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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the things I love in a book!, April 14, 2012
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This review is from: The Shadow Reader (A Shadow Reader Novel) (Kindle Edition)
Wow! What a read. This book has all the things I look for--superb writing, good character development, well-crafted plot lines, nail-biting tension, great world building, and lots of action. Shadow reader starts off with a bang and ends with boom. I couldn't put it down.

I've always avoided books written in present tense, just an aversion I can't explain. But this book was intriguing enough that I gave it a try. Within its opening paragraphs, I had forgotten my aversion due to Ms. Williams' skillful writing and was swept into the action at a dizzying pace.

McKenzie is the stealth bomber of the fae world--she uses her unique talent working for the royal fae court helping them hunt down and kill their enemy. As an irreplaceable weapon of mass destruction, McKenzie is highly prized. She is either to be possessed or be destroyed, neither of which she wants. From the opening sequences where she is kidnapped by fae freedom fighters, she becomes the pawn of two warring factions. Her world is shattered as her journey takes her from blind allegiance to questioning everything she has ever known and believed, to reconciling the truths and lies of two worlds. Woven throughout the storyline are the two men who vie for her loyalty and love. Two very hot men, durst I say.

Some reviewers have complained about these dynamic, awesome men fighting for mousy, spineless McKenzie's attention. So, I'll spell it out.

(1) No one refers to her McKenzie as plain and mousy other than herself. She describes herself as having plain brown hair and brown eyes.
(2) Lena, a female freedom fighter, instantly sees McKenzie as a threat and reacts to her with jealousy and hatred.
(3) McKenzie has been with Kyol since she was 16. Do men really flock around a girl wearing a great big "Hands Off" sign? Not many, frankly
(4) McKenzie's a bookworm and has lived a life that has kept attention from coming her way.
(5) She has secrets, she has a secret world she protects, and she avoids attention.

As a result, in McKenzie's eyes, she's not particularly attractive.

There are tons of clues in the book about McKenzie. Brown is a many-hued color--rarely ever is it mousy--but it is common. She's "thin, but not dainty." Two gorgeous men are after her. One beautiful woman is jealous of her. She probably does have beautiful hair and eyes, is definitely shapely, and most likely is very cute. She's principled, loyal, spunky, smart, compassionate, determined, courageous, and mysterious. These attributes make McKenzie her own person, not easily swayed. Sure, she may not be a trained warrior or fighter, but she's valiant. All of this makes her total man-candy. While she could be frustrating in her single-minded steadfastness, it was refreshing to see a heroine who maintained her integrity and her ethics.

During Shadow Reader, the balance of the rights and wrongs in the war shift back and forth. Loyalties and relationships are reshaped and reformed. McKenzie chooses between the two men (my heart's favorite--thank goodness). But, this is the first book in the series and the author makes no qualms about letting us know that McKenzie's choice is rather flimsy because her heart is divided. On the one hand, McKenzie's choice may fill readers with disappointment and hope; or, on the other, it could fill them with relief and uneasiness. Something for everyone. There is a long way to go in the telling of this story and learning about these characters and their world and it will unfold in books to come.

Have you ever experienced reading a book that is so good that you lose all interest in reading anything else after it's over? This was such a book for me. I didn't have the will and there wasn't room enough in my head for anything else. Yes, it's that good. This promises to be one of the best urban fantasy series ever.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 29, 2012 8:54:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 29, 2012 12:21:39 PM PDT
Don Reed says:
"I had forgotten my aversion due to Ms. Williams' skillful writing & was swept into the action at a dizzying pace."

"This review is from: The Shadow Reader (A Shadow Reader Novel) (Kindle Edition)"

EC: May I suggest the following?

Amazon rarely - in fact, almost never - lists all of the book's vital statistics, so to speak.

In this case, they listed a book without the name of the author! So when "Ms. Williams" pops up in your review, it's a "--- Who She?!" moment.

I start my reviews with the following to preemptively eliminate confusion re Who What When Why How ---

[Post Note: "Add 'Where,' Don, Add - " --- "Careful there, buddy. Might create phonetical confusion - 'Adware'!" --- "Thank you, Buttinski! Now, may I continue dispensing my usual gratuitous advice?!"]

The format consistently states:

1) Title; 2) Author(s); 3) Publisher (name of the publishing company's subsidiary first if necessary, but always followed by the actual publisher's ultimate corporate title); 4) Copyright Year of Publication; & 5) If relevant, if what was bought was a hardcover or paperback (this quite often matters, greatly).


"Travels In Siberia, Ian Frazier; Picador [Farrar, Straus & Giroux] (2010 paperback edition)"

"Czars, Russia's Rulers For Over One Thousand Years, James Duffy & Vincent Ricci; Barnes & Noble, Inc. (1995)"

"This Petty Pace, A Book of Drawings; Mary Petty; Alfred A Knopf (1945)"


The zest in your review actually makes it interesting to read about a book whose genre I wouldn't normally be willingly to get involved with, even if generously bribed. Good work, I say.

Be well.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2012 11:05:48 AM PDT

So, like, how did you know that I'm really trying to understand what makes a good review and to write better reviews as a result? These are great tips and I'll incorporate them.

I really wish that, when a person registers a negative vote, they would tell you why. That's why I like comments so much, even if they're negative. They just help improve my reviews.

I'm finding that the Harriet bidness has been a creative outlet for that, particularly in going back to the books that I've read and enjoy and then comparing her reviews. By the time I've finished commenting, I've actually written a review. Another reason why my own reviewing has slowed to a desultory pace.
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