I am a retired social worker and currently run Kid Lit Reviews at http://kid-lit-reviews.com This is for children's and middle grade books.
I love pets, having two cats Theodore and Baby Girl. They keep me active and alert. I am near the end of a course on writing for kids and hope to start writing for more than my wonderful mentor.
Where to find Suzanne Morris online
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Smashwords book reviews by Suzanne Morris
- Hunting Elf, a doggone Christmas story
on Dec. 18, 2010
Elf is a purebred Silky Terror, I mean Terrier, who is the last son of a world famous champion show dog. When the breeder dies a mysterious death, her husband sells the entire litter, including Elf, to people wanting pets. Three local breeders/dog show fanciers want Elf for his bloodline. Instead he goes home with June McCoy who intends on giving Elf to her mother for Christmas. June's mother doesn't want to care for a dog, but that's OK because Elf has taken off. And so begins the adventures of Elf.
Elf’s main human is Dan McCoy, June’s husband. Dan doesn’t want a dog especially one like Elf. Elf has a tendency to lift his leg where and when he pleases and eat things that end up returning to the carpet for Dan to step in. Breeders, Selena Kisco and Marie Carcioma, and handler Bruce Rose want Elf for stud services and decide to use any means necessary to get him. Throw in TV detective and neighbor Jerry, new age dimwit brother-in-law Edgar, an exasperated Officer Miller and clueless dog trainer Martin into the mix and you have a delightful story for any time of the year.
This is really a fun book to read. Author Dave Donelson’s characters are well-rounded and full of life. I don’t recall the story stalling at any point. There is one scene that felt forced and was a little confusing. **SPOILER** Several lady senior citizens rip open June’s convertible trying to rescue Elf from what they feel is a dangerously hot car (Elf was waiting in the car while June and Dan had breakfast in a restaurant). There was no clue to the weather being hot or humid, just a few nutty ladies who apparently like destroying other people’s cars. Dan tries to intercede as the ladies rip off the top and throw large rocks at the windows and Dan. I thought one of those ladies was Marie Carcioma from the description but was wrong (the confusing part). In the end, Elf bolts away only to be . . .
This light-hearted story will keep you glued to the pages. Elf is a sweetheart and smart, very smart. He’ll keep you in stitches with his antics. If you ever thought you trained your pet this story will fill you in on the truth. Hunting Elf, a doggone Christmas story is a good read any time of the year.
- Dirty Little Angels
on Jan. 24, 2011
Mom has fallen into a deep depression. Dad is unemployed and makes little effort to find work. Big brother hangs with a spiritual leader who sometimes takes righteousness into his own hands. The BFF is fair-weather at best. How is a young teen girl to cope? Hailey, age 16, tries the best she can.
I don't really know what to say about this book. One big problem for me is the lack of a real ending. Nor was there a much point to the story - no theme that stood out (except poverty), no crisis to conquer, until near the end when the big brother, Cyrus, makes the mistake of going with Moses, the cultist, criminal spiritual advisor Cyrus seems to think knows all. When the kid they "correct" is found all beaten up Moses lets Cyrus take the fall - until Hailey takes down Moses.
The writing was good at times, even wonderful. I think it needs more editing and a better focus. Many sections seemed to ramble on and on without a reason. Filler would be an appropriate word for those sections. If the story was tightened and a conflict set up clearly early on, I think readers would be more receptive to the story. At many times I was lost to where I just put the book down. Had I not a review to do I doubt I would have finished the book. As it is, it took me much too long to finish. As a self-published book, it could be one of the better ones with a bit more effort.
NOTE: Member Giveaway
CORRECTION: This is not a self-published book. It is published by he University of West Alabama. My sincere apologies to the author.
- What Karla Wants (Wings from Ashes, #1)
on Feb. 13, 2011
This YA novel is about the loss of friendship when life takes you to different parts of the world. Karla's parents move her "a few towns away," though it feels more like just the other side of the mall. She leaves behind her three best friends and her school. Karla, like any teen, is not happy with moving away from everything she knows, but Dad has a better job in this new town. Karla can be a surly teen during this time and has problems in her relationship with mom, an alcoholic with a temper.
Oddly, the moment the family pulls in the driveway of their new home Karla has a change of heart, or did that happen when she realized the mall was now within walking distance? Or was it when she laid eyes on her bedroom for the first time or the in-ground pool in the backyard. Point is, Karla's angst over moving, the loss of old friends and school disappear like they never mattered much. Karla finds she likes her new school and is accepted quickly therel.
Karla instantly becomes best friends with Carol, the leader of the cool group of students (made up of the usual type: football players, cheerleaders, and any student that can provide something they need). Except for the short time that Karla's old friends visit, she spends most of her time with or around Carol. They eat lunch together, even though the other girls whisper (I think we are to think is about Karla). Karla goes to the mall, turning the other way when Carol shoplifts (an item Karla later wears to a party). The guy Karla likes only gives her attention or a smile when Carol tells him to. The entire world is at odds with all Kayla once knew yet she never really questions anything.
At the climatic parents-are-away party Karla, all dressed up thanks to Carol and the shop-lifted item, takes her first drink only moments after entering the house, without pause, a bit odd for the child of an alcoholic. She then accepts the hand of the guy she likes and follows him to an upstairs bedroom, again without pause.. There he pretends to like her and proceeds to play baseball, hitting a home run over Karla's objections. Suddenly the door flies open and four more guys take a swing. This was all Carol's idea of revenge. What had Karla done to deserve this? She had the audacity to change schools. Seriously? Because Karla had gone to a rival high school she was slipped the date drug, not once but twice leading to an overdose. Revenge in the form of rape, which gets out of hand and becomes a gang rape. Seriously? And the ending? Where is it? Loose threads are everywhere making for a completely dissatisfying end. What was the author thinking leaving everything unfinished like this?
For me book was difficult to stay with in the beginning. Those first few pages, until the actual move, are dry, without a hook to make the pages turn. Once the move occurred the pace picked up yet still dragged at times. The voice of the kids sounded the same. Everyone used the slang "'Kay" including the adults way too many times. The phrase became annoying.
I think the entire book needs a re-edit and polished. It could be a good story, even an interesting story, a horror story Just not a cautionary story, unless gang rape revenge for being the new kid in school has become a problem. The ending was non-existent and immediately made me think the author was more interested in fishing for a sequel than finishing "book one." I do not know if I could read another Karla story; the character is not compelling. I do think everyone who reads this will want that missing ending and be frustrated to find it doesn't exist.
NOTE: received from author