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Smashwords book reviews by IRB

  • Drasmyr (Prequel: From the Ashes of Ruin) on Sep. 03, 2012

    I'm not sure why this is being marketed as YA, as none of the characters is a young adult, and the storyline is certainly adult (though, I do believe teens would really eat it up). If you're a grown-up and hesitant to read anything marked "YA" but you love a good fantasy, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It was refreshing to find a book which makes vampires scary again. To have them long for human blood, to make their souls dark and their powers strong. This book is very much a battle between good and evil. I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect after reading the blurb for this book -- and it's not a good representation of what this is about. But I completely enjoy a good fantasy, so was game for just about anything and accepted the challenge. I cut my reading teeth on fantasy many years ago (didn't most kids?) and haven't found many of late that were really enjoyable. I'm happy to say, this was the exception. I gobbled this book up, picked my teeth and looked for more. Drasmyr has all the elements of a good, old-fashioned fantasy: wizards, a quest, and great evil. The writing reminds me of the classic fantasies with sometimes flowery descriptions and formal dialogue. I enjoyed every word. The author is incredibly talented and truly paints a picture with words. I was immersed in the story from the first line and didn't want to stop reading. He cleverly used different points-of-view, so I was invested in every character (even the vampire's) and had to know what happened to them. Each piece to the puzzle is cleverly added, many surprises were in store for me (I love a story where I can't figure everything out right off the bat) and the ending is satisfying (and clearly indicates that this is the beginning of a series). I'm so glad I chose to review this book, despite my apprehensions over the blurb and somewhat lackluster cover (yes, it reflects the darkness of the book, but just didn't grab me with anything that felt unique and certainly doesn't make it clear that it's a story filled with magic and fantasy elements). The author's way with words made the journey through Drasmyr utterly entertaining and worth every minute of my time. I look forward to reading more from this author. Don't believe me? Try for yourself. Drasmyr is currently available FREE at all eBook outlets.
  • We're Done on Oct. 20, 2012

    We're Done is a timely book considering the tragic news stories I see, time and again, of kids killing themselves over bullying. This book takes a different tack, though, and casts the bully as our hero. It was a bit difficult for me to like Luke at first, and that's a brave thing for an author to do: give us a protagonist we don't care for. Luke isn't mean on purpose, he just doesn't realize what he's doing is really hurting people. He's got it all: he's popular, cute, smart, captain of the soccer team at a ritzy private school. What he needs is a kick from reality right in his rear. And he gets it. His "goofing off" gets him expelled from school. Worse, this last incident involved a family member of his best friend, now ex-best friend. He loses everything: school, friends, status. More, his parents are pretty well unavailable. His mother spends most of her life sleeping, and his father travels for work. His sister is a worse bully than he is, and the little we see of her is just horrible. He's plunged into the foreign world of public school and it's a big awakening. Suddenly he's not the cool kid anymore. He's the one made fun of. He doesn't fit in anywhere, and he can't even play soccer. The one person he knows is someone he hurt the summer before, and she wants nothing to do with him. Luke doesn't undergo an immediate transformation, for which I am grateful. It takes awhile, and a few virtual slaps to the head, for him to see what he'd done in the past was hurtful. He observes some kids doing the same stuff he used to do to another kid, and it all slowly starts to come clear. The author paints a very realistic picture of school and kids and it's both a little sad and encouraging. I enjoyed this book. It was a quick, enlightening read with a snappy plot and clean, descriptive writing. My only complaint is that not all the ends were tied up. I really wanted to see Luke take a stand with his sister and her behavior. I'd have like to see at least a little of the problems with his parents cleared up (Luke does confront his dad, though nothing much really changes). Even so, the book does have a satisfying ending with Luke and his growth. And it left me wondering just what came next. I was attached to this kid I hadn't liked at first, and I want to know he succeeds.