Smashwords book reviews by Sue

  • Dynasty Of Ghosts on May 06, 2010

    This book is long - nearly 270,000 words long, but it never drags or seems long-winded. At $7.50 it's a bargain, especially for a book of this quality. Following Illya and Ashe across a believable, well-described fantasy world through battles, captivity, escape and back to Ashe's home is augmented by Illya's strange but enticing personality. The paranormal edge to the book is very well done. It's exciting, spooky, but never over the top. Initially I loved Illya - hard to imagine you could not - and thought little of Ashe, but as the novel develops so does he, and at the end I was rooting for both of them. The only whinge I have is that PL Nunn needs to appreciate the difference between the noun 'breath' and the verb 'breathe', a common error that should have been picked up in editing. Editing seems to be a missing element in many e-books, and this is minor compared to some I've read, so it doesn't detract from the 5-star rating. I will be looking out for more by this writer, am about to do it right now. Sue, Lincolnshire, UK.
  • The Surrogate on May 16, 2010

    I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Surrogate' and would give it 5 stars. I loved 'Kei's Gift', so was keen to read more of Ann's work. Once 'Reincarnate' got going, I realised it was going to end up as a threesome, and I really don't feel comfortable with those. I'm never convinced they can work - one partner must feel left out, or the 'minor' partner in the triangle, at least to my way of thinking. I wish the book had been labelled that way, because then I would have avoided buying it and probably gone for something else by Ann. The writing was, as ever, excellent, and the characters well developed with a believable plotline. However, the relationship dynamic let it down for me, which is why I only give it 3 stars. For anyone who likes threesomes and can stand the rather graphic descriptions of abuse, both physical and sexual that Jaime, Seve and Nikolas endure, they would find this a very good read.
  • Bloodraven on Oct. 02, 2010

    I am rapidly becoming P L Nunn's devoted fangirl! I bought 'Dynasty of Ghosts', loved it, and so bought Bloodraven. I must say I was never disappointed. From the first page her care in writing is apparent, her characters took shape quickly and were people you wanted to follow, to root for, to suffer and cry and hug and love. Yhalen has such an awful time of it - beware! the scenes where he is abused by the ogres are traumatic reading. Then he is given to Bloodraven, and the story really gets going. I haven't finished the book yet, but know I won't be disappointed. P L Nunn gives real value for money in the length of her sagas, her knowledge of the craft of writing English and making a satisfying, complex, wonderful plot that ensures you won't put this one down. If you haven't already, buy it! Well, as long as you can cope with the non-con and violence, but the overriding themes make that a necessary, if harsh part of the point of the book. The ability to rise above such behaviour, such upbringing (in Bloodraven's case) and such treatment (in Yhalen's) is, I think, a large point of the story. And of course, the redeeming nature of love. I can't think of greater themes to interweave in such a fantastic narrative. So yeah, I love it, and will re-read this and Dynasty of Ghosts, something I do quite rarely with books. 5/5 from me. :)
  • Walk A Lonesome Road on Oct. 11, 2011

    This isn't the first Ann Somerville I've read, and won't be the last. As always her world is believable and sweeping. In this book, you feel the landscape almost like an extra character, it's so well described. Dek is the first person we meet, and he's complicated. You can't help but feel for him, and care what happens to him. Then he finds Ren, and somehow you know he'll take care of him, however much Dek thinks it's a bad idea. I love the period where he tries to keep Ren at arm's length. I found myself smiling and shaking my head at him. I won't say any more here, just that I thoroughly enjoyed this journey with them. I could have wished it even longer, just because I didn't want the book to end, but it is still a novel-length book and well worth the money.
  • Cold (Gay Romance) on July 16, 2013

    This is the first book of Brandon Shire's that I've read, and I was blown away! It's seriously one of the best books I've read. I bought the book because of its high rating on Goodreads, but also because I love prison stories - the more real, the better. This is a brilliant prison story - it rings true on every page. You feel the routine, the monotony, and at the same time, paradoxically, the constant adrenalin-rush of fear about your surroundings, your fellow inmates and the possibility of sudden, damaging violence or even death. It's a strange atmosphere to live in, teetering between boring and white-knuckled tension, and Mr. Shire paints it perfectly, seemingly effortlessly, so you don't even notice the atmosphere until you're completely submerged in it. He does the same with the characters. Both Anderson and Lem are guilty - they admit it. I've read several books where at least one of the MCs is innocent, and the novel based on their dreadful situation. In some ways that's the easy way out - there's lots of insta-angst and drama that way, but Mr. Shire takes the road less travelled, the braver road, where he takes guilty characters and shows a slice of their life. They're less than upstanding characters, then, one is in for murder and the other for drug-dealing. The reader shouldn't like these characters, then, right? Wrong. You soon find the humanity of these two men (and all the others surrounding them, even the bad ones, who are not stereotypes or cardboard-cut-out villains - they're real, too). You realise they're just people who've made mistakes, who might, or might not, do things differently next time. We've all made mistakes; these guys just made bigger ones. You see the two circling each other, starting with no more than a glance, a flick of their eyes meeting, until something happens that propels them into closer orbit and the inevitable slide towards love receives its first push. It's lyrical and it's tragic (or at least it feels that way a lot of the time). And yes, I cried buckets of tears because Mr. Shire's writing is so beautiful, and I don't see how you could read this book and do otherwise. Because it gets under your skin, it buries itself there along with the characters (especially Lem, who is totally wonderful, murderer or not) and it's impossible to read such words and not be affected by them. I am off to read Listening to Dust next, and I fully expect more wonderful writing. I sincerely doubt Mr. Shire could write a bad book based on this alone. Read this, and support Mr. Shire and the charities he helps. It's the least we can do in return for his truly amazing talent.