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.
  • 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 Seekers' Garden on Feb. 03, 2013

    "The Seeker’s Garden” by Isa Ritchie is an incredibly vivid and emotionally charged story about several individuals, each whose separate lives intersect with the others, creating a larger story in itself. The writing style of Ms. Richie is lush and atmospheric, and I was drawn into the story by the end of the prologue. Each of the main characters were well developed and each with their own distinctive “voice”. The pacing was consistent throughout and I enjoyed how everything fell into place. Recommended for fans of women’s fiction.
  • 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+.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm Illustrated Chapter Book on Oct. 18, 2017

    I will give this book 5 stars! “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm” a fun, enchanting story you just want to dive into and stay lost in! Unfortunately I finished it in two short nights, even though this book is surprisingly long… It’s been so long since I’ve read something with such magical, creative elements that didn’t feel super cliché or something I’ve read a dozen times before. So rare in this genre! … Sybrina Durant has perfected the delicate balance of creating an imaginative and complex magical/alternate world that isn’t confusing or frustrating or overwhelming –especially for younger readers-- but is just complex enough to keep us totally hooked! And I like how it is written in such a way that we see multiple character/unicorn POVs, as well as a narrator to show us the bigger picture. But Durant tackles some pretty heavy themes here and like that she doesn’t dumb it down for her younger audience (some really shocking moments and some sad ones as well). A great read, one I can see being in the libraries of junior highs… might skew a bit young for the High Schoolers but the story has enough substance to appeal to a mass audience. Recommend.
  • Getting Gay on Nov. 12, 2017

    I don’t really know how to best describe or sum up “Getting Gay” by Bryce Hunter because I have a lot of conflicting impressions about it. Some parts I thought were simply amazing and perfectly executed, beautifully written and profoundly emotional and insightful—surprisingly so. But sometimes I felt that the story seemed to lose focus and wandered all over the place—like the focus of the book was always changing. There was a dark, human nature element that was powerful, and spoke to me on a deeper level than just a run-of-the-mill family drama/coming of age/literary novel. There were great characters who added to the plot and tension, but also some who just seemed to take up space and I didn’t feel enough of a connection. In the beginning, it took me a long time to feel grounded in the story and get a feel for what was going on, but I do commend Mr. Hunter for the way he gradually did the world building, starting us when Noah is quite young, and taking us through several stages of his life to really experience it as he lived it. This is far better than just ‘telling’ us what happened and dumping it all on us at once. The storyline always felt very original and like it had a higher purpose…makes you think outside your comfort zone and realize just how people’s lives can be affected by abuse and how they treat others. There are some disturbing scenes, and at times I thought that there could be deeper development on some issues. The ending felt too ‘unfinished’ to me, even though I feel like that is the authors’ intention – to let us come to our own conclusions how it ends up with Reggie and Noah. But I prefer more closure. When I was done, I will say that I enjoyed the experience and I would be interested in reading more books by Bryce Hunter.
  • SEEDS The Journey Begins on Jan. 05, 2018

    "SEEDS-THE JOURNEY BEGINS” is the first book I’ve read by Best Selling Author Cary Allen Stone, and I hope it’s not the last! (Especially with how it ended – I need book 2 now!) I found his storytelling to be creative and engaging, and I like that I didn’t feel like I’d read anything like this before – and I read a lot! I was instantly sucked into the book right away with the vivid descriptions of the world, its problems, the tech, and the desire to colonize and the use of science and tech to do so in a somewhat ‘realistic’ manner. Then it continues to evolve into something unpredictable and makes you want to keep reading. I admit I was confused a little in the beginning until I got a better feel for the different characters and their roles (there is a handy character list in the beginning though) and have the ‘backstory’ all figured out. But what I liked the most was how this felt super realistic, yet super fantastical at the same time. I definitely chuckled at the dialogue more than I expected, and while it does have a lighthearted feel at times, it also gets really riveting and intense. Asks a lot of profound questions and issues re: the state (and future) of mankind, from all aspects of Earth (and beyond). I think it needed more heightened tension at times and higher stakes… instead of just talking about interesting things, would be better to see them DO interesting things. But I don’t want to give it away but around the 50% mark things really get going and I couldn’t put my kindle down after that. This book was well written, expect for a few minor editing issues, and took me on a dramatic ride in space, one that I enjoyed immensely and I look forward to more from the colonists and Titan. Ready for book 2!
  • The Cossack on Jan. 05, 2018

    I read a lot of action and thriller books, so this is a genre I’m familiar with. I’d never read anything from KJ Lawrence, but the premise seemed intriguing and I’m always on the lookout for fresh new talent, so I was curious to see how she would deliver in this one “The Cossack”. While not a perfect book (a bit too much narrative ‘telling’ and character backstory at times) Ms. Lawrence is unarguably a very talented and creative writer, but more than that she genuinely impressed me with her thorough world-building and interesting characters and inventiveness on many levels. Descriptive details gives this story authenticity and we are transported into this complex, epic tale from the very beginning, and feel like we are ‘in’ the various characters heads (mostly Daniel and Mikhail, but others as well) and experiencing all the crazy drama with them, for better or worse. All too often I read works that feel clearly derivative of other books (especially in thrillers/espionage), and although I appreciate literary influences (as is felt here as well), when something this original comes along it is a refreshing change of pace from the norm! It wasn’t predictable or cliché, and sometimes it was cutthroat and harsh, and other times I was nearly breathless from the intensity and violent passion (especially toward the end – don’t think I put my Kindle down once in the last quarter of the book or so). Other times there were unexpectedly emotional or sentimental moments that really helped give the characters, especially the antagonists, some much appreciated humanity. For such a long book I finished it in less than a week, and went through so many highs and lows, it felt like a rollercoaster. I enjoyed the ending and was actually hoping that this might be the beginning of a series but I don’t think so… But it’s not a cliffhanger (thankfully) and everything wraps up well. Lots of violence and action and language and dead bodies, but it’s not graphic or overly gratuitous. Works with the genre well. Recommend to fans of action/thriller/suspense.
  • Kai and The Daddyman on Jan. 05, 2018

    3.5 stars Kai and the Daddyman” it is charming, entertaining story about a young girl and her ‘hero’, her “Daddyman. It is quite short but written well and with great energy and messages, and has cute illustrations. I liked the whole premise and thought the characters were great, especially Daddyman of course. However, I do wish it was a little longer and I did notice a few typos and improper grammar (nothing terrible, but I noticed). Other than that it is a charming little story and I hope Michelle Person writes more in this genre because she is really good at it!
  • FLATLINE on Feb. 14, 2018

    4.5 stars 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, “Flatline” by Dana Barney. From the very beginning we are thrust into this intriguing murder-mystery, and the action flowed seamlessly from one page to the next. Loved the fast paced, witty dialogue and banter. It was unpredictable 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 crime/suspense thriller, I thought Mr. Barney did a great job of giving it his own voice. I’m ready to read more! Recommend.
  • Liornabella on April 01, 2018

    Creatively layered, well written and nicely edited, “Liornabella” by A.E. Outerbridge is a great book for fans of New Adult/ Coming of Age alternative/historical fiction, paranormal & fantasy, action, drama and suspense. This novel holds its own with the world building and plot structure, and an interesting cast characters and plenty of intrigue to go around. Half the fun in reading this book is trying to figure out exactly what is going on… what it all means. But there were some times where I felt it could have used some paring down, as while technically the editing was very clean, there were frequent places where there was needless information, scenes, or conversations. However, I feel Ms. Outerbridge did a great job of bringing in a unique voice and making the story wholly her own, and giving it a special feel. I certainly didn’t feel like I’ve read this million times before, even if it has a somewhat familiar literary premise on some level… it is still brilliantly complex with more depth that I initially expected. While it takes it’s time to really develop the deep tension I like for an engrossing story, it does get there and the ending will make you wish there was more! Interesting concepts with characters ‘history’, roles and functions, lots of frightening and dangerous action, and a fun cast of characters to take you along for this intoxicating, enchanting journey. Recommend for ages 17+
  • Einstein in Flamingoland - Confessions of a Fellow Traveler on May 14, 2018

    I was hooked from the first pages of “Einstein in Flamingoland” and much to my surprise my interest never faded for a moment! (that’s rare for me with books these days…) 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…. faaaar from it. The characters are the coolest/weirdest I’ve met in a long time (Liked Gille, Lightfoot, Jeff, Ed, and of course Einstein!). And although there are some familiar ideas and tropes at play here, the author George Brinner brings a fresh attitude and literary style and makes it all his own and doesn’t just rehash the same old plotlines we’ve seen a million times before which makes this book wholly unique. I’ve read a ton of literary surrealism/magical realism and even paranormal (sci/fi-ish?) books over the years so I’m rarely surprised by anything anymore but I can say that Brinner managed to do it a few times. I appreciated the brisk pace and the descriptive details that really brought the story to life – authentic world building (the character development in this case) is absolutely crucial in selling a story and it is done quite impressively here… A shocking, surreal, sometimes uncomfortable experience that will get inside your mind and soul. Could benefit from some tightening and better editing (mostly punctuation), but still an entertaining, unpredictable and at times even enlightening “ride” with some unexpected topics/conversations/narratives that span from alien life, to hallucinations, violence, romance and humor and so much more!