Blog Tour: Giveaway and Series Review: The Neumarian Chronicles by Ciara Knight


This is a very auspicious day, everyone, because it is my first time doing an entire series review!! YAY! I am pretty stoked with this and was excited for the challenge when I signed up for this tour, so without further ado, here I go.


Title: Escapement (Book 1, The Neumarian Chronicles)
Author: Ciara Knight
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Blurb:

Ten years after the great war of 2185 the queen's reign is threatened by uprisings and fear. In celebration of my sixteenth birthday it is my duty as princess to sacrifice a slave to be initiated into the ruling council, solidifying my mother's empire. When my own erratic powers surface I'm captured and tried for treason. Slaves hate me, my mother wants me executed, and my only chance of survival rests in the hands of a young man, Ryder Arteres, whose sister I sentenced to death.

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Title: Pendulum (Book 2, The Neumarian Chronicles)
Author: Ciara Knight
Publication Date: December 2, 2013
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Blurb:

Haunting memories.

Terrifying dreams.

Crippling lies.

Trapped in a world of deception, my sanity rests with the love of Ryder Arteres and our renegade friends. Six months of scouring the ocean floor in a rebel ship fleeing our homeland delivers us to a possible alliance with the opportunistic European Council. Our only hope is to utilize our forbidden gifts to free our people from slavery, proving our worth. But when a trusted ally turns traitor and a new breed of the queen's weaponry is revealed, I'm forced to face the terror of my past to save our crumbling future.

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Title: Balance (Book 3, The Neumarian Chronicles)
Author: Ciara Knight
Publication Date: April 28, 2014
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Blurb:

Life on a war-ravaged Earth is a dying experience. Finally, after years of tyranny, the rebellion rises. Once I rescue my fiance Ryder Arteres, I, and the rebel general, will fight to free our people. In a war where alliances shift and friends betray one another, will the final battle prove the truth of the prophecy the queen has so feared -- her death -- or will I lose everyone I love?

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Kayla's Thoughts:

I actually am quite glad I decided to review this entire series, as opposed to just the first book, because I would not have been able to adequately review it otherwise. You see, the first book of this series started off a bit rocky for me. In fact, quite rocky, to the point where I probably would have opted for an excerpt from the book instead of a review so as to still promote the book while not putting a preconceived okay review into readers' minds right out of the starting gate. I absolutely believe that people should read this, and I so wanted it to be good. Thankfully, the last two books, while not exceptional or phenomenal, were immensely good. In fact, they made up for my thoughts on the first book.

As each book delves deeper and deeper into the story, getting closer and closer to the ultimate battle that will decide whether good or evil wins, the separate installments become darker and darker in subject matter. Book 1 mainly focuses on the journey to find the rebellion set on destroying the queen, book 2 focuses more on Semara finding herself and searching for allies to aid in the fight, and book 3...well, this is where we get to the heart of the war.

Semara and her friends, who we get to know throughout the entirety of the series, seem to get stronger with each passing paragraph, sentence, and word. They truly do find what they are capable of as each book finishes, especially one of my favorite characters, Raeth. She finds that she is stronger than her disability of only having one leg. She gains so much confidence as the series progresses that her stutter is almost incomprehensible. I am reminded of a sentence in the third book where it is the first she actually says something clear and perfect. I just adored her, and throughout the series wanted her to find the happiness she so deserved. Whether or not she found it you will have to find out.

The storyline was really good once I got past the choppiness of the first book. I truly did suck me in and make me want to read more with every passing page. My only critique concerning book 2 and book 3, mainly book 2, is that sometimes there were conflicting statements in the story. A bit of character amnesia, if that makes sense. Someone would find out information, and then later on they would basically act as if they never had learned it at all. It was a bit off-putting at times, but since it happened very few and far between, it luckily was not too big of a problem.

This world was very interesting and I loved the visual aspects of the books. I also loved that there are definitely some twists and turns as the story moves along, most of which have to do with Semara's true identity and the life she remembers as a child. It just truly impressed me near the end.

Verdict:

Overall this series was surprisingly a wonderful read. I found myself quite thoroughly enjoying it once I finally got into it, and as time went on, I became invested heavily in the lives of these main characters and even some of the minor ones. I was fearing for their lives at every turn and basically had to contain myself from peeking at the end of the third book to see if anyone I knew would survive or if the queen would win. *Spoiler Alert* I'm not telling. Anyway, I have definitely decided to check out more of this author's works, because I truly am now a fan of her writing and I want to see what else she can whip up.

Author's Bio:

Ciara Knight writes to 'Defy the Dark' with her young adult speculative fiction books. Her most recent Amazon best-seller, Escapement, book 1 of The Neumarian Chronicles, released to acclaimed reviews, securing a Night Owl Top Pick and five stars from InD'Tale Magazine.

When not writing, she enjoys reading all types of fiction. Some great literary influences in her life include Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Francine Rivers and J K Rowling.

Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She's backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska.

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Blog Tour: Review: The Violet Fox by Clare C. Marshall



Title: The Violet Fox
Author: Clare C. Marshall
Publication Date: October 13, 2012
Publisher: Faery Ink Press
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult 

Blurb:


There are two kinds of people in the land of Marlenia.

The Marlenians, who live on the surface,

and the Freetors, who are forced to live underground.

The war between them ended two hundred years ago, but the Freetors still fight for the right to live under the sun. Fifteen-year-old Kiera Driscoll embodies the Freetors' hopes as the Violet Fox. In a violet cape and mask, she sneaks around Marlenia City stealing food and freeing her people from slavery.

Then the Elders task her with a secret mission: retrieve a stolen tome that contains the secrets of Freetor magic, something the Marlenians both fear and covet. Kiera must disguise herself as a noblewoman and infiltrate the Marlenian castle before the Freetor-hating Advisor finds out her real identity, before her brother is imprisoned because of the secrets he hides, and before she falls any more in love with the prince she's supposed to hate.

More is happening in the castle than she realizes, and Kiera is faced with a difficult choice. Will she be loyal to her people and their fight for freedom, or will she be loyal to her heart?

Kayla's Thoughts:

I have been having withdrawal symptoms from fantasy novels lately. I absolutely love the worlds that authors can create in this genre and am slightly obsessed with the fighting and warrior-ness and magic that goes on in a fantasy novel. So it was with great surprise that I started reading this book and found that it was indeed a fantasy novel. I really have no idea what I originally thought this was going to be about, but I was completely stoked that this would sate my imagination.

Because I am picky about fantasy novels, it takes certain qualities to make one amazing in my eyes. I mean, I will always like them, but for a book to be phenomenal in this genre, I have to immediately feel a part of the world and characters that have been created. I always talk about a feeling of regalness when I read fantasy novels. My back becomes straighter, thoughts of honour enter my mind, and I instantly become a warrior. When that happens, I know I have hit the jackpot book-wise. And here, I definitely hit the jackpot.

What to say... This book immediately sucked me in. I felt so close to the main character, Kiera. She reminded me of myself. And while her recklessness as the Violet Fox is quite dangerous and stupid at times, I...just...I loved her enthusiasm. I loved that she gets this indescribable rush when being chased by guards. Living underground in a world of uncertainty whether or not you will be alive to see the next day, her heart is what keeps her sane. I have no words right now for how amazing I think this character is. 

And her brother... He keeps her in line, whether or not she likes it. He would give his life to protect her, and she his. They are just the perfect team. And while things may become disagreeable between the two, no matter what, each has the other's back. And I, for one, having a brother myself, would not want it any other way in a story.

And Kiera's friend, Laoise. I cannot wait to see what is in store for this girl. She is so sweet, but I can see a fire burning inside her that has yet to be revealed. I just have this inkling that we have not heard the last of her. She is a fighter, just like Kiera, albeit maybe not so obviously, and I just know in my heart that she will do something amazing in the story or stories to come.

I think that I am slightly obsessed with the North's accent now. You see, I have been saying dialogue in books out loud since the Harry Potter books at the age of 11. I love how it transforms me into the characters, and I especially love to do accents. So it made my day when Kiera first talks to the woman she must portray for her mission for the Elders. When the noblewoman started to speak I was like "YES! FINALLY!", because usually, unless an author writes how a character speaks his or her words, such as in this case, I have to make up my own way of speech. I loved it!! I hope more of that is portrayed in the coming novels, because it was fun to say.

Verdict:

This world of Freetors and Marlenians, of free men and servants, of deceit and love, is just so infinitely worth every page, sentence, paragraph, and word. It was...it took my breath away, and I have already donated to the Indiegogo campaign to help fund the second book, The Silver Spear. I believe in this project so wholeheartedly and still cannot believe how much I enjoyed this first book. There is definitely more to come, and I cannot wait until I can indulge in more of this outstanding tale.

Author's Bio:

Clare C. Marshall grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial-up internet, and yet she turned out okay. She has a combined Honours degree in journalism and psychology from the University of King's College, and is a graduate from Humber College's Creative Book Publishing Program. She is a full-time freelance editor, book designer, and web manager. She enjoys publishing books through her publishing imprint, Faery Ink Press. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing the fiddle and making silly noises at cats.

Links for Author:
Facebook / Twitter / Website / Goodreads

The second book in this series, The Silver Spear, is currently being crowdfunded at Indiegogo.com for the next 60 days. Please click here for more information and the chance to donate to make this book happen.
RAISE THE SILVER SPEAR!

Book Review: Conflict of Interest by Allyson Lindt

Title: Conflict of Interest (Bits & Bytes Book 1)
Author: Allyson Lindt
Publication Date: April 28, 2013
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Fun, games, and business are a dangerous mix when a PR manager finds herself face to face with her new client who is determined to convince her letting loose is better than a tight rein on control. Book 1 in Allyson Lindt's new series, Bits & Bytes, is a sizzling romance from beginning to end.

Kenzie propositions a sexy stranger in a coffee shop to prove to herself she's capable of taking a risk. She doesn't expect him to be sitting across from her the following Monday as her newest client. Even worse, she can't stop thinking about what might have happened between them on a personal level if it weren't for their professional relationship. He knows how to push her buttons, and she doesn't want him to stop.

Scott has built his software company from the ground up to escape things like stuffy old men telling him how to behave, so he loathes his board of directors ordering him to make the public forget he doesn't have a verbal filter. When his new publicity manager is the almost-fling he never expected to see again, he seizes the opportunity to have fun and still pretend he's complying with the board's edict.

Giving in to desire could mean both their jobs, but each "one last time" always leads to another. Now they have to decide what they're willing to sacrifice to indulge this conflict of interest.

Content Notes: Sexy, Heat Level 2

Kayla's Thoughts:

So for me this was one of those books that I really couldn't judge based on the cover. At first glance I wasn't even sure if I would even like the book and had basically passed it off. But after a couple of days and quite a bit of deliberation over the blurb itself, I jumped in and took a chance.

Now, I usually am not a big fan of characters who are "undecided." What that basically means to me is that they say one thing while hoping the character they say it to does another thing completely. Normally and predictably the undecided character tends to get mad when what they think should happen doesn't and what they say should happen does. Because this is in fact a real trait in people, I tend to try to stay away from it in stories. And when it came up in this one, I was a bit tentative. But because of this book I have found out that I have not been reading the right ones. This author's characters, or at least the one doing the undeciding, actually admitted that is what they were doing. They felt guilty because of this and knew that if they didn't stop they would lose the love of a lifetime. YAY! I was quite relieved when the remorse set in. All I could think was "Finally!" I had never seen that before in any book with the undecided trait.

Story-wise I didn't really get into the book until about halfway through. It wasn't until the relationship between Scott and Kenzie began to get a little rocky that I realized I was completely invested. I mean, I thought nothing of it when they began their little off work, and sometimes on work, rendezvous, but when uncertainty began to dissolve that, I was like "Come on! You can't do this now! You had such a good thing going!" It wasn't until then that I actually started cheering every time the two got together once again. I just really wanted them to end up as a couple.

Throughout the book, both characters taught each other something. Kenzie taught Scott that his past shouldn't affect his present. In fact, he should take the past and make his present better using what he has learned from his experiences. And Scott taught Kenzie that sometimes the rulebook needs to be thrown out the window. Caring what people think about you all the time can be exhausting and, frankly, cause you to lose the things you love most. He brought out a side to her that I do not think anyone had seen in a long time. And vice-versa. They just both clicked. In all the right ways.

And what about Riley, Kenzie's sister? She seems like an absolute mess in the love department, but she is phenomenal at giving advice. Near the end, when she is basically telling Kenzie like it is, she is so spot on! Kenzie wasn't willing to admit it to herself, but in the end, Riley gave her the best love advice to get back her man. Whether or not Kenzie took it is quite another story.

Verdict:

This book left me wanting so much more. I have wish-listed the rest in this series! I just want to know if Kenzie's boss could be a character in a future book. *Cross fingers* Hey, a girl can dream can't she? I just...ugh...I ended up absolutely adoring this book. I am totally fangirling right now over Kenzie and Scott's relationship so much it is not even funny. Seriously...I don't normally fangirl. I don't so much, in fact, that I didn't even know what fangirling was until this year. Or maybe last year. Anyway, kudos to this author for bringing that out in me. I tip my imaginary hat to you.

Author's Bio:

Allyson Lindt is a part-time gamer, a full-time database developer, and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She was lucky enough to marry her muse and soul mate. Their cats are their children, and when they're not spending way too much time gaming, they're building new worlds together.

Her sexy, hot Bits & Bytes series began hitting booksellers in 2013. Each book features a geek hero with a dash of alpha, and a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a steamy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.

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Book Review: Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender

Title: Upon Your Return
Author: Marie Lavender
Publication Date: February 13, 2013
Publisher: Summer Solstice
Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life.

But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position.

Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms.

Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society in this exciting tale.

Kayla's Thoughts:

I wanted to read this book after practically devouring the second book in the Heiresses in Love seres, Upon Your Honor. I had to know more about the relationship between Gabriel's parents. I mean, it was a given considering what we are told in the second book. It was enough to tide me over, but there was a nagging sensation in the back of my head. If someone gives me a tidbit, I long for the whole story. And here it is!

So, little bit of info about me...I am a redhead. Because of this, I always feel a sort of kindred closeness to characters, more specifically women characters, who have red hair in the books that I read. I also especially love it when the characters are both red haired and named Kayla, but that is for a different time. Anyway, as soon as it is told in the second book that Gabriel's mother has red hair, I was practically scrounging Amazon for this first book. I just felt a connection to her. I also thought it would be a bit fun to see her as a young woman. She just seemed like a bit of a firecracker to me. I mean, to be married to a captain of a ship she kind of has to be. I was completely right.

While in the book she does follow the rules of society, being raised since the age of nine by an uncle who thrives on the acceptance of society's patrons kind of forces that way of life into you, she does want to be able to choose her own path. At her uncle's sudden death quite a few chapters in, you find her questioning the mourning period that is considered acceptable. She just wants to be able to rip free from the confines of the life she has lived and be able to find herself. She wants to figure out who she is, not who society wants her to be. But there is always that nagging voice in the back of her mind reminding her that the people around her are always watching for that slight misstep in propriety. And when they find those missteps, they never let you forget you made them. 

I think meeting Grant Hill kind of scared a little bit as much as it almost thrilled her to meet a man of his passions. Yes, he saved her, and yes, he did treat her as a gentlemen should, but I think from the first moment he kissed her and the first moment she showed just a slight rebellion from the ways of high society, involving an awkward session for her where she woke up and found she had practically crawled atop him in her sleep, she was afraid of what society would think of her. Sub-consciously, I believe this supposed guilt followed her throughout the rest of the book. Yes, they did bed together, and both of them obviously enjoyed it, several times in fact, but I think the talk of the town made her question his true intentions. And even hers as well. All her life, or at least since being "taken in" by her uncle, and even at the convent where she was schooled most of her childhood, she had been taught that love was a frivolous endeavour. A dream. A fantasy. And once that fantasy became all too real for her and him both, it is like they both tried to deny it.

Fara and Grant have a sort of cat and mouse thing going on in this. Or, this might be a better picture, a "He/She Loves Me Not, He/She Loves Me" situation going on. They are both enamored by each other, and the fact that they do end up in bed at some point does confirm this, and it seems that both do kind of admit their love for the other person to themselves, but it seems that society's rules are so engrained in the mind's of both that neither seems willing to accept the possibility that their love might not just be one-sided. I think they are both so scared of being ultimately rejected in the end that they do not want to press the subject, but yet, when one of them doesn't press the subject, the other feels both confused and aggravated at the fact that the subject was never pressed.

It is a whirlwind of emotions, and one I would indeed have been annoyed with had I not completely adored this book. I think the way the author wrote this story just makes the whole love dilemma between the characters bearable to the point where if it weren't there, the story would be empty. It practically IS the story. And I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

Verdict:

This book honestly did not disappoint at all. While the ending was expected because I had read the second book, I did not feel like I knew what was going to happen. Even in those cliffhanger moments where it was not guaranteed the characters would stay together, and the fact I even knew the outcome, I just literally couldn't breathe. In my head all I could think was that they had to. They had to be together, otherwise I didn't know what I would do. I have come to fall in love with Marie Lavender's characters throughout this entire series, and her writing seems to bring a smile to my face every time I reach that last page.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child's play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and even received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted --to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published seventeen other books. Marie Lavender's real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction, and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have romantic elements involved in them. She is currently working on the Heiresses in Love series.

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Book Sale: Pieces For You by Genna Rulon


Title: Pieces For You
Author: Genna Rulon
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sale Dates: September 10, 2014 - September 13, 2014
Sale Price: $0.99


Blurb:

Samantha Whitney survived unimaginable tragedy only to discover she had been betrayed by a man who claimed to love her. Shattered, Sam spends months at a safe haven trying to piece herself back together. Ready or not, the time has come for her to return home.

As Sam struggles to resume a life that no longer feels familiar, she finds unwavering support in an unexpected, familiar face. Confronting Sam's raw emotions and open wounds head-on, Griffin manages to take two steps forward for every step she retreats.

But when Sam is once again threatened, Griffin must decide how far he is willing to go to protect the woman he wants...knowing the cost of her safety is the risk of losing her.

Pieces For You is a captivating journey of survival, healing, and sacrifice -- teeming with honesty, humor, unexpected twists, ad love's unsurpassed endurance.

  • This story is appropriate for readers 18+
  • Though Pieces For You is a part of the For You series, the book can be read as a stand-alone.
Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Genna Rulon is an up-and-coming contemporary romance author who loves nothing more than a good love story.

During her 15 years in the corporate world, Genna, inspired by her love of reading, fantasized about penning her own stories. Encouraged by her favorite authors, many of whom are indie writers and self-published, she committed to pursue her aspirations of writing her own novels.

Genna was raised on Long Island in New York, where she still resides, surrounded by the most amazing family and friends. Married to a wonderful man who patiently tolerates her ramblings about whichever book she is currently working on, even feigning interest relatively convincingly! Genna is blessed with two little boys who do their best to thwart mommy's writing time with their hilarious antics and charming extrapolations.


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