KJ Southworth

Oakville

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Well crafted story

This was a well written and interesting adventure. I admit, for me, it lagged a little in the middle. But the beginning was so intriguing that I absolutely wanted to know what would happen to the protagonist. It took a while to get to the main story line but I never felt bored learning more about Wendell, his world and what he and his friends needed to do to survive. I think it's that careful character and world building that kept me reading. My only disappointment was that his childhood friends disappear from the story and that Violet and Karen don't have larger roles. I wanted to know more about all of them. Considering the patriarchal kingdom, it would have been intriguing to see the author delve into the princesses lives and how they truly felt about being given away as rewards. In other words, I enjoyed the characters and was eager to understand them a little better.

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Dark, insightful and hilarious.

I truly enjoyed this book. The narrator is deliciously intense with an inability to truly understand himself, which makes a perfect platform for this authoress' dark sense of humour. There is a wonderful blend of sumptuous and ironic setting descriptions, clever observations, witty dialogue and intriguing characters. The story itself flirts with satirical social commentary and explores important themes, the most compelling being human obsession with glamour and the media. I would burst out laughing one moment then reflect on my own personal demons the next. The title 'Illuminated' is a perfect description of the story: the authoress not only explores her main characters' existential crisis but also shines a light on an industry that bedazzles us with spectacle while preying on our self-criticism. There truly is 'illumination' throughout the entire plot.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something dark, insightful and hilarious.

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This is why I don't own any dolls.

This is a straightforward haunted house and haunted doll story. You have a nice family living in a nice home and then...the paranormal mystery begins to unfold. The best part is the slow reveal, discovering the truth of the matter versus the assumptions everyone makes. Each character joins the search and uses their expertise to learn who, what, and why.

I enjoyed how uncomplicated the story was. It has a satisfying ending. I kept thinking about some of my favourite horror movies as I read it. The grammar and punctuation are in definite need of polishing, which will give it a smoother style.

It was definitely entertaining.

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Just the beginning

The main conflict is tense and uncomfortable. It definitely catches your attention. I was so shocked I had to keep reading; sort of a deer caught in headlights situation. It's well written and I wanted the main character to get out of her screwed up situation more than anything. So the story is compelling if you can muscle past the rapey (etc.) themes. I did and was disappointed the full story isn't here. I really wanted to see if the author would grapple with female empowerment within misogynistic traditions. The story is set-up to do that but might not, which was mainly why I wanted to keep reading. I can only give it four stars because I don't know how it ends. But know I would definitely keep reading if it was all here. Just too lazy to navigate to another webpage. Considering the themes, I'd say this author is V.C. Andrews in werewolf form! From me, that's a compliment. ☺

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Creative and Charming!

This is a charming story. Two young sisters work together as they explore fascinating worlds full of magic and intrigue. I loved the descriptions of each one. It was a joy to adventure into them and see what the author would deliver next. The playful and alluring creativity kept me reading. And the wonderful mystery coupled with the cross-world treasure hunt is delightful! I did have trouble with the POV at times. It would switch from character to character during the scenes, and I think choosing one POV for each scene would increase the tension and round out the characters. It would also give the reader a chance to explore a deeper intimacy with them.

You have an inspiring imagination. I look forward to discovering The Madam's full story!

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Gorgeous writing

Prepare to be enraptured, This author describes the world and atmosphere in exquisite detail. I was transported to the shore line, watching in anguish as the sea devoured the earth. As the environment changes, so too must the people who inhabit it, and therein lies one of the major conflicts.

This is my criticism: the first chapter was a little confusing, I had trouble following the action. But that was ironed out in the second chapter. There were run-on sentences: I believe that as soon as they are broken up the tension and flow will benefit. Also, the first half of the story lacked an emotional layer, but that was fully rectified in the second half.

By the final chapters of this book I was fully committed to the main character; I was immersed in an intense culture clash, enjoying the character arcs and drinking in this author's insights. The ending was perfect, and I am hoping for a second book.

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Fascinating and Original

This was a fascinating story. Not only was the plot well-crafted, I loved meeting every new character. The author has a knack for creating interesting, believable backgrounds and arcs for every one of them--no small task considering how many there are. As a result, I was invested in their journey, and in every decision they made.
Because of the author's ability to bring characters to life, the antagonists did not disappoint! They were my favourite part of this book. It was exciting to watch catastrophe unfold as the different forms of villainy took hold of the plot. The mystery surrounding one was particularly well written and I was delighted the author chose to write this story from many different angles.
On a more critical note, there were some scenes where the many switches in POV were distracting. I would also love to see emotional worlds explored a little more, especially when the tension is rising, Considering this author's talent, however, it didn't detract from the plot's originality.
I highly recommend this compelling book and hope a sequel is in the works!

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well-crafted world and characters

I yearn for stories with strong, multi-dimensional female characters--this book fulfills that craving. You could plunk Grace and Regan into any world and I would enjoy reading about them. Add to that an exciting and engaging magical background with shapeshifters, mages, family secrets and immortals and I'm hooked. Truth be told, I love an author that creates a secret world inside of our own. It was fun and I want to become a Mehjan! :D

Note to the author: I loved how well you created Regan's strengths and flaws. Knowing she could make mistakes despite her capabilities really raised the tension. Well done!

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Inspiring creativity

In this story, the author has created an intriguing and compelling culture. I fell into the backstory and loved the world's history and legends. The heroes are wonderful character foils, giving you a full view of how the society has ordered itself. They were also well crafted and I felt I knew them within the first two chapters, which is always a good sign.

There were some issues with past tense and present tense: the narrative often switched between the two. It didn't detract too much from the flow. But it would just be a good idea to correct it to avoid confusion.

I really want to know more about the world you've created!

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When love takes a tragic turn.

This is a heartbreaking story. Because of her tragic past, the heroine struggles with feelings of worthlessness. Just as she thinks she has left her past behind, it ruthlessly pulls her back into a dramatic maelstrom. On the other side of the story, her one time high school tormentor is working tirelessly to be forgiven, and somehow gain her trust. I really enjoyed how the story was told from both of their perspectives. Set against a backdrop of shapeshifters and genetic testing that pinpoints your true love, this story takes many twists and turns. I felt keenly for both of the main characters.

There are definitely a few editing issues, but I never felt like there detracted from the story. This work was well written and well thought out.

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A beautiful start

I fell in love with the main character's story. The setting has so much flavour; the tone is exciting and intimate, as though you are enjoying a drink together with the narrator while she tells you a wild tale. This is a wonderful beginning to a story that will capture hearts and imaginations.

The creativity is spellbinding, but there are many technical issues that must be addressed. I was able to skip over most of them because I was intrigued with the plot, but they are distracting. Once they have been rectified everything will flow, the cadence will improve and the characters will come to life. I am eager to see what this writer can achieve. :D

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waiting for the sequel

This was a thrilling read. There was never a dull moment. From beginning to end I was excited to keep reading, to discover the secrets of quantum, and to see where the plot would take the characters. You must pay attention to the time line to feel the tension, which I struggled with at times because the story bounces all over the world, but you really want the main characters to succeed. Funnily enough, they have such an intriguing problem you can't really be sure what success would look like. I absolutely loved that ambiguity.

Style wise, this book is heavy on dialogue. Considering the subject matter, however, it makes sense and doesn't detract from the story. There are some technical problems with the writing that, once fixed, will definitely give the dialogue a smoother flow. Also, from my perspective, there was no need for so many romantic entanglements. But that is just a personal preference.

The author clearly says he is writing a trilogy -- I am eagerly awaiting the next piece of the puzzle.

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an interesting story

This story has such an interesting premise. It was well thought out and well executed. I was a little confused that the main female character wasn't more cautious around her husband after she had lost her memories of him. Otherwise, I enjoyed the characters.

There were grammatical and technical errors but nothing too distracting.

Well done!

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Please continue writing

Although the opening is fascinating, it took me a bit to get into the story. Once I had (around the fourth chapter), however, it was hard to stop reading. The dialogue is sharp and witty, the characters are well crafted and the world is intriguing. Even better, there is just enough description to put the reader into the world while allowing their imaginations to fill in the gaps, Because it isn't finished I gave the plot 4 stars, but if the author continues to write his story as well as he has it will turn into 5 stars when the story is done.

There were some major punctuation issues. It was a little distracting because it would disrupt the flow of the sentences. Once it's cleaned up the story will have far more impact.

This writer has wonderful talent. Please continue to write.

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Dark and gritty.

This story definitely sucked me in from the beginning. The author creates such an interesting dystopian society and then gets right into it's darkest realities. Our narrator is a product of this world and, though her past may haunt her, is a survivor. She's both tough and flawed, making her a compelling protagonist. This may be a romance set in a sci-fi setting but it echoes something in our own world, something that is far too easily ignored. Taking into account that it is also a romance the author has created a story that takes you up and down and all around. The tension would build and my heart would race. I was so happy when both of the main characters had to truly grow in order to stay together. Even better, the protagonist isn't afraid to say what needs to be said even though she desperately questions so many of her own actions. It is well crafted and I recommend to anyone who likes a darker romance, something that isn't afraid of the grittier side of the human experience.

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Wicked Sense of Humour

These first two chapters really had me chuckling. The contrast between the narrator and the setting is certainly intriguing. I have no idea where the plot is going to take us but I am really looking forward to the rest of this story. A small note : the first scene might not be necessary and should maybe be inserted further into the story. But until it is completed there's no way to tell.

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Great concept

I loved the concept for this story. The plot was well constructed and the main character's struggle kept me reading. There was even an interesting romance that had me blushing! It was definitely a fun read.

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Enjoyed it!

This was an enjoyable read. From the beginning I wanted to know how the main character would navigate everything that was going on around her and how she would mature from it. Her friends are interesting and make important character foils. The romance also builds nicely. I felt especially connected with the main character whenever she was with her mother. It was wonderful to see a strong and vulnerable character develop along with the plot.

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