Welcome to our stop for the winner of the 2012 Royal Dragonfly Book Award: The Soul's Mark: Found by Ashley Stoyanoff. This book has won a few pretty cool awards, so we're going talk about that for a little bit first, but I also have my personal review of the novel and an excerpt for you guys to read! Before I start with that, though, here's the book!
The Soul's Mark: Found by Ashley Stoyanoff
Anxious to leave her destructive past behind, Amelia Caldwell moves to Willowberg, excited for a fresh start. Once there, she discovers that her birthmark is more than it seems. She has been marked by a vampire’s soul. Not only does she hold his soul, but Amelia is also his soulmate.
After almost a century of searching for his soulmate, Mitchell Lang fears the worst—he is going to lose Amelia to another man. His heart takes over, and his impulsive decision to take away her free will and to intensify their bond quickly turns her growing love into hate.
When they become trapped in the emotional rollercoaster of their souls' bond, open conflict erupts. Amelia has no intentions of belonging to anyone, not even her soulmate, and Mitchell refuses to let her go.
While she frantically searches for a way to escape his grasp, Amelia unlocks the painful memories of her past and uncovers a powerful secret. But before she has a chance to explore her newfound edge, she finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly game of revenge and is forced to realize that YOU CANNOT RUN FROM DESTINY.
Ashley Stoyanoff lives in Whitby, Ontario and loves diving into the magical world of creating fiction. Over the years she has written numerous short stories. The Soul's Mark: FOUND is her debut novel. When not writing, she can be found reading sappy novels, watching cheesy chick flicks, and buying far too many clothes.
So what do you need to know about this book?
The Soul's Mark: Found won the 2012 Royal Dragonfly Book Award with a perfect score for young adult fiction! Read the press release or see the full list of winners!
It's also IndieReader approved! Here's what they had to say: "Verdict: While this classic vampire-human love story could have been no more than another Twilight-style tale of possession, Stoyanoff takes care to create both an innovative backstory for the creation of vampires as well as a believable and entertaining romance."
The screaming grew louder and another clatter echoed through the doorway. Amelia rushed after Angelle, jogging over the inter-locking stone, dazed, as if she had stumbled into an alternate universe. She climbed the three steps of the stone-covered porch and peeked through the open door, trying to stay out of the way of whatever chaos had been unleashed.
A faint smell of smoke washed out, followed by a man’s agonized yell. Amelia glanced around, realizing she was walking into the kitchen.
“Ouch,” he groaned, sounding a bit amused. His arms were raised in an attempt to protect himself from the blows of a broom swishing furiously at him. “It was an accident!” he cried out.
On the other end of the broom was an elderly woman who looked to Amelia like she was made of circles, with a round pudgy face and plump round body. She had on a flowery apron splattered with some kind of yellowy goo and she was screaming unintelligible utterances at the man as she continued to beat him relentlessly.
Suddenly, Amelia saw the stove light up, fire crackling and blazing. Forgetting the scene in front of her, she dropped her bag and rushed in. What had her mother said about grease fires? Baking soda, use baking soda, Amelia thought, that was it. She whipped open the fridge, frantically searching and grabbed a box of baking soda from the door. She dumped it on the burning grease-lit frying pan. The fire extinguished in a billowing cloud of smoke and she coughed when she sucked in a breath.
“What the hell is going on?” Angelle yelled, jumping in between them. She snatched the broom out of the woman’s hands and tossed it out of reach. It flew across the room, and slammed into the wall before clattering to the marble floor. “That’s enough.” She grabbed the man by the shoulders and shoved him away.
“He’s ruining my kitchen. Look at this mess,” the elderly woman said in a tizzy, surveying the mess. Amelia followed her gaze and noticed that the yellowy goo was splattered everywhere, smeared across the large cherry island, globbed on the weathered black wall cabinets, dripping from the ceiling, as if a bomb of stickiness had gone off.
The man was rubbing his shoulders, looking at Angelle as if she had really hurt him. Amelia stood back and watched, trying to stay out of the way. He was just as tall as Angelle, and bulky with muscles like a football player, a really hot football player. “I was just trying to make pancakes for Amelia,” he said, smiling bashfully at Amelia. Then he looked back over at Angelle, “And in case you missed it, she was hitting me. Why did you shove me like that?”
Angelle rolled her eyes in a dramatic show of annoyance, “I’m sure you deserved it Eric. You usually do.” She looked over at the woman, who was now scurrying around the kitchen trying to clean up the mess. “What did he do, Mabel?”
That’s Eric, Amelia realized. She giggled. He really was looking green. That’s what the guard had been talking about. His shaggy, uneven, punk style haircut was dyed in a vibrant, bright green. Hot, she thought. Green hair, hot? Well, on him, yes, it was really hot. He was covered in the same sticky goo—pancake batter?
“He used a blender without the lid,” Mabel said. Her voice was stern and a touch motherly and she had a soft accent, maybe English, Amelia thought. And she looked absolutely fit to be tied.
He just shrugged. “Stirring was taking too long.”
“You’re such a dork—and what’s with the hair?” Angelle laughed. “You look like a little punk.”
“Don’t knock the hair,” Eric said, leaning back against the island, arms folded across his chest.
“You can’t go to the office like that,” Angelle said.
“Don’t have to. I’ve been promoted to personal chauffeur. And I think it looks great. I thought you would appreciate it.” He batted his eyes and struck a pose. “It totally matches my eyes.” He looked Amelia over and then pushed off from the counter, strolling towards her with a mischievous grin on his face.
Amelia had hoped they had forgotten about her and she really hoped she wasn’t drooling, because man, he was sexy, like head to toe sexy. He stopped about a foot away from her and she met his eyes, which indeed matched his new hair color.
Eric dropped into a gallant bow and she giggled like a little schoolgirl. He took her hand in his, and kissed it lightly. “Welcome my lady,” he said playfully.
Angelle groaned. “You are such a moron.”
Overall, I felt like it held up pretty well. I'm not going to say it was perfect because there were a few issues with suspension of disbelief, but I did enjoy reading it and usually found it very hard to put down. In general, the idea wasn't exactly one of a kind, but I never felt like Ashley Stoyanoff was directly drawing plot points from any particular book. And, unfortunately, that's a trap that so many books about vampires tend to fall into.
I really appreciated that Mitchell wasn't your typical male lead (vampire or not) and had a story that expanded larger than just the one needed to carry Amelia's along. I didn't like him very much as a person, but I did really like his character, if that makes any sense. He could be irrational, jealous, and extremely violent at times, but at least there was something more to him than being your typical trophy husband (err.... I mean, soulmate).
I kind of hate to say it, but I wasn't Amelia's biggest fan. She seemed like a pretty nice girl, but just getting that little peak into her thoughts almost made me feel a little insulted. We're pretty close to the same age, and I can personally vouch for the fact that teenage girls are not quite that, well, testosterone obsessed. I mean, sure, we may notice stuff like that for a little while, especially when we first meet someone, but I'm pretty sure that most of us are more than capable of getting past it. Take this for example:
Really?! When I read this, I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped. Amelia's a very smart girl, and stuff like this comes up way too often for me to think very highly of her. I'm not going to say that no young woman has ever thought something similar to that before, just that it seemed a little too stereotypical to me.
My only other problem was that towards the end, I felt like things stopped being explained. All of the sudden Amelia just knew things out of the blue without any sort of reasoning behind it, like right here:
Then it just kinda stopped. No explanation, just action, and I'm left to wonder what in the world just happened.
In the beginning, this wasn't a problem at all. Amelia's thought process seemed very clear, and I could relate to just about everything she did. It was so much fun being introduced to all of the new characters. Meeting Eric and Mabel definitely took the cake, or should I say pancake? Read the excerpt at the end of the post, and you'll understand.
Even though I had my issues with both Mitchell and Amelia, I have to say that their relationship was probably my favorite part of the novel. If you ever feel like you have problems with relationships, just read this book, and you'll realize just how good you have it. Love-hate doesn't even begin to describe what's going on with them. I'm pretty sure they tried to kill each other a few times (or at least thought about it), but they still had some very sweet moments together. You'd think that it would be a little ridiculous for them to jump around so much, but Ashley Stoyanoff does an incredible job of making it seem believable.
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