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Smashwords book reviews by Sheila Gallagher
- 2:20 (#1 Timeless Trilogy)
on May 02, 2013
I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Julia is invited to the Spring Formal by Frank. She’s surprised that Frank is not asking one of the Snob Squad. When she discovers that Frank has secrets she is no longer surprised but frightened in Holly A. Hook‘s 2:20, book 1 of The Timeless Trilogy. Simon rescues her and she realizes he is like Frank. Julia trusts Simon though she does not know why. Simon has secrets he cannot share with Julia even if he wants. Simon helps Julia unravel her nightmare. When she realizes what it means she knows what she must do even if it brings her death. What is the secret that Frank and Simon hold? Does anyone else know that secret? Will Julia succeed in discovering that secret? Will that secret bring her death? Or will she beat death?
2:20 is a great beginning to The Timeless Trilogy. Holly A. Hook builds a world by showing it to us a piece at a time and we learn the rules as we go along, just like Julia does. I liked Julia. She is a strong lead character in this Young Adult series. She questions. She fights. She gets her answers. Simon is a good foil for her. He is compassionate. He fights for her. He wants to give her answers but cannot so he provides clues for her. It is up to her and us to figure them out.
The secondary characters are a good mix. They are mainly in the background and step forward to keep the story line moving, especially Frank. At first, I was like Nancy, Julia’s foster mother, and liked Frank but when he turned so did I. He creeped me out. Isabel, a member of the Snob Squad, was not what she seemed. She knows more than she lets on especially when she works in tandem with Frank. Something is not right with her but I don’t know what it is.
The plot of 2:20 is exciting. It is full of action and adventure. It moves quickly and I cannot explain why without giving the story away. All I can say is read 2:20. I am anxiously awaiting the chance to read the next book of The Timeless Trilogy.
- The Impaler's Revenge
on May 31, 2013
It is illegal for vampires to be in Romania so when President Stanescu asks Liana Cantacuzino to meet one and bring him to Romania she is less than hospitable to him. She does not know why he is coming to Romania. She does what she must to protect him but does not like it. When it is discovered there is a new, stronger vampire being developed she finally finds out why Maximilien Hess was brought to Romania in Ioana Visan’s The Impaler’s Revenge, book 1 of The Impaler’s Legacy.
Ioana Visan builds a world of vampires living amongst humans, except in Romania. She gives us the information about her world on a need to know basis. As Liana gives the history of the Little Council and vampires in Romania to Maximilien we learn along with him. I also learned why Liana has the feelings she does. This is good world building. I know enough to understand this world but I have not gone through big, long explanations.
I like Liana. She is not haughty nor is she a kick-ass broad. She is somewhere in between and that makes her likable. She is also aware of the power and prestige of her position on the Little Council. She can do much. I also liked Maximilien (do not call him Max.) He knows what is at stake but will not tell Liana until he realizes that they do not have much time if they are to avert a world-wide crisis. When they team up, it gets interesting. That is also where book 1 ended. I am anxious to see what happens next. I know what I want to see happen but I do not know if it will.
- A Book That Ends With Me
on June 07, 2013
I do not know what to write about A BOOK THAT ENDS WITH ME by H. C. Turk. It is not normally a book I would pick up and read. It is hard to categorize as to genre. It is certainly different. And yet, in a way, it is strangely compelling and difficult to put down.
Told in the first person point-of-view, with Stan as the narrator, the world is receiving e-mails that the end is soon coming. No one knows whether this is true or not. Some believe it and begin making plans for the end of the world. Others think it is a trick. Others do not know what it is. Some are oblivious because they do not receive the e-mails. Most scenes are told through Stan’s eyes and retold through his friend, Jimmy’s eyes. I am not sure which one is the most reliable narrator of the tales. Stan has to decide if what he is seeing is real or a dream, just like the reader has to decide.
There is plenty of humor in A BOOK THAT ENDS WITH ME. It starts off with Stan saying he hates first person POV yet there he is giving us that view. Throughout the book humor pops up and make me smile. I often agreed with what Stan said or thought at those times.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoyed ALICE IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by John Kennedy Toole, August Burroughs’ books, or Samuel Beckett’s play WAITING FOR GODOT. A BOOK THAT ENDS WITH ME is one that must be read more than once. The first time you read just to read. Further readings will cause you to think what he is saying and how it is impacts our modern society. It caused me to stop a few times to think what Stan was saying and what he meant.
- An Abandoned Woman
on June 07, 2013
An ill woman is found outside the walls of the manse in Lexie Conyngham’s AN ABANDONED WOMAN. It is later discovered that the cause of her death was bleeding out from a stab wound. Who is the lady? Where did she come from? When later a cook’s assistant is missing from the Fairlie home, can there be a serial killer in Letho? One of the maids in Charles Murray’s employ has been assaulted while walking home one evening. Was it the killer?
Lexie Conyngham has captured the period of the early 1800’s very well. Her characters are true to the period in actions, thoughts, words, and deeds. I can say that she could have written in during that time period because her style is similar to Jane Austen’s style. I liked how she gave us a list of characters at the beginning so if I forgot who someone was I could check the list and remind myself. AN ABANDONED WOMAN can be read as a standalone novel but it is the fourth book in her MURRAY OF LETHO series.
AN ABANDONED WOMAN is a good mystery. There is romance but much of it is bittersweet. A good picture of life in the pre-Regency years is given here. People help one another but there is a definite class system which only when troubles come do they look beyond that system and work together. I did not figure out who the murderer was. I picked several characters out but I was wrong about them all. When it is all solved I was surprised and why the woman was murdered was shocking. I did like that no excuses were made for the murderer, that justice was to be served. There was a rigid moral code that was followed.
I want to read the first three books in the series and look forward to any more to come. Beautifully done.
- Fading Echoes
on June 24, 2013
Not everything or everyone is what it seems in Echo Falls. Werewolves quietly go about their lives while Hunters infiltrate their town. The leaders of the pack do not want to draw attention to themselves or the pack so they want Charlotte to leave her research into the Hunters alone but Charlotte is determined to protect the pack when the Hunters show themselves in Jaime McDougall’s FADING ECHOES, book 2 of her ECHO FALLS series. When a new doctor comes to town while the old doctor must go away for a while Charlotte finds herself torn between pack law and the new doctor. What will happen if he finds out about the werewolves? Will Charlotte go against pack law with her research? Is she right about the Hunters?
FADING ECHOES is a fantastic read. This can be read without reading book 1 first. Enough information is given that I found it easy to pick up the back story and follow it through the present tale. I loved these characters. Charlotte remembers a past that her parents and the pack alphas would love for her to forget. She cannot and she decides it is important enough to defy them in her quest to keep the pack safe. When she meets the new doctor, Adam Baker, it is difficult to keep her secret with the strong attraction between them. Naturally, Adam also has secrets. The supporting characters are a strong bunch also. Jaime McDougall’s characters are well-developed and written. She lets us know who they are, what they stand for, and they remain in their character. Even the villain is well-defined.
The story kept my interest. I was asking questions about what was going on and what happened to different people. I wanted to know. FADING ECHOES was very had to put down. When I finally had to close the pages, because the book ended, I wanted to know what happens next.
FADING ECHOES is perfect for those who love paranormal romantic suspense. It has the suspense of the mystery, the romance which builds slowly for all the attraction, and werewolves. What could be better?
- Bone Dressing
on July 04, 2013
Sydney lost her parents when she was young and has been in foster care for half her life. While she has good foster parents, Quince and Jackie, she is forever in trouble in Michelle I. Brooks’ BONE DRESSING, book 1 of her BONE DRESSING series. Mr. Askew has been gunning for Sydney since she entered high school. She figures he is just an ass but an encounter in the cemetery where her parents are buried leads to the discovery that Mr. Askew is more than meets the eye. How will Sydney outplay him? Can she? Will her actions bring a world of hurt to someone close to her?
BONE DRESSING is the beginning of a Young Adult paranormal series. Much happens here and the world building is done on a need to know basis. I like Sydney. She is a kick-ass broad who must discover the past to fix the present and, possibly, the future. She fights every step of the way when Remy (Beau), Sarah, and TJ appear to her in the cemetery. She refuses their help and Remy is ready to let her go her own way but his little sister Sarah is not so Remy stays. Sydney finds out the hard way what Remy, Sarah, and TJ want with her. These are good characters. I especially like Remy and how Sydney softens around him. Sarah may seem like a child but she has backbone and can reach Sydney in ways others cannot. Sydney’s best friend, Patricia, is an enigmatic character. Just when I thought I knew her, I discover I did not. Mr. Askew, Sydney and Patricia’s teacher, is a villain I loved to hate. He is arrogant and nasty. He also knows the past that Sydney must piece together. How they fit is unclear.
At times the description overtakes the story line but I could picture the scenery so I was looking as the same thing Michelle I. Brooks was. I fell into the story. I questioned everything. Not a lot is revealed as to why things are happening. I understood what was happening but could not figure out why. The end of book one leaves me thirsting for book two. I cannot wait to delve more into this series.
- Party of Five
on July 08, 2013
Queen Lernea and her sister Parcifal have been exiled from their kingdom of Nimno by Lernea’s new husband. Winceham Higginsbottom Abbermouth III, a dwarf, steals their money. As they chase after him to get their money back, they come to a bar where pirates come to extort the shopkeepers and the bar keep. They try to keep the pirates from extorting the townspeople but it goes wrong in Vasileios Kalamavakas’ PARTY OF FIVE, book one of his PARTY OF FIVE series. The barkeep’s son wants revenge for the death of his father on the pirate captain, Culliper, and Lernea and Parcifal have pledged their help. Winceham is made to join them by Ned, the son. Along the way they pick up a woodkin elf, Theo, whose village has been destroyed by the pirates.
PARTY OF FIVE defies classification. There is a little bit of everything here. It has science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, paranormal, and pirates. It is unique and I am not sure how I feel about it. I like the quirkiness of it. There is humor in it, also a plus. The characters are interesting but I am still having trouble putting them all in their places. There are times when I felt that I was coming into the middle of a scene and knowing some backstory about the characters would have helped. Simpler names would have helped. I will not even try to pronounce Theo’s full name.
The plot is convoluted for a short work. It took me until the third section of the book to begin to determine what the plot was. The world building here is convoluted. I think Mr. Kalamvakas is trying to build his world on a need-to-know basis but it does not work. There seems to be no consistent rules in the first two sections. The world building does get better in the third section but it still needs work. Having some of the world building done and explained would have made the story easier to understand earlier in the book.
PARTY OF FIVE is the set up for this series. As the story went along it got better. I hope the rest of the series picks up from where PARTY OF FIVE leaves off and the confusion and convolutedness settle down. I can see a good series here once we understand this world, its characters, and what the ultimate goal for this band of five (not yet a merry band) is.
- Watcher's Web
on July 13, 2013
Jessica is returning home when her plane crashes and she is thrown into an alternate universe. She is rescued but is not sure who to trust. She had been communicating with a man through her mind but will not let others know for fear that they will think she is crazy. She has been able to read people’s minds and emotions growing up so she knew she was different. Now she must decide whether to reach out to this man in her mind or place her trust in another survivor of the plane crash in Patty Jansen’s, WATCHER’S WEB, book 1 of her RETURN OF THE AGHYRIANS series. Where is she? Who can she trust? Can she come back to earth?
Patty Jansen does a good job with her world building. We learn the rules and history on a need-to-know basis along with Jessica. She is 17-years old. She knows what it is like to be an outsider. She works to learn the customs and language but it is not easy. She feels she is responsible for the accident but has no one to help her through her guilt. She is around an alien people and cultural. When she once again meets the other survivor, Brian, she knows he is hiding something but she cannot figure out what it is. As Jessica learns who to trust and who not to trust, she has been in communication with a man, Daya. She has been able to connect with him through her mind. Now they will meet but Brian, also known as Iztho in this world, has sown seeds of mistrust so she does not know who to believe has her best interests at heart. It does not help that both men use sex as a way to control her.
As Jessica struggles to survive in this world and make it back to her own world she learns to control the special gift she has. She also learns that she has a history that may connect her to the people in this world. Jessica has to decide if she wants to stay or go.
I could not tell if the story was it supposed to be for YA or adults. Sometimes it was more YA and other times it was adult. I would say this story is for 16 and up.
I like the characters. The story kept me interested so that I want to know what Jessica’s future holds. Does she stay or does she go? At times the pacing of the story was slow, especially at the beginning. By the end there is a lot of action and adventure that kept me involved and wanting more. There are questions I want answered so I will be reading book 2 to find out what happens.
- A Tale of Two Clitties
on July 16, 2013
Imaginative tale of two women who get into a flaming match on the internet. One is calm, cool, and collected. The other emotional and angry. Each fantasizes what the other is like and what she would like to do to the other. Enjoyable, different, and unique.
- The Beast Within: A Sci-Fi Short Story
on Aug. 17, 2013
Amy Starr is in a disabled ship after being hit by an asteroid. She knows she will die soon but suddenly she is communicating with someone but who is it and where are they?
THE BEAST WITHIN by Elysa Hendricks is a good short story. Amy is in a difficult situation. She is desperate to live but knows her death in imminent. When she has the opportunity to live she has to make a quick decision. Which is better—knowing what will happen or choosing the unknown? I liked Amy and her dilemma. I wondered what she could choose. I do not know which I would choose but it made me think about my choices.
- Black Heart
on Aug. 17, 2013
A serial killer is stalking women of the vampire community in BLACK HEART by Morgan Dreiss. Now he has turned to werewolf women. His signature is to dress them in white dress then dump them on the street minus their hearts. Annie Goldstein is missing. Is she one of his? Her lover, Nasira, will stop at nothing to find her but will she be in time?
I liked BLACK HEART. It is different. I hoped Nasira would find Annie but there was no guarantee she would. Much of the story was told through Nasira’s eyes but we got the story from Annie’s eyes when she is kidnapped. I liked how the story then went back and forth between the two women. As the reader I knew what was happening on both sides but it did not stop me from worrying if Annie would make it. What a horrid man the villain was. I was happy with the ending. It did not cause me to lose any sleep.
- Chief - A Short Story (Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector)
on Aug. 17, 2013
Gabe’s wife has died. He wants her back. As head of the bureau to keep the otherworldlies from being discovered by humans he has heard of rumors of a phoenix brand that could bring her back. He tries to track it down in Lyle S. Tanner’s CHIEF.
CHIEF is different and unique. I liked Gabe. I do not know if I like that he is using his position to give himself what he wants while punishing those who endanger the paranormal community. It made me think—which is more important—the individual or the community. I would like to see if he succeeds.
- Bride For Sale
on Aug. 18, 2013
Erica was jilted and shut her heart away. Now she's doing a favor for a friend, modeling a wedding dress.
I liked Erica. The story was cute. It was just way too short. It would have been fun to have the "rest of the story."
- Bud the Crud and the Vampire-Werewolf Wars
on Sep. 28, 2013
I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I loved Bud the Crud and The Vampire-Werewolf Wars. I laughed so hard at the non-clichés. I could just imagine a younger brother thinking the same things Buddy did. He was so creative in his descriptions/storytelling. Nothing goes as planned for Buddy but he is the hero of the story. He makes a lot of friends and helps end a war. And all in a week! This is a keeper. It was so much fun.