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Smashwords book reviews by vanessa eric
on May 06, 2011
I must admit that reading Encrypted was like watching one of Indiana Jones’ movies. It was jam-packed with continuous suspense in every chapter. Although I honestly had hard time catching up with the adrenaline-pumping storyline, yes I held my breath at every thrill and suspense in the story; it was such an exhilarating moment to read something so genius that is actually written by a female author. Many times while reading, I forgot that the author is a female because a story like this usually came out of the minds of male authors. So, a big round of applause for Ms. Buroker! Not too often we get to read incredible piece like this written by a female author.
Encrypted, themed with issues such as authoritarianism, secret government agenda, sadistic experiments and also not forget to mention, romance, was indeed a daring story to come up with. In reality, we deal with those terrible issues every day; they do exist in many places, though in a subtle, unrecognizable way. Despite the heaviness of the plot, the story was full of astounding vocabularies, scientific terms and phrases, and the author seemed to know what she was writing about, of course without being crappy and overwhelmingly silly. Encrypted brought its readers’ imaginations to a whole new different level, to another world where magic and science collide.
Over all, the characters are well-developed, added with the attitude of their own. I couldn’t imagine what went through the author’s mind when she put together the characters.
Even though I’m not a fan of heavy sci-fi story like Encrypted, I have to declare that this novel is a ‘must read’ in Indie category. I would love to find some flaws in it, only to no avail. It was written perfectly and effortlessly.
The Ultimate Sacrifice
on May 27, 2011
The book was surprisingly a one light and easy read, far from what I expected when I first read the summary. Nonetheless, I’m giving the author some kudos because after a few chapters, I was fixed to the book even when my eyes were strained and fluttering in drowsiness, in the dead silence of the night. Yes, I found myself saying ‘Okay, another 30 minutes then I’ll go to sleep’.
The plot was truly simple and easy to digest, there’s absolutely nothing complicated about it. It chronicles a story about 16-year-old Kassia, who is a mind-blower with deadly stare, battling demons who threaten to make her as one of them. Still, at the same time, I was longing for more details and challenges because it was such a good story with added twists. I wanted to read more of it, but before I knew it, it’s over. The story took off a bit slow, revolving around school and romance, but as it progressed, everything started to go wild and quite thrilling. On top of that, the first person perspective worked well in bringing both Kassia and Mira to life. The voice was very teenage-like, matches their characters and their emotions were portrayed in convincing manners. All in all, the language used was simple yet flawless.
Somehow, I couldn’t really connect to the characters although in my honest opinion, they were developed well and quite distinctive. Maybe it’s me, I’m a 25 year old reading a story about some 16 year olds. Even so, the author did manage to spark my interest with Daxton. Oh, how I’m dying to have a boyfriend who is capable of taking me anywhere just by dreaming! I bet every girl out there wants a Daxton too!
On the unimpressive side, switching from one POV to another made me to question whether the use of first person perspective was wise. As a reader, I want to read something that is consistent throughout, where I don’t have to 'switch' myself and become another person. Perhaps, the author should have used third person perspective instead to better deliver the story. At least, I could be the bystander, witnessing everything as it unravels. Maybe the author had intended it that way too, to make readers to feel for themselves the emotions both Mira and Kassia felt for each other since they’re best-friends. It might have not worked for me, but it might work for other readers.
Even though the story was a bit teeny for me, my final verdict is this is a fairly good book. Teenagers out there would find this story both engaging and heart-warming, with endearing romance and stirring suspense. I definitely recommend the book, especially to teenage readers as the characters are teens themselves. Judging from the ending, I could tell that this book isn’t the end of the story.
on June 22, 2011
To start with, I was quite disappointed with the way the story is narrated. I expected something more detailed in terms of descriptions. Why? It’s because I want to read more and get lost in the story with the main character, Meredith. She wasn’t my favorite character; still I liked her naïve being that often made me sigh as I read on. Furthermore, I thought the first person point of view worked well in bringing her character to life in my mind's eye. However, to simply say that Summoning wasn’t well-written is forthrightly unfair. I liked the plot despite the narration being too simple and easy. The gripping horror was truly intriguing and I was quick to understand what the whole story is about. And the fact that the story is based on true event made me shudder even though I am already aware that such thing happened in the past – when laws were often biased and human rights were completely disregarded. Perhaps that’s why the author kept everything simple instead of adding some extra twists in the story, as ingenuity is utterly crucial. Summoning did bring out some messages in its story. The obvious one is love overpowers evil, even in trying times. I thought the mutual relationship between Meredith and Jonas was very moving. They held on to each other and Jonas’ loyalty to Meredith was unquestionable. At one point, I wanted to cry when Jonas was sentenced to death along with Meredith. The story also brought out the subject of corrupted minds of some important figures we often looked up to for guidance. Who would have thought that a priest would sell his soul and the soul of others to the devil in exchange for power? Yet, the issue still exists, among religious and political figures alike, in modern days, only in different circumstances.
As a final verdict, I really loved Summoning and enjoyed the disturbing ride it conveyed. I know readers out there would enjoy the book as much as I have. Therefore, this book is truly a recommended and must-read!
Finding My Escape
on Sep. 14, 2011
One word I could only muster after reading Fran Veal’s Finding My Escape, ‘Brilliant!’. Reading this book was a whole new intriguing experience; it was like watching a young adult version of ‘The Bourne Identity’, only with added romance and puzzling twists. Plus, I loved how the cover art quite precisely goes along with the story inside.
Overall, I thought this series (yes, it has a sequel!) deserve to be in someone’s must-read list, including mine. The ending will definitely give you a complete surprise. I can’t wait for the release and I so look forward to reading more of Fran Veal’s books.
on April 18, 2012
Paraglide was truly intriguing and engaging from the very beginning. I was still left breathless even after everything has ended and definitely looking forward to another adventure with Jim and Erica if there's any. This book is recommended to fans of Enid Blyton like myself and fans of middle-grade/YA contemporary thriller that even adult can enjoy.
What Kills Me
on Sep. 19, 2012
From the first page, this book had me hooked up with its fast-paced and intriguing plot. There was never a dull moment as Zee finds herself hunted by a group of vampire assassins across different continents, from Europe to Asia. That’s another thing about What Kills Me that I loved. I hate being confined in just one place and this book offered an endless adventure I always look forward to. Zee is absolutely one of the best female characters I’ve known. She isn’t too girly yet she never hesitates of showing her romantic side. She’s not too strong or overly independent yet she doesn’t afraid of the uncertainties she will face as an immortal. And Lucas obviously brings out the best in her. Lucas is a great companion and lover as well but I’ll elaborate more on his role as a ‘lover’ once I have a better ‘view’ of their relationship in the second book. Yes, you heard that right. I just found out that the author is working on the sequel, so…yay!
On the other hand, I was kept wondering if Zee will ever have a chance of seeing and saying a proper goodbye to her family and friends. Perhaps in the second installment the author will include the scene as I am eager to find out how her family and friends will react to her ‘demise’ since Zee is very close to them. Throughout the story, she is reminded occasionally of her loved ones and that was without doubt very upsetting. I couldn’t recall the last time I read a YA book with an MC who has a strong bond with her family and friends.
Overall, this book is a great kick-start for a series, full of witty humor, bad-ass villains and lovable protagonists. I’m so anticipating the sequels and I bet other readers are as well. Now I just to need keep fit so I can keep up with Zee and more of her adventures to come…and a lot more smooching with Lucas too!