Smashwords book reviews by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
EyeLeash: A Blog Novel (teenage memoir)
on May 22, 2010
I sat down to read the first twenty pages or so of EYELEASH and ended up reading the entire novel. The blog/IM style it's written in helps keep up the pace-I had to know how everything between Jade and Novan turned out! I enjoyed the way the author used the nuances of things such as file names to complete the characterization. This added humor and humility to these young adults who, as they are prone to be, were full of teenage angst and confusion at times. At several points while reading EYELEASH I felt like I was experiencing a YA Bridget Jones' Diary.
Hush Money (Talent Chronicles)
on Aug. 06, 2010
I just finished Hush Money and am totally jonesing for the next book already! Loved this book. The main character, Joss, is snarky, strong, insecure, and protective-all things that make her a realistic heroine. I enjoyed her voice and also reading things from Dylan's (her crush) point of view. The back and forth between the two really kept the story moving. The action sequences were written well-easy to imagine and quite exciting! I can't wait to find out more about all of the characters and how they use their super powers. Great debut!
Haunting Miss Trentwood
on Nov. 20, 2010
Haunting Miss Trentwood was an enjoyable historical/paranormal read. While many of the usual suspects that you would find in an Austen novel are represented, Miss Kroll gives them a supernatural tweak.
The heroine, Mary, has suffered great loss: Both of her parents have died and she is left in charge of the debt-ridden crumbling family manor. Since the day of her father's funeral, when she is sure that she saw her father crawl from his grave, Mary has been haunted by him. I loved this father/daughter relationship. Mr. Trentwood was not a perfect man, but he was caring father who wanted to see his daughter live a happy life, so much so that he haunts her until she does what he knows is best for her!
Mary has another man looking out for her, her butler/houseman Pomeroy. Pomeroy has some of the best lines in the book and is a funny and loveable character. He snoops and orchestrates and protects Mary-he is like her other parent.
Mr. Steele is the handsome suitor/buffoon. Rejected as an acceptable mate for Mary by Trentwood, Steele continues on his merry way and forgets about Mary until he comes to the manor to read Trentwood's will. Steele is good for comic relief-he's pretty to imagine and slightly silly, but not malicious.
Mrs. Durham, Mary's aunt who lives with her, was the least fleshed out character for me in a novel of great characters. We are told she is evil and crazy, but don't see a lot of evidence of this until near the end. I perhaps wanted a bit more backstory on her.
I've saved Hartwell for last. You are meant to swoon at his frankness, his dashing, his destroyed former good looks, and I certainly did. The banter between him and Mary is classic. You know they're going to end up together from the start, but the journey is delicious.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical romance. The paranormal aspects only add to the story and don't make it too "weird" or stray too far from the genre.
The Other Side of Life (Book #1, Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy)
on Aug. 03, 2011
Another fantastic, fun and thought-provoking read from Jess C. Scott. She's combined several elements seemlessly in one book - fantasy, social commentary, romance, technology, astrology and action/adventure. Jess has a wild imagination and her writing is clean. Even though I'm not the most tech-savvy or science-minded person, all of those components in the story were easy for me to understand. I recommend everyone take a look at The Other Side of Life and I look foward to book two, The Darkside of Life.
on Aug. 30, 2011
I read Red in one sitting and really enjoyed it. It had all the things that I like in a YA paranormal romance - a tough heroine, a swoonworthy boy, romance, action, and an interesting twist on a familiar story. What most surprised me was the attention to detail that Ms. Nolan paid the setting. A good portion of the book takes place in the woods and I constantly marvelled at the level of research she must have done to make all the orienteering and survivalist components believeable and correct. Well done!