Renee Rearden

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Smashwords book reviews by Renee Rearden

  • Tristan's Loins on March 28, 2012

    I enjoyed this book. The dialogue was a little formal and stiff in the beginning, but as the book went on the story sucked me in. I had to keep reading to find out what happened to Selene and Tristan. Great humor, heart-wrenching sadness and page-turning sighs rounded out a fantastic book!
  • The Athena Effect on Jan. 26, 2013

    Life is filled with reality. When things become too complicated, I escape into books. For me, ironically, a good book is based on a believable reality. The Athena Effect opens with a strong beginning. A young man and woman are running from something or someone. The reader senses Jenny and David’s urgency to escape, their need to protect their growing family. Time passes, and we’re introduced to Jenny and David’s daughter, Caledonia. She’s grown up in the mountains with no real outside contact, no electricity, no digital connection to the world in any way. Such an upbringing has made her strong and capable in this unconventional setting. When Caledonia’s parents are killed in an accident, she is sent to live with an aunt she’s never heard of. The aunt’s boyfriend lives with her. He’s out of work but, other than being irritated at Cal’s appearance, seems harmless. Cal knows how he feels because she can see animals’ and people’s auras. Emotions show in color, and she’s learned to distinguish each color’s meaning. Cal starts school. So many teenagers in one place, exhibiting so many strong emotions, make it difficult for Cal. She gets headaches and doesn’t understand their many references to things from their everyday lives. Cal works at making herself invisible in a crowd in order to avoid conflict. Her home life takes its toll when Aunt Angie’s boyfriend garners an unhealthy interest in Cal. As Cal faces each of these difficult situations, her friendship with a young man named Calvin grows stronger. Their backgrounds are as different as night and day, but they find a common strength that helps them forge an unbreakable bond. The same danger that threatened Cal’s parents returns for her, and Calvin refuses to let anything keep them apart. I enjoyed The Athena Effect. The mad scientist angle struck me as a bit clichéd and unbelievable, but everything else worked. Caledonia is a strong character, with just the right amount of fragility and bravado to be realistic. The relationship between Cal and Cal (yep, same nicknames) develops over time and displays the same joys, frustrations and insecurities all relationships experience. Ms Anderson injected the right amount plausibility into nearly every aspect of The Athena Effect. I look forward to reading more of her work. *Author Provided Copy
  • Normal is the Watchword on July 26, 2014

    Interesting premise... The world is filled with unknown wonders. Some of us are lucky to see some of them. Others are fated to be part of them. Juniper’s a senior in high school, and her life is as ordinary as it gets. She spends her school hours battling senioritis with her best friend, Carrie. Then she meets Darius, a guy she’s never really noticed before, and things get interesting. They have a connection she can’t explain…at least she thinks they do. She’s just not ready to trust her instincts. With her senior photography project due in two weeks, one she hasn’t even started, Juni focuses on her schoolwork and stops procrastinating. Inspiration strikes, and she thinks of the perfect subject for her project. She has no way of knowing her choice will change her life forever, and nothing can prepare her for what follows. I loved the premise of Normal is the Watchword. The story line moved forward without giving away an important part of the plot. The characters were driven by an instinctual need to discern right from wrong, find justice and make amends. These are all laudable character traits and give plenty of room for conflict. For me personally, the opening page rocked, but the story started slow. A huge bit of back story front-loaded the novel, the first active dialogue came on page 10, and heavy narration marked the book’s tone. Decisions made by both Juni and Darius were inconsistent with emotions, dangerous and implausible. Yes, they are teenagers, but both are intelligent characters and more should have been expected from them, not less. While I would have enjoyed more character depth, enough was given for me to like the characters. I am interested in seeing how things progress in Loyalty (Watchword #2) between the good and bad guys, and especially between Juni and Darius. *author ecopy provided for honest review