Update! Due to a change in status of who I am publishing my books through, please look at my new profile on Smashwords: Either look up JWHalstead or use this link:
Jason Halstead works by day as an IT Manager, developer, and database administrator. From time to time he puts on a few other hats as well.
In his spare time Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, writing, and power lifting. He enjoys reading and responding to fan mail as well, so if you liked any of his other books, don't be shy! firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find Jason Halstead online
Where to buy in print
Smashwords book reviews by Jason Halstead
on April 26, 2011
Vengeance, by J.E. Taylor, is her fifth published book and one heck of a fast read. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t short by any means, it was just fast. Truth be told I opened it up thinking, “Oh great, over 400 pages, this is going to take forever!” Next thing I knew I was 102 pages in and my wife was asking me if I was ready to head up to bed yet.
But does fast read equate to a quality book? Maybe I was just skimming one of every three lines to get through it? Nope. I read it all and even found myself wanting it to be longer at a couple of points so it could give me more details on a few areas. There’s nothing missing, I just wanted some extra information that the characters would have also wanted – it would have made their work easier if they’d had it at the time!
So good flow and good story. No grammatical or typographical errors I could find although I will confess a couple of awkward phrases or word choices near the beginning. Certainly nothing to point a stick at and also quite possibly a cultural thing with me as a reader. In any event, I don’t hold it against her or mark her down for it.
The characters showed development and advancement, both emotionally and intellectually. I didn’t always agree with them and even found myself at odds with the main character, Steve, a few times. I’m not sure if my problem was because I had difficulty identifying with him or perhaps some alpha male head butting between him and I.
If she had to do it all over again I think I’d recommend making the book longer and splitting it into two books, with more focus on putting in more content and details into the second half of it. She throws some twists that seemed obvious, and then that even caught me off guard. I think now that the obvious twists were put in intentionally, to lull the reader into a false sense of smugness that they had figured it out before they were supposed to. She’s a crafty one, that J.E. Taylor.
Vengeance is a book I will remember, it made an impact on me. It won’t be placed in my very short list of best books ever, but it’s worthy of a five out of five rating and I’d be willing to argue that point with anyone who feels otherwise.
- Byzantium, Part One
on July 11, 2011
I read this in a single, quick sitting, and I have to admit I did a fair amount of skimming once I got about 2/3 of the way through it. There's a lot of brilliance and humor to be found within the story, but I feel it is dire need of a serious edit to bring it out.
The story did not flow well for me. Chief among the flow-halting faults was point of view switches between the main character and her captor. Or possibly they weren't POV switches but something else - I tried figuring it out with re-reading parts but came away as confused as the first time.
I think Molly Blue has a lot of potential as a writer, and I wouldn't turn my nose down at reading something else she's written because of that. This particular story let me down though - even with the R.A. Heinlein references.
2 out of 5 stars.
- A Previous Engagement: A Novel
on Sep. 28, 2011
Either because of my testicles or because I'm just that way, I avoid romances. They seem to only be possible when incredibly stupid people are the characters. The main character in A Previous Engagement (a clever title, by the way), fits the category perfectly. I thought the male paramour did as well until I was most of the way through the book. Then I realized he wasn't suffering from a series of major concussion, he was just overly sentimental and emotional for a man. Definitely not a man's man, but perhaps he fits with the modern metrosexual kind of guy that's become so popular. I prefer the 80's action movie hero kind of guy. Or The Duke.
One other thing bothered me - the book leaves the impression that it's unfavorable for a woman to have a successful career. The main character strives to do so, but she's not complete without a partner and family in her life. I find that a flawed lesson. Why should a person be required to have a family to be complete?
That's the bad, here comes the good.
The book was very well written. The main character amused me time and again (when she wasn't aggravating me by being oblivious), thanks to the author's skill with putting words together. I faintly remember one chapter starting with a sentence that was too long and made no sense, but I was able to move past it easily and find no other flaws. Coming from another writer, that's a major success.
I read the book in a matter of hours, another feather in Stephanie's hat. I abhor the genre yet she kept me reading. I wanted to reach in and strangle the characters because they seemed to be inexplicably stupid from the very beginning, but still I read on. I say 'inexplicably stupid' but that does not mean they are without precedent. Virtually any romance movie available or even some distant relatives of mine have displayed similar or near exact levels of ignorance and dumbassery. So yes, I thought they were dumb but it's a dumb that I've seen many times before in fiction and in fact.
For someone who enjoys the genre, I recommend the book highly.