Single mom, book blogger and photographer
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Smashwords book reviews by Jenn S.
- Hush Money (Talent Chronicles)
on Oct. 04, 2010
Have you guys seen Pretty Little Liars? I can't talk about the books, I have yet to read them, but the show...each week the characters are dealing with a “smaller” problem, while the bigger issue always lies just outside there reach...they are always trying to conceal there secrets, because there sure, at this point if anyone found out, it would ruin them.
Hush Money reminded me of that, NOT because the stories are similar, but...
In Hush Money, we are introduced to Joss, a girl with a secret...but wait, though alternating points of view we also enter the world of Dylan a boy that Joss has always, basically ignored, but at the same time secretly crushed on...over the years.
Though, Dylan is not atypical, Joss tends to ignore everyone – she's been told since before she could walk or even understand that standing out, is NEVER a good thing...if your to popular or your grades are to high, people notice; but if your to standoffish and make bad grades others tend to look your way...so Joss prides herself at being just standoffish enough, while making B/C grades to maintain her ambiguity.
She likes it that way...or so she's told herself, she does not need people, or friends – she tried that once and it did not end well. Joss is sure that her family is all she needs, that's who can protect her, that's what her fathers always said.
But when Kat shows up, and takes on the mission of bring Joss out of her shell...she beings to wonder, just how much she's missing out on by her families imposed isolation but at the same time always understanding the risks she takes by revealing to much about who she really is.
After all, she's seen first hand what the government is capable of, when they even suspect someone of having a Talent – they don't ask questions, they don't gather evidence; they just come in, guns blaring, ordering you to surrender yourself, and no one ever sees you again! The last time that happened Joss lost her best friend, her only friend, and she's determined not to let that happen again!
But when Marco, the class bully, begins to blackmail Joss, her quiet world starts to slip away...she needs help, she needs to somehow learn to trust, she needs to remember what it's like to not feel so alone, but how – when at every turn revealing your secret could mean, exposing yourself, and with that comes the chance that her secrets could fall into the wrong hands; the governments hands.
Can Joss learn to trust in time, can she start believing that not everyone is out to hurt her, or is she just kidding herself?
Hush Money is a fast paced story, with superheros – honestly what's not to love? But it's not just that, it's got beautifully ingrained messages on friendship, hope and learning to trust. Susan Bischoff has created with her debut novel a winner! Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I first read the synopsis for Hush Money – I had not seen any reviews, and when I found out that it's just over 100 pages – I did not hold out much hope.
Honestly, I have never read a book where I felt connected enough to the plot as well as the characters in a book so short! It's unheard of...however, Hush Money was different – I connected, within the first few pages, I was in love with Joss – her personality, her originality, and her spirit shine though. She's a heck of a character! Then we have Dylan, though, we did not get to know him as well as Joss – he's got an amazing heart, and a solid head on his shoulders, which I enjoyed! There are others too, like Kat, whom I believe would bend over backwards for anyone – especially someone she calls a friend!
Susan Bischoff has a writing style that's different from most, she's raw, and powerful; if your looking for a novel that's full of beautiful prose, full of explicit details, Hush Money is not for you...however if your looking for a truly harrowing story, full with mystery, the beauty of friendship and the unique power of love – Hush Money will not disappoint!
Bottom Line – Hush Money is a short, quick read – but don't let that fool you because it is a well thought out novel with truly wonderful characters, the action flows seamlessly off the page, yet the characters themselves are so loveable your laughing with them, and rooting for them! Towards the end, when things start coming together, I teared up for Joss...I love that girl! Susan Bischoff is a wonderful addition to YA Literature, I am thrilled to be able to recommend this one to all my friends! I give it 5 mushrooms, and I can NOT wait for Heroes 'Til Curfew!
- She Smells the Dead
on Oct. 04, 2010
Thick black smoke entangle my feelings, She Smells The Dead is encased with haunting details and beautiful prose – this is my first book by E.J. Stevens but I can tell you, it will not be the last.
When I first saw the cover of She Smells The Dead, I knew – even though your not supposed to judge a book by it's cover – that this was a book I wanted to read – it's beautiful and haunting, and once you have read the book it makes even MORE sense!
Yuki's photo on the book, looks exactly as I picture her – as beautiful as a painting...yet with a tough edge that makes her the type of girl that’s tough to get to know. At the same time she looks somehow broken...and with a secret like her's, a haunting reminder that everyday a new spirit could come across her path with a new scent that could overpower her world, broken and trying to just get though the day's becomes her way of life.
Of course she has friends – good friends, friends willing to go the distance to help her – but with a talent like smelling the dead, what's there for them to do, unfortunately for Yuki, not much! However, that does not stop them from trying, and when Calvin seems to be hiding something from her, and a new smell seems to be taking over her life, Yuki is not at all sure who she can turn to, or where to go for help.
With just over 150 pages in the eBook I read, I was worried – how can a book so short make an impact? There's such a narrow bridge between something being to long and boring to something being to short that, you miss important parts of the story. With that being said E.J. Stevens did not disappoint, her style is lyrical – yet this book is not told in verse, but it's filled with fabulous details whose beauty equal that of the cover!
She Smells The Dead also brought to light an interesting twist on two surprising paranormal personalities – which I can't really talk much about – I was surprised at how well they played off each other, and the details of how it all worked out, made for an interesting read!
Bottom Line – She Smells The Dead while a bit predictable, was an enjoyable read...with characters that I loved, and a plot that's as unique as it is interesting! I honestly I can't wait to find out more, especially about the whole bridge thing (don't ask just read the book)...I have a fascination with bridges so to have that as an added element really brought a smile to my face. E.J. Stevens, is an author that I will be on the look out for and when Spirit Guide, #2 comes out, you better be sure I will be one of the first to get my copy! I give She Smells The Dead 4 mushrooms.
on Oct. 04, 2010
The other day I was browsing though Smashwords.com and Immortal caught my eye, since finding that place, I have picked up several books that have been really wonderful – if you have not checked it out you should...
ANYWAY – all I read about it was the blurb above, it sounded interesting and I needed something, quick and not to heavy...and with this one it sounded a bit like Vampire Diaries with a side of Twilight – so, I figured why not! Twilight is a favorite of mine, and I LOVE the Vampire Diaries show, even though I did not love the books...
So when I opened it up, I was not surprised to find that Immortal does have a very Vampire Diaries/Twilight feel to it...
2 “hot” guys, one innocent girl, and an ability to heal faster than the speed of lighting...
Immortal had all that in spades – however, these two “hot” guys are not Vampires – they are something else entirely...and the “innocent” girl did not remind me of either Bella or Elena, even though her name is Alina.
The characters, were not the strongest I have ever read, don't get me wrong I liked Alina, she's quirky and sweet – I just wanted a bit more, you know...and the one guy we get to know most, was not the one I fell in love with from the start, but then that was essential for the story to make sense, I just wanted a little more of my favorite!
For me, in Immortal, what really stands out and makes this one a book all unto it's own, is the last half of the book, which I can't talk about – without giving things away! Immortal has an extremely interesting twist on the whole bad boy angle – not to mention the magic that makes this book possible – which I hope we learn more about!
Bottom Line – You might be thinking from the shortness of this review, and the way it's put together that this book is not one to pick up, but you would be wrong – Lauren Burd starts off Immortal with a feeling of books we've read 100 times before – yet, she gives it her own unique spin...I can't wait to read more! I give Immortal 4 mushrooms!