April Dawn

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by April Dawn

  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 28, 2012

    This is different from my usual books, but I always enjoy reading different types of stories and discovering new authors. And that is what I felt like I did here…”discovered” a new author. The plot itself was just a bit “so-so” for me…felt like a lot of information packed into a short period of time and I wish I could have seen more of the characters in action. I wish there was more (…MUCH more) of Ana, and I wish we knew more of her story. I never was clear on if Cristof really was bad, when Ana seemed to indicate his reasons for sending Flynn back to break into the lab. And what was found in the notebook? I guess I just wish I had more answers to what happened with everything. It was good, just not enough information for me.
  • A Luminous Future on June 12, 2012

    What an amazing story! I still have goosebumps on my arm even after I’m done reading! Sad, yet heart-warming at the same time. The story goes much deeper than any stuffy old history or text book ever could. It really shows you what life was like for a boy/young man (Teodor Flonta) living in uncertain times in a pivotal point in history. One thing that really struck me was the frequent mention of the phrase “a luminous future” throughout the book. It is used almost ironically to push the regimes agenda on its people and force them to be its slaves while basically telling them it’s all for the promise of a luminous future…which of course it is not. But the magic of this story is that our main character manages, despite all odds, to really HAVE a luminous future…and live a life anyone should be proud of. I really loved this novel and think it deserves the highest of praise. Make sure you keep clicking all the way to the end or you will miss out on the beautiful pictures of some of the people in the book!!
  • Margaret of the North on Aug. 20, 2012

    As I was reading “Margaret of the North”, I found myself feeling torn more than anything. On one hand I thought the writing to be lovely…E. Journey is skilled at weaving engaging prose. But on the other hand I kept feeling like I was always waiting for something to actually happen. I guess for me, there weren’t enough high stakes to provide the story with the tension that its predecessor had. While it’s nice to see Margaret rich and happy and in love, there are no imminent threats, no real dangers, no real conflicts that are seemingly impossible to overcome, yet they manage to do so. It just felt too safe. However, there were some riveting interpersonal dynamics that helped to fuel the story forward, but I felt for a novel of this size there should have been much more on an emotional impact that I can’t say I really felt. Still a wonderful book that I think the fans of North and South will enjoy.
  • Quest for a Dream on Sep. 20, 2012

    I devoured this wonderful book in one night. It was so strange and intense and different from anything I’ve read lately, it was impossible to put down. I absolutely loved Dani’s “voice” and her wry sense of humor. Even when things were getting really twisted she still had a lovable spunk about her. And the writing was simply fantastic. It all flowed so smoothly, like a good friend was talking to me. I liked the short chapters as it made the pace seem even that much quicker. All in all a highly enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend to others, but especially fans of women’s fiction.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 17, 2013

    Return of the Crown by Mille Burns is a traditional fantasy about a young girl who wishes to save her parents and her kingdom. It is a typical quest-novel, and the lines between good and bad are very obvious with little subtlety. There are no shades of grey in this black-or-white world, and for me that takes the realism down a notch, even if it is a fantasy. I would have liked to see the characters be a bit more fleshed out and even humanized some, as sometimes the descriptions were a bit over the top with describing just how “bad” something was, or how “good”. Just a personal preference. However, for younger readers this lack of nuance may be a benefit, and it does simplify what otherwise could be complex plot points. But all in all this is a safe and satisfying read – I mean safe as in I’d rate it PG, no real sex, language (the occasional mild one here and there) or gratuitous violence. It doesn’t feel particularly original in theme or premise, but there is a certain sense of comfort in that as well.
  • The Hunt for Elsewhere on April 14, 2013

    Beatrice Vine’s “The Hunt for Elsewhere” is rich with evocative and atmospheric writing. Great amount of descriptions and details to really make the reader feel they are there as the story unfolds. The main characters are anthropomorphized animals, which will greatly appeal to younger readers. But they have experiences and adventures that will appeal to the older folk as well. There are a few parts that are a bit “circle of life”, but if the child can handle “Old Yeller” or “Where the Red Fern Grows” he or she can handle this. One thing I particularly liked was the way that the crow (Quill) would impart words of wisdom to Saxton that would be educational to the young readers, but without feeling “teachy”. Little things like directions, weather, position of states, even proper English. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a different take on a coming of age adventure story.
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on July 20, 2014

    Leave it to David Litwack to come up with not only a beautifully written and thought-provoking story, but one that will completely take you away from the ordinary type of genre-specific novel and cross boundaries and blend ideas. Its fantasy, but real. It’s spiritual, yet grounded. It makes you think and question things, but without being “preachy’. I genuinely enjoy his style of writing and appreciate the pains he goes to present a well-written and carefully constructed novel that is worthy of my precious time. And I mean that with all sincerity. I would encourage my teens to read this and think they will like it. Give this one a chance, and you won’t be disappointed. The same goes for his other books, too!
  • The Sense of Touch on Sep. 02, 2014

    4.5 stars.. Having no idea what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by this author and the stories he wrote. Ron Parsons will be one for me to add to my list of authors I’ll read whenever they publish something. He has such a wonderful way with words, and I was intrigued by the stories he wrote… and not even so much by the actual ‘plot’ (which were perhaps a bit over simplistic at times), but how he wrote them. He could make the most ordinary scene or action or character come to life in such a unique way, everything becomes anything *but* ordinary. There are a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts that fly through you while reading, and I liked how more than once there were twists I did not see coming.
  • Remembrance Part One: A Time For War on Feb. 21, 2015

    4.5 stars First off, this was one of the more ‘beautifully’ written novels I’ve read in a while, and I couldn’t help but notice how that played off against the subject matter. Minor proofing/formatting glitches aside, overall the narrative, prose, and dialogue of the characters is some of the best I’ve read in a long while. And the story arc… You just absolutely cannot stop reading after the prologue, and the shocking events and continual building of tension and high stakes makes it almost impossible to put down at times. I noted at the end the author explains her passion and her goals in writing this book. Well, I’d say she nailed the human experience… it felt as close as if being there! I hope this story continues… I want to see where it goes.
  • Prisoner Prodigal Pawn on April 04, 2015

    4.5 stars this was the first book I’ve read by this author Robert Sparkman, but I certainly hope it’s not the last. He has a gift for writing descriptive and life-like scenes that make us feel like we are really there inside the story, as opposed to it all just being “told” to us, as so many rookie authors make the mistake of doing. I like that this book didn’t feel stale or derivative, but instead like a new niche of suspense that serves well to help diversify a somewhat cookie-cutter genre (in my opinion). I did notice some editing mistakes that could be handled with a good proofreader, but overall the entire novel was one that I thought was well-crafted and delivered an emotional win.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Feb. 02, 2016

    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 I truly believe she did! I was so immersed in this book and impressed with the level of detailing on almost every single aspect. A lesser author would have glossed over some of these scenes that K.N. Smith carefully and masterfully brought to life in a memorable way. The characters all felt real (not contrived cardboard cutouts), and the way they tell their stories we really see it through their eyes and feel like we are there. Liked the twist at the end, and will like to read the next one when it’s published. Recommend. 4.5 stars
  • Gol on Feb. 02, 2016

    I like how simply and effortlessly J.W. Webb can tell this addicting, multi-layered story with well-developed world building and still manage to make a fantasy novel so fresh! A less talented author would probably over-write or over-dramatize to the point of being totally unbelievable. But even with the fantastical storyline we are all in, hooked on every scene, as the world building always follows its rules which is so important in books like this. At first it took me some time to acclimate and get the feel of the characters and their backstory… was confused on a few things, but stuck with it and it all became clear. A fun read all through to the end, even though some parts are heart wrenching and you will definitely be upset more than once. Can’t wait to read more from J.W. Webb!
  • The Shattered Crown on April 03, 2016

    this was a very enjoyable read. "Shattered Crown" is part of the Legends of Ansu Series, that is about yep, you got it, an actual shattered crown. This book started off slow for me and really took its time with the world building and plot development. I was lost on many of the characters that seemed to be little more than names to me, and few stuck with any sort of importance. However, there were some interesting ones, and some incredibly witty dialogue at times. And as the story progressed, so did the story line, which apparently will continue on to the next book, “The Lost Prince”. I would have preferred more resolution in this one, as it seemed to build towards something just to have it end. But I suppose authors do that so that we read the next one. Have to admit it works. Recommend for adult readers of High and Epic fantasy.
  • Friend & Foe on April 03, 2016

    4.5 stars Nik Olsen has an incredible way with words; his descriptions are vivid; you see what the characters are seeing, you feel what they are feeling; you feel like you are there. I felt like I was experiencing what they were; fear, deprivation, cold, separation from a loved one, confusion, pain, etc. I found the book very hard to put down, as I had to know what the outcome for each of these characters would be. Each time I did have to stop reading, I found myself thinking and pondering on what I had read, and what might happen next. This is an excellent book; it makes you feel, it makes you think, and it makes you grateful for what you have.
  • The Lost Prince on April 03, 2016

    love the author's style, and it’s just getting better and stronger as the series progresses, IMO. Elements that should conflict actually blend together to make for a great story i.e. destiny vs freewill; mortals vs divine, good vs. evil...Each of the elements work in the story, creating complex characters and a rich environment for the tale to unfold. I like the way the story feels realistic despite its paranormal elements. The characters and their actions make sense but they aren't predictable; each action and reaction builds the suspense and creates many possible outcomes. I also appreciate how Webb holds nothing back and has detailed descriptions that give the story an intelligent, darkly psychological edge that separates it from most books in the genre. It's definitely not what I expected when I started the series, but I'm hooked.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on June 24, 2016

    I really enjoyed this story and could not put it down, and as I read this book I really began to care about the characters and was anxious to see how things would turn out for them. However, I thought sometimes the narrative went on too long though and would have liked to see more active plot progression through direct character dialogue instead of just reading about everything. And sometimes I didn’t feel like we needed to know “everything” about ‘everything”… beaning sometimes I felt there was too much backstory for the characters and events and felt like overall the focus was looser than I like. I prefer to have books have a more distinct arc, and while this one eventually did, it seemed to take some time to become clear wheat it was. But I did enjoy it for the writing and the characters and the fact that it felt so reflective of our current political scene. I would read more from Mr. Beller and would recommend to others.
  • Portia's Revelation on June 24, 2016

    this was the first book I’ve read by this author Rich Tenaglia but I certainly hope it’s not the last! He has a gift for writing descriptive and life-like scenes that make us feel like we are really there inside the story and the alternating chapters between characters/times were natural, felt fast-paced, and gave great insight. I like that this book didn’t feel stale or derivative, but instead like a new niche of historical suspense that serves well to help diversify a somewhat cookie-cutter genre (in my opinion). I also noticed how polished and professional it all was, and with very clean editing. I notice that, and let me say it is a rare thing to find, and much appreciated. Overall the entire novel was one that I thought was well-crafted with an intelligent arc and delivered an emotional win in the end, and a lovely message that everyone can benefit from. Recommend for teens on up
  • Pegasus to Paradise on Aug. 21, 2016

    to be honest, it took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going…after the explosive and intriguing beginning it seemed to sink into a really slow period of narration and backstory that really slowed the pacing for me. But then the more I read the more I got into it, and then by half way I was totally hooked. Mr. Tappenden did a great job at creating some really interesting characters and bringing the past to life in a way where we feel like we really know Florrie and Ted and Oliver (and the others…) and also in keeping us on our toes… some crazy events at the end, and I was so curious to see how it would all work out, but it did. I Loved the ending, and I appreciated that this book wasn’t all flash with no substance – the author touches on some very deep and profound subject matter here that I thought was discussed in a way that was engaging, respectful, but also real…shows a different side of history, if you will. Overall very well done and I’d recommend this without hesitation. Recommended for mature teens on up