RLB Hartmann


Reading, writing, thinking, painting. I'm leaving the silhouette avatar up for now, because except for the hair, it's an apt representation. Other profile URLs will follow later.

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RLB Hartmann's favorite authors on Smashwords

Smashwords book reviews by RLB Hartmann

  • Once More for Old Time's Sake on April 12, 2012

    With plenty of suspense and hints, a mix of fictional characters and actual pirates, this story kept my interest to the end. Anne reveals her past bit by bit. We know she's had secrets and we look forward to learning the consequences. News of a talkative stranger in town spurs Anne to action. Early in the game, the line "no one can blackmail you if the truth is known" foreshadows a bloody conflict or some kind of deal; having suspicions about Anne's youthful years, the reader anticipates events either clever or exciting, or both. Sensory details bring the story to life, and distinctive characters keep us guessing. The challenge Anne faces and accepts is real and despite missing dialog marks, extraneous or needed commas, and occasional other distracting bits that editing would remove, we can overlook those. Humor, poetry, reminiscences, revelations, and the crew Anne puts together for her last adventure, all lead to a satisfying and perhaps surprising conclusion.
  • Cougar Woman on April 15, 2012

    The main characters in Cougar Woman attracted me at once: an aging woman alone and her pet. The setting sealed the deal: a cabin in the woods. The conflict intrigued me: galloping horses, a lone man being chased, and the danger that can result from such a mix, for we know these elements will soon converge. Details appealing to all the senses bring to life the location as if I'm watching a film: the cold air, moonlight, and the big cat sharpening its claws on the cabin floorboards. Historical details add just the right flavor. I love reading about spunky women, and Peggy Johnson's women fill that bill admirably. Her characters are a balance of memories and actions, making them believable and endearing. It's unusual for such a short story to have more than one point of view, but Johnson carries it off successfully. Having the posse show up at the door rachets up the tension, and we anticipate what will happen when Katy returns--with her cougar. Unexpected reversals keep the reader wondering until the last page.
  • Miss Scout and the Fog Monster on Sep. 05, 2012

    The cover to Miss Scout and the Fog Monster is absolutely beautiful in every way. Even if I didn't love cats, it would be most attractive and engaging. The story is suitable for cat lovers of all ages, but especially fitting for reading aloud to younger children. All of the accompanying photos are in strategic places, helping carry the plot events along swiftly. Here are a few of my MOST favorite lines: "how many heard it just before they crashed on the rocks," "no home, no can opener." "You see a crazy lady with a stroller mister? She's out in dat fog and I think a monster got her." "Serves you right if it swallows you whole" "You guys are cute but boy are you annoying" (I'd love to have used that one a time or two myself!) "No claws, can't run fast and she can't see mid space" "I'm captain Scout Sprout and no monsters are gonna eat my mommy without a fight!" "You fairies never mentioned it had a giant eyeball!" These made me smile and on occasion laugh out loud. Just so catlike! And last but not least, "One of them whispered in Scouts ear, you are now one of us, an honorary fairy." The photo with the part above is exceptionally nice! But the very last one, with this part "Oh great, we're invested with fairies." She fluffed her fur and sighed… Is just super!!
  • The Legend of Charlie Bagley on Oct. 30, 2013

    I'm hooked on Peggy's original and varied stories. She keeps the action going, with just enough detail to set the believable characters in their time and place, with twists that surprise and satisfy. Love her covers, too.
  • The Lineshack on Oct. 30, 2013

    Peggy has a real talent for establishing setting, characters, and conflicts that give readers a clear picture, fitting dialog, and a sense of being right there in the story. She moves easily into backstory without a hitch, introducing relevant anecdotes and setting up bits of foreshadowing that culminate in payoffs that make all her stories well worth reading.