I'm a self-employed consultant and freelance editor. I live in West Yorkshire, UK with my husband and our six rescue cats.
I'm married to fantasy author David M. Brown and my grandmother wrote historical romance, so I suppose you could say writing is a family affair!
Where to find Donna Brown online
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Smashwords book reviews by Donna Brown
- Special Delivery (A short story)
on Aug. 20, 2011
Special Delivery is a touching short story by Lia Fairchild about a widow who finds that in the year following her husband’s death her life remains full of the flowers he so often presented her with. Amy wins a competition to have a bouquet delivered every month for a year and – in the aftermath of her husband’s untimely death – finds comfort in the regular deliveries, not only in the form of the flowers but also in caring delivery man Dave.
The story intersects the point at which Amy’s year of flowers is about to reach an end but also touches upon a bigger theme, which is whether Amy has begun to deal with her grief and is able to move on.
This is a short story, rather than a book; however, it is only priced at $0.99. In an age where we have come to accept 99 cent e-book bargains, at first look you may wonder why to spend your money on a story instead of a novella or full length novel. However, this is also an age where we have come to accept spending $3 for a cup of coffee, so why shouldn’t you invest $0.99 in a quality piece of writing to go along with it? The $0.99 debate will long continue but authors are not selling readers short when they sell a story for this price: instead, the novella or novel that you receive for this price is a great bonus (provided, of course, it’s a good quality). We should appreciate that but still be willing to pay a decent price for decent fiction.
Special Delivery brings a touch of warmth to the heart and a smile to the face of the reader. In a few thousand words Lia Fairchild is able to develop her theme, her characters and her story and provide something utterly heartwarming. If nothing else, it is a superb sample of what lies ahead in the full length novel In Search of Lucy.
on Nov. 14, 2011
I always think of doodling as something a little random, innocuous, with little meaning behind it but in truth there has long been a school of thought there suggests there’s actually more that lies beneath the simple doodle. Jonathan Gould’s novella seems to fall into a similar category. On the surface, it seems lighthearted, fun and not very serious at all. Look a little closer, however, and Doodling is full of surprises. And what remarkable surprises they are.
I empathise wholeheartedly with Neville. The world is racing and sometimes I – like many others – feel like I’m barely clinging on by my fingertips. What can we do but keep clinging? Neville experiences a rare look at the world beyond the world and the discoveries are – frankly – frightening. Strange party people who will celebrate any occasion possible in the strangest of ways. Competitive types who are utterly driven by the desire to win and never realise that not everyone can be a winner. Toaster people who desperately need something to worship and yet when their quite illogical beliefs prove to be founded, find themselves utterly lost. (What’s that Voltaire quote: “Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer” – “If God didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent him”. Some people need something to believe it but seeing it in front of you is a different ball game!)
There are a few conclusions that can be drawn at the end of Doodling including ‘It takes all sorts of people to make a world’ and ‘As hard as it is to keep the world spinning. it’s always going to be more difficult alone’. However, there’s a very clear conclusion that Jonathan Gould is a very intelligent author who can write remarkably humorous fiction with an incredibly clever streak running through it. He’s either a satirical genius and knows it or he’s a satirical genius who doesn’t yet realise it: either way, expect a literary explosion in the future. This is not the kind of writing that can be kept under wraps.
on Nov. 29, 2011
I live in a back to back terraced house. I know that my roof is... well, I'm not actually sure what colour it is and it's raining so I'm not going out to check. But say it was blue. That should mean that my neighbour's roof is also blue, right? But what if they KNOW they their roof is pink?
When I opened Flidderbugs and read the first couple of lines, Orwell's 1984 immediately came to mind, more specifically Minitrue (aka The Ministry of Truth). In truth, my associations weren't too farfetched: there are aspects of Flidderbugs that mimic the absurdity of Minitrue and its slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
Flidderbugs is an interesting tale of what we know versus what we believe. Do we believe something because we know it to be the case? Or do we know something because it fits in with our beliefs? Can politics, like religion, prevent us from approaching situations logically? And is it always in our best interest to listen to the information that is fed to us from those who - allegedly - know better?
Doodling, Gould's first title (and a Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Humor semi finalist), was a fabulously fun read with a heavy smattering of satire. Flidderbugs takes satire to a whole new level. Yet its real genius lies not in that but in the fact that you don't actually realise the strength of the messages until you've completed the book. Flidderbugs simply seems like a good read (saving initial Orwellian thoughts) but it's the period after you've closed the final page or put down your ereader that the heavy thinking kicks in.
What an amazing achievement: fiction that provides you with an incredible and fun read but leaves you full of thoughts long after you've finished the final paragraph. More please, Mr Gould. Much, much more!
- Kiwi in Cat City
on March 05, 2012
Vickie contacted me about her book (a shamefully long time ago, I must admit), knowing I had a love of cats and I agreed to review it. I have started this book several times and stopped several times – NOT, I hasten to add, because I didn’t enjoy it or was finding it hard to get into. Quite the opposite. Instead, I found I loved the book and it has been to my particular chagrin that it has taken me so long to get the real focused time I wanted to spend with this book and nothing else.
Because readers, this is a wonderful story. But then, I had a feeling it would be.
So great was my love of this fun tale of the adventures of Kiwi, that I was even able to overlook the fact that there are two children as central characters. Yes, I know this is a book for children aged 9+ up but I am not a big fan of children in books and films. Believe me, I am not the maternal type! However, Amy and James are written as well mannered children that I’m sure even I could spend an afternoon with (even if they are a bit naughty for trying to go along with Kiwi’s adventures instead of going to sleep!). Besides, Kiwi is able to work a little magic to make the children considerably more likeable in my view!
Johnstone is a wonderful writer, able to weave a magical tale. She also has an excellent understanding of the behaviour of cats and injects this knowledge expertly into the tale. Her pace and timing is perfect and despite this being a book made up largely of prose, Johnstone nonetheless manages to make it poetic throughout.
I loved the exploits of Kiwi, Madame Purrfect and Inspector Furrball. Okay, okay – even the antics of James and Amy. This is the first in the series of Kiwi books and I’m roundly convinced that Johnstone will be called upon to write many more volumes. I believe she is currently working on book four and I can see this becoming a series that wouldn’t be out of place on the bookshelf of any family home, library or school. Bravo on a superb book!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any other compensation. All opinions are my own.