I am a wanna-be writer who needs to improve. A lot. I am in Dallas, love to travel, make run-down things nice again and inflict my Spanish on an unsuspecting public. I am a complainer, can be called sarcastic, I tear up way too often and good spelling and grammar are very important to me. I love to read, especially books that have magic, British chick lit (which includes Pride and Prejudice), books based in 1890s New York City, good YA fiction and DIY books. I love music and love to sing. I am not a proponent of the Oxford comma. Welcome to my world. Please don't hurt me.
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Smashwords book reviews by Audrey Wilkerson
on May 26, 2012
Andrea Dayla is a college girl living off-campus near Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The homeowner, an old (literally) family friend of her Uncle, has decided to move to Florida and left her furnished house for Andrea to live in while Andrea attends college. An orphan whose parents were killed in “a mugging gone bad” while her mother was pregnant with her, Andrea was raised by her Uncle Greg in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Andrea comes to believe that Hanover is populated with a few vampires. In addition, she learns there is a change that will take place around her twentieth birthday, one that has to do with the vampires, her legacy, her future and if the story of her parents’ death is the truth.
It was apparent within the first few pages that the author has a very difficult time with spelling. I tried to ignore it, but it was incredibly distracting. There were multiple misspellings and typos per page. In some cases, a word that was close enough was used, i.e. “since” instead of “sense,” “fill” instead of “feel.” Grammar is not the author’s forté, either; I had to read some sentences two or three times because I could not understand the meaning due to dangling modifiers, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and the like. Many commas were mislaid and the number of times there were misplaced apostrophes was overwhelming. Even well-known sayings were slightly off kilter (“think of the devil” and “the less of two evils”). It’s like the author learned English from hearing it through a glass pressed to the wall.
For the record, I did try to push through all of the mistakes because I thought: “If the story is good, an efficient editor can take care of the rest.” Unfortunately, though I forced myself to continue, I had to throw in the towel and cry UNCLE around page 147. This tale is over-saturated with Drama. Characters flare up and cool down as quickly as they contradict something they just said or did. The foreshadowing is like getting hit over the head many times with a skillet; it seems like all action in the story is crucial to the plot. Descriptions about things not essential to the plot are often chronicled in extreme detail while those that are more important are ignored. Relationships are formed immediately, so they lack authenticity.
However, the final nail in the coffin was the eBook’s resemblance to a certain vampire story that has been very popular for the last few years. Certainly, these New Hampshire vampires are based on the opposite coast from Forks, Washington, but there are too many similarities between the two clans to ignore. For example: they go camping every other weekend, one can read thoughts, one can see into the future, the “children” are all adopted by a doctor who doesn’t look much older than the “kids,” there’s a reference to a human woman getting pregnant by a vampire and the horrible birth she endured, one boy was about to get killed by a mountain lion but was “saved” by another vampire, there’s an Indian tribe nearby that shape-shifts into wolves, Andrea’s love interest has never fallen for anyone until now, he watches Andrea when she sleeps, their house is so awesome...I could go on and on. Oops, I guess I already did. All that remains for me to do is to find Jasper and have him improve my mood.
1 out of 5 Stars
Believe (New England Immortals #1) by E. Leighanne Grimm-Weever was published March 2, 2012 on Smashwords.com.
Read more reviews at http://inkandpage.me
- Faelorehn - Book One of the Otherworld Trilogy
on June 19, 2012
In all of her seventeen years, one of the lessons Meghan Elam has learned is to keep quiet. She learned early on that psychiatrists and rounds of drugs were in her near future if she told her adoptive parents about the odd things she sees and hears. Unfortunately, her classmates have not let her forget about this strangeness. Most people seem to sense that Meghan is different and stay away. Fortunately, to her band of friends, outcasts themselves, this does not matter.
After successfully ignoring visions and her strange, recurring dream for a while, it seems that there is an amping up of sightings. First, there is a raven, though this raven is much larger than any she’s seen before. Plus, those glowing red eyes... Then an old, homeless man starts hanging around outside Meghan’s school. Then, walking home from school one day, Meghan is chased by a herd of...gnomes? And not the cute ones with the red pointy hats.
One night her dream changes. Instead of her being the toddler she was when she was found wandering around Los Angeles, she is her current age. Also appearing is the great white dog who is always beside her in her dream. Unfortunately, this is no dream. Meghan has slept-walked into the clearing behind her house - and she is not alone. Suddenly surrounded by horrible rotting dogs, she is saved by the white dog and a young man.
Meghan awakens the next day with an odd feeling, but otherwise no memory of what happened in the clearing. There are those scrapes on her arms, but she does not remember where they came from. Eventually, the white dog comes to get her and takes her to meet Cade, the man who saved her. He knows too much about her, so she freaks out and leaves. After an encounter with bullies at school, Cade drives up and saves Meghan. Then he tells her what she is - Faelorehn. Then the unthinkable happens; Cade is in trouble, and his girlfriend, a beautiful woman, tells Meghan that only Meghan can help him...in the Otherworld.
After recently reviewing many books requested by authors, every time a start a new one, I know that a part of me sort of expects the works to not be great. Not necessarily bad, you understand, but, at worst, inept grammar, bad spelling, inane metaphors, or high drama; or, at best, stodgy overworked prose that does not flow. You can see the wizard behind the curtain, you know? As I started reading Faelorehn, my favorite thing happened. I forgot I was reading a book. I was drawn into the story and was never rudely jolted back into reality by ineptitude. Hooray! Ms. Johnson’s love for celtic lore (as well as a minor in Celtic Studies, no less) is evident in the story. Far from being pedantic, I found it exciting and entertaining. As I have ancestry from all parts of the British Isles, I love the folklore from that area of the world.
For you romantics out there, I can see potential between Meghan and Cade. Too many series tend to force a relationship in the first volume when the characters aren’t ready for that. I also appreciate the well-formed home and school life that Meghan has. Again, when a book is so hell-bent on getting to the storyline that it ignores “reality,” the tale does not resonate well. I can’t wait for the series to continue so I can find out what happens when Meghan breaks the geis, or taboo, put on her by her birth mother. For this was the only thing keeping her safe in her own world.
4 of 5 Stars
Faelorehn by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson was published June 1, 2012 by CreateSpace. Faelorehn is book one of the Otherworld Trilogy.
- Angel Evolution
on July 07, 2012
Taylor Kingston is off to college, away from her slightly over-protective Dad and the memories of her Mom, who died when Taylor was thirteen. It would be great if she would leave the recurring dream of the menacing snake behind as well, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Once at the University of Trinton, things start looking up: her best friend from childhood, Sam, is her roommate; and she meets Gabriel Knight, a handsome college student.
Things seem a little different about Gabriel - is she the only one who notices that he glows slightly? And how could someone as handsome as Gabriel be interested in her? And why does she have a bad feeling when she is near him? Once she realizes that Gabriel starred in her dream, and she couldn’t tell if he was hero or villain, she is more curious than ever about him. Then, when she meets another handsome stranger - this one dark and mysterious - and realizes that he, too, was part of her dream - she is determined to find out what it all means. Then she finds out that Gabriel is an angel and she is the key to defeating the demons. Can she trust Gabriel to lead her into the right direction?
To me, there seems to be certain “rules” about fantasy characters that have been followed since the first books or movies were produced. Vampires are beautiful, cold, pale beings that have fangs and drink blood; werewolves change from man to beast during the full moon; and angels and demons have been around since long before God’s beard turned white. Now, you can re-imagine SOME of the rules (like changing the reason the vampire can’t go out into the sun, for example) but you just can’t re-write everything, right? A story of angels and demons, this one’s a puzzler. According to the very detailed story of their creation, these demons came into being in 1846 when the first demon evolved. A human was attacked by a snake that looks exactly like the one in Taylor’s dream. The bite of the snake transformed the man into some sort of fiery, fast, quick-healing, dark being. 1846? Plus, it is explained later that these angels and demons are not the religious sort. Huh? I mean, you can write a secular book about angels, but to say they are unrelated is rewriting too many rules.
The writing is average. I am a HUGE proponent of the thesaurus (in fact, I have thesaurus.com open right now). However, it seems that while the author made great strides to not repeat words (hooray!) some of the choices made to use in place of those words were either stilted or incorrect (not hooray). An entomologist studies insects; not an insectologist. The relationship between Taylor and Gabriel (and later, between Sam and Chris the demon) both happened way too fast. Taylor’s constant misgivings about Gabriel and her perpetual vacillating between accepting and trusting him and not was tedious and melodramatic. The description of Taylor’s tattoos, numerous rings and “style” seemed forced and made her sound odd, not cool. I thought they were going to lead somewhere, but they did not. Honestly, it’s great that Taylor is mature enough to see past stereotypes, since her best friend is a perky, boy-crazy cheerleader, but does this ring true?
Yes, there will always be secondary and tertiary characters in your book; it would suffer greatly without them. But to talk about characters that never happen is confusing. Two characters were introduced in the book that were never talked about in detail again; Taylor’s older brother, James, and friend Marla’s absent roommate. I really thought something mysterious was going to happen with the roommate; after all, she was not going to show up until the day before classes started (and, as an aside, why would you go to college two whole weeks before school started, as everyone else did? That makes no sense.) and then later it is remarked that it has been five weeks since school started and then the roommate arrives. As for James, I think he appeared once and that was it. I don’t even think the Dad gave him a ride home after school was over. Sorry, James - seems Dad always did like Taylor best.
- Fated Dreams (Book One In The Affinity Series)
on July 22, 2012
Sarah is a high school girl who has been having a dream about herself, a boy...and a double murder. After a horrible six months at Hadley Academy where only one person acknowledges her existence, Sarah transfers to the local high school. She is happy to be reunited with her best friends, Emma and Derrick. Sarah then realizes that the boy in her dreams is no other than Logan Tate, the school’s gorgeous skirt-chaser. Why in the world would she be dreaming about that jerk? Though once Sarah (literally) runs into Logan’s seriously quiet twin at school, it dawns on her that it is Lucas, not Logan, who occupies her dreams.
As the days pass, Sarah and Lucas grow to love one another. Once Sarah is threatened by an unknown person, they begin to understand the dreams they share, the meaning behind those dreams and the harrowing future that awaits. Can they find an alternate ending or are they stuck with their fate?
The premise is interesting and unusual; the characters’ stories are engaging. However, I felt like I waited a long time for the main conflict to be fully known. A lot of time passed during a very gradual build-up, and the ending was fine, but it seemed to be a long time coming. Not that I was completely bored during the initial intrigue; the secondary stories about Logan Tate and Sarah’s friends Derrick and Emma were well thought out and did not feel tacked on just to fill out the book. There were also a few red herrings thrown in for good measure that were not too obvious. I just needed a little something more.
The heroine also has that bad habit that some book characters have of keeping important information to themselves. Something that in real life, people most likely would not do. I understand that is done in order for the plot to make sense later, but the reader becomes super aware of what’s to come. It’s like planting a flag that says: “YOO-HOO! REMEMBER THIS! IT’S GOING TO COME BACK AND HAUNT HER!” Stubbornness can’t always be the reason for the action.
There are a few grammatical/spelling errors (“loosing” instead of “losing;” “doddle” in the place of the correct “dawdle”) and a few run-on sentences. These are easy fixes, but their appearance might annoy readers. Lastly, the title. I had to look up the word “fated” because it didn’t sound like a real word. I was wrong. I do find it a little clunky, though - what about just “Foreordained” or “Destined” instead? A moot point, I guess - the author didn’t ask me to review the title.
3 of 5 Stars
Fated Dreams by Christina Smith was published March 1, 2012 by Smashwords. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.
on July 29, 2012
How powerful is imagination? Jonathan Brunswick finds out the hard way. After falling into a cavern while on a beach trip with his family, Jonathan wakes up in a world where the people seem familiar. Surprised to learn that he was brought to the village with magic, he soon makes another discovery: this place is Brunswick and is the result of the stories that Jonathan and his dad made up. The villagers tell Jonathan about the great tower that appeared one day and the darkness that followed. Adults and children alike began disappearing into the smog, never to return.
Realizing that is more important to stay and help instead of returning to his family, Jonathan learns to fight, meets his equal in a pretty girl named Grace, and works with Gideon, Hector and other villagers to determine how to fight the unknown “It” who lives in the tower...and has a deathly army called the Volker.
Through a long, arduous journey to the Tower, this group of villagers meets other clans, forges new alliances and comes up with a plan that should not only take down It but rescue the villagers that have been taken prisoner. But what is “It” and should all of the group’s hopes be pinned on Jonathan?
I really enjoyed the framework of this story; the travel between Brunswick and the “real world;” how the ending is tied up; the basic plot line. It was an intriguing concept for a story. However, the writing did not support the story enough. While I was reading, I felt like this was a story that was written down exactly as a storyteller was uttering it. No breaths, no paragraphs, no editing. Everything running together.
I lost count of the run-on sentences, incorrect word usage and lack of punctuation. Questions had no question marks, periods were missing and commas, lacking. Apostrophes were used incorrectly. Unrelated phrases were put together to make extra long sentences.
There was a great deal of unnecessary explanation as well. When something was introduced, whether it was a person or a place, it was described in great detail, sometimes telling who someone’s parents were and what they did for a living. It did not matter whether this was important to the story or not. Just about everyone/everything got the same treatment. Usually these kinds of facts are a signal to the reader that this information is important and will be needed later in the book, but not so in many cases here. Also, the drama wasn’t very dramatic. Everything seemed to be on the same excitement level - no peaks and valleys. As the reader, I didn’t get a chance to know these people or care about them or their plight.
Lastly, and I know these things may sound petty, but the main character, Jonathan, was referred to as “Jon” in the narrative on occasion. I don’t know if this is a rule, but it seems to me that people should always be referred to the same way every time so there is no confusion as to which character is being referred to. Nicknames, etc., can be used when characters speak to each other. Also, the word “doctor” was alway written as “Dr.” That is a title, and the word should be written out otherwise. The “G” is always capitalized in the word “God” when referring to the one and only as well.
2 of 5 Stars (Based on Ink and Page’s Rating System)
Genres: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy
Ages: 12 and up
You might want to know: No bad language beyond one time use of "hell."
Brunswick by Ann Haines was published March 1, 2012 by Ann Haines. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.
on Jan. 24, 2013
The Low Down: This is the future, where there is no longer a world as it once was. The United States has been broken down into walled areas with a lot of space in between. There are only four races recognized, four pureblood races that can live inside these cities, eat well, get an education, prosper. Everyone else lives outside the walls. These outside areas are full of mixed-race people living in deplorable conditions. Mutts. Scraping by without much to eat, a decent place to live or medicine. Someone does rule the wilderness, imposing taxes, ruling by mob enforcement and controlling the drug trade, but taking care of the "subjects" is way down at the bottom of the list.
Timothy is in great need of medical attention that he can't get on the outside. He makes a hazardous journey to the city of Rittenhouse, looking for the man who can help him. Emery is the man, a pureblood who has made his house and property a safe haven for those outsiders who need help that they cannot get otherwise. Together, they must leave the safe confines of Emery's home, elude the local guards, sneak out of the city and find the de facto leader of the Mutts so Timothy can survive. While Timothy wonders why a pureblood would help a mutt, Emery wonders why he can't help more of them.
Best Thang ‘Bout It: The story starts to lay itself out nicely in the beginning, presenting the questions and mysteries that are to come. The descriptions of the people, the landscape, the action are all vivid and evocative. The story picked up again for me at the end.
I’m Cranky Because: The dialogue, at times, was not on par with the storytelling. It could be trite or limp at times. The action was a little slow-moving. I felt like there was a lot of information that I didn't have as well; things would be mentioned, almost in passing, and I wasn't sure at the time if it was important. For example, there was no talk of magic, then it is mentioned. In another instance, a guard disappears in a cloud of dust. I was left to wonder: real dust? Or did he disappear or turn into something else? It seemed more like an afterthought. I actually got more information from the synopsis on Amazon regarding the back story.
I would have liked to know more about the state of the country, why there are purebloods, how the mutts were removed from society. I just don’t know what weight to give to these things.
To Read or Not To Read: This was a hard one for me. I really went back and forth over my rating; I personally didn't think it was a solid read; it wavered back and forth between good and meh. Others thought differently, and you can click the links below to see their reviews. I will leave it at that.
Mutt by Evan Fuller was published December 1, 2011 by Lords of Autumn. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know:Mild profanity