Cale Owens

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Cale Owens

  • A Luminous Future on June 25, 2012

    "A Luminous Future” starts off in a small village named Lupoaia with the Securitate (police) coming to take Flonta Pavel away as his young son and wife watch helplessly. The mom unfortunately suffers a miscarriage, and it is noted that the phrase “you are coming with us” will become a recurring theme in this book. As it was, and the father is deemed a CHIABUR, an “enemy of the people”. No, he wasn’t killing people or even hurting them…under the communist regime he was considered an enemy because he was “rich” (rich being used very loosely here). He had 2 people that worked for him a few months of the year, therefore in the eyes of the communist government he was some sort of tycoon. Crazy! So many times while reading this book I found myself shaking my head in disbelief or lifting my jaw up off the floor because it was so incredible. But there were also times that I laughed and smiled and genuinely felt the emotions of the characters. I think the grandpa Toderea was my favorite, but they were all amazing and wonderfully drawn. I am very pleased that their story was told and I hope others read and find enjoyment in it like I have.
  • Blood Skies (Book 1) on Sep. 01, 2012

    Just when I’ve thought I’d read it all, something comes along and totally blows my socks off! It isn’t often that I am genuinely impressed by an Indie author, as so many of them make the same mistakes over and over (too much ‘telling’, info dumps, poor editing…) but this was not the case with “Blood Skies” by Steven Montano. Right away I was pulled into this dark and twisted future/fantasy world he created (set in the time “AB”—“After the Black”) when the world is nothing like we know it to be, dark and evil creatures rule the lands, magic is everywhere, and humans are at the bottom of the food chain. It was absolute gripping storytelling and I am really excited to read the rest of the “Blood Skies” series!!
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 20, 2012

    Apparently “Angel’s Gate” by Andrew J. Rafkin is based on a true story…well, I don’t know if that is true or not, but nevertheless it is a darn fine book! Of course having the element of it being “true” definitely adds some panache to the story. The plot, one of some ordinary Joes pulling off a HUGE financial heist is one we all can relate to. But what made this book really special in my mind was the various narration tracts the author used, showing different perspectives of the characters and what they were thinking, and occasionally pulling away to give an overview of the story at large, like detailing other crimes (the Luftansa Heist), or murders, or events of the day…almost docu-style, full of facts and informative, but not as dry. Very, very good.
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on July 20, 2014

    I’m really picky about books that I give five stars to and this one hovered around a four for me until the end… and the fact that even a week later (when writing this review) I’m still thinking about it and told my mom she had to read it. So I think I’ll be giving it a five! I looked over the review I wrote for this author’s other book “Along the Watchtower” and was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the elements I was so impressed with in that one were clearly present in “Daughter of Sea and Sky”: mainly his ability to create emotion without writing overly emotional or sappy scenes. Just genuine reflection. There is a sense of gentle restraint, not the overly dramatic and contrived antics of someone trying to “create” a reaction or emotion. Everything that happens feels real and authentic, even if it bordered on a tinge to ‘sweet’ at times. It was balanced nicely by darker elements. I’m glad I read this one and will know to be on the lookout for more David Litwack in the future!
  • Flight of the Black Swan on Oct. 25, 2015

    "Flight of the Black Swan” is the fifth installment of the acclaimed “Birds of Flight” series by J.M. Erickson, and even though it is shorter than the previous 4 novels (this one is a novella), it lacks nothing in the way of story, character development, action, and entertainment! This whole series is just by far one of the most original and just flat out interesting thriller/suspense/spy series I’ve ever read— the writing is superb (love the strong word choice and frequent use of literary infusion), and there are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly…more “intelligent” than many others I’ve read, I think because of the strategies and planning and cat and mouse-ish behavior of the characters. This almost seems like it could be a movie or a miniseries… Looking forward to the next one as soon as it’s out!
  • Falcon: Birds of Flight on Oct. 25, 2015

    firstly, I must commend the author for not only keeping this series going, but actually making it better as it goes along…. Too often I feel that series lose their tight grip on me as I go on, or the author loses some steam. However, in this case I feel like the story and plot is getting better and better as more pieces fall into place, and more crises explode, keeping our attention riveted throughout. This is a series that should be read in order (1-ALBATROSS; 2-RAVEN; 3-EAGLE; 4-FALCON) because the story and characters all build on one another. But it is one of the better written series I’ve come across, and keeps getting better. Looking forward to BLACK SWAN!
  • The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    3.5 stars To be totally honest, I thought this book started off way too slow with so much ‘telling” and “set-up” that was worried I wouldn’t like it… it did take me some time to feel really invested, and there were some editing issues that were turning me off. But in the end I’d say it was worth it! I like how everything came together, and I enjoyed reading this unusual book! The author writes VERY well… very descriptive and strong and we feel like we are there almost like watching a movie or something. The editing needs some work, and was at times a bit frustrating. But I was swept away in this riveting tale of romance and danger and star-crossed lovers and destiny… Overall an interesting, if not eye-opening novel that pushes the boundaries of typical YA literature.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Feb. 04, 2016

    this powerhouse of a story by K.N. Smith is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to please even the pickiest of literary readers for its fine quality of prose and a meaningful and attention-grabbing plotline. I felt a great connection with the characters, and thought the narrative was clean and crisp, descriptive, but not overdone – although I suspect some may feel differently. Great writing and a bold attempt at capturing many important themes and elements made “The Urban Boys” a hit for me. Hope this author continues writing these types of books because she certainly has a knack for it. Eager for the next one as the journey of the boys continues on! 4 1/2 stars
  • Gol on Feb. 14, 2016

    4.5 stars Fast-paced, well written and creative, “Gol” (Legends of Ansu book 1) from J.W. Webb is an absolute must-read for fans of novels such as Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Merlin, Mists of Avalon, etc. “Gol” holds its own with the top-notch writing and plot structure, and an exciting, varied cast of colorful characters and plenty of magic and thrills to go around. There are some familiar tropes here (as with most fantasy), however, I feel Mr. Webb did a great job of bringing in a unique voice and making the story wholly his own, and giving it a fresh feel. I didn’t feel like I’ve read this million times before. A few things, I thought at times there was way too much “telling” instead of showing. Not too bad, but some parts dragged toward the middle. But an engrossing story with near perfect editing, and I’m ready for the next one!
  • Friend & Foe - Book 2 on April 15, 2016

    another fantastic read by Nik Olsen. Like the first one, the pacing was decent, with adequate action and elements of danger and mystery, and the book just flew by very quickly for me. I have mentioned before that I’m not particular about prose in general, and I appreciate the lovely manner of storytelling that was employed by the author. Reads very literary and even beautiful, even when covering ugly scenes. Very true-to-life, like you can tell that Olsen knows well the subjects in which he writes. Like the first book it definitely had complex plot development and characters who just come alive in Ben and Joe (with the addition of some notable newcomers) and a terrific wide ranging supporting cast. There is nary a ‘dull’ part, and plenty of high stakes at hand to keep us engaged throughout, and an unexpected ending to the climax. I like how ‘big’ this book feels, in terms of geopolitics and locales and cultures. A riveting read and while it’s not perfect, it’s very eye-opening and entertaining.
  • Friend & Foe on April 15, 2016

    4.5 stars I personally think that this book would make an excellent book club choice as there are just so many topics we can talk about and dissect deeper (war! Politics! Religion! Etc, Etc….) There are so many different angles and subjects to talk about, not even getting to the dynamic characters who bring the book to life. I liked how the author utilized multiple points of view so we are able to experience the different characters worlds and be really inside their head. A great find… I love discovering new authors, and Nik Olsen will certainly be one to watch!
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on April 15, 2016

    4,5 stars No lack of explosive drama here! Try and be bored reading this… just try. I dare ya! But seriously, this was one roller coaster ride that I was not expecting. It’s a fast read, one I finished in just a few settings, and the brisk narrative is perfect tempo for a book of this genre. Mr. Beller uses great word economy and doesn’t bore us with too many unnecessary details. Fast, focused, and to the point, “Not Black and White” is a frighteningly realistic look at what happens in our country and how corrupt and unethical many political entities and people can be. It’s all just a big game, and one that is fascinating, and somewhat depressing to read because it is clear that much of this is all too real, even though this book is supposedly ‘fiction’. Riveting and addicting, “Not Black and White” is sure to please fans of political thrillers and contemporary drama.
  • Earth Angel (Angels and Seers: Book One) on June 08, 2016

    4.5 stars just a heads up…when starting “Earth Angel” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off with an intriguing beginning that established the ‘fantasy-other-worldly’ existence and Lucy’s future quest, and the solid world building just keeps going from there. The main characters are so well-developed and fully realized, I feel like I know them personally. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel Stephanie Woods managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me this really awesome story that I didn’t want to stop listening to. There are some surprising twists and some parts that really catch you off guard… but that just made the book even more amazing. Totally unlike anything I’ve read before and I read a lot, especially with YA fantasy. There are some traditional elements here, naturally, but I thought that Woods did a terrific job of making the story feel like something we haven’t seen a million times before (rare in this genre!). I could see this having cross-genre appeal so even if Young Adult/ New Adult paranormal fantasy isn’t your fave, the terrific scene-building, suspenseful and thought-provoking plot, and engaging, authentic characters will appeal to a wide variety of readers, and I can’t wait for the next one to be available. Recommend.
  • The Redemption of Charlie McCoy on Aug. 01, 2017

    this is an excellent book that captured my attention from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go- quite a feat considering I have such a short attention span for boring books and no patience if it isn’t written well and professionally edited. But “The Redemption of Charlie McCoy” excels on all accounts and I enjoyed every page. Each scene was engaging, 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’s head and event to the next. The descriptions were very minimal, and the conversations with the characters rapid-fire. Sometimes feels more like talking heads and I got confused who was speaking. But the fast pace does work well for the genre. Because of the literary style of the alternating chapter perspectives for different characters, I felt like I was genuinely inside their heads experiencing their version of the world through their eyes, for better or worse. I like that while even though this book contained some familiar themes and tropes necessary for a mystery/suspense, it still felt really unique and unlike anything I’ve read before. I would love to read more from Mr. Wilsher in the future as he has a natural gift for creating a well-thought out story and bringing memorable characters to life in a profound and impactful way that not only entertains, but also provides a real human experience as well. A good read for fans of crime/thrillers and suspense novels.
  • Canadian Insolvency Guide on Sep. 18, 2017

    Earl Sands has a great ability to take what can appear to be complex and overwhelming legal ideas, concepts and situations regarding finances and specifically going through a bankruptcy and put them in the simplest terms for all to understand easily. He covers many different ins and outs of bankruptcy law in Canada, and explains different ways of protecting one’s financial and personal interests. So many people may not be aware of all the ramifications that may or may not happen when entering into a bankruptcy situation, and what rights one does and doesn’t have, and what they should do or not do regarding a bankruptcy. Sands speaks from many years’ experience and his advice is invaluable here! Protect yourself , your peace of mind, and your finances with this book, or at least gain the knowledge you need to better understand what to do and to expect. Legal advice can be so expensive! For less than ten dollars you can have so much important information explained to you in an easy to read manner. Mr. Sands gives straightforward, useful advice that anyone can (and should!) follow. Nicely laid out and I liked how it was formatted/broken down into small chunks. Made for quick reading. Note – this is intended for Canadians as the laws and processes in the US (and other countries) are different.
  • FLATLINE on Feb. 13, 2018

    "Flatline” by Dana Barney is the second novel I’ve read from this author (the first being “Half Life”) and I liked that one a lot. So I was happy to read this one and was intrigued that the events here take place before the other one I read, so it was cool to see what led to Peter being the ‘special’ way he is, as that is a part of this book (his heart transplant and meds). Like the other one, this one grabbed me from the first pages and didn’t let go until the very end. It is rare to find a book that keeps my attention all the way through, but this one did. I was totally caught up in the whirlwind of weird events surrounding Janice’s murder, and then having Peter get framed for it, and then having the various characters with their own secrets and hidden motivations come in and get everything totally crazy (in a good way). Nothing lights my fire more than deception and unpredictable twists…and “Flatline” did not disappoint! If I had only one minor problem was that it was a tad hard to follow at some parts because it almost seemed too fast paced at certain times and I thought some key events or revelations were almost glossed over and lost some emotional impact. There was a fair amount of “telling” narrative that I think would have been better pared down some, and felt unnecessary at times (like a running ‘stream of consciousness’ of Peter’s every thought, relevant or not). Things do get really twisted up and I had no idea what surprise was in store for me from one page to the next. Some cringeworthy scenes and some language but nothing horrible. Was impressed the way it all tied together in the end. Recommend to fans of the suspense thriller genre…heck, for anyone who just enjoys a unique, intelligently-written, and exciting read!
  • They’re Conning You! Who Are ‘They’, and What Are ‘They’ Planning? This is the Real Story of Our Past, Present and Possible Future. on Aug. 11, 2018

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when reading “They’re Conning You” by Peter Senior, as I’m not normally one to read about things like this. But surprisingly enough I found the straight-forward and engaging narrative style to be quite fascinating and down-to-earth. I liked how Mr. Senior uses his vast and well-researched knowledge ‘story-style’ to make his points and relate his ideas in ways that we all can fully and easily grasp. Each chapter/section/topic gives valuable information, examples and supporting links or sources for further research/reading. The whole thing just flowed so well and I hope people pay attention to as it is clear that the author knows what he is talking about, and that he is an excellent writer. I have found that many times reading philosophy/political or ‘conspiracy’ theory books can either be too ‘highbrow’ and esoteric, or they just don’t present the material in a way that I feel I can relate to (or its condescending), but this definitely was not the case here at all. My only very small complaint was that I wish there were more in-text citations for sources (footnotes or direct links), because while the author does provide a very thorough appendices/references at the end, there were a few times I would’ve preferred to see the sources cited in text. A very minor thing, though. Recommended read.