Steph Coleman

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Steph Coleman

  • A Luminous Future on June 21, 2012

    "A Luminous Future” has a shocking and powerful opening that tugs at the heartstrings, and doesn’t let up until the final pages. I was emotionally captivated by the story of Teodor Flonta’s life and the hardship his family is forced to endure, but I was especially moved the love and support his family showed to each other! I especially loved his dad! The whole time he was being messed with by the “Securitate” (the Romanian Secret Police) I was really worried something horrible would happen and he wouldn’t come home. I think I even held my breath during a few of those frightening scenes The author Teodor Flonta (who’s life this story is about) did a brilliant job of creating tension and describing a world where you never feel 100% safe...there are always threats and dangers lurking around every turn. They all felt so real that I felt like I was a part of the family as I was reading along, and I was sad to see it end. But I really loved the pictures at the end! If you are reading on your Kindle make sure to keep going even after the text is done because there are some wonderful images of Teodor and his family there!
  • Blood Skies (Book 1) on Sep. 08, 2012

    Original and breathtaking, Blood Skies takes the whole ‘dystopian-fantasy’ genre up several notches. With a captivating plot and fantastic writing, author Steven Montano is sure to please the hearts and minds of fantasy lovers everywhere with his dark novel. The world is in a perpetual state of chaos, and filled with almost every supernatural creature you can imagine. Warning, this is not a light, fluffy read, and it will take you to the deepest pits of the human psyche. But the tension is real and the characters struggles pull you along to the last page. I only noticed a few errors, which is totally forgivable and didn’t lessen my enjoyment any. There were a few questions that I still had at the end, but since it is the beginning of the series I imagine they will be answered soon. Off to read the next one!!
  • Angels Gate on Sep. 30, 2012

    "Angels Gate” starts off by bringing us up to speed about socio-economic conditions of Los Angeles, and how the drug trade was booming. There are four surfer buddies(Randy, Terry, Jeff, Scott) and a drug smuggler (August), who participate in the “greatest heist—never told”. Well, its been told now, so the cat is out of the bag! But it was a whirlwind of action from start to finish, with one complication after another that kept me on the edge of my seat dying to know what would happen. I loved that I was on the side of the criminals, not something I usually do. But it felt good to be bad for a while, and this is the closest I’ll ever come to being a criminal mastermind, and it was fun while it lasted!! Highly recommend.
  • Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword on Jan. 08, 2013

    Okay, you’d have to be totally devoid of any sense of humor or dead in order not to laugh out loud as you read “Kingdom of the Snark” by Melanie Hatfield. This book had some of the best one-liners I’ve seen anywhere. (Also a warning, don’t read in public places if you don’t want people looking at you funny when you laugh out loud.) It is the story of a girl, Renee, who goes on her special version of the hero quest, and meets many interesting characters (and challenges) along the way. Highly entertaining and I’d definitely recommend for people who want something on the humorous side, but also with an engaging adventure.
  • Return of the Crown on Jan. 31, 2013

    Simply fabulous. Beautiful, descriptive narrative that just sucks you right in from the opening pages. The writing was so descriptive and atmospheric I felt like I was watching a movie unfold before my eyes (note- this would make an AMAZING movie!!) I didn’t want to put the book down once I started reading, as there was always something waiting to happen just around the corner. I loved the depiction of magic in this world and thought it was unlike any I’d seen before. Ravyn and Blade and Connor are great, and so are the supporting characters. A definite must-read for fans of the YA/fantasy genre. Well done.
  • Peas, Beans & Corn (Book 2 in The Sovereign Series) on Aug. 08, 2013

    This is my favorite type of book: give me some ‘real life’ people with real issues set in a small town. I enjoy reading many of Nora Roberts’ books for this reason, and while not delivered with quite the finesse, I thought “Peas, Beans & Corn” fit in quite nicely with my preferred reading. (But I must admit that the title was not all that compelling to me). But once I looked past that and got to reading, I thought it to be very well-written with a nice, easy flow. I found the characters to be believable and the dialogue natural. Although I had a hard time believing the male lead had heard of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, but had never heard of Emily Dickenson?! Overall a nice story that kept me invested emotionally from beginning to end. Will be looking for more from this author in the future!
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on July 26, 2014

    Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. It was good, but for me several parts just felt a bit flat and passionless. I don’t know what it was, but it seemed to me that it just dragged on in parts or didn’t thoroughly explain other parts that caused me to ask more questions in my head than I thought were answered. I had a lot of questions about the actual people of these two factions, and wanted to know more of the history. It just felt too neatly wrapped up for me. I guess what it was that it was exceptionally written and nicely edited, but it didn’t feel like it brought anything new to the table that really wowed me. Perhaps I’m being cynical, because I really enjoyed this author’s other works, just this one didn’t get me as fired up for whatever reason.
  • The Dark Rider on March 05, 2015

    4.5 stars I read this book in one sitting. It was THAT good! One thing I have really been loving about this new explosion of fantasy authors over the past few years is that they keep coming up with new and creative ways to improve upon existing themes. This is wonderful because there are certain themes, like good versus evil, which will never go out of style. But sometimes you can feel like you are reading the same story over and over. Well this was not the case with “”The Dark Rider”! I felt like I was reading a wholly original and creative fantasy that was never predictable or boring, but kept my fingers eagerly turning the pages anxious to see what would happen next. I highly enjoyed this book and think you will too!
  • Connecting the Dots: Man, God, Angels, and Demons on Sep. 05, 2015

    4.5 stars this book was absolutely PHENOMENAL. Brilliantly crafted and plotted with meticulous attention to facts and detail and history. Engaging narrative prose to guide us through the examinations of the Bible passages the author pulls to make his points and ask his questions. Whether you take the Scripture from the Bible literally or figuratively, or even not at all, there are some very powerful messages and stories here worthy of serious consideration that are applicable to everyone, regardless of faith. I appreciated the intimate tone of the author and his willingness to share so much of his own life with us as we all go on this life journey together. Thank you for this wonderful book, and I do hope to read more from him in the future.
  • The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson on Dec. 09, 2015

    "The Kidnapping of Inda Jackson” by Cher Foth has many of the elements I look for in a good book: genuine, fleshed-out characters, well-detailed locales and settings, a complex, but believable plot, and some emotional engagement. For the most part it was an easy read that held on to my attention, although at times I did feel the pace was perhaps a bit too slow and lacked the necessary thrust to make me *have* to keep reading – but this was more in the beginning where there is more backstory and setup, and I feel it got better as it went along and the pace picked up. It has a very “big” feel to it, which I liked – it spans over many years and different parts of the world and with a wide cast of characters. So even for a shorter book it still has that ‘epic’ feel, which is nice. Could benefit from an editor as there are serious POV breaks that were actually pretty confusing at times. But once I realized what was happening I was able to stay in the rhythm of the story, but this is something that really should be fixed, in my opinion. A good story that will appeal to fans of YA contemporary romance.
  • The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses on Jan. 29, 2016

    heads up…when starting “The Urban Boys” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off unforgettable beginning and just keeps going from there. The main characters are so well-developed and fully fleshed out. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel the author managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me this really awesome story that I didn’t want to stop listening to. There are some surprising twists and some parts that really catch you off guard… but that just made the book even more amazing. The only thing that really bugged me was the formatting, because it seemed like it was all left justified on my kindle as block text and I prefer more white space and indents. But overall a great start to a promising series, and I’m ready to read the next one when it’s available. Recommend.
  • Endangered Species: A Sleeping Dogs Thriller on Jan. 29, 2016

    I personally thought ENDANGERED SPECIES by John Wayne Falbey was really good, and this is really not normally the type of book I’d gravitate to (I’m just more into paranormal romance) And in the beginning, I admit that I really wasn’t sure if I’d really be into it, but once I was about 25% in I was totally hooked and didn’t want to stop until I’d reached the end. I would describe this as a suspense/thriller/drama, but there was also great dialogue (my favorite part of the book) and crazy plot twists, and great character development. So you will definitely stay interested. The international backdrops are cool, and Falbey writes in such a fluid and authentic manner… we really feel like we are there inside the story as it all unfolds (or collapses, as it may be). Each chapter end makes you want to keep reading, and the “Dogs” are some of the most dynamic, believable, badass characters I’ve encountered. While this may not be my normal genre I’m really glad I took a chance and would happily read anything else that Falbey writes in the future.
  • Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery on Jan. 29, 2016

    wow, I LOVED this book, way more than I even expected to! I was looking for something a little out of my usual fare with reading, and this really hit the mark, in fact, now other books will seem boring by comparison! I like that it felt very plausible and ‘true to life’ on the sense that this is probably stuff that happens in real life, yet is presented in a way that is ‘entertaining’ (for lack of a better word!) and is exciting. I literally could not put my kindle down for the last half of the book, at least. I’ve never read any sort of ‘art crimes’ book before, (although I loved “The Thomas Crowne Affair) and not only was this a fascinating mystery and a riveting read, I think it helped me to appreciate and understand certain elements of crime and the art world that I’ve never really thought about before, so I liked that a lot. This was a fast paced, well written and professionally edited book and I highly recommend it to others.
  • Tristan & Isolde on March 06, 2016

    4.5 stars I enjoyed reading this extraordinary book! The author Josie Peterson writes very well… very descriptive and strong and we feel like we are there almost like watching a movie or play. The editing was flawless, and the story was so well-developed for this particular style… A wonderful book with a timeless story to just get lost in and enjoy Peterson’s lovely, strong narrative and beautiful prose. The conversations were so natural and authentic-sounding for the story, and the characters all brought the story to life and had a great dynamic and chemistry. Fortunately there weren’t really any ‘boring’ parts… even if it slowed down some and was working on plot development or something, it still was so well-written that we are hooked until the bittersweet end. I do enjoy historical and classical fiction, and this one does a wonderful job of staying true to the heart of such an incredible story. I’m so glad I read it and I recommend to others with the highest of praise.
  • Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on April 30, 2016

    I totally liked this book way more than I even expected to! I was looking for something a little different than my usual reading fare, and this really hit the mark… in fact, now other books will seem boring by comparison! I like that it felt very plausible and ‘true to life’ on the sense that this is probably stuff that happens in real life, yet is presented in a way that is ‘entertaining’ (for lack of a better word!) and is exciting. I literally could not put my kindle down for the last half of the book, at least. I would describe this book as being a very ‘realistic’ thriller, political-action book, and I thought it was awesome! I do think reading this helped me to appreciate and understand certain aspects of politics, local and national, that I never much thought about, and ideologies that I’m not very familiar with other that what I hear on the news, so that aspect was interesting. This was a fast paced book and I highly recommend it to others.
  • Friend & Foe on April 30, 2016

    wow, what a crazy, mind-bending novel! This was a totally unexpected for me, to be honest… from the description I was a little confused just what to expect, but I was intrigued by the quality writing sample and decided to dive right in. Well I wasn’t disappointed at all, in fact I think that “Friend & Foe” is by far one of the more well thought out and relevant books I’ve read in a while. I like how it felt like we were so involved as each different character showed us their story and I loved how Nik Olsen writes very descriptively and with great passion. I kept wondering how it would all wrap up, and if it would work… but it totally did. Now we just need the next one!
  • Portia's Revelation on July 15, 2016

    "Portia’s Revelation” by Rich Tenaglia is one of the most original and well-crafted novels I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the get-go, and absolutely loved the author’s descriptive, lively prose, and his attention to detail, both with the characters and with the historical setting. This is one of the more ‘intelligent’ fantasy novels I’ve read, and the characters are strong and believable, and even though I think there needed to be more conflict and tension to really drive the storyline, at least the action never feels fake or contrived for the sake of creating ‘drama’. Positive messages that everyone can benefit form, and a Great supporting cast. I liked the brisk pace and the short chapters. Makes for a satisfying read that you don’t want to put down. Recommend for mature teens on up.
  • Pegasus to Paradise on Aug. 29, 2016

    Holey moley, this book was terrific! Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the whole thing, but obviously that was impossible because this is one epic tale! It was all I could do though not to rush it… this isn’t a ‘quick-easy beach read” by any stretch, but more like something you sink back with for a while and let it take over your soul. I enjoyed the author’s “voice” and style of writing. The interweaving plotlines were intelligent, well-developed and not predictable, and the historical ‘true life’ angle made it all the more fascinating! I really enjoyed it! The characters were all genuine and interesting in their own right (love Florrie!!) and well-written. This book covers so many topics, yet it all fits well together in a unique blend of war, family, life, and historical drama. The story itself was fairly even-paced, but I thought the beginning was a bit slow personally but then it picked up and flowed well. One thing I particularly liked was how we really felt like we were part of the story as it unfolded, instead of it just being “told” to us, on the outside looking in.. We feel like we are a part of the book and I recommend wholeheartedly for fans of historical romantic/dramatic/action fiction, or anyone who enjoys a riveting, emotionally endearing book that stays with you long after you are done.
  • Go Down Swinging: Erotic Romance for Professional Women on May 15, 2017

    A terrific, fast, and sexxxy read! I consumed this delicious tale in the course of an evening, and when I reached the end I was hoping there was another book to follow as it does seem to end pretty abruptly and maybe with more to come? The writing is so passionate and descriptive, and the erotic element of the story (stories – this is 2 novellas in one) and plot twists only added to the overall awesomeness of this sexy, enticing book. It actually surprised me with its level of complexity and adventure and interweaving plotlines, as most erotica books tend to be a bit shallow in this regard, and especially because it is so short. But the characters have great depth and personality, and the plot is fun to follow. Revenge is sweet indeed! Ready for more from J Erickson! (Adults only)
  • The Redemption of Charlie McCoy on Aug. 01, 2017

    "The Redemption of Charlie McCoy” by grabbed me from the opening pages and didn’t let go until the very end. It is rare to find a book that keeps my attention all the way through, but this one did. I was totally caught up in the whirlwind of events. Nothing lights my fire more than weird/flawed characters who play by their own rules and get caught up in shady shenanigans. Like that this is more on the entertaining and fun side than dark and disturbing (for crime thriller). Even when there is violence or something it never feels too graphic or upsetting or gratuitous. If I had some complaints, it was that it was a tad hard to follow at some parts because it almost seemed too fast paced at certain times and I thought some key events or revelations were almost glossed over and lost some emotional impact (or just left me confused…). A few characters seem to come and go without much development, and on occasion there is more chit-chat than I like. But it is an interesting voyage seen through the eyes of some extraordinary characters (really like Charlie) and I literally could not put down my Kindle during the last 30% or so and was pleased with the ending because I didn’t see it coming. Recommend to fans of mystery, thrillers and suspense…heck, for anyone who just enjoys a moving, intelligently-written, and exciting read!
  • Just Another Girl's Story on Oct. 31, 2017

    I knew by the 20% mark that I would really love this book and it would go on my “favorites” shelf, and I was right! I admit I had no real expectations when starting it, seeing as how I’d never read the author before and often times when I read memoirs from non-celebrities, well, unfortunately they are boring…for lack of a better word. But I was totally hooked and riveted by so many of the scenes in this book that I literally read the whole thing in a single evening…. Which is rare for me. I was so immersed in this book and impressed with the level of detailing on almost every single aspect – we really feel like we are experiencing life with Laura (for better or worse) and hearing her stories of her struggles through the years that just completely engulfed me. Normally I get bored reading books that are told in narrative form (with little to no dialogue) but not here… A lesser author would have glossed over some of these scenes that Eckert carefully and masterfully brought to life in a profound and touching way. There are some sad scenes here that are perhaps upsetting, but it is mighty good book and definitely worth a read. Oh, and great editing too. Loved the husband’s letter at the end, and the one to her unborn babies brought tears to my eyes. Recommend for fans of memoirs/ nonfiction.
  • Getting Gay on Nov. 12, 2017

    4.5 stars In “Getting Gay”, author Bryce Hunter creates an incredibly fascinating, emotionally complex world that once we visit, we don’t want to leave anytime soon! But some really terrible things happen, and this is not a ‘light and fluffy book”, but more of an edgy, gritty one that sheds light on the darker side of life. Some of the best, most realistic and genuine characters, I’ve encountered in a long time, anywhere, and I thought the narrative and characters were wonderful, and could picture everything happening perfectly. I think the story as a whole could have benefitted from some tightening, and at times it seemed to lose some focus (several scenes just felt like filler, or chit chat that didn’t add much to the plot.). But the interweaving storylines were so dramatic and paced well for the most part. I like how we are not just bystanders in Noah’s story, but engaged throughout. The ending is somewhat open-ended, and I’m not sure how I feel about that, and it as bittersweet in a way. Liked the fast pace and the snappy dialogue that really shows us the story unfolding. Very well written and a worthy addition to the edgy coming-of-age lit-fiction genre. It will make you uncomfortable, but in a good way. Oh and near flawless editing too! Definitely has some sensitive/graphic topics so recommended for older readers (mature teens and older).
  • The Cossack on Jan. 03, 2018

    I certainly enjoyed “The Cossack” by author KJ Lawrence, even though ‘political espionage thriller’ isn’t usually one of my more preferred genres (don’t dislike it, just don’t generally gravitate). But I liked the sample and the style of Ms. Lawrence’s writing…. This felt more like a compelling character drama with heavy thriller and crime elements to me than anything, so I gave it a shot. I was genuinely impressed! I really liked the action-packed world she created here and thought that she did such a wonderful job with the descriptions of the storytelling of the events and with the dynamic of Daniel and his unexpected plight, and liked that it had such a big, international vibe with some parts that feel almost ripped from news stories (or could be). I thought the main characters were very well done – and I especially liked Yana too—but some of the supporting cast felt a bit thin on occasion, and there were some scenes that I thought could use some trimming (or be cut entirely). But there was great action from start to finish, and I was SO shocked at some things that happened (no spoilers!). I liked how easy it is to read and this is such an unusual book I can’t even compare it to anything else. Some violence (as to be expected in a book like this) but nothing horrific. Recommend for fans of international crime, action thrillers.
  • Liornabella on April 01, 2018

    fantastic! Wow what an awesome ending! Actually, the whole thing was pretty great, but I don’t think I put my e-reader down once after the 70% mark. This is an impressive effort from author A.E. Outerbridge, and it is quite clear that she is an author we can expect great things from. While I do feel the pacing needed tightening at times, there is the spark of something wonderfully inventive here (rare for this genre!) and the writing felt as natural as it did effortless. You can’t fake or even teach that, in my opinion. A.E. Outerbridge has found her literary voice, and I could totally see this being a movie or miniseries (or it should be!) It’s not too long (finished in just a few nights) but is packed with so much ‘story’ that it has that “epic feel to it which I love. You really get lost on this bizarre, yet realistic world for a long time and don’t really want to leave! Or at least you want to know what will happen with everyone now, especially Elle. A fun read that will appeal to fans of many genres, as it encompasses so many different aspects of literature, not just fantasy or horror/supernatural mystery. Definitely recommend.