Darla Ortiz

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Darla Ortiz

  • A Luminous Future on June 20, 2012

    The whole time I was reading this book, I felt like I was part of something really special. Now that I have finished, I feel so privileged to have met these characters, if only by reading about them. They truly came alive on the pages and through the words of Mr. Flonta. I especially loved that this book is based on someone’s real life who isn’t famous and talking about their fame or latest drug addictions. This book is real…it’s about what is really real, and what really matters. It gives a grand view of life that is so different from what we may be used to, yet we can totally relate to at the same time. I loved all the characters, but in particular, I thought Teodor’s mother and father were simply amazing, and I found myself rooting for them and supporting the father from the very beginning. The stories moved me in a way that I didn’t expect at all, and I’m thankful for having read this book. You should too!
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 24, 2012

    This book had a little bit of everything…action, drama, romance, shapeshifting, time-travel, alien-human-hybirds, you name it. The main character Mickey is having these recurring nightmares, and his girlfriend Patience is worried about him. She wants him to go to a doctor as these night terrors are really starting to affect his life. What he finds out is not only are the dreams really happening, but he isn’t at all who he thought he was, and the whole world could be at risk unless he saves it. I was glued to my kindle from start to finish and was totally wrapped up in this intricate universe and layers of plots that Michael Barnett weaved. I felt like this could almost be made into a series, or at least continued on more. I wonder if there are any plans for that? Anyways, I really liked this book and think almost anyone would find something to appreciate
  • Margaret of the North on Aug. 24, 2012

    First and foremost, I must commend the author E Journey on writing such a beautiful and moving novel. It must have taken a long time and much effort, and it really shows in the pages of Margaret of the North. I’ve read too many books where it is obvious the author rushed the process or was just “winging it”, and this is clearly not the case here. The narrative was tight and strong, and the plots were well thought out and artfully woven together. I am a stickler for grammar and punctuation, and was pleased at the level of editing found here that is rare to find in many Indie published books. Bravo. I do wish, however, that there could have been a bit more action and tension that would propel the reader forward. While the prose was lovely and lyrical, I felt a certain lack of urgency that made me HAVE to turn the page…I just did it because I wanted to. This is not a light or a quick read, but it is one that will consume you for days and leave you happier for having read it.
  • Blood Skies (Book 1) on Sep. 05, 2012

    I struggled with trying to decide whether or not to give this novel 4 or 5 stars. Only rarely do I give out 5, but this book won out eventually simply for the fact that I couldn’t put it down and read it in one night (pretty rare), and also because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since! It is memorable and haunting, with some of the best characters I’ve come across in a long time. But it was the scenery and the way that Steven Montano created the world-building as the setting that has really stuck in my head. The imagery was so descriptive and real-feeling…I got the goosebumps more than once and had to keep reminding myself it was just a book! It felt like I was watching a movie at times, and the writing was better than most I’ve seen in this genre. It was almost literary, but still easy to read. Cannot recommend this book highly enough and can’t wait to get my hands on the next one.
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 17, 2012

    I don’t give out five stars very often and I wavered a bit on this one because I felt there were definitely some parts that dragged and didn’t feel necessary. However, at the end of the day I have to give it the highest praise (5 stars), because this is one of the best stories I’ve read all year (and I read a LOT!) The level of intimate details, the wide –ranging plotline, the building suspense and tension, and the overall authentic, gritty feel of the portrayal of the drug life was downright impressive. Mr. Rafkin and Mr. Pagano did a great jobt of making the reader feel like we are inside the novel at all times, not at arm’s length with the details being “told” to us. And the whole time I was reading it I was wondering if it was “really” true, but I want to believe that it is. But the fact of the matter is this was an engrossing read that was excellently written and kept me entertained for hours, and I will definitely be telling my friends about it. So it doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 26, 2013

    Although this book moved along at a slower pace than what I am used to, I felt the message of the book was good. The writing was good enough to keep me involved and turning the pages, but I could put it down. The other reviews give some synopsis detail so I won't repeat. Let me just say that I liked the way the author depicted characters dealing with choices and situations. The writing style switched from different characters point of view which added to the depth of the book. I think if it had been written from just one point of view, I wouldn’t have been as good. Overall, I like the book and liked the enchanted landscape the author created.
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Dec. 22, 2013

    This was a great book with excellent information. I would have liked to see some footnotes with links to source material for some of the facts and statistics, even though I could probably double check the info myself, it seems in a book like this it would be standard. Apart from the information Swami Achuthananda is imparting on readers about Hinduism and India, he also doesn’t hold back his feelings, whether it be about Americans approach to the accents, or other authors’ approach to teaching/studying Hinduism. The best word I can think of is at times “caustic” and I didn’t really like it. But that was only in a few places and on the whole I’d say this was an excellent book, one that would fit nicely into almost any bookshelf in America or elsewhere. Obviously the author is a skilled writer and thinker and if he writes more in the future I’d be very interested in reading it.
  • Thadius on Nov. 22, 2014

    I have mixed feelings of “Thadius” by Lawrence BoarerPitchford. On one hand the premise is very interesting and captivating, as is the setting and the characters. The author clearly knows his business when writing historical fiction in terms of voice and detailing. On the other hand, I felt that for much of it, the tension just wasn’t there that I’d need to thrust the story forward, at least not until way later in the book. There were several scenes and conversations where while nice to read, really didn’t add to the plot, so it just sort of weighed it down and slowed the momentum. In another genre (say, straight literary historical fiction), this would not be a problem at all, but in a thriller/mystery/suspense, there needs to be more of a compelling thrust throughout. Overall a decent novel that could use some tweaks, but the story is a good one indeed. I’d be interested in reading more from this author in the future.
  • Planet Woman on June 12, 2015

    Planet Woman by Judith Rook is by far one of the most original, well-crafted, and best-written 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 World, the different scenery and locales, and her attention to detail with the characters. LOVE this concept behind this. There is something of everything… Besides the obvious science/fiction/fantasy angle… it is also part mystery, mystical, thriller, action, drama, and of course romance! Excellent editing, and I will love to read more from Ms. Rook in the future!
  • Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons on Sep. 02, 2015

    I suspect many believers will happily gobble this book up, as it is a very coherent and impressive study of the role that God intended Lucifer/Satan to play in His plan for mankind. Because wondering the role of Good and Bad in this life, and questioning why God would even create Lucifer is something that almost every Christian questions at some point. I appreciated Mr. Shaw’s coherent and well-thought out questions and arguments, and his evidence from Scripture and his reasoning. Very relatable and quite astute. I enjoyed reading this and would recommend this to others (Christians and non-believers) alike without hesitation.
  • Howlers in Heat on Oct. 22, 2015

    I’m one of those people who after reading “fifty shades” and the “crossfire novels” basically started inhaling everything I could find in the genre. I don’t want just ‘sex’ in my books… I want a story and some character development. I want to be caught up in the emotions and genuinely wonder about the outcome, like I did here reading “Howlers in Heat”. I think the author has great talent, even if at times I did feel he perhaps played it a bit safe at times and I would’ve liked to have explored the characters and their motivations deeper. I think bottom line is while I really enjoyed the story and will recommend it to others, there wasn’t one time where I wondered if the characters would work it out. For me that’s something I like feeling… the deep conflict that is almost impossible to overcome, although the ending shows more promise. A few minor editing things, but nothing terrible. Great dialogue, and the characters were genuine and believable. Hope the next one comes out soon, as the ending leaves us wondering what will happen next. Recommend for adults only as this is firmly in the erotica genre.
  • The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    This book was terrific! Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the whole thing. It pulls you in from the beginning, and I enjoyed the author’s “voice” and style of writing. The interweaving plotlines were incredibly well-crafted and not predictable, and the mid-east infusion was a new angle for me. It is clear that the author Cher Foth has done her research and knows what she’s talking about in regards to the different cultures traditions and personalities. The characters were all interesting and fully realized, and although there were some grammatical and punctuation errors, it wasn’t anything that really bothered me. I’d love to read more from this author in the future!
  • Gol on Jan. 07, 2016

    I praise “Gol” by J.W. Webb not just for the fine writing and clean editing (THANK YOU!!) but also for the deeply emotional and multi-layered complexity of themes that made it such a rich and rewarding reading experience. Rarely do I get so sucked into books like this where it feels like every page is something that affects me on some level, whether just enjoying the lovely prose, or being mad at characters, or worrying about them, or laughing at something they said… . It was such a brutal, heart-tugging experience from the beginning all the way through to the end. And just when it looked like things might be all fine, the author had a huge twist in store for us. Ugh. But so, so good. Ready for more from this amazing series and can’t recommend highly enough to fans of the genre. Adults only.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Jan. 07, 2016

    I found THE URBAN BOYS: DISCOVERY OF THE SENSES to be absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters who you grow to care about deeply, but it is also surprisingly relevant on various aspects of life that we face in the day-to-day, whether or not we realize it. Deeper, profound questions and scenarios that examine life beneath the surface, and raises questions that make you think even if it just seems at first glance to be another YA paranormal. It has more heart, character, and depth than most I’ve seen, and the writing is exceptional. Happy to read the next one in the series… hope it doesn’t take too long! Recommend for readers 15+
  • Friend & Foe on April 01, 2016

    I’m not one for rehashing the plot (that’s what the summary is for on the book description page), but trust me when I say you’ve never read anything like this before! It’s not a fast and easy read by any stretch, but it will take you through new concepts and perspectives that you’ve never thought of before. I felt a connection with each of these characters that I didn’t expect, and I thought the author’s narrative prose was some of the best I’ve read in a while, the way he brought the scenes to life, and the attention to details, from being in the middle of a warzone to being in the middle of a prison chatting with a fellow prisoner. Very cool!
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on May 27, 2016

    wow, “Not Black and White” By GA Beller 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. I like watching shows about all the game playing and corruption of our government, and we all know there are some crazy people out there who would do unbelievable things to further their agenda. This book brings it all home and I was totally invested until the very end. This was a standalone novel (not a part of any series, it appears), but I hope Mr. Beller writes more like this in the future. I’d be reading it!
  • Portia's Revelation on July 21, 2016

    while overall I liked the plot line of “Portia’s Revelation” by Rich Tenaglia, as it was really creative, insightful, and unlike anything I’ve read before, I have to say that I had a very difficult time getting and staying engaged, mostly due to the style of writing. It is all backstory and setup and narrative, just telling us what characters are doing and feeling… and then the head hopping makes it impossible to tell who or where or when you are, especially if you put down the book at any point. I found myself having to re-read whole sections and was still confused… and felt that it really lacked focus most of the time. It was hard to keep reading, but I persevered and while I did like how it all wrapped up (even though the ending is bittersweet) I think Portia and the Spiritea are interesting dynamics to follow, and I like the message and experiences… just feel like the execution needs work.
  • The GreenSeed Conspiracy on Aug. 11, 2016

    I was hooked from the first pages of “The GreenSeed Conspiracy” and my interest never faded for a moment! I loved the creative and strong characters and plots that continued to build with tension and shock and surprise. Just when you think you know what’s happening, something comes along to throw a wrench in it. This is good because I hate books that are super predictable. And this one isn’t. Although there are some familiar themes and tropes at play, and you will recognize some ‘real life’ elements, Philip Benz brings a fresh attitude and literary style and makes it all his own and doesn’t just rehash same old tired plotlines. I’ve read a ton of political-action thrillers & suspense over the years so I’m rarely surprised by anything anymore but I can say that this author managed to do it. I appreciated the brisk pace and the descriptive details that really brought the story to life – authentic world building (and character development) is absolutely crucial in selling a believable story and it is done quite nicely here… Recommend for anyone (adults) who enjoy a well-written, action packed, true-to-life political thriller with unexpected twists that will make you think…
  • The Syndicate: Operation Valiant Exodus on Nov. 08, 2016

    tight writing, great action, believable characters, important plotlines…. Overall a terrific read that I feel really opened my eyes to the seedy underbelly of racism and corruption on every level as it permeates our society from different perspectives. I admit this isn’t really my normal genre of reading, but the sample pulled me in, but considering this is so closely based on current events (e.g. The Black Lives Matter Movement) and seeing as how I live in Charlotte, NC I recently witnessed some of this injustice firsthand. It was really worth reading more about and learning more about the way the system really works differently. This isn’t a nonfiction book, but there is enough truth in here to give you pause. I thought the writing was descriptive and the characters (especially Reverend T and Clay) really helped bring the story to life in a relatable way. I can totally see this book as being a movie. And I loved the pictures at the end! Recommend.
  • Millie's Angel on May 11, 2017

    "Millie’s Angel” by Kim Petersen is an engaging novel that captured my attention from the very beginning and never once let it go. I was hooked after the enticing, yet shocking opening and was interested to see how Millie would handle her rough home life situation, and what the magical ‘wings’ were and the presence in her life that is oddly ‘unearthly’, yet loving. The author gets right to the drama to the table and we see just how awful Millie’s father Glen is, and how he makes life difficult for his wife and children. After she leaves, Mille is faced with more challenges, including but not limited to dating, falling in love, friends, caring for her brother, and learning the truth about her parentage and the magical presence of “Samantha”. The narrative and dialogue propelled the story at a good pace for the most part, and I enjoyed the characters and especially how they played into the romantic drama. Millie and Damon’s relationship is interesting to watch develop, even if maybe not how we hope. Mille and her family’s journey is anything but predictable and they face many obstacles. How they end up is not for me to reveal, but their experience is a memorable and impactful one. Good pacing and lovely, literary narrative that flows well and keeps us engaged throughout. Could benefit from some light proofreading. But overall a really good read that I’d recommend to fans of women’s fiction and spiritual drama.
  • LUCID Nightmare on May 11, 2017

    "LUCID Nightmare” is very different from the books I’ve been reading lately. Warning, it is not for the faint of heart. This book will get inside your head and probably creep you out a few times, and maybe even horrify you at times…... There is no “being a bystander” in this novel…E. Clay pulls you into the dark and dirty plot and minds of the characters and won’t let you escape. I thought it could benefit from a little better proofreading to trim some excess wordiness in places, or unnecessary scenes/conversations, but overall this is a book that genuinely kept my interest, and after I put it down (once - to eat dinner) I was eager to resume where I’d left off. A must-read for fans of paranormal, suspense, and psychological horror.
  • Go Down Swinging: Erotic Romance for Professional Women on May 27, 2017

    Wow, this book was hot, Hot, HOT!!! “Go Down Swinging” by J. Erickson is very well-written, fast paced, and so descriptive and intense (in certain places, ahem)…really exciting to read. I loved the unique setup, with the guy working as the ‘escort’ for the women and fulfilling their fantasies, and that he was getting his revenge on his cheating wife made it even better… something a bit different than we’re used to in this genre. Liked that Carlos is such a good dad and has a good heart, and his cousin is so smart. The chemistry with “Jett” and his clients is off the charts sizzling. Lots of sexy, exciting romps to keep us totally hooked through to the end, and it ends with bit of a satisfying twist. Recommend for mature readers only as there is lots of adult scenes and very graphic sex.(4.5 stars)