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.
  • A Life In A Moment on Oct. 25, 2012

    Wow! I just finished “A Life in a Moment” by Stefanos Livos and I thought it was just fabulous! I loved that last chapter especially (57, the ending) and thought that was some of the most beautiful and haunting prose I’ve ever seen anywhere. The story itself is very well written and interesting, told from the point of view of Vassilis as he recounts his family life and love. It is interesting and engaging and I really enjoyed it! Recommend for fans of literary fiction and poetry.
  • 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 Sense of Touch on Aug. 30, 2014

    This is a wonderful book of short stories that I’ll be recommending to my family and friends. Each one was different, yet they had similar characteristics that created a diverse, yet cohesive collection of brief interludes into people’s lives (even when the story took place over a longer time period). The writing is very strong, yet soft and delicate when needed be. The stories are set around the heartland of America, usually involving just simple, ordinary people who are going through something, or experiencing what others are going through. Easy to read and I thought the whole thing was over too soon. I would love to read more!
  • 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.
  • Howlers in Heat on Oct. 22, 2015

    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 I cannot get enough of Hayley and Connor’s story. Their chemistry is so hot and I liked watching their relationship unfold the way it did. The exotic locals and element of danger and plot twists only added to the overall awesomeness of this sexy, erotic, and intelligent novel. 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. But not here – I was genuinely impressed. Recommended for mature readers only as it has quite a bit of ‘love’ scenes. Oh and being a UCI grad and former Laguna Beach resident loved the mentions :) Highly Recommend!
  • 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.
  • The Year Of The Dog: Part One on Jan. 29, 2016

    this book was amazing! Okay, I don’t even know where to begin because so much happens and I don’t want to give anything away… “Year of the Dog (part 1)” by author John Wayne Falbey is one of the most just flat out interesting novels I’ve read in a long time. It was almost like “24” meets “Mission Impossible”. I liked it for so many different reasons, first the writing was stellar. The strong word choice and fluid prose makes it a very easy book to sink into. There are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly, but not so much that it bogs down the pacing. It just felt more “intelligent” than a lot of books (like maybe I learned something about world events), but was very easy to read at the same time. I did feel lost a few times and confused over feeling like I was missing some information, but that’s because I haven’t read the other books of the series, something I plan to remedy ASAP. Highly recommend (for adults).
  • Year of the Dog: Part 2 on Jan. 29, 2016

    warning…when starting this book 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 right where the first left off (it’s a ‘serial’) with another unforgettable beginning and just keeps going. Whelan (and the others) are genuine and believable, and I think what I liked the most about these books is that they really held nothing back in terms of shining the light on a darker, quieter sentiment that feels like it can bubble to the surface at any time. It is scary because it feels almost too real. I liked that the author didn’t ‘sanitize’ anything or play it safe. Love the no holds barred attitude in terms of keeping it real with regards to political conflicts and religious fanaticism, threats of terrorism etc… Some of the most interesting characters I’ve come across in a long time and I like that this story will continue on. Really excited to see what the “Sleeping Dogs” have in store next. I can see fans of political/action thrillers eagerly gobbling this series down.
  • 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.
  • Gol on Jan. 29, 2016

    I’d already read another book by J.W. Webb called “The Haven” so I knew that he could write and tell a great, captivating story. But I was in no way prepared for how totally addicting this novel would be, and the sheer magnitude of the world, the characters, the multi plots, the magic and lore… I was really impressed. The way Webb writes is captivating from the beginning and you just want to keep reading and reading and not stop. It is both descriptive and has great world building (important for a fantasy-sci/fi) but also is fast moving so that you aren’t bored. I was reading as fast as I could, and even though it’s a really long book, I was disappointed when it was over, especially because it ends after something sad happens and you keep hoping it will change. But the ending is amazing as is the rest of the book – loved the letter and am really curious to see what else lies in store for us with the rest of the Legends of Ansu stories. Recommend for fans of fantasy/action and has a romantic element.
  • The Shattered Crown on Feb. 08, 2016

    4.5 stars- There is much to be said about a novel that reads well. I've mentioned this before in other reviews I’ve written, but a book that keeps you reading long after you plan on putting it down ranks high for me. Not only is it entertaining, but you look forward to getting back into the book each and every time you pick it up, if you have the self-control to ever put it down. That is what reading this series (The Legends of Ansu) and particularly this novel “The Shattered Crown” has done for me. Typical of many fantasy’s I’ve read, The Shattered Crown has much in the way of grittiness, yet it remains inventive. With twists and turns, you won't know who to believe. The plot moved quickly and even though some traditional fantasy archetypes show up, it is not in the usual way. There is a lot of coarse language and only minor typos and formatting glitches (mostly in the second half), but really nothing that hindered my enjoyment any. A very strong start to this fantastical journey with a cliffhanger ending… and I’m eager for the sequel, “The Lost Prince” right now!
  • 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!
  • The Lost Prince on June 21, 2016

    one thing that I enjoy the most about the Legends of Ansu, and in this book “The Lost Prince” is that there are mysteries and oddities about this world and storyline that are revealed slowly, but didn't give me the feeling that the author was hiding the ball just to stretch out the suspense. It's a book that made my brain work a little to follow all of the threads and layers, rather than making me want to skim ahead just to get to the end, which happens more often than not with me and epic fantasies. Like the others though, at times felt there was a lack of a main focus and the story seemed to be going in so many directions at once with so many character perspectives I frequently forgot who I was tuning into. I found myself yearning for more focused narrative from a few characters in particular, and at times questioned the need to have so all-encompassing. But overall I thought it was a really intriguing fantasy, with enough depth and detail to really suck me into this world and keep me there… for months now. And I’m not complaining one bit.
  • 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.