A former corporate attorney and government relations/health policy executive, Jill Elizabeth walked away (well, skipped actually) from the big-city worlds of corporate and political America and headed for a more literary life (equally challenging, but infinitely more enjoyable) in the small Western New York town where she grew up. For more information, please visit Jill at www.Jill-Elizabeth.com.
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Smashwords book reviews by Jill Elizabeth
- Kiwi in Cat City
on March 05, 2012
Today’s guest post is a book review provided courtesy of my step-daughter, Alynn, who in addition to being fabulous is also the author of her own website, TheAwesomeKids.com. Her review copy of the book in question – Kiwi In Cat City – was generously provided by the author, Vickie Johnstone.
Vickie contacted me over the summer about a review – and when I mentioned the book to Alynn and she thought it sounded cool, we asked Vickie if she would like a review by an actual member of her book’s target audience (young adults). She was excited to have a target reader review, Alynn was excited to read a free book, and I was excited to get a guest post – win-win-win! In fact, if you are the author of a YA book and would like Alynn to consider your book for review, let us know via comment below or via email to me here at jill-elizabeth.com.
We hope you enjoy the review!
Book Review: Kiwi in Cat City
By Alynn, age 12
In Kiwi In Cat City by Vickie Johnstone, I really liked that Kiwi was a cat-agent. Amy and James (people) follow their Siamese cat into a separate cat world. Inside that world, Amy and James – or Ames and Jimster as they are known in the cat world – find that their cat Kiwi is actually a cat-agent, and he’s on a case where there are missing catizens (cat citizens – teehee) and Amy and James have to find the cat-napper.
This book was very good. The only thing that I didn’t like is that there were a lot of big words that I didn’t understand and had to ask about or look up. I would recommend this to kids ages nine and up or even adults, to read to their kids at night.
The ending was great! (It wasn’t the way I expected – but in a good way.) People would like this book because it’s not some boring informational book, it’s fun and always keeps you on the edge of your seat.
- Kiwi and the Missing Magic
on March 05, 2012
Please note, my review copy was generously provided by the author.
Strange things are afoot in the Cat City: giant mice, weird magic bursts, buildings in lock-down mode, and a surprising discovery about both the nature of magic – and of Kiwi herself. If you’re not up on the whole Kiwi-the-Cat thing, check out Alynn’s review for a good synopsis of the Kiwi-universe. In a very tiny nutshell, Kiwi is the pet of two children (Amy and James) – when she’s in this world. In HER world, Cat City, she is a bit of a detective and the two children (known as Ames and Jimster there) are rather like her pets – they help her solve mysteries. In this, book two of the Kiwi series, the mystery is to figure out what happened to all of the Cat City magic.
The story is sweet, the characters are endearing, and the mystery is, well, mysterious. It starts with the aforementioned giant mouse (a definite oddity in Cat City), which triggers a locked-down Cat Central (the coolest description of a policemen’s defensive posture ever, seeing as it involves the actual building going into hiding). Add in a genuinely crazy villain (someone you’ve met briefly, if you’ve visited Cat City before), Kiwi’s mom, and a trip to mouseland, and you are in for one unusual trip!
This is a lovely series. As with all well-written and thoughtful books for younger readers (and, come to think of it, “older” readers too), there are life-lessons threaded throughout the narrative about the importance of loyalty, courage, perseverance, and being a good catizen, er, I mean, citizen. Johnstone’s prose is easy-going and she throws just enough fun and frivolity in to hold your attention – be you child, tween, teen, or adult, I think.
- Wander Home
on Oct. 04, 2012
Karen Wyle's latest, Wander Home, is not only a lovely tale about the after-life and after-world, but also a lovely vision of what I hope that life/world looks like.
This is the story of an after-life in which we are whatever age we want to be, surrounded by whatever people we want around us. It is a story about how death, even untimely death, doesn’t have to be the end of everything. It is a story about the consequences of the choices we make, and the difficulty even we can have in understanding – and living with – the reach of those consequences. Wyle’s isn’t the first vision of the afterlife that addresses these concepts (Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come springs to mind), but it is one of the loveliest.
Eleanor’s life is tragic and heart-breaking; not only for the things she lost, but for the things she spent so long trying to find. There is a nice twist hidden in the layers of family drama, redemption, and the quest for understanding, and it’s handled deftly and with a unique spin that keeps it from feeling in any respect derivative, even if it’s not a brand-new construct. (Sorry that is so obtuse, but I don’t want to give spoilers!) Wyle has a lovely way with language, weaving characters and setting together into a seamless tapestry of an after-life that I personally hope bears more than a passing resemblance to what’s really out there.
I started the book in the morning, on a sick day. I read through until it was finished, that evening. Even with my cold medicine-addled brain and eyes I could barely keep open, I couldn’t put it down. Don’t miss this one. It’s a beautiful story, well-written and smoothly paced with characters you can’t help but fall in love with (especially Cassidy and Great Grandma Amanda). Thanks for another great novel Karen – I can’t wait for the next one!