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Smashwords book reviews by KatesReads

  • The Gifted Ones on Sep. 02, 2011

    The Gifted Ones is a haunting and sometimes heartrending coming of age memoir. It follows Lisa on her journey to discover who she is and what she ultimately needs. It is both humorous and tearful. True love comes in many shapes and forms. It doesn't always last but it makes us who we are and we are better for it. Everything changes as we grow older. The pacing of the story, teasers thrown in at chapter endings kept this reader turning pages well after I should have been asleep. Brilliant!
  • Gold Train (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure) on Dec. 30, 2011

    Gold Train by Lada Ray is a thriller based on actual events. During the Russian Revolution the entire gold reserve of the Russian Empire disappears while being transported by train. It is still missing. Jade Snow is a veteran reporter who returns to work after maternity leave to help in an investigation of the Gold Train story and the possible whereabouts of the gold. The request for help comes from a Russian journalist who has extensively studied the history of it. She jumps at the opportunity to work again and also to explore her Russian heritage. Once in Russia she connects with old acquaintances of her grandmother who are all members of a society for Russian nobility. Their main interest is in returning the Russian Empire to noble rule. When the journalist that sent for her is found murdered the chase is on. Everyone is on a hunt to find the gold first. Everyone has their own reasons for acquiring the gold. As the circle of conspirators tightens Jade must struggle to keep at the head of the chase. Along the way she encounters a man who just might be here soul mate and passions ignite. Gold Train is a fast paced thrill ride filled with great characters you will love and villains you will hate. And maybe a few you won't know whether to love or hate. This is definitely one to read!
  • Zeke on Aug. 15, 2012

    "Zeke", by Wodke Hawkinson, is a dark and thrilling ride. Sue is a young college student who meets Zeke at the bookstore he works in. He's gorgeous and mysterious. Sue can't believe her good fortune that he wants to go out with her. It will soon turn to misfortune as Zeke begins to manipulate her and play mind games. After a number of months of secretive dating he talks her into disappearing with him. When her parents realize she is missing and her car is found abandoned by a cemetery they hire a detective to find her. The detective soon realizes that her life is in danger and the race is on. This is a chilling and very disturbing read. It is not for the faint of heart. The character of Zeke is twisted and evil. The writers did a fabulous job of slowly revealing his deranged personality. Sue was very believable as a young, insecure woman entranced by the handsome stranger. I liked that she did assert herself at times during the course of the story. It is definitely a great read, just be forewarned that it is a dark story of sexual obsession and evil.
  • Catharsis, Legend of the Lemurians (Earth Keepers Chronicle 1) on Sep. 15, 2012

    Lada Ray's short story, "Catharsis (Legend of the Lemurians) is Book 1 of the Earth Keepers Chronicles. It is a companion/prequel to The Earth Shifter, a full length novel. The story is about a planet on the outskirts of the Andromeda Galaxy, Catharsis, populated by extraordinarily beautiful people. The Catharsians have rounded up any ugly people and confined them to live behind an electric fence and fend for themselves. They call them "Uglies". The Uglies, who prefer the name Lemurians, are a peaceful and loving people. However, beauty is only skin deep and the world around the Catharsians starts to crumble and tear apart. The Lemurians seem immune to the disaster. Who will perish? And how will anyone survive? There's only one way to find out! This is a great short story and intro into The Earth Keepers Chronicles. It is very imaginative and well plotted. Even in such a short story Lada Ray packs a powerful message. Beauty is only skin deep and karma can be either wonderful or deadly.
  • Shoe Strings on Oct. 11, 2012

    Christy Hayes' "Shoe Strings" is about Angelita Barros, a shoe designer with her own up and coming boutique in Atlanta. Shes about to head off for a tropical vacation when she sees her estranged father lurking about. Instead of the planned trip she ends up hiding out in a small mountain town in North Carolina. Angelita's life rapidly becomes entwined the the town's residents. Cal Bloodworth owns the cabin she rents. His son Jesse takes her breath away. Jesse's ex, Kerri Ann, oddly enough, becomes a friend. While friendships develop her father continues to hound her about a business deal Things do not seem to be quite on the up and up and demands become threats. She must discover the truth behind it and also where her relationship is heading. This is a great chic lit type of story. I liked Angelita's character very much. She had a take charge personality but with a softer, vulnerable side. Jesse's character was also done well. He initially comes off as a ladies man but then acquires more depth. I did think the character of Kerri Ann was a little weak. It's hard to imagine that someone once so popular would be so insecure and blind to her friend's feelings. That's just my opinion though. Definitely give it a read.
  • Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) on Nov. 10, 2012
    (no rating)
    "Shadow Slayer" is Book 2 of Laura A. H. Elliott's Shadow Series and it does not disappoint. We First met Roxie in "Thirteen on Halloween" when she astral-projected to Planet Popular. Now she's a high school freshman just trying to fit in to the new environment of high school. She still wants to go back to Planet Popular to discover the mystery of the map; but, it seems that all is not right on Planet Earth. Her friends are acting strange and her "perfect ten" boyfriend, Drew, is almost to good to be true. The shadows from Planet Popular want to be human more than anything and they are trying to take over Roxie's classmates. It will be up to her to slay the shadow on her 14th birthday - Halloween. I love Roxie's character. She's matured since the last book but is still caught up in all the drama of starting high school and trying to fit in. Elliott has made her a very believable young woman that anyone can relate to. The mystery of what is happening to her classmates is well developed. This is a very engaging YA series and I can't wait to find out what happens to Roxie next!
  • The Earth Shifter on Jan. 16, 2013

    “The Earth Shifter” by Lada Ray is the first novel in a paranormal YA trilogy about saving the world from its own destruction. The Earth Keepers saved the world from the Comet of Karma in 1908. Now it is coming again and they must decide if the world is still worth saving. Sasha is a teenage girl living in Moscow who has special talents and is being trained in their use by a Shaman named Tengis. She is one half of the Key that can save the world from the Comet. Kei is a gifted Chinese teenager living in New York. He is the other half of the Key and isn’t aware of his powers or his destiny. Somehow they must find each other. Ray weaves a complex tale with a great cast of characters. She provides good detail on life in 1990′s Russia, at the end of the Cold War. The descriptions of Moscow and Siberia are rich and detailed. The theme of good versus evil is woven throughout the story. Should mankind be saved from the Comet of Karma. Is humanity worthy of redemption? This is a great YA thriller that’s sure to please. I think adult readers will enjoy it just as much as the Tweens. Now to wait for Book 2, coming out at the end of the year.