Claire Middleton


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Smashwords book reviews by Claire Middleton

  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 06, 2012

    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.
  • A Luminous Future on June 04, 2012

    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

    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

    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!
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 08, 2012

    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

    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!
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 17, 2013

    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.
  • Corkscrew Ridge on Feb. 27, 2013

    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.
  • The Angela Suite on March 30, 2014

    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.
  • Defender of the Flame on June 13, 2014

    You know right from the opening pages that this isn’t some mindless rehash of the same ol’ same ol’. We jump right into the action (the author handles any “housekeeping” in the preface) and pulls you right in. I’m not one for rehashing the plots in reviews (that’s what the book description is for), but I can say that the blurb doesn’t do it justice! This is one of those books (or series) that you really have to read in order to appreciate the complexity and depth of the world this author created. For the most part it was quite fast-paced (although sometimes a bit TOO fast for my liking… huge chunks of time or important events were quickly glossed over) and the dialogue was believable (not contrived or stiff). There were some minor editing things, and it could have benefitted from the use of more contractions to smooth it out some, but nothing that deterred my enjoyment any. Overall it felt very polished and professional. There is great tension and conflict (both internal and external) which compels us the readers along and keeps us invested in the outcome. The ending is satisfactory and fulfilling, yet leaves the door open for future installments. I do not think fans of Sci-Fi adventure will be at all disappointed and I highly encourage you to give this one a try!!
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on June 29, 2014

    4.5 stars... The Daughter of Sea and Sky is the third book now I’ve read from this author and I think it might be my favorite one yet! Not sure as they are all pretty amazing. This is one of those books that when you reach the end you have a sense of awe and wonder, along with the feeling of being happier to have read it (not the case with many books I’m afraid!) There is an overall sense of a higher message – a deeper meaning that resonates throughout the pages, and although I did feel at times that perhaps the solutions were a bit too convenient and even a tad to neat and easy, I did feel the right amount of emotional investment in Kalaini, Helena, Jason and the others. There were a few surprising turns along the way. Overall a very solid effort and one I’d recommend to fans of literary fantasy and speculative fiction. Or to anyone who enjoys a great book with solid writing and intriguing characters.
  • Remembrance Part One: A Time For War on Feb. 20, 2015

    oh my gosh… that was amazing! I need some time to process all that. This book was loaded with tension and drama and action… honestly even by the 15% mark I felt like I’d already been through the emotional wringer! And we were just getting started! In addition to the powerful storyline, the way the author A.K. Stauber writes is simply mesmerizing. Literary prose that is unexpectedly beautiful, even in the bleakest of scenes. But it makes you just want to keep on reading. There were some formatting glitches and some editing things, nothing too major, but I noticed some grammar and punctuation things. But nothing that hindered my overall enjoyment. I recommend this for fans of historical fiction, or anyone who wants to read a riveting, moving and well written novel of love and survival.
  • The Dark Rider on March 07, 2015

    for me “The Dark Rider…” was just okay. I liked the premise and thought it had a lot of potential, but something just failed to grab me the way I thought it should. (Note, my daughter read it right after me an LOVED it…so there you go.) Something that struck me was the overall tone of the book…it felt and sounder more mature that a normal young adult novel. I thought there was too much “telling” of events instead of “showing”, and was always kept at arm’s length from the action…like it was happening around me but not to me, if you know what I mean. Maybe it was because of the multiple pov’s and third-person omniscient narration, but I never quite knew what character I was “tuning into”, and that is something that is important for me to do. There were some proofing errors that I noticed, and even though the plot was interesting, I thought the pacing as a bit too uneven for my tastes. So much of this is probably just my personal preferences, as it was a decent story and as I mentioned my teenaged daughter loved it. It just wasn’t my cuppa.
  • Field of Vision on April 02, 2015

    what makes this a truly satisfying novel is the number of different levels on which it operates. On the surface it's a fast-paced adventure/survival novel; at another level it explores human conflict and connection, and on another it is a lush, literary treat that stretches the rules of normal wordplay. Michael Jarvis is not afraid to take risks, and in my view it pays off in a gripping and thought-provoking narrative that makes us rethink things. Great lively dialogue and eccentric characters finish off this wonderful read. Looking forward to hearing more from this author in the future.
  • Planet Woman on June 12, 2015

    4.5 stars - Well this book took me a while to read, but in the end I’d definitely say it was worth it! It’s like all these amazing elements came together to create an incredible book that I can honestly say is one of the better ones I’ve read in a long time… and honestly I’m not even a huge Science Fiction fan! (but I love Romance).Anyways, the themes and events that happen are relatable to modern day, yet with a new spin. 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 is near flawless (I notice these things) and professionally presented. Overall an interesting, if not surreal novel that pushes the boundaries of typical sci-fi literature. Hope to read more from Judith Rook in the future, and I could see some of the secondary characters perhaps getting their own spin off novels. Seems there is more story to tell!
  • Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons on Aug. 31, 2015

    I was honestly shocked at how much I enjoyed reading this book, “Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons” by author Dave Shaw. I have read many, many, many books on Biblical Scripture and interpretations, and with varying degrees of satisfaction. Often I do feel that they can come across as too “preachy” (pardon the pun), or highbrow, or holier-than-thou. (Again, pardon..) However, I thought this book was a wonderful change and Mr. Shaw’s author ‘voice’ was more like how a friend or trusted confidante would talk to you… a much wiser, learned friend or confidant! I like that he actually asked… and addressed… several questions that I’ve had myself over the years, and while I may not totally agree with absolutely everything (naturally), so much made sense, and I believe helped me to better understand my role in His Kingdom and His plan. Like the author, I have ‘felt Job’d” (haha!) and reading books like this by others who feel the same is something that gives me peace and strength. Thank you for writing this and I look forward to reading more books from Dave Shaw in the future!
  • Tukie Tales Complete Series: A New Beginning for a Better Tomorrow on Sep. 18, 2015

    Book 1: One day, young Jake and Amy hear strange noises in the woods behind their house and they go to investigate. What they find is a magical and wonderful surprise in the form of talking animals and special creatures known as “Tukies”. They make new friends and learn a very valuable lesson about wandering off when they shouldn’t. Absolutely wonderful, lively illustrations and an engaging text with fun pictures, lovable creatures, and a strong message for children re-enforcing them to be careful and not to get lost. A charming tale sure to delight and entertain! Book 2: My daughter is positively in love with the Tukies and these stories! We read one a night, and although the 5 stories are part of a larger book, the length of each shorter story is just right, and they each have their own distinct “lesson” or theme. This one is called “I Can Do It” and it teaches the young Beaver, Cody, who is growing frustrated that he can’t build a solid dam. With the help of the Tukies and him not giving up and trying new ways, he is able to succeed. A great, happy message that is fun to read and teaches important life lessons. Wonderful! Book 3: We all really enjoy these Tukie Tales as they are very easy to read, engaging, and fast-paced to keep your child’s attention. They are positive, strong values wrapped up in creative and magical fun. This one, “Team Work is Best” really drives home the importance of working together for a common goal, as well and being aware of fire danger (important!) A win-win for child and parent, and stories that encourage children to actually think and learn something useful. Highly recommend – you won’t be disappointed! Book 4: "Tukie Tales- Helping is Fun” by Debbie Burns and Patty Cockrell is such a fun, sweet story with an important plot (gasp!) and is quite easy to read for older children, but the real younger ones might need some help. The wonderful illustrations really bring the scenes to life, and the messages in these adventurous stories will not be lost on the young ones, even if they just seem like cute, fun stories about magical forest creatures and talking animals. A wonderful book with delightful stories. Hope there will be many more books like this with the Tukies as I can see them being wildly popular. Book 5: My daughter has already read this book three times. It is definitely one of those books that is as entertaining for the adults as it is for the children. The illustrations add a great accent and life to the story, but while some children’s books absolutely must rely on the pictures to keep the child’s attention, “Tukie Tales: A New Beginning for a Better Tomorrow” does not. Each of the individual stories are captivating and heart-warming, each with their own special message for the readers. “Kindness Counts” shows how doing good things for people (or animals) can come back to you in a great way, even if you don’t expect it. Highly recommended for children ages 4-9, and all children at heart.
  • Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse on Oct. 26, 2015

    Intelligent Design II is the first book I’ve read from this author, but I think he’ll be one to watch. I liked that he wasn’t afraid to take chances and push limits. The writing is very good—intelligent, suspenseful, descriptive and disturbingly honest. It is pretty evenly-paced, but for me it got really crazy good during the last half or so when it all started to blow up…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.. Mr. Erickson uses great word economy and doesn’t bore us with too many unnecessary details, but the descriptions are totally on point. This s an author who fortunately totally understands the concept of ‘show, don’t tell!’ Fast, focused, and to the point, “Intelligent Design II” is a keeper, and I’m definitely checking out his other works soon!
  • Vinyl: Book One of the Vinyl Trilogy on Dec. 07, 2015

    a compelling read, and one that will definitely appeal to fans of dystopian/sci-fi/action novels. Author Sophia Elaine Hanson does an amazing job of bringing this incredible world to life where man must fight against mental and emotional enslavement. “Passion is perilous”. Very interesting concept, and the premise feels like nothing I’ve come across before. Although there are common elements, Ms. Hanson’s voice is unique, and her characters fresh and engaging. We really root (or cry) for them and get totally invested in the outcome. BTW the editing was GREAT! Nearly flawless, and that is rare. And appreciated! Great, authentic dialogue that flowed well and moved the plot forward nicely, sparing us of the dreaded “telling” that so many authors tend to do. We feel like we are a part of the book and I recommend for fans of Dystopian Sci-fi who’d like a new twist. This is the first in a trilogy though, so we are still in for more of a ride. Can’t wait!
  • Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery on Feb. 08, 2016

    Loved this book! Totally different from what I normally read, but superb writing and an unpredictable plot that keeps you guessing totally won me over! When I started reading this book, “Gallery Pieces” by Larry Witham, I just didn't want to stop until I’d read the whole thing. There are so many great characters (good and bad) and the suspense throughout the book just keeps building and building and kept me wanting to read more……. Kept me totally hooked the whole way. Really liked the art element and the dialogue was authentic and the narrative tight. Peale makes for interesting MC, and I was surprised and happy with how it all wrapped up – lots of unexpected layers to be uncovered. Recommend the book to those that enjoy a good mystery that is intelligent and unpredictable. Great writing, and will be sure to look for more from Larry Witham in the future.
  • Friend & Foe on March 26, 2016

    "Friend & Foe” by Nik Olsen is hands down one of the most original and well-crafted 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 attention to detail. We feel transported not only into the various characters’ heads, but the places they are, and it was an interesting escape from reality. This novel covers so, so much it’s impossible to sum up, but it felt like I was reading several slices of real life, and it was interesting to see how it all tied together. An epic literary feat, to be certain. I was really impressed and would recommend this book with the highest of praise.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on June 29, 2016

    first, I have to say that I don’t normally read these types of books but I was looking for something a little out of my comfort zone and this book sounded intriguing. I was definitely impressed with the opening sample so I dove on it. Well, I am most certainly glad I took the chance on G.A. Beller’s “Not Black and White: From the Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”! This was a brilliant novel and very impressive for a debut. The title comes from the rise of a local politician (Malik Alawi… aka Obama) as he is part of the Chicago scene that is well-funded and goes to the highest levels of Washington. Crazy. The opening scene sets up the connection between a huge corruption scam and the others involved. This sets out a chain of events and nonstop action that keeps going all through to the end. All in all a very good read that I’d recommend even to those who don’t normally read this sort of thing…try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
  • The GreenSeed Conspiracy on Aug. 15, 2016

    First, I have to say that I don’t normally read books like this, but I do like action movies and the concept of genetic engineering has always intrigued me, and the various ways it could potentially be used (or misused). But even though I was a bit unsure about reading this novel, color me impressed!! I wasn’t surprised to read that this book is receiving such glowing reviews and acclaim. There is such strong, vivid writing, and the characters are all fascinating, flawed, and going through their own problems. Stone is a total badass (can I say that?) and everything just felt “authentic” for lack of a better word. Dialogue, interactions, scenes, descriptions…some parts admittedly over my head in terms of the tech speak, but there is a handy glossary at the back of the book. There are some cringe-worth moments, so don’t be a prude or squeamish, but it is all part of the context and not gratuitous. Near flawless editing and perfect pacing. All in all a very good read that I’d recommend even to those who don’t normally read this sort of thing…try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
  • A Book for Oreo on Oct. 31, 2016

    "A Book For Oreo” is a powerful, memorable book and easy to read. Great storyline with an underlying message of faith and spirituality that teaches God’s love for animals and our role as caretakers. I thought Caralee A. Jardine’s writing felt very real and candid and I loved the pictures!! It was funny and sweet, but this story also has deeply touching moments as well. Some younger readers might find the ending a bit tough to take, but it is a valuable and real lesson that we all go through in life. Minor proofing issues, but a good read, recommended for teens and older.
  • The Redemption of Charlie McCoy on Aug. 07, 2017

    4.5 stars I’ll be the first to admit that “The Redemption of Charlie McCoy” 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 and emotionally engaging 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 felt pulled into the characters’ lives, (especially Charlie and his daughter Amy), but I liked how the chapters showed the different perspectives from each character so we really get a well-rounded view of the whole story as it passes through time. Liked that this is more character driven than a typical action/mystery or suspense book, and I liked that it wasn’t predictable in fact the rug gets pulled out from under you a few times which is something even a jaded reader like myself can appreciate! If there’s more adventures from Charlie in the future I’d be happy to read them.
  • FLATLINE on Jan. 17, 2018

    3.5 stars wow, what did I just read? Almost non-stop drama and a fast-moving plot kept me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time. Dana Barney’s writing was excellent, content-wise, but definitely needs better editing (almost all the dialogue is punctuated incorrectly). But I adjusted and overlooked it, and really enjoyed the mix of mystery and how Peter Richards gets caught up in a neighbor’s murder that makes it seem like he is the one responsible, and what happens when the killer knows he was spotted. His whole family is in danger, and there are several elements that come from some unexpected sources (like the e-zero ElectroFlux) , and authentic characters – some of whom have secrets, and many who aren’t who we first think they are. Despite the editing issues, I was really impressed with Barney’s writing style, the quick pacing and descriptive insight works well here, even when it was narrative pushing the story forward. The ending was a little abrupt in my opinion, but it does wrap up well. I like that I see there is another book after this (but I don’t know if it’s a series…) but I’m going to check it out anyways. Despite a few things, this is a unique and interesting story that keeps you guessing and I think Dana Barney is an author to watch for in the future. Some violence/language do recommend for mature fans of suspense and thrillers.
  • Zandeji Chronicles: Liberation on Jan. 17, 2018

    4.5 stars "Zandeji Chronicles: Liberation” by Christopher T. Mooney is one of the most original and well-crafted novels I’ve read in a long time. I was completely drawn in from the get-go, and absolutely loved Mooney’s use of description of the different scenery and strange locales, and his attention to detail especially with the amazing characters (and there are several of them). Obviously I liked Ace and Siasha the best, and I loved not only how strong and special she is, but how ‘special’ he is and their amazing relationship/connection throughout. These isn’t just a typical space opera/sci fi, because it does have a very strong spiritual/religious theme, but I think it really enhanced the storyline instead of overshadowing it, which is great. Amazingly developed world/universe-building and such a complex backstory. There is something of everything… danger, action, drama, faith, Sci-fi, fantasy, good vs. evil, oppression, love… and the religious/spiritual elements. I think the editing needs improving, but the whole book captured my attention from the beginning and never once let it go, which is a great sign, especially because this is just the first in a series. I liked the overall tone of the book… it was believable (even for being fantastical), and has a great message. Looking forward to the next in the series! Recommend for fans of Christian SciFi/fantasy
  • Zandeji Chronicles: Revolution on Jan. 17, 2018

    I really enjoyed this book, “Revolution” (book 2 in the “Zandeji Chronicles” by Christopher T. Mooney). Right from the beginning we are pulled into this high-stakes story where Siasha’s world changes in the most dramatic… but not entirely unexpected…. way. The premise of ‘good versus evil” and fighting against persecution for one’s religious beliefs is one that has been well-covered in fiction and in film, yet this novel (and series) does have the unique angle (at least to me) of being written from a Christian perspective that is also an intense action/adventure set in another part of the galaxy, with overtly religious characters who make their faith and struggles an instrumental part of their decision-making processes and quest for survival. It continues right after the first one in the series (“Liberation”) and like the first I thought it was excellently written for the most part except editing things, and kept my attention from the dramatic, enticing opening to the somewhat-cliffhanger ending that leaves you wanting more There is a lot of action, especially towards the last 25% or so – didn’t want to stop reading! I’m sort of unclear how much time has passed in this book SO MUCH happens. It’s crazy. And for all the chaos and madness (as to be expected when fighting demons and oppression) in a way it was strangely uplifting, with a strong Christian message. I was genuinely surprised at a few things that happened, and thought the tension and narrative was great. I’m definitely ready for the next one in the series and recommend for fans of action science-fiction, drama, and religious fiction.
  • Zandeji Chronicles: Redemption on Jan. 17, 2018

    Christopher T. Mooney is most definitely one of those authors I’ve had the absolute privilege of discovering. I do read a lot of books by lesser known authors (I like to give them a chance and maybe discover new talent). But inevitably I’m left disappointed more often than not. But even if Mr. Mooney’s novels aren’t perfect, they deliver an entertaining and imaginative ride with complex ideas based on Faith and the Power of God’s love and you become emotionally invested whether you want to or not. This one was just as fun and action packed with a positive message of strength, and love for God as the first two books in the series, and while it has most of the same characters and themes as the first two, in this one Mooney brings Siasha and Ace’s story fill circle, with great character development and both of them fulfilling their greater purpose (even if bittersweet at the end… (*sniff). I enjoyed watching Siasha grow through these books and fulfill her destiny, but it certainly wasn’t without some dangerous and stressful challenges. These books need to be read in order to fully understand the whole space and religious lore Mooney uses, so definitely start with book 1 “Liberation”, then “Revolution” then finish with this one, “Redemption”. While I give this book (or section of the story) 3 stars, overall this was such an inspiring and creative and well written trilogy, I am scoring it higher. Hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Christopher Mooney! Recommend for ages 16+ - religious/spiritual/science fiction
  • Liornabella on April 01, 2018

    This was more like a 3.5 stars for me, but I'm rounding up... There were things I loved about this book, and a few things that I didn’t so much love. First, the writing was great, which is VERY important to me. I read a lot of indie authors and nothing makes me more bonkers than poor editing. This novel was nicely edited as far as I saw, but there were a few things – like it felt very modern and present day – how they act and talk, but the story is supposed to be set in 1880’s… one line is “I would say her creep factor ran fairly high” – this sound way more like a teenager in the 2000’s than one over 100 years ago. But this is just a small nitpick really---I thought the plot was great, if not a tad familiar for the intended audience. But I don’t think every story has to be a total reinvention of the wheel… it is fun to read familiar topes in different ways, and it is done well here and with a fresh perspective. Also, at times I wondered if certain parts were really necessary, that although it added to the overall flavor of the book, seemed to slow the pacing down. But there was great action and I definitely see teens and adults alike eagerly gobbling this up. Even if some parts of the execution could use a little more polish, there is a great story in there they will most likely enjoy.
  • The Boring Days and Awesome Nights of Roy Winklesteen on April 09, 2018

    "The Boring Days and Awesome Nights of Roy Winklesteen” by Sally Dill is a fun, enchanting story you just want to dive into and stay lost in, and I finished it in two nights. It’s been a while since I’ve read something with such appeal that didn’t feel super cliché or something I’ve read a dozen times before. So rare in this genre! … Sally Dill does a good job of balancing an imaginative and complex storyline that isn’t confusing or frustrating or overwhelming –especially for younger readers-- but is just complex enough to keep us totally hooked! And I like how it is written in such a way that we really get inside Roy’s shoes and experience it all through his eyes, but it is very relatable too even though he’s a young boy. The notion of nightlifers/daylifers is totally great and true! I’ve also been a nightlifer my whole life, even as a child, so I thought that was a clever take…But Dill tackles some pretty big ideas here and like that she doesn’t dumb it down for her younger audience. A great read, one I can see being in the libraries of junior highs… might skew a bit young for the High Schoolers. Recommend.
  • Mr. Merson Goes Home on June 12, 2018

    "Mr. Merson Goes Home” captured my interest from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go! I felt like I was watching a movie. Each scene was well-described and easy to understand – thankfully none of that ‘quantum-physics’ stuff is here for the time-travel element, allowing us to just accept the things as they happen without going in circles in our heads questioning the fallout in the future. I found this book to imaginative and clever, and 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 thing to the next with Keith and the gang. I like that it was lighthearted and fun, but it also had depth and substance with the relationships with the other characters and the complications (like Loretta and Ellie). I felt like I was genuinely inside Keith’s head experiencing it all through his eyes, for better or worse. I would love to read more from John Keeler Mitchell– happy to see he has some other books out there. Recommend for ages 16 and up because of some language.