Shades of Chaos Blog Tour: Book Review and Gift Card Giveaway: Dissension by K.A. Salidas


Due to my participation in the Book Blitz for this very same collection of books, this post will be focused mainly on the story from the collection that I decided to read and review. Here is the link for the Book Blitz which lists the links for the collection itself, and each story's blurb, and the main website links for its other amazing authors.

Title: Dissension (Chronicles of the Uprising Book 1)
Author: K.A. Salidas
Publication Date: February 3, 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Blurb:

The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of Planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost.

But not all survivors were human.

In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport, their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators.

And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising...and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city's Regent, her destiny is changed forever.

Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision -- to become Mira's patron -- changes more than just Lucian's perception about vampire kind. The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted -- a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers.

Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both?

Kayla's Thoughts:

I take anthologies very seriously, so when given the choice to read one selection from the Shades of Chaos anthology, I went through each book and read a passage or two. Then with actually not much deliberation at all, I chose to read and review Initiation and Dissension by Katie Salidas. Now since Dissension is quite a bit longer than Initiation, which is a handful of pages and merely describes Mira's first battle in the arena as a gladiator and her thoughts on her last day of freedom and the terrible agony her capture caused her, I will be focusing mainly on that piece in this review.

First of all, let me just state that I love the series prologue. The basic history of what happened to lead us to this moment in the story where Dissension starts. It describes two species, shaken up by terrifying events that led them to restart their entire society. Vampires and humans had to work together in the beginning, but things take a turn when the humans find a way to come out on top. And come out on top they shall...which is how the games themselves started. Vampires, which have been considered the epitome of evil for centuries, are now the victims. Having to shed blood for the humans' amusement just to be able to feed on a regular basis. You win, more rations. You lost, you either die quickly, if you are lucky, or are tortured by light. Not enough to kill, but enough so you feel every ray. It's enough to make this human want to go inside this book and be one of the opposers of this atrocity. I want to be one of the rebels who helps Mira out in her and the Regent's mission to stop this.

But I am getting ahead of myself...

Dissension takes place thirty years after Mira was placed in her first battle in the arena. Thirty years after she learned she needed to do whatever it took to survive. She has become the best fighter of her region, but she has yet to succumb to her enslavers. Which I absolutely love. Her attitude may get her in trouble, but it is that very attitude that had me rooting for her from the very beginning. Some characters are quiet until a chance at retribution reveals itself and they take it, fighting against the forces working against them, and that works for them. But Mira never failed to find a reason to fight back, even if it was just with a few choice words, or, in her case, A LOT of them. There was a couple of cases where I thought the snark was unnecessary and where it would have benefited her and possibly the story itself if she was quiet and simply assessed her surroundings, but other than that, I absolutely thought she was a great character and one to definitely watch.

Now I actually would have liked more of the Regent's own point of view throughout the story. He is the one who becomes Mira's Patron after meeting her in a way that could have basically signed Mira's own death warrant. But after meeting with him a few times and talking, which is not usually what a Patron would do with their hosted fighter, she realizes that he is not like all the other humans. Well, she actually goes back and forth between thinking this and thinking that he is just like all the others, because honestly, the humans have given her no reason to trust any of their kind. But it is after a particularly heavy fight, one that nearly kills Mira, that things take a turn toward her possibly being able to trust him with the information she knows and which he asks of her.

Verdict:

This story is definitely full of action, a bit of humor, and is absolutely a wonderful start to the entire Chronicles of the Uprising series. It needs a few tweaks here and there and could do with a bit more meat to the story, mainly another point of view, as stated earlier, sprinkled throughout, to make it seem a bit more whole, but other than that it is one worth reading. I am putting the series on my TBR list because I have to know if Mira gains the freedom she so craves. This story made me feel for the vampire race. It made me long for humans to understand that in this case, they have become the monsters.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities beyond those of mortal women, she can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons. She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime...And she still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.

And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale...

Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.


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Book Sale: Away by B.A. Wolfe

Title: Away (Book 1, The Keaton Series)
Author: B.A. Wolfe
Publication Date: December 6, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Sale Date: Now until Saturday, November 1
Sale Price: $0.99


Blurb:

What good is running AWAY when you only end up lost?

Cassandra Pierce had her whole "perfect" life planned out by her parents. One night of pure weakness and lust has her running away from it all and seeking refuge in Alamosa with her best friend. But it seems life has other plans for her when she finds herself lost in the small town of Keaton.

Jason Bradley is a charming country guy. He lives a simple life that's nothing like what Cassandra is used to. A single moment in life changed everything he thought he once knew, leaving him with a broken heart and an unplanned future.

What happens in Keaton is nothing Cassandra or her heart could have ever prepared for. The instant connection she shares with Jason is no secret, but what they're keeping hidden from one another is. Will these two be able to find a way to trust each other or will their secrets tear them apart?

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

B.A. Wolfe is a girl with a passion for reading and writing and lives in the good old state of Colorado with her husband (her biggest cheerleader), and her two crazy min pin fur babies. These days, her life is anything but calm, and there isn't one thing she'd want to change.

B.A. spends all her free time either furiously typing stories on her laptop or happily reading through her endless TBR on her Kindle. Her list of favorites would be long enough to fill a book, but most would likely fall under the romance category. She's a sucker for a good love story that makes her cry, and an amazing book boyfriend who will melt her heart.

Links for Author:

Book Tour: Giveaway and Book Review: The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener



Title: The Silver Pear
Author: Michelle Diener
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Blurb:

An unlikely princess...

Kayla is determined to master her new-found abilities as a wild magic witch. She's learning everything she can so she and her betrothed, Rane, can put a stop to the sorcerers who are recklessly gathering their power, building up their magic to take each other on in a war that will destroy the countries of Middleland.

An even more unlikely sorcerer...

Mirabelle's father was one of the greatest sorcerers in Middleland, but when he used magic in the silver pear to bespell his pregnant wife to give birth to the greatest sorcerer who would ever live, he never thought that child would be a girl. Mirabelle is nothing like a usual sorcerer, confounding every expectation, and when she comes to the rescue of Rane's brother, Soren, she makes a decision few sorcerers would. She saves him, rather than herself, losing the silver pear in the process.

And using magic always exacts a price...

With war not just a possibility but simply a matter of time, there are no neutral parties and no fence-sitters in Kayla and Mirabelle's new world. Everyone is either an ally or an enemy and there is a price to pay for everything. The question is, how high will it be?

The Silver Pear is the sequel to The Golden Apple, and together they make up The Dark Forest series.

Kayla's Thoughts:

I have to be perfectly honest. Unless I have read the previous books in a series or can make time to read them, I never decide to read a sequel. It's just not in my nature. I have to know what happens beforehand in order to gain a sense of the novel I am set to review. But this one caught my eye with one name. Kayla. A princess of Gaynor and wild magic witch who has almost tamed the banished magic that resides in the great forest. I say almost because no matter what, the wild magic she can command still has a mind of its own as we find out near the very end of this particular installment in this series. But this name, a mirror of my own, and this character spoke to me. I just had to know this story. I had to read the second book first in this case.

Because I was not able to read the first book in the series, I was actually quite ecstatic that the author gives a little sense of what happened in The Golden Apple at the beginning of this book. It doesn't reveal everything that might have happened, but at least the gist is pretty well touched upon. It segues great into this book, telling the reader all the information, or at least most of the information, needed to be able to know what is going on in the story or what has gone on in the story so far.

Our characters are pretty well separated into pairs in this book, each pair having their own chapters until finally near the end all four are reunited again. We have Rane and Kayla, and Soren and a new character Miri. Now Miri, as stated in the book's blurb, was bespelled by her father in the womb to be the greatest sorcerer who ever lived. And she definitely is a great sorcerer. But unlike other sorcerers, she uses her magic to help instead of hurt. So it is no surprise that she saves Soren when given the chance to either do that or run. Even when it means her own capture and the loss of her most prized possession. He returns the favor, even with the knowledge of what she is and his animosity and vow to kill all sorcerers, and they escape, not knowing that it will be matters of the heart helping to keep them together soon enough.

Rane and Kayla are on the search to find both Soren and get back the golden apple in Nuen's possession, making a stop back at the Great Forest to free the earth witch Ylana from the spell that currently binds her. Kayla will plead her case to learn how to control her magic and the providers of that magic, but it will be up to Ylana herself whether or not her animosity will allow her to teach the girl. And without her help, the war of the sorcerers that has been looming might just arrive.

Verdict:

I really did love this book. I mean, I really didn't feel lost due to the explanation of what happened in the previous book. However, there were a few times where the story didn't feel as full as it could have. The story itself was complete, but I didn't feel as fulfilled, like something was missing. Other than that, there were a lot of wonderfully written scenes, and the world itself, especially the Great Forest, was quite beautiful in its descriptions. I especially like the imp in the dress. (You'll definitely have to read the book to understand.) I currently have the first book and will definitely be putting it on my TBR list just so I can gain more of a sense of the characters from the very beginning. And I will definitely be reading more of this author's work in future.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. Having worked in publishing and IT, she's now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.


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Book Blitz: Giveaway and Book Review: Ghost Heart by Ripley Patton



Title: Ghost Heart
Author: Ripley Patton
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Thriller

Blitz Organized By: Lola's Blog Tours

Blurb:

In the aftermath of a brutal tragedy, Jason and Passion are on the run. Marcus is lost beyond reach, and The Hold is in shambles. If that weren't enough, Olivia Black has been taken by the CAMFers to be used as Dr. Fineman's personal lab rat in his merciless quest to uncover the mysteries of Psyche Sans Soma once and for all. But only if he can break her.

They are scattered.
They are devastated.
They are ruined.

Their only hope is Olivia's stubborn determination to thwart her captors and unlock the secrets of her ghost hand before Dr. Fineman can. Will she finally find the strength within herself to embrace the full power of her PSS?

And will it even matter if Marcus has already betrayed her?

Kayla's Thoughts:

I want to start by saying that Ripley Patton does a beautiful job of reminding readers what happened in the book before this one (Book 2, Ghost Hold) without giving away the plot to those that may not have read the second book. Obviously you would have to be crazy to not have read the second book before this one, because so much happened in it that is very VERY important for this one. Such as (insert incoherent mumbles here). What? Did you think I would give stuff away? I am not that kind of girl...

On that note, I have decided that I am going to start a support group for readers who have a tendency to read ahead, aka skimming pages or turning to the back of the book just to make sure a character doesn't die or something (that is how I ruined the seventh Harry Potter book for myself). It is a very terrible disease and can make your life a living nightmare! Or at least take all the fun out of reading. I shall call it PA. Peekers Anonymous. Comment if you have a better name. You can tell I have actually thought about this long and hard. So anyway, the whole point of saying this was because that is exactly what I wanted to do throughout this entire book. I had to know what was going to happen. I had to know if I could trust people or if my gut was right about there being a rat in our midst. I have to admit that I did turn to the last few pages while I was still in the beginning of the book, but thankfully I had my eyes squinted enough that I saw nothing. And I am glad I did, because like I said, it would have made the journey to the ending less stressful and I hate when I can't stress over a book. It makes me feel so alive and the story so much more readable.

This particular book in the series has a different format to it than the past two. Instead of having only Olivia's point of view, due to the characters being separated we are allowed both Marcus's and Passion's points of view as well. These three different characters allow us to gain a well rounded view of the story just as we get in the other two, but it also allows us to see characters we have gotten to know in a whole new light. We get to experience their feelings, thoughts, and in Marcus's case, what with his most recent dying experience and the repercussions of that, old wounds being reopened as if they were never closed in the first place.

Verdict:

I literally want to bang my forehead against a wall or something like it due to the fact that the fourth book won't come out until next year. I am in love with this series, these characters, and the whole PSS idea. This is definitely a remarkable series that will have a special place in my heart, and most especially this particular installment.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Ripley Patton lives in Portland, Oregon, with one cat, two teenagers, and a man who wants to live on a boat. She is an award-winning short story writer and author of The PSS Chronicles, a young adult paranormal thriller series.

Ripley doesn't smoke, or drink, or cuss as much as her characters. Her only real vices are writing, eating M&Ms, and watching reality television.

Links for Author:
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Release Day Romp: Giveaway and Review: A Beautiful Purpose by Alicia Rae

Beautiful Purpose


22725782Title: A Beautiful Purpose (Beautiful #6)
Author: Alicia Rae
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+

Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.

Blurb:

*Book 6 in The Beautiful Series or Standalone*

All Blake Johnson knows is the life of a Marine. After serving his country for eight years, he returns to his family for some rest and rehabilitation. Fighting an internal war, he battles sleepless nights as images of his former military days haunt him. From the moment Audrey Hampton walks into his life, he is drawn to her. Her beauty leaves him breathless and weak in the knees. She kindles a spark of hope deep within his soul, igniting a part of himself he feared was missing. Her never-ending compassion for others opens his heart in a way he never dreamed. But Audrey is hiding wounds of her own. Returning to Lake Tahoe to care for her ill mother triggers painful childhood memories of her parents' loveless marriage, reminding her there is no such thing as true love. Will Blake's resolve be powerful enough to open Audrey's sealed heart? Or will Audrey fear the past and risk losing the man who could give her life a newfound purpose? Can two wounded souls become one?

Kayla's Thoughts:

I have to admit that I was a bit torn throughout the beginning of this book. You see, sometimes when I read a story I envision the characters' personalities differently than the author has written them. Sometimes I feel that in order for the story to flow a little bit better a character needs more of a certain quality or characteristic. And that is exactly how I feel with this, or at least that is how I felt before finishing this book. 

While both main characters are so perfect for one another, and some of their scenes were so heartfelt and funny and just made me grin to no end, I felt that their relationship could have been delayed a bit more. And by that I mean that I kind of wish the hesitancy on both ends would have lasted a bit longer. I wish that on both ends they would have resisted a bit more due to their own personal demons. It would have made their budding love so much sweeter, Audrey's rejection so much more heart-wrenching, and their ultimate realization that neither would be anything without the other all the more wondrous and joyful.

That said, while I do believe it could use a bit more finesse, the storyline itself is beautiful. Two souls tortured by different events coming together as one. Finding love when love does not seem a possibility. And while I do say that I had a bit of a conundrum regarding the beginning of this book, from the moment the paintball event occurred, I was immediately hooked from the first giggle that left my lips.

While Blake and Audrey are the main focus of this book, I love how each character brings their own quirky lives to the table. Well, that is in the case of Blake's brothers, their women, and his cousin and her man. I love stories where all the characters are interconnected and know each other in some way, especially when the book is a part of the series where each character is allowed their own life to be delved into.

Verdict:

This book is not perfect by any means, but its story is. I definitely will read the other books in this series, and will probably remember Blake and Audrey's particular story for months to come. It is completely worth buying this book just for the happy ending, and I recommend it to any and all fans of this genre.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Alicia Rae is a Contemporary Romance Author who lives in Dekalb, Illinois, with her husband and three beautiful boys. Alicia has a passion for reading all types of romance, writing to bring a story to life, and photography.

"Thank you to my dear sister, Kels, who showed me a few years ago how much I truly missed reading. And to my loving husband, for not throwing away my Nook, and planting the seed of writing into my mind. I am forever grateful. XO Readers, words cannot thank you enough for supporting me along this incredible journey. I hope you enjoy my novels as much as I do writing them. I thank each and every one of you. Believe in yourself and follow your dreams..."
Links for Author:
Twitter / Goodreads / BlogFacebook / Amazon


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