Kayla West


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Smashwords book reviews by Kayla West

  • Skipping Stones on Oct. 29, 2013

    Wow. Just wow. You know, when I first read the blurb to J.B. McGee’s book, Skipping Stones, I honestly had no idea what I was in for. I knew there would be a bit of romance, but there is also a dash of heartbreak and uncertainty mixed in with a heaping spoonful of hope. Hope that life gets better. That the hurt we experience throughout our journey will ultimately be worth it when all the good finally decides to come rushing in… Alex Hart is just your normal, average fifteen-year-old girl with a family who loves her unconditionally. But when a trip to her grandparents’ house turns into a life-changing tragedy, she no longer sees the comfort and familiarity of the things around her. Everything is turned upside-down, and she does not know which way to turn. Drew Foster seems to appear out of thin air in Alex’s eyes when she goes for a walk to try and escape her pain and sadness. At first, she just wants him to go away, but his genuine concern for her and his promise to teach her to skip stones overrides this initial feeling of hers, and she gradually allows herself to open up to him. They become almost inseparable, and their love seems so strong. However, this is not to last, because Drew seems to disappear just as quickly as he manifested. Why did he go? Where did he go? Were all his feelings for her true, or was he just playing her? These are all questions that Alex must face in the years to come. But as she tries to answer them herself, and tries in her mind to forget Drew, her heart still longs for him, aching for his very presence once again. This book was phenomenal. It went from the present, where we first meet Alex at about age thirty reminiscing as she heads back home, to the past, where we see a bit of her first encounter with the love she had and lost at fifteen, back to the present, where we see how she copes with trying to forget him and get on with her life, which gets very hard when at one point she believes he has come back to her and no one else seems to believe her. I am reminded of true love with this book. The idea that two souls can be apart for so long, but yet still long for each other is beautifully brought to life throughout the pages of this work. Honestly, I don’t have a tendency to cry with books, but this one almost did it. That is a pretty big deal. This book was from the heart. It was endearing, heartbreaking, and lovely all rolled into one. I will definitely be looking up J.B. McGee’s other works. Recommended for anyone who loves the idea of being given a second chance with the one you thought lost forever.
  • Shardfall on April 23, 2014
    (no rating)
    When a strange stone seems to fall from the sky and lands at the top of the Silfjall mountain near Eidungruve Hold, it sets a string of events in motion that could change lives forever. Muus is a thrall, a lowly companion to Prince Kjelle. Captured and brought to live with the Nords as a boy, he has a past he cannot remember and so must deal with the fate life has dealt him. But fate has more in store for him than he realizes. When the prince is called by his father to investigate the matter of the strange stone at the top of the mountain, he has Muus come with him. When they arrive at the sight of the landing, Muus' courage in the face of the unknown causes him to pick up the stone, causing the stone to choose him for a destiny that will take him back to his home. His true home. The home he was taken from and now barely remembers. Throughout his journey, he is going to learn more about himself, the legend of this stone he now holds, and the magic buried deep within. I quite enjoyed this book. Fantasy is a genre that I absolutely believe can take your breath away, if done right. This book had very vivid scenes, and I love the storyline. It seemed a quick read to me once I got about a chapter or so in, and I couldn't put it down. Will absolutely read the second book to this series, and also am anxiously awaiting the release of the third book. Wonderful start to this series.
  • Runemaster on April 23, 2014
    (no rating)
    After the aftermath of the storm that closed out the first book in the Shardheld Saga, Kjelle, Muus, and the rest of their group have been separated. While Muus, Prince Olthin, and Hraab have headed off to the land of Brytanna, Kjelle, Birthe, and the paladin have headed off in a different direction. With each group believing the others to be dead, there is much sorrow between them. Kjelle must deal with the loss of the boy who made him feel brave, while ultimately finding his own courage in Muus' absence. Can he do it? Or was he coddled to the point of never knowing any different. I think he will ultimately surprise everyone in the end, by finding a strength he never knew he could have. Muus is gradually remembering his home and the family he lost long ago. But with the clock ticking, he needs to hurry up the process. So he must find the one person who can ultimately help him dissipate the fog shrouding his mind. Will his journey be eventful? Or will his memories continue to be clouded? The world's fate sits atop his shoulders. Even with friends around him, can Muus continue to bear this immense load? I absolutely loved this book. I love how Kjelle is finding himself more with the absence of Muus. It took a terrible storm to wrench him from the safety he felt when Muus was around, and he is seeming to begin to hold his own. I cannot wait to see what else is in store for this character. There are so many people that are met in this second book of the series. So many new faces who are helping Muus on his journey as the Shardheld. So many people who are being helped by him. I hope against all hope that he does succeed in his journey to fulfil the destiny laid out for him. I also hope that the tyrant taking over the lands gets his just desserts. He deserves it. The third book cannot come soon enough. I am eagerly anticipating more to this story.
  • Roc Isle: The Descent on April 25, 2014

    I absolutely adore novels of fantasy. Stories of kings and queens, lords and ladies, knights and the honor that so defines them. And to me, any great fantasy novel has a certain feeling to it. It is an elegant feeling, a regal feeling. One that makes me sit straighter and hold my head high. One that makes me feel as if I have awakened in the land itself and have become one of its very characters. It is a feeling that is indescribable at best and which, when experienced, is never forgotten for the rest of one's life. And this book definitely brought that feeling out in me...in bits and pieces...but nonetheless I did feel something, and that is a start. Roc Isle: The Descent focuses mainly on the lives of two characters. The first one introduced to readers is a boy named Ankah, who lives in Clenly Village with his father. When an honorable decision on Ankah's part turns into a ploy to steal money from a champion Knight, opportunity will arise for Ankah to leave his village and possibly become a Knight himself. But he will realize in his learnings that he wants something more... The second one is a boy no older than 14 at his introduction. His parents are slaughtered and his temple attacked, causing him to take his father's place as Lord of his people. He will be faced with disdain and mocking, and in his years as a man, traitors and enemies who want him gone. Both will be united in a war that could either end in substantial good or disheartening peril. And both most certainly will find their true allies during the fight. While the storyline was very good, quite exceptional really, I felt there were times in the beginning where things didn't mesh well. To me, good transitions are everything in making a story flow beautifully, and sometimes I felt that the writing was a bit choppy. I also felt that while many parts did have that regal, elegant feeling that I mentioned at the beginning of this review, there were parts that could have been reworded or maybe a sentence or two added to enhance that feeling in the rest of the story. This book is wonderful and well worth the read.
  • The Antpod Faction on May 03, 2014

    Okay, so I absolutely loved the world that was created with this book. It definitely had a science fiction feel to it, maybe not the clean and streamlined science fiction that some write about, but the grungy, kind of back alley science fiction that I adore wholeheartedly. That kind of science fiction is just so much more interesting to me because there is so much more contrast. There is so much more of a chance for characters to grow. With that said, while the beginning did its job and definitely introduced us to the characters that would be important throughout the rest of the story, I felt like some events were a bit jumbled. I kind of wanted Mase's specialness to be introduced, but not explained. And after the massacre occurs, I kind of wanted things to escalate. Maybe have a nice chase scene, or have Mase be forced to hide out while she figures out what is going on, and then have her specialness finally explained and connect it with her role and overall destiny in the story. I mean, up until events start to kind of fall into place with Ethbert's eventual capture, I felt like the story was flat-lining. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. It was okay. I truly did want to love this book, but I guess I can settle for liking it. It was still worth the read to me, because I really did love the main character, and I can say that this is a book that I might possibly read again in the future. Also, I must add that I was quite surprised with the spy/political aspect of this entire thing. It's obviously not a new concept for science fiction, but one that probably is not used as often as it could be in this genre. So a round of applause to the author.
  • Shardheld on Oct. 23, 2014

    I have been writing reviews for a while now on various book websites, so therefore it should get easier, right? Wrong. While some books are amazingly simple to write reviews for, there are those that take some time. And in the case with this book, I had to mull it over for a couple of days before I could write my review. This book rounds out the Shardheld series. It is the final part of the story and brings with it a sense of closure regarding the return of the Skyshard to its rightful place but also great hope in regards to the future. The ending left me smiling with the thought that the possibilities for the various lands we have been introduced to throughout the story are infinite and endless and, most importantly, prosperous. One of the reasons I took a few days before writing this review was the bombs that were basically unleashed in the story. I think it was only a couple, it felt that way to me, but I must say the second one was HUGE in my eyes. And while it was so simply explained, I still am reeling over it. I love how this book is an example that even if the reader is in the last dregs of a series, even in the last pages, a twist can still be slipped in, one that could end that series on almost the perfect note. And this book indeed ended on a perfect note. I feel immensely privileged to have been asked to review these books by the author and will definitely be checking out some of his other work in future.