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!!
  • Sugar and Spice: A Karma Café Novella on Jan. 31, 2013

    I read this book in one sitting! It is on the shorter side (it’s a novella), but it was the perfect length for me in my busy day. There wasn’t a whole lot of outside conflict, and the action was mostly limited to the hero/heroine finally succumbing to their desires, despite the obstacles around them. My only complaint is that I wasn’t sure exactly what purpose the women in the bakery really served, and in a book this short it seems that every little thing should be directly related to the plot, and just to me their roles and conversations felt a bit unnecessary. But this was a great book and I’ll be sure to look for more from this author soon! Happy to see she has quite the extensive backlist!
  • 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.
  • The Sense of Touch on Aug. 25, 2014

    After I read “The Sense of Touch”, I read some of the reviews to see if others had the same strong positive reactions I had. Glad to see I wasn’t alone in loving this book! I see that it got a starred review from Kirkus and with good reason, I believe! I’m no Kirkus, but I don’t hand out 5 stars lightly, but this book gets them from me without question. Wow, how refreshing to read from someone who can actually WRITE! I don’t mean tap out words on a keyboard.. I mean create images in your mind and soul with magical prose that is almost hypnotic and effortless in its beauty. Not to dismiss the art of the short story at all, as it is a form of storytelling I very much enjoy, but I would love to see what Ron Parsons would do if he stretched his legs a little into a novella, or even a whole novel. I’m sure it would be as brilliant as this one was. Kudos.
  • 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 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 Shattered Crown on Feb. 08, 2016

    "The Legends of Ansu” by J.W. Webb is not your typical epic fantasy series as it has a few different books set in way different times, but all in the same general universe. I just finished reading “Gol” book one in this series, and the follow up book “The Shattered Crown” basically reads as a standalone – so in a sense one needn’t to have read the first one to enjoy this one. That said, I always marvel at the way that Webb is able to make the story and characters come alive. The relationship between Corin and all the others is great fun and still provides great action and danger. In terms of world-building, there is not an enormous amount, but I thought it fit the story very well. The reader is filled in by characters mostly through dialogue while the plot continues to move forward. Fast paced and well written, I enjoyed this tumultuous journey and am curious to see how it all wraps up! An engaging saga best suited for older readers.
  • 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.
  • Tatya's Return on March 26, 2016

    4.5 stars "Tatya’s Return” by Teagan Kearney was such a great find! I’m so happy I discovered this author, and I love how long of an ebook it is!! I like that I can really lose myself in the story and with the fascinating characters. Kearney’s writing is very descriptive and I felt like I was really inside this unique world she created. I liked that it made me think outside the box and wasn’t just another formulaic vampire story. This was really original, I thought, but at the same time comfortingly familiar. My only beef was that it felt like it took too long to get going (even though there is good action at the beginning), for there to be the tension needed to really hook us in to having to keep reading. At times I thought some inner narrative went on a bit too long (too much ‘telling’) and there were some minor editing things I noticed. But despite that I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next book from this series soon. Definitely recommend for fans of paranormal & fantasy.
  • Vampire Sacrifice on March 26, 2016

    3.5 stars As much as I enjoyed this book, and the series as a whole, I think I also felt like it was a little confusing at times, and the pacing was too erratic. I’m not a fan of all the angsty narrative, and at times it seemed to too much ‘telling’ when it should be ‘showing’…. It’s not as bad as some books I’ve seen, but I find it tiresome after a while. Also it could benefit from some light proofreading. But I really like the creative take on vampire lore and liked the setting and the characters. The writing and the plot is amazing, and completely unpredictable which I love. I was shocked more than once and now that we know what the title means… ahh, no spoilers but OMG. I do want to continue on with the series because I do feel invested and now I have to know how it will all end up because that ending is crazy!
  • 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!!
  • Hurst: Book One Of The Hurst Chronicles on Aug. 19, 2016

    This book was an interesting mix of so many elements-- suspense, action, drama… I can’t quite say that I’ve ever really read anything like it before. It is far more than just a typical dystopian and definitely has cross genre appeal for teens and adults as well Great, evocative writing and wonderful characters… really liked Zed, Terra and the others….,I really hope that things “turn around” in the next book. There are many complex subplots woven throughout and it was very fast paced and the prose is gorgeous – we can picture everything perfectly. Shows lots of character perspectives so we can really experience the whole thing. Great, high stakes battle/action scenes, and can see dystopian/action adventure fans really liking it, even those who maybe it’s not their thing, there is a lot of great character development and has a powerful message that seems like in a scary way something that could actually happen one day. Something for everyone, I think. And the editing and formatting is near flawless! (I notice and appreciate that!) Recommend for ages 16 and older. Looking forward to Book 2, “Sentinal”!