Brenda Maxwell


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Smashwords book reviews by Brenda Maxwell

  • A Luminous Future on July 01, 2012

    An exceptional story... Earlier today, I was making plans for our annual Fourth of July BBQ party. Tonight, I am writing down my impressions of the incredibly moving, “A Luminous Future” by Dr. Teodor Flonta. How are these two related? Well, I think so many people in my position take our freedoms for granted, even if we think we don’t. As I prepare to celebrate my country’s Independence Day, I am struck by the fact that not only are many others denied the same freedoms we enjoy, but that they can be so viciously and cruelly mistreated in the name of a political faction. If I was being honest with myself, would I have had the strength and courage as Teodor Flonta and his family if I was in their shoes? I honestly don’t know. And that is why I was so impressed with this book and so moved by their actions. I have a feeling this story will stay with me for a long time, and I’ve already given it to my oldest daughter to read (she’s in college). Thank you for sharing this marvelous story with the world, and God Bless you and your lovely family!
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on July 10, 2014

    Thank you, David Litwack for this touching and heart-warming story! It’s such a refreshing change from the depressing dystopia I’ve been reading lately. I enjoyed this as I have the other books from Mr. Litwack. He not only weaves interesting and complex tales, but does so with some of the loveliest prose I’ve seen from any author anywhere. But he doesn’t go overboard and keeps the story flowing at a nice and steady rhythm. It’s hard not to read too fast because you want to know what happens, but at the same time struggle to pace yourself so that it’s not over too soon! This is a harder book to define exactly what type it is, as it definitely has a slightly sci/fi/fantasy/alternative history vibe, but at the same time feels current and realistic (for the most part). The characters are believable and endearing. A strong message that leaves us satisfied, yet still wanting more. Simply delightful. Highly recommend.
  • The Sense of Touch on Aug. 14, 2014

    The Sense of Touch by Ron Parsons is the first I’ve read from this author, and I certainly hope it’s not the last! He doesn’t waste time or mince words, simply getting right to the meat of the matter and letting us escape our lives and visit other people’s for a spell. I like the stories each had their own distinctive personality and identity, and none were predictable or ordinary. In fact, I was genuinely surprised by sudden turn of events (usually delivered in one simple sentence) several times. This kept me invested in the book as a whole, knowing that each story had the ability to engage, interest, and surprise me. Very well done and I think this author is terrifically talented.
  • Planet Woman on June 13, 2015

    I was hooked pretty early on in Planet Woman by Judith Rook and my interest never wavered for a moment! I loved the creative and strong characters and plots that continued to build and shock and surprise. Just when you think you know what’s happening, something comes along to throw a wrench in it. This is good because I HATE books that are super predictable. And this one definitely isn’t. Although there are some familiar themes and tropes at play, the author brings a fresh voice and makes it all her own. I’ve read a ton of fantasy and science fiction over the years so I’m rarely surprised by anything anymore but I can say that this author managed to do it. I appreciated the solid pace and the descriptive details that really brought the story to life – world building is absolutely crucial in selling a ‘fantasy’ story and it is done quite nicely here… brilliantly at times, actually. I’d like to see this book go into a series as there is so much potential with these amazing characters! Recommend for anyone (adults) who enjoy a well-written, action packed, alternative-reality novel with unexpected twists.
  • The Prince: Lucifer's Origins on Oct. 26, 2015

    I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I really love this cover! But fortunately what’s inside is even better! I almost feel like I just read 5 books, so much happens and it’s hard to just sum up (but there are several reviews that already describe the plot in detail so I won’t here). The writing is great, and for me that really can make or break a book, even if the plot is “familiar”. But I was constantly surprised by things as they unfolded, and liked that none of the characters were predictable. In fact for me it was the characters who really sold this book for me. Don’t get me wrong, the world-building was great too, I just really enjoyed the relationship dynamics and how they played of one another. I read this book in the span of 3 nights which for me is pretty fast. Will definitely be reading more from Mr. Erickson soon. Highly recommend for fans of sci/fi
  • The End of Summer on Nov. 05, 2015

    4.5 stars I read a lot of books in this arena, so this is a genre I’m fairly familiar with. Although “The End of Summer” lacks the depth and finesse of others I’ve read, nonetheless, it was an engaging novel that held my interest and kept me guessing throughout. I didn’t think it was predictable at all (nice bonus) and was actually really surprised at a few things and liked how the storylines came together in a tension-filled, climactic ending. I did notice some editing things, and thought the formatting was a bit wonky at times, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story any. This author crafts an authentic, engrossing novel, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Irving Munro soon.
  • What's Left is Right on Nov. 05, 2015

    I really enjoyed “What’s Left is Right”, perhaps even more than the other book I read in this series, as I thought this one to be much better written, and the plot more fully-realized. The editing was markedly improved as well, and the story still maintained the elements that I enjoyed in the first one, how it has some surprising twists and it wasn’t predictable or cliché, which is a rare find in this genre. Liked the witty dialogue and the local Texas flavor and history. Overall a well-rounded, nicely polished murder mystery that is authentic, engaging, and entertaining.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Jan. 07, 2016

    "The Urban Boys: Discovery of Five Senses” by K.N. Smith is hands down one of the most original and well-crafted YA paranormal novels 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 scenery and locales, and her attention to detail, especially with the characters. We feel transported not only into the various characters’ heads, but the places they are, and it was a fun escape from reality. This novel covers so, so much it’s impossible to sum up, and it was interesting to see how it all tied together but there will still be more to come. An epic literary feat, to be certain, well written and with beautiful narrative. I was really impressed and would recommend this book with the highest of praise to fans of YA adventure/action/light fantasy.
  • Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery on Feb. 02, 2016

    I’ll admit that “Gallery Pieces” wouldn’t be my normal type of read (I’m more of a fantasy and romance gal) but I’ve been wanting to read more out of my comfort zone lately and expand my tastes… the premise and sample looked intriguing so I thought I’d give it a chance. I’d so glad I did! It was far more exciting than I would’ve guessed, and I found myself flipping the pages as fast as I could to see what would happen. I liked how everything came full circle at the end, and how the story was set amongst a backdrop that is unfamiliar to me and I feel like it opened my eyes a lot. I like art as much as the next person, but I’m no expert and I will never look at it the same way again! It broadened my perspectives - That was cool. This was a fast read with lots of exciting twists and turns, and I think that Larry made an art crime-novel fan out of me! 4.5 stars
  • The Shattered Crown on March 09, 2016

    I’m really becoming a fan of J.W. Webb’s books… this is the third one I’ve read from him – the first two being “The Haven” and “Gol” (Legends of Ansu). This one, “Shattered Crown” is in the “Legends of Ansu” canon, yet stands independently of its predecessor. There is lots of great action and plenty of twists (which while a tad detectable are still entertaining), lots of fun banter between the protagonists, several other interesting/evil side characters and daunting obstacles to overcome, all of which is tied together with fast paced quality writing. If you're looking for entertainment then this is definitely a place to begin. There is over 950 pages in these two books of “Legends…” but if you have the time to just sit and read time will fly as you become intrigued by this intoxicating adventure of the quest to save the kingdom from evil.
  • Friend & Foe on April 01, 2016

    It took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going. But the more I read the more I got into it, and thoroughly enjoyed this world and characters Nik Olsen created. It’s weird to think it’s actually fiction as parts really seem real, and are relatable to current times. I have a feeling that this books and the characters and their fates will stay with me for some time. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Olsen in the future as he is truly a gifted storyteller AND writer (not necessarily the same thing…)
  • The Lost Prince on April 01, 2016

    I’m definitely enjoying this series, “The Legends Of Ansu” by J.W. Webb, and this latest installment “The Lost Prince” is just as good, if not better than the first ones. It’s a brilliant story, and Webb's writing really is extraordinary. I also liked the maps and illustrations (even though there weren't many of them), and like how this story and the world is getting bigger and bigger, and more complex. It is action/fantasy/philosophy/adventure all in one, and while it still has the familiar vibe that most epic fantasies have, it still feels fresh and original enough and is definitely unpredictable, especially towards the end. It is more than just the classic story of “good vs. evil”, and really encompasses so much more of the human condition – strength, weakness, right and wrong, friends, enemies, etc… and it is also funny at times, despite being so ‘dark’. I chuckled at some of the dialogue and really enjoyed watching Corin and Ariane and Tarin (and all the others) ‘evolve’ as the story progresses.