Tammy Dewhirst

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Tammy Dewhirst

  • A Darkness Shattered on June 03, 2012

    Michael Nelson is a teenager home alone when the Zombie Apocalypse begins. When it becomes apparent that his parents aren't coming home, he sets out from Kansas City to his Grandparent's farm in Illinois. Along the way he meets Abbie Nelson, a foster child who had been looking to escape. This story follows the teenagers as they navigate the post-apocalyptic world with hope and trust in each other to guide them. "A Darkness Shattered" is the first book in the Darkmind Saga. It has been a very long time since I last stayed up all night and read a book. At 3am I realized that I needed to put my Kindle down and get some sleep. "A Darkness Shattered was so vivid a telling of a post Apocalyptic world that the imagery of the narrative kept me entranced. Clothier is a brilliant storyteller who manages to be vivid and descriptive without bogging the story down in any way. Clothier highlights his Zombies by giving us the child zombie in the party dress and the well-dressed zombie and the zombie in uniform shirt (to name a few). They are an image of who they were and who they'll never be again. Clothier's zombies aren't a character as a whole; they're everyone you know in your life. This story isn't about the Zombies though, not really. It's about Michael and Abbie and their struggle to survive. Its about the way humans react in the face of crisis. How they become who they were really meant to be. It's about young love blooming in terrible odds. This is a coming of age story, and done so wonderfully that I am eagerly anticipating the next novel in this series. What happens to Michael and Abbie? Where will they go next? This is a great read that I'd recommend for anyone who likes sci-fi or dramas about human nature.
  • American Goddesses on June 28, 2012

    This was an amazing read.... When Megan and Trish, average women, are taught to release the superwoman within they find coping with the new abilities difficult. It seems with power, violence follows. Will their relationships survive their new abilities and will they be able to survive the dark new evil that can slip in at the most unexpected times. I am going to fangirl all over this book. The premise could not have been better for me as a reader but the writing style was amazing. I would have liked to have seen the baddies used more but then I love me a good baddie and there's promise at the end of more great baddies to come. I would also like to point out, as the author was clearly writing this just for me, that it was well done to make the code names for the baddies bird names because I find birds quite creepy....but then maybe that is just me. The characterization was very real. Megan and Trish have the same insecurities you and I do and they have similiar conversations with their friends. They were both very likable (Trish more so than Megan) and this reader cheered for them as a person would any good superhero. I usually see the ending coming but did not with this one and, no surprise, as many of the plot's twists and turns were delightful surprises. This author painted, with this novel, a picture of ordinary women in extrodinary circumstances and could not have done better. This was simply one of my top reads of the year. You MUST pick this book up. There's no recommending or not recommending here, it's a requirement. There are few authors I pick up on their release day but the next book in this series, the day it goes on sale, I'm there.
  • Ec•o•nom•ics: A Simple Twist on Normalcy on Aug. 06, 2012

    The author is a big fan of "Freakonomics" by by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. She suggests the work as a prerequisite to reading her treatise on the topic. I, like the author, read the book in college as a requirement for a class I was taking. I was not as blown away by it as she but this work, which not a lot like the one named, could be a sister of the popular book of economic articles. As I read the book, I knew Kelly's concepts and found her examples relatable. As textbooks go, I think if you have a child having trouble understanding the basic economic concepts entailed, "ec·o·nom·ics`` is a good text for them. Kelly relates the concepts to current models in a conversational way (if a little advanced in language for a high school child). One example contained in the narrative: Starbucks is expensive and a luxury in a changing economy (the price of coffee here in Canada is even higher than Kelly lists using the American example) so McDonalds saw the future and changed their menu to fit the times expanding to the McCafe line. I stopped when reading and reflected on how this example relates directly to me. I bought a Starbucks drink every Friday on the way to work but as the price climbed to more than $6 per beverage, I stopped using Starbucks in favor of McCafe. In the last two years I believe I've had one Starbucks coffee whereas I've had countless McCafe's which Kelly cites an example of a changing market. Kelly also relates us to inelastic principles - cigarettes for smokers. I could go on but I won't because I believe that example makes my point. Kelly, in the title, offers to simplify economics for us and she does in the text. Would I read this again? No. I will, however, recommend this book as an introduction to economic principles. This work is well written and simplified and I think anyone will understand the principles within once they finish reading.
  • Blood Bound on Dec. 04, 2012

    My first thought on closing the novel was that this was a book the CW should pick it. It’s exactly the sort of thing they produce. “Blood Bound” was reminiscent of “Supernatural” or “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or other shows that I would know if I were in the demographic to watch them. It was action packed, teen angst (and not in the annoying “Twilight” kind of way) and dealing it all in a way that would be attractive to an older teen or person who enjoys YA or paranormal characters. Stevenson doesn’t take the time to set the stage for us. She very wisely seems to believe that we will go with the flow in what she shows us her world is like. Demon hunters? Why not. Witches? Okay. Fairies? There’s a Council? A Council means laws so the paranormal is regulated which opens up a new world that any of us can probably picture. We see them as the characters see them. Shaun and Sarah aren’t new to the world and they convey that instant knowledge to us in what they see. Stevenson in no way cheats us of setting with this technique. We are in England today. “Blood Bound” isn’t all heavy plot and dark characters. Humor shines through the narrative in the relationship between Shaun and Sarah. They may be 19-year-old demon hunters but they’re also siblings and they battle like siblings. Sarah throws a nasty name at Shaun and Shaun throws one right back. Neither sibling is mean spirited in their taunting, it’s all in good fun and their fun lightens the tone for the reader. These characters are there for each other but they don’t have to pretend to be happy about it. In the end, there’s really nothing negative to say. I enjoyed this novel. The next, “Demon Divided” was out in November with the plotline continuing the story of the first with Sarah dealing with choices she’s made.
  • Just Beneath the Surface I on March 12, 2013

    I have never been in an abusive relationship. I have watched a LOT of true crime shows and read a LOT of true crime books that involve abuse and a woman staying in a relationship that clearly is going to escalate to hospitalization or even death. I can imagine those women having the same thought processes and rationales as Kendall. There’s a feeling after reading this book of having been behind the scenes to see something rare and the need to share that new knowledge with women or men who may find themselves in a similar situation. Kendall is unhappy with her relationship and looks to move on. She’s been with the father of her two children a long time and while marriage is important to her, he doesn’t see the point. He’s written as a bit of a self-absorbed jerk at the start of the novel. “My life is important and what you do doesn’t matter.” When they break off and Kendall starts a new relationship there are signs. Signs that she chooses to ignore. Ramsey does a good job showing us where Kendall’s life falls apart and the reasons she chooses to stay. While she’s moving on, Diamond is falling apart. She’s promised her friend that they’ll wait to have sex until they’re married and then, in the midst of her parents divorce, breaks that vow with the a man who was engaged to a friend’s mother. Her reputation at school is trashed, she’s called horrible names and boys are saying that they slept with her that haven’t (of course, she’s called a whore and they’re patted on the back). She gets involved with an older authority figure that warns her up front that he’s intense in relationships. Like all girls, she finds this appealing at first but the reality can be scary. What most impressed me about this book was how carefully Ramsey plotted the abuser. He’s about control. He references Kendall’s former model status and he’s clearly insecure in his relationship with her. Each time something happens he says the right things. They curl up and talk and he pampers her and for a few days everything is okay until the next time there’s an imperceptible slight. Kendall must tell him that she loves him in a certain way, quit her job so he’s her only interaction.
  • ANTics on March 23, 2013

    Eleven-year-old, Alex, wrote this review with some grammar edits from Tammy. When my mom first talked about reviewing this book I didn’t think I’d like it. It sounded very “little-kid” to me. At the start of the story, Zube crosses the Forbidden QuadrANT and risks being crushed by “Two Legs” and I was hooked. The Ant characters are fun! The bad guy is named RepugnANT and he’s a spider. I hate spiders. They freak me out. The Ants hate spiders too but that’s because the spider wants to kill all of them. He had a really bad childhood but that’s no excuse for wanting to kill ants! The way that the author writes is fun and the action was very fun. The Ants have adventures together that are risky.Sometimes life gets busy so Mom and me couldn't read it in one sitting but I didn't want to stop reading! This book doesn’t have any pictures but it’s a lot of fun. Children in Grade 1 or 2 who are just learning to read would love it for book reports at school or just to read for fun.
  • First, I Love You on April 07, 2013

    This first novel feels like a solid set up for the rest of the series but can be difficult to follow at times because focus is divided between five different characters each of whom have a lot going on in their lives and past. There are moments of brilliance – Kiki’s memories of her father writing to her brother over the years and her clear love and admiration for him. And moments that are not so wonderful – some of the dialogue is unnatural and overused in literature along the lines of “Darnit, Jim, you’re out of control! You’re off the case!” (Mickey’s interaction with Mary down is one example). While I found some of Dewey’s content choices questionable, she does give us a set up for a story that will become a really strong family epic. “First, I Love You” is a complete story with meat left on the plate for the novels that will follow.
  • Disturbing Clockwork on May 10, 2013

    There is a whimsy to the way Morrese writes that could be called light fantasy. His work is infused with humor and intelligence and general good fun for the reader. Morrese presents us with characters that we’ve come to know and enjoy each time we meet. The reader evolves with the story and knows secrets of the world to which the natives aren’t privy and all story-lines tie together and yet stand on their own. Over the course of the novels, the evolution of Prince Donald is startling. Trixie notes his transition from bumbling oaf to capable leaer and he is someone who will one day rule Westgrove. Donald doesn’t use his putative responsibility as an excuse to sit back but is fully part of the action. Action that the author writes very well. Is Morrese the sort of author who would kill a main character? Morrese is an author that I know will one day break my heart. I am connected with his vividly written cast. Did he break my heart in “Disturbing Clockwork?” You will simply have to read to find out. I’m not a reader who keeps a storyboard when I read a series of books but if I did the result would be a consistently evolving character in an ever-expanding story-line. “Disturbing Clockwork” has what readers want. Action, adventure, humor, a hint of romance and great promise of continued adventures. A reader can spend a wonderful day touring Westgrove with Trixie and her friends. The plot-line in “Disturbing Clockwork” is direct. Any reader who read the fabulous “Amy’s Pendant” (not necessary but recommended) before this story will know have an inside scoop on the driving force of this story-line. I would read the adventures of Westgrove all day and highly recommend this series for fans of lighter fantasy authors like Douglas Adams and Jasper Fforde.
  • Frostwalker on Aug. 09, 2013

    Luffman presents the reader with an elaborate story that was overall a beautifully written piece. One of my favorite scenes involved Butchie. Butchie was a dog that is wandering the woods. He knows he’s a good dog because his alpha tells him that he is. Butchie’s internal dialogue reminded me of a non-fiction book I read and reviewed not long ago regarding working dogs. His story-line felt very authentic. In contrast the internal dialogue of the other characters felt forced for the most part. I know that some readers will find Jake’s internal dialogue as it relates to Nancy endearing. I found his internal dialogue a little precious for a man his age. Danger and a sense of urgency forge quick connections and their relationship is believable without the sense of a scene overacted. In contrast, Jake’s relationship with his best friend Eric seemed very natural. I worked hard not to hate Eric for using the word “Awesomesauce” and in the end they were regular guys. Eric’s relationship with his long-term girlfriend is very smoothly written. They are a natural team for what they will next face. While it takes a long time for Luffman to get to the action, he wisely builds tension while the main characters go Christmas shopping, eat takeout food and experience obsessive dreams. Luffman does creepy very well. When we finally get an answer to what happened to the missing hunter the scene is so horrifying that I want to go back and read it over and over. Poor Rhonda. For all the brilliance imbued in the story-line, the ending was too pat. The ending made sense and came together but was somewhat disappointing in light of what the main text led a reader to expect. I would highly recommend this book to those readers who like paranormal stories. If you don’t like zombies, don’t think of this as a zombie novel. “Frostwalker” is a more original animal. Horrifyingly beautiful. If you live in a wooded area, as I do, you might want to leave the lights on for this one.
  • The Lokkr Chronicles, Volume 1 Planet Storm on Sep. 09, 2013

    When Middleton brings us to 1975 London, he sets the scene beautifully. We have a hip chick in a job normally done by men at the edge of the punk scene. She’s spiking her short hair and loving the clubs. When DI Yvonne Marnak is business, she’s all business. She respects what a badtush her boss is and won’t leave him because he’s a bit of a renegade. So familiar and yet so unique in presentation. Marnak isn’t willing to believe in magic or demons but Middleton brings a sense of tension that is just delicious to his narrative. The bad is coming and we can feel it. I love a good baddie. Whether the baddie be dark or dangerous or a truly twisted person for whom the reader feels sympathy. The baddies in The Lokkr Chronicles – Volume 1 Planet Storm are exceptionally well written. The Dark Lord could come off as quite cheesy but Middleton presents him in a way that would be terrifying to some readers. There is a scene in which “splatters of blood and tatters of flesh dripped onto him” (Smashwords edition Page 59). The imagery of the line is just spectacular. The last line of this book will have to go down in the annuals of literary history as one of the better last lines to drive a person to read on in the series. I have already agreed to review the next in the series but had that not been the case, I’d still be reading on. Middleton’s story is wonderfully crafted. The Lokkr Chronicles – Volume 1 Planet Storm is an adult read and very interesting. I wouldn’t limit recommending this novel to fantasy fans. The premise and execution has a very wide reach over genres. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. If you like epic fantasy, you owe it to yourself to pick The Lokkr Chronicles – Volume 1 Planet Storm up today.
  • Rage of the Old Gods on Sep. 23, 2013

    Leha is a strong character and Edwards conveys her character to the reader quite well. That she’s a dealer of antiquities seems kind of sad at the start. She spends her life collecting and in a moment it’s gone. She wants adventure but this is the classic case of a character for which the grass is greener but that thing that makes it greener is really harsh poison. Leha laments distance from her brother and friends but that’s her lot as a hero. Saving the world is a lonely business though you wouldn’t know it from the epic action. “Rage of the Old Gods” is a really good and fresh (for this reader) idea, the writing style could have been a bit less indulgent. The story very frequently drags. When action is written its clear that this is what the author enjoys writing. That fast paced, action packed, all or nothing conflict. What happens in between comes off as less interesting. The timeliness is also a bit confusing. Leha has an epic journey with a vast cast of characters and perhaps as a first novel it was all a bit much for this new writer. Under normal circumstances I might rate this novel 2 stars but I gave it for 4 for originality and because I think Edwards is just warming up. As the book progress, the author gets better at condensing the filler and exploiting the tension and action. Very promising start to what I’m sure will be a compelling series.
  • Emerge: A Galatia Novel on Dec. 03, 2013

    Verhoff writes some very interesting characters. Josie is the focus early in the novel. People in the new society have gifts and Josie’s sisters and mother have the gift of beauty and perhaps, its hinted, seduction. When Josie’s sister flirts with Lars and “steals” him from Josie, she uses her gift to injure her sister. We get a sense of a self not tempered and true rage from this character. She has always lived in the shadows. Lars has a similar problem. He wants to be part of a fight club but hasn’t measured up. There’s a diminished self esteem. When both of these characters reach the surface they cannot help but come into their own. Whether they come into their own together or not is something a reader will simply have to discover for themselves. What really enhances “Promised Land: A Galatia Novel” is Verhoff’s great attention to her setting. This is the world we know many years in the future and yet there’s something new and fresh about it – an undiscovered country. Those who will thrive embrace the open air and free reign, something they’ve never experienced. There are new challenges but they deal with those challenges with a great sense of optimism, which is awesome to read. We know that humans are more resilient than may have seemed in recent years and this novel, written with realism, gives a reader hope. I know this may sound pie-eyed or naïve but it’s nice to see a futuristic tale written with such an eye toward everything one day being okay. I have never read a dystopian society novel quite like Verhoff’s. “Promised Land: A Galatia Novel” is just a great read.
  • Innocence Lost on Dec. 12, 2013

    Selmser calls “Innocence Lost” a “dark romance.” It is an esoteric piece about unknown evils and appears to advocate the idea of love in the trenches. We know from the start of this quite surreal short story that the real struggle is between Zahir and Milan with Natinha as the prize but she’s not willing to fall that easily. Milan may look the same but something is up. Selmser uses what feels like a purposeful chaos to telegraph the emotional state of the characters to the reader. “Innocence Lost” is what I think of as high concept fiction. A story told in emotion rather than one acted by the characters. A story molded with broad artistic strokes. While I was not a fan I can appreciate what the story the author set out to tell and know that there are those who will love this artistically high emotion/paranormal work/battle for souls work of fiction. I am giving the work 4 stars because if this is the sort of fiction you like, you will love it.
  • Pepe on Jan. 09, 2014

    The start of “Pepe” held such promise. Charters set a scene and laid the path of a little boy in a deeply unstable world. He lives in the very dangerous Dockyard District with his "sister" Po and once their Grandmother disappears, the pair is on their own. In Pepe's world there are really no questions to be asked. Survival is the primary focus. A strange old man saves him from a miserable situation and says that Pepe should come to him if he’s ever in trouble. As the story progressed there seemed to be a problem with pacing, Charters develops the characters in a way that at times is independent of the story and causes the plot-line to drag. The benefit of this development is that it cannot be said that Pepe is not a well laid out character. Pepe is developed at the expense of other characters. It would seem logical to me to have a bit of development with Atsuko, the mystic. Clearly he’s a man of mystery but that sense could have been maintained with perhaps a little more insight into how he came to be where and who he is. Unmet expectation seems to be my biggest struggle with this novel. “Pepe” started so well and then just fizzled as the tale went on. If you have a middle grade boy this might be a book he’d like.
  • Her Unwelcome Inheritance on Feb. 24, 2014

    "Her Unwelcome Inheritance" is a cheeky wink at literature lovers. The inside joke of the piece is that there are several literature based references. The most overt of them played out in the home of James Oberon as he returns from his journey to find Christine Goodfellow he finds that his manservant has labeled varied things on a tray “eat me” and “drink me” as though James has returned from his own trip down the rabbit hole. The references are smart and subtle opening this novel to children who have entered high school and are now reading the very works that Wootton references in his wholly unique tale. Petra Goodfellow, when we meet her, is a perfectly normal girl. Her mother has banned her from social media out of the fear that Oberon will find them and she, of course, has a secret account. She underestimates the threat thinking that the stupid adults are over-reacting as stupid adults do. She even has a perfectly in character fit of pique. How dare they not have told her about this stalker before! Of course, despite little glimpses of memory she was too young to remember their life before they escaped. Because of this initial naivety, Wootton is able to build the bond between young reader and character and teenagers will become invested in the fate of this character. Wootton’s narrative covers a lot of ground in quite a short number of worlds and manages to convey the information needed while keeping the reader engaged and entertained. As previously stated, Wootton is obviously quite well read and seems to have studied the overall construction of those novels. He gives the reader credit for intelligence and writes up to his audience instead of modulating his voice for a middle grade understanding. "Her Unwelcome Inheritance" is a fabulous novel for children of all ages.
  • Rogue Hunter: Inquest on May 01, 2014

    Rogue Hunter Inquest is part science fiction and part intergalactic political thriller. The Queen of New Venus is charged with staying one step ahead of the people trying to use her small world as a pawn in a fractious situation. Queen Karah Taresh is determined and strong and possibly the most interesting character in “Rogue Hunter Inquest.” We may not get much of Queen Karah’s motivations but we get glimpses of how hard won her position was and the subjugation her world experienced as a younger person as well as her determination to never be in that position again. In her very literal battle for life for her people and the way she conducts herself this character’s back story would make a sci-fi masterpiece on its own. Zyra is quite the conflicting character. Readers know that the Zyra we meet is at her lowest point. She is literally naked when we step into her life. Beaten and drugged and unable to stand. This is a strong woman brought low. Profit and history have brought her into the search for Boris and she will not compromise in the achievement of her goal. She will use everyone at her disposal, no matter how intimate their relationship, to play her end game. Boris serves as a good counterpoint to Zyra. He read as being lecherous and a bit of a jerk at first but in the fullness of the story he develops into a character so evil the fiercest of Space Captains cower a bit in his presence. “Rogue Hunter Inquest” is an engaging character driven tale perfect for fans of science fiction. At 199 pages, the novel is short for its genre but an exceptionally fast read that will have readers following this series for as long as the author wishes to write it.
  • Hanna, Hanna, One-and-Two on July 01, 2014

    The author, Myndi Schaffer, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review. Shafer gives the reader touchstones that will spark the consciousness of a younger generation in her work. This is going to be that work that a young reader will read again and again well into their elder years. For much of the book we know that Johanna harbors a vague power or secret for which she’s feared. She has a canine companion that she calls Joby but, of course, he doesn’t know that because she never speaks. She lives her life expecting Joby, a pet given to her by a friendly guard, to one-day just leave her life and she will go on because that’s how life works. The sense of desolation from this character is astounding. She has plans but little hope and to live each day without that sense of something coming next punches the reader in the heart. Matthew asks Joanna who is skirting the edge of a dance floor if she knows why they dance. “Defiance…. It is our reminder that a good life - even if it’s a simple life, an underground life - is worth fighting for” (Page 78). The impact of what this society has lost is stark and vital and one that readers will understand is to be cherished. There is an expert flow to Shafer's story. The beauty of her construction is that its so well thought out. This is not an author who sat down and raced out a slap-dash story to post and make a few bucks. “Hanna Hanna One and Two” reads as a labor of love and I loved it. There are risqué language and adult themes in “Hanna Hanna One and Two.” The story is suitable for older teens and adults who love good stories.