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Smashwords book reviews by Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk
- Shelter (Blood Haze: Book One)
on July 25, 2011
Received this book through librarything. As a SF&F lover, vampire novels are slightly outside my own comfort range (though thanks to the liking thereof of my wife I'm often confronted with it...). I liked the slighlty new (at least to me) approach towards vampires and the how and what of them.
The book is an easy read (though there are some typo's / mistakes in them that can be annoying...) but.... I do understand the need to cut large books into parts and I also understand the marketing value of having a cliff-hanger at the end of a book but... this book was very short (read it in under an hour) and actually only one thing happens, girl falls in love, boy falls in love (and again), girl finds out boy 1 is vampire and boy 2 is vampire hunter. Girl runs away, comes back, book stops... Even the teenagers / YA's it is aimed at must (or should?) require a bit more substance (or have I grown that old already?)
Next time, please finish the plot properly before ending book 1!
- Attack of the Lushites
on July 25, 2011
The book I received was rifled with errors making the read especially hard for me, a non-native english speaker. But apart from that, the book was also hard to read due to the lack of a clear story line. I completely missed the shift from the 'fast food' universe to the 'drinking' universe at the start leaving me wondering for quite a few pages what had happened. The (somewhat) unexpected end did not really help here either, the introduction of yet another galaxy with a focus on smoking was on the one hand to be expected, on the other hand it made the story quite unbelievable.
As a great fan of humor books with the Hithchikers guide my all time favourite, I must say I was disappointed. The book is advertised as being in the same category and has some interesting views. But the writing style / storyline somehow manages to spoil an idea that could have been great. It might be the constant reference to other SF works or the constant hammering on the obese shape of the main players, but all in all this was not the enjoying read I had hoped for!
- Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should
on Sep. 12, 2011
Received this book through LT Members giveaway
Having authored a number of 'real' books which were all almost 'self-published', I was really interested to learn from this book how to improve / get new ideas. The author, who claims himself to be some sort of an expert (but is actually only a few months into the self-publishing business!) is obviously a 'fiction' author. That is both good and bad for this book...
The good news is that there is experience in writing books and also in publishing a few of them. As a result there is a lot of information and little is left out. The bad news is that this book indicates little experience of the author with non-fiction books. Instead of giving short, concise information on the subject, the book is a long series of repeats and thick prose. Not bad for a novel, quite a killer for this type of book. For example the numerous referrals to the increase in sales of e-books between november 2010 and february 2011 which is used as an argument for self-publishing gets quite boring after the first two referrals. Also the constant hammering on why you really, really, really should self-publish and why you should avoid all those publishing houses gets boring after the first few chapters. Finally, the almost complete absence of bullets, tables and the like do not help in the readability and make it hard to use the book as a reference.
Some further suggestions to prospective readers (authors?). Skip the 33 succes stories as you will learn very little from them. They may be fun to read (I didn't think so, but who am I...) but add little to the solutions for your problems. Furthermore, the practicalities at the end of the book are really practical and should be read together with the main text (appendix signals may read, these are a must read!).
Also make your own calculations about revenues and whether it is worthwile to self-publish. The authors' calculations are at the least misleading and at the worst plainly incorrect. Self publishing does cost money and time (time = money) and the actual costs and time are not calculated against the potential revenues as should be in a proper cost-benefit analysis. For example the calculation on 'debugging' your document states that it may cost US$100 - US$200 to have this outsourced, so the idea of the author is that it is better to do this yourself which cost him a day! A simple cost-benefit analysis teaches us: 1 day = 8 hours; minimum hiring cost for labour (NL) = US$20 (approx) = US$ 160... So having your book professionally debugged costs around the same as having your house cleaned by a professional. So on your first book with nothing more to do and little money in the bank it is worthwile to do this yourself. If you are a bestselling author, better spend the day writing a new story...
My verdict: worthwile information if you are able to wrestle your way through it..
- Elegy: Book 1 of the Arbiter Codex
on Oct. 08, 2011
Read this book from front to cover in slightly under one hour. I was just sucked into the story which is a classic good-bad story with an original hero and a lot of magic involved. Do not expect any deep philosophy from this book about what is good and bad, though near the end the book does scratches the surface of this. The story revolves about something called 'Manna' which is described as the life source. It can be corrupted by the bad (demons, tainted spiders, turned wolves etc). Arbiter's fight this corruption, trying to cleanse it from the corruption. All in all as said a classic good-bad scenario...
My main reservation with this book (and hence just the four stars) is that the characters could have been set down better. At the end of the book we still hardly know what an Arbiter is and mostly who the main person, Arbiter D'arden is as a person. Small pieces of the puzzle are revealed, but not enough to completely understand the character. To bad as this would have given the story just that something more that is given by the great writers that Cristopher Kellen tells us he is so inspired by.
- Lucifer's Odyssey
on Oct. 08, 2011
This book has done something that has not happened with me for quite a while; I could not get into the story. I read the first 80 pages (out of 479 in my version) and found it a hard read. I cannot say that it is really boring as things do develop and there is enough change in setting and conversation. Somehow though the story does not grip me. The idea of having the classic 'demons' (Lucifer, Azazel etc) being in fight with the classic 'good ones' - Jehova, Michael who want to destroy 'Chaos' etc is a nice view that I've not seen in other books. So that is not the issue, neither the fact that I'm put off by religous views (you could view this book as being quite heretical if you are to a certain extend religous AND lacking a wider view of things).
Maybe it is the quite unpersonal way the story is put down, but whatever it is, I can recommend a prospective reader to read some short sections and see if the writing style is agreeing with you (which is basically a good idea for any book...). So as a result I feel obliged to give the book only half a star (if not to signify that it is a potential controversial read).
- Denibus Ar
on Oct. 15, 2011
When I started reading this book I felt myself wondering whether it was somehow grounded on a real site or all imagination. In other words, the writing style is real enough. It was not untill the magic started to appear that I realized it was all a work of fiction. Chris Turner normally writes science fiction and fantasy and this shows in the book. The story is very well plausible (if you believe in magic) and shows a good knowledge of Egyptian mythology / history.
The only real downside that I can name is that near the end of the story the plot seems to move considerably faster than at the start. This gives that part less credibility as the amount of details suddenly become less and make it less believable.
All in all an entertaining read.
on Oct. 22, 2011
Got this book through the LT member giveaway program. Great book to read if you are into fantasy and mythical beings. The book has a good length, not to long and not to short. The way it is writen it keeps you into the story while at the same moment giving you enough details and background on the characters to make it come alive.
The only thing that could be improved upon is giving the background a bit earlier in the story. It now makes you wonder from time to time what is going on. For example there is a lot of talk about the 'Old garden' and it is not untill (much) later in the book that you find out that it is a kind of religous building and not a true garden. The same on other religous points that are not crucial to the story but would have given it a bit more backbround (and not made me wonder...)
- Fantastic Realms
on Nov. 21, 2011
What can one say about this book? As some of the others reviewers have already noted, the wording is quite heavy and as a non-native speaker makes reading at times a hard case. I could have done with a little more plain writing as it would have allowed me to read more than one story at a time without giving me such a headache... Having said that, the stories themselves are not to bad but I would not call them brilliant. At least not all of them. A lot of the short stories seem to be a preamble for a longer story that is waiting to be written (and one actually has been written into a longer book - Denibus Ar). All in all it is a read that tastes for more without the more being given yet (but I hope in the other books that I have waiting to read that are also by Chris).
So the verdict is the average for giving me both a headache and an unsatisfied feeling in a book that could have been capturing my imagination if not for that.
- Wolf's-head, Rogues of Bindar Book I
on Dec. 10, 2011
The first book from Chris that i read was Denibus Ar which i liked (a lot). The next was Fantastic Realms which gave me a headache. Nice stories but alost unreadabe to a non_native speaker. This book is no better but is also hampered by two other things. First of all, there is no real plot (that i could find) but rather a sequence of unbelievable adventures. Nothing amiss with that but other than the main character, Baus, it does make you wonder where all the other characters have gone and done. Maybe this is explained in the next books but if so that woud be equally unsatisfactory. This book does require multiple plot lines that diverge-converge or a lesser amount of main characters.
Talking about characters, they are not ovely developed either. It took me a while to figure out whether Baus was cunning or just plainly lucky for example...
All in all a though read for all people without a degree in english literature.
- The Elsingham Portrait
on March 10, 2012
Normally this type of book would be outside my 'comfort zone' being declared as a romance. I was triggered however by the fact that the main person is shifted towards the end of the 18th century. I was not disappointed by this book. Though it does not go deep in any way, it is an entertaining read that should keep you occupied for a few hours (at most).