AppleSticker

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Smashwords book reviews by AppleSticker

  • Gaebrel's Gamble: An Epic Fantasy Adventure on March 09, 2013

    Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. Gaebrel is a smuggler, abandoned by his father and forced to make his own way in the world. After a few misadventures, he finds himself and prisoner and a slave on a desert-planet in the middle of nowhere, and along with the other slaves, hatches a cunning plan to steal something for the First Captain, and earn themselves their freedom. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong, and now there's a price on their heads and they find themselves fighting for their lives. Overall I enjoyed this book. Gaebrel is a great characters - smart, witty, resourceful - and generally fun to read. The other characters that make up his little band of smugglers are all diverse and interesting, and my favourite parts of the book are the banter that usually goes on between them, especially when their divers view and values clash. There are some areas of this work that need some improvement. The first was paragraphs of the prologue were too long and too much and information dump - the real action starts when Gaebrel comes on scene, and I think that would have made a much better beginning. There are the occasional typing and grammatical errors, and a few places where a line will become a new paragraph mid-sentence, which really hampers the flow and continuity. Also, there's one spot where I swear the wrong character's name was mentioned, and it turned a dramatic battle moment into a confusion. I also disliked the used of headings such as "HURREN'S TALE" and "one month later"; I felt they really stopped the flow the story, and with a little work this could have been simply added into the prose and made everything a lot more seamless. However, this was off-set by some fantastically witty phrases from the author that genuinely made me laugh out loud, such as: "Certain things were to be expected when a city fell to an invading army, among them the obligation of the attackers to break anything that that could be easily picked up and hurled with great force, provided of course it was of little worth. Gaebrel wondered if there wasn't an intact chair left in Isunla by now." But, overall, a decent book and an enjoyable read. 3/5 stars.
  • Abode of the Damned: A Dark Supernatural Fantasy on April 04, 2013

    A nice, easy short story. The characters were interesting and easy to understand, given the small amount of description and back-story they got. I loved the dark, dangerous setting, which from the very beginning sets the tone for the next eleven pages. A great little read, highly recommended for anyone with a spare ten minutes.
  • Dark Genesis on May 10, 2013

    I got this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. When I first read the synopsis for this book, it sounded exactly like my kind of thing - dark and gritty, filled with all sorts of monsters, a desperate situation, and a strong female protagonist. And it delivered on all accounts. The story follows Alyssa, a young woman who wakes up in a field surrounded by dead bodies, with no idea how she got there, or who she is. But she does have some memories, basic memories, and she knows that the world she is currently in is not her own. She soon learns of the dark and demonic creatures that roam this earth, of the fighting skills she posses, and the magic that is in every human being - except her, that is. Alyssa soon discovers that killing certain creatures, who had been branded with the pentagram, helps her to regain memories of her old life, and so with her little band of friends she sets off to find the creatures and unravel the mystery. The biggest pros of this book were the way Dave weaved common myths and stories into the story, and the ones he created were just as interesting. They were well written, chilling and enthralling at the same time. The cons included a few typos, same badly written sentences, and one occasion of the wrong character name being used (which resulted in a very confusing moment for me - good thing a pdf makes it easy to search for things!) I also felt some of the character relations and conversations were a bit forced, and there were times when the plot oscillated between moving too slow and moving too fast. There was a fantastic twist right at the end - and I mean right at the end, with about 5 pages to go, and that could have been explored more. But overall a great book, would be 4.5 stars if that were possible.
  • The Steward (Weald Fae Journals, Book 1) on Aug. 09, 2013

    This was a fantastic book - by the end I could barely put it down! It tells the story of Maggie O'Shea, a 15-year-old girl who just moved from sunny Florida to cold Eureka Springs, and tiny middle-of-nowhere town, to help her ageing Aunt take care of their sprawling estate. But her aunt soon has a big secret to tell her - the forest that the family owns, known as the Weald, is a sacred place to the Fae, a magical fairy-like race who are deeply in-tune with nature, and Maggie's family has been their human correspondant for over a century. Now, as Aunt May is getting old, Maggie must take up the mantle by completing four elemental trials, to determine which of the four elements she is aligned to, and a year later make the decision to become the official Steward to the Fae. At first all Maggie want's to do is get the hell of the Weald and go back to her life in Florida, but soon she begins to make new friends, and the more she learns about the Fae, and the powers they bring out in her, the more she wants to stay. But there is a dangerous Fae on the prowl, and everyone Maggie cares for is in danger. Maggie is a fanatic character - fierce and powerful, she likes to hide her emotions even though she easily becomes emotional, and spends a lot of the time having to calm herself down so no one can see how angry/upset she is. But she has a good heart and good morals, and all she wants to do is the right thing, and protect those she loves. The Fae are wonderful creatures and really well written, though sometimes their explanations were a little hard to keep track of, as were their rules. But they were all well written, diverse characters, and the more you read, the more you worry about just what these powerful creatures can do... Whilst the beginning of the story was good, it was hampered a bit by moving between past and present, with too many long flashbacks. And in the middle I found myself losing interest a bit, as long periods of time were skipped. Then I got to the water trial and wow! I could barely put it down after that. So if you're finding it a bit hard going in the middle, hang in until then, as that's where it heats up. So all up a great read, 4.5 stars, looking forward to reading the next one.
  • Vampire Origins - The Strigoi Book 1 - Project Ichorous on Aug. 09, 2013

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Okay, so in general I really liked this story - a group of vampires, werewolves, and other creatures living together in their centuries old traditional hierarchy, until a group of humans is moved in by their demeaning leader, and all hell breaks loose. I also like the idea of the series in general, weaving vampire myth into centuries of world history is genius, and I think Banks handled those aspects really well. However, the story itself left me we lots of questions, and in many places was let down by poor planning. There were a lot of points where I was simply confused, or had questions, and even thought most things were explained/discovered by the end of the story, I felt they would have been better explained earlier on. Like why did everyone hate Lachlan? (aside from the obvious fact he was an ass) And what was so wrong with him in particular turning humans, when Vlad appeared to be running around doing it all the time? (because he was a Cambion, as it turns out) How were Vlad and Lachlan so powerful - just because they were old, or were there other reasons (that remained mostly unanswered). The second difficulty I had was with connecting with the characters - any of them. Whilst I felt for Alex, Anna & Rose at the beginning, that quickly ran out, and I was soon frustrated with them. Even the humans I gather I was supposed to feel for seemed to contribute too much to their own issues - especial Scarlett (I get that vampires have a certain effect on people, but even on her own she couldn't think anything through, and she was way too emotional/hot-headed for me to sympathise with what was happening to her). Even Ruby, whilst cute and innocent, just didn't connect with me. And finally, the ending irked me. I can see the point in ending the first book in a series with a cliff-hanger, but I felt it was poorly done - it just ended mid-scene, making me wonder if I was missing the last few pages. Sure, it's suspenseful, and despite all the issues I want to read the next one to learn what happens, but I think it could have been executed a lot better, so that it felt like an ending as well as leaving us wondering what will happen next, rather then just seeming like half a scene. Would have been 2.5 stars if that were possible.