Tiffany Cole

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Smashwords book reviews by Tiffany Cole

  • Black Earth: End of the Innocence on Jan. 30, 2012

    Miles away from Nathan, a girl is standing atop a building, preparing to jump off. She wants to escape from her evil mother, Evanescence, and from the world she knows will soon come to an end thanks to Legion, a demonic alien force bent on partnering with satan to destroy earth. When Nathan blacks out, he can see and feel the things that she can feel. And he's not the only one with an unfathomable superhuman ability. Heather, his best friend, can put up a shield when in danger, an ability she shares with Jasper - a Wedge from the world of Rhodenine who has come to earth to stop Legion from taking out Earth and rescue his woman. And where is his woman? She's trapped as a slave under a megalomaniac who wants to be the one to send all the humans to planet Anaisha when planet earth is destroyed. The story also follows Cynthia, a teenager who went to the same school Nathan went to, as she gives a second thought to her whorish ways throughout highschool and deals with her mother who seems more and more evil and mysterious as the story goes on. Then there's President Amanda and the questionable laws she passes and Ericka, a reporter who is quick to bring those questionable laws to the light. Though the main conflict of the story is the mysterious stars/meteorites falling from the sky and killing thousands of people left and right, there are as many conflicts - if not more - as there are point of views. However, Nathan remains in the middle of all of this conflict, and it begs the biggest question of all: What makes Nathan so important? Black Earth is definitely like watching a movie. Because it changes point of views so often, and there is a good amount of action, I imagined I was watching it on the big screen throughout the whole story. However, at some points, I did feel like there were too many plot threads and characters to follow and keep track of, at least for a 173 page story. Not that all of the plot threads weren't interesting and awesome. I love how David Alderman tried to mix in time traveling, aliens, demons, government conspiracies, and normal teenage problems. Still, it sometimes felt like he was trying to tell one too many stories in one story. Some of them could very well be stories of their own. My favorite chapter was chapter 34. I loved the characters, the dialogue, and the action. I smiled, felt terrified, and cheered in various sections throughout. It's not only my favorite chapter of this book; it's one of my favorite chapters of all time, and that's really saying something considering I read and review a new book every weekend. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who is into fantasy, horror, and sci-fi fiction. I know I enjoyed it and look forward to reading and reviewing book 2 as well!
  • Black Earth: The Broken Daisy on March 14, 2012

    Book two of the Black Earth series, The Broken Daisy, starts with Nathan Pierce and Cynthia "Sin" Ruin hanging low in the same hotel room book 1 ends in. Daisy, Nathan's sister, is being held captive by a 'man dressed in red' courtesy of President Amanda Stone's orders. Because Daisy and Nathan faked the barcodes everyone has to wear, Amanda wants to murder Daisy as a warning to the American public of what will happen to them if they don't obey. While Nathan paces around, trying to figure out how he and Cynthia can best escape from the hotel and find his sister, Cynthia is asleep after crying herself into exhaustion. Daisy would've never been captured had her mother, Theresa Ruin, not betrayed them. Cynthia was only able to rescue Nathan. Now she has no mom, no father, and no friends. Nothing but the big bag with belongings she can't let go of. The odds are against them, what with the world falling apart and many groups after Nathan's life, but that doesn't stop Nathan and Cynthia from making a run for it and starting their journey. The Broken Daisy essentially has five main storylines, five main subplots, that all come together to show just how immense the story as a whole is. 1.) Nathan wants to rescue his sister, find his soul mate Pearl, and learn his purpose. 2.) President Amanda Stone, who is working with Legion and the devil, wants to become a dictator. However, journalist Ericka Shane and her partner are determined to reveal a recording to the world that will help the citizens of America rally against her. Fortunately, she has the help of a mysterious man named Absolute. 3.) Jasper and Hush, two powerful wedges from the now destroyed Rhodenine, have seen Legion and Evanescence destroy two worlds before earth. Their goal is to help the humans on earth by stopping Legion and Evanescence for good. 4.) The Vector group and the Time Protection Society (TPS) are against each other. Vector is the only agency that knows about the TPS and the only agency that can stop them. Joseph, an agent who works side-by-side with Heather (Nathan's best friend), represents the Vector side of the story, as well as a more corrupt lady named Sarah. Theresa Ruin, Cynthia's corrupt mom, represents the TPS side of the story, as well as a kind man named Macayle. Time alteration plays an important part in how Nathan's journey came to be. When I realized time alteration was involved, I really fell for The Broken Daisy, but I also have a weak spot for stories that mess with the time space continuum. 5.) SilverTech industries is ran by a megalomaniac who is obsessed with Hush and constantly sending people after her to bring her back to him (in book one, she was practically his slave). Mr. Silver's main goal is to have enough ships created to send a number of (selected) humans to a planet called Anaisha when earth is destroyed, a planet he plans to be the God of. There are more than five subplots, but mentioning them all could make for a very long review. When I reviewed End of the Innocence, book one, I mentioned that the story sometimes feels like it has one too many POVs. It's still true in book two; when reading this novel, it's important to keep track of the characters and storylines as best as you can. However, in The Broken Daisy, I felt it was more genius than overwhelming. In a series about the world falling apart, it only makes sense that there would be so many layers adding to the downfall. My favorite characters are Ericka Shane, Macalay, and Joseph. So many adults in this story who have power are corrupt. I not only really like these characters because they're kind and ambitious in spite of being adults with power, but because their personalities really sat well with me. Ericka was my favorite character in book one. I was glad to see more of her. I liked Evanescence least, mostly due to the fact that everything about her reminds me of a stereotypical evil witch. And I wasn't quite sure how to feel about Griffin. His storyline and his characterization was definitely interesting, but it also...confused me until the readers are later shown what makes him so special. Nathan and the teens are definitely characterized well. Sometimes you love them; sometimes, not so much. That's fine. In fact, I think that's how it should be. Shades of grey make them very realistic. Religion plays a much higher role in this book than it did in the first, since almost every main protagonist struggles with their belief in God. Still, I never get the feeling that religion is stuffed down my throat or that it interrupts the excitement of the story overall. However, if you'll be reading this story mostly for the sci-fi, apocalyptic aspects, be aware that God and the devil plays a considerably large part in this series. Only a few plot aspects confused me: Griffin's storyline and the affect he seems to have on other characters; how time passes in general. Does book one and two only span two days? I'm not really sure. Even though Nathan kept saying only one day had passed, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around which times they slept were just a short nap or which times they slept were overnight. Plus, time may have passed differently in other POVs; smaller subplots, like Jennifer's time traveler subplot or Olivia's psychic/time traveler (?) subplot. Maybe it's because they won't really get explained until book 3, but I couldn't quite grasp their overall purpose. In all, though, I really liked Black Earth: The Broken Daisy. Time travel, aliens, demons, psychics, betrayal, romance (oh man, the romance drama in this story is intense), mysteries, secret organizations, evil witches, hellhounds, battles, Legion (I LOVED how creepy Legion was. That fight with a Legion-possessed human in Walmart made my day)...there is so much to this wild story that's worth the ride. I think David deserves much more attention and success for this series.
  • The Lady in Yellow: A Victorian Gothic Romance on May 01, 2012

    "In this novella of Victorian Gothic Romance, young Veronica Everly takes a position as governess to a pair of identical twins. She never dreamed she was to join a family of werewolves, or that she would fall in love with her handsome employer, Rafe de Grimston. When Rafe makes her promise to redeem them, she is faced with an agonizing choice." Above is the official summary of the book, and it is exactly what The Lady in Yellow is about. Most books understandably have to leave out a lot in their summaries, definitely when there are many sub-plots, but the only thing not covered in this summary is perhaps the mystery surrounding Rafe de Grimston's wife - as it happens, that mystery is part of what it'll take for Veronica to redeem them... Hold on, let me back track to the beginning. I'm getting ahead of myself. The story starts with Veronica sitting in an agent's office, being interviewed for the position of governess. In spite of the agent's consistent warnings that the Grimston twins can be very difficult and that the twins will have a hard time accepting her after the mysterious death of their beloved mother, Veronica remains confident that she can handle them. After all, Veronica was once the governess for a mad child. She's even prepared to handle the intense amount of responsibility that comes along with raising children whose father is often away for months at a time. Finally, the agent gives her the job. The moment she meets the twins at the beautiful, far-off Belden House, Veronica's confidence is put to the test. The twins are pale and green-eyed, androgynous, and act as though they are one human split into two. They are known for being elusive and secretive. Sometimes they disappear right before your eyes, but they always come back. Mrs. Twig, the housekeeper, is as secretive as the twins. Though the mother's death is perhaps the largest mystery, it's certainly not the only mystery. The moment the agent said that the twins would have a hard time accepting a governess in their mom's place, I instantly thought of the Sound of Music, just a much darker version that has werewolves and lacks music. The plot is tried and true: Initially, the kids will start off disliking the governess and the father will be too busy to be bothered with either the governess or the children, but the governess is so charismatic, kind, and pretty that they all come to love her in the end. The Lady in Yellow has been selling pretty well. I'm sure this plot is part of the reason why, and adding supernatural creatures to the mix makes it that much more appealing. This novella is full of description and action. I wouldn't say that the description or action jumps out at you and holds on, but it is well done and concise. The story goes along fairly fast. It isn't bogged down in exposition, though that sometimes comes at the cost of description being simplistic. My main problem with The Lady in Yellow was Veronica's characterization. Sometimes she simply didn't come across as a real person to me. In the beginning, a lot of her reactions seemed to have no depth. Her emotions and reactions did get more relateable as the story went on, but there were still points where I couldn't help but think, "She's taking all of this very easily for someone completely unfamiliar with the supernatural." Not being able to fully grasp her or Rafe's characterization did make the romance seem as though it happened very fast, but a lot of romances happen quickly. I wouldn't call this a story flaw, though. I just have complicated romance preferences. The Lady in Yellow is a short, fun, and pleasurable read. I enjoyed the adventures and the Victorian Gothic aspects. Over at Smashwords, one can set their own price for The Lady in Yellow. That's also something I don't see often. I'd recommend this novella for anyone into romance, werewolves, and/or the Sound of Music.
  • Black Earth: Dark Masquerade on July 25, 2012

    Survival is a struggle, so much so that luck and fast thinking plays a higher role in who will make it out alive than preparation. Nathan Pierce, Macayle, members of Absolute's Rebellion, and Pearl, Nathan's girlfriend, know this for a fact. They've been hanging low in the previously deserted Westgate Mall Plaza for a little over a week. Though they've taken many measures to protect themselves from the demons, the president, and everyone else out to murder them - and there are many groups who would do anything to see Nathan and Pearl dead - that doesn't mean they can expect to safely live in the Mall for long. Unfortunately, when danger finally does come, it comes in doubles. When a mysterious man tells Nathan that there are people in a town 15 miles away who know where Daisy, his sister, will be executed, Nathan is instantly determined to go to that town. However, just as Nathan is starting to create a plan, he learns that the strange sounds many people in the mall have complained about are coming from the Legion (demonic aliens) vessel that landed oddly in the Best Buy next to where everyone is staying. Unlike other vessels, its landing didn't create a massive crater or wipe out square blocks. The tip is protruding from the ground, the rest hidden underneath. The first time Nathan looked at it alone, nothing happened. It's not until he, Macayle, and Pearl venture to the mysterious vessel together that all hell breaks loose. It turns out Pearl is a key for the special vessels that haven't instantly erupted. The moment she gets near them, the vessel opens and allows new, creepier aliens entry into the world. First emerges a female with black rock material coating her body. She's wearing an elaborate mask, the mask that is gracing the cover of Dark Masquerade, and she's able to cause destruction just by speaking. Unfortunately, there are many more masked females. To make matters worse, as though things weren't bad enough, an alien larger than the Best Buy also emerges. Nathan, Macalay, and Pearl go back to the Westgate Mall Plaza in the hopes that they can at least help some of the people there, but most of the occupants were already murdered - not by the hands of an alien, but by the hands of a trigger happy, delirous man with a gun. At this point, the three of them can do nothing but search for the town where people who know about Daisy are supposedly staying. Just like in the previous two books, there is much more to the adventure than what Nathan is going through, though much of his tribulations effect and are tied to the other conflicts. We also get to see the story from the point of views of Heather, Sin, President Amanda Stone, Daisy, Mr. Silver, Ericka Shane, and Jasper. President Amanda Stone is hiding in a underground bunker. With members of Absolute and Daisy's Defiance determined to see her dead, that's her best plan of action. She's the only leader with power still on her mind. While others are shaken up by Legion's attacks, she's deadset on conquering and rising beyond the title of President of the United States. She has the dark advisor, the Man of Shadows, on her side promising her power. She needs him for more than that, though. His touch heals her. He is her drug. And what happens if you keep turning to a powerful drug? After a while, you lose yourself to it. Sin, meanwhile, is staying in the Village Grove Apartments complex. Sin has the barcode enforced by President Amanda Stone and the Falling Star Directives - laws that ban all religious items, force people to taint their bodies with the barcodes as a means of currency, and sentence opposers to death - but she can't stay in the Sanctuary where all of the government's followers live. A lot of her actions in the previous book have put her on the President's hit list. With a baby in her womb, the assassin that killed her mother after her life, and a mysterious, powerful man named Ryn deadset on making her his princess/slave, she has plenty of things to worry about. Sex is her greatest weapon and also her greatest weakness. No one knows this better than Ryn, and he will use that against her to make her his. Halfway across the world, Heather and Griffin, two Wedges, are out to find the blade capable of killing immortals. Without the blade, Earth and other worlds will most definitely be destroyed. Griffin just learned that he is Wedge royalty and has rare, serendipitous powers. Joseph Warren is the Vector agent in charge of their mission. In fact, they are all aboard a Vector ship, their destination the Land of Seven Moons in the Bermuda Triangle. Unfortunately, the land's monks and leader have no intention of giving them the blade. They're not open to getting involved in any way, and they're willing to take violent measures to make that clear. Like the monks, Mr. Silver also doesn't care about the pain and suffering everyone is going through. Sure, a quarter of his ships have already left earth and taken people to Anaisha, an untarnished planet where everyone's memories of earth will be erased, but he isn't doing it out of kindness. After all, Mr. Silver is an egomaniac who sees Anaisha as his opportunity to become the god of a new world. As much as Mr. Silver wishes to go to Anaisha, he know he still has too much work to do at SilverTech Industries to leave just yet. Beside worrying about the messes his losses from previous books may bring him - Hush, the woman he made his slave, his daughter, the time traveling device, and all of the research connected to the device - he also has to handle Tamasine and the assassin Tamasine sent as revenge for when Mr. Silver killed Inken, Tamasine's sister. Mr. Silver really isn't that concerned, though. Power is his only concern. Just a little more time, a little more research, and his scientists will discover how to go about becoming immortal. Than he really can rule Anaisha as a god. As expected from a book in the Black Earth series, there is a lot going on. However, there aren't as many events as the previous books, and it's easier to grasp all the different storylines and how they intermingle. Two things came to mind the instant I started Dark Masquerade: First, the story is very well-written. Everything flows well. I never once found myself unable to read a section due to bad writing. Second, this would make an awesome comic book series. Seriously. If someone made this into a comic, I would be very excited. I'm smelling a great Indiegogo campaign. Those two things stuck in my mind throughout the book. What I liked most about this book, as well as David's other books, is how all the characters and organizations have shades of grey. No one is completely good or bad, black and white, and the uncertainty makes for an intriguing read. If you, like me, love learning about other creatures, worlds, powers, and items, this book will definitely pull you in. Once again, David doesn't disappoint. I've loved every one of the books in the Black Earth series, in spite of the sometimes overwhelming amount of stuff to keep up with. I know that as soon as the last book comes out, I'll be all over it.