jrrymllr

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by jrrymllr

  • Adieu La Vie on July 17, 2012

    A gem of a book! It's a mystery, and a good one, but what really grabbed me was how brilliantly the author sketches the lives and characters of villagers living in a small town in west central France during World War II and how their experiences changed their lives fifty-five years later. It's authentic -- the author MUST live or have lived in France and talked with people who suffered through the occupation. There are a lot of flashbacks (or maybe flashforwards) and unless you speak French you might want to write down the relationships between the characters (I had to, at least). If this had been a paperback, or even a hardbound book I would have bought it! Most online books don't even belong on the same website with this one.
  • Marching With Caesar-Conquest of Gaul on Aug. 11, 2012

    Peake is a born storyteller, and this is an absolutely brilliant book. It's as close as you can get to an accurate description of what the life of a Roman legionary was like and how lower-class Romans lived. But be warned, even though you may like raw books, that this one is matter-of-factly bloody. I have minor quibbles about Peake's occasional lack of commas and run-on paragraphs (which may just be Peake's style, but most of the online books I've read are a lot worse grammatically anyway). Marching with Caesar is a gritty and a polished novel at the top of its class in historical fiction.
  • The Dark Side Of Glory on July 17, 2013

    This is a brilliant novel, but you might find, as I did, that it's sometimes difficult to keep reading. It's a mystery set inside a sometimes horrific history of a reconnaissance company's experiences during the Korean War. Both plotting and dialogue are masterful, and the resolution of the mystery, which is so improbable it could easily be a real-life story, is impossible to predict. I haven't read a better book on smashwords or a better novel about war anywhere else.
  • The Farthing Mark on Aug. 03, 2013

    A very well-written book with absolutely brilliant dialogue and characterization. After reading the first few pages I knew I had to finish it, which was easy to do since it's free though it shouldn't be. The author leisurely describes what seemed to me to be a prison ten miles square with two nice people incarcerated in a beautiful country setting with people who aren't nice at all. There were one or two spots where I thought the action was slightly forced, but probably that's just me quibbling. Most of what I read, or start to read, on smashwords is unpolished. This book glitters.
  • Death of a Daughter of Venice on Jan. 28, 2014

    Rosemary Sturge writes that her parents thought she would grow up to be a novelist. She has, in fact, and this brilliant historical novel is proof. Read it and you'll see and hear (and smell) early 18th century Venice and fall into the lives of orphaned or abandoned girls who become musicians trained by a genius named Vivaldi. I don't know if the details in this novel are fact or Sturge's imagination, but I don't care -- that Venice couldn't be anything else. There's a mystery, too, in which I was hooked when I read the first paragraph. This book, unlike most smashwords books, was a pleasure to read. And reread -- I already have.
  • Flashman in the Peninsula on May 28, 2014

    It's a rare pleasure to find an author on Smashwords who writes well. Robert Brightwell's third book in his Flashman series is the work of a writer who makes the language work for him and who has done a huge amount of research. What impressed me most, though, is his incredible imagination and skill in describing insanely outrageous incidents which seem perfectly normal somehow and fit right in the story line. This Flashman is more human than Fraser's Flashman. Sometimes he's even likeable. And subsidiary characters are three-dimensional -- my favorite is Boney, the dog. You should be warned that this book is about war, total war, and not in the 20th century but in the early 1800's in Spain and Portugal. Also, the author's dialogue is not strictly Regency in style, but for me that's not even a quibble. I really enjoyed this book.
  • The Moss Garden Journal Of Chan Wing Tsit on June 02, 2014

    Ever so often, but not very, I find a gem of a book on smashwords. This book is one. The plot is completely improbable and completely believable because the author writes so well and with so much detail. And it"s free!
  • Murder by Misrule on June 11, 2014

    If you like to read English history and if you're bored by the typical regency novel, buy this book. It's set in the Elizabethan era and you'll be fascinated -- I was, at least -- by the author's knowledge of what it was like to live in Shakespeare's London, full of sights, sounds and smells. The book is beautifully written and there really is a murder mystery.