Cory Banyan

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Cory Banyan

  • A Luminous Future on June 22, 2012

    Now that I have finished reading “A Luminous Future” by Teodor Flonta, I’m wondering what took me so long to read it in the first place! It came highly recommended to me by a trusted friend of mine, but even so I kept reading other books in its place. Finally, one night I clicked on the opening chapters intending to only read a few pages that evening. Imagine my surprise when the next thing I knew I was almost 60% of the way done, and no intention of stopping until I had reached the end! I felt almost physically pulled into this strange, yet familiar world, and refused to leave until I saw and heard all there was to experience. Sometimes this story was scary, sometimes sad. Sometimes profound, sometimes lighthearted and funny. I loved every page and cannot recommend it higher. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it, but am glad I finally did. It was a brilliantly written and moving tale, one I won’t likely soon forget.
  • Return of the Crown on Feb. 03, 2013

    Overall I thought that “The Return of the Crown” was an impressive novel that I would have no problem recommending to my friends and family. I was immediately pulled into the story, and thought the author did an excellent job of world-building and keeping the action moving forward. It is very well written, although at times I thought it could use some trimming as the pace seemed to slow with some unnecessary descriptions or superfluous events that seemed to take us in circles at times. But this ranks up there with some of the better YA fantasies I’ve read, and would encourage fans of the genre to give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Thadius on Nov. 22, 2014

    an intriguing and captivating novel that provides more than one unexpected twist, “Thadius” is a unique take on the standard Roman era historical novel that always just seems to focus on battles and fighting. In this book, two men (Thadius and Dominus) go from their relaxing retired life to traveling on a perilous journey tracking down a killer who is leaving a string of corpses behind to uncover the surprising motive (and person responsible) for the planned attacks. I liked that it wasn’t predictable and it had some very good descriptions. I felt like I was really ‘inside’ the story and I love that. However, I do feel like it could have benefited from a proofreader as there were several instances of some editing mistakes, and occasionally it was a tad confusing (like having different speakers in the same paragraph or missing punctuation). I really enjoyed the book overall and would recommend to others
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Feb. 01, 2016

    at first I admit I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into in deciding to read this book. Because admittedly I do tend to lean towards more contemporary adult literature because I enjoy the message and life lessons. But I was intrigued by the description and the writing sample and the way that I felt an almost immediate connection to not only the interesting characters, but with the way that K.N. Smith was writing them, (I thought Druth and The Dark Stranger were especially interesting) and I found myself just wanting to read more… and more… and more… and I couldn’t believe it when I realized I was totally hooked, and even totally enjoyed the exciting paranormal and action scenes! But seriously, I felt transported to another world just by experiencing the lives of these incredible characters who are so true to life and authentic-feeling, yet unlike any I’ve met before. Like that the plot felt like it had a deeper meaning that we could all relate do, and I’m really glad I took a chance on this one…
  • Gol on Feb. 01, 2016

    I really enjoyed “Gol” by author J.W. Webb, even though “epic” fantasy isn’t usually one of my more preferred genres (don’t dislike it, just don’t generally gravitate). But I recently read another book by this author, “the Haven” , and I like watching “Game of Thrones” so I gave it a shot. I was really impressed! I really liked the drawings (and the map), and thought that Mr. Webb did such a wonderful job with the descriptions of the world and the different characters. There are SO many of them it’s hard to keep track (there is a useful guide at the end), but I did fall in love with Lissane and Erun and was so shocked at some things that happened. Emotionally engaging and with lots of action. Some language, especially towards the last half (book 2) but other than that it feels pretty suitable for mature teens on up. I had a great time reading this!
  • Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery on Feb. 02, 2016

    "Gallery Pieces” by Larry Witham is one of the most creative and best-written novels I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the get-go with the atmospheric opening that grounds us in the ‘artistic’ viewpoint right away…and absolutely loved the author’s use of description of the different settings, and his attention to detailing in the characterizations and the world-building. I’ve never read any “art mystery’ books before but am familiar with the concept and I enjoyed how complex and totally addicting it was!!Leo Medici and Julian Peale are great, dynamic characters, (as is the rest of the supporting cast) and it really caught me by surprise how much I enjoyed all of it, and it was much deeper and more philosophically ‘complex’ than I’d expected it to be. Excellent editing and formatting – very professionally presented all around. I will love to read more if there will be any! Recommend to fans of adventure and suspense.
  • Friend & Foe - Book 2 on April 07, 2016

    I am really becoming a fan of Nik Olsen’s books. This is the second one I’ve read from him – the first being the previous book in this 3 part “Friend and Foe” trilogy. These books definitely need to be read in order if you would like to understand the full scope of the story, (so read the first one before reading this one-- it is good!) There is lots of great action and plenty of twists (which while a tad detectable at times are still entertaining), lots of interesting and intelligent banter between the protagonists, several other interesting/evil side characters and daunting obstacles to overcome, all of which is tied together with fast paced quality writing. I thought the dialogue to be nicely crafted (something I am picky about) and was surprised with how it all wrapped up……but very satisfied and really eager to see how it all goes down in the last one. Recommend for mature reader of political action/thrillers. Fans of the genre will love it!
  • Friend & Foe on April 07, 2016

    I oved Nik Olsen’s “Friend & Foe”. He has captured many interesting slices of life with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the various characters and especially what they do in moments of great challenge or adversity. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? What is right and what is wrong, and who really decides? What is truly important to us, and are we doing the right thing? Olsen explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart. Great pacing and an interesting setting. A definite recommended read.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on April 07, 2016

    4.5 stars "Not Black and White” was an addicting thrill ride of action, intrigue, drama, and political/personal conflict. I liked how the author G.A. Beller managed to weave together this complex, but not confusing, story of political games in this country, and the shocking lengths some people will go to achieve their goals. It definitely held my attention throughout, but I admit at times I thought there were so many characters and it was getting hard to keep track of who was who. I found myself enjoying the chapters that were from Mars the best, as I felt they had more focus and insight. But overall this book was a great mix of fact/fiction (“inspired by real events”) and the author G.A. Beller delivers an entertaining, somewhat disturbing, well thought out read that hits a little too close to home at times. Recommend.
  • Portia's Revelation on July 24, 2016

    "Portia’s Revelation” is a charming, compelling read, and one that will definitely appeal to fans of historical drams, literary fiction, women’s fiction novels. Rich Tenaglia infuses a unique blend of suspense and mystery, philosophical ponderings, and makes us look at the bigger picture of life – not an easy thing to do! The story itself was fairly even-paced, but I thought the beginning was a bit slow until things started to pick up. The long stretches of dense telling narration a little annoying and made it drag at times, but other than that the conversations and scenes flowed well and moved the plot forward nicely. We feel like we are a part of the book and the whole ‘mind-bending’ experience. I would recommend for fans of historical drama/suspense who’d like a new twist.
  • The Syndicate: Operation Valiant Exodus on Nov. 04, 2016

    I admit it took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going. But the more I read the more I got into it, the more wrapped up I got in this world and characters E. Clay created. It’s weird to think it’s actually fiction as parts really seem real, and are relatable to current times and events. I have a feeling that this book and the characters and their fates will stay with me for some time. I thought the overall plot and narration was good, but it could have used a bit more polish as there was some long stretches of ‘telling’ of the events (as opposed to ‘showing’ us to bring us closer to the action), and to me it read really choppy because of how it is continuously broken up into the ‘scenes’. Hard to really get any sort of real flow and felt very jumpy. Also it needs better editing – tense shifts throughout and improper punctuation more than once. It didn’t ruin the book, but would make it better if was more polished, in my opinion. Nevertheless I look forward to reading more from Mr. Clay in the future as he is truly a gifted storyteller with an important message to share. And I would wholeheartedly like to thank him for his 20+ years of military service to this country.
  • Albatross: Birds of Flight—Book One on March 14, 2017

    I'm not one for recapping plots (that what the description is for), but I admit at first I thought maybe it would be kind of like "The Bourne Identity", which wouldn't be a bad thing because I loved that series! However, I found that while there may be some familiar elements to "Albatross", the author J.M. Erickson delivers with a fresh style all his own. He does a great job of describing the actions and the scenes. Sometimes too good, as I didn't think we needed to hear the characters inner thoughts so much. It did seem to slow the pacing down in some parts, and it takes away from the mystery, and sometimes I almost felt like I was reading two stories at the same time... For the most part the editing was solid, only few small things here and there (and the too-frequent use of italics), but all in all, it felt well-constructed and professionally executed. Mr. Erickson is obviously a gifted storyteller and I'm diving into the next book in the series right now
  • Raven: Birds of Flight—Book Two on April 10, 2017

    "Raven: Birds of Flight” is the second book I’ve read from this author now in this series, and I think it is continuing to get better and better. This book had all the intensity and drama of the first, and in a way it reminds me of a cross between “Bourne Identity” and “24” and a Jack Ryan novel, but still very original. Very exciting to read and lots of plotlines being woven together building up tension as it goes along. Like the first one, while I very much enjoyed the actual story and the characters, I thought the mechanics could use a bit fine tuning, as there were some editing things (minor), and the overuse characters saying the other characters names in dialogue (sounded unnatural) and definitely needed more pronoun use in general for a smoother read. But still a great book and now I need the third one because I need to see what will happen next! Highly recommend.
  • Eagle: Birds of Flight - Book Three on April 23, 2017

    This is the third book I’ve read from this author, the other 2 being the first in his “Birds of Flight” series. And while I will be the first to say that it’s not without its flaws, really, what book (or series) isn’t? At the end of the day, the author is telling a damn fine tale, one that has kept me thoroughly invested, so much so that when I realized that this wasn’t actually the finale (which for some reason I’d thought it was), I was both disappointed and happy at the same time. Happy to be able to be reading more of this series, but disappointed to have to wait for it! Oh well, I know it will be worth it. I do hope that perhaps the author is able to perhaps make some minor editorial tweaks regarding the italics and the saying of “he/she thought” to avoid the redundancy. But I have to say that this has definitely been one of the better series I’ve read in a long time, as I usually end up losing interest as I go along, and that definitely hasn’t been the case here