Karen Matthews

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Karen Matthews

  • Rematch on April 27, 2012

    More like 4.5 stars... This book starts off with an action packed scene that reaches in and grabs you by the throat. I settled in for the ride and found that the exciting start gave way to a less-action packed middle. It wasn’t bad, just focused more on the “getting to know you” of the MC’s relationship, which was fine, and very nicely drawn out. I just found it to be a bit light on the sci/fi for a good chunk of the story (for my tastes), and more focused on the romance. But it was extremely well-written and the story flowed nicely, taking me right along with it. I found the narrative and the dialogue to be exceptionally believable and rang as authentic. The book is witty, funny, sometimes sarcastic, and I found myself smiling several times throughout as my fingers rapidly turned the pages as I just had to know what happened next. In my opinion Ms. Caldwell crafted a fine novel suitable for teens and anyone who enjoys an excellent tale of romance and twists of fate, and I’ll definitely be looking for the next in the series.
  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 25, 2012

    I really enjoyed this story, as it had so many interesting characters and events in such a short time frame. I liked the character of the priest, and thought what happened to him was crazy! I did like Flynn and felt that the author had the “reluctant hero” role down pat. A few things I didn’t really like were that there were a few times that names or places were mentioned but I had no idea what it was or why was important. I do feel like I eventually caught up and it was made clearer, but sometimes I had to go back and re-read a few sections to see if I had missed something. Also, I thought that while the descriptions of the people were really good, sometimes it was just too much, like every person who entered the story had to be described head to toe and it slowed down the story. But other than those minor things I really liked it and appreciated the way the genres of fantasy, steampunk, and literary blended together to create such a mesmerizing tale of strength and redemption and the fight of good and evil.
  • A Luminous Future on June 01, 2012

    It will be hard for me to condense into a paragraph all the ways I think this book is phenomenal… It really is something you have to experience for yourself! But I am still shaking my head at the fact that not only is English not Mr. Flonta’s first language, nor his second, but his third. (This was mentioned at the acknowledgements at the end). Consider my mind blown! This was one of the best written novels I’ve come across of late, with absolutely flawless grammar and beautiful sentences bordering on poetic. Mr. Flonta made potentially slow scenes come alive with an expressive, yet subtle manner of writing that made me feel like I was listening to stories from a good friend…stories that took me away to another time and place. Definitely recommend anyone who enjoys a moving story, and even better ones that are based on truth!
  • The Crow God's Girl on Aug. 03, 2012

    "The Crow God’s Girl” by Patrice Sarath is a Young-Adult fantasy novel about a girl (Kate) who has gone through a portal from modern day New York to the medieval world of Aeritan. She believes that she will be forever trapped there, and has started to try to make a new life for herself as a daughter in the House of Terrick. However, as she tries to (clumsily) adjust to her new world, her life is turned upside down and she must start over and with new challenges. I’ll say I loved this book and read it in one night! It starts right off with the action and totally hooked me. I liked that the author told us only what we need to know instead of dumping huge amounts of backstory that slows down the pacing. I appreciated the fact that the chapters were relatively short, and we could see everything from the different characters’ point of views. Some people may not like this technique, but in my opinion it really worked in this book. This is definitely heavy on the fantasy side, so fans of the genre shouldn’t miss it!
  • Margaret of the North on Aug. 15, 2012

    E. Journey wastes no time in setting the stage for her part 2 of “North and South” after John and Margaret realize they are in love and the rest of their life awaits them. This was a wonderful, well-written novel that truly captured my imagination and had me eagerly turning the pages. However, I thought that there were times where the narrative from the individual characters went on unnecessarily long, and was being “told” to me instead of having me experience their emotions first hand (telling v. showing). Because of this I felt a certain lack of intimacy with the characters that I would’ve much like to have. But I was still fascinated by the story and thought it to be well thought out and extremely polished. E. Journey is a talented writer and I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author in the future.
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 08, 2012

    I read this book in 2 nights…it was that good! Totally captivating and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next, and if August and crew would be successful in their endeavors. It was kinda funny to be rooting for the “bad guys” but I totally was, as the characters were so relatable and likeable! The fact that this is based on a true story is even more awesome. I’d never heard of this before, and am glad I read about it now. What an adventure!!
  • Quest for a Dream on Sep. 17, 2012

    "Paint, Present, and Future” by Cindy A. Carl is by far one of the most imaginative and beautiful books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. To be perfectly honest I was a bit confused by the description and wasn’t really sure what to expect. Well, by the end of the first few pages I was so hooked on the Ms. Carl’s engaging prose, I almost didn’t care WHAT it was going to be about. However what followed truly took me by surprise as the lines of reality and fantasy become blurred as Dani proceeds on a mysterious journey with the Shadow Man. This book captivated me until the very end, and I especially liked the “author’s note” after the story was over. I’d love to read anything that Ms. Carl writes in the future and highly recommend this for fiction lovers.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 31, 2013

    My ultra-picky daughter read this book in two days, which is incredible! I can’t praise a book high enough that will make her read it cover to cover that fast. I knew that I enjoyed it, but to me the highest compliment is from my pre-teen who usually only likes Twilight (yeah, I know) Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments. So Ms. Burns is in some fine company indeed! Excellent writing style and I must give a compliment on the stellar editing, as I don’t think I noticed any errors at all, which is very rare for an e-book
  • Corkscrew Ridge on Feb. 27, 2013

    This was a lovely story about starting over and learning to love again. It is more about relationships and internal struggles and personal journeys than it is about action and external conflicts. If there was something I wished there could have been more of would be that I didn’t get the full sense of struggle that I’d think someone like Paul would be experiencing on many levels. Things just sort of “happened” then worked themselves out. I’ll say that the writing was very good, however, and the descriptions made me feel like I was right in the story the whole time. Recommend for fans of literary fiction
  • The Hunt for Elsewhere on April 19, 2013

    Okay, I simply adored this book! I completely fell in love with Saxton and loved watching him go through all of his trials and adventures and watching him grow. The thing that most surprised me about this novel was not only how well-written it was, but it is truly one that will appeal to adults as well as younger readers. I do, however, question just how young would be appropriate, as there are some challenging scenes that may be harder on the younger crowd. But if they can handle it there are many wonderful lessons to be learned in this charming tale. And the great drawings were a wonderful bonus!
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Nov. 17, 2013

    I loved that this book answered so many question I never even knew I had! And explained so many different facets in such an easy to understand and comprehensive way, I really feel like I got a lot out of it. It was very educational, but not in that dry, textbook sort of way that many religions nonfictions can be. And it didn’t come across as preachy at all! Just explaining things and connecting the dots to how the world is influenced by (and influences) Hinduism. I was shocked to learn it was the 3rd biggest religion only behind Christian and Muslim. Perhaps because I live in the south and there is little to no zero Hindu population here (yet they teach yoga at my local YMCA) ;) I personally think this would be a good book for students to read in college…or even high school as it educates in a very relatable way and isn’t boring!
  • Defender of the Flame on June 08, 2014

    I always wonder what I’m getting into when reading a book from an author who is unknown to me. While I do enjoy discovering new talent, more often than not I feel somewhat disappointed or let down afterwards. I’ve been away from the science fiction genre for a while but decided to give this book a shot as the premise sounded interesting and there were some very positive reviews. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed at all! In fact, it was the opposite! I was so pleased that this is one of those books that doesn’t just ‘tell a story’, but really makes you think…the author (and characters) ask a lot of questions and raises possibilities that expand your mind and broaden your way of thinking all while telling a great story that entertains for hours. Sylvia Engdahl skillfully creates a deep level of believability in an unbelievable world, and as someone who has read many less-than-stellar Sci-fi books in the past, I must say this is the mark of a skilled writer. I do hope the author continues on with this series and I will be reading the other two books in this series shortly.
  • Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War on June 08, 2014

    What an absolutely amazing novel! I admit that this isn’t necessarily my area of expertise but it clearly is the author’s, Thomas A Timmes’ area! From his impressive biography he obviously has the background suitable for writing about battles and strategies, and he backs up his story with actual events to, as he puts it, “blend authentic Roman history during the Second Punic War with a supportive fictionalized Legion into a historical novel that allows the reader to accompany a Legion at war from the planning phase to the actual battles.” And we do feel like we are right in the thick of things, on the battlefields and in the characters’ heads. And there are A LOT of them, but the perspectives of what’s going on is only shown from a handful. And there is a handy appendix at the end worth referencing. I think that anyone who likes military history or world history for that matter will greatly enjoy this book. It is quite long but very worth it.
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on June 24, 2014

    To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure by the description that I would feel all that much enthusiasm for this particular book. And then I realized that this was the same author who wrote “Along the Watchtower” and “There Comes a Prophet” (if you haven’t read these I suggest you do now!) so I kept an open mind and delved in. I should have known that it would be nothing short of spectacular! David Litwack has earned himself a place on my most respected authors list for his careful and thoughtful and beautiful writing style. You can really hear is “voice” throughout and it carries through this emotionally engaging and spiritually challenging look at a different world, but one we can all relate to.
  • Thadius on Sep. 28, 2014

    I think the most impressive thing about this novel was just the effortless way that Mr. BoarerPitchford writes historical fiction in an effortless, literary way. Everything from the dialogue to the narrative prose, to the phrases used, to the actions of the characters… it just all builds nicely to create a very vivid imagery in your mind of this ancient world these characters are living in, yet it is done in a completely relatable way. I’ve only read historical fiction that falls into either the romance or the war categories, so this was a refreshing change of pace. There is political intrigue and building tension along the way as Thadius and his partner Dominus follow the trail of a serial killer, with a result that is surprising at the end (at least for me). There is great character development, and even though the pacing is a bit uneven at times, I thought the concept and execution was worthy of a read and recommend.
  • Intelligent Design:Revelations on Feb. 05, 2015

    4.5 stars.. I’m wavering on this one, as the premise and execution are terrific, and I can’t remember reading a book that has this original take, especially in a genre where it seems like everything has been done to death. Overall the plot, the characters, the voice, and dialogues were done quite well. But it did take me some time to get really grounded in the story line, and at times it seemed almost too rushed, but then would focus on some events (or conversations) that didn’t seem as important. I think this book and the subject matter has such huge potential to take it really deep and expand even more… a science fiction book that combines elements of religion and spiritualty and technology would have endless possibilities in my mind. But I liked that many interesting questions/ideas were brought up and given an almost philosophical angle that caused us to think outside the box some. I would have liked to see more character development, personally, but that’s just me maybe – I like more “personality” to them, but in a way the characters aren’t really the focal point of this story. Would recommend for fans or literary sci/fi, action-adventure, metaphysical, etc… suitable for older teens and adults. And I would also recommend this author’s “Birds of Flight” series as well.
  • The Dark Rider on March 05, 2015

    The Dark Rider is the first book I’ve read by Andrew Critchell, but I assure you it will not be the last! From the descriptive opening pages, I was drawn into this exciting tale, and I admit I liked it more and more as the story unfolded and the plot began to reveal itself. I was thoroughly engaged from the opening pages and my interest never wavered until the closing lines. What I liked most about this book was that the story was constantly moving forward, never dwelling on something too long or rehashing backstory (a common mistake authors make, I have found). Instead we are swept up in this fantastical adventure and carried along for a magnificent ride. This is a very strong start for what promises to be a delightfully entertaining series!
  • Field of Vision on March 31, 2015

    Wow. "Field of Vision" is an excellent read that pulls you in and, like the island of Soufriere itself, is difficult to get away from. Jarvis writes in language that is powerful and evocative without sounding overdone or contrived. The story flows so well it sounds like it could have actually happened somewhere. I had some trouble with the way so many of the words were spelled phonetically to give the “accents” and “dialect” to the characters, as it really slowed down the reading speed for me and sometimes took a while to figure out what they were trying to say. I just wish there was less of it, because we still got the point, but felt overdone. But I liked all the rest. Loved the ending and is Definitely worth the read.
  • Prisoner Prodigal Pawn on April 02, 2015

    This book was terrific! Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the whole thing. It pulls you in from the beginning, and I enjoyed the author’s “voice” and style of writing. The interweaving plotlines were well-crafted and not predictable, and the element of Indian politics was a new angle for me. The characters were all interesting and well-written, and although there were some grammatical and punctuation errors, it wasn’t anything that really bothered me. I’d love to read more from this author in the future!
  • Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons on Sep. 01, 2015

    first, I will say up front that I am not a Christian, and while I am familiar with much of it, I do not attend church or partake in rituals. I’m more of an agnostic who just tries to follow the “Golden Rule” in life, realizing I always have room for improvement. And I will say… I wanted to read this book based on the title alone. Because I do think the STORY of the demons and angels and all they represent is downright fascinating. So I decided to read this with an unbiased mind. I am always willing to learn something new. I had many, many opinions and reactions while reading this, and was surprised at just how real and relatable it all sounded. While I don’t necessarily question the role of Satan in my everyday life, it is interesting to read the perspective of someone who does, and how and what it means, and why it can actually be good. The narrative flowed seamlessly, and the writing was very good. Visually, the formatting was tedious to read on my Kindle, but other than that this was a pleasant, even enlightening reading experience. I’d recommend even to those who don’t normally read this sort of thing…try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
  • Tukie Tales Complete Series: A New Beginning for a Better Tomorrow on Sep. 25, 2015

    Book 1. Well my 5 year old loved this book so that’s all the validation I need! In all seriousness though, this one is a winner for sure. It is smart and fun, with beautiful, lovely illustrations that match the lively and informative narrative text. The writing is smooth yet upbeat and warns children of getting lost and making their parents worry. A believable set-up that is serious and filled with fantasy at the same time. The Tukies are just delightful creatures that young children will love and listen to. A great way to open up dialog with your child about staying close to where they are supposed to be. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series! A real winner. Book 2. Both my 5-year old and I were completely immersed in this wonderful, fun book and impressed with the level of creativity that Debbie Burns and Patty Cockrell put into “Tukie Tales – Book 2 – I CAN DO IT”. We absolutely love the characters and the energy the author uses, along with the positive message of not giving up… to keep trying until you accomplish what you set out to do! Can’t wait for more magical adventures with the Tukies, and I know my child can’t either! Highly recommend. Book 3. "Tukie Tales- Teamwork is Best” reunites the children of the story (Jake and Amy) with their magical friends form the forest, The Tukies, when Jake and Amy’s family go on a weekend camping trip. It is fun and silly (Amy with her mud pies) but also delivers a serious message of cooperation and helping out one another. Everyone is stronger when they work together, and it’s more fun too! A delightful tale that is uplifting and educational. Book 4. Fully imagined and realized, “Tukie Tales” is an adventurous romp with magic and powers and friends and wonderful, positive life lessons for children. What more could you want in a book? My six-year-old son absolutely loves these stories, and especially with this one we had a fun time reading together. I can’t say enough about the way the authors just capture the ‘voice’ of the animals (and the Tukies) that make them feel real…. Not like a ‘grown-up’ is talking down to them. Children can spot that a mile off! Love these—highly recommend! Book 5. This book was a huge hit in our house, as my five-year-old is currently obsessed with talking animals. So she loved this one, and I appreciated the wonderful story and terrific values that each story introduces, along with just some nice, common sense actions presented in a way that even real young children can easily understand and relate too. And these stories are fun! I actually liked how each one had just the slightest bit of tension/conflict/danger (appropriate for the age group) so that we are able to ‘overcome’ the obstacles together. A terrific addition to our reading collection and we are eager to read more adventures of these delightful Tukies (and friends) soon!
  • Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse on Oct. 24, 2015

    J.M. Erickson has such an incredible way with words; his descriptions are vivid yet simple and not overdone; you see what the characters are seeing, you feel what they are feeling; you feel like you are there. I felt like I was experiencing what they were. “Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse” was very hard to put down, as I had to know how everything would turn out. Each time I did have to stop reading I was thinking about what I’d just read. After an admittedly slower start, the fast-paced tempo of the writing built at a steady pace, with more than one shocking twist along the way. Erickson is a great storyteller and writer. His prose is effortless, yet strong and the same time. Conversations felt natural, with each character having a fully developed personality that made them feel distinct. Nothing I hate more than reading a book where every character ‘sounds’ the same. It had been some time since I read this first book, and this one picks up shortly after the first ends (so read them in order) but Mr. Erickson does a great job of catching us up to speed in the very beginning. And I always like the quotes he does at the beginning of each chapter. Really sets the tone and is fitting. A great series, one I can’t recommend enough.
  • Falcon: Birds of Flight on Oct. 25, 2015

    Having read the first three books in the “Birds of Flight” series by J.M. Erickson, I was eager to get my hands on the latest installment “Falcon”. This whole series is so well executed, fast-paced, and totally engrossing, and this latest effort was no different. This book revolves around the character of Alexander Burns (“Falcon”) and how he and the others are dealing with the unexpected drama and complications of the previous novel(Eagle), combined with a whole new set of unexpected circumstances here. I liked the psychological aspect, and as usual the action was unpredictable and totally engrossing. I feel like this series should be turned into movies, and am eagerly awaiting the next one, “Black Swan”. A MUST read for anyone who enjoys political/action/spy thrillers.
  • Flight of the Black Swan on Oct. 25, 2015

    I can say with certainty that I am so glad that I have invested my time in this entire series by J.M. Erickson, and it is time well-spent! I remember when I read the first book last year not being sure if it would really be something I was into, as it didn’t seem like my typical reading fare. But the great writing, awesome, strong characters, and the challenging plotlines that are unpredictable and keep you on your toes has made me an addict! I love these books, and they seem to get better and better…This series needs to be read in order, and this one, “The Flight of The Black Swan” isn’t as long as the others, but it still makes a very solid contribution to the overall storylines and character insights. A great addition to the series, and looking forward to the next!
  • The Prince: Lucifer's Origins on Oct. 25, 2015

    4.5 stars This book was amazing! I read a few other books by J.M. Erickson not that long ago, and he is definitely one of those authors that I now feel has “proved’ himself to me in the sense that I’ll read anything that he writes! The stories are always fast paced, intelligently written, great editing, interesting characters, and a great plot But they also tie into the bigger, more universal landscape of life, in this case touching on many broader themes that play out quite brilliantly in this universe he created. I don’t mean to overly gush, but it is rare to find a writer who so consistently delivers and seems to get better each time, so I’m happy to have discovered his books. As much as I enjoyed “The Prince…” This one was a tad more complicated for me than the others, and I definitely appreciated the character bios at the beginning (more authors should do this!). But overall another great read that will appeal to fans far beyond the typical science fiction realm.
  • The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    Just a heads up -- 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! The book starts off with a dramatic beginning and just keeps going from there. The characters of Inda, Lydia, and Philip (and all the others) 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 a close friend was telling me this really awesome story that I didn’t want to stop listening to. Loved the fact that it had the different locations, from Savanah to the Middle East, and the various timeline romances… very cool. Great action (more towards the end) and character development. Suitable for teens and adults.
  • Gol on Dec. 21, 2015

    the pace of “Gol” is like a slow burn that gets hotter and hotter, then simmers, and then explodes. The story was pretty easy to follow though; just for me there were a few parts that I thought needed a bit more explaining. But like in his first book I read, I am a real fan of Mr. Webb’s writing style – it was so easy to follow along, and even though there was a lot of action and drama constantly happening, and so many characters involved in the scenes, I never once felt lost or confused. Instead I felt swept away as the metaphorical pot boiled over again and again. I’m quickly becoming a real fan of this author and this series as it lets me escape into a fantastical world for a while, but is intelligently written so as to keep my full attention. I am giving this one 5 stars because I honestly can’t think of anything I didn’t like, and I’d definitely keep reading more. I’m dying to see what will happen. Recommend for adults who like intelligent, complex stories with dangerous twists and creative plots.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Dec. 30, 2015

    oh wow, I enjoyed this book and read the whole thing in one week, which is fast for me, especially considering I have no free time at all to read these days, But it just seemed to go by so fast and I never wanted to stop reading it, even late into the evening. I was mesmerized by the world K.N. Smith created, one so realistic and authentic, yet clearly fantastical and extremely imaginative – and intelligent at the same time. Not an easy task! And especially harder to wrap it around a storyline that keep us on our toes… and even though I’m not a huge ‘fantasy-type’ reader, those elements added the flavor and authenticity needed to really bring the characters and story to life. Too much happens in this book to cover properly in a short review so you really just have to read it for yourself… you will not be disappointed!
  • Rogue Event on Jan. 18, 2016

    This book was great… lots of fun to read and very creative, but very true to a standard sci/fi universe. I’m a huge fan of Erickson’s work and I knew that he could write and tell a great, captivating story. But I was in no way prepared for how totally addicting this novel would be, and the sheer magnitude of the world, the characters, the multi plots, the rules and tension… I was totally hooked and read it in one sitting. The way Erickson writes is captivating from the beginning and you just want to keep reading and reading and not stop. It is both descriptive and has great world building (important for a fantasy-sci/fi) but also is fast moving and unpredictable so that you aren’t bored. I was disappointed when it was over, especially because it seemed really abrupt and I just wanted more… But overall was an interesting and original tale of government control, free will, fate and the role of the ‘other’… Recommend for fans of psychological thriller/ action/science fiction.
  • Friend & Foe - Book 2 on April 19, 2016

    "Friend & Foe Book 2” by Nik Olsen is fast-paced, high-stakes thriller with exciting twists and turns that keep you in suspense for hours! In a way this is modeled after a classic political-thriller, but it really impressed me by its originality in many areas and terrific detailing and a substantial (an unpredictable) plot. Olsen is an accomplished author whose creative vision breaks new ground but feels comfortingly familiar. This is a story that kept me glued to the pages for hours, lost within an interesting world that fascinated (and sometimes frightened) me to no end. There were some proofing errors that I noticed, and the last 10% or so felt strangely anticlimactic after the intense buildup… Still a fine journey that entertained, and I will gladly read more from Nik Olsen. Recommend to mature fans of literary political thrillers.
  • Friend & Foe on April 19, 2016

    This book seems to have something of everything… seriously. Action, drama, politics, struggles, deep issues that divide us as people, but I thought the background of the middle East and the turmoil there in a way tied it all nicely in that it is just such realistic way, and all these events (even the overseas ones with the wars) just felt so relatable even to an American. I was impressed by the seamless narrative transitions, and while I’m not usually a fan of dense prose with little dialogue for stretches, it didn’t bother me here much as I enjoyed the Mr. Olsen’s skillful word-play. Always found myself reading for longer than I planned to, as there was never a good place to just “stop”. This is good too. This novel will have wide ranging appeal, but is probably best suited for adults due to some mature themes.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on April 19, 2016

    I absolutely loved “Not Black and White”, and I’m usually pretty on the fence about a lot of these types of books…The characters all had their own distinct personalities and enough quirkiness so as not to feel like the cliché stereotypes, but you can tell when they are being based on a real person. All the characters were very different and we never knew their motives entirely so the book left you guessing as you read without making it predictable. Plot was never boring and kept on rolling. (I would give you a summary, but there were so many subplots that it would take forever). Writing was smooth and the descriptions made you feel like you were right there in the action, especially because there are so many character povs, and Mars’ journal entries gave added insights as well. Though the epilogue was great – nice touch. A compelling read and definitely worth my time. Recommend for fans of Bill O’Reilly, Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, Joe Klein…
  • Portia's Revelation on July 16, 2016

    when I first started this book, I wasn’t prepared to like it as much as I did! But I fell in love not with just with Portia and Spiritae, but with all the supporting cast past and present. And Rich Tenaglia writes like a seasoned pro! I was surprised to read that this is his debut as this is one of the better written and polished books I’ve read in a long time. And the editing was nearly flawless, which is extremely rare. “Portia’s Revelation” is an inspirational fantasy novel at heart but it is so, so much more, and I was genuinely impressed with the level of intelligence and complexity Mr. Tenaglia brought to a genre that can be full of predictable cliché storytelling. This was fresh, unique, and I loved the ancient Roman setting and the different characters from back then (even mentioning real ones, like Emperor Commodus). And Mr. Tenaglia captures the era and tone perfectly! Can’t wait to read more from him soon!
  • Pegasus to Paradise on Aug. 26, 2016

    "Pegasus to Paradise” by Michael Tappenden is hands down one of the most riveting and well-crafted books I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the opening pages, and absolutely loved the author’s use of description of the different characters and attention to historical detail. We feel transported not only into their lives (particularly Ted and Florrie), but their amazing life experiences… and it was a wonderful and eye-opening escape from reality. “Pegasus to Paradise” covers so, so much it’s impossible to sum up, but it felt like I was living through history, and it was interesting to see how it all tied together in the end, which I loved!—And I love even more that this is based on real people! An epic literary feat, to be certain. I was really impressed and would recommend this book with the highest of praise.
  • Assembly Of Planets on Sep. 27, 2016

    4.5 stars I’ve been a huge fan of Sci-fi for over a decade and have read plenty of books in the genre. As much as I enjoy them, unfortunately after a while it starts seeming like I’m reading the same book with the same formula over and over again. This was not the case with “Assembly of Planets” by L.W. Brook. This novel was incredibly original with a fresh twist to a political space-opera theme. I genuinely enjoyed being inside this unique ‘world’ for a while, and liked the concept of the almost ‘personification’ of the planets in the council. There were all the elements present that I like in my SciFi, and some that will appeal to a more “sci-fi-lite” crowd. It wasn’t a heavy space opera by any means, but there were elements of the philosophical, drama, and the extra-terrestrial that gave the book its delicious sci fi flavor. It is a fast read, one I finished in the span of a few evenings, and while it could benefit from another round of proofreading, I definitely enjoyed reading it and recommend for fans of the genre who are looking for something new.
  • Harrow's Gate on Jan. 16, 2017

    First, I have to say that I don’t normally read books like this (I’m more of a straight romance reader) but I was looking for something different so I thought I’d give this one by Lawrence BoarerPitchford a shot… Color me impressed!! There is such strong, vivid writing, and the characters are all fascinating, flawed, and going through their own problems. Liked Leland, Tommy, Carter, Ella, Geris, Genya, etc…) , and all the others, and then the addition of the more unusual characters at the end was really cool too and added another dimension to this already dynamic storyline.…I liked how even for a fantasy-ish book, everything just felt “authentic” for lack of a better word. Dialogue, interactions, scenes, descriptions…Liked that it was really unpredictable and we get to see the story from lots of angles and different characters perspectives. Could use a bit more trimming of content in the middle as there are sections that do little to advance the plot and tend to slow the pacing (in my opinion at least). 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! And it does have a nice romantic touch as well.
  • Time is for Dragonflies and Angels on Jan. 16, 2017

    "Time is for Dragonflies and Angels” by J.M. Erickson is hands down one of the most addicting and interesting and intellectually captivating books (collection of novellas/short stories) I’ve read in a long time! But I would hardly expect anything less from Erickson at this point. I’ve read at least a half dozen of his books, and have yet to be disappointed in any of them – in fact the opposite actually as I continue to be even more and more amazed at how he really pushes the boundaries of the genre and takes us to some really cool new places in our minds. He is so talented at taking some really “out there’ ideas and putting them in stories in a way that is entertaining and even believable (because of the solid world-building and characterizations). I was completely drawn in from the opening pages, and thought the stories were all really cool and original in their own way, but all have the same vibe that only Erickson can deliver. Literary, psychologically driven and emotionally complex with several interweaving plot lines and cool tech, AI, alternate worlds, multi universes… Erickson does a fantastic job of making us feel transported not only into the various characters’ heads throughout the different surreal and experiences and their circumstances—sometimes the worst, most terrifying moments of their lives, some profound and amazing— and it felt like I was reading several slices of real life, although not any life we’ll ever know . Fast paced and unpredictable. Some minor editing issues but nothing awful. Highly readable and extremely enjoyable.
  • Albatross: Birds of Flight—Book One on March 14, 2017

    I always love discovering a new author, so I take a lot of chances on unknowns. For the most part, many fade away into obscurity, quickly forgotten after I've finished their books, that is, if I even make it all the way through. So naturally I'm delighted when I come across one who exceeds my expectations and makes me feel like I've stumbled on a keeper! "Albatross: Birds of Flight" by J. M. Erickson isn't the type of book I'd normally gravitate to, but I thought the premise looked interesting and the writing sample was promising. I was pulled in right away and impressed with the author's ability to weave a dynamic plotline that was both unpredictable and compelling. There are many characters in this novel, and there is a handy mini-bio for each at the end. We see the story unravel through different perspectives, which always makes for an interesting formula. If I had one beef, it was the excessive use of italics and the characters' 'thoughts' throughout. Personally I think it would have been much stronger narrative-wise had been done differently, and not as much. However, it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next one in the series and am happy to have "discovered" J. M. Erickson!
  • Raven: Birds of Flight—Book Two on April 09, 2017

    I was really excited to read this book, “Raven: Birds of Flight part 2” as I so enjoyed the first one in the series, “Albatross”. I do not recommend these books as standalones and suggest reading the first one prior to this. Not that it CAN’T be done, as you can still follow along, it’s just some things might be confusing. That said, I think I enjoyed this one almost more than the first! I feel like the author really hit his stride pacing and plot-development wise, and while there was still the annoying use of the italics for all the inner thoughts of the characters, it didn’t bother me as much this time. I liked watching the plot unfold in ways I wasn’t expecting, and the action is almost nonstop. You cannot be bored for a second reading this, and if your anything like me you’ll be starting the third one only minutes after finishing this one. If you like fast paced action packed spy/political thrillers, then this series is not to be missed.
  • Eagle: Birds of Flight - Book Three on April 22, 2017

    To me, a good book is one that can take you away from your everyday life and engage your imagination in a believable and stimulating way. Noting worse than reading a boring, unbelievable book! Or worse, one with terrible writing! So I really like that for me this series has totally enraptured my imagination for the past week or so while I’ve been reading it, and plays out almost like a movie in my head. It is so easy to get lost in the storyline as the characters and scenes spring to life. I like that there are a lot of conversations that make the characters feel so real, as opposed to just long blocks of narrative text. They characters are cunning, complex, funny, strong, and will take you through a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions. “Eagle: Birds of Flight” has been another great effort from J.M. Erickson, and I’m looking forward to “Falcon” as soon as it is released!
  • The Redemption of Charlie McCoy on Aug. 10, 2017

    I really loved this book!! I thought it was excellently written and really original in terms of storyline and in delivery. I’ve read books in this genre before, but how the whole story tied together in the bigger picture felt really inventive and fresh. At times, I wondered if the author would be able to tie up all the loose ends and make a cohesive, believable story, but I must say he definitely managed to do it! It kept my attention from the opening to the satisfying ending. It is a fast read (due to the quick tempo and short chapters) but there is a ton of drama in these pages. Christopher Wilsher skillfully develops the various storylines so that we the readers are thoroughly invested the whole way through. I liked his writing style very much, extremely clean narrative, rapid-fire dialogue and great tension. Didn’t want to stop reading and found myself completely lost in this world he recanted night after night. Was almost disappointed when I was done, but the ending gave the emotional satisfaction I look for in a great book. Well done. Recommend to fans of mystery, suspense, crime thrillers, or anyone who just enjoys an entertaining, well-written story with lots of drama and action.
  • Canadian Insolvency Guide on Sep. 05, 2017

    This is the first book I’ve read about this subject, and I was impressed with just how thorough it is on the subject of Canadian insolvency/bankruptcy, and with all the practical advice Earl Sands gives. Obviously no one ever wants to end up needing this book and have bankruptcy or financial insolvency be a reality in their life – but the sad truth is that this is something that profoundly affects many Canadians. A book like this, comprehensive, well-written and researched, can provide a valuable tool for enduring such a life-changing event. Hope you never need this book, but if you do I definitely recommend it. From determining different types of debt, to suggestions for avoiding a BK, and the steps to rebuilding your (financial) life afterwards, this covers a ton of territory in a quick but comprehensive way that will answer questions you didn’t even know that you had. Like the title says, this is geared toward Canadians only.
  • Getting Gay on Nov. 13, 2017

    Oh my, where to begin…seriously, this is a super hard book to just sum up my feelings in a few sentences. Well, I read it in one week if that’s any indicator, and I have extremely limited reading time. But who needs sleep? I enjoyed the narrative voice and tone of the author, Bryce Hunter. He writes in such a way that we just get pulled in and lost in the story right away, and see everything unfold around us. It’s a slow building explosion of unpredictable events and unique characters who are believable, yet act in unbelievable ways at times. If I only have one gripe it’s that it seemed weirdly anticlimactic to me for some reason, like the emotion was sucked out of the ending even though it was the most dramatic. And it felt so quickly “over” at the end. The narrative is very good, but could use light proofreader (and some formatting is slightly off, but no big deal really). Great, authentic dialogue and some of the most clever, flawed, genuine, and well-developed characters I’ve read in a while. This is a book that when you are done reading it you feel different... it almost changes you, how you feel and think. But in a good way. I like a book that challenges me outside my normal comfort zone and “Getting Gay” did it in spades. I for one am ready for more from this talented author soon!