Brenda Maxwell

Books

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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.
  • 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 Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    to say this is totally unlike anything I’ve ever read before would be an understatement! I’m not sure how to even describe this book as SO much happens, and it seems to touch on so many elements, themes, and subjects. It seems almost like a nonfiction story, yet it is clearly made up, yet very intelligently so. Strong, dynamic leads and gorgeous backdrops of the South and abroad. I think that you need to take your time while reading it to really grasp everything that is going on (don’t be like me and rush through it in 2 nights!) take your time and enjoy the ride and all the crazy ups and downs. Have some tissues nearby! The author also has a great “voice” in spinning these complex and intelligent plotlines all together. Well done, Cher Foth… Oh, and I absolutely love that cover!
  • 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
  • Show Up Dead on March 09, 2016

    I'll admit that “Show up Dead” 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 was totally wrapped up in the drama and loved Peri, Melissa,Ma, (and the others) and really felt like I was part of the whole experience, from start to finish. There were some really shocking twists that you *really* don’t expect with the characters, and I liked how everything came together in the end… was really unusual. This was a quick read with lots of exciting twists and turns, and I think that Lisa Shiroff made a murder/mystery novel fan out of me!
  • 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…)
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on May 27, 2016

    I was hooked from the first pages of “Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” and my interest never faded for a moment! I loved the creative and strong characters and plots that continued to build with tension 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 isn’t. Although there are some familiar themes and tropes at play, and you will recognize real figures and events (thinly disguised) the author brings a fresh attitude and literary style and makes it all his own and doesn’t just rehash ‘real life’. But there is plenty of that here too, which makes this book unique. I’ve read a ton of political-action thrillers & suspense 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 brisk pace and the descriptive details that really brought the story to life – authentic world building (and character development) is absolutely crucial in selling a believable story and it is done quite nicely here… Recommend for anyone (adults) who enjoy a well-written, action packed, true-to-life political thriller with unexpected twists.
  • Portia's Revelation on July 21, 2016

    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 Rich Tenaglia’s unique “voice” and style of writing. The interweaving plotlines were ingenious, funny, deep, smart, and not predictable, and the element of having it set in ancient Rome (and current times) was a new angle for me— I usually only read contemporary novels. Have to say I think it made it even better! The characters were all interesting and well-written, and although there were some times that I thought it was a bit slow and needed some more tension, like I never really thought that all wouldn’t end up okay, and sometimes I like that heightened tension. But I loved the overall message and want to read more from this author in the future.
  • Harrow's Gate on Jan. 05, 2017

    To be honest it took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going. Lots of characters and places that I wasn’t really grounded with in any real way. But the more I read the more I got into it, the more wrapped up I got in this crazy world and awesome characters Lawrence BoarerPitchford created. It’s different from many books I’ve read lately… or ever… and it had its high points and its low… I thought it to be very creative and I liked that the author really thought outside of the box. He had a fun time writing this and it shows. Lots of personality, sarcasm, and just a rugged sense of action that I really enjoyed. I thought the overall plot and narration was good, but it could have used a bit more polish as there was some long stretches of more mundane actions followed by bursts of intense action, then slowing again…. It didn’t ruin the book, but would make it better if was more evenly paced, in my opinion. The ending seemed a bit abrupt, but it did wrap up well – very nice, actually. Just felt like the pacing could use some work. Nevertheless I look forward to reading more from Mr. BoarerPitchford in the future as he is truly a gifted storyteller AND writer (not necessarily the same thing…)
  • LUCID Nightmare on April 24, 2017

    Yikes, this is inspired by ‘true events’? Crazy. “Lucid Nightmare” was well-written and kept my attention the whole way through. There is some setting up the stage of action on the beginning, and I did think it took a bit too long to get to all the paranormal/creepy/scary stuff (about ½ way in….) and for such a short book I just would have liked to get to that part sooner. But once it starts we are quickly caught up with the bizarre, surreal blend of Clay’s dreams and how they are threatening his real life. The characters are good, and there are some surprising turn of events I didn’t see coming. It is a quick read, one I finished in the course of an evening. I was genuinely surprised at a few things that happened, and thought the tension and narrative and dialogue all was great. I will be looking forward to reading more books from E. Clay soon. Recommend reading for fans of literary novellas with a darker twist.
  • The Redemption of Charlie McCoy on July 24, 2017

    I’m a huge fan of crime, mystery and suspense and I read them all the time. Unfortunately, after a while many of them start to feel the same, like many authors---especially new ones---are using the same recycled plot over and over again. But I like trying out new authors and thought the premise of “The Redemption of Charlie McCoy” sounded interesting, and I liked that it had more of a ‘character’ angle with Charlie and his relationship with his daughter (rather than just being about the crimes/action (if that makes sense). But while I fully admit I didn’t have the highest expectations going in…well, consider me blown away! I read “Redemption…” in a few short nights, quite a feat considering I have no free time! Christopher Wilsher is a natural writer, and I was sucked in by the way he weaved so many interesting characters and twisted individual plotlines together to create a wholly addicting story that I couldn’t put down until the final, satisfying conclusion. It was really fast-paced with snappy dialogue and super short chapters that were free from many clichés that riddle this genre, but when they are there they work okay. I was curious to see how this would all work out in the end, and I wasn’t at all disappointed, even though it’s not really how you expect it to end – but it works for the spirit of the story. A thought-provoking read that is different from much out there that is solidly- written and professionally executed. Recommend for fans of mystery/suspense/drama.