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Smashwords book reviews by Maria
- Be Careful What You Wish For
on May 10, 2011
Be Careful What You Wish For by Sibel Hodge is the second book in the Amber Fox Mystery Series. I have not read the first book, The Fashion Police, but this book stood well on its own.
Amber Fox is an ex-cop, now an insurance investigator with her ex-fiancee Brad for a boss. He has called her in to investigate a boxing match accident. Her current boyfriend, Romeo has asked for a break so she can make sure she wants to be with him, not Brad. The investigation gets complicated immediately with connections to a previous bank heist, a bad guy boxing promoter who Amber has tangled with before, and a few murders to keep things interesting.
Be Careful What You Wish For is a sharp, fast-paced story with intrigue, evil, romance, and humor. Amber Fox is the kind of strong lead female character with a great sarcastic wit that I love to read. She's not perfect, and that's ok with her and me! She reminds me a lot of Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich's series - one of my favorites of all time. Amber's investigative trail leads from person to person and you're never sure exactly who all are the bad guys and who is just caught up in the fallout. It's the kind of tale that keeps you turning the pages to find out! I recommend you give it a try.
*Disclaimer: I received this ebook free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review.
- Guardian of Eden
on May 21, 2011
Guardian of Eden by Leslie Dubois is a gritty, raw tale of a young boy, Garrett Anthony, taking care of his baby half-sister while his mother leaves them for days at a time - doing anything he can to feed her. He doesn't want to go back to living in foster homes like before. Things improve, he even gets a scholarship to a prestigious private school where he meets his girlfriend, the daughter of a Senator. But then he finds out his twelve year old sister was raped and he knows who did it...what will he do?
This was a gripping book, I connected quickly with Garrett and kept rooting for things to get better for him. Ms. Dubois did an excellent job creating the characters, they all had distinct personalities with good and bad qualities. The story flowed smoothly and I never got bored.
If you have a really soft heart, this book isn't for you, or you'll be crying through it. There's a lot of drama and trying times, interspersed with just enough happiness to keep you hooked. I can't say I loved the ending, but give it a read and see for yourself.
*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review.
- The Converted
on May 23, 2011
The Converted is definitely one of the most unique books I've ever read. A fantasy set in a wild west-like world with technology beyond what we have today. It's a story about a man fleeing his past where, through his work, he committed many crimes against humanity. He's fleeing the law and his own conscience. When he finds people in his new home town who need help, he volunteers, knowing it could cost him his life. If he can help them, perhaps he can appease his feelings of guilt.
I enjoyed the western setting combined with futuristic technology. It made for some very interesting mental pictures. The story starts out well, getting into action quickly to keep interest. I felt it started dragging in the middle and found myself wishing for the end to come more quickly. Things did pick up and the ending was as action-packed as I could hope for, yet not quite the typical western ending of the hero riding off into the sunset. It's definitely worth a read if you enjoy fantasy.
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the author for free. I was not required to write a positive review.
- Rise of the Raven
on May 30, 2011
I love fantasies, but this one was kind of rough for me. This is a debut novel for the author, and I think he shows promise. The ideas in the book were good, yet I think not quite as fully realized as they could have been. First off, the book is 300 pages long and it was tedious reading for at least the first 100. I found myself confused as to who was evil, who was good, and I had trouble figuring out what was going on.
The book would have been more enjoyable if the characters had been fleshed out more. I needed someone to root for and, though I knew who the good guys were supposed to be - the King and the Khand, I didn't feel anything for them. They seemed flat and one-dimensional. I thought I finally found someone in the young boy Khand, he seemed sweet and I wanted to care about him, but he wasn't taken far enough. Not even his romance with the princess helped, that didn't feel real either. Perhaps the best character development was for the Demon Gaerath. We saw his supreme ego at the beginning move to frustration while fighting for Evindale, to even fear as he took on the Khand.
The author does have a talent for the battle scenes. He made it easy to visualize the castle walls being bombarded, the sagging stones that had been relentlessly battered. I loved the trick used to defend against the wall falling, but I won't tell so you'll be surprised, too.
In total, this being a first novel, I thought the book was okay. I'm sure those who are into lots of battle scenes than I will enjoy it more than I did. I think the author is worth looking into and see where his talent leads him in subsequent novels.
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the author to review for free. I was not required to write a positive review.
- The Eyes that See - A Prelude to the Balancer Chronicles
on June 22, 2011
The Eyes That See is a prequel to Legacy - The Balancer Chronicles. It's a short story that introduces the readers to the idea of Balancers, nearly immortal beings who keep the balance between supernatural beings and humans in the world. It does a good job of explaining how the world works and introducing characters. There isn't really much action in the story, but it's helpful for reading before Legacy, which I will be reviewing next!
- Warriors of the Cross (Warrior, #1)
on July 27, 2011
Warriors of the Cross has a little something for everyone. There's romance, mystery, suspense, supernatural, and a bit of Christian theology thrown in for good measure. The story flows fairly smoothly, though there are areas where it seems to drag some; but not enough for me to want to stop reading.
The characters were mostly written well. It was easy to see Allison mature as she went through all the strange incidents happening to her. I would have preferred Clark and Brody to be more well-rounded, I think maybe in trying to keep the mystery around them, they fell a little flat at times. However, I adored the sisters and wished they would have been around more!
The suspense is kept drawn tight throughout the storyline, I had to keep reading because I needed to know where Allison got her gifts and how she was going to fight off the evil! Overall, I really enjoyed the book and will be looking forward to the next two books in the series.
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the author through Goodreads. I was not required to write a positive review.
on Sep. 13, 2011
Gray, by Rachel Karns, is an interesting story about a girl trying to find her place in the world. She makes a lot of mistakes, but keeps going. The novel is aptly named, not just because of the wolves in the book, but also because of the gray areas in Maggie Whitaker's life that she is struggling with.
I must admit, when I first started reading, I was immediately reminded of While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. I cringed a bit, but it didn't turn out to be a rehash of the movie. Some of the things that happen seem a bit implausible, but if you suspend belief, the story is enjoyable.
The characters are believable. I liked Maggie, even though she seemed foolish at times. It was obvious she was a young woman learning about life and growing from her mistakes.
It was interesting learning a little about jewelry making and gray wolves. I like it when an author sneaks some learnin' in on my pleasure reading without me realizing it!
All in all, this was an enjoyable story for young adults. Give it a try!
- Heart of Glass
on Sep. 23, 2011
I don't read regular romance novels much anymore. Maybe I'm jaded, maybe I'm jealous of the happy endings. But the author, Christy Hayes contacted me and asked me to review Heart of Glass and she was so nice, I agreed. I'm glad I did.
Yes, you could say this is a fairly typical romance story. There's a troubled past, they split, find each other again years later and each fight the same feelings. The difference with this story is in the writing. Christy Hayes writes beautifully, I could feel the salty beach air on my cheeks, my heart ached for Kat and Danny. Sometimes, I even wanted to smack them to get them to wake up and smell the love!
If you're a romance reader, don't hesitate to grab this one and give it a read!