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Smashwords book reviews by Barmy_Bex

  • Dragon's Pupils - The Sword Guest (Dragon's Pupils Series Book 1) on July 03, 2011

    I was contacted by the author and given a copy to read in exchange for an honest review. I have a thing about dragon's, I love them, so the title alone was enough to pull me in, the beginning of the story really pulled me in and I loved the idea of a magic calligraphy pen that could bring drawings to life, I was instantly like, wow, this sounds great. Then we skip forward and meet Liz and Henry - twins living in Australia but with Chinese heritage. Strange things are happening around Australia, birds flocking together in mass numbers, mice running in hoards down the street, and many other strange occurrences. Henry and Liz are learning Tai Chi, and trying to stay connected to their Chinese heritage, their father is full of old stories and folk tales that he tells them. I actually really enjoyed the stories and found them a good insight into Chinese history. There were a lot of fight scenes in the book and they were well choreographed, lots of tricks and spins etc, but for me there were a few too many fights throughout, it took up a lot of the book. Liz was a good character and embraced all challenges that were thrown at her, but I did find her disregard for her dad slightly annoying, I can understand how the constant stories can become annoying, like visiting a grandparent who doesn't remember they've told you something and proceed to tell it over and over, but even when she asked for his help she switched off, then wondered why she struggled to remember the facts. I liked Henry as a character, he had a good head on him and thought things through, he was always willing to help his sister and had some good action. Their friend Sue was a massive wimp in the start, screaming at everything, but you get to see her grow as a character throughout the book and I actually came to like her. I enjoyed the book and the plot was exciting and fast moving, but I do wish the idea of the pen had been used a bit more throughout, I felt like it wasn't used as much as it could have been. Overall a good fast paced read that opens up a new world of Chinese stories and fighting. Well researched and a easy read ( i read it in one sitting!)
  • Tallen on Dec. 11, 2011

    Earlier in the year I read 'Quest of the Demon' by ML Sawyer, It was OK but didn't blow me away. I was contacted again by the author with this book. Tallen is in the first book but only briefly. When I met her as a character in the first book I wanted to know more and was disappointed she didn't feature again, so I accepted this book to read with enthusiasm. I wasn't sure what I would think but was instantly blown away. For me, Tallen is the character that you should focus on, she grabbed me in a way Darci couldn't and I felt myself connect with her. This book takes you right into the world and the action starts straight away. I was literally sitting there in my lunch break at work reading like mad, trying to get as far as I could before I had to go back out, I wanted to know more. There is quite a lot of violence in this book, but saying that it wasn't overdone. I enjoyed this book and admired Tallen's strength and determination. I love her puppy Wanderer - I could just give him a great big hug. You also meet a Mercenary named John and I really liked him, I loved how he was there for Tallen, and willing to help her. I was surprised with the route Tallen chose later in the book, her desire for revenge overtakes her, but it did offer an exciting read, wondering if she would go through with it or not. I enjoyed this book so much more than the first. I couldn't put it down. Incredible. I want more from Tallen. :D 4 and a half stars
  • Dragon’s Pupils - The Peaks (Dragon's Pupils Series Book 2) on Dec. 25, 2011

    I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Liz, Henry and Sue seem to be going far, they have become more powerful and united and are now famous, well their 'characters' the 'Jian Ke' are famous, no one knows that they are in fact them, but that makes it more exciting. I liked that the characters had matured since the first book and I found it easier to get into this book than I did the first one. Sue is much more believable and likeable (she annoyed me a bit in the first book), Liz seems to know what she wants from life but isn't sure how to get it. There are some new characters in this book, the main one to mention is Rose, she was a bit of a mystery to me at first, I wasn't sure what she was there for, whether she would help or hurt the three friends, as the story went on I was hooked in, so many interesting twists and turns. I'm still not quite sure what to expect from her but hope she will come back in book 3. There are some quite emotional scenes in this book and they were very well done. I could empathise with Liz when things went wrong and when something happens to Sue and Henry, I really felt for her. There were a couple of scenes with talking animals that I wasn't sure exactly fit in but they do have a purpose further in so stick with it. Makes a nice change to have something that isn't about Vampires/Werewolves etc, just back to basic fantasy with some Chinese heritage mixed in which makes for an interesting mix. The ending made me wonder what would come next and I am looking forward to more from this series.
  • Aversion (Book One of The Mentalist Series) on Feb. 19, 2013

    I read 'The Other Slipper' by this author and really enjoyed it so when she offered me a copy of this book I gratefully accepted. At only 131 pages it's a short read, I got home from work early today and had a short time before I had to go out again so I decided to start this book as I thought I had just enough time to read it. I couldn't remember what the book was about so I just sat and started to read. I've done that a few times and I actually quite like it. Without reading a synopsis first you have no preconceptions about the book and it just gives you a clear start into it. Straight away you are drawn into the book, the first line is simple but effective: " My name is Gemma Green and I am an Averter." Straight away I was intrigued. What is an 'Averter' and why is it important. It made me want to know more and from that I was hooked. Gemma is a cool character, not your average teenage girl Gemma has been brought up very differently from others her age. Forget hanging out with friends or worrying about boys, she's in training, just waiting for her powers to come into action, then when they do her first attempt at completing an 'Aversion' is with Russ, one of High School's most popular and attractive boys. Gemma knows she can't be distracted, she must change his mind and save his life from a disaster, but something seems to go wrong, and suddenly the two of them are drawn to each other. I loved Gemma's seemingly aloof attitude to life and then seeing the insights into her life, the insecurities and questions about what her life is really about. Russ is sweet, for a school jock he is actually very sensitive, caring and understanding. Thrust into a world of madness he stays calm and is very accepting. For such a short story there is quite a lot packed in which makes it a fast paced read, it's a great start to the series and sets up the world well, including the danger, enemies, mystery and hints at what is to come. The story carries you through and delivers you to a satisfying ending - for now! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, but I really shouldn't have been - I think I've found a treasure in Kenechi, definitely an author to look out for!