on Jan. 14, 2013 :
I thought Sketch of Secrets was a good story. It is mysterious and keeps the reader wondering until the very end. The story is about a teenage girl (Martie) who, after school one day (on her birthday!), discovers that her mother has gone missing. She has no clue as to what happened to her or where she went. The only thing she knows is that her mom told her friend that "they" took her. "They" is Martie's only clue. And what kind of clue is that? It tells her absolutely nothing. So, throughout the story, Martie searches for anything that will be able to aid her in finding her mom. Along the way, she meets a boy, Trew. This boy is special, and she knows it. This brings in the romance aspect of the story. Though this story is mainly a mystery, it sometimes feels like it is more of a romance.
The characters were likeable. Martie is mostly under duress, worrying about her mom and trying to uncover the facts. But, there are times when she allows herself to let go and be a kid for awhile. That's when we see more of who Martie truly is. Trew is also likeable and is very sweet to Martie. He helps her as much as he can (well, even above the normal, I think). I did feel, though, that the characters weren't as developed as I would have liked; they didn't really grow throughout the story.
The writing was very good. Sketch of Secrets is Jemhart's debut novella and I thought she did a good job with it. I expect to see her stories get better and better throughout the trilogy and into her future projects.
One thing I want to point out is that I wasn't very fond of the cover at first. I know that Jemhart is a self-pub author, so I understand that she may have made the cover herself. But, I thought it was a bit on the boring side for a cover. And that all the covers for each book of this trilogy have the same picture on them...I didn't really care for that. But, upon further inspection and hearing a little ping in my head as a light bulb turned on, I thought: wait a minute, the author's last name is Jemhart and the cover is a heart-shaped gem! Oh my god...k, I love the idea behind the cover now! (Assuming that's what the author was going for and not just a coincidence!) So, even though the cover doesn't have anything to do with the story, I think it's very clever.
Overall, I enjoyed this novella. Though it didn't completely grab and take hold of me in the way that I love, it did keep my interest and I will continue to read the other two books of the series. I would recommend this story to anyone willing to take a chance on an indie author -- this is one of the good ones! (Plus, this first book is free everywhere but Amazon; so, might as well check it out and see if you like it!) If you like romance and mystery, I think you will enjoy this little gem.
(review of free book)
on Dec. 17, 2012 :
I admit I downloaded this book because I loved the cover. It was a wonderful surprise to find that the book was really good. It has twists and turns that makes it impossible to put down. I really wanted to know who the boy was, where her mom had disappeared to, how did Larzel fit in. I would recommend this book to young adults and adults alike. This book is well worth taking the time to read.
(review of free book)