Anabella Johnson


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Smashwords book reviews by Anabella Johnson

  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 31, 2012

    I have a hard time pigeonholing this novella into any particular category. The steampunk element was there, but not the driving force behind the story. It more added flavor. But there was also a sci-fi vibe and a lawless, dystopian feel. SO many worlds converging into one unique story that I, for one, hope is just the start to something more and something potentially great. I thought the way characters were introduced and the plot unfolded was nicely done, with not too much information given away right off the bat, but we are left to wonder many things that are explained in time. There is a smooth, almost poetic way the story is written that makes it easy to just keep reading and if there was a sequel (or prequel)to “Crucible” I would read it right now! Highly recommend for fans of unique and engaging fantasy.
  • A Luminous Future on May 31, 2012

    What an exceptionally amazing and beautiful book! I would have never thought judging by the cover (yeah, I know we aren’t supposed to do that!) what a rich, moving, and incredibly informative story awaited me. Teodor’s story is absolutely fascinating and told in a way that had me deeply invested from the very start. I knew next to nothing about communism (other than the fact that it’s bad), but this book showed me what it was really like to live with it, and how all it does is try to crush the human spirit. Despite this, Teodor’s family (especially his father but also his mother) remain strong and true to themselves, in spite of the constant harassment. Teodor’s father is a hero and it is obvious there is much love there. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Everyone should read it. Five big stars!
  • A Song Apart on June 11, 2012

    From reading the description, I expected this book to be told from Shannon’s point of view (the pop singer), when instead it’s told from the ordinary boy Kevin’s perspective. While it would have been interesting to see the story through Shannon’s eyes, we still experience many of her trials and tribulations, and the high price of fame. Kevin’s life is much less interesting, in my opinion. He’s a regular kid unsure about his future, unhappy at home and work. He meets the singer Shannon and his whole world gets turned upside down. I like this story and thought the writing was very good. I only wish it focused more on Shannon’s and Kevin’s relationship (which was very interesting), and less on the day to day happenings of Kevin’s world, which was less interesting, in my opinion. Still a good read that I liked.
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 24, 2012

    Well, then. No one will ever accuse Michael Barnett of not having an extremely vivid and wild imagination! This was one of the most “surreal” books I’ve read in recent memory, and half the time I felt like I was on some sort of literary acid trip (in a good way!) The way the worlds bled together and we couldn’t really tell what was real, what was imagined, why it was happening, it kept me captivated, even though there were times where I worried the story had gone off track. It always managed to get reeled back in, and by the last quarter or so of the novel my fingers were turning the pages like crazy! I had to see what would happen next and even though I was hoping for a bit more of a “battle” the climax and resolution were appropriate. I’d recommend this book for fans of Sci-Fi and fantasy, but it would also appeal to readers who like anything different that makes them think outside the box for a bit.
  • Margaret of the North on Aug. 19, 2012

    A stunning piece of literary brilliance! Wow, it is not often where I am really impressed with the way an author writes (I usually care more about the plot and tend to shy away from the literary stuff), but this book was…for lack of a better word – beautiful. I loved the near-magical way that E. Journey strung sentences together that evoked such vivid imagery simply with words. Although I had never seen the miniseries “North and South” and was pretty unfamiliar with the plot, I never felt lost or confused as we are filled in on the character’s lives when the book opens. After that I was sucked in and thought that Margaret was an amazing character. I also thought the illustrations were a nice touch. This is not a light and easy read by any means, but fans of historical fiction and literary retellings should definitely grab it.
  • Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword on Jan. 04, 2013

    I loved this book! It was so funny, but actually had an interesting plot also! The tone was light and, as you can guess, very snarky. But not in an overly obnoxious way. More like a clever satire that made me chuckle throughout. Right off the bat I felt like I was in a Mel Brooks movie, and I could totally see this book being a movie as well! Kind of a medieval version of Spaceballs or Robin Hood Men in Tights. Clever and well-written. An enjoyable read.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 20, 2013

    This is a great book for teens as well as adults. Not many books I read can crossover like that, but it has elements that will appeal to almost everybody. Millie Burns writes like a seasoned pro and master of her craft as she weaved an adventurous and exciting tale that kept me up until the wee hours of the night and turning the pages on my Kindle as fast as I could. There was never a boring moment and I was eager to see what would unfold next, and if the young magical princess would be victorious against her evil, wicked and powerful aunt. Does she succeed? You just have to read to find out!
  • Corkscrew Ridge on Feb. 25, 2013

    I read this book in one night! I loved the way that Mr. Winter writes and he has a great “voice”. I was pulled into the story right from the beginning and didn’t want to stop reading until it was over. While the premise may not be entirely unique, of new beginnings and connecting with other broken souls, I enjoyed the relationships between all the characters, although I wish that Paul would’ve spent more time with Liz and less with Fran. Also, I would’ve liked to see more interaction with his daughter, but overall this was a nice book and I really enjoyed reading it. Recommend to fans of Nora Roberts, Pat Conroy, and Nicholas Sparks.
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Nov. 12, 2013

    This is really the first introduction I have had to learning about Hinduism and I must say it was very eye opening and enlightening! I almost feel stupid for how many things I was familiar with that I didn’t realize were connected with India and Hinduism. This was a very informative book and in my opinion one that should be required reading in classrooms. It is interesting to read and easy to understand, and Swami Achuthananda did a marvelous job of explaining complex ideas simply and coherently. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and hold a new level of respect for Hindus.
  • The Angela Suite on March 25, 2014

    I am of mixed feelings of this novel, “The Angela Suite” by Anthony Green. On one hand, I found that I really, really enjoyed the story and was completely invested in the characters and their outcomes (especially Angela, whom I found very interesting). I didn’t want to put it down, and thought the variety and salaciousness of the illicit sex scenes were hot. But on the other hand, this book is in dire need of an editor or proofreader as I noticed several things that prevented me from completely enjoying the book to its maximum potential. Overall the story was different and I thought that Mr. Green has a great “voice” and potential as an author. The book’s sad twist at the end shows he’s not afraid to make it realistic and avoids the ‘cookie-cutter’ trappings of many books today. With the help of a good editor, this book will make for a great read.
  • Defender of the Flame on June 17, 2014

    What a wonderful book! “Defenders of the Flame” by Sylvia Engdahl was such an unexpected treat! I read quite a bit of fantasy and Science-Fiction so I’m familiar with many common themes and elements. Occasionally I run across an author who has the confidence and intelligence to write something a little more outside the box and feel original in a cluttered field of copies. Ms. Engdahl writes in a way that is a fabulous combination of complex, yet easy to follow; highly creative, yet totally believable; familiar, yet fresh. It’s a potent mix and rare to find. Although I do believe that this book works well as a standalone, it made me curious about the other books and events preceding it, so now I want to read those as well. But having this be the first book I’ve read in this series from her, I can say that I never felt lost or confused, and I thought the author created a very rich and fully-realized world. Some of the secondary characters fell a bit flat, but they served their purpose. One thing I really appreciated was the author’s skillful world-building that occurred naturally and organically instead of a big “telling info-dump” that is all too common amongst lesser writers. (Like how horseback riding was an ancient times activity, haha). I really loved some of the ideas and concepts presented in this book, and even the most finicky of SciFi enthusiasts are sure to find something they love here. Highly recommend.
  • Remembrance Part One: A Time For War on Feb. 19, 2015

    Wow, what an emotional and heart-wrenching story! I actually cried at a few places, and grew to admire Anna’s spirit and strength… she is a true heroine. The way that A.K. Stauber writes it is like we are really there in the middle of the war, on the run with Anna and the others. The writing is very descriptive, emotional, engaging and atmospheric. The attention to detail is amazing, and while I was reading it was hard to remember that this is a “made up” story, not a real account by someone who was actually there… the author has clearly done her research and it shows. An impressive read, one that I recommend for almost everyone.
  • The Dark Rider on March 07, 2015

    I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did! For me good writing goes along way, and I was very impressed with Andrew Critchell’s style. This fantasy-adventure seems to be suitable for most ages. It takes a bit to get into the story, and at first I wasn’t sure where it was headed, but after a while you are totally consumed and don’t want to stop reading til you’ve finished! There were some editing and punctuation issues that I noticed, but they didn’t bother me too much. Hope there is more to this series, and if so I’d be happy to read it!
  • Field of Vision on April 03, 2015

    4.5 stars... This book kept me enthralled through nearly the whole thing. Good storyline, great characters, and full of all the stuff I enjoy in books. Sometimes I didn’t like all the local-dialect used as I thought it overwhelmed the scenes at times. Aside from that, totally loved the existential aspect of the story. It had good twists and turns and character development, and is emotionally and intellectually complex, but not so much that you roll your eyes and want to stop reading. Just the opposite, actually, I found it hard to put down! And great editing too…always a nice bonus!
  • Prisoner Prodigal Pawn on April 04, 2015

    wow, “Prisoner Prodigal Pawn” By Robert Sparkman was awesome! I haven’t read anything like that in a long time, if ever. For once it seemed like the characters were anything but the stock, ordinary typical hero/protag guys, but instead all had demons, motivations, secrets, and I don’t want to focus too much on it, but I thought the Native American aspect was pretty cool too. All came together to create a fresh-feeling novel that was out of the ordinary and kept me hooked throughout. This was a standalone novel (not a part of any series, it appears), but I hope the author Robert Sparkman writes more like this in the future. I’d be reading it!
  • Planet Woman on June 12, 2015

    To say this novel is totally unlike anything I’ve ever read before would be an understatement! I’m not sure how to even describe this book as sooo much happens, and it seems to touch on so many elements, themes, and subjects. It is fantastical and creative, yet very intelligently so. I think that you need to take your time while reading it to really grasp everything the author is saying, as it will require some deeper thought and reasoning. I think that the pacing was done well, a nice mix with narrative and dialogue, and in my opinion, the supporting cast of characters were almost more dynamic than the main ones (almost, but not… a great balance). This is a longer book, as are most space operas, and when I reached the ending, although it wraps up satisfactorily, it seems the door could be open for a continuation of the storyline in the future. I for one hope it continues, I’d love to read it! Recommend for fans of sci-fi/fantasy/romance.
  • Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons on Sep. 09, 2015

    I don’t know how best to sum up this book by Dave Shaw as it covers so much and goes into such detail… but I was really impressed with it, and I kept liking it the more and more I read. I admit there were times where it did feel a bit convoluted or repetitive and perhaps could have used some paring down in some parts… there is some dense sections that I felt covered a lot of territory and I really needed to go slow and fully take it all in. But while I was reading this, I kept experiencing such a wonderful feeling of understanding and hope… like there are reasons for what happens, and it is all according to His plan. I am very familiar with the Bible, but I found there were things Dave Shaw covers in this book that I hadn’t considered before. I particularly enjoyed the last 15% or so and the author’s personal testimony at the end. I felt that speak to me. And I really enjoyed the “Dog Days” vignettes. Great touch to break it up!
  • Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse on Oct. 24, 2015

    awesome. I almost feel like I read five books instead of one, so much happened! Once I started reading this book I didn’t want to put it down until I’d finished. Seemed never a good place just to stop for a while as the action continued to build and build. Some pretty far out there scenarios that come to life, but well-executed. Love the scenes with Perez and the fighter team the best – those girls are awesome, great energy and dialogue. I personally feel that there could have been a bit more depth to the characters, and some scenes seemed a bit too rushed, and not explained enough. There were so, so many characters and for a shorter book it seemed like overkill at times. Liked the ending, though, and didn’t expect some things to happen that did. Glad to see this author has a few other series out there, will be reading those as well. Recommend to fans of SciFi, action, adventure, space-opera, dystopian.
  • Howlers in Heat on Oct. 26, 2015

    I must commend author M. Alex Hennessy for taking a very saturated genre filled with overused clichés and stereotypical stock characters and adding his own unique spin to it. The foreign country setting was a nice touch, and I liked the flavor it brings to the table. Great writing and characters, and even though it takes some time to get to the sexy parts, when it gets there – oh, my… hang on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen. I adore animals, so I enjoyed this element of them studying the howlers, and the added element of the dangerous threats they faced which gave the story a great tension to pull it forward. Liked that we felt like we are really in the story as a part of it, as opposed to it being ‘told’ to us as many rookie authors make the mistake of doing. This is more than just an erotica… it is a smart, exotic, adventurous thriller with some of the hottest sex scenes I’ve encountered since, well, ever! Fans of Sylvia Day and JR Ward will love it. Hope the next one is available soon, if there is one (don’t see any mention of it…)
  • The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    This novel by Cher Foth is one of the most original and well-crafted novels I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the get-go, and absolutely loved the author’s use of description of the different scenery and locales, and her attention to detail. It struck me as being very different from much of the typical YA/NA fare out there these days, and it seems like there is something of everything… romance, mystery, action, drama, history, and I enjoyed the multi-cultural element a lot. This book seems like it is a standalone but I would love to read more from this author in the future. Recommend for teens on up.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Dec. 29, 2015

    well written and very creative, “The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses” from K.N. Smith is an absolute must-read for fans of novels such as Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, etc. “Urban Boys” holds its own with the top-notch writing and plot structure, and an exciting, varied cast of colorful characters and plenty of supernatural and thrills to go around. There are some familiar tropes here (as with most paranormal), however, I feel Ms. Smith did a great job of bringing in a unique voice and making the story wholly her own, and giving it a fresh feel. I didn’t feel like I’ve read this million times before. A few things, I thought at times there was way too much “telling” instead of showing. Not too bad, but some parts dragged toward the middle. But an engrossing story with near perfect editing, and I’m ready for the next one!
  • Gol on Dec. 29, 2015

    I’d become familiar with author JM Webb when I read his novel “The Haven” last month. I was blown away by the sheer awesomeness of it, so when I heard he’d written another book, I jumped at the chance to read it, even though fantasy isn’t a genre I read a lot of. I can say that this newest effort, “Gol” (The Legends of Ansu), while totally different than his first one, was just as, if not even more, amazing. Mr. Webb has done an admirable job of ramping up tension and giving the characters some pretty complicated, impossible, life-threatening obstacles to overcome. The world building is brilliant, and even a little frightening, but in a good way. Fast paced and well written, “Gol” had me hooked and I think has made me a fantasy fan. It just felt like such a big story, one that I’ll remember for a long time. Recommend for adults as there is language and some mature scenes. A must read for fans of epic/high fantasy.
  • Rogue Event on Jan. 18, 2016

    4.5 stars I really enjoyed “Rogue Event” by author J.M. Erickson, even though science-fiction isn’t usually one of my more preferred genres (don’t dislike it, just don’t generally gravitate). But I was really impressed! I really liked the setup with it being in the future and feelings were considered ‘bad’ and they had to take pills to act like robots. There are people living under the earth that provide the energy, and a ‘rogue planet’ is passing near Earth throwing things into chaos. Wow! I thought that Mr. Erickson did such a wonderful job with the descriptions of the world and the different characters. There are several of them, some more fully fleshed out than others, and I was so shocked at some things that happened. Emotionally engaging and with lots of action considering the shorter length. Would have been cool to see what the author could have done with this had it been longer. Very cool promise! Feels pretty suitable for mature teens on up. I had a great time reading this!
  • Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery on Feb. 08, 2016

    I loved this book and read the whole thing in one week, which is fast for me, especially because I have no free time to read these days. But it just seemed to go by so fast and I never wanted to stop reading it, even late into the evening. I was mesmerized by the intriguing world Witham creates, one so realistic and authentic, yet something a small town Kansas gal like myself doesn’t necessarily experience- felt like I just travelled all over the world! Loved the art element and the personal detailing that added the flavor and authenticity needed to really bring the characters and story to life. Too much happens in this book to cover properly in a short review so you really just have to read it for yourself… you will not be disappointed!
  • Friend & Foe on April 30, 2016

    just a fair warning…when starting “Friend & Foe” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off unforgettable beginning and just keeps going from there. The characters of Ben and Joe and Beth (and really all the others as well…) are so well-developed and fully fleshed out. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel the author managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me these really awesome stories that I didn’t want to stop listening to. There are some surprising twists and some parts that really catch you off guard… but that just made the book even more amazing. A great start to a promising series, and I’m ready to read the next one when it’s available. Recommend.
  • Earth Angel (Angels and Seers: Book One) on June 07, 2016

    3.5 stars I really enjoyed this book, “Earth Angel” by Stephanie Woods as far as the story, plot, and characters are concerned. I did think the beginning was a little slow and with way too much ‘telling’ backstory and setup. I like Wood’s ‘voice’ and style of writing, just didn’t like all the narrative at the beginning. And there are some minor punctuation/proofing things I noticed as well. However, with that said, there is an interesting story here and some great character development, especially with Lucy. I thought it had some fresh ideas, and kept my attention from the intriguing/sad opening to the cliffhanger ending (you’ve been warned). It is a relatively quick read, one I finished in a few sittings (maybe I just didn’t want to stop reading…) but Woods takes her time in carefully developing the various storylines so that we the readers are thoroughly invested the whole way through. Will appeal to fans of Twilight, Hush, Hush, Lauren Kate books, etc…
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on June 07, 2016

    from the opening pages of “Not Black and White” I knew it would be different from the books I’ve been reading lately and I was right! Mr. Beller sets up the scene and characterizations in a skillful way that not only pulls us in right away, but creates great visualizations and elicits emotional investments. The name of the book comes from the fact that much is done in the ‘gray area’ in politics, and corruption and shady dealings are prevalent on both sides of the aisle. The storyline is gritty, and truly scary if you really think about it, but it is no secret that the history of gangland politics in Chicago has left more than one corpse in its wake, and put some pretty suspect characters into positions of great power. I truly cared about the characters’ fates, and was shocked and saddened at certain things (no spoilers). An interesting and diverse cast of characters, flawed, and with power (some without) along with several intriguing and frighteningly realistic plotlines interwoven against a politically volatile setting makes this a moving and memorable read.
  • Portia's Revelation on July 10, 2016

    to say that is not like most books I read is a huge understatement. First off, I loved that it was set in Ancient Roman Times (most of it at least), as it is current enough to be relevant, but different enough to be interesting. I usually stick to more contemporary romance/fiction (I don’t normally care for historical…) but this one really transported me and I loved every page. It is interesting to see how everything was back then (felt like I was watching a movie or something), and I like that for a fiction novel it included real events/people making it feel even more authentic and real, yet it is clearly creative, and intelligently so. It would be too easy to read “Portia’s Revelation” really fast but I encourage you to take your time or you’ll be sad when it’s over like I was! I think that Rich Tenaglia has found himself a nice niche with this genre and I hope he keeps at it. I’d love to read more.
  • Erin Moynahan on Sep. 07, 2016

    just a heads up…when starting “Erin Moynahan” by Brian George make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! (and it’s a long book! HA! )The book starts off with an intriguing beginning that established the ‘secretive military’ lifestyle of Erin’s father, Steven, and his wife (a neurologist) named Tessa. It gives a glimpse into the danger and intrigue of their life and then introduces us to some ‘bad guys/girls’ and we see how it all intersects. The main characters are so well-developed and fully realized, I feel like I know them personally. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel Mr. George managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me this really awesome story that I didn’t want to stop listening to, with more ups and downs than an action-packed roller coaster. There are some surprising twists and some parts that really catch you off guard… but that just made the book even more addicting. Totally unlike anything I’ve read before and I read a lot, especially YA. There are some pretty standard elements here, naturally, but I thought that George did a terrific job of making the story completely his own and unique in its own right, and also incorporated more emotional issues that teens can relate to – not just ‘superpowers and military fighting’ stories. But real, human conditions. I could see this having cross-genre appeal so even if YA dystopian/fantasy/action isn’t your fave, the terrific scene-building, suspenseful and action-packed plot, and engaging, authentic characters will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Recommend.
  • A Book for Oreo on Oct. 24, 2016

    wow, okay tears! I never expected this book to affect me the way that it did! Even though in the opening we know that Oreo has already passed, I feel like once we got to know him and live life with him, when it happens again at the end I was so sad!! Such a moving story, and so much more than just being about some ordinary cat. Oreo, and Ms. Jardine’s relationship with him, was truly something special and something that many pet owners will easily relate to. Even non pet owners will have a fun time reading about this precious cat and what an adorable, mischievous boy he was! Hats off to the author for sharing their story and for donating proceeds to animal charities. That is extremely kind. Recommend.
  • LUCID Nightmare on April 26, 2017

    3.5 stars This novella by E. Clay was so much more than just a simple ‘horror’ story to me. The writing is so good…strong prose that really sweeps us along in the story. I did feel that perhaps the beginning was a bit slow and took too long to get to the inciting incident, especially for such a short book. Seemed to be a bit too much “setting up” before the hook, and some scenes and conversations that didn’t really seem necessary (more filler, chit-chat). The pacing did pick up however, and I didn’t want to stop reading from about halfway on… Overall the plot had more depth and complexity than I anticipated, and the several parts truly shocked me. Nice twist at the end, and while I think it could have been a little longer and further fleshed out, “LUCID Nightmare” is certainly worth a read for fans of horror/suspense/paranormal, and it is interesting that the story is based on real events. I’d be happy to read more from E. Clay in the near future.
  • Go Down Swinging: Erotic Romance for Professional Women on May 03, 2017

    wild and uninhibited, a place where your naughtiest fantasies come to life! This book is just what I needed to start my day off right! Haha… I liked that I was able to read the whole book in one sitting because I don’t have tons of free time, but I was impressed how much sexy scenes were packed in there, and the plot is actually good too! The things that really stood out for me was how well written it was, and the characters were interesting even though the story is short. Carlos is a great guy and we support him through his marriage drama and enjoy watching him carry out his plan! Sexy scenes that are fun and believable and interesting characters throughout. Love Colleen and wish I had a cousin like her too! This is two novellas in one, but to be honest not sure why it is set up that was as it can easily just be one story, but still definitely worth the time! Highly recommended (for adults only!)