninety five percent of the text was narrative about his seeing ghost and crapping himself and farting. I don't believe in ghost, read about ghost or care about ghost. Maybe if I had suffered further into the book I would have discovered a Mystery/Detective novel. I give it a three rating only because some people might like slow, plodding ghost stories. Editing was good with only a few errors.
  • The Last Cowboy in the East on Aug. 25, 2011

    This short story is not 4,500 words as advertised, but about a 2,000 word short before some chapters of another book the author is pushing. Another marketing gimmick that is not mentioned in the description. I deplore this kind of trickery. The Last Cowboy itself is not a mystery at all, he was arrested after an altercation where a policeman was punched and then he is released. Sorry author but this get you a rating of one.
  • Dr. X's Island on Aug. 25, 2011
    (no rating)
    This is not a novel, it's a game; a game for fourteen people to play. Since I don't like playing games I didn't go but a couple of pages before disappointment set in. If you're a game player download this but if you choose not to play pass for a real book. Since it did mention hosting a party yourself in the description (and I overlooked it) I'll not rate it.
  • Dr. X's Island on Aug. 25, 2011
    (no rating)
    This is not a novel, it's a game; a game for fourteen people to play. Since I don't like playing games I didn't go but a couple of pages before disappointment set in. If you're a game player download this but if you choose not to play pass for a real book. Since it did mention hosting a party yourself in the description (and I overlooked it) I'll not rate it.
  • Slippery Slope on Sep. 02, 2011

    The plot of Slippery Slope is good and the story could be superb; but it falls far short of its potential. Excessive flowery prose and adjectives slow the action down and cause the reading to become tedious. Craig, the primary character spends page after page in self incrimination. His state of mind swings wildly and he can't decide if he wants to be a crook, a professor or a beach bum. After enduring about 80% of the story I began to scan the pages in an effort to finish. Editing is fair to good for the length; there are misspelled words etc. but less than in most of the Indie books I've read. The last portion where the chase is on the river, and especially when Craig crawls out of the water, was extremely over written and tedious. The story isn't terrible and if you like extremely detailed, flowery descriptions you may like it more than I did; and that's a shame because it truly has potential.
  • Going Through Changes on Sep. 22, 2011

    This story is in the wrong category. It belongs in Young Adult and is a coming of age tale centering on a fourteen year old girl and her family. She, her mother and two siblings are floundering after the loss of her father in an auto accident. Editing is good and the simple story is short and fast paced. Character development is minimal, but enough to give the reader a feel for each of the characters. I don't usually read this genre but found the story to be refreshing and up lifting.
  • John: The Senior Killer on Sep. 22, 2011

    The author lived in South Korean and taught English there. Hence, the extensive information on Korean culture and cooking. What I don't understand are the poor English writing skills exhibited here. The sentence structure is very poor and confusing; words are misspelled, missing or unneeded and too many cliché phrases are used; not the mark of an English major. I would have guessed it was written by a foreigner and translated by someone who did a very poor job. The story concept started off very good and was interesting but near the end fell apart; old people following orders to lay down quietly to be murdered, and the killer sitting silent while being secured inside a car and doused with gasoline and having nothing to say about it. When a lonely 76 year old woman willingly gave the killer a blow job (her first) and he killed her as she finished I lost interest. Too many scenes are unreal and even with a good rewrite and credible editing this couldn't be a five, but now it's so difficult to read I rate it a 2 and that's generous.
  • A Date to Die For on Sep. 22, 2011

    This author writes in the Women Sleuths genre and does a very good job of it. It's a little too much fluff for me but the story is entertaining and the writing is good. Editing is good with only a few missing words. I would have liked to learn more about Kline the detective/boyfriend. The ending felt contrived when Kline left the group to call the police, the villain shoots someone while in a crowded setting with witnesses all around, and then the mother saves them. All in all a good light, short read with no profanity and minimal implied violence, but not a great read.
  • Of Mice and Murderers - Book 1 in The Z-Detective Series on Oct. 20, 2011

    I have three things to say about this story. It's boring, boring, boring. Sorry, but I'd like some action instead of endless introspection. Editing and sentence structure are both bad, bad, bad. Details of small trivial items are overwhelming and the writer uses the name Z over and over; Z did this, Z did that. ZZZZZZZZs put me to sleep. After reading 15% I still wasn't interested and quit. I don't recommend it, so that makes it a 1.0.
  • The Value of Life on Oct. 20, 2011

    Wow! What a great read. This is the one of the best books I've read at Smashwords, for free or purchase. I do hope the author will go back and perform a first class edit of the book because the story deserves it. Presently there are many words missing or misspelled. I would have liked to know what happened in the end to the Judge and to Mason. Normally with the editing that is needed I would give any book a 4.0, but since the story and characters are so well written I'll stretch that to a 5.0 and hope the author cleans it up.
  • Filthy Night on Nov. 16, 2011

    I got through 50% of this book and couldn't think of a reason to continue. The main character is a middle aged ex cop who is a drunk and has a young girlfriend who stays out half the night and cheats on him. But he loves her and wants to protect her. Why I didn't figure out, other than the sex is good. The writing is slow and plodding with endless descriptions of trivial items and descriptions of London streets and buildings like a bus tour. It's not horrible, just boring. Editing is good but not perfect. And if the author was trying to impress me by using many words I had to look up the meaning of, he failed.
  • Injury Inn on Nov. 28, 2011

    Injury Inn is confusing. The first 66% was one story; when it ended another short episode started and then it reverted to the main character and a woman from the first story. Editing is poor, one example, feat used in place of feet, among others. Words are missing, sentence structure is poor. The story itself isn't bad if you can ignore the poor writing. I rate it 3.0 to 3.5.
  • Scar Tissue on Nov. 28, 2011

    It's not long, but it's very good. A retired cop reluctantly does a good deed and takes out the bad guys in the process. The pace is good, the plot is believable and editing is good. Character development brings the characters to life and I felt a tie to the lead character. What more do you need. I hope to see sequels to this story.
  • Valentine in Paris on Dec. 28, 2011

    About 8,500 words of this is a complete short story. The main character is a tough ex-British serviceman in 1931 France. Writing is very good, as is editing with only very minor issues. I only have one issue with continuity; a man is tied to a chair and then jumps up and runs. Author's oversight but a fairly serious one that needs to be fixed. The remaining 5,000 or so words is an exert for another book the author is selling. But since the short story is a complete story I won't ding the author for including the exert, which I didn't bother to read. I recommend work in this series by this author and give the short story a 4.5 to 5.0 even with the single flaw.
  • Night of the Assassin on Feb. 23, 2012

    A well written story, but it's not for the squeamish; it's about the Mexican drug cartels. It's mostly narrative; but then stories about assassins have to be because they plan their hits alone and mostly work alone. So you're left with internal thoughts and described actions. Editing is fair, not great but not too bad. Character development is good. The story is a catch up to a previously written book. Not superb, but a good solid read if you can stand murder, mutilation and torture.
  • The Dogtrot Murder - a Carter A. Johnson novel on Feb. 24, 2012

    I cried, I laughed, I got angry and I cheered, what more can you want from a book. There are two main characters, Carter and Kate and both are written in first person; and it worked. Carter is the continuing series lead. I don't know what the author intends to do with Kate, but I liked her and hope to see more of her. Kate is convicted of killing her husband. She arrives at a woman's prison and the first portion deals with her emotions and adjustment. While she is there Carter is introduced parallel to her and we experience his happy life with a new girlfriend in contrast to Kate's harsh surroundings. While she's being attacked he's making love. Carter is told to take a cursory look at Kate's case, rubber stamp the conviction and move on. He however, smells a rat and thinks she may have been framed. The book is then about how he rescues her, but there is action galore while he investigates the real killer. Several plot twist surprised me. A very good fast paced read.
  • Two Bits Four Bits on March 03, 2012

    I kept reading this, up to 30%, thinking it would get better. There's too much filler about stray cats, running eight miles while playing mind games with his jogging partner, and page after page about proper Texas funerals. I found myself skimming through it looking for some action. The main character was interesting and the writing is very good; there's just too little story.
  • The Hate on March 06, 2012

    The main story was good and the shorts following it are mostly exerts of other works. Well written and interesting. The Hate portrayed a main character changed from loving mom to accomplished killer. Too many things happened without enough detail as to how they got done. Like, do you know how to break into a house with out leaving any signs of entry? How and when did the MC learn these skills? A decent fun short read if you don't ask too many questions.
  • 59 Hours on Aug. 04, 2012

    For such a short story this is full of surprises. Boy, are these characters bad! I liked that the aurhor didn't place the year or location. In my opinion it could be any of a dozen or more states in or near the midwest and I placed it where my past experience took me. I like it and recommend it highly
  • Tangled on Nov. 21, 2012
    (no rating)
    I read six percent of this story and quit. The editing is bad and the formatting is worse. The storyline is gruesome and, I think, intended to shock. Not my kind of story. After editing and reformatting it may be okay for some other readers. I didn't finish it so I won't rate it.
  • Dying to Get Published on Dec. 16, 2012

    At ten percent this story was going nowhere so I went somewhere else. The writing is okay but I found nothing intriguing about the story. I didn't get attached to the main character and lost interest after listening to her whine.
  • The Spyglass Project on Jan. 13, 2013

    The Spyglass Project is well written and the editing is very good. The story advances quickly from WWI in Germany to the mid 1920s in Chicago where a group of veterans fight the mob and German fanatics. Along the way a love story evolves between the two main characters. The tale is interesting but the self introspection of the two MCs got to be too much. Many questions I had about the characters and the plot were left unanswered at the end 'til book two comes out. Still I enjoyed it and recommend it.
  • Alice...forever bad on Jan. 13, 2013

    I can't think of another story where the writing and editing is a bad as in Alice...forever bad. The words RESIDENCE, PICTURE and SITE are used for RESIDENTS, PITCHER, and SIGHT. Dialog and narrative run together without quotation marks, the sentence structure is poor and wordy, and past and present tense are continually mixed. The writing is stiff and needs more contractions to soften it, and every error in editing that can be made has been. Plus, extra and missing words abound. At the beginning of the story, Alice, a petite woman, has a semiautomatic pistol with an attached silencer stuck down the back of her pants with a T shirt pulled down over it. Can you image a bulky object ten to twelve inches long stuck in a small shapely woman's britches all day, in a bar, and no one noticed? Shortly after that she kills four men in her apartment, one with a meat cleaver. I thought the story was to be serious, but it became sillious. (I realize sillious is not a word but it fits the mood of the book's editing.) But somehow after all this the story got interesting. The overall plot and sub-plots could be salvaged by a good editor. And no, I am not an editor, but I do recognize terrible writing. The book sounds as if the writer finished the last sentence and published it without rereading it.
  • Murder in the Church on Jan. 13, 2013

    Murder in the Church is not a short story. It's a segment of a story from an author requesting that readers help her design the plot and critique her progress. The font size varies from large to small and makes reading a chore. Editing is okay. My opinion: if you don't know what to write and don't have a passion to tell YOUR story you're not a writer.
  • A Web of Lives on Jan. 13, 2013

    At 10% I was bored. The story may have merit but I quit and moved on. There is too much narrative about items of little interest.
  • Wish Me from the Water on March 17, 2013

    I put this down before the detective showed up. The writing is stiff and unnatural and needs contractions to soften the dialog and narration. There is entirely too much telling where dialog should have been used to pull the reader in. The action scenes are not believable.
  • Northern Star on March 17, 2013

    A bit of fluff. At the end of this short story a young girl is conveniently crying over the grave of the boyfriend she accidently shot and blubbers a confession. Her sister appears with another gun in hand and is going to shoot the female sleuth, but the other sister for some reason attacks her and they wrestle. The sleuth has been hit a glancing blow to the head and stands and watches the two women fight. The older sister wins and puts the gun.... You get the picture? This is too contrived to be enjoyable. The heroine is a genius at the beginning and a dummy at the end.
  • Stray on April 15, 2013

    I can't say I liked Stray, but I kept reading to see if it would get better and make more sense. It didn't. I still don't know what Jane imagined and what was real. Apparently she was a really sensitive nut case whose imagination ran wild as she wobbled through a foggy life. The editing was unusually good.
  • Sharko on April 15, 2013

    The editing in Sharko is bad enough to make it tedious to read. The story is good until the end when it just stops and leaves the reader hanging to wonder what happened to all the secondary characters and the relationship of the two main characters. The ending chapter also seemed contrived and unreal.
  • Always Watching on May 10, 2013

    The main character in this story came off as brilliant in her professional field and a nutcase in her personal emotions. Once into the story I was captured by the fast pace and go go go action. But I quickly tired of reading of bile rising in her throat and her constant attacks on the man she professed to love, more than the other men she loved. Helen's personal demons are touched upon in this episode but still remain unclear. To me, the ending was trite and unreal in the action sequences. And to compound her earlier interpersonal relationship disasters she continued to lie to her husband with no regard to his feelings. I would rate it a 3.5 if that were possible.
  • Assume Nothing on May 13, 2013

    The plot of the story is fresh but the editing is in dire need of a professional editor. Words are missing, extra words were left in, and sentence structure is clumsy. Plague is used for plaque, scarcely is used for sparsely and passed is used multiple times instead of past. It's difficult to read and often requires backtracking to re-read a paragraph. The characters are interesting. Please author, hire an editor.
  • Life's a Beach Then You Die on May 14, 2013

    A lot of writers seem to be short on plot so they fluff the book with meaningless filler. I stopped at twelve percent because the story rambled too much for my taste.
  • Wednesday on May 14, 2013

    I didn't get far into this story before I was bored. When I select a mystery story I want to get into the plot, not meander through the main characters personal menagerie of crazy relatives etc.
  • Curiosity Killed The Kat on June 26, 2013

    This is a cute girly story, but I don't care for cute girly stories. I didn't like the protagonist being a submissive slave to her husband throughout it and the sex scenes were too close to porn. The plot at times was contrived in order for the story to flow, such as when Catherine tripped, spilled her purse and lost her billfold. It was a set up so her husband would be contacted. The writing is good mechanically but very repetitious. I won't be reading the following book in the series.
  • Misty Falls on June 27, 2013
    (no rating)
    This story is set in a nursing home where people sit waiting for God to claim them. The writing is good and I saw the hint of a drama to be played out among the patients and staff. I'm at an age where I really don't want to read about what could be my end place on earth. No rating.
  • The Shadow Knows on June 27, 2013
    (no rating)
    I absolutely could not get into this story. It's well written but there is too much endless introspection for me. No rating.
  • In The Name Of The Mother on June 29, 2013

    The hero of this story, John Stanton, is over the top extreme, and totally fun to read as far as the plot goes. It would be great if the editing weren't atrocious. I think every editing error that can be made has been committed many times over. It is so bad that it becomes difficult to digest because the reader has to backtrack and reread to figure out what the author means. Please, if you're going to continue to write hire a professional grade editor.
  • Chronicles of Revenge - The Beginning on July 27, 2013

    The editing in this story is very bad, needs lots of help from a creative writing editor. There are missing words, misspelled words and misused words in addition to poor sentence structure and wordiness. Info dumps are repeated and the main character is over the top. He has a photographic memory, his body heals itself overnight, he is a billionaire and he is the deadliest assassin in the world. But...the story is exciting and pulls you in like a vacuum. Too hell with all the errors it's a great read. And, it's a love story to boot. NOTE to the author, a friend of mine uses an editor named Laurie A. Will. Please contact her at laurieawill@witty.com and see if she is willing to work with you. He says she is great to work with and reasonably priced. Your writing deserves it.
  • Saving Edgar on Aug. 11, 2013

    The editing is bad. I didn't get far into this short story before I quit. Apparently American English is not the writer's first language. The writing is stiff and unnatural making it hard to stay interested in the story. Using contractions would soften the writing and help to some extent.
  • Portrait of Conspiracy on Aug. 11, 2013

    The editing in this story is terrible. There are no spaces between scenes, words are misused and it's difficult to tell which character is speaking. The plot could be good but the delivery is poor.
  • The Trojan Towers on Aug. 21, 2013

    The plot and characters in this espionage tale are riveting. There are flaws that should have been caught during editing, such as when tape was put over a guards eyes then another man silently motioned for him to follow directions. Another instance was near the end when a helicopter took off from the towers, then about five minutes later crashed into the sea a hundred or so feet away with no explanation of why. As in many action yarns the action isn't always plausible but it keeps the tension and intensity at high levels if the reader doesn't get too technical. There are many grammatical errors such as confusion of the words, there, their and they're. There are missing words, extra words and misused words. However, the storytelling over rides the amount of errors and I found it a very good read despite the many errors.
  • Gingerbread Man on Sep. 01, 2013

    Thank you Maggie for a well written story. From the middle to the end it was a tear jerker and I had my box of tissues close by. The characters were well defined and I loved it.
  • Don't Expect Anything on March 13, 2014

    Well told, terribly written. I could have really enjoyed it if I didn't have to stumble over the writing. Author, please have someone with a grasp of the English language review this for you or, at the minimum, go to the library and get some books on self editing.
  • CHOICES: Karolyn's Story on March 15, 2014

    Not your everyday "Romance –Chick Lit" story. This is far more realistic. Following Karolyn's personality changes was interesting because she was pretty rough at the beginning but mellowed toward the end. I read this sometime ago when it was a short story and am impressed at the expansion. The new characters added a lot to the family feel. I even liked the sexy scenes.
  • Dancing with Mortality on July 09, 2014

    A good story and the writing is good. I recommend it.