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Smashwords book reviews by Essieh

  • Field of Vision on March 24, 2015

    Loved this unique book, and the GORGEOUS scenery and the fascinating characters! I read the whole thing in the span of a week (that’s fast for me!!), and loved that it was never boring or predictable. I actually thought everything was pretty believable, even the way that the locals talked and their views on the outsiders/tourists, and was genuinely shocked at certain twists. Michal Jarvis does an amazing job of incorporating a unique culture with island flavor, adventure, danger, humor, romance, and bringing it all to life. Fast paced and with a great cast of characters, I highly recommend this for a great beach read.
  • The End of Summer on Nov. 05, 2015

    warning, once you start reading you won’t want to stop! From the opening pages to the final climax, this book is a nonstop rollercoaster ride of thrills, danger, action, and drama. I liked that it wasn’t predictable and you can tell that the author really knows his stuff, as the language and actions are very authentic for a convincing police procedural. As far as the plot is concerned I give it five stars easy. But there are some editing issues that although didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story any, it seemed to detract from the overall experience. The author shows great passion and talent and can obviously spin a compelling tale. With the help of a good editor it would be a 5 star book for sure, but with the abundance of typos and incorrect punctuation I just can’t do it here. Recommend for fans who enjoy a thrilling ride and who aren’t picky about the technicalities.
  • What's Left is Right on Nov. 05, 2015

    what a ride! Although I did enjoy the first book in the Detective Bill Ross Crime Series by Irving Munro, I thought it could use some work, so I was a bit apprehensive in reading the second one. Well I was actually surprised by how much I liked this sequel even better! It maintained the same sort of tone and complex plotlines, with characters I liked in the first one, but greatly improved on the execution, editing and formatting. This really made a huge difference for me in my level of enjoyment and it’s nice to see an author taking such great strides in his work. I can’t wait to see where Mr. Munro takes Bill and Tommy and the others next! Recommend for fans of murder mysteries, police drama, and crime thrillers.
  • The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    "The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson” was a compelling read, and one that will definitely appeal to fans of young adult and new adult romance novels. Cher Foth blends a unique mix of family, multi-culturism, romance, adventure, and shocking twists. The story itself was fairly even-paced, but I thought the beginning was a bit slow until things started to pick up. The practice of the characters constantly saying each other’s name in conversation was annoying and unnatural-sounding, but other than that they flowed well and moved the plot forward nicely, sparing us of the dreaded “telling” that so many authors tend to do. We feel like we are a part of the book and I recommend for fans of YA romance who’d like a new twist on that same ol’, same ol’.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Jan. 07, 2016

    This is an excellent novel that captured my attention from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go. K.N. Smith is a hugely talented writer who knows how to grab and keep our attention! Each scene was riveting, imaginative, and flowed smoothly from one to the next… never a “dull part” where you get bored or want to skip ahead… in fact almost the opposite with the various interweaving plotlines and going from one character and event to the next. The descriptions were very strong, and I mean with the author’s word choice… unique and powerful…. Had a very ‘literary’ quality, especially for a YA book, which may or may not work for some readers. I felt like I was genuinely inside the characters’ heads experiencing the world through their eyes, for better or worse. I would love to read more from this author in the future as the series continues (this is just book 1). She has a natural gift for creating a well-thought out story and developing deeply memorable characters with a great positive message. Recommend for ages 13 and up (even adults!)
  • Rogue Event on Jan. 18, 2016

    Usually I tend to gravitate towards more literary, romance, or character-driven novels, but I like this author from another book of his I’d just read so even though hard core sci-fi isn’t really my thing, I decided to give it a shot. Well, I can definitely say that a lot of people would love this book! First off the characters are awesome, and even for being ‘fantastical’, there is things that felt relatable to modern day, like having too much government control, work over humanity and feelings, outcasts, earth heading for possible destruction…! There are a lot of characters, some more developed than others, but all are realistic enough and don’t seem like cardboard cutouts. I especially like the darker psychological angle that Mr. Erickson employs that gives this story an edge over many I’ve read lately. I enjoyed this much more than expected and will look for more from him in the future.
  • Endangered Species: A Sleeping Dogs Thriller on Jan. 30, 2016

    John Wayne Falbey has such an incredible way with words; his descriptions are vivid yet simple and not overdone; 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. “Endangered Species” was very hard to put down, as I had to know how everything would turn out… which of course we don’t as this is just the first part and the story will continue onto he next book (not sure how I feel about that…). Each time I did have to stop reading, I found myself thinking and pondering on what I had read, and what might happen next. There is a lot of language, and some pretty violent/ gory scenes, all necessitated by the storyline. The fast-paced tempo of the writing built at a steady pace, with more than one shocking twist along the way. Falbey is a gifted storyteller and writer (not always the same thing). The prose is effortless, yet strong and the same time. Conversations felt natural, with each character having a fully developed personality. But what struck me the most was just how for a book that is fiction, this (or something similar) is something that could actually happen. Would absolutely recommend to fans of thrillers, suspense, political fiction.
  • Tristan & Isolde on Feb. 26, 2016

    "Tristan and Isolde” by Josie Peterson is an amazing and epic piece of romantic literary/historical fiction re-told here in “play” form, meaning it reads much like a classic (Like Shakespeare or other Classics) One of the most enticing and well-crafted books I’ve read in a long time! I hadn’t read the story of “Tristan and Isolde” in almost 25 years (since High School) and had forgotten what an incredible story it is on all levels. I was completely drawn in from the get-go, and absolutely loved Ms. Peterson’s use of description of the characters and the setting, and her attention to keeping true to the spirit of the original with the details and tone. There is something of everything… action, drama, history, strength and survival, relationships, and of course tragic romance… Each scene was riveting, imaginative, and well-crafted. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but there is a good list in the beginning and there is great dialogue and I was definitely pleased with the overall experience. A recommended read for fans of historical literary drama and the classics who’d like to read in a new, fresh way, and I’d love to read more from Ms. Peterson in the future.
  • Friend & Foe - Book 2 on March 28, 2016

    "Friend and Foe book 2” is a great piece of action/political/ suspense/ thriller fiction no one should miss reading if they are looking for an adventurous, entertaining read that has high stakes and an unpredictable plot… particularly on a wet winter's day (or on a sunny summer's day under the shade of a tree with a snack or two). If you're looking for a work lacking in cliché then I must say that you might have a bone to pick with this, as there were many ‘familiar’ elements that made me almost feel at times that I had read it before (I haven’t). But I believe the author's job is not to be completely original (for is there such a thing as true originality, especially in the political adventure game?) here but rather to tell a powerful story that stays with you. For I believe that the true future for the genre lies not in becoming ‘newer’ but rather by taking old tropes and telling them better. This is done nicely here and I am impressed with the way that Nik Olsen can tell a story in his own way with characters that we love, or love to hate. I looked forward to my reading time each evening and was sad when it was over. Hope part 3 is available soon.
  • Friend & Foe on March 28, 2016

    how to describe this book, other than say it is by far one of the most surprisingly interesting novels I’ve read in a long time! I have already loaned it to my mother to read, and my brother is right after her (it is right up their alley!) The author Nik Olsen pulls us in to the story right from the beginning pages, and skillfully narrates a wide-ranging storyline full of complex and deeply emotional issues. In my opinion it really is the characters (Ben and Joe) who made this story so good, each so original and conflicted in their own way, and we pull for them throughout their personal journeys and how they connect to each other. A memorable read and a keeper for sure. Recommend for fans of political/military/literary fiction. Would love to read more from Nik Olsen in the future.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on June 24, 2016

    I enjoyed this ‘novel’ by G.A. Beller. I put novel in quotes because I feel its is more of a documentary than a made-up piece of literature. There’s lots of action, great character and plot development, flashes of humor, and some surprisingly emotional moments. Some characters are on occasion paper-thin, but they’re mostly likable and serve a purpose, and the heroes are easy to root for and the bad guys are easy to hate – although it’s not always easy to distinguish the two (it’s not black and white – more like a gray area). The political world Beller creates feels like a composite of familiar elements, but there is enough originality so that I don’t feel like I’ve read it before… Beller is great at breaking down the unfolding plot into manageable chunks so as not to overshadow the suspense element, and as the story unfolds and you put all those pieces together, you can see that there’s more complexity here than you’d initially expect. I liked the ‘local’ element and thought it added a deeper layer to the believable political setting. A fast paced read that I didn’t want to put down, especially towards the end. Hope there will be more like this soon!
  • Portia's Revelation on June 24, 2016

    what an interesting ride! At first I wasn’t sure what to really make of this story, and it did take me some time to really get my feet planted in the world building and get a grasp on the characters, especially how the narration would change from different characters (and time periods). But soon I found myself sinking into this magical and creative and complex world(s) that Rich Tenaglia created and found myself transported to another time and place altogether. For me a mark of a good book is if it can 1) take me away from the ‘real world’ for a while 2) entertain me and make me think about things in a different way, and 3) Make me believe in it. And for me, “Portia’s Revelation” did all this and more. The author has genuine talent in the historical/philosophical/literary realm, and it is clear that he is well-versed in the craft. There is a genuine authenticity to the characters, and the story shows a lot of heart. Well-crafted and intelligent, I enjoyed it through the end and appreciated the beautiful message, especially at the end. Recommend.
  • Pegasus to Paradise on Aug. 26, 2016

    I really loved this book. I thought it was excellently written and the editing was nearly flawless (not perfect but good enough). It kept my attention from the opening to the satisfying ending. It is *not* a quick read by any stretch… nor should it be. There are too many important events and experiences here to gloss over so the author takes his time in carefully developing the various storylines so that we the readers are thoroughly invested the whole way through. I liked Mr. Tappenden’s writing style very much, beautiful and literary with gorgeous prose and vivid descriptions, and found myself completely lost in this world he recanted night after night (this is all based on a true story and people which makes it even cooler!!). Was almost disappointed when I was done, but the ending gave the emotional satisfaction I look for in a great book. Well done. Recommend to fans of historical nonfiction/memoirs, or anyone who just enjoys an entertaining, well-written (truish) story with lots of heart and soul.
  • Erin Moynahan on Sep. 01, 2016

    3.5 stars I admit it took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going. I think the start was a bit slow… too much setting the stage and talking about events in the past – really should’ve started closer to Erin’s cancer and getting her powers from the serum. But the more I read on, the more I got into it, and found myself thoroughly enjoying this interesting world and alternative reality Brian George writes of. Overall the characters and storyline(s) he created was brilliantly imagined and fully-developed, even if in a way the setup feels a bit familiar, he brings such a fun voice and originality to the characters and their actions that it feels unique…. Loved Erin, liked Benji and Jim, cool interactions with Kat (especially at the end…) but I think I actually enjoyed the world-building and the characters/creatures themselves more than the actual plot, which I thought could have used a *bit* more higher tension and stakes and clearer focus throughout. For me the pacing was just too erratic – kind of slow and safe, then a whole bunch of crazy events at the end. But the writing was decent, although could use tighter editing. But I’ve seen far worse. I’d certainly be happy to read more from Brian George in the future if he continues on with more stories of Erin! Recommend for ages 16 on up (even adults). Geared towards teens, but there is some mild language.
  • Harrow's Gate on Dec. 15, 2016

    "Harrow’s Gate” by Lawrence BoarerPitchford is by far one of the more different, and more fun, books I’ve read in long time! I was completely drawn in from the get-go in the different characters’ worlds (Leland and his friends, and also Ella and her friends) and watched as their fates entwine and go deeper in the adventure drama as more elements and character motivations were revealed. Enjoyed BoarerPitchford’s literary ‘voice’ and thought the plot development to be really well done… This level of complexity with the various subplots and cast of characters could have ended up badly but instead I darn near gobbled the whole thing down in two nights! (it is on the shorter side, around 150 pages). The writing has great energy and is genuine and authentic, but for me it really was the dialogue that truly brings this memorable story to life. So many dynamic characters from Leland to Ella to Her’ao to the Valenarians… feels like I was watching a movie! A fast read with a satisfying ending that makes you wish there was more.
  • Time is for Dragonflies and Angels on Dec. 15, 2016

    what a great book! “Time Is For Dragonflies and Angels” (great quote) by J.M. Erickson is a wonderful compilation of spine-chilling, mind-blowing, science-fiction and psychology-inspired novellas, with a literary flair. I’ve read several short story collections in the past and while I usually enjoy them as I like the shorter length and the tighter focus on a singular plot, I really enjoyed this book as a whole, and thought each story was as good as (if not better than) the one before! It’s hard to pick a favorite from the collection, as each was good and unique in its own way, but I think that “The Gray” had the most tension, but “Recount our Dreams” was the most unusual and moving. Great writing and characterizations and takes you to places you’ve never read about before . A must read for fans of science fiction and fantasy/dystopian.
  • Getting Gay on Nov. 19, 2017

    "Getting Gay” by Bryce Hunter is a really good, different read with an interesting and plausible concept. And just when I thought I had read every possible angle and storyline a book like this could possibly take. I was so wrong! Make no mistake, there are some familiar themes and standard literary tropes happening here, (troubled childhood… abuse… sexual problems, friends/romantic drama…, coming of age, etc…) but done with a sense of newness and unique to this storyline that is incredibly unusual and even groundbreaking in a way. At times I almost felt like it was too much, although Hunter describes it very well, and I know it’s instrumental to the plot and with what is happening with the characters. It’s just sometimes the conflict seemed like overkill when I would’ve preferred to maybe see a deeper emotional relationship build between the characters instead. I just didn’t ‘feel’ the connection I was supposed to. But I can say that the writing is excellent -- very descriptive and evocative. Needs light editing however. This is a very fast-paced read with a great balance of dialogue and narrative, but is memorable and entertaining and absolutely worth the time.
  • Liornabella on April 03, 2018

    this book by A.E. Outerbridge was great… lots of fun to read and very descriptive. Almost too descriptive at times as the cost of some pacing that lags in the beginning, but it does improve as it goes along. Interesting characters, and a solid mix of suspense, supernatural drama, mystery and danger, friendship and betrayal, life and death situations,…and so much more. Although I did think the beginning started off kind of slow until I got more of a feel about the characters and their backgrounds, how things were connected with Ellie and the other characters (especially from the ‘past’), once things got moving along I really got hooked. I liked that it was so descriptive that we can really put ourselves inside the characters’ various perspectives but without it feeling ‘head-hopping’. Solid prose and the dialogue and conversations with the characters were very authentic. You can’t fake that in my opinion. This book is more about ‘ideas’ than action-packed, (but it’s not boring and there is some great conflict and intense scenes throughout), and I for one have never read a book that had such a readable storyline about something that could easily be very complicated! I liked the short, fast paced chapters and even though some of the italics grew wearisome after awhile, it wasn’t too bad. But still an entertaining, enjoyable and haunting ride, one I’m happy to have taken. Suitable for mature teens and older. Recommend for fantasy fans who want a complex, yet engaging literary read that is really different from much that is out there.
  • They’re Conning You! Who Are ‘They’, and What Are ‘They’ Planning? This is the Real Story of Our Past, Present and Possible Future. on Aug. 10, 2018

    warning - when starting “They’re Conning You…” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off with an intriguing beginning pulling us into this provocative world and ideas, and just keeps going with one interesting topic after the next. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel the author Peter Senior managed to create where it felt intimate, like a friend is telling me this really cool, strange story that I didn’t want to stop listening to. Loved the energetic tone and the fact that he has his opinions, but the book doesn’t feel overly ‘biased’ or judgmental… This went much deeper than that, and I was truly impressed with the author’s literary and research skills. I actually feel like I learned a lot, all while being ‘entertained’. I’ve always had a fascination with many of these subjects (esp. aliens and secret societies), but they are usually presented in such an eye-rolling, unbelievable way It was great to read something so intelligently constructed with impressive research and complex connections that all come full circle. Suitable for mature teens on up.
  • New Wave on Sep. 25, 2018

    I read a lot of YA and NA dystopian/fantasy books, so this is a genre I’m familiar with. I’d never read anything from Jennifer Ann Shore before, but the premise seemed interesting and I was intrigued with the opening pages. I’m always on the lookout for fresh new series to get into, so I was curious to see how she would deliver in this one “NEW WAVE: The Islands of Anarchy”. While it’s not perfect, Ms. Shore is unarguably a talented writer, but more than that she genuinely impressed me with the thorough world-building of this ‘alternative’ island-worlds with Mol, Luca, Julian and Sebastian (and the others…), and the creativeness and inventiveness on several levels with the characters and their interactions. Especially in this genre, all too often I read works that feel clearly derivative of other books, and although I appreciate literary influences (as is mildly felt here on occasion), Ms. Shore was still able to cast this world and her characters in a new light to give it a unique feel – a blend of drama, suspense, mystery, action and romance that I’d recommend for fans of books like “Matched”, “The Selection”, “Divergent”, etc…Hope the next one is available soon!