Jenna Brewster

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Jenna Brewster

  • A Luminous Future on June 20, 2012

    Sometimes you can read a book, and the topics may be interesting, but the writing really isn’t all that great. Sometimes you can read a book that is exquisitely written, but the storyline is kinda ho-hum. But it is extremely rare to come across a book that is both flawless in its execution, and also riveting to the point of being crazy addicting – and this is exactly how I thought “A Luminous Future” by Teodor Flonta was. It was stylistically near perfect, with great pacing and an always-advancing storyline that touched on a wide range of topics and events. The characters and descriptions were well-rounded and vivid, and I truly felt transported to 1950’s Transylvania, experiencing life through young Teodor’s eyes. It really helped to broaden my perspectives and opened my mind to a new world I’d only thought about in passing, if at all. Highly recommend to everyone.
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 23, 2012

    I don’t really know how to best describe or sum up this book, because I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. Some parts I thought were downright amazing and perfectly executed. Sometimes I felt that the story seemed to lose focus and wandered all over the place. There were great characters who added to the plot and tension, and some who just seemed to take up space. I did notice some editing and grammatical errors which I was able to overlook for the sake of the story, but they were present. It took me a long time to feel grounded in the story and get a feel for what was going on, but once I did I admit I was hooked and had to see what would happen next. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least! I think Michael Barnett definitely has potential as a writer and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from him in the future!
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 23, 2012

    Angels Gate is amazing…I read it in one sitting! It was so realistic, its like you are actually THERE as all this is happening. The dialogue was authentic, and even though some of the things that happen are pretty unbelievable, as they say - truth is stranger than fiction. Its almost a little creepy how the author knows so many details about this heist, and I assume that some of the narrative is fictionalized. But that doesn’t make it any less awesome! I love true crime books and thrillers and this has to be one of the best I’ve read in a long time. The writing was near flawless, and I didn’t see any editing errors anywhere. I’ll definitely be reading more from these authors in the future.
  • A Life In A Moment on Oct. 31, 2012

    I really liked this book, however, I was a bit lost in the beginning only because I wasn’t sure who was doing the narration. I sort of figured it was a male, but didn’t have an age or name or anything until a few chapters in. I would have liked to have known more details up front, but once I learned about the character it was really good! The quote marks looked funny though, they were weird sideways “v”s instead of quote marks when people spoke. I thought it was a bit distracting. But I loved the way the author writes and I read this book in a span of an evening. I’d definitely love to read more from Stefanos Livos in the future.
  • Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword on Jan. 12, 2013

    Kingdom of the Snark is unlike anything I have read, but is a cross of many things I enjoy. First off, props to the author because the editing was near flawless, and I notice things like that. It was fast paced and easy to get caught up in, and I kept wanting to read more. I liked the characters and found it to be genuinely funny (I don’t usually read comedic books—this was a first for me). I was never bored for a minute and found myself invested in the characters’ plight. Which brings me to the ending…I don’t like when books end in the middle of the action like this one does; I need resolution even in a book that is part of a series. I know some people don’t mind this, but it is a big thing for me. So this is the only reason I’m giving this book 4 stars instead of 5, and I can’t wait to read the next one to see what happens!!
  • The Hunt for Elsewhere on April 15, 2013

    The Hunt for Elsewhere by Beatrice Vine is the story of animals (mostly a fox, a crow, and later a wolf) all who have human traits and qualities, yet live the lives of wild animals. It is an interesting technique, and one that has been done before, I’m sure, but Ms. Vine created a story that was, at least to me, wholly original. I was surprised at how unpredictable it was, like when I thought it would be all about Saxton reuniting with his family (which would happen at the end of his journey), I was wrong. And I was wrong about Quill’s fate. It was this unpredictability that kept me engaged throughout and I appreciated the risks that the author had her characters take. All in all an enjoyable book, one I’d say is suitable for ages 13+.
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Dec. 06, 2013

    This book was strange to me…I loved so much of it, but wish I could have cut out some parts. It starts of so wonderfully…engaging, positive, almost like a friend is welcoming you into his arms and telling you a wonderful story. The pacing is great and the writing and editing flawless (and I loved the designs on the chapters). This felt like such a beautiful and intelligent treatise and I was becoming more and more impressed and immersed. And then a whole section seemed to have nothing to do with the rest of the book and then actually made me question what the whole point of it really was…because at first I truly believed it was to enlighten the masses into a culture that many may not know much about…only to feel like at the end it was so that the author could use it as a vehicle to argue with or discredit other scholars. I have no dog in this fight. I’m no scholar, and this is the first book on Hinduism I’ve ever read and for the most part it was very good! But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the negativity towards the end almost ruined the whole things for me.
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on July 10, 2014

    The world in “Daughter of Sea and Sky” by David Litwack is different than the one we know today. After centuries of wars, the world has been divided into two parts – the “Blessed Lands” for the spiritual believers, and the “Republic” for the science-based crowd. People belonged to one or the other and outsiders are treated with great suspicion and hostility. Much like some people are today. Although an interesting concept, and I get where the author was going with this, I wonder how everyone managed to fit so neatly into these two camps (even though they don’t really) because most people don’t see things in such ‘all or nothing’ terms. Most are some of each, more ‘grey’ than just ‘black and white’, But for arguments sake let’s go with the premise and see how that level of thinking is hurtful and leaves no room for any balanced progress or growth. This novel illustrates in a thoughtful and profound way the things we have to gain when we open our world and lives up, instead of closing it off.
  • Intelligent Design:Revelations on Feb. 06, 2015

    Intelligent, complex, riveting, and with surprising twists, “Intelligent Design: Revelations” was an unexpected treat for me. I’m not a big sci/fi fan at all… in fact I confess I only chose this book to read because I vowed to try new genres this summer. And I may just be a new fan! Happy that this author has other books, and I’ll be checking them out as well. I was pulled into the story right away and liked the new “take” on our history/reality and the idea of a planet being basically hidden in plain sight is really cool. The technology and advancements were believable and yet almost feel ahead of its time. But what I liked the best was that I was never bored… I read it straight through and felt like I could have read more. I couldn’t tell by the last chapter if this series was done or not… almost seemed like it could go either way. But regardless, this is a very engaging and intelligently designed (pardon the pun) novella that can appeal to Science Fictions readers and Non-readers alike.
  • Field of Vision on April 02, 2015

    Jake is a photographer who takes off for the island of Soufriere and gets a LOT more than he bargained for. I’m not one for recapping the plot (that’s what the book summary is for) but I will say that not only was I really impressed with this author’s narrative style and his word choices, also the way he managed to make the people and the island come alive with the authentic-sounding talk, and the detailed descriptions. It honestly made me forget that I was in the middle of a winter snowstorm here in MA! No! I was on the dangerous, beautiful, tropical island far, far away! Ha. But seriously Michael Jarvis really is quite talented, and the plot is actually a lot more complex and reflective with more substance than it may seem on the surface… it is worth a read, in my opinion, and I’m curious to see what this author will deliver next. He’s one to watch, imo.
  • Planet Woman on June 12, 2015

    I admit it took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going. But the more I read the more I got into it, and thoroughly enjoyed this new world and reality the author writes of. The interweaving plotlines were complex, but not convoluted… and certainly not predictable. I’ve read my fair share of epic science fiction and space romance, but this one felt wholly original on many levels. I appreciated the intricate world building and plot development. But there were times I felt the story wasn’t as focused as I’d like, with some conversations and scenes maybe weren’t necessary and perhaps could have been eliminated to tighten the narrative some. 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, the writing is great, and it is easy to get lost in for hours. Very cool. Highly recommend.
  • Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons on Aug. 27, 2015

    I think what I really liked the most about this book Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons by author Dave Shaw was just the easy, natural tone in which he imparts his message in such an easy-to-understand and relatable way. Although I identify as Christian, I admit my Church attendance is pretty much relegated to major holidays, and I haven’t read from the Bible outside of Church since I was a child. But reading this book, and the passages the author questions and dissects, it was so clear how it can relate to life and God’s master plan (and its players) on an everyday level, even in ways we might not realize. I particularly liked the stories the author included to illustrate his teachings and give broader perspectives to particular circumstances, all while showing how fully applying the Scripture and the Bible can come into play. Seemed to be very well edited and put together, and I can see this being in every Christian’s personal library, as well as some who aren’t necessarily that devout.
  • Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse on Oct. 24, 2015

    I just finished Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse by J. M. Erickson, the follow up sequel to Intelligent Design: Revelations. While this is really not normally the type of book I’d gravitate to (I’m more into contemporary novels) and in the beginning, I admit that I really wasn’t sure if I’d really be into it, but once I was about 25% in I was totally hooked and didn’t want to stop until I’d reached the end. There are some riveting and amazing concepts in this book, and the writing is great. I would describe this as a sci-fi/thriller/drama, but there was also great dialogue (my favorite part of the book) and crazy plot twists, and solid character development. So you will definitely stay interested. I liked how Mr. Erickson blends what is ‘real’ but gives it a whole new spin in the universe (literally) and crates his own rules and seems to have a great time doing it. But there are deeper questions and themes explored here if one chooses to look beyond just the obvious “space sci/fi story” and the theory behind “Intelligent Design” is complex and fascinating. A great pair of books for any hardline science fiction fan, but also has outside-genre appeal as well.
  • Howlers in Heat on Oct. 24, 2015

    4.5 stars wow, I LOVED this book! So hot! Connor has me swooning and Hayley is a lucky girl! “Howlers in Heat” is one of the most fun, sexy, and unexpectedly thrilling books I’ve read lately and I love that it mostly takes place in a foreign country (Costa Rica). These characters are SO STEAMY and sexy hot! When there are together their chemistry just leaps off the page and into your lap (tee-hee). So many of these erotic books are really poorly written (I blame “Fifty Shades of Grey”) it is nice to see one that isn’t. M. Alex Hennessy is a gifted writer and storyteller and I’m very interested to see where he takes these characters in the next book. Can’t just leave us hanging like that! Highly recommended for older readers and readers of erotica/romance/drama. Try it – you won’t be disappointed.
  • The Prince: Lucifer's Origins on Oct. 26, 2015

    4.5 stars I absolutely enjoyed this book and couldn't seem to put it down. I am really picky with anything science fiction related, as so often I read something that seems like I’ve read it a thousand times before! Same plot recycled…same stock characters… blah. But that was definitely not the case with “The Prince: Lucifer’s Origins” by J.M. Erickson. [side note – loved the references to “The Prince” by Machiavelli weaved throughout. Clever!] The whole time I was reading I kept thinking how I hadn’t read anything like this before! It had just this really great mix of so many elements, it’s almost hard to totally categorize this book (but it is definitely science fiction/alternative reality)… This book had some of everything I enjoy in a good book, including some more important overall themes that are relatable on almost every level. So even if you aren’t a die-hard sci/fi fan, there is something in here that you’ll enjoy, and I for one would love to see the story continued.
  • Vinyl: Book One of the Vinyl Trilogy on Dec. 02, 2015

    I was hooked from the opening pages of “Vinyl” by Sophia Hanson and my interest never wavered for a moment! I loved the creative and strong characters and plots that continued to build 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, the author brings a fresh voice and makes it all her own… impressively so. I’ve read a ton of YA fantasy and science fiction 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 – world building is absolutely crucial in selling a ‘fantasy’ story and it is done quite nicely here. Will be interested in seeing where this series and our leads go to in the next one. Recommend for anyone (adults) who enjoy a well-written, action packed, alternative reality novel with unexpected twists.
  • The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    I really enjoyed this book, “The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson”. I thought it was unique, and excellently written (a few editing things aside) and kept my attention from the dramatic, heartbreaking opening to the fulfilling finish. I was wondering how it was going to all tie together and I wasn’t the least bit disappointed! It is a relatively quick read, one I finished in the course of a few evenings. I think the narrative prose was lovely, and I was genuinely surprised at a few things that happened. It could have used a bit more tension and higher stakes though, but I will definitely be looking for more works from Cher Foth in the future. Definitely recommend reading for fans of YA romance and literary drama.
  • Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery on Feb. 08, 2016

    I’m a huge fan of suspense/mystery/adventure thrillers and read them all the time. Unfortunately, after a while many of them start to feel the same, like many authors (especially new ones) are using the same recycled plot over and over again. But I like trying out new authors and thought the premise of Larry Witham’s sounded interesting—and quite ambitious. But while I fully admit I didn’t have the highest expectations going in…well, consider me blown away! I read “Gallery Pieces” almost in one sitting (much to my own amazement) Larry Witham is a hugely is a talented writer, and I was hooked in by the way he weaved so many interesting characters and high-octane storylines together to create a wholly addicting story that I couldn’t put down until the final conclusion. It was fast-paced and with snappy dialogue and stands out from the crowd. Will be checking out Mr. Witham’s other works soon. Recommend.
  • Friend & Foe - Book 2 on March 26, 2016

    for me the best part about reading these books by Nik Olsen is that his narrative prose is some of the best and most authentic I’ve read in a while, the way he brings the scenes to life, and the attention to historical and cultural and political details that gave this story genuine authenticity. I actually feel like I learned something about world affairs and perspectives had a fun time doing it. Great book and great series overall… and I like how this story and the world is getting bigger and bigger, and more complex. It is action/drama/philosophy/adventure all in one, and while it still has the familiar vibe that most political thrillers, it still feel fresh and original enough and is definitely unpredictable, especially towards the end. It is more than just the classic story of “good vs. evil”, and really encompasses so much more of the human condition – and it is also funny at times, despite being so ‘dark’. I chuckled at some of the dialogue and really enjoyed watching the characters evolve as the story progresses. Ready for part 3!
  • Friend & Foe on March 26, 2016

    this is an excellent novel that captured my attention from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go. 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. 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). He has a natural gift for creating a well-thought out story and developing deeply memorable characters.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on May 18, 2016

    this is an excellent novel that captured my attention from the beginning and never once let it go. Each scene was riveting, imaginative, and well-described (where we feel like we are there) and added to the progression of the overall storyline (no needless filler fluff here!). The descriptions were good and kept to a minimum. There was no lull in the action…All in all an amazing story with a powerful, provocative message that kept me eagerly glued to my kindle until the late hours of the evening. I liked how the story covers a long period of time and shows events as they develop through different character perspectives. I liked “Mars’s” narrative, and it was certainly interesting watching the ascendency of “Malik”. I really did enjoy this book and would read more from this author. He has a natural gift for creating a well-thought out story and delivering on the drama, making us wonder what is fact and what is fiction.
  • Portia's Revelation on July 10, 2016

    "Portia’s Revelation” is an excellent novel that was well-written and held my attention from the beginning through to the end due to the fact that it was seriously unlike anything I’ve ever read before… and I read a lot! I thought the characters were genuine and I appreciated that the smaller characters played important roles and weren’t just there to ‘deliver their lines’. Felt rounded out and complete, with a deeper message than just a ‘girl who has visions’. . Each scene was riveting, imaginative, and nicely developed, and I was a bit surprised at the level of complexity that snuck its way----Definitely more punch than a run-of-the-mill typical historical fantasy. The descriptions were good and really helped to create an authentic scene reminding us that were are in the past (even when going to the future). I was genuinely shocked at some things that happened, and thought the ending was perfect. A terrific read that I’d recommend to just about anyone who enjoys a wonderful story
  • Pegasus to Paradise on Aug. 19, 2016

    I’m a huge fan of historical fiction/romance and read them all the time. Unfortunately, after a while many of them start to feel the same, like many authors (especially new ones) are using the same recycled plot over and over again. But I like trying out new authors and thought the premise of “Pegasus to Paradise” sounded interesting, and I liked that it had the historical element of WWII England, but was actually based on true lives of real people – so a mix of fact and fiction. But while I fully admit I didn’t have the highest expectations going in…well, consider me blown away! I read “Pegasus to Paradise” in almost a few short nights, quite a feat considering how long it is and that I have no free time! Michael Tappenden is a natural writer, and I was hooked in by the way he weaved so many interesting characters and twisted storylines together to create a wholly addicting story that I couldn’t put down until the final, bittersweet conclusion. It was fast-paced and with snappy dialogue and free from many clichés that riddle this genre. I was curious to see how this would all work out in the end, and I wasn’t at all disappointed. A thought-provoking read that is different from much out there that is beautifully written and professionally executed. Highly recommend for fans of historical fiction.
  • Errant Spark (Elemental Trials Book 1) on Aug. 19, 2016

    "Errant Spark” (Elemental Trials Book 1) by Ronelle Antoinette is an original, romantic and highly creative thrill ride that pulls you into the mystical world from the beginning and doesn’t let up until the very last page. I was totally hooked from the opening prologue and found the writing to be engaging and kept me interested throughout. Ms. Antoinette’s narrative style is so beautiful, almost lyrical and poetic at times. Paints the scenes perfectly with vivid energy, but not so much description or ‘purple prose’ so as to weigh down the pacing (as happens so often in fantasy! Ugh!) There is a lot of passion, and it’s clear that the whole plot was well-thought out (had good focus, especially for being so complex). Fast paced, and I liked the hot chemistry with Jex and Enari, but also enjoyed (most of) the supporting cast as well. Definitely recommend for anyone who likes sci-fi/fantasy with lots of intelligent subplots, great mythos with the ‘elements’ and ‘powers’ and fascinating characters. Looking forward to reading more in this series. Love the ending (hot!) but now I need to see what happens next!!
  • A Book for Oreo on Nov. 01, 2016

    have had several cats over the years, so I was definitely able to relate on many levels to the author in “A Book for Oreo”. I have never read a book like this before, but I feel almost like it could have been written by me. My cats have always felt more like ‘children’ to me, and losing them is as devastating as losing a real person… maybe even more so in some cases. So I was certainly able to relate to Ms. Jardine’s grief. But also had a great time with all the other fun adventures and reminded me why having a cat is so amazing! Nothing like it! I think this book felt very well-rounded, spiritual, and was time well spent reading it. Thank you to the author for sharing this wonderful story and I hope to read more from her in in the future.
  • Ferret (The Ferret Books, 1) on Dec. 13, 2016

    wow, what a crazy ride! 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! This is a great book for high-schoolers on up, and I thought it had a great combination of creativity, mystery, and intelligence, paranormal activity, friendship, family, danger, facing challenges, learning to be strong, overcoming adversity and obstacles….. I like how everything came together at the end, but I do almost feel like the ending was very rushed and abrupt… almost anticlimactic after all that had happened! But it does wrap up nicely in a way (explains some things to us) but also leaves us wanting more! C.C. Wyatt writes descriptions very well without overdoing it, and I almost felt like I was watching a movie at times. Pia is a fun and likable heroine who grows as the story progresses, and even thought it has all sorts of YA/fantasy/romance tropes that are quite commonplace, Wyatt’s unique take is one that I haven’t read before and I thought it was great. Great supporting cast all around, and while I would have preferred more of a solid conclusion (this one is quite bittersweet and is unfinished for the next book), overall I very much enjoyed it and was more impressed than I expected to be. Will definitely want to read book 2 when it is available. Hopefully not too long! Recommend for ages 14 and up.
  • Harrow's Gate on Jan. 04, 2017

    lately I’ve been in a rut of putting down books and not picking them up again because I lost interest at one point and just never continued. This was definitely not the case with this book, “Harrow’s Gate” by Lawrence BoarerPitchford! From the very beginning of the book we are drawn into this fun, unusual world with and the author throws a lot of characters and action at us right away, so for me it took a bit to really get a grasp of what was happening. We meet Leland (and friends) then Ella (and friends) and learn about their respective situations. The action picked up and flowed seamlessly from one page to the next, and was unpredictable and shocking enough to make me just *have* to see what would happen next. Not formulaic or cookie-cutter at all, even though there are plenty of “familiar elements” necessary for a fantasy and adventure book. This is a “steampunk” novel, so those unfamiliar with it may notice the cool addition of the “steam” element of engineering, as opposed to modern day, giving this book a sort of “fantasy/Victorian era” feel, which I really enjoyed. Great dialogue and liked BoarerPitchford’s lively and energetic writing style and will look for more works from him in the future.
  • LUCID Nightmare on April 13, 2017

    "LUCID Nightmare” is an excellent novella that captured my attention from the beginning and never once let it go. Each scene was riveting, imaginative, and well written. The descriptions were very good. There was no lull in the action…All in all a compelling story that kept me eagerly glued to my kindle. I like that Clay is relatable in a way that many of us can understand… he faces some unexpected financial issues and is forced to behave in an unethical way, and this leads him to making some bad choices. When his dreams become nightmares that can kill him, he has to find a way to stop them before its too late. The only thing that bothered me honestly was the fact that Clay (the main characters) and his girlfriend, Claire’s, names were so similar. When I was reading fast I’d get tripped up on occasion and wish they would have been more distinct from one another. A few minor proofing things, but nothing bad. Nice ending having it come full circle. Recommend to anyone who enjoys reading a story was crazy weird… in a good way!
  • Canadian Insolvency Guide on Aug. 23, 2017

    4.5 stars I read this book by Earl Sands in the course of one evening, and I would suggest it to all people who are interested in knowing the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy in Canada. Obviously it doesn’t have ALL the answers, but definitely covers the most important areas and is a fantastic starting point as a resource for valuable information, much of which I’m sure some people might be surprised to learn. Sands writes in a manner that is quite digestible for the everyday man (do not need a fancy law degree to understand what he is saying), it isn’t highbrow or esoteric at all, but he does cover a wide range of scenarios and easily lays it all out with references and even some personal stories as examples. All in all a great book on the topic, one that most people hope to probably never need, but unfortunately many will and it is imperative to know all you can about your situation. This is an excellent place to start! A highly recommended read that can help you to better understand the many issues with bankruptcy in Canada
  • The Redemption of Charlie McCoy on Aug. 23, 2017

    3.5 stars holey moley, this book was terrific! Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the whole thing! It was all I could do though not to rush it so I could enjoy it. I enjoyed the author’s “voice” and style of writing. The interweaving storylines were intelligent, well-developed and not predictable, and having it mostly be from the angle of Carlie, the criminal (instead of the ‘good guy’) made it all the more fascinating and fun. I really enjoyed it! Great jo of character development with him – at first I worried he’d fall flat but the introduction of Amy made him more complex and gave him more depth. The other characters were all genuine and interesting in their own right and mostly well-written, but some felt very flimsy and just like ‘names’.. This book covers so many topics, yet it all fits well together in a unique blend of action and human interactions and introspection with quirky personalities and crazy characters that you never quite know if you can trust. The story itself was fairly fast-paced (sometimes TOO fast paced, actually), but overall it flowed well, which is tricky considering the frequently changing point of view for different chapters. One thing I particularly liked was how we really felt like we were part of the story as it unfolded, instead of it just being “told” to us, on the outside looking in. We feel like we are a part of this wild ride and I recommend wholeheartedly for fans of crime suspense and mystery