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Smashwords book reviews by Iben Jakobsen
- The Mind Readers, Book 1
on March 20, 2011
The first half of the book had me a bit dubious. Cameron was a bit too accepting of anything these perfect strangers told her and, having never been a big fan of romance or teenage obsession and girls falling for guys solely because they're beautiful, that also put me off it a bit. However it's all explained and it was quite a revelation to both me and Cameron what comes next.
The main characters are quite well fleshed out, and I loved the struggle of emotions between Cameron and Lewis in particular. However it got a bit trivial trying to discern who's truly the bad guy and who you can safely trust, and I feel that the mind reading capabilities were also over-used. Maybe I just expected differently, but it suddenly almost felt like I was reading an X-Men comics, where people can do all sorts with their minds, rather than just being "limited" to reading the thoughts of others.
Some weak points throughout the book, but overall I really liked it and the final cliffhanger just hooked me utterly. There'd better be more coming!
- The Ghost Hunter
on April 11, 2011
It's a bit of a shame with this book, because it could have been really good. Unfortunately it can't quite decide what to be. Fantasy mystery horror? Paranormal romance erotica? There are too many questions left unanswered and too many loose strings dangling in the wind. It's a well written book and I loved the concept, I loved the ghosts, the paranormal activity and the good vs. bad - angel style. Truly loved it. And though I'm not a fan of erotica that too was well-written. But it seemed thrown in there at random, breaking the flow of the story. Sudden very explicit sexual adventures, where, had it just been a cuddle and a kiss, it would have worked much better with the rest of the pacing of the plot.
I liked the characters, they respond quite well to the settings and situations they find themselves in, but again, there are so many things I would have liked to have known about them both. Things that would have made me feel more for them and ultimately understand their actions.
All in all it's still an enjoyable read, I just think had it been more focused on the mystery paranormal plot it would have been a much stronger book.
- The Valley of Heaven and Hell - Cycling in the Shadow of Marie-Antoinette
on May 17, 2011
The best travelogue I've read (the only travelogue I've read) - made me want to bike through France myself!
Excellently written, the book contains a great balance between the past and the present. It tells the daunting task of biking for so long in all sorts of weather and conditions, and it explains the current state of affairs and what visitors could expect today and combines this with stories of the past, like where and how champagne originated, what wars where fought there and why. Last but not least it follows in the footsteps of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XIV and the route they took when they attempted to flee the murderous revolution but were captured and brought back to Paris to face brutal justice.
It's humoristic and interesting to read, and I loved all the little stories and details about the past of the many small towns of France that are otherwise unknown to the world. I've been to France myself, so some of the places described I could easily recall and loved reading about now with more historical description than I ever knew. I'm also a big fan of biking around the countryside and could easily feel the author's pains when it comes to biking in poor weather conditions, heavy traffic and so on. Furthermore the author includes many links (urls) to the various places and people she describes, which in my eyes is a brilliant idea.
All in all The Valley of Heaven and Hell hit all the right buttons for me and I heartily recommend it to anyone who fancy a round trip through historical and modern France as seen from a bike.
- Mishap & Mayhem
on July 19, 2011
Messy, poorly written and completely pointless.
The book has no redeeming qualities beyond the fact that it's thankfully short and thus quickly done with. It's a mess through and through, mixing in bits of this and that from Hawaii, magic, faeries, aliens, a dash of Greek mythology for no apparent reason, futuristic notions and an alternative historical past.
I never did figure out what the girls are doing there in the first place, as the initial storyline of them being sent to their grandmother on Hawaii for some mysterious magical testing, is thrown out the window the second they get there. Who G (for Grandmother apparently) is, we never learn, and whatever family relationship they are supposed to have is pitiful. A word that actually also aptly describes all character interaction. The alternative historical past fits in absolutely nowhere, the Greek mythological characters are thrown in there just for the hell of it and is yet another giant plot hole of which the story is full of.
None of the characters are in anyway endearing to the reader and I would have been happy to see them all chucked into a volcano - at least that would have put an end to it. Unfortunately the story rambles on and the poor red thread attempting to imitate a credible storyline is a tangled mess. What more is, the plot, characters and their dialogue and actions often had me rolling my eyes as it's so filled with bad clichés and just unbelievably bad examples of writing. (Also, if I read the "dialogue" >>Wow, crazy.
- Between The Land And The Sea
on Aug. 04, 2011
With the exception of some goofy films here and there I haven't seen or read anything mermaid related since HC Andersen's tale of the Little Mermaid (Danish, by the way) and Disney's much more child-friendly version. Between the Land and the Sea was a very sweet return to the mermaid genre and works really well as a YA book about a girl who comes to face with her own identity and despite the very generic Goodreads summary, the love story in it is very sweet and believable. It's not all sticky sweetness though, not at all, there's both action and adventure beautifully woven into the threads as Marina steps into character.
Marina's discovery of her mermaid ancestry is quite gripping and her way of dealing with it as well as finally being in a proper school surrounded by people her age after years of travelling with her dad, was enjoyable to follow. Though a bit too easy, the friendships seem genuine and I grew to care about all the main characters.
Marina is in many ways your typical heroine; she's good and selfless, loyal and brave - sometimes to a fault. Her sidekicks Megan and Cruz are both enjoyable and though they aren't delved much further into, I came to like them. Ethan is a steaming hot hunk of *ahem*... Ethan is really nice too.The characters are a tiny bit too generic, the main ones each being amazing in his or her field of interest, but overall the story and their places in it works out very well.
The take on the mermaids was great. I loved how feral they were, so untouched by the oblivious humans, albeit some of them might feel the lure of a mortal life with all its ups and downs.
All in all, as the plot graph below also shows the story had me hooked all the way through and it was a quick but very enjoyable read. I don't think mermaids will become the new vampire black, but so much the better. The ending was predictably sweet and very much left me wanting to read on.
- The Moon And The Tide
on Aug. 04, 2011
Marina's tales #2, The Moon and the Tide, picks up the story shortly after we left it in the first book and despite a slightly rocky start I was soon fully engrossed in it yet again.
I had a few misgivings in the first book but they were mostly explained and eradicated in the second. It carries on the story of Marina coming to grips with her ancestry and who she is and what she can expect and it holds a substantial larger amount of action than the first book. Like the first book though there is still a heavy amount of surfing and though I wouldn't know one end of surfboard from the other Anderson manages to describe the sport so well that I can easily imagine the water, the colours and the pure energy.
My one pet peeve is Ethan whom I just don't like. I can't put a finger on it precisely, he's just too protective, too soppy, too sweet and too much (but maybe I'm just a bitter old crone ;)
I really enjoyed the book and will recommend it to all that enjoy YA literature and would like a great series with a great handle on mermaids, the sea and a strong capable heroine. I truly can't wait to get my hands on the third book in the series, The Fate of the Muse, which is expected in the summer of 2011.
- Travels With Tinkerbelle - 6,000 Miles Around France In A Mechanical Wreck
on June 19, 2012
Like Kelly's other books – Best Foot Forward: A 500 Mile Walk Through Hidden France and The Valley of Heaven and Hell: Cycling In The Shadow of Marie Antoinette, Travels with Tinkerbelle is a mixture of travel and history sprinkled with humour. However, though still worth the read, it's not quite as successful as the other two. In Best Foot Forwards she walks across France, in The Valley of Heaven and Hell they bike around the country - in Travels with Tinkerbelle they ride a car. That's not nearly as big as a personal challenge - sure the campervan isn't the best of vehicles and it's mentioned here and there that driving it kind of sucks, but it's just not the same. In the other two books at the end of a day's travel she's got blisters or a sore butt, here she and her husband just want to stretch their legs and walk the dogs and may have argued extensively due to getting lost. It's really not comparable.
That being said, I did enjoy reading the book (though it felt incredibly long at times). It's got a few really great places, where I felt the spirit of the previous books, but mostly it's just a really long, yet often vague description of known and lesser known things to see around France. It never got so bad though, that I didn't feel like reading on; it was never a struggle to pick the story up again either. It's simply just not as good as the other two.