Claire Middleton

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Claire Middleton

  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 06, 2012
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    When I first started this novella, I thought it would be a quick, light read. Boy was I wrong! I quickly realized this book was nothing to be taken lightly and settled in for the ride. And what a journey it was! What it lacks in word count it more than makes up for in a caliber of writing rarely found in Ebooks (at least what I’ve seen). Leone manages to weave more intricate storylines in half the time it takes other books. This story is dense with emotion, intrigue, imaginative world building and a gripping plot. An absolute steal at 99 cents, and you owe it to yourself to take a peek. You won’t regret it. Recommend for almost anyone, fans of fantasy, supernatural, steampunk, action…there are some scenes of violence towards the end that may not be suitable for younger children, but is probably okay for ages sixteen and up.
  • An Affair to Remember on May 26, 2012
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    What an amazing story! I still have goosebumps! (actual, literal goosebumps!) I read “An Affair to Remember” in one sitting, and I loved how easy this was to read! I was never once bored (impossible with all the crazy drama happening every second!) and the author’s writing style was very engaging and compelling. There were no mistakes or editing errors that I saw, which is always nice. The only thing I thought was weird at first was that it seemed like Monica and Chase fell in love way too quick…but in retrospect it worked with the pace and tone of the story. I really liked this book and recommend it. I’d definitely look for other works from this author as I really like her style!
  • A Luminous Future on June 04, 2012
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    I don’t know what I loved most about this book, as I was totally enraptured from the moment the secret police were banging on the door to take young Teodor’s father away, to the final, beautiful and emotional passage where everything comes full circle. What an AMAZING life Teodor Flonta has experienced! I am so happy I read this story, as it makes me appreciate my life and upbringing even that much more. Not that I feel sorry for Mr. Flonta…not in the least. Obviously his experiences shaped him into the man he is and led him exactly to where he is now. I have to say that I love his wife’s name (Ariella) and may use it one day :-) and I think, no, I KNOW his father is proud of him for telling his story in such a loving and brilliant way. Thank you for sharing this with me. I hope others read it and benefit as well.
  • A Song Apart on June 12, 2012
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    Kevin Derow had dreams of being a musician, but after 9/11 decided on being a numbers cruncher instead. I have to say I disagreed with his logic on this, as I would think one would realize how short and precious life is, so one should live life to the fullest and follow your dreams, but his attitude was the opposite. But to each his own… Then one day he comes across the hottest new thing in music (I pictured her as being like a Taylor Swift), and a relationship develops between the two. I appreciated that the romance took its time in unfolding, and it wasn’t a case of “insta-love” that we see so often these days in teen books. Instead, it developed naturally…first as a friendship, and then something deeper. You can’t help but root for these two as they navigate their way through increasingly difficult conditions regarding both her fame, and his ordinary existence. Both have problems, the celebrity and the plebeian. But both manage to find a way to connect in a very endearing and charming way. I recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction who enjoy a good story, great writing, and a sweet romance that is not over done and cliché.
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 24, 2012
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    I loved this book!! From the very beginning I was totally hooked, when Mickey is talking with Jen (who reminded me of a VERY tall Yoda from how he spoke). Mickey is having nightmares and doesn’t really know what is real and what is a dream. He later finds out that the government was doing gene-splicing experiments with aliens. They’d implanted an ET brain chip in him during a sleep study, and now the government wants him, but so do the aliens. He can travel through time and is known as “The Destroyer of Worlds”. But it’s not his fault (really), and he has to stop his alter ego before it’s too late. I never knew what was going to happen from one page to the next, and it wasn’t predictable or stereotypical at all! Super interesting and I’m really glad I read it!
  • The Crow God's Girl on Aug. 07, 2012
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    Wow. This book was incredible! I’m so impressed with this amazing story and how the author wove so many storylines together, and had such vivid descriptions and an original plot. I admit at first I was confused as to what was going on…I hadn’t read the first two books in the series, and although the author catches us up to speed right away, there were still some questions that I had. I didn’t feel confused, more like just wondering about the history of some of the characters, and if that would better explain their actions. There was a lot of world building that needed to happen for me to start understanding the whole thing. But the characters and storyline were incredible, and once I really got into it I couldn’t put it down! I love how Kate totally transformed throughout the course of the book, and it’s a refreshing change of pace to read of a strong heroine who doesn’t need her relationship with a guy to define her. Definitely recommend, even if the beginning seems a bit confusing just keep going because it gets really good!
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 08, 2012
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    I had no idea what to expect when starting this book, only that the premise sounded fascinating (and a little like Point Break at first glance). Well, it was that and so much more…kinda like Point Break meets Blow meets Pulp Fiction. It was awesome! The character of August was my favorite – he is one cool cat. This book definitely held my attention from start to finish, and I loved all the details that were put in as the story unfolded – like talking about other events at the time and how they all entwined. Like the murder of Big Mac…I remember that case very well as it happened right by my old neighborhood. This was definitely one of the better written books I’ve read lately and recommend it without hesitation. Warning, there is mild language and some sex scenes but nothing too graphic
  • Quest for a Dream on Sep. 20, 2012
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    This novel pulled me in from the opening pages with Ms. Carl’s warm and engaging narrative voice. I felt sucked in and swept away as I followed Dani on her spiritual journey through the extraordinary and the unknown. The writing was artistic, as was the storyline, and this is definitely one of the better written novels I have come across as of late. The author’s sassy personality shines through, especially in the secondary characters who added a real sense of balance to this book. If you are looking for a lot of action or romance then this probably isn’t the book for you, but if you want an engaging, unique novel that will make you think outside your normal reality for a bit then you have to pick this one up. It’s a winner!
  • Regulated for Murder: A Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller on Oct. 27, 2012
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    I read this book in one night…it was that good! I admit I’ve been obsessed with reading about the south, and especially the wars there ever since I visited the Carolinas last spring. I’ve read a good many books in this genre but there was something about this one that really resonated with me. The characters, the dialogue, the scenery the atmosphere the author created…it all just felt so “alive” and “real”, as if I was really there being part of the action. I wasn’t bored for a second and couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end. I’m definitely reading more from Ms. Adair in the future and am happy to see that she has written more!
  • A Life In A Moment on Oct. 30, 2012
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    This was a lovely novella that I easily read in one sitting. Not because it was short…because it was so good! Mr. Livos is a very talented writer and the right from the opening sentences he creates a rich and vivid atmosphere that sweeps the reader along for the journey. I liked that it was more about life, love, and characters, not all action and sex and violence…the story really spoke for itself and I was captivated from start to finish.
  • Sugar and Spice: A Karma Café Novella on Jan. 10, 2013
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    For me this novella was just ok…it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t amazing either. On the plus side, I liked the author’s ‘voice’ and felt a certain authenticity and relatable-ness to the storyline and the characters. It didn’t feel fake or contrived. The scenes between Dedra and Paul were compelling and steamy. On the sort of negative, I didn’t like how the heroine referred to other women who enjoyed sex as “sluts” (I don’t like slut-shaming in my romance/erotica books), especially when the same behavior from the man is seen as an appealing turn-on. I do wish certain parts of the story would have been expanded or explained better, especially the role of the “witches” downstairs. Recommended for a light, quick romantic read, but don’t expect anything truly deep or earth-shattering.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 17, 2013
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    This is the first book I’ve read from Millie Burns, but I really hope it won’t be the last! I loved how Ms. Burns writes in such a descriptive and literary way, but its not boring with too many unnecessary details… I felt like I was really inside the story as it unfolded every step of the way, not outside looking in. Even with the 3rd person POV (which isn’t really my fave) I felt connected to the characters and liked that the occasional POV change here and there let us see more perspectives. I thought the epilogue was interesting too and am wondering if this is leaving the door open for a part 2? Recommend for fans of literary fantasy and adventure.
  • The Seekers' Garden on Feb. 06, 2013
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    "The Seekers’ Garden” is the first book that I have read by Isa Ritchie, but I hope its not the last! The story is kinda hard to sum up in just a few sentences, but it is definitely character-driven and focuses on several different people, and their lives and what happens to them is what makes up the plot. I have to say that at certain times it almost seemed like there were several people writing this book as each character really sounded unique. I read it in two nights, and even though it was longer than I’d expected, I was never bored and was sad when it was over (even though the ending was wonderful). I could see fans of Jodi Piccoult enjoying this book.
  • Oil and Corruption on Feb. 19, 2013
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    "Oil and Corruption” by Gareth Flood isn’t my normal type of read, but lately I’ve been reading out of my comfort zone and thought I’d give it a try. 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 in different areas of the world. That was cool. This was a quick read with lots of exciting twists and turns.
  • Corkscrew Ridge on Feb. 27, 2013
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    Paul is a teacher at the local tech college when he comes across a farm (the old Johnson place) that he decides to take over and try to save it. I could see this novel being really appealing to people who are really interested in farming and gardening activities, as they are discussed in great detail in this novel, almost at the expense of a plot. Things just sort of unfold along the way, and there really aren’t very many parts where we as a reader become very emotionally invested in the characters or the outcome of events. However, this isn’t entirely bad, as it made for light hearted reading that is perfect for a rainy day indoors. The author manages to write beautiful descriptions that transport the reader to another time and place and plops us right down in an unfamiliar world (at least for this city gal) and exposes us to a different life, yet with characters we can all identify with on some level. Recommend for fans of drama, light romance, and literary fiction.
  • Silicon Succession on July 02, 2013
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    I loved this book. I thought it was great! I read it in one sitting and was bummed when it was over. Yeah, it sorta reminded me on the Matrix (as I saw some other reviewers point out), but it definitely has its own personality and style. The writing is very good and kept me interested from the opening pages to the very end. There were some really cool ideas and concepts presented here, and I thought it was a great way to spend an evening. The only part I didn’t like was when he met Castor as it seemed to slow the pace down a lot, but I know it was obviously a necessary element to the plot. Overall a fun and compelling read. A must read for sci/fi lovers.
  • Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism on Nov. 17, 2013
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    I was surprised with how much I liked reading this book. I admit I’m not normally one for the religious-type books, and consider myself more spiritual than sticking to any one practicing religion. But I think that was almost what I liked the best about this book was explaining the roots of the spiritualty that Hindus believe and especially how they connect it with the body and mind. Even if you don’t agree with the philosophy for your own religious ideas, it is hard to deny that this is a well-written book that succinctly lays out the principles of Hinduism in a cohesive and entertaining manner. Recommended for teens on up.
  • Spartanica on March 07, 2014
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    4.5 stars Wow…okay, this is practically an impossible book to sum up – SO much happens! To start off, the brothers are sucked into a parallel world (or is it a dream?) and they are racing the clock to save their fate. Twists and turns and unexpected events along the way challenge them and keep the reader invested in the outcome. Normally it would take me about a week to read a book this length, but I read this one in two and a half nights. I just didn’t want to put it down! There were some parts that seemed kind of confusing, and at times I thought the supporting characters lacked any real depth that gave me a deeper sense of who they were (other than serving a plotting function), but others were done so well and memorably it is easily forgiven. Younger readers will have fun with the creative language and names/words and older readers will appreciate the complexity and fluidity of a near tsunami of events.
  • The Angela Suite on March 30, 2014
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    I read this book in one sitting. I was sucked into it right away because it felt real and gritty and authentic. The characters are memorable and unique, and there are a lot of details into the scenes that makes it seem like you are really there and in the characters’ heads. One thing I didn’t like was that there were several punctuation and grammar issues. But I didn’t want to put the story down until I finished because it was so good and really different from anything else I’d read lately. So if you enjoy an ‘adults only’ read about the darker, more twisted side of life, then this is a great book for you to try.
  • Kate's Journal, The First Entry on April 07, 2014
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    3.5 stars... I am of mixed feelings of this book. Honestly, had it been about 60% as long as it was, I probably would’ve given it 5 stars. Because I did like the characters and the storyline a lot. But there was way too much needless conversations and dialogue and scenes that a skilled editor would have eliminated from the book. Because all it did was slow the pacing and reduce the tension. The chemistry between the leads was very, very good! And the overall arc and developments were interesting and kept me glued to my kindle. These aren’t some deep, fully-fleshed out characters and that’s ok… sometimes I like my reading to be easy, lighthearted and more on the fun side. This book fits the bill for that. I think fans of erotica and drama will enjoy it, as long as they aren’t easily offended by some slightly unusual relationships and have patience for some unnecessary fillers.