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Smashwords book reviews by Liz

  • The Kult on Oct. 08, 2011

    "People are predictable. That's what makes them easy to kill." "Look out, look out, there's a monster about." And a quote I'm totally ripping off from a friend, but fits this book so perfectly: "The scariest monsters have human faces". This book was scary. The beginning was pure horror. 10% into the book, and I was afraid to leave the house. At one point near the beginning, I almost put the book down saying "no more". But I didn't. Putting the book down doesn't make the monster go away. Vengeance, Retribution, Bait... There's a lot of reasons to kill. Detective Prosper Snow (coolest name ever, by the way) is now on a case to find The Oracle. No one is safe from this serial killer. If he gets ahold of you, you are definitely going to wish you were never born. I really enjoyed this book. It had some very strong elements of horror. In fact, I wouldn't recommend it for the very faint of heart or easily offended - unless you can skip over some parts. In which case, you should get it, because the rest of the book is definitely worth withstanding some very scary parts. While taking notes for this book, I wrote down "I don't immediately like Prosper. He seems like he has a dangerous secret". But my opinion of the man drastically over the course of the story. Prosper snow takes you on his journey with him, and you feel it all. Stress, regret, fear, love, some more fear, a dash of paranoia, and so on and so forth. But who do you trust when the evidence pushes you in every direction it can? Something else I really liked about this book is that I instantly felt like I connected with the victims. That only made it that much more difficult when they actually became the victims. The characters are well written around a story that is well written. You get a history on everyone, and really feel like you get to know them. I felt it was fast paced, and I finished it in just a couple days.
  • Spiritus, a Paranormal Romance (Spiritus Series Book#1) on Dec. 20, 2011

    The story opens with teenage Becca and her dad driving to their new home, a house that's been in the family for generations. There has been a tragic loss in the family, and they are trying to make it in a new place, a new life. Becca seems to be the average awkward teen, a bit shy and self-conscious. Alastor is a ghost, barely older than Becca, who died a century ago. My first chapter impression (as taken from my notes): I love the attention to detail, right down to the doorknobs. It really makes me feel as if this house, this town, is another character in the story. Becca seems to be a teenager that you could easily relate to. Her sadness and fears are conveyed so well, I feel great empathy for her. In the beginning of this book Becca is meeting all of her new classmates, and she makes some new friends. One of them being the high school hottie, Jonah. At first I was torn between Jonah and his beautiful good looks and Alastor. But that all changed once Alastor started showing his deep and true emotions. "I have loved you in life and beyond" *sigh* Who doesn't dream of that kind of everlasting devotion? I can tell you one thing, Alastor may have been dead for a century, but that man has some lines and moves that could make the toughest of girls swoon. I was Team Vampire, then Team Wolf...this novel could nudge me to Team Ghost! And speaking of ghosts... I was very nervous about this book when I received it for review. How could a modern girl fall in love with a century old ghost? How could he love her back? Dana Michelle Burnett effortlessly makes this a seamless transition. There were times I could actually forget Alastor was a ghost. But then those simple reminders would pop up, and you wonder "How is this going to work???" I had to stay up late reading, I couldn't put the book down - I had to know. This book went by entirely too fast for me, I want it to go on and on. The writing is beautiful, the scenery is gorgeous. The emotions in the book... they are heartfelt and sometimes just heart wrenching. They are strong. And they will leave you hungry for the next book, I'm sure of that.
  • The Burn on Jan. 08, 2012

    I haven’t read much by the way of dystopian, but not for lack of want. So when the author contacted me to review The Burn, I was excited. I had seen this book floating around, and I was eager to read it. “The world as we knew it ended in a bang” The world as we know it is destroyed. In an effort of survival and moving on, people – scientists – set up colonies to live in… in the ocean on the ocean floor. Life in the colonies is planned and watched. There is barely any room for self choice. Even your meals are planned. There’s no pollution, very little crime, and for the most part people seem happy. But one person isn’t. Terra is a 16 year old girl, the daughter of The Speaker (basically like the governor). She is one of six siblings in her family, yet only one of two to survive birth. Terra and her sister Jessa couldn’t be more different. Right here I want to point out the cleverness in this story. I mean, sure you will read it (the cleverness) throughout, but just in Terra’s name – land – you know she isn’t mean to live in the ocean. Well done. I really appreciate little things like that. Attention to detail goes a long way. It is approximately one hundred years after WWIII. And Terra has heard about The Burn, land that has been ravaged since The Event, her entire life. She wants to get out of the ocean, the never-ending blackness beyond the windows, the blind fish that bump into the windows. They are a poor substitute for birds, which she has never seen. “Nuclear fall out. Roving gangs. Complete Anarchy. No reliable plumbing. Take your pick” That’s what they are told is all that is left on land. But it doesn’t matter, Terra is going to get out. And she does. And there are plenty of sacrifices she must make to do so, but so great is her need to be free that she makes the sacrifices and goes forth. Honestly, if it were me, I don’t think I could make the same sacrifices. I’d like to think there was a different way, there had to be. I would have liked to have kept her choice as a last resort. But then I’ve never been captive in what amounted to a bubble in the sea. Who is to say what you would or wouldn’t do? Just because your captor keeps you clean and well taken care of doesn’t mean that its good for you, right? I suppose that extreme situations and adrenalin can cause an emotional flood – but the quick bond between Dave and Terra on The Burn kind of didn’t sit well with me. It just didn’t seem, I don’t know, right. She can’t tell him the whole truth, and he just seems a bit confused. He doesn’t seem to be as in control of himself as I’d like to see, for someone who is the unspoken leader of their group. It’s hard for me to remember that these people are teenagers. That’s not because of the story, the author does an extremely good job of painting the picture. I just think that I was looking for a bit more in terms of Dave. Her inexperience at lying creates problems, and he just accepts what she says even though it clearly isn’t true. The joys of being young and not having the experience that’s needed to detect lies. Generally I found this story to be a fascinating story of what is to come. Annie Oldham set the scene flawlessly, in both the water and on land. New America (The United States) is exactly what Terra was taught her whole life, and it is clearly and rawly shown. From the beauty and simplicity of the colonies, the harsh reality of life on The Burn, you completely feel you are right there with Terra experiencing everything. The people Terra meets are quick to accept her, just as she was told they would be. They are an instant new family, and it is easy to be with them. At least for a bit. That doesn’t take long for it to change. And ultimately I believe Terra made the right choices each step of the way since she arrived on The Burn. She is a strong young woman, a wildcard in the colonies, but she is going to quickly come into her own when she is on land. She has a lot to learn, but I believe she will do it with ease. A few things within the story itself leave me with a few questions. I want to know more about Matt, and why he had such an unusual name. I’m curious about how Gaea and how she manages to live undetected where she does. But all in all I really enjoyed this story.
  • Guardian on April 27, 2012

    Abby is a teen girl, not unlike Cinderella. She lives with her stepmother and twin stepbrothers. Her dad has died. Her step family is horrible to her, and her brothers even extend their retched treatment to school where she is bullied on a daily basis. And we’re not talking teasing and such, we are talking hardcore mean, down and dirty, make you feel worthless bullying. In fact, that’s what sparks this whole story off. The bullying has become so horrible that Abby is going to do something about it. She is done dealing with everything that is awful in her life and she is going to just…give up. Reading Abby’s story I really felt so badly for her, it was so emotional and raw. I wished I could just reach through the pages and tell this poor girl that is does get better and life isn’t always as it is in high school. That bullies are not as strong, cool, pretty, smart, popular and terrific as they want people to think they are. I wanted to tell her that there is always hope and help, and if you give up you are making a permanent decision on a temporary situation. The authors (yes, plural!) did a wonderful job portraying Abby’s sadness and despair. Her character leaped off the page and I could see her right in front of me. But the universe has different plans for Abby, and she most certainly is not alone. Sure, there are evil forces on Earth that are working against her on a daily basis, making sure that her bad days become worse days. But now the angels are going to get involved, and Gabe is coming to help her. Sorry Raph! You might be a bully (and a demon), but now you are going to have to pick on someone your own size! This story was really wonderful. It had so many terrific elements, I’m not even sure where to start. I’ve gone over Abby, so lets move on to Gabe, her guardian angel. He’s going to enter high school and help her realize all is not lost, then its on to the next mission. Right? Right, cause its so cut and dry and all that easy. Sure. Yep. Heheheh. Oh Gabe, I love how much you are going to learn while on Earth. The characters in this book were all fantastic. Seriously. Not just Abby and Gabe, but Raph (short for Raphael) and Satan and Lucifer and Mammon, Gabriel and Michael… Sara and Becky, the authors, did such a thorough job with these characters; I can’t wait for the second book to be released so I can get back in touch with them all. Oh, and here is something that I thought was utterly fantastic and perfect and awesome…. Satan is a woman! Ta-da!!!! There isn’t a whole lot more I can say about this book without giving some major spoilers. There is a school dance that has some really fabulous scenes that I just adored. I’ll never look at mirrors the same. And this is just a great story all around. There is a lot of action, and a great arc and growth in all of the characters. There are some funny moments and some touching moments, and of course some “oh no!!!!” moments that will have your eyes speeding through to find out what happens next.
  • What Kills Me on Aug. 29, 2012

    This book caught me entirely by surprise, and in a terrific way. If you like Hostel (without the gore) or Kill Bill… heck, if you like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, add some vampires and a whole lot more, and you will like this book. There is so much that happens within this story that I am shocked that the author fit it all in there. And furthermore, it doesn’t feel like anything is glossed over. At just over 200 pages, you get a whole story – with room for a sequel, I believe. From the very first page to the very last page I was enthralled and could barely put it down. The beginning has all the makings of a classic girl meets boy and falls in love story, but of course there is a twist. And the twists just keep on coming. This is the life of Axelia, Zee for short. And her life has just gotten flipped and turned upside down, nothing will ever be the same. Ever. And she will probably never eat a fishball again. Ha, I bet you want to see what the heck I am talking about there, don’t ya?? People are dying left and right, and Zee is suddenly on the run, and with someone who seemingly can’t stand her - Lucas. Just great. Of all the blessed luck in the world! When you are a new vampire and you are being hunted down, you don’t exactly get to choose your running mate. There is so much going on underneath the top layer, that you can’t help but sit and watch. First, Zee – she is awesome. If I was a newly turned abomination to the vampire race, I would certainly want to be her. She is witty and intelligent, clumsy and awkward. She is just fabulous. And then her accomplice on the run, Lucas. There is so much more to Lucas than meets the eye, I found myself under his spell right away. I wanted to yell at Zee, “kiss him!!!”. Sigh. The struggles we go through as a reader when we can’t get our favorite characters to listen to us. On top of an action and drama packed storyline you also get some of the most beautiful and descriptive imagery. At times it is dreamy and swoon worthy, while at others it is rough and edgey, and even more, you get serenity, fear, and pleasure. And I’m only talking about the landscape. This book reads fast, there is a steady rhythm to events, and they keep you moving. I am an instant fan of Wynne Channing’s, and I am on pins and needles waiting for the next book in this series.