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Smashwords book reviews by TabithaParks

  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Jan. 08, 2016

    3.5 stars i loved that this book made me FEEL something and THINK. Sometimes I loved it, other times I thought it was a bit contrived and overdone--but I was never, never bored. The story, overall, is engaging and creative – but feels so realistic! I especially like the darker psychological angle that Ms. Smith employs that gives this story an edge over many I’ve read lately. Although there are the familiar tropes present to make it a standard paranormal, it really struck me as so much more due to the depth of the characters and the fact that even for a fantasy the rules seemed to go out the window a few times and really threw me for a loop (no spoilers). The writing is very strong and the plot is compelling and intelligent enough to really keep our interest – which is honestly saying a lot considering I got bored so easy! I was surprised more than once, which I always appreciate. This is a very promising start to an exciting series and I’d be happy to read part 2!!
  • Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery on Feb. 02, 2016

    "Gallery Pieces” is an excellent novel that captured my attention from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go. Each scene was riveting, imaginative, and flowed smoothly from one to the next… never a “dull part” where you get bored or want to skip ahead… in fact almost the opposite with the various interweaving plotlines and going from one character and event to the next. The descriptions were very strong, and I mean with Larry Witham’s word choice… unique and powerful. I felt like I was genuinely inside the characters’ heads experiencing the world through their eyes, for better or worse. I would love to read more from this author in the future. He has a natural gift for creating a well-thought out story and developing deeply memorable characters.
  • Friend & Foe on March 26, 2016

    great book! This was a very original take on ‘fiction’ for me, and at times it seemed like I was reading a recounting of something “real” that had happened, to “real people”, even though that is obviously not the case. I know that all fiction novels are like that (realistic-feeling stories that are made up), but this one was exceptionally so…. It starts off with some considerable backstory to set up the scene and ground the reader in the world-building, which the author does a wonderfully convincing job of creating a believable backdrop, wherever the scene is happening. The author also has a great “voice” in spinning these thought-provoking and intelligent plotlines all together. Well done.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on June 28, 2016

    this was a very original take on ‘fiction’ for me, and at times it seemed like I was reading a recounting of something “real” that had happened, even though that is obviously not the case. I know that all fiction novels are like that (realistic-feeling stories that are made up), but this one was exceptionally so…. It starts off with some decent backstory to set up the scene and ground the reader in the world-building, which the author G.A. Beller does a wonderfully convincing job of creating a believable scenario… even if at times it does seem a bit far-fetched, one only has to have to have some knowledge of the history of the world to know that NOTHING is off limits or ‘too far-fetched’ to happen, ESPECIALLY when it comes to politics. The author also has a great “voice” in spinning these complex and intelligent plotlines all together where it keeps us totally hooked, but doesn’t get too convoluted. The writing was so easy to get lost in and flowed smoothly. Clean narrative and authentic dialogue with the characters lent a deeper layer of credibility against the fully developed and well-researched plot. Great job.
  • Harrow's Gate on Dec. 07, 2016

    I thought that his book was great! Very easy to read the whole way through, and I enjoyed the author Lawrence BoarerPitchford’s “voice” and (somewhat unusual) style of storytelling, and he certainly can create descriptive and dramatic scenes! The dialogue was good and authentic and did a great job of “showing” not “telling” making us a real part of the action and the characters’’ minds, which is imperative for a book such as this. The interweaving plotlines were well-developed and not predictable, and the unusual adventures were fun to read about from the different character angles, who for the most part were all interesting and well-written, and seem like they could be based on real people or could be (with the obvious exception of some creatures/unusual characters we meet). It all came together seamlessly to tell an engaging, eye-opening book that entertains. Recommend for fantasy fans or anyone who likes a well written, entertaining book with quests, romance, unusual creatures, friends, and an ‘otherworldly’ feel.
  • Time is for Dragonflies and Angels on Feb. 14, 2017

    I think that J.M. Erickson may have made a Science Fiction fan out of me! I’ve always had a bit of an aversion to novellas/short stories them, mostly because I like to feel a deeper connection to the characters and stay in their world for a while, and most of the sci/fi I read feels contrived and frankly, not all that plausible. But I was surprised how effective the author was in totally transporting us to another time and place and where we can really experience another’s lives (or a brief segment of it) enough to really get inside my head and make me think and even freak me out a little! The writing was top-quality - a good amount of details and lyrical prose that added to the scenery without bogging it down any. Brilliant layers of storyline complexity that has a psychological edge wrapped with action and high stakes. For the most part the pacing was good in each story, but I did think there could have been more heightened tension more consistently, especially considering the subject matter and the shorter length. But still remarkable, memorable reading!
  • Go Down Swinging: Erotic Romance for Professional Women on June 22, 2017

    I don’t usually read short stories or novellas as I prefer to really lose myself in a book and its characters for a longer spell. But I was surprised that even though “Go Down Swinging” by J Erickson was a quicker read than I normally prefer, I found myself fully swept away in the storyline and caught up in the fun and excitement. The sex scenes were descriptive and sexy and had real heat. Loved that the scenarios were fresh and not just a repeat of the same thing over and over. Lots of variation throughout, and a great sexy escape with all sorts of fun lovers and situations. There were some minor editing and proofing things, nothing major at all. Overall a sexy and satisfying read that will keep you coming back for more. Pun intended ;)
  • Just Another Girl's Story on Nov. 22, 2017

    wow. Just… wow. “Just Another Girl’s Story” by Laura Eckert is an emotionally touching and well-crafted personal memoir. I’ve never read anything like it before and I was mesmerized by her amazing journey. I was drawn in from the very beginning and was completely hooked the whole way through. At first I thought it might be too sad/intense/uncomfortable for me to actually be able to enjoy it, because this isn’t exactly what you would think of as being a ‘happy’ or ‘fun’ book….. but it was the profound flawed and troubled humanity, the realness, and then the positive message of God’s love, and finding strength and hope despite the darkest, worst circumstances that permeated the pages and kept me reading late into the evening. There is a lot of life and drama in these pages, and Laura Eckert is such a great storyteller, it’s like a friend or family member is talking and we just want to keep listening. It is told all in mostly narrative prose, which is nicely-written and very well-edited. I enjoyed every page… even the ‘harsher’ ones. A very inspiring tale of courage and overcoming one’s past to creating a better life. Recommend.
  • Getting Gay on Nov. 22, 2017

    I’m having a hard time coming up with words to describe this book by Bryce Hunter – because while I very much enjoyed it, that sounds like a strange term to use considering the serious subject matter and hefty issues dealt with here. Deep and profound and shocking and jaw dropping and addicting….. one of the most interesting and unforgettable ensemble of characters I have encountered lately. From villains to love interests, friends and family, and the relationships with the characters and the authentic, frighteningly realistic world-building Hunter creates is downright phenomenal and truly more profound and with much more substance and introspective than most YA books. This is not just some mindless cliché ‘coming-of-age’ book, but deeper, touching but also uplifting. Covers such a wide range of subjects--one that actually teaches us something about life and the human condition – good and evil-- and shows us the ‘bigger picture’. An unexpected treat, and I look forward to more from Bryce Hunter soon. Recommended for mature fans of literary fiction.
  • Zandeji Chronicles: Liberation on Jan. 21, 2018

    well I read this book “Zandeji Chronicles- Liberation” by Christopher T. Mooney cover-to-cover in one evening if that tells you anything! Although at first, I almost felt like I’d been shot out of a cannon and thrust into this whole new existence with the strange characters (and creatures), and the dense narrative ‘setup/backstory” slowed things waaayy down (and this is not a good way to begin a book, imo), it soon picked up and I like how everything came together, and I enjoyed reading this unusual book! I feel like the overall story (and spiritual messages) were great, but I did feel like perhaps some parts seemed unnecessary (I felt a lack of focus at times that made me want to skip to the ‘good stuff’). Anyways, despite taking place on another planet in a galaxy far away (Kesheron), the themes and events that happen are relatable to modern day, yet with a new spin. The author writes VERY well… very literary and descriptive and strong and we feel like we are there almost like watching a movie or something, it just needs some formatting tweaking and some light proofing. But I was impressed with the overall story ARC and its message… an interesting, empowering novel that pushes the boundaries of typical Christian literature. Can see fantasy/sci fans really liking it, even those who maybe it’s not their thing, there is a great storyline that will entertain and take you to another world for a while….
  • Zandeji Chronicles: Revolution on Jan. 21, 2018

    first, I have to say that I don’t normally read books that are Religious or Christian Fiction but I was looking for something a little out of my comfort zone and this series sounded intriguing, because I AM an avid sci-fi/fantasy reader. Well, I am most certainly glad I took the chance on Christopher T. Moooney’s “Zandeji Chronicles’ series. “Revolution” is the second book in the series and the story picks up where the first one “Liberation” leaves off – note, these are NOT standalone books and really do need to be read in order for maximum benefit. The title comes from the fact that the story, while Christian in nature, also is about a group banding together to fight religious oppression on other planets and the fight against a powerful evil force across the galaxy. This sets out a chain of events and nonstop action that keeps going through to the end and then some. This is the second book of 3 in the series so the story doesn’t end here, and after that wild ending (was worried there for a minute!) I can’t wait to see where it goes! Not perfect, 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!
  • Zandeji Chronicles: Redemption on Jan. 21, 2018

    even though this book and series is ultimately about good versus evil, which is a topic that seems to have been covered from almost every conceivable angle, especially in spiritual fiction, I was very impressed how this book, and the “Zandeji Chronicles” as a whole never becomes predictable or feels cliché, and there are some nice plot twists I didn’t see coming, especially at the end. Even though this is the third book I’ve read now from Christopher T. Mooney, while the same delicious flavor is there as it was in the first two, the dish tastes a little different here in “Redemption” as all the events of prior have been leading to this ultimate fight… and not everyone will survive the outcome. Even though there were conflicts before, this time the stakes are much higher. Not everyone will survive, and there are lots of ‘changes’ along the way. Solid writing and descriptive details bring the scenes and characters to life, and once again I marveled at how Mooney manages to fit so many complex ideas and extraordinary situations into a cohesive storyline that centers on faith, God’s love, and the power of good to defeat evil all with characters we love (or love to hate). Very spiritual in an organic, inspiring way that enhances the plot, and doesn’t overshadow it. Even though the story and everyone’s personal ‘journey’ wraps up well… I was sad when I finished, only because I enjoyed reading these books the past few weeks. And now I am done. But it was a great experience that took me out of my normal reading habits and opened my eyes to some amazing new worlds, ideas, and characters. Siasha has some of the best character development I’ve seen in a book/series in some time, and the metaphors with real religious issues and figures fit in so nicely here. An exciting, enlightening and satisfying escape that I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a great sci fi/adventure novel with an intelligent, spiritual twist.