Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

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Smashwords book reviews by Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

  • Edge of Escape on May 09, 2011

    If you want to read a great story that’s fast paced and full of action, definitely check this one out. The whole book is quite atmospheric, with some very tense moments. You wonder what will happen, whether Rebecca will escape, and why Eddie kidnapped her in the first place. At times the narrative was a bit confusing, as it featured flashbacks and changes in perspective. This might bother some readers, but I found it generally easy enough to figure out, though I did have a few “Wait, what?? … Ohhh!” moments. These didn’t detract from the overall story, however. The book also features some very interesting psychological aspects, including questions and observations of how trauma, neglect, and abuse can change people. These things made me wonder if there are excuses for horrible, illegal behaviour, or if every person is responsible for their actions, no matter what. My only frustration with this book, and it is a large one, was Rebecca’s opinion of Eddie at the end. I don’t want to give anything big away, but if I were her I would have had a completely different attitude. Perhaps it’s because as a reader we get to see so many people’s perspectives, but Rebecca seems naive and clueless in those moments, which really upset me, because she was such a strong, fighting character throughout the book. I would definitely recommend this cat and mouse story to all readers. It features lots of twists and turns and unexpected happenings. Up until the end you will wonder what exactly happened, which makes for a great book, in my opinion. If you’re looking for a quick, action-packed read, then look no further.
  • Doggirl on May 14, 2011

    If you like dogs at all (even a tiny bit) stop what you're doing and buy this eBook. Seriously, if you have a soft spot for animals you are going to want to read this book. Robin Brande has written a story that will pull on your heartstrings. This is a sweet story about a girl named Riley who slowly overcomes her social anxieties, letting go of past hurts as she learns to fit in and trust people, instead of just relying on her dogs. Riley's understanding of, and love for, her dogs is really special. If you believe in human-animal connections you will love reading about how much Riley cares for her animals and how well she knows them. The animal training aspect of the book is amazing. It is so cool what animals can do when they work with a trainer, and all the tricks described in the book sound amazing. It made me wish I could see the play performed in real life. This is a great book for younger YAs because Riley is a younger teenage character, and the message her story presents is a great one. I think we can all relate to feeling like we don't fit in at one point or another, and Robin Brande addresses that issue in this book. Riley learns to accept herself and trust other people, and it is really lovely seeing such a sweet girl get her chance to shine. With Robin Brande's awesome conversational writing style I really felt like Riley was talking to me and telling me her story. This is just a really great heartwarming story, and it's definitely one to pick up if you're looking for something which addresses more serious issues like bullying and social anxiety while still remaining sweet and light.
  • Dirty Blood on June 20, 2011

    3.5 stars What a fun read! Initially I thought it was going to be a cliche paranormal romance, but I have to say that Heather Hildenbrand surprised me. I pride myself on being flat-out honest, so I have to say that I wasn't really looking forward to reading another werewolf story. I started to read this book because of Indie Author Month and that's it. But very quickly I found myself caring about Tara, the main character. Are there a few cliches in the book? Yes, I would say there are. But was it easy to look past these and enjoy the story? Yes, absolutely. Heather has done some very believable world building, adding structure and a back story to the hunters and wolves. Any questions I was left with were ones that Tara (or even the others) wouldn't have known about, and I believe that any curiosity I have about certain characters or events will be answered in Book 2. One reason why I really liked Tara is how tough she was. You could really feel her frustration about being kept in the dark, but she was never whiny about it (bonus!). As a reader you got frustrated along with her and cheered when she stood up for herself. Tara might fall for a certain mysterious boy named Wes but she doesn't take any crap from him, which really endeared me to her. Tara doesn't let people baby her, but she also doesn't mind being taken care of, as long as everyone is straight with her. The whole concept of "Dirty Blood" (you'll have to read the book to find out exactly what it is) and the idea of "The Cause" are absolutely intriguing. The whole story kept me on my toes wondering what might happen or what secret might be revealed next. I'm not sure if the book adds anything particularly unique to the genre, but it sure is entertaining. If you're looking for an action packed paranormal story with a likable narrator and an interesting cast of side characters, then definitely give 'Dirty Blood' a try.
  • Parallelogram (Book 1: Into the Parallel) on Aug. 01, 2011

    This was such a perfect read at a perfect time for me. Robin Brande writes in such an awesome straightforward manner. I love how it felt like Audie, the main character, was speaking right to the reader. The best thing about this book is that there's actually science behind the science fiction. Most books to do with parallel worlds or time travel tend to gloss over the specifics, but Brande brings scientific theories right to the foreground. No worries, though, if you're not a science geek. You'll still be able to understand and appreciate all the science-y information being brought forth. Mostly it was just refreshing to see a science fiction title actually rooted in science. 'Into the Parallel' introduces a sort of Fringe-like parallel world to the one Audie is living in. There are people who look alike, but who have different names and different personalities. I loved all the differences between the 2 universes, as well as the differences between the look-alike characters themselves. I don't want to say much more because reading the book is an incredible journey on its own. I have yet to be disappointed by Robin Brande. I can always count on her books to contain great characters and interesting, issue-driven plots. 'Into the Parallel' was refreshing and absolutely satisfying, leaving me desperately wanting Book 2.
  • Twenty-Somewhere on Nov. 07, 2011

    Kristan Hoffman describes her book by saying “Think Sex and the City meets Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” I really love this description because it makes it clear that the book is about a group of close-knit friends. The thing I loved about ‘Twenty-Somewhere’ is that it’s set right after the girls (Sophie, Claudia and MJ) graduate from college. I haven’t read that many books that take place during this time, so that made it interesting for me. Hoffman did a good job describing the girls' feelings as they deal with new homes, new jobs, new loves, and just a whole lot of new situations. While I really loved the concept (and even the plot) of the book, I had a hard time with the style of writing. For some reason the present tense really threw me off, and I had a hard time differentiating between characters at first. I never really felt like I got to know the characters all that well, perhaps because of the third person narration, but also because of the abundance of dialogue. The lack of lengthy descriptions and the short section breaks make ‘Twenty-Somewhere’ easy to read and kept me turning the pages, but it also kept me from feeling totally involved with the characters. As this book won the St. Martin's Press "New Adult" contest it’s clear that it has a lot of potential. If you’re looking for something quick and easy to read that also contains humour and heartache, then ‘Twenty-Somewhere’ might be for you. This book covers a topic which could be pretty heavy, but Kristan makes it light and funny, having her characters find strength in their new situations.
  • The Christmas Gift on Nov. 30, 2011

    'The Christmas Gift' is (surprisingly, I know) a short story about Christmas and the power of love (cue Marty McFly guitar solo here). Okay, to be serious now: it’s a short story that focuses on the connection that little girls have with their dolls. I thought it was a pretty sweet Christmas story. It’s fairly predictable in plot and theme, but it has heart, and I could picture parents reading it to their little girls as a yearly Christmas tale. There was a lot of power of imagination at work with Constance the doll being able to think and feel. Normally I would want some reason for this, but in a short story I can excuse it and have fun just appreciating the emotion behind the story. Overall, definitely a cute Christmas story.