Elfwreck

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Smashwords book reviews by Elfwreck

  • Why Me on Dec. 10, 2010

    The writing itself is fairly good, but the characters' actions seemed inconsistent and somewhat erratic, and the plot was hard to follow. This story would benefit from an editor to tighten up the scenes and make sure the images in the authors' head got across to the readers.
  • Faewolf, by D.M. Atkins and Chris Taylor on Dec. 10, 2010

    Fascinating characters, gripping plot interwoven with hot sex scenes, internally-consistent magic system. Terrific look at fae/human romance and shapeshifter dynamics.
  • The Tube on Dec. 10, 2010

    Sharply disorienting and nicely disturbing. Memorable; some of the imagery was with me months later.
  • The Bridal Veil on Dec. 10, 2010

    I never get tired of "marriage of convenience, in which we will pretend we're not attracted to each other because that wasn't part of the original arrangement" stories. This is wonderfully rich in detail, and I especially liked Emily slowly winning the young girl's trust.
  • New Order (glbt, gay romance, gay fiction, erotica, short stories) on Dec. 11, 2010

    Delightful collection covering a nice range of topics & relationships. Fun to read; worth seeking out more by the author.
  • Wild Wind (Lords of Conquest) on Dec. 11, 2010

    Sequel, of a sort, to "Secret Thunder" (they stand alone fine, but hints of that one are included here). Compelling characters; I want whole novels about all of their stories. Delicious erotic scenes and wonderful tension-building.
  • The Binder Of Shame Presents: The RPG.net Rants on Jan. 29, 2011

    The formatting's problematic at best (the epub crashed my Sony Reader; I had to download & edit the RTF to removing the MS Mingo & MS Gothic fonts, wtf?) but I COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING long enough to care. This book reminded me how very, very grateful I was to have the gamer buddies I did. We didn't have a Psycho Dave or Amazing Boozehound, but I recognized Deviant Boy and Weasley Crusher from games I've been in. Or at least, their west coast counterparts. Highly recommended (even with formatting issues) for anyone who understands the Real Men/Roleplayers/Loonies/Munchkins divide, and anyone who plays Munchkin today.
  • Sing My Name on March 18, 2011

    Glorious book. Kick-ass heroine, sexy & clever (and stubborn) hero, and background characters that made me want a whole series so I can get each of their stories. The pacing is excellent, especially for such a long book; the plot threads all nicely connect. The tension is kept at the perfect level of "oh no, is it ever going to work" with just the right amount of respite and humor to keep reading, even knowing that it can't possibly get resolved soon because this is just halfway through. Ellen O'Connell has moved into the tiny "just buy everything she writes" category for me.
  • Rachel's Eyes, a Short Story on May 13, 2011

    A lovely followup to Eyes of Silver, and a fine stand-alone if the reader doesn't mind a bit of spoilers. ("They end up together" is not much of a spoiler.) Excellent story with so many facets of Cord in such a short piece: besotted husband, loving father, responsible worker, cold-blooded outcast.
  • Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles) on Sep. 23, 2011

    Wonderful introduction to a world of supers. Impulse Control manages to juggle a unique setting, action, romance, and government scheming in a single story, wrap up the story coherently and leave the reader wanting more. Off to buy the next book now.
  • When Danger Calls on Nov. 11, 2011

    Wonderful mix of action and romance, with plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing.
  • Caravan on Dec. 08, 2011

    This was one of the books that shaped my worldview as a teenager, and I'm delighted to find it again and discover it still reads well. The story is disturbingly plausible and the characters just as diverse and real as when I first read it.
  • Dancing on Coals on Dec. 12, 2011

    I bought this as soon as I saw it--and waited to read it, because I knew as soon as I was done, I'd want more. I loved Katherine's headstrong attitude and Gaetan's grudging respect for her. Loved that she was able to insist on--and get--some measure of fair treatment, even across a severe cultural divide and a lot of hatred. I loved the insights into Apache culture, and appreciated the author's note that explained which parts drew directly from history and which ones were a bit speculative. (She posits a plausible-but-not-documented community of members of multiple tribes trying to avoid both American and Mexican armed forces.) Once I started this, I couldn't put it down, and the only disappointment is that it's *over* and it'll probably be quite a while before O'Connell's next book is available. In the meantime, I'll be re-reading this one along with her others.
  • Beneath A Silver Moon on Jan. 03, 2012

    Delightful and sometimes hilarious romance. The leading lady is a great deal more prissy than most historical romance characters, and that counterpoints wonderfully with the rough world she's found herself in. She's also a meddling know-it-all busybody; again, not common personality traits for a heroine, but they work well here. I especially liked the details of her treatment of the hero's damaged younger sister, and how a strong set of ethics about How Things Should Be Done allowed her to both recognize the problems and start finding solutions.
  • Clones on March 12, 2012

    Some interesting concepts being played with, and good character interactions, but overall a bit flat. The stories all seem to assume modern USAn-esque nuclear-family structures as the norm, and the clone stories are variants of that. They're good stories--just not particularly mind-expanding. I'd recommend this to people who haven't read much science fiction but would like to try some, but don't want to be overwhelmed by a genre laden with complex tropes. Enjoyable to read; I just kept waiting for the weird scifi to kick in, and it didn't. Instead, these are somewhat like stories that modern-day TV shows involving clones might be.
  • Lasting Impressions of Terror on March 12, 2012

    This is *one* story, not thirteen as the description says. (Maybe it's just the first one, and the collection is offered elsewhere?) It's unedited with poor punctuation and sloppy grammar--"As Jeff came closer, he made the figure out much easier, it was a man, facing him but unmoving. For a brief second Jeff began to worry whether this kid, because of his clothes and appearance Jeff assumed he couldn’t be over 30, was awaiting him to get close enough to rob him." The paragraphs average about 175 words each, dense blocks of information with no dialogue or change-of-pace to relieve the monotony. The story concept has promise, but the implementation is so poor it's almost unreadable.
  • Illegal Affair on March 31, 2012

    I loved this. But it's not a complete story at all; it's just the intro to "Illegal Affair vol 1 & 2." Which is quite reasonably priced, and I'll be picking it up--but I wasn't expecting the cliffhanger end to what I'd thought was a stand-alone story. This felt like a bait-and-switch. The writing's excellent; the sex is hot; the characters are intriguing and well-described even in this short piece. But this isn't a short story; it's an excerpt, and the title & description should indicate that. (Also, the book itself should end with "read more about Raelynn and Shane in..." so that readers know that it intentionally ends where it does; I had to check whether I'd gotten a corrupt download or something like that.)
  • The Irish Bride on July 22, 2012

    Very pleasant read, as all Harrington's romances are. Has a nice twist on a standard romance trope--the common "she's always been a bit obsessed with him" is present, but not in its usual form. I enjoyed how the forced marriage plays out, with her worrying about when or how he'll "claim his rights," and him devoted to not pushing her limits. (But of course, not actually *saying* that to her, because why would he *talk* to the woman he's planning on spending the rest of his life with?) Their travel arrangements are grueling, and and the sheer distance they cover while trying to get away from their past is daunting to consider. The way they manage to resolve their differences and make a life together, away from everything they've known, is lovely. I always enjoy it when the woman in a romance puts her foot down and say "stop being an ass! We're here, together; COPE with that!"
  • Enchanted on July 22, 2012

    Fascinating--I'm not used to seeing paranormal elements, even mild ones, in historical romance, and it works very well here. While the main pairing was predictable (in a romance story, if you don't know who's getting together by the end of Chapter 1, it's well outside the genre conventions), the side stories were nicely surprising.
  • Almost a Spinster on July 22, 2012

    While each of these stories was good, the collection as a whole loses something--together, they're somehow predictable in a way that stand-alones would not be. However, the storylines are interesting and nicely complex, and the steamy scenes were terrific. Recommended, especially as an introduction to the author--if you like this, you'll probably like her longer works even more.
  • The Big Wet Desire on July 22, 2012

    No plot; needs proofreading (but not badly). 1st person POV, focused entirely on his thoughts and feelings with no consideration to hers--she might as well be an animatronic doll (one that really likes sex) for all that she contributes to the story. Not badly written, just very firmly in the "male wish-fulfillment porn" genre.
  • A Rough Wooing on July 22, 2012

    I had a blast with a heroine named "Douglas" and all the confused that caused for the English. I had no problems following all the characters, but that could be because I read high fantasy more than historical romance--I'm used to a dozen minor characters interfering with the main plot. Very enjoyable, nice adventure twists to the story. The ending was perhaps a bit handwavey (I'm used to adventure plots having adventure endings, and this didn't), but that didn't detract from the romantic elements, which were great.
  • A Story About You on July 22, 2012

    Terrific story for college students. Potentially good for those facing a mid-life crisis, or a major opportunity. I'm not sure it'd be that good for people actually on their deathbed. And it's not much for those who've already spent time examining their choices and the reasons for them, and made their peace with the consequences of those choices. Not sure it's any good for someone in prison, or war refugees, either. It's a philosophy essay disguised as a story. It should be published as a tiny hardcover with semi-abstract artwork, a few lines on each page, and shelved along with Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Like JLS, it invites you to examine your life and your motives; also like JLS, it denies the existence of external forces on your life. It's obviously supposed to be an affirmation and encouragement; it could easily turn into a guilt trip instead. And it's almost useless for those people who lack the power and skill to take control of their own lives and reshape their destinations--and because of that, I'm only giving it three stars. It's easily five for its target audience, but nothing in the description lets you know who that is.
  • Lunatic Fringe (Tales of the Pack, Book 1) on Dec. 28, 2012

    I loved this, and I'm going to buy the sequel. Great characters, nice plot twists, excellent tension and believable but not predictable resolutions. Whatever doubled-section existed in previous versions has been fixed in the most recent version. Lexie's growing confidence was a joy to read, and that was nicely tempered by her occasional bouts of self-doubt. Her relationships with Archer and the Pack were as tangled as first-year-away-from-home drama can get. This is an excellent story which stands solidly on its own while being open for sequels in many directions; I look forward to buying and reading them all, however many eventually get written.
  • Beautiful Bad Man on Feb. 11, 2013

    O'Connell's romances are always excellent; her books are on my "just buy whatever she publishes" list. I know I'll love whatever she writes. In Beautiful Bad Man, the characters are strong and compelling; the storyline is intense and gritty. I loved watching Norah and Caleb relearn their joy in life from each other. This is excellent for anyone who enjoys romance about a woman who sets her own terms, both in her relationships and life outside of that. Norah's not unwilling to cooperate but she has limits, and when they're reached, her will is absolute. Caleb is no flexible reed himself, but over and over, he finds himself compelled to comply with her preferences.