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Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Penny Black trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice Omnibus, Crossing, The Toilet Business - a collection of humorous essays, and multiple short stories. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel or Reina Stowe, but knows she's not foolin' anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her two young children with old people names. When she's not writing or thinking about writing, she's at Crossfit, lifting heavy things and cursing the inventor of the Burpee.
Jessica E. Subject
on April 18, 2011 :
*This is a combined review of the first three books in the Day of Sacrifice series.*
The story begins with Flora waking up - naked after an all-night bender - to her Guardian telling her she quits. A message left for Flora from her sister indicates she is in danger and needs a Guardian more than ever. It is only three days until her day of sacrifice. As the oldest child, at 21 she must give her life for her family. She must be there and alive to grant her family favors from the Gods. It has been tradition in all paranormal families for centuries, but she soon finds out there are many secrets her family her kept from her, including the fact that she is not her family's true sacrifice.
The series follows Flora's struggle to stay alive and her fight against the gods to end the horrible tradition of sacrificing young adults. The Prophecy begins with immediate conflict and drew me quickly into the story. The background information was presented in the action but did not slow down the pacing of the story. Rebellion fits right in where The Prophesy left off, but also works as a stand-alone. The pace is slower in the beginning, but speeds up to keep the story moving. Dormant is another stand-alone but a great addition to the Day of Sacrifice story. While there is not as much action, this story carried the same intensity by playing with my mind.
Each story brings about the development of two different characters and their relationship with each other. They are all involved in the fight against the gods, but each one finds and/or fights for love.
Day of Sacrifice is a fabulous paranormal romance series. I look forward to reading the next story, Takeover, which is set to release in July 2011.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 22, 2011 :
I felt like this was a step up on the action front in this series. It did not end where I would have ended it, but hey, author's choice. I really enjoyed Cara and Abel, and I felt like this was a really good continuation of Day of Sacrifice. Really looking forward to the third installment.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 29, 2011 :
The second book in the DoS series opens just before the ending of the first book, Day of Sacrifice: The Prophecy. When the first book ended with a cliffhanger, I had questions that needed answers. Where the heck did they all come from? How did they know to do that? Where did they go? And also, what happens to Julian? Well, the book continues with the storyline so we do get to see what happens immediately after the cliffhanger ending in the first book and questions get answered. This installment revolves around Cara (mother of Aiden) and Abel, another Guardian. Flora and Julian from the first book still play a part in this book so I did get a sense of their continuing story, but I was hoping their relationship would get more attention.
The rebellion against the Gods continues. A small group of Guardians and Sacrifices have banded together to fight the Gods, fulfill the prophecy, and stop the Sacrifices. They have regrouped at Julian's homestead in the Outer Territory. Abel has been assigned to protect Cara whose son was recently sacrificed to the Gods. She is a strong witch who can control the air and also a healer. I didn’t really get a feel for Abel’s back story. I wanted to know more about him.
Their feelings for each other grow as the story progresses, but I don't feel there was any resolution to that relationship by the end of the book so I will be interested to see if it will continue in some way as a part of the future stories. This world is not just made up of witches and angels -- there is also a vampire and a werewolf in this one but the vampire is the more prominent secondary character. I wonder if we will see him in the future as there seemed to be a hint of a relationship.
The books so far are short at around 16K words, which is novelette size (somewhere between a short story and a novella), so there isn't a lot of room to really delve into the characters and flesh them out. I would have liked more character development, but at the same time I didn't really feel cheated. The author does a good job of presenting characters the reader can care about given the short amount of space to work within each book.
If you have seen my other reviews for Stacey's books then you know I already enjoy her writing style. It is tight and engaging without a lot of superfluous scenes that don't add anything to the story. There was one brief scene though that seemed to defy the laws of gravity. I read this scene several times and it still doesn't make sense to me. This is the scene where Abel scoops Cara up in his “arms" then a moments later (while still holding her) he moves Cara's hand from his chest to around his neck. Um, did he grow a third arm? If he let go of Cara to do this, wouldn't her legs drop to the floor? I haz confusion...or I’m missing something.
The books in this series are short but I think of them more like a TV series where the story continues with each episode and you have to stay tuned to the same bat-time and same bat-channel to find out what happens next. Speaking of which, the next book in this series is titled Dormant: Forever United and is expected to be out sometime around March or April 2011.
If you liked the first book in this series then I think you will enjoy this book. Due to the continuing nature of the story in this series and because the short length doesn’t allow for much of any back story, I recommend reading them in order or you will probably be at a loss as to what is going on.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Jan. 27, 2011 :
"Rebellion" is the second novella in a series by indie paranormal YA author, Stacey Wallace Benefiel. The world in this novella series is full of magic and paranormal archetypes – angels, vampires, witches – OH MY! Of course, they're all pretty hot too, especially the angels. In this world, it is required of the families to sacrifice their oldest child to the Gods to receive favor from them. The oldest children in this world never lead a normal life, as we learned in the first part of this series. Some of the parents feel guilt and try to be the best parents they can as long as they have their child while others are filled with greed, looking forward to their child's sacrificial death and the wealth & favor they will receive from the Gods.
In "Rebellion", we pick up just after the first book with a character we were briefly introduced to last time. Cara is the mother of a sacrifice who was best friend to our heroine from part one and ward to her Guardian angel lover. I loved getting to know Cara better. She is a deep and powerful character in this segment of the series. She had a tough time last book and it was great to see her overcome her grief and difficulties to take a stand against the Gods and the infrastructure of their world. It was also nice to see her finally see some happiness as well.
Novellas are a difficult medium in literature. Long enough to have complex plots, but short enough that you need to keep things moving or well, you won't be writing a novella anymore! The problem with this novella that in order to keep a pretty complex world and characters alive, we lose a lot of the actual plot development. Upon starting this novella, you are abruptly thrust back into the world introduced last time around. Now, again, I understand that this is a novella however even a one or two paragraph recap to help smooth over the transition would have been nice. I've read quite a few books since I read the first novella so my first reaction was “Whaaaa!?!?!?!” It made me a bit dizzy and that feeling was hard to overcome as the plot keep going along its merry way without a lot of explanation. I remember there being a prophecy, but I couldn't remember exactly what it was or how these characters related to it. Luckily, due to reading this on my e-reader (LOVE you, Amazon Kindle!), I was able to go brush up. However, I do not feel that should have been necessary in order to have the audience fully enjoy this book. There should have been some sort of transition between the two novellas. I felt like the first novella ended a bit abruptly and was rushed at times to fit the format. Maybe these would be a better novel with a little more time and development? Just a thought. The one downfall I've found in Ms. Benefiel's writing overall is some choppiness and lack of needed exposition. I think that is partially due to being an independent author. She doesn't have the time and money backing up her writing that mainstream authors have.
Overall, an enjoyable, quick read for those interested in the paranormal (with focus on angels). Stacey Wallace Benefiel's writing has a lot of potential and I think that with more time, she could develop into being an awesome young adult writer. Look for these novellas and her other novels on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. The e-published ones are very affordable and worth every penny.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Jan. 16, 2011 :
Review for both books: Day of Sacrifice and Rebellion/ crossposted from I Work For Books
I found these books over at Smashwords, looking for something short and exciting to read and let me tell you, they didn't disappoint. These two short stories/novellas follow Flora Hamilton, the first-born of the Supernatural Hamilton family and for that, the one who has to be sacrificed on her 21st birthday to the gods, so that their grace continues to provide the family with fortune and luck and prosperity.
Original? I thought so too. I hadn't read anything like that before.
Flora's birthday is in three days and she is trying to live life as passionately as she can, indulging in alcohol consumption, going out and generally being a bit wild... It is after a party that she wakes up hangover and beat. So much that her "guardian angel" quits and it is at that point in time, where she stands so vulnerable that an assassin comes after her. Why? you could ask, she would be sacrificed in three days anyways...
Well, supernatural families rely solely on these sacrifices for the continuation of the prosperity and the maintenance of their extraordinary powers. The sooner they make use of the good fortune, the sooner it exhausts and since a sacrifice is made every 21 years, there is a possibility that the grace of the gods will be exhausted sooner than that. This is what happened to the Fitzerald family, rival to the Hamiltons. They have no more grace left but Mr Fitzerald is hungry for power and as Mr Hamilton doesn't wish to do business with him anymore, he seeks revenge by killing his firstborn, hence taking away his grace as well.
Lucky for Flora, even though she knew she was to be killed, she didn't just have mindless fun, but dedicated herself to practicing the fire magic she possessed, becoming quite the formidable witch. As soon as her sister, Fauna, warns her she barely escapes the assassins attempts to save her, while at the same time her best friend, Aiden, gets sacrificed because he just turned 21. His Guardian, Julian, watched both Aiden and Flora grow up so he hurries to rescue her when she is attacked again out in the street.
Hoping for help, they go to Flora's father but he doesn't want to hear of anything else than preparations for her sacrifice. Consequently, Flora and Julian flee and it is there in his own safe house that they bond and Julian is compelled to reveal to her what is really going on... Something that leads to ... Rebellion...
In the second story we follow Julian and Flora as they try to overturn the regime and make sure that supernatural families are no longer obliged to sacrifice their firstborn child. You'd think most if not all people would jumo at this opportunity and join the rebellion army to save their children right?
Well think again...Some supernaturals really DO NOT want to lose their powers, the first being Fitzerald and Aiden's dad, Mr Grant. His wife and Aiden's mother, Cara Grant, being a powerful witch and a wicked spell/potion maker joins the rebellion and what happens is magical and tragic and dramatic and everything in between.
Can you tell I loved these stories?
I can't believe I have to wait till April for the next story! :(
Even though the first story was 28 pages and the second 38, they felt almost complete. Of course, I' d love it if we could have them expanded and elaborated on, so that we could get an even better feel of Flora, Julian, Fauna, Clark, Abel, Cara, Alexander, Meagan...
The language was nice and it flowed harmoniously, the dialogues and plot were believable and young adults acted the way we expect them to act. It was packed with action with a dash of romance (a generous dash) and adventure and drama, with a little sprinkling of humor. XD
In just a few pages, the author helped us create our own image of the characters in our mind and really get inside their head, as it was described through different people. Not exactly POV, but the characters feelings and thoughts were described.
All characters apart from Grant and Fitzerald were likable and I have indeed, difficulty in choosing my favorite character. Of course, Flora and Julian started everything, but Cara and Abel were adorable and I'd love to know more about Fauna and Clark who are clearly meant to be!
Verdict: For short stories, Day of Sacrifice and Rebellion were a fascinating read that kept me at the edge of my seat never wanting to stop reading. It was a real bummer that we had a cliffhanger and we have to wait for April.. I want the new story now darnit! :P
Rating: About 4 and 4 1/2 stars! Don't miss the chance to read the
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Jan. 13, 2011 :
Another great read, but honestly I expect nothing else from Stacey. DOS pulled me in and part 2 kept me wanting more- who doesn't love witches, vampires and angels? I was excited to see Julian and Flora and some of the gang back for more action, but also liked that the story introduced new characters that messed well. I do feel like before you read this you MUST buy part 1 and read that, also if you already read it- read it again before reading this. Being a short story I feel like you need all the information you can get!
While everything screams danger I could not help but laugh through some of the scenes- which is great because it just feels so relatable-in a crazy, never going to happen but sooo wish I had some hot sup waiting for me kind of way. Her vamp is awesome & I hope he has a bigger role next time around and I also can't wait to see how this all comes together in part 3. I think I'm going to go build a pantry while I wait for April to roll around:)
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Jan. 08, 2011 :
I thoroughly enjoyed this next installment to "Day of Sacrifice". It was everything I was expecting and more.
Stacey brilliantly introduced some more characters for us to cling to and cry over when they are in danger. Instead of looking through Flora and Julian's eyes, this time we get to know two new characters that just make the storyline glisten.
Cara we briefly knew of from the first book, her son being Julian's last charge, and Abel a new Guardian that throws more excitement, love and adventure into it all.
These books are such fast reads but I totally love them. She writes the story so freely, everything flowing into each other. And now we finally get some vamps and were's included now too.
So can't wait for the next book. April can't come any quicker. :)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Jan. 06, 2011 :
What a fantastic addition to this storyline! The more I read from this author the more I love her!
I was a bit concerned at first when I realized that Julian and Flora weren't going to be showcased as much as they were in Day of Sacrifice, but I should have known better than to worry. Not only do I now have more characters that I adore, I have more of the story that is unraveling magnificently.
Cara and Abel are marvelous. Perfect for each other and perfect for the storyline. I think bringing in Cara, a motherly figure, was a great idea. We have these kids who were only raised to die who now have a reason to live. Having Guardians is one thing, but Cara brings real heart to the story.
It's also nice to bring in Vampires and werewolves, I'm so curious as to what's going to happen next! I can wait to get a more in depth look at the other characters and their stories. But I do love that Flora and Julian still have a huge role.
Grrr... I'm not going give any spoilers no matter how much I want to. Just know that this is a fantastic series by a brilliant author!
(reviewed the day of purchase)