Nicole McManus

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Smashwords book reviews by Nicole McManus

  • Forgiveness - An unexpected gift on Oct. 10, 2012

    "...When I started to read this story and noticed that it was only seven pages long, I was a little nervous. Some short stories leave out key details that are necessary to move readers, however this is not one of them. In seven short pages, Awapara’s story was powerful and touching. Though the exact details behind this young woman’s fear are never mentioned, it allows the reader to focus more on the emotions and the message...." Notes: The author provided a copy of this book for me to review. This portion of my review was originally posted on my website:
  • Legacy (Sanguine Series #2) on Oct. 10, 2012

    "...Melissa R. Smith has continued her Sanguine Series with Legacy. However, it is a new setting filled with new faces. Each character, whether human or Sanguine, has secrets they hide, and fears that influence the choices he/she makes. Smith is an amazing story-teller. Readers will be on a roller coaster of emotions as they read this story, and they will be grabbing a calendar to count down the days until the release of the next book...." Note: This portion of my review was orignially posted on my website:
  • The Blues, Mary on Oct. 10, 2012

    "... Sarah Kay shows extreme talent by writing a novel entirely in a stream-of-consciousness form. There is a morbid undertone as he is forced to face who he is, and where he belongs. Readers will find an unlikely friend in the main character, as they can relate to the struggles of dreaming outside of the normal guidelines of life. Though some readers will not like the style, others will enjoy this rare form of storytelling...." Notes: This portion of my review was originally posted on my website:
  • The Curse of Troy: Helen's Story on April 11, 2013

    Helen of Troy, Queen of Sparta. This woman has had many titles, names and stories written about her. However few tales tell her perspective behind the things that have happened in her life. This is a short story that occurs when a historian interviews the Queen and vows to share her truth. Luciana Cavallaro weaves a unique tale in this short story. Her narrator, the historian, never reveals his name, yet readers of Greek Mythology will recognize him by the end of the tale. Helen’s appearance is described with the intricate details that many have come to associate with her beauty. However, in this short story, Helen is given a voice which shows that behind all of her beauty lies pain. This is a short story that is filled to the brim with details and emotions. Luciana Cavallaro has done an excellent job at giving readers another perspective behind the Trojan War. Recommended for fans of Greek Mythology. Though this is a bittersweet, short story there are many people and events that are mentioned that some readers may not recognize. Notes: A copy of this book was provided by the author for me to review. To learn more about this author and her work, please visit her website at This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews. To see this and other reviews, please visit my website at
  • Dream Doctor on Aug. 02, 2013

    4 Stars Sara is trying to balance being a newlywed and being in med school. As if this wasn’t difficult enough, her nightmares are back. It is up to Sara and Brian to figure who exactly wants to kill one of her teachers, which won’t be easy, seeing as how everyone hates him. Plus, each of Sara’s dreams reveal another possible suspect. But Sara’s dreams take on a more personal role, when one of her friend’s Mom receives a terminal diagnosis. Will Sara be able to handle everything: help her friend, save her teacher’s life, balance medical school and find time to spend with her husband? J.J. DiBenedetto continues his unique suspense series in Dream Doctor. In this second installment, the emotions are turned up a notch and readers will find them choking back tears on several occasions. This book follows the same style as the first, with tons of detail but no graphic scenes. The pace is a bit slower this time around, but there are many twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very end. Readers will be instantly picking up the next book in the series, in order to continue the journey with Sara and Brian. This was another wonderful book in the Dream series. This book definitely had more emotions than suspense, but it was still a great read. I am highly anticipating the next book. Notes: The author provided a copy of this book for me to review. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.
  • Dream Child on Aug. 07, 2013

    Dream Series #3. By: J. J. DiBenedetto. Format: eBook. Read: August 2013. Sara is a resident at Children’s Hospital, which means excruciatingly long work weeks, but it is worth it to come home to Brian and their adorable daughter, Lizzie. Sara is very grateful that she is able to bring Lizzie to work with her when she can’t find a babysitter. All the staff love Lizzie and Lizzie gets to play with the children, which helps distract them from the routines of being a hospital patient. Lizzie is a lot like Sara and is always ready to lend a helping hand. Unfortunately though, Lizzie has picked up something else from Sara too. When Lizzie’s dreams start, Sara’s world is turned upside down, again. This is the third novel in the Dream series and this is by far the best so far. The addition of Lizzie to the family and to the storyline is perfect. She provides just the right amount of comedic relief that was missing from the previous two books. Lizzie is very young, but she steals the show, so to speak. J. J. DiBenedetto shows a superb talent in his writing his characters. Readers will feel like they have grown with Sara and they will find themselves thinking similar thoughts as Sara tries to juggle work, family, and interpreting her and Lizzie’s dreams. Minor characters from previous books keep popping up to lend a hand, which gives the series another real-life connection. Readers will have extremely high hopes for the next book to see what Sara and Lizzie stumble into, next. This is a very unique mystery series that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. I am looking forward to spending more time with Sara, Lizzie and the rest of the family in the next book. I absolutely love a series that ties previous books into current books, with hints towards what could happen next. It keeps me guessing until the very end, which is nice to read. If you are looking for an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow cozy mystery series, with a unique twist, I definitely recommend this series. Notes: The author provided a copy of this book for me to review. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.
  • Dream Family on Aug. 09, 2013

    Dr. Sara Alderson has a loving family and a wonderful career helping sick children feel better. However her life is turned upside down when the police show up at her office arresting her for prescription fraud. Sara is degraded and treated like the scum of the Earth as she is processed and forced to spend a night in jail. Forced to reach out for help, she calls the only man who would know the ins and outs of the justice system, Paul Sorrentino. When she is finally allowed to return to her family, Sara knows she is nothing more than a shell of her former self. Somehow through it all, it is her infamous dreams that may help rediscover her freedom. Dream Family starts off with a bang, when the cops arrive for Sara and the pace never slows down. Sara is normally the heroine rushing around saving the everyone in her dreams, but this time it is herself that needs saving. The author does a compelling job with Sara’s inner battles. Readers will both ache and cheer for Sara as she fights to remember who she is and what is most important in life. With a few new twists and turns from old minor characters, readers will be anxiously awaiting for the next book to be released. Another unique and powerful tale, with several life lessons thrown in for good measure. I was speechless as I read this book, all I could think was wow, wow, Wow! Then to see that another adventure will be released sometime next year was beyond thrilling. If you want to read this series, plan on being wrapped up in the emotions of all the characters and soon you will feel as though you are a member of the family. Notes: The author provided a copy of this book for me to review. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.
  • Face-Off (Hockey Rivals #1) on Sep. 21, 2013
    (no rating)
    5 stars T.J. McKendrick can’t do anything right to please his father, despite the fact that he attends a prep school and is top of his class and on several sports teams. His twin brother, Brad, feels that T.J. is the apple of their father’s eyes and despite all of his hard work, he can barely maintain a C average in his public school. Brad hates school, but is looking forward to the start of hockey season. That is until their parents inform them that they can no longer afford T.J.’s school and they will both be forced to attend the same high school. Now Brad fears loosing his friends and the all important Captain spot at the start of hockey season. Not to mention, their younger brother Chris seems to keep getting in trouble and their parents are always arguing which upsets their youngest brother Jory. Will the twins come together to help there younger brothers or will the competition for attention and acceptance destroy their relationship for good? Stacy Juba originally wrote this book when she was a young teenager, yet readers will not believe that while reading this book. Fans of hockey will love every single detail that takes place on the ice and about the ice. Non-hockey loving fans will not have to worry about being confused by statistics or technical jargon, since it is quite clear that Juba wrote this for every reader to enjoy. Readers will be chuckling at the antics of the youngest brother Jory, while readers’ heartstrings will be caught up effects of the tumultuous relationship of the parents. Readers will be able to relate to Brad, T.J. and their younger brothers. The sudden ending will leave readers needing more, but there is a small excerpt from the book’s sequel. Juba’s excellent talent for balancing human emotion, hockey and high school will create instant fans in the readers. I loved this book! First off, I am a huge hockey fan. (Born and raised cheering on the Washington Capitals.) Second, this book perfectly demonstrates the inner turmoil inside families, whether it is the side effects of parents fighting or sibling rivalries. Even with the abrupt ending, I would highly recommend this book to middle school children or adult fans of hockey/YA books. Notes: The author of this provided a copy for me to review. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.
  • Young Ladies of Mystery on Oct. 09, 2013

    5 stars Twenty Five Years ago Today “… Stacy Juba has written an excellent and shocking cozy mystery. The plot is a winding maze with not one but filled with wrong turns and deceptive clues meant to trick the reader until the very end. Not only will readers be kept on their toes, they will emotional drawn into not one but two separate families caught in the never-ending cycle of grief, depression and survivor’s guilt. Both families demonstrate the polar opposites of grief, one refusing to breathe a word about their loss and the other discussing all the details and what-ifs. An emotional, fast-paced and intriguing storyline, with wonderful writing makes this book a must-read for mystery readers. …” Sink or Swim “…Stacy Juba explores the good and bad sides of reality television fame. The story is a fast read, but does have a tendency to remain in the dramatic zone, even after Cassidy has returned back to her normal like. Readers will either like Cassidy or like to dislike her, since her personality seems to shift throughout the book. However the mystery aspect will leave the readers guessing, right up until the end. Juba demonstrates an exquisite talent for leading her readers through a maze only for them to discover a completely different outcome. …” Dark Before Dawn “… Stacy Juba takes on the world of teenage girls and the paranormal in this book. Readers will easily gobble up this book in one sitting. Readers will be able to relate to not only Dawn in her new setting, just trying to fit in, but to also some of the minor characters as well as they play their roles in her new high school/home. This book does have paranormal aspects, but it is the emotional journey that Dawn is on, is what will compel readers to keep reading until the very end. Dark Before Dawn covers many genres marvelously. …” Notes: The author provided a copy of these books for me to review. These reviews were originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.
  • The Devil You Know on Nov. 02, 2013

    3.5 Stars Tran is the ultimate hot shot baseball player with more money than he can count, while his fiancée, Angie, is studying law and preparing to take her BAR exam. In the process of filling out paperwork for the wedding and her honeymoon, she discovers that her birth certificate is false. Having grown up in an abusive Compton orphanage, violent memories start crashing back to surface. Afraid that Tran will no longer love her if she confesses about her abusive past, she turns to her best friend and confidant, Satanya. As Satanya starts to rebel and protest the marriage, Angie tries to push her away. Through many pains and heartaches, Angie must choose between her best friend and her fiancé. This book starts out with one heck of an explosive beginning and ends in a similar fashion. Sexcee Jackson delivers more dramatic twists and turns than in most Shakespearian plays. This story takes an intriguing dive into the ramifications of childhood abuse, along with the morals and justifications for every decision. Unfortunately, due to graphic nature and crude language this book will not be to everyone’s liking. There are several grammatical errors in the narration and the narration seems to deviate between a neutral point of view and a more character-based point of view. The dialect of the characters is very specific to their Compton background, yet doesn’t seem to match with their chosen careers. Overall, The Devil You Know is a thought-provoking psychological tale. Notes: The author provided a copy of this book for me to review. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.