Mark Williams

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Mark Williams

  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 17, 2012

    I thought this novella by C. James Leone was quite impressive for a debut. He shows himself to me a master wordsman who is capable of conjuring immensely appealing prose. However, as much as I enjoyed the narrative, I found the pacing to be a bit slow for my tastes, especially right off the bat. I was lulled into the story by the great writing, but I felt like I kept waiting for the characters to actually do something. Much of the most interesting parts of the story come by way of being “told” to us, either as backstory or a flashback, but what is happening in the NOW only really picks up steam towards the last quarter or so. Granted, when it does take off it really takes off, and the action and climax had me turning the pages of my kindle as fast as I possibly could. I hope there is more to this story as I was just really starting to get into it when it came to an end. Will be looking for more works by this author in the future.
  • A Luminous Future on June 02, 2012

    “A Luminous Future” is the nonfiction story by Teodor Flonta that starts in 1951 in Transylvania where his father is taken away and arrested in the middle of the night by the Securitate. His father was deemed an “enemy of the people”, and throughout the novel we see how that affects Teodor and his life. This is a powerful true tale of living under a Communist regime, and the taxing effects it has on those who dare oppose The Party. What I liked the most was the way Mr. Flonta made history come alive and eloquently express his perception of a world many of us find foreign, but fascinating. The stories made me feel like I was really there and seeing the world through his eyes, which is much better than just reading about it in a history book. It was excellently written with a graceful prose and sweeping narrative that had me totally hooked.
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 23, 2012

    I've been a huge fan of Sci-fi for over a decade and have read plenty of books in the genre. As much as I enjoy them, unfortunately after a while it starts seeming like I’m reading the same book with the same formula over and over again. This was not the case with “When Earthlings Weep” by Michael Barnett. This novel was incredibly original with a fresh twist to a familiar theme. I genuinely enjoyed being inside the craziness of Mickey Thorn’s world for a while, and was happy with the story’s conclusion. There were all the elements present that I like in my SciFi, and some that will appeal to a more “sci-fi-lite” crowd. It wasn’t a heavy space opera by any means, but there were elements of the supernatural and the extra-terrestrial that gave the book its delicious sci fi flavor. I definitely enjoyed reading it and recommend for fans of the genre who are looking for something new to read.
  • Return of the Crown on Feb. 01, 2013

    For me, this book started off kind of slow and it took a while for me to become connected to the characters. I didn’t really like the cover, and it took a while for me to figure out how old Ravyn was, and I wish I would have known this sooner so I could picture her better. But once I got into the story everything started coming together and I really liked the adventures and dangers Princess Rayvn and her friends faced. My favorite was the dragon and the Harpys. Actually, all of the magical creatures were pretty cool. I liked that they had names and actual personalities. Overall I thought this was a very good book and I really liked it. If there was a sequel I would want to read it.
  • Oil and Corruption on Feb. 27, 2013

    On the whole, I really liked this book. I though the beginning was a bit sluggish (not the prologue- that was great!), but once the story got moving (with the assassinations), it REALLY got moving. Reminded me a bit of a roller coaster in that regard. So jump on board, fasten your seatbelt, and get ready for a wild ride!
  • Corkscrew Ridge on Feb. 28, 2013

    An interesting read. The author has a way with words, but sometimes it seemed like he was focusing on the wrong things. He’d wax poetic about the details of the landscape, but I was unsure about important character’s qualities and motivations, or some plot points. There were times that I felt there was too much emphasis on the mundane day-to-day actions of a farm, and wished there could have been more tension or action. But if you are into slower paced novels that are more literary in style, than this is a good book to read. I actually liked it, I just think certain points could’ve been improved upon, and the ending seemed rather rushed and neatly wrapped up for my tastes. Not too bad, but not my favorite, either.
  • Silicon Succession on July 18, 2013

    "Silicon Succession” by Jason Hoult will undoubtedly appeal to a great many readers, as the theme is one we can easily relate to and get behind. However, some may find the premise a bit too familiar to other well-known sci/fi movies and become bored with the predictability. For others, they may delight in the author’s new take on human/AI relations and enjoy the journey. At times, the writing is clunky and overbearing…there are many passages that are downright overwritten, but there are many other places that the writing really shines. I think this author has great potential, even if this particular piece didn’t really do it for me.
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Dec. 02, 2013

    What’s interesting is that as a Christian in present day America, one might not even really realize the amount of influence Hinduism has had on our culture and how it is not necessarily some strange foreign religion, but one that touches most of our lives whether we realize it or not. From the popular practice of yoga, to the belief in “karma” (thanks for fully explaining that, btw), it’s funny to see that Hinduism isn’t necessarily a culture that is “over there” but can be felt right here as well. I need to say that I am confused by the title about the believers into non-believers and vice-versa—but everything else was very good. The ending seemed really abrupt though, and almost a little snarky. Overall the message of the book was very informative and positive, although there were some times that the tone became tense and angry, which to me didn’t add to the benefits of the book, and almost undermined it. But in the end I took away a lot so for that it was a very good read I would recommend to others.
  • Spartanica on March 30, 2014

    It took me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of this book. But once I allowed myself to get really lost in the story of Ty, Marcus, Smiley, Bellana, et al, I was in for the long haul. The author is most definitely creative and in touch with younger adults- talking how they talk, thinking how they think. No easy feat. I admire how original the story was, how Powers Molinar took what is perhaps a familiar theme or element but completely made it his own. Props to the near flawless editing (I really notice these things) and the drawings of the symbols and pictures were a nice touch. I’d read more from this author, and I’m curious to see where this series goes
  • Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War on June 17, 2014

    A sweeping, engaging work of historical fiction that will please any Roman history fan and especially those who enjoy an authentic voice to their military maneuverings. It is as close to being in a battle as you possible can be without actually being there. I felt like I was transported back in time and witnessing history unfolding firsthand. I know that this book was a mix of fact and fiction, and I have to say that I wasn’t always clear where that line was drawn. But I didn’t care… it was excellent. I think that a book like this would be great to be read in college class as supplemental material… I know I learned more about the time period of the Second Punic Wars reading this than I ever knew before. A book that can entertain as it educates is very rare indeed. Highly recommend.
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on July 13, 2014

    I don’t generally rehash plots (that’s what the descriptions are for) but basically the world has been split in half, with ‘soulless” reason and logic thinkers on one side, and the ‘zealot’ religious people of faith on the other. The two groups are separated by water, and one day a young girl (Kailani) shows up on the Republic side (the science people) and everything takes off from there. I particularly like this genre of fiction because it is making such a commentary on our real world, yet is portrayed in a way that makes you come to your own decisions and opinions. Its real, but it’s not real. Yet many sentiments (the us v. them, our way right, yours wrong) is something that is very real. This book delivers not only a thought-provoking and positive message, but does it in an interesting, and at times, quite profound way. Highly recommend. Ages 13 and up.
  • The Sense of Touch on Aug. 27, 2014

    The Sense of Touch is a collection of short stories written by Ron Parsons. Frist things first: the author can write well. However, I had a hard time getting into some of the stories, and when they were done I just felt kinda ‘meh’ on them. Like they weren’t awful, but weren’t great. This book gets a lot of really good reviews so maybe it’s just me. I though some parts were interesting, but I think overall I wish there was more action or more real conflicts that would raise stakes more. Everything just seemed kind of ‘safe’ if that makes sense. This seems like something that people would read in a college literature course. Not that that’s a bad thing, just not really to my tastes.