I am a 26 year old living in Kansas. I am married, have a 3 year old son, and LOVE to read. That's why I started my book review blog, Bookerella. Check it out!
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Smashwords book reviews by Jamie Kline
- The Tribe
on June 15, 2011
Obviously by reading the synopsis you can tell this book is pretty unique, since over half of the story is told from the cats' point of view. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it but I wanted to give it a try since it's such a different concept. The story revolves around a "tribe" of feral cats living out in the country. The people that used to live at the house are long gone so they don't have to worry about any interference or cruelty from the "two-legs". The eldest of the tribe is Tia and so all of the other cats look to her for wisdom and advice. Her closest friend, Bella, is a lot more cynical in her thinking and has somewhat of a temper. Most of the cats on the farm have never known or seen a two-legs in their life, but suddenly they have company; Susan and her husband Rob decide to move onto the farm and fix it up. Little do they know that it already has occupants, and a lot of them at that.
Like I said, the two main cat characters are Tia and Bella; they are best friends but also very different in personality. Maybe it's due to her age, but Tia is more mellow and open to new ideas, whereas Bella is more temperamental and opposed to change. She doesn't want anything to do with the two-legs, convinced that they mean to kill and eat all of them. There are a lot of secondary cat characters, but I think one of the most important is Daca, who used to be a domesticated cat; she ended up with the tribe after her owner died and she was subsequently thrown out on the side of the road to fend for herself. She acts as sort of a mediator between the rest of the tribe and the humans, because she knows that not all humans are bad and mean to harm them. As for the human characters, Susan is the point of focus. She is a major animal lover who has worked with feral cats before, removing them from a bad environment and helping them get adopted. Unfortunately in those cases, most of the cats are not adoptable because they are so wild, so when Susan discovers all of the cats on the premises she decides to handle things on her own. Her mom helps her out a lot with all of her plans and I swear her husband is a Saint, he just agreed with whatever Susan wanted to do and helped her out when he could even though he's not a cat person. I liked the characters in this book, I just didn't love them. I had trouble forming connections with them which made the book a little difficult to get into.
I thought some of the cats' observations were clever. Especially about the water hose, they thought it was a snake and they couldn't understand why Susan grabbed it and dragged it around the yard every day (and why it would let itself be dragged around!) and why it spit out water. I thought they were so cute, because you can imagine that may be what cats actually think is happening.
This book also brought some awareness to organizations such as PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) which is great. I love animals and hate to see them mistreated or in danger of being euthanized. In the book Susan takes matters into her own hands by deciding to care for the cats herself, feeding them, getting them vet check-ups, and spaying/neutering them all to control the population. I don't even want to imagine what something like that would cost, even with a vet discount, but I think any animal lover would probably at least try to save all of these animals too in any way they could.
Overall I liked this book, I just didn't love it. I couldn't seem to really get into the story, at least in the first half. It was a cute, unique read though, giving you a look at the world from an entirely different perspective. I think animal lovers (especially cat lovers) will really enjoy this book.
- Anathema (Causal Enchantment, #1)
on June 20, 2011
For some reason I find it harder to write reviews on books that I truly loved. I'm not sure why, I guess it's because my mind gets pulled in so many different directions, remembering all of the incredible scenes in the book and wanting to share them, but not wanting to spoil the story for anyone else.
The characters in this book? Amazing! I loved Evangeline as the main character. She was tough, smart, and persevered even when everything seemed impossible. I felt compassion for her having lost her mother at a young age and not having anyone in her life to confide in. She is extremely likable and relatable, which makes this an easy book to get sucked into. The secondary characters were just as important to the story. We Sofie who takes Evangeline under her wing without really knowing her and whisks her off to New York. Then there's the mysterious Viggo and Mortimer who welcome Evangeline into their home but are harboring some very dark secrets. I really loved Evangeline's guard dog, Max. At first he seemed just like an ordinary dog (albeit a very intimidating, large dog), but as the story progresses he plays a bigger part and we learn more about him. Then there are the characters from the other world; Amelie, Fiona, Bishop, Rachel, and of course Caden. I loved all of them, except Rachel who isn't meant to be liked because she's got her sights set on Caden and for the most part he seems to reciprocate some of those feelings much to Evangeline's dismay. I won't go into any more detail with the characters, but I found it impossible not to connect with each and every one of them.
The romance between Caden and Evangeline felt very genuine and makes you want nothing more than the two of them to be together. The wrench thrown into the mix of course is Rachel, who thinks that he only has eyes for her. There are some very tender moments between Evangeline and Caden that make you just want to melt, but terrify you at the same time wondering what will happen at the end, if they will ever be able to truly be a couple.
Another thing I loved about this book is the unique story line. It has two different worlds; one is set in present day New York, the other is a sort of dystopian society where everything is in ruin. The author did an excellent job of painting this other world for us so it's very easy to visualize and imagine what it would look like. The story was just a breath of fresh air after reading so many books with practically the same premise and I enjoyed every bit of it. There is a pretty big cliffhanger at the end and I know some people are turned off by that. To me, cliffhangers just serve to get me more excited about the next book in the series so they don't bother me in the least.
What more can I say? This book rocked and I would go so far as to say it's one of my top 3 books of this year so far; it was that good! I can't wait to see what else the author has in store for these characters in the next installment in the series and I will most definitely be pre-ordering it when it becomes available. Go check out Anathema now, I promise you won't be disappointed!
on June 25, 2011
I couldn't wait to read this book based on the synopsis, but at just under 70 pages I was worried I wouldn't connect with the main character well enough. I shouldn't have worried because that definitely wasn't an issue here. It was impossible not to form a connection with Pammy, who goes from timid abused housewife to calculating killer in a relatively short time.
Pammy has been beat down by her husband Bobby for over a decade and she knows there's nothing she can do to stop it. Or is there? Bobby surprises her by filing for divorce, but deep down she knows that she'll never be truly rid of him. The courts may grant them a divorce, however the fact of the matter is he would probably still come around and harass her, generally making her life a living hell. The only permanent way to make sure he's out of her life for good is to make sure he never takes another breath and thanks to watching hours of forensics shows she knows a lot about what to do and what not to do. Will she pull off the perfect revenge or will Bobby still win?
I was rooting for Pammy the whole way. I've never been physically abused so I can't even imagine what that would be like, especially for so many years. Bobby is your typical abusive husband, treats his wife like dirt and thinks she's dumb, but that's the way he likes his women because they're easy to control. Unfortunately for Bobby he severely underestimated Pammy and so of course he never suspected she was planning on killing him. I felt no compassion for Bobby what-so-ever and couldn't wait to see how Pammy's murder plan unfolded. I honestly don't want to give too much away, this is a pretty short book so if I can't go into as much detail without giving away main plot points.
I can say this though, I really enjoyed the author's writing style. The whole story flowed very nicely and her way with words kept me wanting to read more. I finished this book in about an hour and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The last part of the book is extremely intense and rushes toward an ending you won't see coming. Don't let it's short nature stop you from reading it; it may be small but it packs a wallop!
- Monster Story
on June 25, 2011
I was so psyched to read this book because I can't tell you how long it's been since I've read a thriller. It's been too long, but luckily this book came along to scare the crap out of me. In it we meet Christy, who moves back to West Virginia after inheriting her grandmother's cabin. At first there are some reports of wild animal attacks which set her and the rest of the town on edge. Then it becomes clear that no animal could rip a person limb from limb. In order to stop the killings, Christy and her close friends have to first admit that maybe the stuff of nightmares isn't legend after all.
I really enjoyed the characters in this one. Christy was tough, even when she was scared she stood her ground and refused to just run away from the problem. I think most people would just choose to leave West Virginia and never look back but she knew that someone had to stop the creature and the law enforcement wasn't likely to believe that a mythical creature was behind the massacres. I think my absolute favorite person in the book was Christy's friend Graeme, a flamboyant city boy who decides to help Christy move to West Virginia and stay for a couple of weeks to keep her company. Some of the things that came out of his mouth literally made me laugh out loud, especially some of the banter between him and Christy. He's definitely someone I would want to be friends with and he showed himself to be a loyal friend by sticking by Christy's side even though he was scared out of his mind. The rest of the "hunting party" consisted of Christy's father, her good friends Tess and David (who also happens to be a Deputy Sheriff), and Will, a conservation officer. They were all were very strong supporting characters and added some different dimensions to the story, as it was told by several different characters' points of view throughout.
This book is certainly not for the faint of heart. There were several times while I was reading that I got chills all over and had to get up to check and make sure the doors were all locked. It's been awhile since I've been affected in that way by a book and I have to say I enjoyed it. The death scenes were extremely bloody and gory, so descriptive I could easily picture the scenes in my mind which made it every more horrifying. The thing I really loved about this book is it was genuinely scare; none of those cutesy, nice supernatural creatures anywhere to be seen. Not that I don't enjoy those kinds of books too, but it was a nice change of pace to read about a terrifying, bloodthirsty killer.
The romance between Christy and Will definitely isn't a focal point of the book, but it's a nice little touch thrown in. Although for my taste they fell for each other pretty quick considering they hardly knew each other. Then again, under those kinds of circumstances it might make you re-evaluate your life and figure life is too short to take it slow.
I really enjoyed reading this book, with it's mysterious, brutal killer and heart-pounding, terrifying scenes of death. I enjoyed getting goosebumps while reading, knowing that the book could affect me in that way. It gave me the creeps and if you like a good scary story then you should definitely check this book out!
- Angle of Incidence
on July 09, 2011
1) Character Development: The characters in this book were fantastic! They were believable, relatable, and I was able to easily connect and sympathize with each of them. The two main characters are Gwen and Rob; they start out as a happily married couple, but after a devastating miscarriage and Rob's shocking revelation their dream life is left in shambles. I felt so bad for Gwen. It's one thing to have a miscarriage after so many years of trying (and so late in the pregnancy too), but to be blindsided by a huge secret her husband had been keeping would be too much for anyone to deal with. She reacted exactly how I would assume someone would in that situation; she pretty much shuts down completely, mourning the son she'll never hold in her arms and slowly letting her marriage crumble. Even though Rob did a horrible thing by keeping the secret from Gwen, he had no idea it would reveal itself at the worst possible time when they already had so much to deal with. I felt bad for him too, because he didn't mean to hurt her and it's obvious how much he adored her and valued their marriage. When the story starts out, the narration is in 3rd person and switches back and forth between Gwen and Rob. Later on we also get a glimpse at another married couple, Deanna and Vincent, and their teenage son Brandon. I can't go into any detail about them, but let's just say they play a fairly big part in the story. There's also Justin Rappaport who was Gwen's close friend in college. It's obvious he has feelings for Gwen and sees her failing marriage as an opportunity to make his more. I thought it was really slimy of him to try to take advantage of the situation when Gwen had already been through so much.
2) The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: The Good - I loved the characters, I enjoyed the story line, and the book was extremely well written. The author certainly has a way with words and I had trouble putting this book down; it just flowed really nicely and had me flying through the pages to find out what happened next. The Bad - Honestly, I can't really think of anything bad to say about this book. It definitely exceeded my expectations! The Ugly - Absolutely nothing to say here, except that I'm really going to miss these characters!
3) Romance Sizzle Or Fizzle: Ok, so this isn't really appropriate for this book, since Gwen and Rob are wondering the entire time if they will be able to salvage their marriage. I will say this though, even with all they were going through, it was obvious that they loved each other very much and if there was a way to make things right between them again they would find it.
4) Uniqueness Of Plot: I wouldn't say the plot was especially unique; I know all of these issues have been in novels before. It didn't detract from my love for the book though because it was so well written. I already had the secrets and mysteries figured out early on, so there weren't a whole lot of shockers for me while reading; it didn't make me want to stop reading though and I really loved the ending.
5) Final Thoughts: Overall this book was a really fantastic read, full of heartbreak, secrets, and it shows that love has the power to heal.
- A Soul Less Broken
on July 09, 2011
When I read the synopsis for this book, I couldn't wait to read it. I love stories about people overcoming incredible obstacles and finding true love. In this book, the main character, Catherine, is raped, stabbed, and left for dead. At the hospital, Dr. Alan Peterson takes over her care and as soon as he lays eyes on her he feels an immediate connection. He's never even seen her before, but he already feels like he knows her. As she slowly recovers, he makes himself a fixture in her life, being there for her always. Catherine starts to fall for him too, but will she ever be able to overcome the physical and emotional trauma that haunts her every day and be able to have a normal relationship with Alan?
1) Character Development: I really didn't connect with the characters in this book. I wanted to, but it just didn't happen. Catherine ("Cat)" is tough, but understandably she has a lot of issues after the attack. As horrific as her attack was, I just didn't sympathize with her like I felt I should. That's when I knew I wasn't connecting with the characters. I thought Alan was sweet for sticking by her side all of that time, even before she even knew who he was, but if I was Catherine I might think that it was kind of creepy. Especially after what she had just went through; he was around a lot, asking about her and sending her flowers. He wasn't really being pushy in the beginning, but his shows of concern could have very easily pushed her away. Madeline ("Maddie") starts out being a crisis counselor for Cat, but they end up becoming close friends. I felt like her friendship with Maddie seemed a lot more genuine than her "relationship" with Alan; I'll explain more about that later.
2) The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: The Good - This story has a great message about taking a stand against rape and violent crimes against women. It also deals with the terrifying and devastating effects of cancer, both the physical effect on the person's body who is suffering from it and the emotional toll it takes on those who love them. I also like how at the end of the book the author gives links to resources: RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) and the National Brain Tumor Society. They are certainly both issues that we can all help bring awareness to and give support. The Bad - I found the dialogue between characters to be slightly awkward. It didn't flow well for me. For instance, when two characters would be talking to each other, they would use the other person's name every time they addressed them. Without it, the dialogue might have felt a little less clunky. There is one major plot point in particular that bothered me; it was extremely predictable and far too convenient in my opinion. It's actually a revelation that Maddie makes, but I won't go into any more detail because I don't want to ruin it for anyone. The Ugly - I appreciated the major issues that this book tackled, but I think it took on a bit too much. The book really had 3 main themes: rape, love, and cancer. I think it would have been a lot better read if it had just focused on Cat's attack and then on her healing process, with more emphasis on her growing relationship with Alan. The cancer aspect just threw a wrench in everything and, to me, made everything even less believable. I appreciate that awareness that the author is trying to bring to the subject of cancer, but maybe it could have been tackled in a separate book.
3) Romance Sizzle or Fizzle?: I have to say fizzle. I wanted to believe in this blossoming love between a woman who has her world torn apart and the man intent on saving her. In the end I just didn't believe in it. It's not that I don't think that maybe everyone has a soul mate; there's no guarantee you'll ever meet that person, but maybe when you do, you instantly know. I think that idea might have worked. But the story jumped around too much; one minute she didn't really know who Alan was, aside from being her doctor, the next they were basically in a relationship. There was no gradual easing into it, them getting to know each other and us as readers getting to see sweet moments between them that would make us believe that they were truly falling in love with each other. I wish there would have been more time taken for those little details, it would have built the story up a lot more, made it much easier for us to connect with these characters. The way the story skipped around, it made it seem as though they were barely together at all, surely not long enough to develop a healthy relationship. Even at the end I still wasn't convinced that they were really soul mates.
4) Uniqueness of Plot: I didn't find the plot to be especially unique. It was kind of like a mash-up of other fiction/romances books I've read in the past.
5) Final Thoughts: To be completely honest, I didn't enjoy this novel. I couldn't connect with the characters and therefore had trouble sympathizing for them. I did shed a tear at the end because I've had a family member die from cancer and I know how heartbreaking it is. By reading the synopsis I assumed that the story would focus more on Cat and Alan's relationship and although they did think about each other a lot and attempted to communicate occasionally, they simply didn't spend enough time together to show us why they were in love.
- Galaxy Girls
on Dec. 01, 2011
I wasn't sure at all what to expect with this book, as I don't normally read sci-fi. I definitely was all for giving it a chance though, because it sounded so unique. It certainly didn't disappoint in that aspect. In short, it follows four women from another planet, Kergeron, who steal away to earth in hopes of a better life. When they are ovulating they send out massive amounts of pheromones which basically entrance and incapacitate any surrounding males, which we get to see in action in the first chapter.
I found the characters to be fun and interesting, but I wasn't able to connect with them as well as I had hoped. I just never felt like I got to know them enough to form feelings for them. For the most part the story focuses on the story line between Phyrne (one of the women from Kergeron) and Hawk (an FBI agent). The point of view jumps around throughout the whole book so you get to see a little of what everyone else is thinking, as well as insight into the other, secondary story lines. I definitely liked Phyrne; she was loyal to her friends/family and fiercely protective of her daughter. The only think that annoyed me about her was every time she was around Hawk, all she could think about was jumping into bed with him. Completely understandable though, considering that women from her planet are focused on breeding, but it got to be a bit much at times. I liked Hawk from the start, and he was never quite the same after his first encounter with Phyrne (as can be expected - read the book, you'll know what I mean!). He had a lot of determination and drive, which I admired. Sometimes I think he sent some very mixed messages, but I'll get into that in a minute.
I enjoyed the other characters too, but as with the main characters, I just didn't form a good connection with them.
To call the relationship between Phyrne and Hawk "sweet" would be inaccurate. Instead I would use "dysfunctional" and "sexy". I know, those words are a little strange together, but it completely works in this case. Sure, they do have some sweet moments together, but you have to take into account that she pretty much ravaged him on their first meeting. Back to what I was saying before, I felt like Hawk gave Phyrne some pretty mixed up signals at times, making her feel like her feelings weren't a top priority. True, they weren't dating or exclusive at the time, and we weren't able to get inside his head and see what he was really thinking, but at times it made me wonder if he truly liked her that much. Overall though I thought they were a great match; they just had a lot of obstacles to overcome.
I loved how unique the story line was. To me anyway. Like I said, I don't read a lot of science fiction, but this one caught my interest. I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like this before so it was like a breath of fresh air.
The story was interesting (and at times very sexy), but my lukewarm feelings for the characters brought down the overall grade. That being said, I did enjoy the author's writing style and could definitely see me reading more of her books in the future. If you're looking for a story with sexy aliens, passion, romance, and a little humor thrown in, then you will definitely enjoy this read!