Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga)
on May 13, 2012
It is clear that this was written by a pro who knows his craft. Perfect editing and grammar, beautiful sentence structure, the words strung together in a way that just flowed off the page (screen) and created this gritty, magical world in my mind. The world was incredibly original and picturesque with a steampunk/supernatural setting, and the plot unfolded at a natural pace and never felt forced or contrived. I haven’t read many of these types of books before but I just might start! I don’t know if this was the prequel to a series to come but I hope so. I’m hooked!! I want there to be a longer novel about all that happened to Flynn and his Order and the Sundering. It sounded so interesting and I wish we could see it happen as it really did, instead of it being what happened in the past. Recommend for those who enjoy beautiful writing and a moving story with action, surprises, and character study.
A Luminous Future
on May 31, 2012
Teodor Flonta’s father is declared a “chiabur” and enemy of the people, and is constantly being imprisoned and tortured for working harder than others and having more land. Wow. Talk about an eye-opener! We are so used to living in a time and place where these traits are rewarded, to think of growing up in where it is punished…yet people continue to do it anyways…it’s so incredibly sad but inspiring at the same time. Teodor ‘s (the narrator) father is so brave, and it’s obvious that this story is a testament to his memory and the legacy of courage and convictions he instilled in his son. I loved the part when they said how Stalin had died and they were supposed to be sad and hang their flags low. But Teodor and his friends were happy and celebrated…they still retained the ability to think for themselves and know what was right and wrong despite the attempts to coerce their way of thinking. There is much to be admired in this book, and I thank Mr. Flonta for taking the time and (painstaking) effort to do it, and I thank him for letting me experience a bit of his extraordinary life. It was truly unforgettable.
A Song Apart
on June 12, 2012
Okay so to be honest, at first I thought the main character (Kevin) seemed like a crazy stalker guy and thought it was pretty unbelievable that a celebrity rock star would want to date him because she saw him wearing her t-shirt. I mean, hello! That’s probably the last guy she’d want to date, especially one who calls himself her “number 1 fan” (“Misery” anyone?) Yet for some reason when Kevin and Shannon come together, their relationship is sweet and believable. Kevin grew on me and I really liked the way he handled himself in situations, even though he makes mistakes. I liked that the characters weren’t cardboard cutouts but three-dimensional human beings with flaws and all. Yet they were all very likeable (well, not the jerks), and there were many subplots to this overall story that kept me flipping through the pages of my kindle as fast as I could. In the end I can say that I really liked it and think others will to. It’s a pretty original spin on the average “boy meets girl” storyline, and the writing is strong, compelling, and from what I saw, free of any glaring editorial errors (always a big plus in my book!) I give “A Song Apart” by Jeffrey H. Baer 4.5 stars.
When Earthlings Weep
on June 24, 2012
The good: This novel is intelligent, creative, and multi-faceted. It is never boring, and definitely keeps you on your toes. It’s deep and has layers upon layers of subtle subtext that continues to become exposed throughout the course of the book. The not-so-good: I had a difficult time connecting with the writing, as it was different than what I am used to. I felt too much like things were being told TO me, instead of letting me be a part of the action and experience it for myself. There was quite a bit of head-hopping amongst the characters, so much so that there were several times I didn’t know whose head I was in. The beginning had many editing errors that seemed to have smoothed themselves out mostly by the halfway mark. Still, it was distracting at times.
That all said, no book is perfect, nor do I expect it to be. Was it the best book I ever read? No. Was it the worst? Not by a long shot. Would I read more from this author? Absolutely, yes. Would I recommend to others? Yes, as long as the aforementioned doesn’t bother you. It is quite an interesting and compelling journey, and the author gets high praise from me for writing such a unique story.
Margaret of the North
on Aug. 16, 2012
I've read so many stories that end just as they were getting “good”, meaning the hero/heroine finally resolve their differences; realize they are madly in love, only to have the book end. How many times I’ve wanted to know the story AFTER the story where we can enjoy the fruits of the lovelorn characters labors. But it is not without its risks…one has to wonder when people connect and fall in love amidst all the drama and turmoil, what will their lives be like once the dust has settled? Will it be blissful, or will it be boring? Well, yes…and yes. Admittedly once Margaret’s and John’s personal and professional drama is resolved (in the story “North and South”), their relationship takes a more mundane turn, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. As much as I enjoyed experiencing this new side of Margaret, I found myself yearning for more drama. For those looking for a beautifully written novel that will revisit a story you loved, then this novel is definitely for you.
Return of the Crown
on Feb. 01, 2013
This novel by Millie Burns was a lot of fun, more so than I’d expected it to be. It was full of adventure and action that kept me interested, and I liked the heroine, Ravyn. She was smart and resourceful and brave and strong. Kind of a tomboy but is relatable. Sometimes I was unclear on a few things, mainly the passage of time and where the characters were in relation to one another (far? Close?) I could never quite get a clear grasp. Also, there seemed like there were A LOT of characters but we never really got to know most of them very well. I know this is standard with fantasy books, but for me it just gets confusing at times when every page or two we are meeting new characters. But I think the plot was good and it made for an entertaining read. I recommend this book for readers aged 12 and up who like an engaging story of action and fantastical adventure.
The Hunt for Elsewhere
on April 22, 2013
amazing. I loved this book and immediately sent it to my daughter’s kindle to read. (She is 14, I am…not). This book has some great themes and messages that are important, and delivered in such a way that the reader has an emotional attachment with what is going on. Even though there were some tough parts, and admittedly I thought some events could have been handled with more finesse, such is life, in that everything is not all roses and rainbows. I could possible see some readers thinking there needs more action, as there are times when the story slows down to take introspective looks. However, I for one thought it added to the overall character development and enhanced the story as a whole. So I am giving this wonderful book 5 stars and look forward to reading more from this author.
The Seedbearing Prince: Part I
on July 18, 2013
The Seedbearing Prince was the first book I’ve read from the author DaVaun Sanders, but I assure you it won’t be the last! If the next one were out I’d be reading it right this minute! I’ve read many, many YA fantasy novels by indie authors over the past several years and I can say with all certainty that this novel ranked up there among the very best of them. Mr. Sanders writes with confidence and utilizes great word economy. I appreciated how detailed the world-building and characters were without being weighed down with excessive purple descriptions (a common flaw I find in this genre). Dayn is a likable character and it is great to see the events unfold (for the most part) from his perspective. This novel is a great addition to the YA fantasy genre, and I think adults will enjoy it too! It is a quite lengthy book, but it is worth the read.
The Angela Suite
on March 18, 2014
For me, this book was an unexpected surprise. At first I thought it started off a bit slow, with perhaps too much time spent on the details of the mundane. But by the end I was thoroughly caught up in Terence’s (Terry’s) whirlwind world of sex, addiction, music, and self-destructive behavior. This book is billed as an erotica novel, but there is really so much more to it than just sex. And there is plenty of that, and not your normal, run-of the-mill stuff either. It is graphic, shocking at times, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful. One of the more interesting books I’ve encountered and hard to really pigeonhole into a specific category. Recommended for adults who want something different to read and who don’t offend/shock easily.
The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky
on July 03, 2014
"The Daughter of Sea and Sky” starts off strong and carries through nicely, although I admit at first the prologue was confusing. But once we get to Helena and Jason and then Kailani, the story starts right away and we are mesmerized by this new reality the author David Litwack has created. He does a great job of world building in a natural and organic way, instead of just ‘dumping’ it all on us right off the bat there is a continual build through actions and dialogue. I like when Helena says “what in the name of reason would a boat be doing here?” (instead of ‘God’), because her part of the world believes only in science and reason and shun those of faith (and vice versa). But like anything that is only in “black and white” some gray inevitably happens – and that’s where the mysterious young Kalaini comes in. An inventive voyage that is definitely worth taking.
Remembrance Part One: A Time For War
on Feb. 20, 2015
"Remembrance…” by A.K. Stauber packs a real punch. From the intriguing prologue, to the gut-wrenching opening chapters, we are transported back in time to another place and become a living part of history through Anushka (Anna) Krasynyk’s eyes. She is from a small town in Southeastern Poland … in the wrong place at the wrong time, so to speak. World War II is happening, and now she’s on the run for her life. We really feel her sadness, desperation, strength, and determination to survive, and I feel like I somehow learned something while reading this, like Anna and Pawel and Ditri and the other characters really gave some humanity to such an inhumane period of history. A riveting read that you won’t want to put down.
Field of Vision
on March 17, 2015
Beautiful, haunting, extraordinary. FIELD OF VISION is a superb novel about the search for self and survival through travel, relationships, and danger and romance. It has a slow, almost rocking pace, that will lull you into a false sense of comfort. Don’t be fooled. The only thing in my opinion that surpassed the lovely prose the author utilizes is his amazing insight into the dynamics of human interaction. While it is a beautiful, visual novel that might give you the travel bug, it'll also make you think twice… Highly recommended for mature readers.
Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons
on Aug. 25, 2015
This book, “Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons” by Dave Shaw was actually far more interesting and insightful than I first expected it to be (no offense to the author). I just wasn’t sure what I was getting myself in for, but as I started reading I was transfixed by Mr. Shaw’s impressive knowledge of Scripture and of life in general… and the way he writes and puts it all together is very moving, eye-opening, and ultimately transformative. “Connecting the Dots…” is an absolute ‘must read’ for anyone regardless of where you are on your spiritual and life journey. I feel like Mr. Shaw does a fantastic job of relating the role of Satan, angels, and their relationship to man in an easy to digest manner, also while explaining precepts on how to live according to what God has planned. A wonderful read, a definite keeper.
Vinyl: Book One of the Vinyl Trilogy
on Dec. 08, 2015
At first I was immediately grabbed into the story of “Vinyl” by Sophia Elaine Hanson, and became immersed in the intricate world building and trippy plot development. But even though the writing was stunningly good, 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… like it was a bit overwritten (especially with the dialogue tags). But at the same time, the pacing was fast, I liked that we saw different character POV’s, and there was pretty much nonstop action and some DEFINITELY crazy developments toward the end. It felt fresh and unpredictable, always a nice experience, especially in a genre that is fraught with copycats. Intelligent, complex plotlines that are super weird, and I mean that as a compliment. Mad props to this author as I think she has a great future in store for her. All in all I’d be interested in continuing on with this series, especially because I have to see what happens!
The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses
on Jan. 01, 2016
well, “The Urban Boys” by K.N. Smith took me a while to read, but in the end I’d say it was worth it! I like how everything came together, and I enjoyed every page! Anyways, the themes and events that Smith writes about are done in a different way than I’m used to, very literary and metaphorical at times, which is a nice change of pace, especially for a YA action/adventure. K.N. Smith writes VERY well… very descriptive and strong and we feel like we are there almost like watching a movie or something. The editing could use a little cleaning up, but it wasn’t that bad. All the main characters are dynamic protagonists in their own way and really pull you into their world. The takeaway is satisfying, and overall a complex, almost surreal novel that pushes the boundaries of typical YA literature. Recommend!
Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery
on Feb. 08, 2016
At first I admit I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into in deciding to read this book. Because admittedly I do tend to lean towards the paranormal/fantasy elements of literature because I enjoy the make-believe parts. And a book about art? Russian gangsters? Not my usual fare. But I was intrigued by the writing sample and the way that I felt an almost immediate connection to not only the characters (especially Peale and Medici), but with the way that Larry Witham was writing them, and I found myself just wanting to read more… and more… and more… and I couldn’t believe it when I’d finished the whole thing in a few nights flat! But seriously, I felt transported to another world just by experiencing the lives of these incredible characters who are so true to life and authentic, yet unlike any I’ve met before. Really glad I took a chance on this one…
Friend & Foe
on March 26, 2016
make no mistake, “Friend & Foe” is definitely a compelling read, and one that will appeal to a wide range of readers due to its far-reaching plotlines… from friends and enemies, right and wrong, good and evil, this book covers so many things, yet it all fits well together in a unique blend of politics, religion, culture, life, and drama. The story itself was fairly even-paced, but I thought the beginning was a bit slow personally but then it picked up and flowed well. 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 the book and I recommend for fans of literary fiction who’d like a new twist on a different view of a foreign life.
Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
on June 03, 2016
I liked “Not Black and White…” by G.A. Beller for a few reasons. First— it was easy to read, not overly complicated, just a great story written with amazing subplots that tie together without dragging things out... It's one of the those books you pick up and just finish before you realized it's over, like eating comfort food, the simplicity, yet action packed pages and witty dialogue and unpredictable twists were great. I enjoyed the descriptive world and character building Beller uses, and really felt like I was inside this world of Chicago politics, for better or worse. This book has a depth rarely seen in the genre, and it does have its darker side. We never feel ‘safe’ as we are reading as the games were never what they seemed, but that’s what kept me so hooked. When I was finished I closed my Kindle and smiled, for it was a good read.... I'll want read the other books from G.A, Beller for sure.
on July 11, 2016
warning…when starting this book make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel Rich Tenaglia managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me this really awesome story that I didn’t want to stop listening to. We really feel like we are there in the story, part of the action in Portia’s world as we try to unravel the mysteries of the visions and force you to perhaps look at some things differently for a while in a way that you haven’t before. I finished it before I knew it, and thought the ending was simply lovely – heartfelt and touching on a spiritual level. Will recommend to others.
Assembly Of Planets
on Oct. 02, 2016
This was an interesting space opera that is divided into 5 ‘novelettes’ which comprise the whole story… The plot was very original and thought-provoking, but I thought just some parts were perhaps a bit too complex for my personal tastes. I tend to get frustrated when reading if there are too many characters involved, but I don’t feel like I really understand them all that well, or really understand their motives or goals… that happened with me here a few times. But the ones I had figured out I thought were explained really well, and I was curious to see everyone’s fates. Some unexpected twists I didn’t see coming. The conclusion makes you want to read more, and I can say with all honesty that despite a few flaws I had a good time reading this book, and think the author is mad creative! Would read more for sure.
on April 26, 2017
just a heads up - when starting “LUCID Nightmare” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off with an enticing beginning where we meet author (and protagonist) Clay Thompson and he is talking about his unique experiences with dreams… and their connection with the dead. When his life takes an unfortunate turn, he gets caught up in some horrifying ordeals that causes his dreams to become nightmares in the worst imaginable way. The characters were genuine and believable, and I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel the author managed to create where it felt intimate, like we are really there in Clay’s mind as this story unfolds, feeling the things he is feeling and seeing. Loved the unpredictableness, and the fact that this wasn’t just a cliché ghost/nightmare story. This went much deeper than that- on a dark psychological and moral level, and I was truly impressed with the author’s storytelling skills to pack such a punch in such a short book (novella). Although it’s a fairly mild book in terms of content and language, it is probably most suitable for adults. Recommend.
Canadian Insolvency Guide
on Sep. 11, 2017
This was a powerful, eye-opening and informative book that really does a great job of tackling a difficult subject and breaking it down into very relatable and understandable situations. Going through financial difficulties, specifically a bankruptcy is a huge, and most likely very frightening ordeal for many people. Most people are scared and confused what will happen next, and this fear of not knowing what to expect can make things all the more terrifying or overwhelming. This book, “Canadian Insolvency Guide- Helping Canadians get a Fresh Financial Start” by Earl Sands is exactly what the title implies, and more. What I appreciated was that it not only gave us gave us insight into bankruptcy on many levels, but also educated me more about the credit system in general… so even if it is not something I can personally use at the moment (thank goodness), it was still a riveting and educational read. So many great references, links, and resources on many topics, and refreshingly easy to read. Even some interesting history as well! Professional presentation from layout to editing to formatting to writing.
The Boring Days and Awesome Nights of Roy Winklesteen
on April 09, 2018
Okay I definitely liked “The Boring Days and Awesome Nights of Roy Winklesteen” by Sally Dill and can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it before. Reminded me of a show I’d watch when I was younger on Saturday morning (and I mean that in a good way!) I thought it was well-written and kept my attention from beginning to end – no easy feat usually! It wasn’t cliché or predictable, and I thought for the most part the pacing was great and prose was solid. I liked the narrative voice and energy Dill uses, it feels authentically “younger” (not like an adult ‘trying’ to sound like a kid) and that is hard to fake, in my opinion. And Roy makes a great lead. We can really get inside his head and see things as they develop though his eyes, even though it is written in 3rd person. Good character development with him, and I liked the others too, but I am glad that the cast was small (only a few characters, really) Although at times it probably could have used some more tension, some higher stakes or consequences, and least Roy has a goal that we can get behind, and the light, fun tone of the book will appeal to younger readers. Best suited for the pre-teen/MG crowd, but I can see older adults enjoying this as well as the plot is actually pretty interesting and made me laugh on occasion.
Mr. Merson Goes Home
on June 14, 2018
4 1/2 stars
This novel, “Mr. Merson Goes Home” was quite a change of pace for me, as I normally gravitate towards more contemporary romance or nonfictions, but this was one engaging, and amusing tale that I couldn’t put down! The opening scene grabbed me, both with the intriguing setup and the friendly narrative voice. I did have to have some patience until I felt that I was more caught up in the thrust and rhythm of the story, but the author does a great job of explaining all the character backstory with Keith and his storyline in the present, as well as the past, and how they (and the characters there) are connected. Speaking of characters – there were some really good ones here… Happy that they were not cliché, cardboard cutouts but relatable and real… (especially liked Ellie and Alice). I liked that I never quite knew where the story was going, and it was anything but predictable… it was certainly different from a typical read, in fact I literally can’t think of any other book I could compare it to! I chuckled several times and had some bouts of nostalgia myself. Has a nice, steady flow that moves the story forward nicely right up to the end. Even if it isn’t my normal genre, I really enjoyed it and would like to read more books from John Keeler Mitchell. Recommend.