Caroline Barker

Biography

Hi, I'm Caroline Barker, a happily engaged mother of three from the UK. I absolutely love reading and writing and since 2010 I haven't put a book down. My partner, against my wishes, bought me a 'vampire' novel which happened to be Stephenie Meyer's 'Twilight'. I advised against this, thinking how unbelievable and unrealistic it would be. However, he'd bought it and so I decided to read it. As you may have already guessed, I loved it. Therefore, I read the series followed by J.R. Ward's 'Black Dagger Brotherhood' series and the Charlaine Harris series of 'Sookie Stackhouse. The current series I am reading is Tim O'Rourke's 'Keira Hudson' and it is fantastic. I do read other genres including thrillers, murder mysteries, true crime, romance, horror etc. Due to this my aim is to review as many novels I am reading, from any genre, in the hope of influencing and aiding readers to choose their next book! Enjoy! I will be very happy to receive any comments you may have. Thank you!

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Caroline Barker's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Caroline Barker

  • Wraith on Feb. 28, 2013

    What a story! I absolutely loved ‘Wraith’ by Angel Lawson. ‘Wraith’ was received by myself gratefully in return for an honest review. And in all honesty, I found ‘Wraith’ to be a refreshing read with some dark and emotional areas. Aimed at an audience for young adults, this novel suits it’s audience’s needs perfectly, but is also quite a nice read for adults alike. Not too short and not too long, this novel is just right with some great characters. Jane is the main character. At seventeen she is outcast as a weirdo, a freak, for talking to herself and behaving in a strange manner both in and around school. Little do people know that she is seeing and interacting with Evan, a ghost and her new best friend. Jane spends most of her time with Evan and they have a very close bond. However, when Connor begins Jane’s school she is not the only one who can see Evan. And Connor, having had connections with ghosts himself, is aware that Evan may not only be around Jane for her friendship but also needs her assisatnce to help his spirit move on. Whilst Jane is not ready to accept this, she eventually realises the truth, needing to help Evan’s mum and sisters escape from an abusive partner/stepfather-type, John. The reader really feels sympathy towards Jane as it must be difficult for a young person trying to make new friends in a new town, at the same time as having to get used to a new school, leaving her old friends behind and being laughed at by her new classmates. Jane is very brave and holds her own reasonably well. Connor, on the other hand, is familiar with the school as he used to attend it before. He has friends and is quite popular as some would prefer not to say a bad word against him due to rumours of his previous delinquent behaviour. He is seen as the bad boy at school, but a stunner and a charmer all the same. He can be quite sweet and he understands the situation that Jane is in with Evan. Throughout the novel the reader experiences a great deal of doubt from Jane and mistrust for Connor. These feelings twist from one way to the other. The reader is constantly kept on their toes in regard to Connor. But as he’s so hot you want to trust him and hope that he means well. Evan is a troubled spirit who is trapped as he hasn’t moved on in the spiritual world. He uses his time looking out for Jane and being a close friend to her. Thus, making company for both of them. However, Evan is worried about the well-being of his mother and sisters. He is a character that needs to be mothered and the reader just wants to wrap him up in cotton wool – if that is at all possible – and show him some affection. My favourite character is Jeannie, Jane’s aunt. She is an artist and a hippy-type character. She seems very flighty and free. When she sees Jane she notices her aura and is aware that ‘death’ is following her around. Jeannie is definitely a character that could grow with this series and play more of a crucial role in Jane’s life by allowing Jane to confide in her. Jeannie is very spiritual with an elderly mother who shares Jane’s gift. I would love these characters to develop more and possibly add more humour and support for Jane. There are some dark action scenes in this novel, nothing too graphic or terrifying, as Angel Lawson writes these scenes very carefully to target her attended audience. These scenes were great and intense as the reader can do nothing but hope for a great outcome. John, the abusive partner to Evan’s mum is an awful character as you could imagine an abusive man to be. Without spoiling the story too much, there are a couple of times he follows Jane. I would have liked more detail at these points to confirm how he knew about where and when Jane would be. Maybe I missed this but I felt that these scenes, even though very exciting and tense, come upon the reader very quickly without too much explanation. I think that ‘Wraith’ is quite original, written well and easy to read. There is one scene, involving a key, that reminded me of the film ‘Ghost’ where Patrick Swayze’s spirit character, Sam Wheat, is able to pick up a penny and balance it on his finger towards his living wife, played by Demi Moore. It is really quite an emotional read in both sad and happy ways. I would like to read the sequel ‘Shadow Bound’ which is available now. So until then “later”!
  • Mere Enchantment on May 25, 2013

    Mere Enchantment and Rings of Enchantment are Alicia Rivoli's Enchantment series books that have one epic adventure flowing through them as though they are a Part One and Part Two. Part Two continues the story beautifully. Personally, I couldn't read one book without the other and therefore would recommend to any reader to obtain both copies. Aside from not feeling myself, this was also another reason for my belated review, as I had to read the sequel as soon as I finished Mere Enchantment! The Enchantment series takes you into another world. The world of Mere. Under attack from the dark traitor, Jacan, and his army of Umbra, the Kingdom of Mere is struggling to survive. Jacan and his army have already taken over the city of Nebula and if nobody stops him, Jacan will strive to take over the whole Kingdom! It is therefore up to the five main characters, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach to prevent Jacan with the use of magic and their new-founded abilities in Mere to defeat Jacan and his army. Mere Enchantment (Book 1) begins with Preston living in a cabin with his parents overlooking Mirror Lake. When Preston's parents rent out their second cabin, across the other side of the lake, to two families, each with two teenagers, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach, Preston seems happy to have kids of a similar age visit. He quickly builds up a bond with them, in particular Chloe. Preston takes them to a cave nearby and little do they realise at the time that this cave is where the magic really begins for them! There were a couple of instances in the very beginning that made me question why Preston's parents treated him like a younger child, when he was an older teenager. I couldn't quite connect to all of the characters, especially Preston's parents, as I didn't understand their behaviour. However, as this magical epic tale unfolds this question was answered very clearly, especially once the main characters entered the cave! One example of this is Preston's father reading him what appears to be bedtime stories and yet, once he is in the Kingdom of Mere, Preston realises that those stories are most likely to be true and his father had been preparing him for his new journey to help the Kingdom of Mere as his new-found self, along with his magic and friends. When they first enter the Kingdom of Mere they notice changes with one another, such as changes of appearance, age, clothes and later their powers. It is great how they all have these underlying magical abilities but it is only through entering the cave/kingdom that these skills naturally blossom. I particularly like the way in which they discover their powers in an instinctive manner as opposed to having be taught them through magic. The characters adapt to their new surroundings very quickly and, with the help of some wizards, they soon become aware of what they need to do save the Kingdom of Mere! The group find themselves separated once they arrive in Mere, as Preston is with Megan and Zach, and Chloe is with her brother, Jason. I become a little lost when main characters are separated as I like to keep everyone together, however it adds the tension as the reader constantly pushes for them to reunite. But with Jacan and the Umbra taking over, controling the weather and using shadows for cover it becomes quite eventful. War is taking place and it doesn't seem to be too long before Jacan will completely take over the Kingdom of Mere. Rings of Enchantment (The Enchantment Series, #2)In Rings of Enchantment (Book 2) I found the story to be slightly more action-packed as by now the reader is familiar with the characters, some of their abilities and the Kingdom of Mere. I also found the sequel to be a quicker read, with more dialogue and more magic being used and more involvement with the dragons. Jacan and his army are really beginning to close in on Mere, destroying the underwater kingdom of Rill and using everything he possibly can to win the Kingdom for himself. This sequel is darker and most certainly more intense. Towards the end I found myself tensing as Alicia Rivoli leaves the reader on tenterhooks between chapters as she visits the different characters and picks up their story from a chapter or two before! This definitely teases the reader and makes you feel like you have to know more, encouraging the reader to quicken their speed, along with the action of the book! I also found the glossary in Book 2 to be useful as the reader follows so many different characters in different cities and, as the main characters are slightly different people in Mere than they are in Oklahoma, it was nice to be able to check up on the characters and places once I finished. I really enjoyed reading this fun series and I would recommend it for readers of the age 8 years and over. Kids would absolutely love the magic, the dragons, princes and princesses in secret kingdoms, the wizards and the whole adventure. Not forgetting the main plot to save the Kingdom from this terrible, dark traitor! There are cities in the sky/clouds and underwater. I actually had my own daughter (age 8) read a chapter as she had forgotten to bring home her school book. I was delighted when she read a whole chapter really well and was able to tell me afterwards what had happened. Even though I had her read from the middle of the sequel she was still able to tell me in her own words what had happened and what type of characters she had been reading about! My hat goes off to Alicia Rivoli for writing a fantastic modern-day magical, fun and adventurous fairytale! It is clear to the reader that the author has spent a great deal of time creating the wonderful world of Mere, as well as beautiful characters with princes, princesses, wizards, dragons, merpeople and an army of darkness with a traitor as their leader. At the same time as being in a strange, magical land with dragons and wizards and trying to learn their own abilities, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach fight to be reunited again and to free the Kingdom of Mere! I received both books from the author, Alicia Rivoli in return for an honest and fair review.
  • Rings of Enchantment on May 25, 2013

    Mere Enchantment and Rings of Enchantment are Alicia Rivoli's Enchantment series books that have one epic adventure flowing through them as though they are a Part One and Part Two. Part Two continues the story beautifully. Personally, I couldn't read one book without the other and therefore would recommend to any reader to obtain both copies. Aside from not feeling myself, this was also another reason for my belated review, as I had to read the sequel as soon as I finished Mere Enchantment! The Enchantment series takes you into another world. The world of Mere. Under attack from the dark traitor, Jacan, and his army of Umbra, the Kingdom of Mere is struggling to survive. Jacan and his army have already taken over the city of Nebula and if nobody stops him, Jacan will strive to take over the whole Kingdom! It is therefore up to the five main characters, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach to prevent Jacan with the use of magic and their new-founded abilities in Mere to defeat Jacan and his army. Mere Enchantment (Book 1) begins with Preston living in a cabin with his parents overlooking Mirror Lake. When Preston's parents rent out their second cabin, across the other side of the lake, to two families, each with two teenagers, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach, Preston seems happy to have kids of a similar age visit. He quickly builds up a bond with them, in particular Chloe. Preston takes them to a cave nearby and little do they realise at the time that this cave is where the magic really begins for them! There were a couple of instances in the very beginning that made me question why Preston's parents treated him like a younger child, when he was an older teenager. I couldn't quite connect to all of the characters, especially Preston's parents, as I didn't understand their behaviour. However, as this magical epic tale unfolds this question was answered very clearly, especially once the main characters entered the cave! One example of this is Preston's father reading him what appears to be bedtime stories and yet, once he is in the Kingdom of Mere, Preston realises that those stories are most likely to be true and his father had been preparing him for his new journey to help the Kingdom of Mere as his new-found self, along with his magic and friends. When they first enter the Kingdom of Mere they notice changes with one another, such as changes of appearance, age, clothes and later their powers. It is great how they all have these underlying magical abilities but it is only through entering the cave/kingdom that these skills naturally blossom. I particularly like the way in which they discover their powers in an instinctive manner as opposed to having be taught them through magic. The characters adapt to their new surroundings very quickly and, with the help of some wizards, they soon become aware of what they need to do save the Kingdom of Mere! The group find themselves separated once they arrive in Mere, as Preston is with Megan and Zach, and Chloe is with her brother, Jason. I become a little lost when main characters are separated as I like to keep everyone together, however it adds the tension as the reader constantly pushes for them to reunite. But with Jacan and the Umbra taking over, controling the weather and using shadows for cover it becomes quite eventful. War is taking place and it doesn't seem to be too long before Jacan will completely take over the Kingdom of Mere. Rings of Enchantment (The Enchantment Series, #2)In Rings of Enchantment (Book 2) I found the story to be slightly more action-packed as by now the reader is familiar with the characters, some of their abilities and the Kingdom of Mere. I also found the sequel to be a quicker read, with more dialogue and more magic being used and more involvement with the dragons. Jacan and his army are really beginning to close in on Mere, destroying the underwater kingdom of Rill and using everything he possibly can to win the Kingdom for himself. This sequel is darker and most certainly more intense. Towards the end I found myself tensing as Alicia Rivoli leaves the reader on tenterhooks between chapters as she visits the different characters and picks up their story from a chapter or two before! This definitely teases the reader and makes you feel like you have to know more, encouraging the reader to quicken their speed, along with the action of the book! I also found the glossary in Book 2 to be useful as the reader follows so many different characters in different cities and, as the main characters are slightly different people in Mere than they are in Oklahoma, it was nice to be able to check up on the characters and places once I finished. I really enjoyed reading this fun series and I would recommend it for readers of the age 8 years and over. Kids would absolutely love the magic, the dragons, princes and princesses in secret kingdoms, the wizards and the whole adventure. Not forgetting the main plot to save the Kingdom from this terrible, dark traitor! There are cities in the sky/clouds and underwater. I actually had my own daughter (age 8) read a chapter as she had forgotten to bring home her school book. I was delighted when she read a whole chapter really well and was able to tell me afterwards what had happened. Even though I had her read from the middle of the sequel she was still able to tell me in her own words what had happened and what type of characters she had been reading about! My hat goes off to Alicia Rivoli for writing a fantastic modern-day magical, fun and adventurous fairytale! It is clear to the reader that the author has spent a great deal of time creating the wonderful world of Mere, as well as beautiful characters with princes, princesses, wizards, dragons, merpeople and an army of darkness with a traitor as their leader. At the same time as being in a strange, magical land with dragons and wizards and trying to learn their own abilities, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach fight to be reunited again and to free the Kingdom of Mere! I received both books from the author, Alicia Rivoli in return for an honest and fair review.
  • BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation on Oct. 17, 2013

    Whether you’re a fan of C.J. Pinard’s paranormal/urban fantasy series, Enchanted Immortals, or being introduced to it now BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation is a fantastic novella to read at any point in the series. It provides backgrounds to already known characters as well as introduce fresh characters from different cities and era’s. It comes complete with imagination, action, fun and drama. Not to mention the various fae, including vampires, shifters, succubae and sylph. This Enchanted Immortals novella takes the reader into the very beginning of the BSI; who set it up, how it was set up, agents that were assigned to the BSI and unexplained/unsolved investigations that had been re-opened. You may find some similarities to the tv series, The X-Files, in that the investigations are of a supernatural kind and some of the agents are more open-minded and knowledgable of the paranormal than others. The difference being that the BSI concentrates on the shifters and vampires mostly. The prologue explains the setting up of the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation. After the FBI’s Assistant Director Jim Blackwell’s son, Paul, is murdered in Washington, 1945 it becomes more evident over time that this killing was possibly of a supernatural kind. As all lines of inquiry begin to dry up, Jim still remains determined to find the killer of his son. When approached by General Frost, Jim’s mind opens up to the possibilites of paranormal behaviour. BSI is separated into three main sections (excluding the prologue and epilogue). Each section focuses on a different city and era, i.e. San Francisco (1946), Chicago (1963) and New Orleans (1989). (This reminded me a little of the CSI’s on tv as there are different series based in different cities.) Each of these sections have their own case to follow, with different BSI agents in each section. The epilogue then takes us back to Washington as the reader discovers the outcome of the case of the BSI Founder’s son! Will the killer be caught? Does Jim have all the answers in the end? One of my favourite aspects of this novella is the way in which C.J. begins with the prologue, the beginning of the set up of the BSI, and then leaves it open until the epilogue where one way or another ends this novella brilliantly. In this novella the reader will be informed that some Immortals become BSI agents as they need to discover how much the human agents know about them. The agents are selected by excelling at their job and are able to close most cases, apart from the ones that are unexplained and are left unsolved. In some instances, once the agent begins working for the BSI they are then able to try and crack their unsolved case with a more open mind as they are made aware of the existence of vamps, shifters and succubae. In some instances the Immortal agents open up to their human partner, especially if suspicions have risen with their supernatural powers and their knowledge of the Fae, and make them aware of what they are – although this usually comes with a price itself and the human then must become an Immortal. During the times when the Immortals reveal their true selves they also explain their age and lack of aging, the elixir and their healing abilities. This is a fantastic way to introduce these qualities into the novella as it supports the main books of the series. There’s a little action in each story, with some stories focussing on shifters more and others on vampires and succubae. During some of these action scenes, in particular the vampires, there are instances where heads are completely cleared from their bodies and heads popping or bursting. Even though these are serious moments of action and gore, and are in context and necessary for the story, I cannot help but smile as the terminology makes reading these scenes fun instead of being too horrific. I cannot help but personally hope for more stories from C.J. Pinard in the Enchanted Immortals series. The BSI novella has familiar characters in Agents Swift and Bianchi, and yet have introduced some fresh characters that could easily be written into new work, therefore opening up the possibility for some fresh Immortals in the main series. The characters are likeable, special even, with their powers and relationships with each other. I would also like to read more about the succubae, a form of vampire that takes the whole soul of a human, rather than their blood. So, if you fancy a new urban fantasy/paranormal to sink your fangs into, or you are a fan of the Enchanted Immortals series, please check out C.J. Pinard’s BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation!!!