mirrani

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Smashwords book reviews by mirrani

  • The Leaving: A Novel on Aug. 04, 2011
    (no rating)
    The Leaving was described as "a realistic look at adolescence and first love" and it cannot be denied that this well describes the book for prospective readers. The story is very realistic, with realistic relationships and feelings, including much confusion regarding relationships between both friends and lovers. No sweetener is added to the emotion or background of the characters, they are purely themselves, showing us life through their eyes. The title itself comes full circle from the beginning of the book, where Cathy and her brother are in school, each taking their turns in participating in the Leaving, graduating school and moving on into adulthood. They find they are leaving previous lives and relationships behind them, something I thought was rather fitting. In reading the original description, I did expect a little more of a love triangle aspect of the story, perhaps more focus on the relationships mentioned, which I felt somewhat dumped into the middle of, but such is the case with meeting someone new. They have had lives before I came along, the feeling only adds to the realness of the characters and their situations. As an American, I felt it was somewhat strange trying to experience the events and emotions behind The Leaving. Having not grown up in Ireland or otherwise experienced life around that part of the world in the early eighties, I was uncertain that I could believe that every person encountered in the book should feel so negatively about themselves or their situation. The book introduced misery and despair into the lives of those within, offering no moment of happiness to anyone and I would hope that even the most upset of persons would be able to find even a speck of joy in some random moments; laugh at a joke, be amused at a movie or book, fall in love with a new place or experience, but that did not happen often enough to these characters. Cathy, who tells the story, constantly focuses on what is wrong with the every event in her life (even the rare happy ones) as she and her brother, Stevie, go about their lives resigned to the misery that is their shared existence. They are aware of their situation and simply accept that it is how it will always be, the only escape is to flee. Surprisingly, even after reading through all of Cathy's focus on the despair of her situation in her family, friends and in place in her own country, I found myself wanting to know more about her, wanting to know if she would find a way to change even one little thing to make a difference in it all. Though it wasn't a cheerful book, it also was not a morbid tale of gloom and doom, simply a sort reminder that this is life for someone somewhere in the world. The story's rotation through leaving school, friends, family, country and an old life was somehow addictive, leaving me feeling as if I had just been introduced to someone new at a bar and we sitting down to learn about each other. I would hope that, like me, other readers will discover how change is possible if you really want to step outside of something to reach for it and that they will learn to find the future in front of them, no matter what might have happened in the past. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Jockeys and Jewels on Aug. 31, 2011

    Unfortunately the title of the book gives away any of the mystery behind the plot itself, leaving "how does it happen" as the only question to be answered regarding the crime that is being done, but surprisingly, that big give away didn't detract from the enjoyment of reading. I highly recommend this book for lovers of racing and for casual fans. I also expect that newcomers who are curious about the track might enjoy the insight as to what happens behind the scenes. Reading this book renewed my respect for those who do what they do before and after the races, even though I already had a large respect for them and their responsibilities. The main character, an undercover cop, was the only one who seemed to throw me now and again. Understanding that he's covering for what his job really is doesn't really excuse his clumsiness with his female jockey. At times I thought maybe he had split his personality because for a while he refused to spend time with her outside of work, then suddenly he was messing around and not very good at it either. Beyond the clumsy nature of the relationship, which was almost refreshing because not all relationships are actually perfect, the book was a wonderful summer read, a perfect combination of romance and racing. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Scriber on Nov. 10, 2011

    Anyone who has played the Myst series on their computer has some idea of what it is like to read Scriber. The beauty of the world before you, one that is almost exactly the same, yet somewhat different from what you know, with a hint of fantasy thrown in and a need to focus on the written word are the real elements that charge your mind as you read. Knowledge in this world is power and while writing things don't make them happen as they do in the Myst series, the struggle to find what was once lost reminds one of searching the worlds in hopes of finding some clue to the next step in the journey. This is an ancient-style world of kings and their armies who travel by horseback, but the people are not lost in their education. Schooling is important, or it was before a certain part in history where learning (and books) were banned. Scribes have survived this time and have knowledge of healing, history and warfare. Their word is almost as much a part of the law as the king's and the telling of this story through the eyes of one famous Scriber makes the tale so real to the heart that it is as if everything unfolds right before your eyes, in true, three dimensional visions. If I was to worry about anything, it was that the main character was slightly too centered on all of his faults, but that was easily outweighed by the trueness of all of the characters to each other and to their situations. The light fantasy left me craving more of the history of this land, desperately clinging to what was said in an attempt to draw out every last bit of knowledge to complete everything that could not be told in one book. This is as it should be, something to make a Scriber proud. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Ox Cart Angel on Nov. 12, 2011

    Ox Cart Angel is a story of loss and discovery set in the days of wagon caravans and boys going off to fight in the civil war. Claire is a Metis girl (someone of both white and American Indian blood) lost in the changes of an adult's world. One moment she is playing with her friend, the next she is leaving her home forever. Her journey is filled with danger and tragedy, but it is equally filled with discovery and the joys of overcoming the sorrows of the past. A perfect book to teach us that discovering who you are as a person does not happen quickly or in the way you expect it to, this story gradually helps the reader let go of what we physically cling to as a way of remembering the past and then leads them into grasping for the more precious memories in our hearts and minds. In this way, through Claire's journey the reader travels through pain and into hope. The story is well written, told in the first person, from the prospective of a young girl whose world has turned upside down in what seems to be too many ways to count. The quality of writing puts the reader right into the events as they unfold along the long road and helps you to see through Claire's eyes and feel with her heart. In fact, the only warning I feel I must give anyone who picks up this book is that the story is so well told and the emotions are so well expressed within the words of each page that you will easily experience Claire's feelings as your own. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Finding Fiona on Nov. 29, 2011

    Finding Fiona is a short story that is part mystery, part modern day science fiction. With a tale of duplication that could easily have been at least partly inspired by an episode or two of Stargate Atlantis, this story will be an enjoyable read for anyone, even by those not of scientific mind. In fact, though the plot is based on events within the field of science, it is more centered around life. There is no overpowering scientific description, only brief little notes are thrown in that supplement the plot and are easy to read and follow, continuing the story along its most believable path. A quick read for anyone interested in the idea of several "what ifs" ranging from "what if there were two of me" to "what if I lost my memory and had to start over." Don't be fooled by the short length, character and plot development work hand in hand to make this a most enjoyable read. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • The Price on Feb. 10, 2012

    When you mix magic and the mob you get The Price, a creative story about growing up under the influence of gangs in South Boston. The main character learns the hard way that magic isn't what you'd expect it to be and that there's a price for murmuring those words, casting out your requests to the spirits who are doing the deeds as you have suggested. A mixture of gangs and monsters isn't as bizarre as it sounds though, the characters were well written and the haunts of the main character alone are written so thoroughly that you can almost feel them yourself. Being gang related, there is violence and so the magic certainly isn't used for good, but it isn't all guns and spells. There are touching moments of trying to reach out to lost family mixed in with moments of pure comedy that appear as incredibly witty one-liners throughout the story. There were places where I let my mind wander a bit, but my interest was mostly in the unusual combination of the two worlds, which blended perfectly with each other. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Endless (Crescent, Book 1) on Feb. 10, 2012

    Endless is a book that begins with the fall of earth and ends on a distant world. The writing is very well put together and can be touching at times. What would one do if faced with the realization that every human around you has died? What are the steps when finding out that you are the only one living, no matter where you go? The descriptions of action and quiet as the main character, John, deals with this situation are very well focused on and often had me envisioning what it would be like if I were in his shoes. I could feel his suffering, experience what it would be like to wander Earth as the only human left, taking what I needed and realizing that law meant nothing any more. The progression into a new world is a result of a combined event between what has happened on Earth and what is happening elsewhere. John finds himself suddenly among other living beings again, but realizes they are not human. He is elsewhere and becomes drawn into the struggles of the people around him. This new world is different and strange and the differences between the two planets are well described without too much pining for Earth. The reminders are subtle, such as saying an animal has bovine eyes, rather than spending pages comparing it to a cow. If there had been more time to spend on this book, I think I would have spent it on the connections between what John left and what his new life had become. He encounters other people from Earth, but once the initial realizations are made, there are only fleeting thoughts about back home, memories of television shows or attempts at describing technology to a people who have never seen such wonders before. While it was good to not have a constant pining for home, I had thought that once all was revealed there would be a few more thoughts of familiar things. But perhaps this is only another way to draw the reader in to the story, because I have found myself wondering if I would set aside Earth so easily, even after all I had experienced before leaving, in order to join a new world in its struggle for survival. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • My Name is Noel on May 31, 2012

    A short, simple story about a complicated subject, My Name is Noel deals with an immigrant child who has come to America because of struggles in his home country of Haiti. So many of us lose what we are used to at one point or another, but experiencing loss through Noel's eyes brings extra thought to how grateful we should be for what we have and how we should be willing to reach out to others like him rather than judging them based on sight alone. This is a book that should reach the hearts of older elementary children as well as anyone in an age range above them. The language is easy to understand and helps you to truly feel what the main character is going through. There are times when we literally see through Noel's eyes and feel through his heart and in these times a younger reader will understand the situation and emotions, but an older reader will be able to "read between the lines" and reach deeper for the true meaning of what is happening. Anyone who has experienced loss of a home or a loved one will be touched by this book. Anyone who has experienced living in a new city or country, who has changed schools or neighborhoods will find commonality with Noel and his struggles throughout the pages. But more importantly, everyone will understand what it is to feel like the outcast in a new place, having to deal with all of the above at once and just maybe this may change the heart of one or two readers who might not otherwise have thought of the words they used to greet the newcomer they meet in the hallway. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Dirty Little Angels on May 31, 2012

    Dirty Little Angels is, as is suggested in the title, a book with a darker context than most. Focusing on hardships and struggles of the youth of today who find themselves ignored by parents and without much guidance, this is a quick and enjoyable read that gives some hope to someone gone astray finding a better path. Of course, it then takes that hope away from you, but in a way that makes you ponder your own life situation and, at times, makes you grateful for what you have. I think the story could have been improved upon by pushing at the characters a little bit more, giving them some more substance and a more real feeling. The build up to an abrupt ending was also a sort of put off. I found myself literally looking at the last words and saying, "Is that it? Really?" If you are someone who expects to see someone face the consequences of their actions, this isn't the book for you, but if you are willing to sit for a few hours and spend some time watching a girl with a hard life try to turn it around and reflect on her actions while doing so, this is a book for you. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Promising Light on May 31, 2012

    Promising Light was a book that I simply could not put down, not because it was overly suspenseful or dramatic, but because everything seemed so real that I was honestly curious as to how it would all end. There are two major elements that are true through the story, one being a love triangle, the other being a combination of magic, adventure and politics, the whole of which makes for some very good storytelling. The characters were honest, living beings with emotion and life to them. I found that reading the pages their feelings were touching me in a way that I could understand, especially in regard to finding out that the man you have fallen in love with is going to call it off with you because he's "no good" for you. What do you do? Well, when someone else makes advances, you go to them, begin a possible relationship, but still that previous love lingers. What becomes interesting is when the three people begin to find themselves entangled within the plot together. The politics of throwing down punishment on someone because of something they can do is also touched on. One group will use a person for their best interests, another will come and do the same. This isn't ground in to you as if being pounded in by a stone, this is dealt with by simple discussion, interaction and personal exchange. I was quite surprised when I realized just how much of the structure of expectations I had understood and how I had taken it away as the concept of being political, though it never felt that it felt that title at all. Overall, if you take an adventure, blend it with a magical curse, and sprinkle it with just a hint of love potion, you'll have one book that you will honestly enjoy. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • River Daughter and Other Stories on May 31, 2012

    I read only the short stories within this book and found them to be a refreshing take on fantasy. All taking place in modern times, the stories themselves have some form of legend within them, a few in places where you wouldn't quite expect. I very much enjoyed reading these and found they inspired my own creative instincts. My only concern was with the final story, in which the mother taking care of her children finds her way to freedom from the life they had been living. I wasn't quite comfortable with the ending. I ended up worried for them all more than anything and wasn't sure if the release into the imagination was more of a situation of passing on from this life... Great characters, locations and descriptions really pull you in. The reader will probably want to sit for a while and imagine even more coming from each story once they have finished it. A true way to fuel the imagination. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • A Heart in Sun and Shadow on May 31, 2012

    Depending on your personal tastes, A "Heart in Sun and Shadow is a book that you will be unable to put down or a book that you will quickly put down towards the end because you aren't the type to read about sudden, massive changes in the personalities of the main characters within a story. For myself, I found the darker tones of the book somewhat refreshing, as most modern fairy stories are not willing to go the distance to completely test their characters with no-win situations , moments of pure desperation, or moments of utter sadness. Yes, sometimes the twists of the tasks that these people are put through are far too dark or are unbelievable for a situation of reality, but the truth of the mater is that this is one of those ancient fairy tale types of books, where one expected a little darkness and sudden change in character to bring feeling into the story. Overall this book took me on an emotional roller coaster, bringing joys with the pains that only one of the fairies can do. Remember Puck casting his spells that always came with a cost, a twist, a price that you weren't expecting? This is right up his alley, if on the darker side of the spectrum. I found myself wondering what /I/ would do for the one I love, not in the literal sense of the actions in this book, but in the emotional sense. This was a book that I couldn't put down. I was willing to accept the sudden changes in character because I was caught up in the emotion and traditional feeling of the storytelling. Reaching the end of this book I found myself wondering what will happen in the next one and looking forward to picking up another good read from the author. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Aaron & Keja: Time Dragon (Orgarlan Saga: Book 1) on Nov. 28, 2012

    I found this story to be simple, but somewhat enjoyable. I was very interested in the idea that this is a fantasy plot that takes place in a more modern time, with cars and television. It also isn't often that elves are the bad guys and orcs are the better of the two. The dragon doesn't really have much of a point in this book, so if you're picking this up because it has a Time Dragon in it, don't bother. Other than being a plot point, like the gold at the end of the rainbow that everyone wants, but no one sees, there's hardly a dragon to be seen. It must be mentioned too that there's hardly an ending to be seen. Please don't expect an end to this plot, because the final words state simply that this story ends until the next one is written. Basically, everything that has happened up to that point is simply suspended until further notice. The copy I was sent (under the condition that I would write an honest review) was unfortunately full of errors, which I would hope can be corrected in later versions to make the flow of the book a little easier on the eye. There were also some descriptions or phrases which seemed overly complex and overly used to be considered honestly creative. I loved the ideas behind the plot, such as a girl who can have conversations with her pets and other animals, but there needed to be some more development and editing to make this work the truly interesting read that it could have been. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
  • Kitsune-Tsuki on March 03, 2013

    Any time I find myself reaching the end of a book and thinking, "That's it? There's no more?" and frowning sadly in the absence of the characters, I figure I must have deeply enjoyed the time I spent reading. This book went by so fast for me that I find it very hard to believe that I spent any time reading at all. Suddenly the story seems to have become a part of my mind and that is an odd, yet wonderful feeling. Kitsune-Tsuki is based on Japanese legend and it is written very well. I ended up feeling a deep sense of culture that came from the story with what seemed like very little effort on the part of the writer. Reading this book was like watching it all happen before my eyes, the visual power of the words quite easily whisking me away to Japan long ago. At the end of my reviewer's copy there is a mention of things to come in the future, based on some of the characters within these pages, and I certainly hope that comes to be. I would love to read more of this world from this author. Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.