I am currently a full time writer and book reviewer in between taking care of five children. I love playing pool, but only if I'm winning, and enjoying the company of good friends. Especially those who love my books!
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Smashwords book reviews by Bonnie Lamer
- Twelve Worlds
on May 29, 2011
I would recommend buying this book just for the simple reason that all proceeds go to RIF (Reading is Fundamental) which helps bring the joy of reading to children across the country, but happily, there are other reasons to pick this book up as well. Twelve-Worlds has a little something for lovers of paranormal, fantasy and science fiction alike. Some of the stories will make you laugh out loud as the characters scramble to set things right, and others will make you think about such things as a world without music or the need for vengeance and its cost. There were several stories in the anthology that stood out for me:
By a Whisper by Kevin O. McLaughlin was the story of a young man sent to stop a magician from setting free an evil that would not only destroy, but forever torture, an entire community. The main character is charming and engaging and I would love to read more about his adventures. Not to mention the adventures of the cat who helps to save the day.
The Accidental Muse by Amy Rose Davis was a lovely story of music and love in a world where music is controlled by gods who can wreak havoc or give joy. The writing was sweet and the ending was just how it should have been.
Together They Die by Brian Drake was a supernatural tale of a ghost who needed to be set free from her hold on this plane. With the help of two determined detectives and a psychic, the ghost gets her revenge but all does not end well. It would have been interesting to read about other adventures these men had.
The Star Eater by K Gorman was a tale of stars, not the Hollywood kind, the space kind. Stars with magic and the bodies of humans. When a woman is killed, her sister must follow the magic that will lead to the killer and along the way, she gains some unexpected help.
Man-Maker was an intriguing tale of a society that valued allegiance to country above all else. When a patriotic young man who has already proved his allegiance balks against a required ceremony on the grounds that it could destroy the person he loves most, he is forced to live as an outsider. His resolve and ingenuity are compelling and the reader will find him or herself rooting him on as he struggles to hold on to his determination at all costs.
Daddy Issues A Black Knight Chronicles Story by John G. Hartness is a story of two vampire private detectives. There were several scenes and some dialogue in this story that made me laugh out loud as they battled a zombie for their client. This story definitely made me want to read more adventures of these two and I was happy to see that there are some available.
The Light Stream by Jaylin Baer was an intriguing tale of a woman who finds that she has the ability to rewrite her life through the power of dreams. A very compelling idea, indeed.
Admittedly, I did not enjoy all the stories. There was one that I did not finish reading because I do not read fiction that involves the brutality against and/or rape of women. Several other stories I found were just not for me. The stories I listed above were well written and made me want to research the authors to see what else they have written but some of the others I found to be a bit slow, the story did not capture my attention, or they were simply not a genre that I care to read. The stories I did enjoy were enough to make me recommend this book with a four star rating. I believe that most lovers of paranormal, fantasy and science fiction will find a story in Twelve-Worlds that will make the purchase of the entire book worthwhile.
- Darwin's Children
on June 05, 2011
Jaycie Lerner is not your average teenager. To begin with, she has to constantly shield her mind from the onslaught of other’s thoughts, which is not easy to do when surrounded by teenagers who practically scream their heightened emotional thoughts at her. The result is that Jaycie often reacts inappropriately to social situations and is considered an outcast and a freak by her classmates. Her home life, though, is what keeps her sane. Her telepathic father helps her learn to keep shields in place in her mind and Allison and John help her learn control over her other abilities. Even if sometimes their lessons are a bit on the extreme side, the bond between these people not related by blood is stronger than most families who are.
Eventually, it is Jaycie’s turn to help another understand her superhuman abilities. A lost, broken girl, who Jaycie befriends at the request of a persuasive stranger, carries dark secrets inside of herself that are tearing her apart. With the help of Jaycie and her family, this girl learns that there is more to life than the memories of pure evil she holds inside of her. And sometimes, revenge is the only way to help along recovery.
The characters in Darwin’s Children are not only powerful, they also come across as people you would love to meet at the next neighborhood barbecue. Natasha Larry has done an excellent job of making the characters stand out from those in other books with their down home style and southern manners. But as secrets unfold and revenge becomes not a wish but a must, the strength the characters show prove that they are made of stronger stuff than most people. Not to mention, their powers are most enviable – superhuman strength, mind reading, telekinesis, the power to persuade anyone of anything, and the power to make evil doers feel the pain of their actions towards others. With all of these traits rolled into one book, this is a novel that lovers of paranormal and supernatural will love.
There were a couple of things that held me back, though, from giving this book a 5 star rating instead of a 4. A lot of information was thrown out over the course of the book and sometimes this distracted me from the main story line and made some of the passages move along slower than I would have liked. Not all of the information may have been necessary to the story line, such as Jaycie’s father and John going after a fire-starter in another state. The pace of the novel seemed to waver because of these extra details from fast-paced to meandering and as much as I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help but feel that some areas of the book could have moved along a little faster towards the final showdown. The other thing that held me back was the last few chapters of the book. Although they were well written and interesting, they were a little anticlimactic after the story had already reached a stunning climax. These chapters may have been better served as the beginning of the next book in the series.
Overall, I truly enjoyed Darwin’s Children and I am grateful that the author gave me a copy to review. It definitely makes my must read book list and if there is a sequel, I’ll be reading it! I give this book a strong four stars.
- Land of Nod, The Artifact
on July 02, 2011
Jeff Browning is a fourteen year old boy trying to make his way through life after the disappearance of his father, a brilliant scientist. Longing to find clues as to where his father, who is presumed dead by the police, could be, Jeff searches his father’s office. There, he finds a strange machine that opens a passage to what looks like another world. Sure he will find his father in this strange land, Jeff decides to investigate. He suddenly finds himself in a forest filled with giant insects, man-sized birds and snakes with three feet wide heads with no way to get back home.
Gary Hoover does a great job describing this world, creating a vivid picture in the reader’s mind of what Jeff is seeing and feeling. The civilization mirrors that of earth in many ways - for instance, the people speak English. Yet, there are unique differences in technology and social structure that make it a fascinating place to be. Power struggles and the threat of a war make it also a dangerous place to be. I enjoyed reading about this new world and, giant insects aside, I wouldn’t mind living there with its flying cars and showers that dry you off without the need of a towel.
Land of Nod, The Artifact is a nice escape into a different dimension and the story is well-written and interesting. There were a few things, though, that held me back from giving the book a full four stars. There is a lot of illusion to Jeff having abilities that would save the day, but in the end, it seemed there was more hype than substance. For instance, Jeff is able to move large obstacles blocking an escape route, but often does not show enough strength to protect himself in other situations. That’s a shame, because Jeff has the potential to be a strong and captivating character. I hope that there are sequels to Land of Nod, The Artifact that allow him more room to grow into the character that is alluded to throughout this book.
Another thing I questioned was Jeff’s age. I believe that Gary Hoover did an excellent job of describing the insecurities and doubts a fourteen year old boy would have; but in this story, Jeff was looked to by adults to come up with solutions to problems he knew nothing about – such as in politics and war. He was taken maybe too seriously by the grown men in the Land of Nod without having proven himself to be capable of such leaps of faith. If he was a few years older, closer to being an adult himself, this may have seemed a bit more plausible.
All in all, I enjoyed Land of Nod, The Artifact. I think it is a nice, quick read that is both entertaining and action-packed. It definitely has the makings of a good series. I give this book three and a half stars.
- Her Dear and Loving Husband
on July 04, 2011
After her divorce, Sarah moves from LA across the country to Salem, Massachusetts. Though born in Boston, Salem has the allure of a new beginning and she feels drawn to creating a life there. James is a lonely college professor who has kept his past a secret for many years. When the two meet, James is torn between telling Sarah his secrets at the risk of losing her, or keeping their relationship limited to friendship only. The longer he waits, the more Sarah believes the desire she feels for him is not reciprocated. Forced into a corner, he realizes he must confide in her. When he does finally open up to her, running as far away as possible may be the sanest thing to do, especially as he has become the target of an overzealous reporter. But could she live without the man she has come to care so much about?
Her Dear and Loving Husband is a sweet, romantic book about the endurance of love. Two people find themselves drawn together, but facing what might be insurmountable obstacles, as Salem’s past closes in on them. The imagery created by Meredith Allard of the torment women and their families experienced during the Salem Witch Trials brings the reader to that time, feeling the anguish of those affected by such a horrendous part of American history. The characters are people you would like to get to know – even if you’re leery of the supernatural. The story weaves history in and out throughout the book so that the reader comes away not only with the feeling of enjoying a good book, but with a solid knowledge of a time that may only have been a vague recollection from a US History class some time in the past.
I enjoyed reading Her Dear and Loving Husband very much. The characters had an intriguing innocence to them that worked for the book even with the heavy subject matter that surrounded them. A small drawback for me was that much of the information about the Witch Trials, and the lessons to be learned from them, were repeated several times, which came off as a bit tedious and even preachy at times. The pace was also a bit slow in the beginning but it did pick up as the book moved along. Those things aside, Her Dear and Loving Husband definitely deserves four stars.