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Smashwords book reviews by MarcellaGonzo

  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Dec. 30, 2015

    this was the first book I’ve read by this author K.N. Smith, but I certainly hope it’s not the last (in fact, I’m ready for book 2 now!). She has a gift for writing descriptive and life-like scenes that bring the characters to life with natural sounding dialogue (important for young adults!) and good action, even if there were some parts that were slower and could have used more tension and higher stakes. I like that this book didn’t feel stale or derivative of anything I’ve ever read before. It is a hefty read that covers a lot of ground, but does so with remarkable depth. It is humorous, quirky, jaw-dropping, surprising, sad, and inspiring… all the qualities I look for in a good novel, and it delivered an emotional win.
  • Friend & Foe on April 30, 2016

    first, I have to say that I don’t normally read books like this, but I was looking for something a little out of my comfort zone and this book sounded intriguing. Well, I am most certainly glad I took the chance on Nik Olsen’s “Friend & Foe”! This was a captivating novel and very impressive for a debut. There is such strong, vivid writing, and the characters are all fascinating, flawed, and going through their own transitions. GREAT character development, (even if the developing situation is rather sad) and everything just felt “authentic” for lack of a better word. Dialogue, interactions, scenes, descriptions…The formatting is messed up (all left justified) and it could use some proofing. But all in all a very good read that I’d recommend even to those who don’t normally read this sort of thing…try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on May 28, 2016

    3.5 stars For the most part “Not Black and White” by GA Beller was an enjoyable, almost intoxicating mix of an entertaining action adventure and a complex drama with darker literary motifs (if this makes sense). However at times the impersonal narrative voice made it difficult to get involved in the story, and I frequently felt emotionally detached from all the action. Seemed like it lost focus on several occasions and I really wondered about the need to have so many characters come and go,…While they're still interesting characters, sometimes they don't drive the plot forward fast enough. At times I thought there wasn’t enough tension, and the pace slowed down instead of picking up. The writing and world building is quite solid, however, and as far as the actual story itself I was hooked… after about 1/4 way through. But once I was in I was dying to see what would happen and the ending (the epilogue) was great. A very broad and astute look at the world of politics and the complexities of human nature under the best and worst of circumstances. Recommend.
  • Portia's Revelation on July 26, 2016

    I will be the first to say that historical fantasy is not usually part of my normal reading, as I either prefer nonfiction, or the complete opposite with modern romance But I was intrigued by the description and enjoyed the sample pages so I figured I’d give it a shot, with the allowance to myself that I could quit reading it at any time and not feel bad (after all, it really isn’t my thing…) But lo and behold I finished in 3 nights flat, and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. First, because it didn’t dumb itself down or insult my intelligence or common sense (the way that many books tend to do these days) and I thought the storyline and the character development to be very well done and fleshed out. The combination of the modern/ancient world and the ‘mystical’ elements was a neat angle, and the ending gave me the satisfaction that I look for in a good book. While it may not be for everyone, try it you might be surprised how much you like it…. I was! Could use some light proofing as I noticed some punctuation things here and there. but nothing too terrible. Suitable for most readers, mature teens on up.
  • Time is for Dragonflies and Angels on Dec. 17, 2016

    I generally reserve my more effusive praise for long, epic novels that I feel have completely consumed me and hijacked my brain and soul for a time, not usually shorter stories or novellas that I read in an evening. But today I will be making an exception with “Time is For Dragonflies and Angels” by J.M. Erickson, a book of short stories/novellas that took me by surprise with its profound intelligence, creativity and originality, and how very well written it was (each one, actually) . Dark, disturbing, and complex, I was surprised by the amount of emotion and investment the author manages to pull from the reader in these shorter tales, but how much ‘story’ was packed in and got under my skin – in a good way. Science fiction isn’t even my favorite genre, but I’d say this was one of my favorite books so far this year (and we are in December!) I just really like when an author (and his/her book) can take my mind to new places and make me think about things differently and new possibilities and this definitely happened here. Sign of a gifted writer there. Will definitely be checking out works from J.M. Erickson in the future and some of his other published works, and will recommend to my friends. 4.5 stars
  • LUCID Nightmare on April 13, 2017

    "LUCID Nightmare” by E. Clay is a psychological horror/paranormal story based on true events, and one of the most original and creepiest books I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the get-go, and like E. Clay’s style of writing – it is very clean and fast paced with shorter ‘scenes’ that speed things along. Clay (the character, not the author) is an interesting and believable lead, and we really feel like we are there in his head as this surreal story unfolds and his dreams come back to haunt him--literally. This is a shorter book (a novella) and I read it in one night. Interesting twist at the end and I do like how it all wrapped up. A fun change from what I normally read, and it’s really creepy that this is based on a true story. Weird! Recommend for older readers.
  • Go Down Swinging: Erotic Romance for Professional Women on June 05, 2017

    4.5 stars I liked this book more than I thought. I expected it to be another cliché typical erotica book with more sex than substance, but surprisingly for such a short book (this is 2 short novellas in this story) it had a really fleshed out and believable storyline that makes Carlos’s foray into this sexy world believable and fun. Revenge is best served HOT! It was really fun and sexy, and the author J. Erickson creates such great chemistry in all the scenes, and they are nicely described but not to repetitive, which is something that happens a lot in these books, I’m afraid! I only wish this novella was much longer, because I felt like I wanted to keep reading much more!! A sexy, fast-paced story that I read in one sitting and really enjoyed Recommend for fans of romantic erotica. For adults only.
  • The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm Illustrated Chapter Book on Oct. 18, 2017

    Is it weird that I want to live inside this book? Please? Haha. “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm” by Sybrina Durant is such an utterly charming story, one which I would have no hesitation having my children read, and even adult will like it as well. It is a “clean” fantasy suitable for most ages, but it is definitely geared toward the younger YA/ Upper MG crowd (12-18 I’d say), but it is a rare story that will transcend age groups. Sybrina Durant has a great way of writing in a believable manner that is intelligently constructed with great worldbuilding and lore, and characters we love and love to hate. Absolutely love the vibrant pictures that brighten the pages (and storyline). A well-written and tightly knit and action-packed plot will appeal to all readers, not just fans of fantasy. It has a solid universal message that everyone can understand and appreciate, and it is a lot of fun to read. I loved the ending as well, but keep reading to the last pages because there is a helpful pronunciation guide and some very cool drawings that relate to the story. This is such a cool niche here that Ms. Durant has tapped into and I would definitely love to read more like this in the future! Highly recommend.
  • FLATLINE on Jan. 11, 2018

    I’m a huge fan of thrillers/suspense and murder mystery 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’d read another book by this author several months ago (“Half Life”) and really enjoyed it. I like that this one “FLATLINE” involved the same main character (Peter Richards and a few others) and we see what happened to him with his heart condition and how he becomes the way he is later on. So even though it takes place before the one I’d read it makes sense on its own (even if read out of order) and much to my amazement I finished almost all of it in one sitting. It was really good! Dana Barney is a natural writer, and I was hooked right off the bat by the way he weaved so many interesting characters and twisted storylines together to create an original, addicting story that I couldn’t put down until the final conclusion. It was fast-paced and with snappy dialogue and free from many clichés that riddle this genre. I was curious about who the guilty person was who murdered Janice and why (no spoilers) and let’s just say I didn’t guess correctly – which is good! I’d love to read more from Dana Barney in the future.
  • Liornabella on April 03, 2018

    Every blue moon I read something that makes me totally forget about the outside world for a little while and it sweeps me off me feet. It’s not all that often, but when it happens, it is amazing. That is how I felt while reading “Liornabella – The Viridian Chronicles Book 1” by A.E. Outerbridge I was intrigued from the very beginning in this interesting and creative world the author created. The writing is strong and pulled me right in, although I must confess in the beginning I felt a tad lost at first and was anxious for a more inciting incident to really hook me. But it soon picks up and Elle and friends are a cool crew to hang out with at this mysterious university, where the past comes to life in unexpected ways. I like that it had many of my favorite elements in a book. It’s hard to totally categorize, as I felt it was sort of a blend between fantasy, mystery/suspense/action and even some romance (light, but with Elle and Elan) But the characters are college-aged so this is a YA/NA book, although I feel it would most definitely appeal to adults as well. I did feel that at times the pace slowed down on occasion and I found myself skipping ahead at some places, But there was so much going on, I wasn’t bored, just curious what would happen. I appreciated that not once did I feel like the story was being “told” to me, but instead, I was a part of it and experiencing the action in real time. I felt a genuine connection to the world the author created and to the characters, and aside from the occasional slow spots thought it was quite a wonderful read. Ready for part 2!
  • Mr. Merson Goes Home on June 14, 2018

    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, “Mr. Merson Goes Home” by John Keeler Mitchell. From the very beginning, Keith Merson’s story moves seamlessly from one page to the next, one time period to another, and 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 time-travel/alternative-reality novel, this one definitely felt like it had its own vibe. While at times the pacing dragged a little, and there were some occasions of chit-chat and filler info that didn’t much progress the storyline, overall I was impressed with John’s writing style and his attention to character and plot detail… There are some twists and turns that we don’t expect, and then he brings it all home in a heartwarming way. Could benefit from another pass of proofreading, but nothing major. An entertaining and lively journey. Recommend. 3.5 stars
  • God's Feminist Movement on Aug. 05, 2018

    I think it’s safe to say that “God’s Feminist Movement” by Daniel Hanson is written with a specific target audience in mind. However, as I was reading, I found it to be applicable in several aspects of life, and would be beneficial information to just about anyone who was reading it. Yes, it pertains to the ‘Christian’ view of God and a woman’s life in accordance with a relationship with a Christian God according to Scripture. But there are many intelligent and profound observations made and lessons taught that really cross any spiritual boundary. There is much discussion on Biblical elements, but the author brings a fresh, new spin on it with personal insights and anecdotes relating to real-life experiences that we can all relate to. An empowering and positive message all around.