Romance author Ashley Stoyanoff is the recipient of two Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for young adult and newbie fiction. Her first book, The Soul’s Mark: FOUND, came out in 2012. Her other passions include reading and shopping for the latest fashions. Learn more about Ashley and her work at ashleystoyanoff.com.
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Smashwords book reviews by Ashley Stoyanoff
on May 11, 2012
Aventurine Heart by Carole Wood – Book Review
Carole Wood’s début novel, Aventurine Heart is a treat for lovers of young adult fiction. Packed full with Angels, Demons, and a first love. What more could you ask for? This is a story of a young girl named Alexa who falls in love. She is then introduced to a whole new world of supernatural beings that tries her sanity and will power.
Carole Wood writes with a strong attention to detail and uses vivid imagery to pull the reader into the story. Wood paints vibrant settings and makes us care about the characters while we watch them grow.
At times, I found that there were drifting tangents that narrated unnecessary details which slowed the pacing a touch more than needed.
Even so, this is a must read book. There are many five star moments and I look forward to picking up her next tale. Wood is definitely an Author to watch for and I cannot wait until her next book comes out.
on June 06, 2012
Believe by E. Leighanne Grimm-Weever – Book Review
E. Leighanne Grimm-Weever’s novel, Believe was a hard novel to review. I really wanted to like it. The storyline is great and has so much potential to be a fantastic novel. The main character Andrea is very likeable and fun to follow throughout the story.
However, the book is littered with so many spelling and grammar errors that it is hard to get lost in the story. Also, the formatting has not been done well and it is very distracting to the reader.
I do believe that Grimm-Weever has a spark for writing but unfortunately this book was released prematurely without the proper care and editing it deserved to make if a truly good read.
Fated Dreams (Book One In The Affinity Series)
on June 16, 2012
One of the things I love about finding a brand-new author is seeing that special spark. I love getting that feeling, the kind of feeling you get when you can see and feel the passion, creation and devotion new writers often show when they have poured hearts and souls onto the pages, leaving us, the readers, to uncover the magic as we dive into the new world before us. Christina Smith has that spark!
Fated Dreams is an awesome tale of soulmates. Not too often do I find a book that pulls on my every emotion and this one did. I had the odd tears; I giggled like a school girl; I wanted to shout and scream at the characters. This story had me flipping pages and on the edge of my seat from start to end.
Other than the grammatical and punctuation issues, this was one of the best books I have read this year, and I am sure I will be reading it again. I cannot wait for the next one.
In the Middle of Nowhere (Willow's Journey #1)
on July 23, 2012
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
First, I would like to thank the author, Julie Ann Knudsen for giving me a copy of this book to review.
In the Middle of Nowhere is a story about a young girl trying to find herself in a new place. After her father’s death, Willow and her mother were forced to move to a small island with her younger brother James and live in their uncle’s summer house. Willow struggles through life, making mistakes and learning from them as must young girls do.
I thought Willow’s character was very well developed. She was relatable, and all in all, acted like most young girls. The rest of the characters, although they showed potential, were not that compelling, and I had mixed feelings for most of them. Michael, for instance, was sweet and had a great outlook on life, but I felt that I just didn’t know enough about him (other than he was sick) to feel anything for him.
I liked the relationship between Willow and Michael and was very disappointment that I didn’t get to see much of it. At the end, I was left feeling like I had missed out on something really great.
In the Middle of Nowhere was a good book but did not make it into my favorites list. If you are looking for an easy summer read, then In the Middle of Nowhere is definitely worth checking out.
Characters (Major and Minor): 2/5
Overall Storyline (Concept, Plot): 2/5
Overall Pacing: 1/5
Technical (Grammar, punctuation, etc.): 4/5
My Overall Rating: 2.5/5
on July 23, 2012
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love a good quest. Ann Haines gives us a great adventure and incorporates a powerful message for young and young at heart readers with Brunswick.
The story starts off with a young boy who is creative and loves to write. His character grabbed me from the beginning. His struggle with growing up is something that is real for all of us, especially those of us who live and breathe fiction.
What makes the quest adventure work is the ability for the reader to identify with and struggle through the story along with a character and to be able to imagine ourselves becoming better because of what we have gone through during the quest. Haines gives us something to struggle and identify with and in turn this makes the adventure real to the reader.
Aside from the grammatical issues, the main problem I had with this tale was the pacing. There were many things narrated that were unnecessary details (like Jonathan remembering home and friends). In the end, I felt that these details had no meaning. I also found that everyone was just too polite. I know that sounds strange but in the heat of battle the characters were stopping the war to talk each other. This again slowed the pacing, and it was hard to believe while under attack the characters would have time to complement each other as much as they did.
In the end, like the main character I quested with, I did find something that made me a better person. This is the key power of the quest plot, and Haines successfully delivered this.
Characters (Major and Minor): 3/5
Overall Storyline (Concept, Plot): 5/5
Overall Pacing: 2/5
Technical (Grammar, punctuation, etc.): 2/5
My Overall Rating: 3/5
on Aug. 24, 2012
My Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Angel Evolution by David Estes was a fast and entertaining read. When I finally found time to sit down and read it, I was up until the wee hours of the morning. I just couldn’t put it down.
There were many great things about this book; the best was the character of Taylor. I loved her personality and found her easy to like and care about.
The take on Angels and Demons and how they came about was a breath of fresh air. It was this unique take that kept me up all night flipping the pages. The action scenes were well done, and I absolutely loved the structure and organization of the war.
Although I enjoyed bits and pieces of the relationship between Taylor and Gabriel, it seemed forced and not realistic. In the end, it left me disappointed and feeling like the characters (mostly Gabriel but even Taylor fell in to this category by the end) were missing some much-needed development.
Angel Evolution was an original and entertaining tale, and a good start to the series. I’m looking forward to reading the next one.
Characters (Major and Minor): 3/5
Overall Storyline (Concept, Plot): 4/5
Overall Pacing: 4/5
Technical (Grammar, punctuation, etc.): 3/5
My Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Delusions (Book Two In The Affinity Series)
on Sep. 02, 2012
Delusions by Christina Smith – Book Review
Soulmates, a first love and betrayal. Christina Smith does a fantastic job with this YA romance.
Delusions by Christina Smith, is the sequel to her debut novel, Fated Dreams. And like the first, I loved this story from the first page. Lisa was a very real teenage girl, and one I could relate to. Her actions and plots for revenge were perfect, and reflect the thoughts of most brokenhearted teenage girls that want to get even. She was superb.
And then there was Logan, who I am in love with. He’s cocky, a know-it-all, wonderfully sweet and caring and also a hottie. He always seemed to know the right thing to say and melted my heart every time.
Every chapter in this book touched an emotion in me. One moment I was laughing, then the feeling of prickly tears would come on and then I’d been giggling like a school girl. Smith managed pull on my emotions and made me feel everything right along with the characters. In my opinion, this is Smith’s biggest accomplishment with Delusions. She made everything real for the reader and that is no small task.
Even though the pacing was slower in Delusions compared to Fated Dreams, and there was a lot less action, it work well for this story, and I still found myself hanging on to every word.
Delusions is a fabulous read and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a good love story.
Riley's Curse, A Moon's Glow Prequel
on Sep. 14, 2012
Riley’s Curse by Christina Smith is a quick and entreating set up to what I’m sure will be a fantastic series.
The main character, Nathaniel, starts out in this story as a young man whose only real concern in life is to find that perfect gift for his girl. Little does he know, his life is about to be ripped apart. When plagued with the werewolf curse, he struggles to keep a tight grip on his humanity and fight the monster he has become.
One of the things I love about Smith’s writing is her delightful use of words to create a brilliant depiction of every scene. By masterfully weaving setting, character, and action together, she gives us a story that we can fully emerge and lose ourselves in.
In my opinion, Smith's biggest accomplishment with this story was the ending. I don’t want to give it away, but WOW! What an ending! I was so utterly disappointed when I turned the last page. I wanted more, and I couldn’t believe it was over. I am dying to see where this story will go.
I look forward to the next segment in this series, and I would recommend this book to everyone.
on Sep. 14, 2012
War, revenge, traitors, romance, Angels, Demons. This book has it all. Demon Evolution is not your typical ‘middle’ book in a trilogy. Instead of just going on with the story, Estes gave us more depth to the characters and more reasons to care.
The close-knit group of friends has an awesome dynamic. Each has their own personality and meshed together they are fantastic. You really can’t help but like them and want to be part of their group. This pulls the reader in. It makes you care when their lives are spinning out of control.
The action was great and had me hooked. However, with every bit of action, we need some down time to recoup. Estes has a knack for adding just the right amount of humor with a dash of sugar, and a touch of spice at the perfect time to keep you going and also allows for a breath of air before the next bomb hits.
Also, I have to say it. I love Rocky. :) Definitely curious to see what happens with this new pet.
Here’s where it lost a star for me. Aside from the few inconsistencies and technical issues, the storyline was a bit too predictable especially towards the end, and a few of the twists were very predictable.
That said, I’m still a fan and this segment of the series was better than the last. I will be reading the next one for sure and definitely recommend this series.
on Sep. 21, 2012
Seriously disappointed! I think that’s the best way to sum up my feelings when I finished this book. Why you ask? Well, that’s easy, because the series is over, and I really didn’t want it to end!
I have to admit that after reading the first book, I was a little iffy about the series, but wow, did it surprise me in the end. The characters really evolved as the books went on, and I find myself hoping that Estes will expand this and give us more.
Archangel Evolution had a perfect mix of action, humor and romance. In this segment, I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath and even giggling uncontrollably at times as Taylor and her closely-knit group of friends struggled to defeat their enemy and end the war between Good and Evil.
Estes did a wonderful job tying up the loose ends and pulling the story together without rushing the ending. If I wasn’t fully satisfied when the last page came around, it was simply because I wish it didn’t have to end. Like I said before, I can only hope Estes will continue with this series and with the way things were left, there is definitely room for more to come.
For all you Angel lovers out there, The Evolution Trilogy is a refreshingly different take on Angels and Demons and is a definitely a must read.
on Oct. 18, 2012
Frost was a quick and entertaining read with interesting creatures and magical elements. It’s clear that Ellison has a creative mind, and she really shows this with her writing.
The plot was definitely my favorite part of this book. Although simple, it was captivating. Especially the ending which has me burning with curiosity. There is still a lot to be resolved, and I need the answers. I will be continuing on to see how this story unfolds.
There were some places that I had difficulty with. While reading, I got the feeling that some important details were edited out. For example, the origin of the village. Knowing more probably would have helped me understand or accept why these people settled in a place that was surrounded by monstrous creatures. We know that they choose to settle and isolate themselves, but why? Hopefully, this will be explored more in the second book, because as it is now I’m still scratching my head on the why?
The characters and back stories were fairly well-developed, and even though I really didn’t care for the main character, Lia, I still found myself invested in her life. On the other hand, Gabe the love interest, I really liked. He had a bit more mystery to him, which of course made him more interesting. However, even though they were well developed they were both kind of predicable and lacking complexity.
Although I had a few negatives about this book, I still enjoyed it. If you are looking for a quick read with a heart-stopping ending, Frost by Kate Avery Ellison is worth picking up.
Dolmarehn - Book Two of the Otherworld Trilogy
on Oct. 26, 2012
I’ve been sitting here starting at the computer screen for the last 30 minutes trying to figure out how to review this book. I loved it; I like it, and in parts, it drove me absolutely crazy. I’m just so torn.
What I loved: Cade! *Sigh* He is sweet, mysterious and has an edge of danger. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that he is a complete hottie. Add in some magic and you’ve got yourself the perfect love interest for the lead, Meghan. His character really grew from the first book, and I cannot wait to see what happens with him in next one.
There was a lot more action in this part of the series, and it kept the story moving along at a nice pace. The descriptions that went along with the action were awesome, and I could see everything as if I was standing right there with the characters.
What I liked: The Dagda brought a few smiles to my face, and I’m sure he will become one of my favorite characters as the series goes on. He has a wonderful charisma to him, and he really livened up the story when things got too serious.
I also liked the sparks of romance between Cade and Meghan. The only thing that kept this from the Love list was Meghan’s constant internalizing about waiting for the “right time." She’s a teenager, but yet, there was no impulsive teenager behavior. Nevertheless, I giggled a few times and smiled and could completely picture what Cade’s kiss would be like. :)
What drove me crazy: There were three things that really had me gritting my teeth. The first and most frustrating was all the inconsistencies in the story. I found myself having to go back and reread full chapters trying to figure out what I had missed only to find that I didn’t miss anything. What I thought was missing just hadn’t been written. For example, in one scene the characters woke up a dawn, traveled two hours, and when they arrived at their destination two hours later it was sunset. What happened to the rest of the day?
The next was the chapter titles. There was one chapter near the end in particular that I actually had tears in my eyes until I flipped the page and the title gave away exactly what was going to happen next. It took away the suspense, and I found myself skimming the pages instead of absorbing to story.
The last thing was Meghan’s character. She grew a bit from the first book, but I still really couldn’t connect with her. She thought so much but never really acted on the thoughts until it was too late. For a teenage girl, this seems unrealistic. However, at the very end she came out of her shell and showed promise for the next book.
My overall thoughts: Even with the draw backs, I still enjoyed the story. I can see the potential, and the second book was definitely better than the first. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series and cannot wait to see what happens.