Darla Ortiz


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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.
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on Aug. 02, 2014

    I loved this book! I brought it with me to the pool and spent all day reading. It was one of the best books I’ve read this year. I absolutely LOVE the way this author writes, with such passion and the words just bring everything alive. Even the most mundane setting or event seems packed with an energy that’s hard to describe – it’s literary, but not overtly purple-prose stuff (that makes me nuts). Just brings every sentence and scene to life and gives it a unique quality. I liked that the characters felt fully realized and that they change and grow, and even though there are a lot of them, it’s not too many where you get confused. It seems like everyone has a purpose, and they weren’t just filler characters. A great summer read that has a positive message and entertains!
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Getting Gay on Nov. 15, 2017

    I think that Bryce Hunter just made a new fan out of me!! Normally I stick to more lighthearted fare, such as romance and fantasy, but this was such an incredible book I had a hard time putting it down at night. And even when I did I couldn’t stop thinking about the things I’d just read (poor Noah!) Admittedly in the beginning I felt it seemed to lack a clear ‘grab’– other than Noah moving and getting a new ‘father’ there wasn’t a big obvious hook right away which normally I need in order to get—and stay—interested. But I found that things smoothed out the more I continued on, and after a slower intro (to really ground us in Noah’s new life, and circumstances the world-building) Mr. Hunter does an admirable job of ramping up tension and giving Noah some pretty complicated, painful experiences and obstacles to overcome. And speaking of world building (the ‘stage’ in which this story takes place)… it is brilliant and the backdrop of Fundamental Mormonism was really eye-opening as I don’t know much about that religion at all. But even when things were horrible for Noah (or others like Reggie), it was still done in a realistic way that felt true to the story and the author’s message. I can totally see this being a movie, although it probably wouldn’t be as good as the book anyways. It just felt like such a big story, one with important underlying messages that I’ll remember for a long time. Recommend for adults as there is a LOT of language and some mature scenes that might need trigger warnings for sexual and physical assault. A must read for fans of literary coming-of-age and family drama.
  • FLATLINE on Jan. 24, 2018

    3.5 stars The whole time I was reading “Flatline” by Dana Barney, I felt like I could have been watching it as a movie on the big screen. This novel was just as good as some of the big-budget movies we’ve seen in this genre, and was reminiscent of James Patterson meets Alfred Hitchcock. The writing was clear and descriptive, with an ever-present tension of high stakes as the lead character Peter is implicated in a strange murder he didn’t commit. I liked that the characters seemed “real” (not the stereotypical cardboard cutouts we see so much of in these types of books),and the dialogue felt authentic enough – although sometimes it wasn’t clear who was speaking, and the punctuation is all off. At times the whirlwind pacing almost made me dizzy, but it was good. I definitely enjoyed reading this and think almost anyone will find something about it they like. I’d recommend this to my friends and family with no reservations, but it is probably more suitable for adult readers. It works well as a standalone, but there is a book that involves the same lead character that takes place after this book called “Half Life” and it is really good too
  • Liornabella on April 02, 2018

    there were many things that I really loved about “Liornabella”, and a few things that I though could be improved upon. First I have to say that I adored all of the characters, and thought they all felt really authentic (even the bad ones *ahem* Barabus). I loved that no one ever felt really cliché or stereotypical, and that each one had qualities that made them unique. I loved that unique premise and the “Set up” of Elle going to the school and meeting her friends, and having problems with some cliquie-types, but then also learning that there are things going on that are far more than she ever could have guessed, or realized how she is connected with it. What I didn’t like was that I didn’t feel like there was much character development or real internal struggle or conflict…there was just a certain amount of tension I thought was lacking for too long. I never worried for our mc’s safety – even during the Quintile Cup, and never felt like all hope was lost which is imperative to achieve true emotional engagement. It just felt too “safe” for all the build-up that was happening, almost as if the author didn’t want to go “too” deep, and not that I blame her, I just thought there was some missed opportunities. SO much of it was Elle reading the books of the past events that it didn’t give the tension and high stakes of the present as much as I’d like. But overall this was a very solid novel, one that is well-written and decently-edited. It has a bit of a bumpy start but then it smooths out nicely. I give this book a solid 3 stars, as it is ‘good’ - I did really like it and think others will too.
  • God's Feminist Movement on Aug. 10, 2018

    wow, what an amazing book! I was completely sucked in from the beginning, and am so impressed with Daniel Hanson’s bravery in challenging the ‘status quo’ and what society keeps pushing on women in such a harmful way. This book is loaded with insightful arguments, and Mr. Hanson has the great ability to pull from Scripture the most applicable passages to really underscore his message. It is clear that he is quite learned in regards to religious and philosophical Study and that he cares about the spiritual wellness of women and girls and the health and sanctity of a family unit. It was very well-written and riveting, but not a ‘fast’ read-- it should be carefully and thoughtfully studied and talked about. So many great discussion points here, I must have highlighted over a dozen passages. Hope to read more from him in the future and recommend to readers of Christian and Spiritual lifestyles/Parenting.