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Smashwords book reviews by kiwikathleen
- Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers
on March 26, 2012
I approached this book with a little trepidation, because the author has been a GoodReads friend for a number of years. What say I hate it? What say I think he's a dreadful writer and should have given up years ago? What say I go into an overly critical mode of reading because I'm like my grandfather who so refused to play favourites that when he was teacher to his own son (in a small country school some 70 years ago) he treated him abominably?
I have to confess that I channeled my grandfather for a while (and Grandpa, if you're reading this, I just want you to know that I understand your motivation and who-you-were, and it's all in the past, and I remember you with a great deal of love, and yes I feel your presence around me from time to time and my psychic friend Yolanda [name changed for purposes of privacy] tells me she often 'sees' you near me) and I read uber-critically. Not good, Kathleen. Not necessary. And I hate reading reviews where people pick the book (or movie or artwork) apart. I have to wonder where all that vitriol comes from (and you've got to agree with me that some negative reviews are downright nasty), or what gives someone the right to be so horribly condescending. So I started reading again.
Okay then, here's my honest opinion in three parts:
1) I really like the way each short story is followed by some author's notes - these help the reader see the stories as a development of the author's writing
2) I found the writing style rather pedantic in a number of the stories. Some words and phrases were redundant and disturbed the flow for me, and there was an occasional grammatical incongruity.
3) Despite not having been a fan of horror stories since I was in my teens (a long time ago, though not as long ago as when my grandfather was harassing my uncle), I enjoyed the ones in this collection (especially 'Blood is the Life', & 'Midnight'). Telander does a plot twist very nicely and his build-ups of suspense really work.
The Wild West ghost story is quite fun too ('Westville'), and the one about the boy and his neighbour ('The Bad Place') which captures boyhood really well. Of the 2 stories in the sci-fi genre, I didn't feel the "voice" of 'Connecting' quite worked, but 'Suspect in Interrogation Room One' rang true.
I'm not so sure about 'Kyra' but I very much enjoyed the sneak peek at the upcoming thriller 'Nothing is an Accident'.
All in all, I'm looking forward to this author's next publication and will read it without any pre-reading nerves.
- In Vino Veritas
on April 09, 2012
There are 9 differently-authored books with the title "In Vino Veritas" listed on Goodreads. This one is the right one.
Thank you, Julie Thomas. This book is fun. It's fast-paced, has great characters, the love story is done very nicely, and there's enough technical input about the wine and wine-growing to make it sound authentic. Not that I'd know, to be truthful - apart from maybe seeing a documentary once, or a 5-minute spot on Country Calendar which I wasn't watching at the time, I know next to nothing about the subject. Good wine is wasted on me - my taste buds can discern the nasty cheap stuff that tastes like vinegar, but it has to be exceedingly cheap for the discernment to kick in; and although my sense of smell is excellent when it comes to checking if the milk is close to going off and tracking down little unpleasantnesses that children or animals have left hidden in the house somewhere, when it comes to the nuances of cinnamon or feijoa petals or anything else fascinating that ends up in the wine, the nose just doesn't go there.
At least I don't mix red wine with CocaCola (yes, I do know people who do that, but I won't name them for the reflected shame that might come my way)!
The action in this book had me so engrossed that I nearly missed my train station (and would have been late for the one day a week I've managed to find employment on). The characterisation in this book is perhaps a little superficial - will the #2 in the series be a bit longer? - that might give room for a bit more depth, I don't know ... then it might detract from the pace, which I so enjoyed .... and having said that, I really like Vinnie and Anna so won't say any more about anybody else.
But to top it all, this book gave me vicarious pleasure in a field that ordinarily doesn't interest me, and that's brilliant!
- Generation Icarus: First Flight
on March 11, 2013
Humanity has dreamed of flying ever since first recognising the beauty of birds in the sky. We picture angels with wings, when flight is not in itself a necessary part of their various roles. And while the engineering of spaceships is about exploration, the first impetus for developing mechanical flight was the dream.
When I said I'd like to review this book, the flying was the major drawcard. I also enjoy a lot of teen fantasy, so there was no hesitation. The only thing that might have gone wrong was that the book wasn't that well-written. Happily, nothing went wrong.
Generation Icarus has all the marks of good teen fantasy: it has teenagers discovering who they are, along with the confusion and doubt that's par for the course (and coming from a range of backgrounds with well differentiated personalities); it has adventure, with an assortment of foes and escalating danger. And it has something that takes us beyond ourselves.
I had to stop reading this for a few days because my Kindle's battery has been playing up, but I didn't want to. It's a great read. I can't wait till the 2nd in the series is published.