Flash Reviews

Twitter For Writers by Rayne Hall

Twitter for Writers is a great book, particularly for indie authors, about how to engage with fans and peers and market yourself on Twitter. I liked that Hall has tips in every chapter for both newbs and more advanced twitter users. Although it’s a quick read, this book is packed with useful advice.

Readers who are looking for tips on how to market their novels without ‘wasting’ too much time having to put forth actual effort might want to steer clear, however. Hall’s advice-from sorting your feed into lists to cultivating followers who are actually interested in buying what you’re selling-will take both time and effort, especially upfront, but Halls’ results can’t be argued with.

Overall, I’m quite pleased I bought this book and have found most of its advice useful and easy to put into practice, and am looking forward to reading more in the Writer’s Craft series.

N or M? by Agatha Christie

N or M? isn’t one of Agatha Christie’s greatest works, but it’s an entertaining, cozy read that stands up to revisits.
Originally published in 1941, when Europe was at war, N or M? follows Tommy and Tuppence, who debuted in a first-world-war romp, in a new adventure. Now a settled, middle-aged couple, Tommy and Tuppence are desperate to find a way they can be useful to their country in the war their children are fighting in, and they accept an assignment to hunt for a suspected spy in a seaside boardinghouse where everyone seems to have sinister secrets.

Although the mystery itself was entertaining, I honestly enjoyed this novel more when the narrative focused on Tommy and Tuppence’s struggles to be taken seriously and prove that they weren’t too old for some more feats of derring-do. The other guests at the house were all appropriately menacing and mysterious as necessary, with red herrings on every other page, and most of the threads tied up pretty nicely at the end (though that thing about which Tommy and Tuppence are in unspoken agreement about at the end made me wish Dame Agatha had lived much longer, so we could have had more adventures).

Overall, while N or M? doesn’t break the mold, it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours.

Review: The Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Title: The Lost and Found
Author: E. L. Irwin
Format: E-book
Note: I was given an ARC of this ebook in order to provide an honest review.

The Plot: After tragedy strikes, eighteen-year-old Crimson Sage Smyth and her younger brother, Ethan, move in with their grandfather, Billy, who runs a ranch for troubled boys. Once there, Crimson struggles to deal with her losses and sort out her feelings for Josiah, a hunky, tattooed loner who works on the ranch. Revelations about Crimson’s past and danger looming in her future hang over both of them, but if they’re lucky enough, these two lost souls may find each other just in time.

The Verdict: I have mixed feelings about this novel. On the one hand, the writing is competent and the story is engaging. Despite some telling rather than showing, it was a fun experience. I read this book in one sitting and didn’t find myself checking my watch. However, the lead is very much an Alpha Male type, and is possessive and has anger issues, and I felt that the relationship wasn’t always healthy. There’s an unfortunate ‘slut’ stereotype character, and the novel’s views on abortion and premarital sex come through just a bit too pointedly. However, if you like possessive alpha male hero types, you will probably enjoy it.

The Rating: 5.5/10


Review: Chasing McCree

chasing mccree cover resize

Title: Chasing McCree
Author: J.C. Isabella
Format: E-Book

The Plot: High-schooler Briar Thompson’s having the most humiliating night of her life when displaced cowboy Chase McCree literally rides in and helps her out. They soon become best friends, but when Briar decides to spend the summer with Chase on his Montana ranch, will that friendship turn into something more? And who’s responsible for the break-ins and vandalism on the ranch?

The Verdict: Cheesy but adorable, especially for younger/tween readers. Look, it’s a novel about a girl being swept off her feet by a gentleman cowboy from Montana. The relationship is incredibly sweet, there are plenty of hijinks, and there’s a fun subplot concerning vandalism and goings-on at his ranch that’ll keep you guessing. It’s got some corny parts, but it embraces them and rides off into the sunset with them in the cutest possible way.

The Rating: 8/10

Some Spoilers Under the Cut


Review: The Last Orphans

The Last Orphans

I really wanted to like The Last Orphans, based on both its plot synopsis and title, but, unfortunately, I didn’t. The setup is intriguing-after all the adults around are seemingly killed in incredibly gruesome ways, Shane, a high school junior, ends up in charge of a group of ragtag kids which includes Kelly, his longtime crush. Together, they must find out what’s going on and figure out how to survive.

Unfortunately, the execution lacked a lot. While the imagery and descriptions were pretty fantastic-seriously, the scene with the bees almost gave me hives-that was the only thing that worked for me.


Review: Cinderella and the Colonel

Cinderella and the Colonel

Although I enjoyed K. M. Shea’s previous novels, I had some nitpicks with them-overused cliches or stock characters, abrupt endings. However, Cinderella and the Colonel completely bypassed those and told an immensely entertaining story.

Shea’s take on the Cinderella story places Cinderella as the duchess of a war-torn country which was invaded by a neighboring country a few years earlier; Cinderella’s love interest is a Colonel of the invading army, which sets the scene for some friction between the two characters (as well as some hilarious scenes in the early stages of their acquaintance).


Review: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? by Ella Martin

Title: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?
Author: Ella Martin
Format: Ebook

The Plot: Life’s going great for Westgate Prep sophomore Bianca Sullivan: she’s a homecoming princess, smoldering hot Dante Schwartz is interested in her, and between Bond movie nights, Halloween parties, and drama auditions with her friends, her social schedule is packed with fun. But Bianca soon discovers that Dante’s not charming—and he’s definitely no prince. How will she deal with a troubled relationship with a guy her brother and friends can’t stand?

The Verdict: Not only is Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up cute and intensely enjoyable, it features some well-rounded characters and an unhealthy relationship that—wait for it—is actually written as unhealthy and a bad thing for our protagonist to be in (a refreshing change from a lot of YA/NA novels).

Rating: 9/10


Review: These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Format: Hardcover

The Plot: Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are from different worlds. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, while Tarver, a recently-promoted war hero, hails from humbler origins. Nothing would normally come of their chance meeting on the starship Icarus, but when the Icarus crashes on a mysterious planet, Lilac and Tarver must learn to rely on each other in order to survive.

The Verdict: This book is awesome. I’m not hugely into YA science fiction, but this novel managed to overcome any misgivings I might have had and catapult its way onto my favorites list. Although the worldbuilding could have been better, the intriguing storyline, fantastic characters, and the wonderfully believable relationship that blooms between Tarver and Lilac more than make up for that.

The Rating: 9/10


Review: The Grendel Affair

Title: The Grendel Affair
Author: Lisa Shearin
Format: Mass Market Paperback

The Plot: Makenna Fraser, a seer, loves her new job at SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations), an organization that protects humans and supernatural beings from each other while keeping humans unaware of the paranormal, but when she discovers a plot to set grendels loose in New York City on New Year’s Eve, her job description suddenly gets a lot more dangerous.

The Verdict: Although light, Lisa Shearin’s debut is a great little (literally; it doesn’t hit 300 pages) urban fantasy, with an engaging protagonist and plenty of action.

The Rating: 7/10


Review: The Ice Princess

Title: The Ice Princess
Author: Camilla Lackberg
Format: Paperback

The Premise: The Ice Princess, by Camilla Läckberg, is a Swedish mystery set in the small town of Fjällbacka. When the apparent suicide of a successful woman turns out to be murder, one of her childhood friends and a police detective team up to solve the murder and discover its connection to the twenty-five year old of a local man.

The Verdict: Despite some debut-novel blunders and the predictability of its plot twists, Läckberg’s wonderful characterization and skillful use of POV manage to carry the story, and The Ice Princess is a solid and engaging, albeit not groundbreaking, start to a series.

The Rating:  4/5


Review: Princess Ahira

Title: Princess Ahira
Author: K. M. Shea
Format: Ebook

The Plot: On her sixteenth birthday, Ahira, an unconventional princess, is abducted by dragons and becomes the personal captive princess of Azmaveth, a friendly duke of the dragons. During her stay among the dragons, Ahira has several adventures and befriends Azmaveth’s human steward, Kohath, and a wizard, Aaron. When war (led by the Valkyries) looms over the dragons, Ahira must find a way to help her new friends.

The Verdict: Princess Ahira is not incredibly original and has several flaws, but is eminently likable and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the friendships between Ahira and Azmaveth and Ahira and Kohath, although I found Shea’s treatment of most female characters irritating.

The Score: 3.5/5


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