Anabella Johnson

Books

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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!
  • Sugar and Spice: A Karma Café Novella on Jan. 20, 2013

    I flew through this charming story while I was waiting for my son’s soccer practice, and I loved every delicious word! It had just the right amount of heat, tension, conflict, and sexy moments. Even though the idea of a mousy secretary lusting after her hot boss is a bit on the cliché side (as the heroine herself even admits), the delivery of the story still felt fresh and exciting, even for a romance junkie such as myself. Delightful, and I’ll love to read more in this series for sure!
  • 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.
  • The Sense of Touch on July 26, 2014

    Definitely one of the better written books I’ve read in a long, long time. Ron Parsons has a gift for composing artistic sentences that just float off the page and into your hearts, creating a vivid masterpiece in your heart and mind. We get transported to another place, to other lives, where we see the world through the eyes of others is a candid way that is soulful, authentic, and wholly original. There are zero clichés or character stereotypes here! One of the most “real-feeling” books (collection of short stories) I’ve ever read, even though each story seemed to have these really strange or unbelievable elements. It’s hard to explain. Just read it and you’ll see what I mean. You won’t regret it!!
  • 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.
  • The Hawk In Winter on July 16, 2015

    I knew by the 20% mark that I would really love this book and it would go on my “favorites” shelf, and I was right! I admit I had no real expectations when starting it, seeing as how I’d never read the author before and the description felt a bit “wide-reaching” to me. Wondered if she’d pull it off and keep my interest, and I truly believe she did! I was so immersed in this book and impressed with the level of detailing on almost every single aspect and the characters were all authentic and fleshed out. A lesser author would have glossed over some of these scenes that Bekah Clark carefully and masterfully brought to live in a memorable way, and made us care about the characters and feel invested in the story. Can’t wait for the next in the series to be out because it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger! Recommend for MG/YA, but adults will also enjoy it!