Claire Middleton


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Smashwords book reviews by Claire Middleton

  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 06, 2012

    When I first started this novella, I thought it would be a quick, light read. Boy was I wrong! I quickly realized this book was nothing to be taken lightly and settled in for the ride. And what a journey it was! What it lacks in word count it more than makes up for in a caliber of writing rarely found in Ebooks (at least what I’ve seen). Leone manages to weave more intricate storylines in half the time it takes other books. This story is dense with emotion, intrigue, imaginative world building and a gripping plot. An absolute steal at 99 cents, and you owe it to yourself to take a peek. You won’t regret it. Recommend for almost anyone, fans of fantasy, supernatural, steampunk, action…there are some scenes of violence towards the end that may not be suitable for younger children, but is probably okay for ages sixteen and up.
  • An Affair to Remember on May 26, 2012

    What an amazing story! I still have goosebumps! (actual, literal goosebumps!) I read “An Affair to Remember” in one sitting, and I loved how easy this was to read! I was never once bored (impossible with all the crazy drama happening every second!) and the author’s writing style was very engaging and compelling. There were no mistakes or editing errors that I saw, which is always nice. The only thing I thought was weird at first was that it seemed like Monica and Chase fell in love way too quick…but in retrospect it worked with the pace and tone of the story. I really liked this book and recommend it. I’d definitely look for other works from this author as I really like her style!
  • A Luminous Future on June 04, 2012

    I don’t know what I loved most about this book, as I was totally enraptured from the moment the secret police were banging on the door to take young Teodor’s father away, to the final, beautiful and emotional passage where everything comes full circle. What an AMAZING life Teodor Flonta has experienced! I am so happy I read this story, as it makes me appreciate my life and upbringing even that much more. Not that I feel sorry for Mr. Flonta…not in the least. Obviously his experiences shaped him into the man he is and led him exactly to where he is now. I have to say that I love his wife’s name (Ariella) and may use it one day :-) and I think, no, I KNOW his father is proud of him for telling his story in such a loving and brilliant way. Thank you for sharing this with me. I hope others read it and benefit as well.
  • A Song Apart on June 12, 2012

    Kevin Derow had dreams of being a musician, but after 9/11 decided on being a numbers cruncher instead. I have to say I disagreed with his logic on this, as I would think one would realize how short and precious life is, so one should live life to the fullest and follow your dreams, but his attitude was the opposite. But to each his own… Then one day he comes across the hottest new thing in music (I pictured her as being like a Taylor Swift), and a relationship develops between the two. I appreciated that the romance took its time in unfolding, and it wasn’t a case of “insta-love” that we see so often these days in teen books. Instead, it developed naturally…first as a friendship, and then something deeper. You can’t help but root for these two as they navigate their way through increasingly difficult conditions regarding both her fame, and his ordinary existence. Both have problems, the celebrity and the plebeian. But both manage to find a way to connect in a very endearing and charming way. I recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction who enjoy a good story, great writing, and a sweet romance that is not over done and cliché.
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 24, 2012

    I loved this book!! From the very beginning I was totally hooked, when Mickey is talking with Jen (who reminded me of a VERY tall Yoda from how he spoke). Mickey is having nightmares and doesn’t really know what is real and what is a dream. He later finds out that the government was doing gene-splicing experiments with aliens. They’d implanted an ET brain chip in him during a sleep study, and now the government wants him, but so do the aliens. He can travel through time and is known as “The Destroyer of Worlds”. But it’s not his fault (really), and he has to stop his alter ego before it’s too late. I never knew what was going to happen from one page to the next, and it wasn’t predictable or stereotypical at all! Super interesting and I’m really glad I read it!
  • The Crow God's Girl on Aug. 07, 2012

    Wow. This book was incredible! I’m so impressed with this amazing story and how the author wove so many storylines together, and had such vivid descriptions and an original plot. I admit at first I was confused as to what was going on…I hadn’t read the first two books in the series, and although the author catches us up to speed right away, there were still some questions that I had. I didn’t feel confused, more like just wondering about the history of some of the characters, and if that would better explain their actions. There was a lot of world building that needed to happen for me to start understanding the whole thing. But the characters and storyline were incredible, and once I really got into it I couldn’t put it down! I love how Kate totally transformed throughout the course of the book, and it’s a refreshing change of pace to read of a strong heroine who doesn’t need her relationship with a guy to define her. Definitely recommend, even if the beginning seems a bit confusing just keep going because it gets really good!
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 08, 2012

    I had no idea what to expect when starting this book, only that the premise sounded fascinating (and a little like Point Break at first glance). Well, it was that and so much more…kinda like Point Break meets Blow meets Pulp Fiction. It was awesome! The character of August was my favorite – he is one cool cat. This book definitely held my attention from start to finish, and I loved all the details that were put in as the story unfolded – like talking about other events at the time and how they all entwined. Like the murder of Big Mac…I remember that case very well as it happened right by my old neighborhood. This was definitely one of the better written books I’ve read lately and recommend it without hesitation. Warning, there is mild language and some sex scenes but nothing too graphic
  • Quest for a Dream on Sep. 20, 2012

    This novel pulled me in from the opening pages with Ms. Carl’s warm and engaging narrative voice. I felt sucked in and swept away as I followed Dani on her spiritual journey through the extraordinary and the unknown. The writing was artistic, as was the storyline, and this is definitely one of the better written novels I have come across as of late. The author’s sassy personality shines through, especially in the secondary characters who added a real sense of balance to this book. If you are looking for a lot of action or romance then this probably isn’t the book for you, but if you want an engaging, unique novel that will make you think outside your normal reality for a bit then you have to pick this one up. It’s a winner!
  • A Life In A Moment on Oct. 30, 2012

    This was a lovely novella that I easily read in one sitting. Not because it was short…because it was so good! Mr. Livos is a very talented writer and the right from the opening sentences he creates a rich and vivid atmosphere that sweeps the reader along for the journey. I liked that it was more about life, love, and characters, not all action and sex and violence…the story really spoke for itself and I was captivated from start to finish.
  • Sugar and Spice: A Karma Café Novella on Jan. 10, 2013

    For me this novella was just ok…it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t amazing either. On the plus side, I liked the author’s ‘voice’ and felt a certain authenticity and relatable-ness to the storyline and the characters. It didn’t feel fake or contrived. The scenes between Dedra and Paul were compelling and steamy. On the sort of negative, I didn’t like how the heroine referred to other women who enjoyed sex as “sluts” (I don’t like slut-shaming in my romance/erotica books), especially when the same behavior from the man is seen as an appealing turn-on. I do wish certain parts of the story would have been expanded or explained better, especially the role of the “witches” downstairs. Recommended for a light, quick romantic read, but don’t expect anything truly deep or earth-shattering.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 17, 2013

    This is the first book I’ve read from Millie Burns, but I really hope it won’t be the last! I loved how Ms. Burns writes in such a descriptive and literary way, but its not boring with too many unnecessary details… I felt like I was really inside the story as it unfolded every step of the way, not outside looking in. Even with the 3rd person POV (which isn’t really my fave) I felt connected to the characters and liked that the occasional POV change here and there let us see more perspectives. I thought the epilogue was interesting too and am wondering if this is leaving the door open for a part 2? Recommend for fans of literary fantasy and adventure.
  • The Seekers' Garden on Feb. 06, 2013

    "The Seekers’ Garden” is the first book that I have read by Isa Ritchie, but I hope its not the last! The story is kinda hard to sum up in just a few sentences, but it is definitely character-driven and focuses on several different people, and their lives and what happens to them is what makes up the plot. I have to say that at certain times it almost seemed like there were several people writing this book as each character really sounded unique. I read it in two nights, and even though it was longer than I’d expected, I was never bored and was sad when it was over (even though the ending was wonderful). I could see fans of Jodi Piccoult enjoying this book.
  • Corkscrew Ridge on Feb. 27, 2013

    Paul is a teacher at the local tech college when he comes across a farm (the old Johnson place) that he decides to take over and try to save it. I could see this novel being really appealing to people who are really interested in farming and gardening activities, as they are discussed in great detail in this novel, almost at the expense of a plot. Things just sort of unfold along the way, and there really aren’t very many parts where we as a reader become very emotionally invested in the characters or the outcome of events. However, this isn’t entirely bad, as it made for light hearted reading that is perfect for a rainy day indoors. The author manages to write beautiful descriptions that transport the reader to another time and place and plops us right down in an unfamiliar world (at least for this city gal) and exposes us to a different life, yet with characters we can all identify with on some level. Recommend for fans of drama, light romance, and literary fiction.
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Nov. 17, 2013

    I was surprised with how much I liked reading this book. I admit I’m not normally one for the religious-type books, and consider myself more spiritual than sticking to any one practicing religion. But I think that was almost what I liked the best about this book was explaining the roots of the spiritualty that Hindus believe and especially how they connect it with the body and mind. Even if you don’t agree with the philosophy for your own religious ideas, it is hard to deny that this is a well-written book that succinctly lays out the principles of Hinduism in a cohesive and entertaining manner. Recommended for teens on up.
  • The Angela Suite on March 30, 2014

    I read this book in one sitting. I was sucked into it right away because it felt real and gritty and authentic. The characters are memorable and unique, and there are a lot of details into the scenes that makes it seem like you are really there and in the characters’ heads. One thing I didn’t like was that there were several punctuation and grammar issues. But I didn’t want to put the story down until I finished because it was so good and really different from anything else I’d read lately. So if you enjoy an ‘adults only’ read about the darker, more twisted side of life, then this is a great book for you to try.
  • Kate's Journal, The First Entry on April 07, 2014

    3.5 stars... I am of mixed feelings of this book. Honestly, had it been about 60% as long as it was, I probably would’ve given it 5 stars. Because I did like the characters and the storyline a lot. But there was way too much needless conversations and dialogue and scenes that a skilled editor would have eliminated from the book. Because all it did was slow the pacing and reduce the tension. The chemistry between the leads was very, very good! And the overall arc and developments were interesting and kept me glued to my kindle. These aren’t some deep, fully-fleshed out characters and that’s ok… sometimes I like my reading to be easy, lighthearted and more on the fun side. This book fits the bill for that. I think fans of erotica and drama will enjoy it, as long as they aren’t easily offended by some slightly unusual relationships and have patience for some unnecessary fillers.
  • Gladius and the Bartlett Trial on June 02, 2014

    I read almost the whole book in one night… it was that good! Right away we are pulled into the action and meet Gladius as he is set to embark on the “Bartlett Trials”, a month long test for all Wiggins when they are 15 to see if they are to be accepted into adulthood in their village. We are introduced to this creative and unexpected fantasy world with very memorable and original creatures and people. I feel like I could definitely see this being made into a movie…I felt like I was watching one as I read and became invested in Gladuis and the others’ fates. J.A. Paul is a talented writer and he has a knack for storytelling. I see really great things in his future if he continues and I’m eager to read the next in the series. I really liked the ending and there was a good sense of resolution. But would like to see more!
  • Defender of the Flame on June 13, 2014

    You know right from the opening pages that this isn’t some mindless rehash of the same ol’ same ol’. We jump right into the action (the author handles any “housekeeping” in the preface) and pulls you right in. I’m not one for rehashing the plots in reviews (that’s what the book description is for), but I can say that the blurb doesn’t do it justice! This is one of those books (or series) that you really have to read in order to appreciate the complexity and depth of the world this author created. For the most part it was quite fast-paced (although sometimes a bit TOO fast for my liking… huge chunks of time or important events were quickly glossed over) and the dialogue was believable (not contrived or stiff). There were some minor editing things, and it could have benefitted from the use of more contractions to smooth it out some, but nothing that deterred my enjoyment any. Overall it felt very polished and professional. There is great tension and conflict (both internal and external) which compels us the readers along and keeps us invested in the outcome. The ending is satisfactory and fulfilling, yet leaves the door open for future installments. I do not think fans of Sci-Fi adventure will be at all disappointed and I highly encourage you to give this one a try!!
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on June 29, 2014

    4.5 stars... The Daughter of Sea and Sky is the third book now I’ve read from this author and I think it might be my favorite one yet! Not sure as they are all pretty amazing. This is one of those books that when you reach the end you have a sense of awe and wonder, along with the feeling of being happier to have read it (not the case with many books I’m afraid!) There is an overall sense of a higher message – a deeper meaning that resonates throughout the pages, and although I did feel at times that perhaps the solutions were a bit too convenient and even a tad to neat and easy, I did feel the right amount of emotional investment in Kalaini, Helena, Jason and the others. There were a few surprising turns along the way. Overall a very solid effort and one I’d recommend to fans of literary fantasy and speculative fiction. Or to anyone who enjoys a great book with solid writing and intriguing characters.
  • The Sense of Touch on July 29, 2014

    Okay, I have to give Ron Parsons total props for completely changing my mind about short stories! Not that I hated them or anything, they just weren’t really my cuppa. I find it had to emotionally invest in something that will be over so soon. However, I feel like despite the shortened length of these tales, they were told in such a way that we feel like we really get inside the characters heads, as well as their hearts. Each story is the perfect length to tell just the right amount of plot and description, no more, no less. But the best part was after each one ended, I just wanted to keep reading because if that one was so cool, what would the next one be like? A great smorgasbord of plot, conflict, scenery, and characters. Loved it!
  • Escambia Fills on Nov. 12, 2014

    i really loved this book. I thought it was excellently written (a few minor editing things but nothing too major) and kept my attention from the dramatic opening to the fulfilling finish (or is it? Seems more to come…). It is a quick read, one I finished in the course of an evening. But an enjoyable one with an uplifting Christian message. I was genuinely surprised at a few things that happened, and thought the tension and narrative was great. I will definitely be looking for more works from this author in the future. Definitely recommend reading for fans of action thrillers, drama, even some romance.