Andy Smith

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Books

Squinty: A Teddy Bear's Tale
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,100. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2014. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
A short story about a teddy bear sent to a jumble sale to find a new home. Download and read to your child at bedtime. (4000 words, 25 minutes)
Cap'n K and the Dragon
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,640. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2013. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates
Cap'n K and First Mate Enzo sail off on an adventure. When a storm blows them to a desert island and they find a treasure map leading to a dragon's cave, a real adventure begins... A short bedtime story to read in the dark by the light of your phone. 3yrs+
Arimathea's Box
By
Price: Free! Words: 1,990. Language: British English. Published: January 13, 2013. Category: Fiction » Horror » Occult
(5.00)
Two thousand years ago on Calvary, a different story begins...
The Devil's Bloodline
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 154,810. Language: British English. Published: November 7, 2012. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.75)
The revenant spirit of a Fatmid warrior. His soul sworn to a demon, his purpose vengeance. A widowered father and his son. Wrong time, wrong place. Maria Carmen dos Santos. Minor, addict and whore, hunted by a ruthless Vatican priest and pregnant with the Antichrist. All pawns in an infernal game.

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Smashwords book reviews by Andy Smith

  • Boucher's World: Emergent on April 18, 2013

    I used to be a stubborn reader. Once I started, I'd finish a book no matter what. That changed with the advent of e-Readers and cheap and free eBooks. Now I'll stop as soon as I've had enough, which, with most self-published novels, is usually somewhere around the middle of the first page. Boucher's World: Emergent was a pleasant surprise. Firstly, it's a good story well-written and told, and clearly the first chapter in a much larger tale. Secondly, though it's sci-fi, it's not. Also, elements of the author's unhurried, agreeable style reminded me of works by Octavia Butler, Doris Lessing and, in some aspects, Orson Scott Card. At 122,000 words, Boucher's world is quite long for a book (IMO) most suited to the female young (and not so) adult market. That said, it "feels" and reads much shorter, and while it's not a page-turner in an action-packed, adrenalin-fueled sense, the flowing, easy prose and gradual build up and development of the characters, the relationships between them and of Boucher's World itself drew me in and kept me turning the pages and wanting to learn more. Without giving too much away, Emergent begins when the heroine Jade, a teenage pest-controller, and her "evolved" feline companion, Tally, find a doorway out of the mysterious dome that appeared some 2000 years previously, sealing both the recently-arrived human, and already-established alien, colonists on one continent of the planet. A small, mixed group of humans (all with certain psychic/telekinetic abilities), evolved pets (sentient cats and dogs) and eleven-foot Elvwist (alien colonists) are chosen to leave the dome, each group hoping to contact their homeworld; the humans using the communicators located in the abandoned colonist's ships, and the more advanced (but slowly becoming extinct) Elvwist, by telepathy. As I said above, it's sci-fi, but it's not, and instead of focussing on the "sci" part, the author concentrates on the "fi", creating vivid, vibrant characters and romantic relationships that grow with a story that just happens to be set in the 24th century on a terra-formed planet eleven light years from Earth. I do have one niggle: Emergent ends without answering any of the burning questions it puts to the reader. Who put the dome in place, and why? What's going on back on earth and on the Elvwist homeworlds? Why are the characters' extra sensory abilities evolving so quickly outside the dome? Why is Jade so important to the continuity of the Elvwist race? Again, as I said above, Boucher's World: Emergent appears to be the first chapter in a MUCH longer story that is well worth reading.
  • Boucher's World: Encounters on April 08, 2014

    I enjoyed it. Nice to finally find out what happened to them all. Not at all a typical rollercoaster sci-fi, more like meandering along a green river bank in summer... courageous writing and very different from what Id usually read. The characters pulled me in to the story, and it was interesting how the focus was on the "little things" going on between them rather than the action. Instead of becoming boring, it became addictive reading: action becoming tangential to relationships, instead of the other way round. Its different and enjoyable, maybe a little out of the mainstream, but I read it in two long sessions so it held my attention. There was a point when I was wondering what could possibly happen once the Earthers had been assimilated, so the trans dimensional earth invasion came as a surprise. Im very impressed with the writer's imagination. I did note this third book seems to be written more omniscient 3rd person, without a definite focus on any one character. Perhaps because there was so much going on and so many characters it would have been impossible to watch each on in detail. This distanced me a little from Jade, originally the lead character, but it did allow a much wider view of their society and culture. I'd have preferred a longer book with more focus on fewer people, but given the amplitude of the story, and the number of characters included, and all their differing motives and backgrounds, I can see why the writer did it that way, and they did a good job. Given the slow build up over 3 books, the climax seemed a little too quick and easily solved. I have a feeling the trilogy really requires a fourth member to do it the justice. My one gripe is that, given my darker view of humanity, I rebelled against the goodness-conquers-all message: the Boucher's Worlder's very "Christian" (my word, there's no religion involved) behaviour towards their would-be enemies, and the Emperor's family's eventual desertion to Boucher's World, were two examples I questioned. That everyone gets turned "nice" by good deeds is a beautiful idea, but so unlike reality. But that's just a question of taste, and I have to admit the story does carry a very optimistic message which, left me with a good feeling at the end. making me want to behave better towards people rather than dwell on petty grievances. And I can't deny that if we were all more like Boucher's Worlders, this one would be a much better place to live in... All in all I enjoyed the trilogy and I'm glad I read it. Beautifully written in a very feminine style, as opposed to the usual macho, girl-kicks-ass YA stuff. Very pleasing to read. I hope it builds the fan base it deserves.
  • Turner: Bitter Change on Dec. 07, 2014

    The best way to describe Turner is enjoyably "different". On one hand it's a solid, professionally written Young Adult sci-fi (the first in a series) about a lonely, outcast teen coming to terms with both strange and transforming abilities and new found friends, then saving the world from alien invaders. On the other it's what I can only describe as "experimental", in the sense that Cannon fearlessly combines elements of sci-fi with fantasy, dragons, magic, other dimensions and parallel universes, and even fairy-tales, with a teen coming-of-age/coming-to-terms-with saga. Being so "different" from your run-of-the-mill YA novel, this mixture is surprising at first, but as the story and characters grow it becomes both enjoyable and acceptable. I've read Cannon's previous "Boucher's World" trilogy, and "Turner" carries many of the same hallmarks, but in a totally different context, which is a credit to the writer's imagination. By hallmarks I mean that Cannon writes about heroines undergoing transformations and infuses her work with a positivity, a niceness, that, for me, can border on the utopic. In spite of her fictitious world going to s**t, she sees, or brings out, her characters' good sides. Even when they start out "evil", they're forced to change and make amends. I don't know whether this is conscious or unconscious, but for my tastes it can become a little too "sweet" in places. We only get to see the "villains", the conquering aliens, from a distance. We get to know little about them and, in a way, they become almost tangential to the story which is as much about the different beings (humans, dragons and dragonbees) and these beings' relations with Juri, the pint-sized half-dragon, half-human heroine, as the story of the rebellion itself. Three things that weren't to my taste as a reader: 1) One can see the engineer in Cannon's writing. A lot of thought went into the story and the plot is "tight", meaning there aren't any holes. Any that might appear are covered and/or explained satisfactorily. This is a quality, making what would be, on paper(!), a rather far-fetched story, believable. That said, there was, I felt, some unnecessary detail and explanation that sometimes detracted from the flow of the story. Somethings need a few words of explanation to be credible, and some don't. 2) Don't start reading expecting a rock'n'roller New York Times YA Bestseller type read, i.e. full of action and one dimensional kick-ass characters. As I said above, Cannon's work is about relationships, and she's very good at it. She just happens to situate these relationships in Young Adult, dystopic-type contexts. Now, I'm not saying I prefer New York Times YA Bestsellers, as I generally find them rather shallow and poorly written, but I do like "action" and "grit". I like to see the "Dark Side" affecting the heroes (and villains), and to feel the menace and threat of the underlying conflict. Cannon doesn't not do this, she just seems to focus more on the "behind the scenes", on the way the characters interact and respond to said conflict and each other. An example in point being the ending where, considering the ease with which the aliens conquered Earth in the first place, the coalition of humans, dragons and dragonbees *appear* to deal with them rather swiftly. Sure, people die and things get destroyed, but there never seems to be any doubt as to whether the coalition will succeed or not, and the fighting doesn't seem to be as important as Juri's feelings of, and reactions to, her supposed betrayal by her friends. 3) My third point is a result of the first two. The "plot" took, in my opinion, a long time to get going. We know, or we think we know, what "has" to happen - we've got a heroine and we've got an, albeit distant, villain - but I was 24% of the way through before this became explicit. Sure, there are some (I counted two) subtle "clues" that lead the reader in, but the lack of some initial conflict with the villain, something "terrible" (and personal) to make us hate and fear them and know that "they" really are the villain of THIS story, coupled with the volume of writing before we're certain we know where Cannon is going, may leave the more impatient reader confused and not really certain whether they're reading about a girl's adaptation to a new life in a dystopic world, or a girl's metamorphosis into the heroine that changes the dystopic world. I can't say if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It's a question of taste. On one hand, writing so that the reader knows whats going to, or will have to, happen is a rather simplistic and unimaginative way of writing: "Give em what they want". Great for formulaic writing suited to the mindless masses that read what they're told to read. On the other, when your characters are teens, and the genre can be called sci-fi or fantasy, the writer creates certain "expectations" in the mind of the average reader. To not cater to these expectations is risky. Unless, of course, this is the writer's goal.