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Smashwords book reviews by Susan Lulgjuraj
- The Beat: A Baseball Short Story
on Jan. 06, 2012
Do you ever have a moment when reading a story and the plot makes you pause? That happened in this book.
Initially, I didn't know where the story was headed. Was it going to be about about a pitcher and the excitement/nervousness of his upcoming Major League debut? Or how a female reporter has to cope with being in a male-dominated environment?
The story seemed to be more about how we never really know people even when cameras and photographers are all around them. When reporters throw out questions, they never really ask the right ones.
I won't give away the twist because getting to the surprise is part of the fun. ... Read more of the review at WordsbySooz.com
- The Soul Ripper (Twisted Souls #1)
on Jan. 25, 2012
There is a good story in this book and once there was less back story, it became a more interesting read. I enjoyed the unique plot and look forward to see where the story goes.
Too much back story and information in the first couple of chapters made it slightly difficult to get through. There needed to be a better balance of action, dialogue and information.
Read a full review at WordsbySooz.com
- Game 7: Dead Ball
on May 05, 2012
As a baseball fan, I'm pretty much a sucker for anything to do with my favorite sport. But at the same time, I'm also very critical.
Game 7: Deadball by Allen Schatz is a mystery thriller with the 2008 World Series as a backdrop. For the record, I was at that World Series, so it was interesting to see how certain things would be incorporated into an event I attended.
The first thing I noticed was how well the book was written. As an indie author, Schatz's writing is very polished. It was a refreshing start because it meant there would be no cringing throughout the book from poor grammar or something else that a good editor could have helped.
It allowed me to just enjoy the book, which I did.
Marshall Connors, a Major League Baseball umpire, is at the center of the book. Connors has to cut his vacation short as he's asked to become crew chief for the 2008 World Series. Not a bad gig, but mysterious and dangerous messages start popping up around Connors until he realizes he's in the middle of a large revenge scheme.
There are a number of characters to track in the book – and at times it felt as though there were too many. During certain passages when there was a mention of a lesser character, I had to go back and remind myself of whom Schatz was writing about.
The difference with Connors and the rest was Schatz's characters was the use of perspective. Connors' passages were written in first person while the others were written in third person. It took some getting used, but I found it interesting.
When I asked Schatz about it he said it was a way for him to incorporate a bit of himself into the character. He wanted the focus to be on Connors although I found myself intrigued by another character, CIA agent Thomas (Suggestion: maybe a book on Thomas' adventure and how he became the person he is).
The book was quick with short sections and chapters only hitting on important moments for each character. There were no long poetic passes. Just action.
It was an enjoyable read and Schatz did a good job of building suspense.
There are two more books currently in the series and I intend to check them out as well.
- Karma Girl (Bigtime superhero series #1)
on May 13, 2012
Carmen Cole is a character after my own heart. It seems I have a knack for picking up books where the main character is a reporter. I live that life. I get it. I know what it's like to go through the ups and downs of reporting.
In Karma Girl written by Jennifer Estep, Carmen Cole is an investigative reporter whose sole mission is to uncover as many superheroes and ubervillians and she possibly could. But it didn't always start that way. Cole became obsesses with this mission on her wedding day when she discovered her fiance and best friend in bed together. To make it worse, they were the town of Beginnings superhero and ubervillian.
Cole had her revenge by pasting their photos on the front of the local paper. She worked her way to bigger newspapers doing the same thing until she found herself in Bigtime, one of the biggest cities in the country with the deadliest ubervillians and hunkiest superheroes.
If it sounds a little goofy, that's because it is, but not in a bad way.
Estep has a good time with the book poking fun at old comics and superhero stories: everyone has the same initials as their first and last names, bombs use an agent called Explodium and radioactivity can be good for you.
The good guys want to save the world while the bad guys want to rule it.
Some of the reviews I read about Karma Girl called it predictable at times, which it might be as well. But, again, it's not something that bothered me.
I wasn't surprised when the big reveals occurred because I figured them out on my own, however, I did like getting confirmation on what I already thought.
Estep does a great job with description. She puts the characters in rooms and allows readers to fully see everything with their imagination.
I also enjoyed the Cole's inner dialogue. Estep writes it in a way that many women can relate to. She feels frustrations, anger, remorse, lust. All the things we probably go through in a 24-hour span.
The book really is a lot of fun.
Read more at WordsbySooz.com
- The Truth: A Baseball Short Story
on March 11, 2013
Jessica's writing was much crisper from the first short story with the same character (I read that too). The world she described felt real in the world of sports journalism. Being in the clubhouse is not fun and games, especially for women and she definitely conveyed that.
I actually wanted the story to be longer, to flush out the characters and their relationships. Many of the relationships are nuanced and there was a lot to learn from both the main characters and those around her.
I thought Jessica did a good job with the story. This didn't have the crazy twist the first book had, but there were other developments that were important for the character to go through.
- The Truth: A Baseball Short Story
on March 11, 2013
An interesting short story that shows the dynamic of athletes and journalists, especially when it comes to women. Having been in these types of situations, it felt very true to life - plenty of realism going on for better or worse.
There was a lot happening in this story, and I wish the author actually expanded on some of it. It actually wish it was a little bit longer to get into more detail about the relationships in the story.
This is more of a character-driven piece than actual details on baseball. There are some interesting aspects when it comes to minor league baseball involved, especially the ups and downs of being a prospect.