Crystal Waldrum

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Smashwords book reviews by Crystal Waldrum

  • Following My Toes on April 29, 2011

    With Laurel's witty book we find ourselves drawn into the world of Faith Emerson, a high school English teacher who has recently split from her boyfriend of a few years. Make that a rather large shafting as he runs off with her best friend! So Faith finds herself at a cross roads and decides to make the big move to the big city and start fresh. Thankfully she has her friend Caroline to help her get started. She crashes there briefly before she finds herself rooming with a sex operator/stripper (which happens after this chick gets run over my an itty bitty dog!!). They have little in common and it does cause some right funny moments when their personalities and morals clash. While in the new city Faith finds herself attracted to the mechanic who fixed her car, then dating a friend of Caroline's lover (not her boyfriend!) and pursued by a stalker. Interesting and mildly mysterious. Don't you worry though Faith has a secret weapon, she's got some psychic tendencies: her skin hurts when something bad is going to happen and her feet tingle when something good happens, hence the title. Now this gift doesn't always work and only guides her in certain areas, and for most of this story her radar is broken. Yet the idea is still amusing and adds to some interesting plot lines. I enjoyed this story and the writer won an award or two for the work. Yet I found that it lacked a little bit of direction. It had a few themes and story lines that I feel confused the work a bit. The forgiving others and oneself to get past pain and hurt is a strong one and Laurel did a great job in developing that with the character. Learning temperance and patience in dealing with emotions was another theme that I found enticing. The mystery plot lost me though. I found it almost forced in to try and draw the reader towards the characters psychic abilities. It was a minimal plot line and one that only hit it's strength at the end when it was brick walled to the reader. There was little lead up and depth to this, which with any mystery line you need to have. Or at least I need to have. As an uber mystery reader I needed more to sell me on this storyline.
  • Look for Our Mother and Our Father on May 01, 2011

    Look for Our Mother and Our Father is probably the most eye opening, honest and critical book I have ever read. The author, Anonymous (I'll get into this a little bit later) leaves not a single part of our "culture" alone. The author rips to shreds every bit of our history and modern life and exposes the bare truth of our society. Not a single topic is safe: religion, history, science, progress, environmentalists, politicians, war, technology. Everything that our society has created is bashed to the beginning of it's own demise. I loved it. Every bit of this book I enjoyed. The reason it took me so long to finish (for me anyway) is simply because I was constantly lost in thought. I'd read what the author said, the points they expressed and have to stop for awhile to process and put their words into perspective to my life. The author classifies the people of this world into two categories: Indigenous (any type of nation or people that was not hell bent and determined to destroy the Earth and instead were colonized) and PEOC's (Person of European-Originated Culture). I am a PEOC and my family are PEOC's. I will not jump into the exact nature of the author's words but give you the simple message that I got from reading this work: Our entire planet and way of life was fucked when we began to think "What if" or "I wonder". As soon as those who sought more than what was provided we were doomed to "progress" towards destruction and domination. I was enthralled with the author's ability to dissimulate the myths that built our "free" society and how in truth this world has been built on one genocidal act or another. It made me think of the life I lead now, and the life that my daughter has before her. I didn't like the pictures of the present or the future I saw. Yet I saw no way of fixing it, at least none that are in my power. The power to start fresh lies with our Mother (Earth) and our Father (God). Look around you at any news channel or weather network and tell me they haven't already begun. I have one critical point of this book and that's the author's choice to remain anonymous. They have asked myself and others to read this book and review it; putting us in the limelight to disagree or agree with their points. Yet they hide behind a false identity protecting themselves from the same world they want to change. If you're going to put into words the view of the world as you see it then you better have the cojones to stand up and claim those same words. For those of you looking for an eye opening read, or a new perspective on the world as we know it I heartily recommend this book. For those looking for a pulpit to stand behind (pick your poison: science, religion or politics) I tell you now to move past this book, it'll only piss you off.
  • Dirty Little Angels on May 12, 2011

    Although more short story than novel, or novelette, it was an interesting read. The author, Chris Tulsa, brings to life the every day American family right now. Families struggling with enforced poverty due to a struggling economy. He also deals with the adolescent struggles of being 16 in a world of sex, booze and drugs. I found myself drawn to Hailey, our 16 year old heroine. The struggles of her family are centre to her own world. Her mother was injured and unable to work, her father unemployed when his factory shut down, her brother involved in street thuggery (yep, made that one up) and she trying to find herself and define her role within the family and society. It's easy to relate with the characters find yourself time warped to your own generation and how this story could have been you. However the writer needs to work on the basics of writing. There were several grammatical errors (not including those that were on purpose due to the New Orleans drawl) as well as some spelling errors. A proof read by an outside party could eliminate this and make the story more drawing and less distracting. Thankfully my Kobo does not have red pen capabilities!
  • The Bone Trail on June 01, 2011

    So when the books opens the story starts with two women, advocates for wild horses and burros, following a mystical horse. Sadly this journey does not end well for them. In the beginning I thought this would be a murder mystery, right up my alley, however it was far more than just a thriller. The story begins and ends with the mysterious disappearance of said two women, but the in between chapters are more. Here you meet Kate Wyndham and Jim Ludlow, two lost souls joined in their search for the two missing advocates. What they find are soul mates; and a shared love of horses. A story I never expected based on the initial chapters but one that was pleasantly enjoyable to read. Not a love story in the traditional sense, yet a love story in the most traditional way. Once I got over my own shunning of "romance" novels I couldn't stop reading. The story called out to me on a basic level in their love of nature, each other and the righteous need of finding the truth. They travel many trails, figuratively and metaphorically, to find their way to the end result of happiness. Something neither thought possible, or deserving. The Native American touch of Jim's character and the Reservation in which Kate meets him is the most spiritually blinding that I have ever read, and I mean this in the best possible way. Here was an author, willingly, taking on a part of society that is usually hidden and forgotten. A people so full of strength and survival and this author has shown their way of life in the positive form, while also dealing with the darker stereotypes that the world considers as "normal". Instead Nell Walton shows how the Native Americans overcome their struggles and find their way in the world while also retaining and holding tightly to their heritage and culture. At first this story draws you in with it's mystery aspect I can see where some readers may fall off with a little misdirection and mishandling of the structure and dialogue. With a good edit and a few points of revision this would most assuredly be one to read over and over again. Yet if you strip this story to basic bones of the plot it is a most excellent story.
  • Priscilla the Great: The Kiss of Life (Book #2) on June 01, 2011

    Here we welcome Miss Priss back. At the end of our first story our lovely heroine required a family change of scenery to a more remote location due to the whole government/super duper mutant assassins trying to kill them all. Their drastic change has torn Priss from her BFF (that knows all the secrets) and her new boyfriend (that keeps getting his memory erased to protect him). Yet she is still in contact with both, and has her new budding friendships with the other mutant children to keep her quasi occupied. Her older brother being psychic and two younger brothers (the twins of terror) keep her on her toes. From the end battle at the conclusion of the first story we find Priss' mom, the first successful mutant test tube baby assassin has been stripped of her powers and ill, making Priss the lead mutant world savior. When we re-join Priss' story she has gone on a few life saving missions and is currently prepping for her first real date with her new boyfriend. The all hell breaks loose and she's suddenly thrust into action as the new First Daughter has been kidnapped, by Priss!! Or at least her look-a-like. The roller coaster ride, with some lovely teen twists, commences and once again Miss Priss is having to save the world from the uber crazy assassins. All while dealing with a new boyfriend, a super mutant crush and her mom being sick all the time. Ah but with her new powers comes a new calm and ability to problem solve! the story was just as good as the first and I look forward to more of Priss' antics/adventures. Sybil does an excellent job drawing the reader in and making them think like a 13 year old girl! Most definitely recommend this to any new teen or pre teen!
  • Priscilla the Great on June 01, 2011

    We are introduced to Priscilla (Priss) M. Sumner as she is gearing down her summer vacation and preparing to start grade 7. Our darling heroine is only a whopping 12 years old when this novel begins (13 when it ends). She's also going through the onset of puberty, ya know with the "lady's days" and all! The changes within her body aren't just those of a normal pre-teen, she's also got a wicked case of the hot flashes, complete with flammable fingertips! You see Miss Priss isn't just a normal kid, she's also a mutant. Then again not just any mutant, she's a second generation (and she didn't even know!) mutant. This is all a surprise as she was not aware of her mother's special abilities and how they got passed along to her, at least some. Priss is quite unique in some of her talents, things her mother cannot do. What kid doesn't love being able to do something cooler and better than their parents? Priss' story has the usual pre-teen drama with her crush liking her BFF and her guy friend liking her and she's not quite feeling the same (at least not then, wink wink nudge nudge). Also the typical over-protective father (okay not really "typical") who wants her to be safe and the "my mother doesn't understand me" schtick that every girl goes through. Throw in a government conspiracy with super-duper mutant assassins and you've got a great read. It was great that the author, Sybil Nelson, allowed Priscilla the role of not only budding mutant, but a wickedly cool super hero. She saves the day and saves the lives of other experimental mutants that her oft-absent mother was trying to save too. The best part of her heroics is that they were done in the a 12 year old mentality. Nothing that she did or said would have been out of character for someone of that age (okay maybe the fingertip fire), and her solutions to the situations she faced were genius and right up the alley of a 12 year old girl. I loved the story. It was written for the age group that Priss is but as an adult I found much humor in her body changes and the love triangles that were connected. It was fun and interesting and a new spin on the whole created vs. natural super hero (our Priss is a comic book lovin' freak too!). For any pre teen I think it would be a perfect read to exaggerate the body changes during puberty and make it easy for them to accept their changes, considering the crazy side affects of Priss' (if she kisses a boy she might light him on fire!).
  • Entangled in Darkness on June 02, 2011

    A wonderful concept and idea behind this book by author Lindsey Webster. A dark tale of a family's struggle with mental illness and t he repercussions it has on everyone, not just the one who is suffering. Meet Annalyn. She's newly moved from her parents home, starting university and she's dating a pretty great guy. In a domino affect every bright spot in her life is brought low and shrouded in darkness. She finds herself unable to crawl from the darkness pervading her mind, as well as the literal darkness created by her blanket. After a suicide attempt she finds herself in love with life and brimming with excitement. All of which comes to a screeching halt when entering the psych ward. There she is diagnosed as Bipolar and now the effects of her illness reverberate her family. The stuck up older sister becomes nice and the younger loving sister hates her. And the dark secret of her parents is revealed to a horrifying result. The author's ability to bring one to the brink of madness with Annalynn was excellent. There were times when I could feel for Annalyn because who hasn't had a day when we feel overwhelmed and how easy it would be to stay under the covers then to get up. However the actual form of the writing made it difficult to follow closely. The story needs a very strong editing hand and corrections for the conversations. I became very lost as well in the drastic time jumps. Although possibly done on purpose to show the characters spiral it was very difficult to stay on course when reading. Often I needed a moment and a break before I went back to re-read and find the timeline again. With some good re-work this has the potential to be a strong story that could be enjoyed and understood by many.
  • Kikaffir - a Black Comedy on June 12, 2011

    So I`m a huge reader and almost never stop reading a book. No matter how horrible I usually finish. In my entire reading lifetime there have only been two books I couldn't finish: Anne Rices Violin´╗┐ because I literally kept falling asleep and an incredibly long titled sci fi book that just made me wanna cry in frustration. This one almost became the third. I persevered of course or I wouldn't be writing a review. My almost insatiable need to stop reading this book had nothing to do with poor writing, boring topic or a lack of understanding of what was happening. The story was just disgusting. The world has come to an end and there really isn't an explanation in all the book. All we know as readers is it started with the fall of Internet (don't all the world ending stories do that now?) and now the human species is at it's end. There is no procreation and the world is slowly devouring itself. So is the human race. The characters are possibly the most depraved, degenerate, disgusting beings I have ever read. And I've read serial killer novels, horror books. Yet these characters made me want to retch and close the book. Only the strong survive and in this case the one willing to do the most horrific things to another of the human race lead. Cannibalism, rape, murder, torture all of it's in this book. Yet as disgusting as it was, the story was well written. I could see the end of the world and how we as a species would become as primitive as the beasts around us. I would not recommend this book to anyone who has a weak stomach, soft heart or any victim who has survived any of the atrocities noted above. If you're a twisted fuck though, this book is for you. Since I actually finished it I'm starting to wonder about my own sanity and mental well being. Although I've worried about that for awhile now!
  • Death After Midnight on Aug. 25, 2011

    I'll be honest I was disappointed. I'm a history nut and I love all the secret societies, the conspiracies and the idea that there's been a two millennium cover up of some pretty awesome things. This story promised all that in the synapse, but failed miserably in the delivery. At this time I wouldn't recommend this story as it needs work. The author needs to thin out his character lines, choose one or two plot lines, and he needs to keep the story in a singular direction, not branching sixteen ways from Sunday.
  • Summoning on Oct. 06, 2011

    Interesting idea and of course the time period makes it all the more intriguing since this is during the time of most witch trials. When Meredith is caught with the summoning book and ritual items she is, predictably, placed on trial and set to be burned at the stake. One final deal with Legion gains her freedom with a sweet boy who loves her. I liked it, but had huge issues with the constant time shifts. The author would jump from the beginning of Meredith's time with the vicar to the time when she's trying to find her family with Legion's "help". I think if the story was told chronologically I would have enjoyed it more.
  • The Eyes that See - A Prelude to the Balancer Chronicles on Oct. 29, 2011

    A short prequel to a series that the author, Chris Adonn, is writing about Balancers. This is a good read if the series interests you to give you an idea of what they are about and what the reader can expect with the stories. An author I will be putting on my watch list
  • Vestal Virgin on Nov. 20, 2011

    I liked it. Its a time period I love, the society that I'm about obsessed with and a few new characters to read about and possibly write a paper for school. The author did a good job drawing the reader in from the beginning with the clever assassination of Marcus and keeps you going with the plot twists and debauchery of the Roman court. I recommend a bit more editing for a tidy up (especially with the Latin and it's declensions) but otherwise it was a great read. I recommend for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and thrillers.
  • Daphne and the Silver Ash: A Fairy Tale on Nov. 20, 2011

    A beautiful story that held me captive. It was a short story but filled with mythology that I treasure, and a love between husband, wife and child that is ages old. A story of power and sacrifice. I loved it an there is no one that I would not recommend this story too. If condensed this would me a wonderful bedtime story for my little one.
  • Gravity on Feb. 07, 2012

    I'll admit it was a little tough to get into at first, slow moving but once the author hits a crisis the story proceeded much quicker and more interesting. I did enjoy the tale and although a bit of editing is needed (minor things like grammar and wrong words) it's one I would recommend to anyone looking for a tingle up the spine. Its classic creepy and a twisted climax make a good read. Only, I was disappointed at the ending and how unfinished it felt. However, since this is to be a series it's fitting that the unknown was left incomplete. I wouldn't mind taking a crack at the next one!
  • Haunted on Bourbon Street (Jade Calhoun Series: Book 1) on June 21, 2012

    Needless to say I enjoyed the story. The beginning was a little tough to get through and seemed to lack direction but once Ms. Chase hit her stride in about chapter five the story took off. There were still some parts that I found a little too thought out and wordy but that's probably more me than the author. I like the tale to be a constant down roller coaster! Although the parts that had me on the edge of my seat were exciting and made up for the slower parts that allowed me to relax. My husband got a kick out of it since I would be fidgety when it was a down point and motionless at the intense ones! The characters however flitted between someone you'd like to be friends with, to someone you'd probably avoid at a party. The depth of the characters was surface only, even with Jade there was only so much you got to know about her and the connections around her - all surface. The relationship with her aunt was an unnecessary side story that could have been mentioned and developed in another story. The other side relationships with some of the secondary characters were also a little over done and not needed for this particular story. A stronger focus on the immediate ties, particularly with her best friend and ex-boyfriend, would have made for a stronger story. A good story with an interesting plot and a definite read for a couple of genres! A paranormal romance hits a few different markets, which is difficult to achieve, but I believe Ms. Chase did just that. I look forward to reading more works from this author, and more Jade Calhoun novels too!
  • Uncertainty (Gravity series, 2) on Dec. 27, 2012

    The plot and characters were similar to the first with a faster beginning, and while the story moved at a good pace it lacked the spooky finesse of Boyd's first novel. Yet, it was still a good read. The plot lines in the second series I do hope line up the plot of the third which will contain more of the creepy feelings I got from the first book. The epilogue gives a good indication that the third book will deal more with the paranormal and less with the life and times of teens dealing with drama. Once again a good edit is needed though. It was at times confusing when a word was used that didn't quite convey the right message or complete the passage as needed. As this is Boyd's second book I would have hoped that she would have found a good editor. I do hope she has for the next novel because as minute as it seems, grammar and spelling is just as important to hooking a reader as a good plot. She has the plot, now the technical needs work.
  • Fire: The Collapse on Dec. 31, 2012

    While the threat of a zombie apocalypse is one that seems surreal there is a good chance it will begin and with little warning and with no cure. Book One details the initial spread and the first few months of survival after it begins. The interesting part of this tale with the use of military and nuclear weapons in trying to limit or destroy the threat, on US soil to say the least. This twist is not one I've seen played out in any format before. I liked it, made it far more realistic than other tales. Yet while I enjoyed the gnashing of rotting teeth against fresh flesh the story was merely bones. There was little in character development or enough of any one storyline to find a connection with a key player. Perhaps this was intentional since anyone can be killed at any time but I felt it lacked a hook. Perhaps it was simply a line up for the next tale (it is Book One after all) however it left an empty feeling at the end and a 'meh' feeling for me to seek out the second book. Overall not a bad tale of the end of the world and the zombie apocalypse, however better character connectino is needed to make it a re-reader.
  • Fire: The Collapse on Dec. 31, 2012

    While the threat of a zombie apocalypse is one that seems surreal there is a good chance it will begin and with little warning and with no cure. Book One details the initial spread and the first few months of survival after it begins. The interesting part of this tale with the use of military and nuclear weapons in trying to limit or destroy the threat, on US soil to say the least. This twist is not one I've seen played out in any format before. I liked it, made it far more realistic than other tales. Yet while I enjoyed the gnashing of rotting teeth against fresh flesh the story was merely bones. There was little in character development or enough of any one storyline to find a connection with a key player. Perhaps this was intentional since anyone can be killed at any time but I felt it lacked a hook. Perhaps it was simply a line up for the next tale (it is Book One after all) however it left an empty feeling at the end and a 'meh' feeling for me to seek out the second book. Overall not a bad tale of the end of the world and the zombie apocalypse, however better character connectino is needed to make it a re-reader.