In memory of Linda
on April 12, 2011
The only reason I am giving this three stars instead of five is I want more. I would love to see more memories the one brief one at the end. More Please! :)
The Amadeus Net
on July 22, 2011
This is the review I wrote for GoodReads:
What if Mozart wasn't in that mass paupers' grave? What if he had managed to live not only to the current age but centuries beyond, even after the world had been hit by a huge meteor. That is the main plot. But there are many subplots. A sentient city, Amadeus and the sex-change, Amadeus and the lesbian nurse, wars and rumors of all kinds. The story was very good. But I think the copy I got for my Kindle wasn't cleaned up enough. For one the author repeats himself, then the Title or Author's name was there to interrupt the flow. (I read and listened to text to speech). Hopefully future editions will be much better.
I wrote that a little over a month ago. I still remember Amadeus Net with fondness. I may have to read it again someday. I don't often feel like re-reading a book but there were so many subplots to keep the story moving that I still find myself intrigued.
The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories
on Jan. 03, 2012
I am not one to like anthologies. I like to get to know the depth of the characters. That is my reason for the four stars. The stories were fun, easy for most folks to read and enjoy.
My favorites were The Old Woman which I felt showed how we all have biases that keeps us from enjoying people that don't fit within our own filters. We may be shorting ourselves from the gifts of a fuller life. And The other favorite was about the parrot. Too funny.
An angels touch- A short story
on March 15, 2012
I would love to see the Angel's version of this story. I hope Scott got someone to edit this. Tiffany, what is your story?
on June 14, 2012
Still have a lump in my throat for this one. The story feels to be truth, like it happens everyday. In someways I am sure it does. Hard lessons to be true to yourself and your friends. Hold your head up and enjoy life even if you aren't like everyone else.
I don't know how I came upon this little story. Kind of glad I got behind on my reading goals so that I was searching for short books on my Kindle. This was a gem! Kind of wish I knew what happened next.
When Minds Collide (Phoenician Short #0.1)
on March 12, 2013
I was fortunate to be offered this ebook by the author for review. Thank you, Friday! The excerpt at the end of When Minds Collide really piqued my interest. I plan to read it soon!
This review is for: When Minds Collide. My critiques are that the short story doesn't answer the questions presented in the blurb. It got close but left me hanging and wanting to know more. I wanted to know what happened next. To me the story had just finished setting up for the real deal. Even so, I did love the story and the writing was excellent.
I have been on a quest for the last few years to find more books, mostly sci-fi or fantasy, that aren't male dominant. So I eased into this story, knowing it would be. The refreshing part was that women weren't sex objects. In fact, the few women in the story were more or less witnesses of what was happening and maybe not needed as the story is about three main characters who happen to be male. That is all the spoiler I am giving.
Needless to say, I loved the characters, the world, the author's mission. I think a lot of people would like this story. The read was quite pleasant and left me questioning. Those are the kinds of stories I like the best: those that make me think!
Conditioned Response (Phoenician #2)
on April 18, 2013
This felt Heinleinish! I love this kind of speculative science. Other worldly, alien beings=Earthlings, not the indigenous. The problems of two brains in one head. And Ms. Baldwin is brave enough to show love comes in many ways. There is intrigue which made this a bad book for bedtime as I couldn't put it down. I must admit it was slow starting but the set-up was needed. As opposed to other second books, this one could be a read alone, or out of order, as everything is explained without being bogged down in details.
I took my time with this book mostly due to my health. But had I been feeling great I think it would have been a book that would take a couple days.
The characters were well developed, except when they weren't. ;) When adult people can be reproduced they take a while to come into their own skin. The plot kept me wondering, how will they do this? Why is he/she acting like this? Can we really trust this guy? Or why doesn't she trust him? It just keeps you guessing. I loved it!
This was a free for review from the author. But had I bought it I would have said all I said above. It is my kind of book! Oh, and I love the afterwords, all of them. Thanks for sharing that much about the making of/writing of Friday and her works and playlist!
on May 06, 2013
The was a free for review by the author. My friends won't believe I actually read and liked a book with vampires and werewolves. But I did enjoy it.
I loved the characters, even to some extent the bad guy. The scary that was in the book wasn't from the paranormals but humans. There were places that I found myself giggling at wit the author sprinkles into the story lightly. I felt the fear and anger that the characters felt while under such extreme circumstances.
Let me be honest, I didn't give less than five stars for the vampires or violence. It was just too short! I wanted so much more! This is a case where I wish I could give 4.5 stars.
Thank you for sharing this with me.
Dog Days of Dying
on Nov. 21, 2013
Disclaimer: I was given this Smashwords copy of Dog Days of Dying by the author Jacqueline Patricks for an honest review. Thank you!
Okay, I have been a med-fan since Dr. Kildare and Dr. Ben Casey oh, and Dr. Welby. Later ER became my favorite. Emergency had too short a run for me. Now I am dying between Thursdays when Grey's Anatomy is on. So it is a given that I would be a sucker for this story.
Let me take a moment to bow to people that have these life-saving jobs.
As addicted as I am to their drama personified, I knew at 16 that I wouldn't be able to handle this type of life. I was a Candy Striper. My legs and back hurt all the time. I loved my patients and the staff. One day I went in to see my favorite paraplegic and found them cleaning the room. He had passed during the night. This man had been amazing for me. He could paint marvelous painting holding the brush between his teeth. I learned that some people like all their food mixed up. I am a purest that barely likes different food to touch. He had so many stories that he would tell me as I wheeled him outside in the sun. I don't remember going back as Candy Striper after that. I knew I wasn't made for it, physically or mentally.
This story takes the reader into a day in the life of an EMT. It was hold-your-breath exciting. I cared deeply for the main character and her job-partner. I felt the fear and angst of the crew and parents of the patient. I was literally holding my breath near the end of the story. I don't want to throw in spoilers so I will go right to the very end...
Did the main character's migraine go away? Did she find some Rolaids? You see, that is my problem with short stories. I want them to go on.
Excellent story, Ms. Patricks. I can't wait to read more!
on Nov. 25, 2013
I picked up this book on an author-giveaway-day on Smashwords. Somehow I forgot that I already had it. Then Kindle had a freebie day and I pick it up there, too. Does that ever happen to you? I look at the cover, it does play into how I feel about a book. Then I read the blurb and about the author. This book must have passed those criteria with flying colors!
After a slow start, getting to know the characters, Proximity took off. I was hooked. From about 60% of the book, I couldn't stop reading. In fact, I was still reading at 5 this morning. Thank goodness for an ending that didn't leave me hanging. Sure there was a few threads that need to be taken care of, but I was left elated which, of course, made me wakeful, wondering how the next bits will be taken care of. (Non-spoiler enough?)
I can't wait for payday so I can get the next book. Thank you M.A. George for writing such a different, kind of story. Oh, and I need to mention how I loved that the characters were very well educated with goals and talents, along with a little romance. Very good!
on Aug. 31, 2014
This was an intriguing story. It's pretty good as short stories go. But as all short stories, it leaves me wanting much more. I would love to see it developed into a novel.
on Sep. 03, 2014
A space opera novelette. This was more like it! Though this wasn't a full size novel or series, I felt satisfied. The depth of character, world-building, plot, action, adventure, all left me feeling like I'd been to outer-space, meet new beings, experienced friendships, saved and lost lives. In fact, this little book crammed more in than many long series I've read.
All that said, I found myself lost trying to figure out if this were memory or the present. In the end, it all sorts itself out. Maybe the author wanted that bit of confusion.
I recommend this little prize to my fellow sci-fi friends.
Nica of Los Angeles
on Dec. 24, 2014
Ever give points just for its uniqueness? I knew I would from almost the first page of Nica of Los Angeles. In fact, that uniqueness nearly had me closing the book and moving on. What a loss that would have been! Instead, I substituted Frames with the thought of other dimensions. I could hear one of the scientists on the Science Channel talking about how another dimension would be as close as a breath away from us. Plopping that bit of science into my understanding of the story helped me believe.
Once one can embrace the unbelievability of this story, it becomes quite exciting. The characters are well developed and likable. Even Watts Towers. It is fun to visit familiar parts of LA the one in this reality and what it might be like in other dimensions.
It has been a couple days since I finished the story. I haven't known exactly what to say about it and I have been trying to figure that out since I started reading it. By the way, I received the free version of the book from the author for an honest review. But I bought the $.99 at Amazon so I could read it from any of my readers. As I have stated above, I loved the story and the characters.
Taxi (Book 1)
on Feb. 09, 2015
Too short! But that is what I always say after reading a short story. It was just right for that time just before bed when I've just finished reading longer books. You know, not ready to go to sleep yet, and not wanting to get involved in another longer book. I hate when I start to read something and can't remember the next day what I read so I have to start over. With a short story, you have the whole sweet tale to sleep on. So I guess I shouldn't hate them. BUT I always want to know what happens next!
What is nice about this story is getting to be in another country in a taxi. You get to know the driver quite well during the story and learn about the passenger a bit. It was a fun read. I just wish the author, Sophia DeLuna would flesh it out into a full sized book. There is a lot here she could work with!
Taxi - Trials (Book 2)
on Feb. 15, 2015
This one, the second of the Taxi series by Sophia DeLuna. Remember how peeved I was that Taxi was merely a short story? Yeah, well, it seems there is more over on Smashwords. My only problem with getting it this way is that it is that each section is $.99. In the olden days that wouldn't have been a problem but now that I am on such a tight budget. And if I didn't like the characters and the story itself I could ignore the next parts. No cliffhanger to make me anxious between reads, but still, as I said before, I wanted to hang with my new friends and see what happens.
I don't want to tell you much about the story. I hate spoilers as much as short stories. Needless to say, the new relationship deepens along with the insecurities we all have as it starts to take off. Hence the title, Trials, I suppose.
By the way, if you are into LGBT stories, especially of a romantic nature, you might like these. My only wish is that the stories were all in one book rather that $.99 a bit.
Taxi - Trauma (Book 3)
on Feb. 15, 2015
Except for the $.99 a section, I am loving the story between Ulrike and Carmen. They are two very different women, each with their own set of insecurities and powers. There are even distinct language and culture differences. But that makes for a better story, I think.
This is for section three. It's call book three, but I don't think any of these sections can be called a book. Long chapters, maybe.
Trauma is the title and trauma is what it is about. I found this section to be quite truthful in that poor Carmen does have some problems with PTSD/anxiety and depression going on. I think the author did a great job pulling the reader into how that feels from the inside of the person experiencing the mental anguish and what it looks like to those who love her. I don't think I have seen it all so well done!
So far, what I really like in this series of episodes is how well defined each of the main individuals relationships with others is and how the whole group of people grow through their experiences. Great job, Sophia DeLuna!
Taxi - Timing (Book 4)
on Feb. 15, 2015
The trauma that started in book/section three continues. It is so bad that it could be the end of the relationship between Carmen and her lover and even plays a part in her relationships with family and friends. But is time on her side? Is there a point where your trauma can isolate you to a point of starvation. Can she find her inner strength before everyone gives up on her?
This may be the most personal of all. If you haven't lived with trauma that is that debilitating you might not understand what Carmen is going through. But I felt the author, Sophia Deluna, did a marvelous job getting inside the heads of characters of this section. And something I haven't written about in my reviews of the previous Taxi installments is her writing. I love it! Her descriptions and ability to tell a story, reeling in this reader, hook, line and sinker. All the relationships seem real. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this story.
As with the other few bits of this story, I am most upset by the price per bit. I am now at the end of my budget for the month so I won't be able to read part five for a month. It is this that is causing the less than five stars for me. At least with Kindle Unlimited I can still read a book when the money runs out. Oh well. I still have a few of Ms. DeLuna's other stories downloaded to peruse over the next few weeks.
Taxi - Talk (Book 5)
on Feb. 19, 2015
Remember when I read the first four episodes of Taxi? Well, I got a welcome surprise after the review of the fourth one. Ms. Sophia DeLuna, the author of these great stories, sent me a sweet email that included coupons for the next three books in the series. Yay! Thank you so much. With my tight budget, it is often hard to decide if the next dollar is for food or reading. I hate to admit that I don't look like I would if I chose books more often. Or maybe it is the fact that one can do both eating and reading comfortably at the same time?
At any rate, I got to the reading as soon as I could. And I think that Taxi 5, Talk, is one of my favorites. It is so real and honest. It touched deep emotional threads for me. This book deepens the relationship of Carmen and Ulrike. You see Carmen, still dealing with her bit of PTSD, or maybe there is a deeper issue going on, like social anxiety, depression, or other mental problems. I found I related to Carmen very much, phone phobia, isolation, etc. And Ulrike is fleshed out in how she and Carmen's cat bond over yogurt, sharing a spoon. Carmen cringed and so did I. But as different as Carmen and Ulrike are, you see them working hard to communicate and deepen their love for each other.
By the way, I just did a review of New Hire: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1202095851, where my complaint was that the characters weren't deep at all. In comparison, this Taxi series has what I think give fictional characters real life. In this series, I was surprised at how well I had pictured the two characters. It had to be how the author described them. I went to the author's website: http://www.sophiadeluna.com/ and under the Taxi category I found the author's rendition of her characters. I would have known who they were had I met them on the street. That is how good Ms. DeLuna is creating her characters. She's quite the artist, as well! I can't wait to read #6!
Taxi - Tuxedo (Book 6)
on Feb. 25, 2015
I love visiting with my friends, Carmen and Ulrike. In this episode, Carmen has tickets to the opera and as the title suggests a tuxedo is involved. Some of us just can't do dresses!
Do you want to know why I love these little book events? The writing is so flawless. The dialogue and situations are quite realistic. The troubles this couple encounter are also lifelike. And the way the author handles these situations are sometimes mature and responsible, sometimes not so much, but, real. What couple handle things beautifully every time? Most of us just muddle through our problems. We learn to talk it out, but some of us are better at that communication thing than others.
Most often I relate to Carmen in her ways of dealing with things. But in this chapter I related more to Ulrike. For me that is a grand feeling as I wish I was more like Ulrike and the ways she deals with the world.
Anyway, I highly recommend this series to those who want to read of lesbian relationships. The erotica is minimal, so if that offends, don't worry. Some of us would like more, but that kind of book is a dime a dozen. These gems are about how this couple navigate being in a relationship. I was fortunate to have received the last few from the author but, when I get a few dollars ahead, I will buy them for others. After all, you can tell the work Sophia DeLuna puts into each and every story.
Taxi - Tactics (Book 7)
on Feb. 25, 2015
Ulrike, you did WHAT!! Well, what did you have in mind, Carmen? Yeah, that's what I thought!
There. I've summed it up. Would I have done what Ulrike did? Nope. Wouldn't have had the nerve or the idea. I'm stuck with whatever Carmen would have come up with. Stuttering my way through to absolutely nothing.
What's this all about? Gosh, I can't tell you. You have to read it for yourself. I am curious as to how others would handle this situation. What tactics would you use? Remember jobs and reputations are on the line. But it is a situation that comes up on a daily basis. Like I've said before, Sophia DeLuna uses realistic problems and handles them through the characters of Ulrike and Carmen. I have to say I was quite surprised with what was done and I have to admit to what I wouldn't have known what to do. Real life like this scares me. As advanced as we think we all are on LGBTQ issues, this situation still exists.
As I have said before, I love these episodes by Ms. DeLuna. They challenge my mind. They warm my heart. It is a little like watching a soap opera. And at this point I can't wait until Sophia finishes the next Taxi event! By the way, thank you, Ms. DeLuna for letting me read these last few for free. When I can, I will buy these stories for friends, thereby passing on the kindness.
A Matter of Faith
on Feb. 28, 2015
Sorry it has taken me so long to review this. I picked this up so long ago that I can't even remember when or why. But since I was feeling my addiction to Sophia De Luna's writing, I thought now was the time.
Okay, this was a short story. Not my favorite kind. It was long enough to care about the characters and for a storyline to develop. But, as is my customary response: I wanted more. This could make a marvelous epic fantasy with LBGTQ flavors. Tell me more about the world, the kingdom, the characters and their families. Why doesn't the secondary character have faith in herself or life itself? How were the talents of healing discovered and are their other talents?
What happens next?
I loved it so far. I want more!
Fire and Ice
on March 01, 2015
Oh, how I wish this were a book rather than a very short story. A writer writes at the coffee shop. Truth being better than fiction? We will never know. Please, Ms. DeLuna, tell us more!
on March 01, 2015
This was a delightfully different kind of story. Beyond this, I plead ignorance. I haven't heard of the deities mentioned in the story. I assume this was a world and goddess that emerge from the author's imagination, yet I think I could bow to the higher being who shows miracles of kindness.
As the title suggests the story takes place in a desert land. Other than that I can't say I know where in our world or when it may have happened. Still this couple is pregnant. It's wanted but if both parties are lesbian, how and with whom had the mother conceived?
Now, I admit to loving this story more than other short stories by Sophia DeLuna. Still I beg, plead! Please tell more! This could not only be a book. It could be a series! I loved it!
on April 11, 2015
This was a very unusual book. Let me start with the good. This book starred a strong lesbian boxer. In spite of everything else, I liked her and her boxing friends, and the romantic interest. I cared about how it was going to end. I stayed with this book no matter the errors, just to make sure there was a decent ending. Though, I didn't think it an actual ending. No strings of the tale were left undone. I wondered if there was to be a part two.
Another thing that was fun was the werebeings or other fantasy types. In this case, the main character is a lamia. I never knew what a lamia was before this book.
Sorry, the rest isn't as nice. This book was a VERY long book. It is especially long because of the confusion of present tense and past tense. Neither of these were used consistently. Had it been that present tense was used during the fights, it might have been like listening to the sports commentator during a bout in the ring. But even there it got old and was interrupted with past-tense of thoughts of everyone in the arena, it seemed. And about those matches, GODS! That got old fast. Unless you like boxing, or understand it, this part will be as boring for you as it was for me.
There were words used that were in wrong places, such as 'been' being used where the word 'being' should have been. It felt like the author wasn't a natural English speaker, that maybe he had another language as his prime. Now I can't be a judge of that as I can't write anything in another language, so he's got to be smarter than me. I struggle with this first language of mine. Still, a good editor, or another set of eyes before going public would have been good.
Last... I noticed that the relationships were weird. A lot of blushing and very little women-moving-in-with their mates. Things like that made me wonder who was writing this. I only found out today that the author is male. That made it clear as to the whys.
Now if I haven't discouraged you, I want you to know that this book is free on Amazon. Maybe it is a better edited read. If not I found that if you have text-to-speech on fast it helps get past the boring or difficult parts but maintains the storyline.
on Nov. 22, 2015
At the end of summer, I got an e-mail from the author, Sophia DeLuna, requesting I read and review Hidden Secrets for her. I was delighted to. And I read it but it was just as the big move was happening in my life so I felt I hadn't given the story enough of my attention and wanted to be fair. I had read it on my Fire with the text-to-speech set on "Amy" the British English setting I love. It always sounds like Julie Andrews is reading to me. But I had it set on 2x which is a little too fast to catch some things. It's okay when you want to read a book quickly. But for this task I either needed to slow it up or read it with just my eyes. So I wrote back to Ms. DeLuna explaining all of this and told her I wanted to read it again to be fair to all of us. Not that I thought the story bad, I just wanted to immerse in it a little deeper.
I loved other books by Ms. DeLuna on Smashwords. They often have an LGBT (lesbian) central character or two but they are not erotica which is refreshing. This story is the same, it is a sci-fi/space adventure that happens to include women who love women. I love the sci-fi aspect because there aren't that many sci-fis with women main characters, much less, lesbians.
The characters are interesting and I liked them. I liked that she had pictures of the characters. That helped somewhat. Though I found that I forgot who was who after a while. I kept the captain in my head. But it seemed that the deeper part of the story didn't include her so much. What tragedies that do unfold are about other characters. I don't know how I would have fixed that. It wasn't bad. I had grown to like those people, too. It just felt like we could have gotten to know them better before it got bad.
What I found interesting was that Hidden Secrets contains elements of the sci-fi series I am still editing from my NaNoWriMos long ago. Spaceship crashes on a planet that has healing elements. I think the name, Haven (my sentient planet's name), was part of the name of the planet Sophia's characters were heading toward. So it was almost like reading about my own imaginary friends. ;-)
The style of writing was my biggest problem. It is a style I fight in my own writing. Passive voice. For all the flying and meeting aliens and learning about them all... I think it would be better to have a more active voice. Now can I explain how that works? Not so much. Here, let Grammar Girl explain it:
I will have to review all that as I get away from the writing of my NaNo to the editing.
But honestly, it was still a good story and I found that even with the long period of time between reads, I still remembered quite a bit about it. AND I felt that it may have a sequel in the wings. I would like that!