Nora Lee

Nora Lee's favorite authors on Smashwords

Smashwords book reviews by Nora Lee

  • Laundry Day (Short Mystery Story) on July 21, 2011

    I thought I was getting a book; instead it's a nine page sample, about the length of a short magazine article. The story got a little goofy at the end when the husband is bouncing all around the room while Dennis is strangling his wife and Dennis doesn't even hear him. I'd be generous in giving it a 3.5 rating but the system doesn't allow for that.
  • Larson's Point on July 28, 2011

    Good plot and action. The book had good bad characters and a very interesting main character. The editing is good which made reading easy. It's not a superb story but a good solid read.
  • Heller on Aug. 11, 2011

    Just finished reading Heller and am disappointed. The personalities of the two central characters quickly change from one extreme to the other. It's like both of them are bipolar. Having read Blood Ties by the author I was prepared for over the top characters, but characters I could relate to. The situations the heroine is placed in, her actions and the results of those actions are not creditable and I lost interest before the book was finished.
  • Blood Ties on Aug. 11, 2011

    The characters in this Australian tale are over the top. The good people of Little Town are eccentric to say the least and the bad guys are pure evil. Character development is great and there are many characters on both sides. I did notice a few missing words, maybe a dozen or so, which isn't a big deal to me in a 150,000 plus word book, but I do suggest the author take the time to edit and put them in. The main characters are interesting and their conflict as they grew to know each other was well balanced between dislike and affection. Both of them harbor dark secrets they are unable to share. I'm looking forward to a Little Town sequel.
  • Free To Die: A Short Story on Aug. 19, 2011

    This short story is full of action, but was hard to follow at times. Character development was good considering the length, but the storyline is contrived and story continuity was erratic. It's a decent read but nothing great. At this time I don't believe I will try other short by the author.
  • The Ghosts of Varner Creek on Aug. 25, 2011

    I scanned through ten percent of this story and got bogged down in the mud of boredom. The story at that point was about an eighty seven year old man in a nursing home who sees, and has always seen ghost. About ninety five percent of the text was narrative about his seeing ghost and crapping himself and farting. I don't believe in ghost, read about ghost or care about ghost. Maybe if I had suffered further into the book I would have discovered a Mystery/Detective novel. I give it a three rating only because some people might like slow, plodding ghost stories. Editing was good with only a few errors.
  • The Last Cowboy in the East on Aug. 25, 2011

    This short story is not 4,500 words as advertised, but about a 2,000 word short before some chapters of another book the author is pushing. Another marketing gimmick that is not mentioned in the description. I deplore this kind of trickery. The Last Cowboy itself is not a mystery at all, he was arrested after an altercation where a policeman was punched and then he is released. Sorry author but this get you a rating of one.
  • Slippery Slope on Sep. 02, 2011

    The plot of Slippery Slope is good and the story could be superb; but it falls far short of its potential. Excessive flowery prose and adjectives slow the action down and cause the reading to become tedious. Craig, the primary character spends page after page in self incrimination. His state of mind swings wildly and he can't decide if he wants to be a crook, a professor or a beach bum. After enduring about 80% of the story I began to scan the pages in an effort to finish. Editing is fair to good for the length; there are misspelled words etc. but less than in most of the Indie books I've read. The last portion where the chase is on the river, and especially when Craig crawls out of the water, was extremely over written and tedious. The story isn't terrible and if you like extremely detailed, flowery descriptions you may like it more than I did; and that's a shame because it truly has potential.
  • John: The Senior Killer on Sep. 22, 2011

    The author lived in South Korean and taught English there. Hence, the extensive information on Korean culture and cooking. What I don't understand are the poor English writing skills exhibited here. The sentence structure is very poor and confusing; words are misspelled, missing or unneeded and too many cliché phrases are used; not the mark of an English major. I would have guessed it was written by a foreigner and translated by someone who did a very poor job. The story concept started off very good and was interesting but near the end fell apart; old people following orders to lay down quietly to be murdered, and the killer sitting silent while being secured inside a car and doused with gasoline and having nothing to say about it. When a lonely 76 year old woman willingly gave the killer a blow job (her first) and he killed her as she finished I lost interest. Too many scenes are unreal and even with a good rewrite and credible editing this couldn't be a five, but now it's so difficult to read I rate it a 2 and that's generous.
  • The Value of Life on Oct. 20, 2011

    Wow! What a great read. This is the one of the best books I've read at Smashwords, for free or purchase. I do hope the author will go back and perform a first class edit of the book because the story deserves it. Presently there are many words missing or misspelled. I would have liked to know what happened in the end to the Judge and to Mason. Normally with the editing that is needed I would give any book a 4.0, but since the story and characters are so well written I'll stretch that to a 5.0 and hope the author cleans it up.
  • Scar Tissue on Nov. 28, 2011

    It's not long, but it's very good. A retired cop reluctantly does a good deed and takes out the bad guys in the process. The pace is good, the plot is believable and editing is good. Character development brings the characters to life and I felt a tie to the lead character. What more do you need. I hope to see sequels to this story.
  • Valentine in Paris on Dec. 28, 2011

    About 8,500 words of this is a complete short story. The main character is a tough ex-British serviceman in 1931 France. Writing is very good, as is editing with only very minor issues. I only have one issue with continuity; a man is tied to a chair and then jumps up and runs. Author's oversight but a fairly serious one that needs to be fixed. The remaining 5,000 or so words is an exert for another book the author is selling. But since the short story is a complete story I won't ding the author for including the exert, which I didn't bother to read. I recommend work in this series by this author and give the short story a 4.5 to 5.0 even with the single flaw.
  • Two Bits Four Bits on March 03, 2012

    I kept reading this, up to 30%, thinking it would get better. There's too much filler about stray cats, running eight miles while playing mind games with his jogging partner, and page after page about proper Texas funerals. I found myself skimming through it looking for some action. The main character was interesting and the writing is very good; there's just too little story.
  • Tangled on Nov. 21, 2012
    (no rating)
    I read six percent of this story and quit. The editing is bad and the formatting is worse. The storyline is gruesome and, I think, intended to shock. Not my kind of story. After editing and reformatting it may be okay for some other readers. I didn't finish it so I won't rate it.
  • Dying to Get Published on Dec. 16, 2012

    At ten percent this story was going nowhere so I went somewhere else. The writing is okay but I found nothing intriguing about the story. I didn't get attached to the main character and lost interest after listening to her whine.
  • Alice...forever bad on Jan. 13, 2013

    I can't think of another story where the writing and editing is a bad as in Alice...forever bad. The words RESIDENCE, PICTURE and SITE are used for RESIDENTS, PITCHER, and SIGHT. Dialog and narrative run together without quotation marks, the sentence structure is poor and wordy, and past and present tense are continually mixed. The writing is stiff and needs more contractions to soften it, and every error in editing that can be made has been. Plus, extra and missing words abound. At the beginning of the story, Alice, a petite woman, has a semiautomatic pistol with an attached silencer stuck down the back of her pants with a T shirt pulled down over it. Can you image a bulky object ten to twelve inches long stuck in a small shapely woman's britches all day, in a bar, and no one noticed? Shortly after that she kills four men in her apartment, one with a meat cleaver. I thought the story was to be serious, but it became sillious. (I realize sillious is not a word but it fits the mood of the book's editing.) But somehow after all this the story got interesting. The overall plot and sub-plots could be salvaged by a good editor. And no, I am not an editor, but I do recognize terrible writing. The book sounds as if the writer finished the last sentence and published it without rereading it.
  • Murder in the Church on Jan. 13, 2013

    Murder in the Church is not a short story. It's a segment of a story from an author requesting that readers help her design the plot and critique her progress. The font size varies from large to small and makes reading a chore. Editing is okay. My opinion: if you don't know what to write and don't have a passion to tell YOUR story you're not a writer.
  • A Web of Lives on Jan. 13, 2013

    At 10% I was bored. The story may have merit but I quit and moved on. There is too much narrative about items of little interest.
  • Wish Me from the Water on March 17, 2013

    I put this down before the detective showed up. The writing is stiff and unnatural and needs contractions to soften the dialog and narration. There is entirely too much telling where dialog should have been used to pull the reader in. The action scenes are not believable.
  • Northern Star on March 17, 2013

    A bit of fluff. At the end of this short story a young girl is conveniently crying over the grave of the boyfriend she accidently shot and blubbers a confession. Her sister appears with another gun in hand and is going to shoot the female sleuth, but the other sister for some reason attacks her and they wrestle. The sleuth has been hit a glancing blow to the head and stands and watches the two women fight. The older sister wins and puts the gun.... You get the picture? This is too contrived to be enjoyable. The heroine is a genius at the beginning and a dummy at the end.
  • Stray on April 15, 2013

    I can't say I liked Stray, but I kept reading to see if it would get better and make more sense. It didn't. I still don't know what Jane imagined and what was real. Apparently she was a really sensitive nut case whose imagination ran wild as she wobbled through a foggy life. The editing was unusually good.
  • Sharko on April 15, 2013

    The editing in Sharko is bad enough to make it tedious to read. The story is good until the end when it just stops and leaves the reader hanging to wonder what happened to all the secondary characters and the relationship of the two main characters. The ending chapter also seemed contrived and unreal.
  • Always Watching on May 10, 2013

    The main character in this story came off as brilliant in her professional field and a nutcase in her personal emotions. Once into the story I was captured by the fast pace and go go go action. But I quickly tired of reading of bile rising in her throat and her constant attacks on the man she professed to love, more than the other men she loved. Helen's personal demons are touched upon in this episode but still remain unclear. To me, the ending was trite and unreal in the action sequences. And to compound her earlier interpersonal relationship disasters she continued to lie to her husband with no regard to his feelings. I would rate it a 3.5 if that were possible.
  • An Angel for Father on May 12, 2013

    I made it through 30% of this story and quit. The writing is poor and the editing is worse. The plot is interesting but the dialog is stiff and unreal. Character development is shallow.
  • Life's a Beach Then You Die on May 14, 2013

    A lot of writers seem to be short on plot so they fluff the book with meaningless filler. I stopped at twelve percent because the story rambled too much for my taste.
  • The Shadow Knows on June 27, 2013
    (no rating)
    I absolutely could not get into this story. It's well written but there is too much endless introspection for me. No rating.
  • In The Name Of The Mother on June 29, 2013

    The hero of this story, John Stanton, is over the top extreme, and totally fun to read as far as the plot goes. It would be great if the editing weren't atrocious. I think every editing error that can be made has been committed many times over. It is so bad that it becomes difficult to digest because the reader has to backtrack and reread to figure out what the author means. Please, if you're going to continue to write hire a professional grade editor.
  • Chronicles of Revenge - The Beginning on July 27, 2013

    The editing in this story is very bad, needs lots of help from a creative writing editor. There are missing words, misspelled words and misused words in addition to poor sentence structure and wordiness. Info dumps are repeated and the main character is over the top. He has a photographic memory, his body heals itself overnight, he is a billionaire and he is the deadliest assassin in the world. But...the story is exciting and pulls you in like a vacuum. Too hell with all the errors it's a great read. And, it's a love story to boot. NOTE to the author, a friend of mine uses an editor named Laurie A. Will. Please contact her at and see if she is willing to work with you. He says she is great to work with and reasonably priced. Your writing deserves it.
  • Saving Edgar on Aug. 11, 2013

    The editing is bad. I didn't get far into this short story before I quit. Apparently American English is not the writer's first language. The writing is stiff and unnatural making it hard to stay interested in the story. Using contractions would soften the writing and help to some extent.
  • Portrait of Conspiracy on Aug. 11, 2013

    The editing in this story is terrible. There are no spaces between scenes, words are misused and it's difficult to tell which character is speaking. The plot could be good but the delivery is poor.
  • Don't Expect Anything on March 13, 2014

    Well told, terribly written. I could have really enjoyed it if I didn't have to stumble over the writing. Author, please have someone with a grasp of the English language review this for you or, at the minimum, go to the library and get some books on self editing.
  • Classmate Murders on Aug. 10, 2014

    This needs editing to clean up the sentence structure. The characters are likable, but all cops are presented as inept idiots. The story falls flat with the cop's ineptitude as the main reason for the bad guy to go unchecked. A 4.0 rating is being generous.
  • Ethan Justice: Origins on Aug. 10, 2014

    This needs editing to clean up the sentence structure. The characters are likable, but all cops are presented as inept idiots. The story falls flat with the cop's ineptitude as the main reason for the bad guy to go unchecked. A 4.0 rating is being generous.
  • The Painted Killer on Aug. 10, 2014

    A good story by not great. It does pack a surprise ending. I felt the naked scene brought nothing to the main story and was just filler to increase the length.
  • I, Crime Writer on Aug. 21, 2014

    Some of these shorts are good, others are so short I had to stretch to find a story. Only a few are long enough to develop characters and a decent plot. The others are just snippets of a story. I read to 35% and lost interest.
  • Pieces of Me on Aug. 21, 2014

    The story is good and the characters are interesting to say the least. But the editing is bad enough to detract from the pleasure. The main character is weird, chaotic and on the edge of being incompetent but still the story kept me reading.
  • The Spirit of Resistance on Nov. 15, 2014

    Wow! The plot of this story is controversial but it's a great read. The writing is crisp and engaging; there are some minor editing errors that a competent editor could easily clean up but not enough of them to detract from the reading pleasure. The interaction between the four characters is gripping and provides steady conflict from start to finish. I highly recommend this book.
  • Turn the Souls on Nov. 24, 2014

    Turn the Souls has a clever but improbable plot. The lack of editing leaves it down right terrible. The situations and location seem contrived just to make the plot work. Can you imagine a fifteen story building where only seventy-two people work? Or a supply room in a huge basement that has only one access and that is down an unusually narrow and steep stairway and has multiple locked security doors to reach it? The whole thing is unrealistic.
  • 59 Hours on Dec. 01, 2014

    For such a short story 59 Hours was full of surprises. Boy, are these people bad. I liked that the author didn't place the year or location of the story. In my opinion it could be any of a dozen or more states in or near the mid-west. I liked it and recommend it highly. It's scary but a great read.
  • Center Fire on Dec. 06, 2014

    This action story is great, but as with the majority of this genre the action gets a bit far out and implausible. The heroine, Carla is a super cool kick ass Mossad agent and Derek is the perfect untrained partner. I enjoyed the story immensely.
  • Inbetween on Dec. 06, 2014

    I read 20% of this story. It was so dreary and dismal that I couldn't go on. At one point the main character drooled over a woman's image on a CD album page after page after page. All of the characters to that point had been sick of mind and dirty. Enough already.
  • The Assassin Evolves Book Two of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy on Dec. 14, 2014

    The author continued to amaze me in the second story. I liked it a lot. The violence was almost over the top, but in all cases was not so explicit as to be graphic and gory The story line kept me fully involved and I felt myself attached to Clayton and cheering for him. At times his character seems so normal that it's hard to believe he's a killer. I bought book three and will start it tonight.
  • Human Intelligence on Dec. 27, 2014

    Human Intelligence is a gem. The plot is complex and the conflict is never ending. A truly great piece of fiction that made me feel good at the end.
  • Fiddleback on Dec. 30, 2014

    This is a complex story of an emotionally disturbed young girl and her companion no one else can see or hear. I almost put it down several times but felt compelled to finish it to learn the ending. It's weird but interesting. I'd tag it as a mix of fantasy and horror. As the story progressed more characters entered and the whole mood of the book changed. Finally, at the very end it all came together. The editing is weak. Very different. I'd like to give it a 3.5 but will go with a 4.0.
  • Project Daedalus on Jan. 05, 2015

    My gosh, what a ride. The interaction of Americans, Japanese and Russians provided unending conflict amid twist and turns. There are an unending number of bad guys but, of course, the good guys finally rise up to overcome their diabolical plans. Thank you Mr. Hoover. I highly recommend this story.
  • The Blonde Heiress, a Carter A. Johnson Thriller on Jan. 05, 2015

    I have enjoyed The Blonde Heiress thoroughly, so much that I read it twice. The editing is good and character development is great, especially the way Carter A. Johnson was introduced and shown to be a stubborn and focused contrarian. The action scenes are well thought out and detailed. The plot and dialog are believable and fast paced. I look forward to reading the next book.
  • Project Cyclops on Jan. 12, 2015

    A good story line and full of action. I could associate with the main character that was a well meaning screw up. The plot did fade a bit into fantasy and got unreal toward the end, but overall I liked it and recommend it.
  • The Dogtrot Murder A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller on Jan. 12, 2015

    I cried, I laughed, I got angry and I cheered, what more can you want from a book? There are two main characters, Carter and Kate and both are written in first person; and it worked. Carter is the continuing series lead. I don't know what the author intends to do with Kate, but I liked her and hope to see more of her. Kate is convicted of killing her husband. She arrives at a woman's prison and the first portion deals with her emotions and adjustment. While she is there Carter is introduced parallel to her and we experience his happy life with a new girlfriend in contrast to Kate's harsh surroundings. While she's being attacked he's making love. Carter is told to take a cursory look at Kate's case, rubber stamp the conviction and move on. He however, smells a rat and thinks she may have been framed. The book is then about how he rescues her, but there is action galore while he investigates the real killer. Several plot twist surprised me. A very good fast paced read.
  • Pursuit of Passy on Jan. 12, 2015

    This story was written and published in 1940 during WWII. It's an entertaining tale full of action, conflict and intrigue. The setting is England and France during the war. I enjoyed it.
  • Ascension on March 08, 2015

    Ascension is well written and full of conflict and action. A very good horror story with stinking, rotting, staggering zombies.