Tiffany Harkleroad

Biography

Just a book reviewer, trying to help great authors get noticed!

Where to find Tiffany Harkleroad online


Books

This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Tiffany Harkleroad

  • Death Rhythm on Aug. 29, 2010

    Andrew was unlucky, because he wrecked his car in the middle of nowhere. Turns out nowhere was actually pretty close to where his long lost Aunt Mae lives, so the cops help him connect with her, and she takes him in for a few days while his car gets repaired. While he is there, he stumbles across a local cemetery, some strange neighbors, a dead cat, and some pretty deeply buried family secrets. Andrew is forced to face up to a sick, twisted side to his family, which he never knew existed before now. From the opening scene of this book, I was hooked. The prologue was not an easy thing to read, it was clear from the get go, this was going to be an extremely dark novel, and in the hands of an unskilled writer, it could have easily careened into campy, cheesy, fluff. Thankfully, it did not. Joel Arnold has written a novel that would make King fans not only proud, but thoroughly satisfied. I found the story to be very well developed, and the storytelling quite vivid. As Andrew enters the old family home, and begins unearthing its secrets, I felt as if I was there with him. I really loved the development of Mae's character, and found her to be quite sympathetic. Edna, on the other hand, is not fully developed until closer to the end of the book, which I find appropriate, and I love the turns her character takes. I found the book full of surprising and unusual plot twists, and I was interested right up to the very end. I dare you to read this book without the hairs on your arm standing completely on end.
  • And You Thought Your Family was Dysfunctional! on Jan. 13, 2011

    This is a book all about the author's crazy Portuguese family. All the aunts are named Maria, so he devises other ways to keep them straight, based on ridiculous things that happen in their lives, including, but not limited to Aunt Vampira and Aunt Penis. He also names his uncles, like Uncle Fart and Uncle Nut, also based on crazy antics. We learn all about Porks, as the author calls them, and their ridiculous ways. Sure to make you feel much better about your own family. When I first was introduced to some of Dayton's stories about his Portuguese family, I was immediately able to relate. Anyone whose family is in touch with their ethnic roots realizes that their ethnicity makes them a bit, um, different, from other people. The stories in this book all but confirm this as fact. I think any reader would be hard pressed to get through this book with out laughing. I love that Dayton uses slang and colloquialisms in this book of family stories. It makes the whole thing feel so much more genuine. The style of writing is more like storytelling, and it reads much like a storytelling would talk, with ramblings and digressions. It is self referential, but in a way that almost pokes fun at itself. I love the nicknames for the aunts and uncles, particularly when we are told the back stories. The only thing I felt was lacking was a few more stories about the author himself. Mostly, the stories in which he appears are focused on other family members. Personally, I want to know what Dayton's nickname would be, and the back story behind it. I funny and entertaining read that gives you newfound appreciation for your own familial quirks.
  • Killers on Nov. 08, 2011

    As a police officer, Prosper Snow is no stranger to dealing with murder, and he is always determined to solve his cases. Sometimes, he gets a little to close to the case for comfort. So, when people start taking his murder investigations away from him, he is determined to find out why. He learns that the recent murders are tied to a scientific experiment got bad, and the agency in charge of solving the problem wants him on their team. They will get his cooperation, even if it means blackmale. But is the killer really the person they think it is? I am a huge fan of thriller and crime literature, and I have a sick fascination with serial killers, so this book really appealed to me. While this is the second in a series, I can say, having not read the first, that this book serves as a great stand alone novel. The character of Prosper Snow, although a bit removed and mysterious, is well developed, and it is easy to find yourself rooting for him to get the bad guy. I was quite intrigued with the story. As a student of psychology, I was fascinated by the concept of the experiment at the center of the plot. I was aware of some of the scientific concepts the study was being based on, yet it still felt like a new spin on old ideas, which I really enjoyed. I was surprised to learn who the real killer was, which is always a sign of a well written suspense novel. Clearly, with a title like Killers, you know there is going to be some violence in the book, but I felt is was not gratuitous. It served the purpose of driving the plot, and I thought it was well written. All in all, I think fans of thrillers, crime dramas, suspense, and even mysteries will enjoy this solid novel.
  • Hidden - a dark romance (Marchwood Vampire Series #1) on Nov. 14, 2011

    After a life lost in the foster care system, Madison is happy to learn that she has enherited a house where she and her brother can live. And not just a house, a grand estate, complete with large grounds, caretakers, and resident vampires. We learn Madison's story as well as the backstory of the vampires, until eventually their paths cross, and romance ignites. When I saw that this book was marketed as a paranormal romance, I guess I went into it with a certain mindset. I expected it to be, well, kind of drippy, as many young adult paranormal romances seem to be. I think in this case, marketing this as a romance is a bit of a misnomer. The romance does not even occur until quite late in the book, and the story is so rich with action before we even get to the romance. The story and narrative change with each chapter, in a structure where we alternately learn about Madison and we learn the backstory of Alexandre and the other vampires. I have to say, of the two storylines, I preferred learning about the vampires. I found the writing so much richer, luxurious even, with brilliant historical context, and was much more interested in those portions of the book. I was actually sad when the storyline got the the point where the past had been completely covered, and the focus was solely on the present. While I thought the character of Madison was sufficiently developed, I much preferred the character of Alexandre and felt much more connected to his story. The book seemed more focused on him, and as a result, I was more invested in him than in any other character. Once the book is completely focused on the present, the action does pick up, with a bit of a twist ending. As this book is the first in a series, I am interested to see where the next book goes, and if I am better able to connect to Madison's character. All in all, I think fans of young adult paranormal fiction will enjoy this book. While it may be listed as a romance, it clearly has much to offer across several genres.
  • Outside - a post-apocalyptic novel (Outside Series #1) on Dec. 12, 2011

    The world in which Riley lives is one quite different from our own, but it is the only one she has known. The world is in upheaval, and the only way to insure your safety is to stay within the perimeters. Riley knows this, yet when her sister is murdered and the suspect is not apprehended, she and her neighbor and love interest Luc leave the perimeter in search of justice. What Riley finds, instead, is a truth to terrible to comprehend. This book, in no uncertain terms, messed with my head (in a good way). The setting of a post-apocalyptic world made me shudder to think that it could really end up being that way. One just never knows. I really enjoyed the storyworld that the author created, as well as the backstory to explain how things got so globally screwed up. I really enjoyed the character development as well. I enjoyed having two stories running parallel, it forced me to pay closer attention, and honestly I never caught on to how the stories were related. When the truths are revealed at the end of the book, I was surprised, and impressed with how the author molded them together to form the larger overall plot. Apparently this is the first in a series, and while I am interested to see where the series goes from here, I can safely say this functions quite well as a stand alone novel as well.
  • Outside - a post-apocalyptic novel (Outside Series #1) on Dec. 12, 2011

    The world in which Riley lives is one quite different from our own, but it is the only one she has known. The world is in upheaval, and the only way to insure your safety is to stay within the perimeters. Riley knows this, yet when her sister is murdered and the suspect is not apprehended, she and her neighbor and love interest Luc leave the perimeter in search of justice. What Riley finds, instead, is a truth to terrible to comprehend. This book, in no uncertain terms, messed with my head (in a good way). The setting of a post-apocalyptic world made me shudder to think that it could really end up being that way. One just never knows. I really enjoyed the storyworld that the author created, as well as the backstory to explain how things got so globally screwed up. I really enjoyed the character development as well. I enjoyed having two stories running parallel, it forced me to pay closer attention, and honestly I never caught on to how the stories were related. When the truths are revealed at the end of the book, I was surprised, and impressed with how the author molded them together to form the larger overall plot. Apparently this is the first in a series, and while I am interested to see where the series goes from here, I can safely say this functions quite well as a stand alone novel as well.
  • TWICE: How I Became a Cancer-Slaying Super Man Before I Turned 21 on March 24, 2012

    Benjamin seemed like an ordinary teenager, but when, at the age of 16, he is diagnosed with cancer, he must summon his inner super hero. Giving up, and giving in, to the cancer in his body was never an option. After many hard fought months, it seems as if Benjamin is indeed super human, conquering cancer better than anyone anticipated. While in his first year of college, he discovers that he has a second form of cancer, quite likely attributed to the chemo and radiation used to conquer his first cancer. It will take every ounce of super hero in him to battle a second time. This book is unlike anything I have ever read. Benjamin certainly tells it like it is. He is quite the engaging story teller, and his writing is incredibly real. I find that I have an incredible amount of respect for Benjamin, his story and the way he tells it. He pulls no punches, and never comes across as a victim. There are few people who could face cancer so bravely as adults, and fewer still who can do so as a teenager. I say frequently that my favorite books are those which tell the stories of real people. I think that is why this book touched me so deeply. Benjamin never wanted to become the sick kid, never wanted cancer to define his life. I think he serves as an inspiration to teenagers facing a variety of illnesses and adversities. While the book is pretty graphic, and the language is a little rough at times, I still find this book quite appropriate to a young adult audience, as well as adult readers. Personally, I think Benjamin can serve as an inspiration to us all, regarding whatever it is with which we struggle.
  • Thicker Than Blood (Marchwood Vampire Series #2) on May 30, 2012

    Madison and Alex are in love, despite the fact that she is a young girl who just inherited a fortune, and he is a centuries old vampire. But when Madison is kidnapped by ancient enemies of Alex and his vampiric kin, their safe and comfortable world is turned upside down. Alex and crew must return to a place they hate, the place where they were made, and confront their past. In the midst of this, the mysterious and ancient tale of Aelia unfolds, until we learn how she factors into Madison and Alex's lives. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but I absolutely loved this second installment of the Marchwood Vampires. Shalini Boland does a phenomenal job of weaving ancient backstory with contemporary plotlines. As with the first book, my favorite parts of this book were the tales of old, the backstory set in the first millennium. I found that ancient storyworld to be rich and vividly created by the author. I could smell the dust of the Byzantine empire as I read. I loved getting a little more insight into the lineage of these vampires. With the contemporary storyline, there are some shades of Twilight now and then, and I do not think that is a bad thing. In terms of vampire romantic fiction, there certainly is a formula that works, and putting the human damsel in distress works. But Madison is, in my opinion, a much stronger character than Bella Swan (who I find to be a bit of a simpering, emo bore). She does not sit around waiting to be rescued, she takes matters into her own hands. Sure, she loves Alex, but he is not her whole world, her whole identity. She is her own woman, and I just love that. I liked that the book ends on a bit of a question, it really hooks readers in and makes them anticipate book 3. I also liked some of the character twists and red herrings throughout the book. They certainly threw me for a loop, and give a lot of dimension to the story. All in all, a great sequel book in a promising series.
  • The 90 Day Rule on Jan. 03, 2013

    Jess never expected her life to be undergoing such major changes at her age. After many years playing the dutiful and supportive wife, she finds herself on her own upon the discovery of her husband's infidelity. She takes up residence with her daughter, who is away at college. Immediately Jess is tossed into the world of university life, graduate school, basketball, and, surprisingly, love. I am always tickled to see strong female characters representing women not typically featured in literature, so I really love the character of Jess. She is so... normal. Middle aged, not insect thin, and starting over in life, Jess looks like more women than most of the barbie doll characters served up in chick lit or romance books. I think Jess, as a character, gives hope to women who are in similar life situations; women do not need to put up with bad relationships, nor do they need to act like life is over, even when a twenty some year marriage may be. I like the story a lot. It is light, and fast paced, so it is pretty easy to get sucked into the story. I sat down to start it, and before I knew it I was 70 pages in. It is a completely unique kind of romance story, one that looks more like real life than most others I have read. It is sexy without being smutty, something I always appreciate. And I love that a middle aged woman, with an adult child, can still be portrayed as being sexy. I think the book will appeal to fans of chick lit, and romance readers with open minds. The characters may not be a tiny blond with a heaving bosom and a man with long flowing locks, but they still heat up the page. This book is from my personal library, all opinions are honest and original.
  • The Spiral Arm (episode 1, season 1) on May 31, 2013

    To say Earth is over crowded is putting it mildly; there is no more space on the planet. A new planet has been located where humans can live, but a battle is being waged there between humans and an alien race. Each year new Marine cadets are sent to the new planet, Kepler, to continue the battle. Wren Harper is about the least likely candidate, yet she finds herself being sent to Kepler, totally unprepared. I never thought I would be a fan of dystopian fiction, but when it is as well done as this, I really do love it. The problem with many dystopian writers is that the setting can get a little too bleak. In this book, the dystopian society is brought about because of abundance; we solve our energy crises, and population skyrockets. The world is running out of room. This is a scenario I can actually imagine happening, and therefore I am immediately drawn into the story. I can imagine what the story world would be like. I can relate to the characters. I love that the story focuses on someone most people would consider a loser. Wren is an underdog, which makes me what to see her succeed. I think she is a lot stronger than she realizes, and the readers have insight to Wren's power. I am excited to see where this series will go, and to watch Wren develop as a character. I liked she short novella format to the book. It is set up in sort of an episode form. I think it really translates well. Young adults will be hooked by the short serial nature, as it mimics many teen dramas on television. I am a fan of serial novellas, and am happy to see more of them being written. I am pretty excited to see where this series will go. I received a review copy courtesy of the author, in exchange for my honest review.