Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Tour Review & Giveaway ($20 Amazon gift card): Red Dust: The Fall by Ben Dixon & Sam Campbell

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The Fall (Scaled)
Red Dust: The Fall by Ben Dixon & Sam Campbell
Genres: Horror/Zombies/Western/Short Stories

Red Dust is a series of zombie western short stories. Red Dust: The Fall is the first trilogy of short stories in the Red Dust series. These stories are The Lost Party, Feud and The Last Rider.

The Lost Party
When a party of settlers go missing on the Wasatch Mountains of 1846 America, a lone mountain man tasks himself with finding the lost pioneers. Upon the discovery of the remnants of a diary, George Masterson finds himself pulled into the dark story that befell the ill-fated travellers.

America 1853, seven years since the disappearance of the lost party, the undead have emerged from the wilderness crossing the Great Plains to assault the civilised world. Communication has broken down and settlements now stand alone as the Rising Plague spreads across the eastern border.
In the town of Little Rock inhabitants of the New World thrive to create normality in the midst of chaos. With the arrival of a mysterious rider named Griffin, the true dangers of the town become clear. The illusion of civilisation quickly dissolves as Griffin’s appearance sparks the violent conclusion of a deep-rooted vendetta.

The Last Rider
The Rising Plague continues to spread mercilessly across America, leaving the remnants of the US government to lead a desperate defence in defiance of the undead. Yet in the face of their doom, the beginnings of a civil tension arises, as the Southern State’s succeed, leaving a dire split across the US and its people hopelessly divided.
Isaac, a young courier, volunteers himself to deliver a mysterious package for the Union military. His task will lead him deep into the heart of the unknown, through the decaying civilisation of a country that he can no longer call his home, as his eyes are opened to the horrors of the New World.


*** 4.5 Stars ***
"Red Dust: The Fall" is an awesome collection of short stories that is totally what is proclaims in its blurb: western short stories with zombies, guns, the Wild West, and more zombies! All three stories tie into each other, ending with a massive cliffhanger in Isaac’s story, but could stand all on their own. The authors were kind enough to provide a print copy of their novel for review, and it was a perfect read to tuck into my purse for reading in zombie loving spurts. The stories are too the point and not filled with a ton of bogging down details, but still builds enough of the creepy world the survivors live and fight in. It's a no frills, straight up zombie vs. the west collection of zombie stories any zombie fan should tuck away in their collection.


“This is it, boys,” Custer shouted. “Form a line Sergeant Major.”

“Line,” shouted the Sergeant in response, and the cavalrymen spread thin, length ways into a single file. Isaac followed Griffin who fell into the very flank of the line. They urged their horses forward, scrambling to the peak of the ridge and stopped.

The downward slope on the far side had been stripped bare of all life. Only a barren ruin of dirt remained of what was once. The cannons had been dug into the earth of the slope, below which lay at the very bottom a fortified trench.

The smoke from the cannons and the rifles of the soldiers still hung in the air, but through the light cannon smoke, Isaac could see them. He had never seen anything of such horror. Coming from the treeline beyond the trench were the dead. Thousands of them cascading through the forest into the open ground, marching towards the defences with a single purpose. Isaac saw a cannon fire and the ground rumbled beneath him as the machine of war kicked back, slamming into the wall of dirt where it was entrenched. It erupted in haze of smoke, spitting burning embers and coughing fire. Isaac watched the cannon ball hit the ground hard, bounce, and then strike into the front rank of the undead horde, slicing through the mass of ungodly figures. The creatures that took the brunt of shot exploded in a mist of red.

Ben Dixon and Sam Campbell are two friends who met while studying history at University. Red Dust is their first piece of work, it features a story told through interlinking short stories.
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The authors are giving away a $20 Amazon gift card! Open internationally. The giveaway will run the length of the tour.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Voting has started in the Third Annual utopYA Awards!

Voting has started in the Third Annual utopYA Awards! For those of you that have never heard of utopYA it is the first-of-its-kind convention for women writers of supernatural YA and NA fiction, and their fans! I had an amazing experience there last year and am stoked to be one of their official bloggers this year. Please take the time to cast your vote for the incredibly talented authors, bloggers and editors that have been nominated! You can also join us in Nashville at the Awards by purchasing a ticket here:

If you haven't purchased your tickets to UtopYA NOW is the time to get them!! Ticket prices increase on May 1st. That means you have two days to get your tickets at a cheaper price! Visit the Barnes & Noble or Indie Book Stores, Get Swag from over 100 Exhibitors, Take Part in our Guinness World Record Attempt & Don't miss Keynote Speakers Gennifer Albin & Sylvia Day!! This is an experience that everyone should partake in at least once!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: Kat Scratched by D.T. Dyllin

reviewOkay, so, the first time I read Part one of this series back in August 2013 I was not overly fond of these characters. Dare I say I was annoyed with them. I must have been in a bad mood because I re-read the entire trilogy this month and WOAH BABY I loved it. I usually wont even re-read a book but I can't believe how much I loved this one the second time around. Don't get me wrong, I gave it 4 stars last time but this was 5 billion stars. I also need to stop comparing the authors books. That's almost like setting myself up for failure. It's like comparing your favorite shirt to another shirt you own that looks almost as awesome but not quite. I'm getting off topic here but you get the point. I missed my two Alpha's! Part two was also a re-read and still as sexy as the first time. Maybe even more so. Part 3..... I have been waiting since August for this! I feel like book two in one of the author's series is always the one that leaves you hanging on for dear if I don't get this book right now I might choke a mutha fucka. I shall call her the queen of cliffy's. And I don't care if that's not a word, you get what I'm saying so deal with it. Dara is also the queen of hussies....all of her female protagonists can't keep their snatches in their knickers.... I love it! But they're always conflicted about it. I guess that separates them from being a full fledged hussy :). I very much enjoyed their journey and I'm looking forward to what's next from my favorite author.



authorCynical-Optimist. Chocolate-holic. Sarcasm Addict. Paranormal Believer. Romance Junkie. Self-Imposed Insomniac. Animal Lover. Writer...are just a few words to describe D.T. Dyllin. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two very spoiled GSDs.






Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway (Coca Cola Pajamas, signed book, swag, and other prizes!): Love and Cola Wars by Heidi Loney



1. SUMMER LOVE - Justin Timberlake
2. MANEATER – Nelly Fortado
3. LADY IN RED (LATIN VERSION) – Junior Gonzalez
4. COULD I HAVE THIS KISS FORVEVER – Enrique Iglesias and Whitney Houston
5. NEED TO KNOW - Marc Antony
7. A SUMMER SONG - Chad and Jeremy (Coco and Vincente)
11. SHE’S ALL I’VE EVER HAD - Ricky Martin
12. 1, 2, 3 - Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine

This young adult novel takes place in an alternate Toronto, Canada. Basically, everything has been sold, bought, and stamped by a big name corporation. Set in a contemporary, big company owned city, Coco and Vincente are on opposing corporation sides. Meeting on a beach, their attraction is fairly instant and totally forbidden. Parallel with Romeo and Juliet, thankfully this novel lacks a deadly ending, but it full of the same familial conflict.

Vincente is Pepsi and Coco is… Coca Cola! She’s popular, rich, and a nice chick. Vincente is a handsome, from the wrong side, and has a thing for fencing. After a variety of close encounters and fist fighting, fencing duals, and generally hatred between Pepsi and Cola, Vincente finds Coco at her father’s huge yearly bash. Her father is trying to pair Coco with a sleazy guy, which Vincente mistakes for a real suitor. Vincente and buddy are tossed out of the party and drunk; Vincente drunk calls/texts Coco and ends up hooking up with a sleazy version of Coco’s suitor. Just when the reader thinks they might drown in teen angst and misunderstanding, the two love birds find a way through fencing duals, bloody fist fights, lies, and teenage hormones and jealously to be together.

This was a satirical (as the book blurb will tell readers) young adult romance. Easy to read and pick up later, it’s an ideal beach read for the younger set who need a tamer romance which a nod toward the possibly franchised future.



Looking down over the pool, he saw a beautiful young woman standing in profile, her long, dark hair cascading over light coffee-coloured shoulders. His jaw became slack and open. All of the moisture in his mouth suddenly dried up. He felt anxious, with an urge to flee, but he couldn’t move. His legs seemed fused to the deck with cement. He was staring at the girl when she turned and caught his eye. It was Coco.
She’s here, he thought. Thank you, Marcos. Thank you for dragging me. She didn’t look away, but kept his gaze for a moment before returning to her conversation. Was she playing it cool, he wondered?
The Latin band in the gazebo was playing an instrumental version of Marc Antony’s ‘Need to Know’. Vincente ditched the drinks, dropped the hood from his head and walked down the stairs of the deck. He forgot about Marcos as he walked towards Coco. She saw him across the pool.
Music and the cacophony of the crowd were all around him. Coco excused herself from her companion and came around to his side of the pool. They didn’t take their eyes off one another, and surprisingly, considering how close to the lip they walked, neither of them fell into the pool. Then he was right in front of her, looking into her golden eyes.
“Vincente, I’m so glad to see you.” She beamed. “I never got your number, and then my dad was giving me a hard time. Hey, what happened to your eye?”
She examined it closely, lightly touching the butterfly strip across his eyebrow. Vincente was terribly embarrassed.
“Ugh, I got into a fight last week, just after we met,” Vincente said.
“Someone from school?”
“Just a guy.”
“Okay, tough guy,” she said. “Hey, how did you find out about the party?”
“Marcos got wind of it. This is my first year at the Coke BBQ. You seem to have been to this thing before?”
“Every year, actually. My father is the one that throws it.”
And now Vincente knew the truth.
“Oh, sorry. That’s really embarrassing,” he said.
Vincente thought that maybe he should have enlightened her, but he didn’t want to ruin the moment. He could tell her later, he thought.
Coco laughed. “No worries. Hey, do you want to dance?
“Sure, but I’m not that good.”
“That’s okay. I can lead.”
Coco took Vincente’s hand and led him down to the temporary dance floor in front of the gazebo. Her father had had it laid out just for this occasion. Above the dance floor, the decorating team had strung numerous strands of twinkly lights between two trees. People were sitting and keeping warm at two fire pits surrounded by logs.
Coco found a spot that was clear of the other dancers on the floor. Vincente put one hand on Coco’s slim hips and his other hand on her shoulder. Adjusting his hand, she moved it slightly higher onto her waist. He felt like an idiot for being so awkward. Beginning to sway to the music, she pulled him in a little bit closer.
“You see, it’s not that difficult,” she said.
Coco’s skin was so soft to the touch and she smelled amazing, like the sweet fragrance of wild roses. Being near her was potent.
“You’re right. I just need to get the hang of it, I guess.”
The beautiful sky and moon that now rose, the cool night air, and the beauty of Coco enveloped Vincente. The chill created goose pimples on Coco’s flesh.
“Are you cold?” he asked.
“No, you seem to be warm enough for the two of us,” she said.
“You smell great,” he said, immediately regretting it. But then she said, “So do you.”
He held her close, this almost stranger, feeling guilty for not revealing his true self to her. When the song ended, Coco suggested they sit by the fire and warm up. Like a gentleman, he offered his hoodie, and she accepted.

Heidi Loney is a Toronto based Young Adult Author. Her dystopian novel, Ravenous (Ancestry, Book 1), is currently available in both Kobo and Kindle e-book formats. Heidi’s satirical Upper MG/YA novel, Love and Cola Wars is now available on Kindle and Kobo. She is currently writing Ancestor (Ancestry, Book 2) to be released later in 2014. Before becoming a novelist, Heidi studied theatre and worked as a costumer for 15 years in many of Toronto’s theatres.
Heidi’s other passion is politics, and you can find her tongue-in-cheek posts on Toronto city politics blog,
Heidi lives in the city with her husband Jack and two (mostly) darling children.

Author Links:





Coke Jammies Giveaway
The giveaway (Canada and US) will be a set of Coca Cola Pajamas, red and blue Avon nail polish, and a signed copy of Love and Cola Wars with a bookmark.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Tour Review: Dissension (Chronicles of the Uprising #1) by K.A. Salidas

Dissension Blog Tour Banner

Title:  Dissension

Author:  K.A. Salidas

Series:  Chronicles of the Uprising (#1)

Genre: Paranormal/Dystopian

Publisher:  Rising Sign Books LLC

Release Date:   Feb 3 2014


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?



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4 Stars!
After humanity is nearly wiped out, vampires are now exposed. The two factions come together to build a new, functioning world. Once equal, humans are now the controlling, ruling species and keep vampires as slaves and entertainment. Mira has been enslaved for multiple decades, forced to fight against her own kind for the blood lust ridden crowds. She is trained ruthlessly and given very little blood to survive. If a gladiator does not win a fight, it is death or torture for their end.
Gladiator's time can be bought by patrons, for their own personal pleasure and amusement for a rented time.

when Lucian starts to procure Mira, their odd relationship of hate, trust, and learning the truth will soon revolutionize the world they know. Humanity's worst traits are exposed and Mira will race to free her kind from becoming blood cattle.

Set very much in a Roman like society, Mira is a kick butt girl who takes no names. Lucian is a compassionate guy trying to do the right thing, but he is in the wrong position and on the wrong side. The pain and anguish that Mira has to endure almost hourly made me ache for her and I became very attached to her character. The nastiness of the leading class's plans for the vampires is soon exposed and the good guys are on the run. Looking forward to book 2! The fight scenes were definitely realistic and I could just imagine very action.



The roar of the crowd, all twenty-five-thousand people in attendance, rose to a thundering crescendo when Mira delivered a bone-crunching blow to her opponent’s ribs. Standing only five feet tall, she might not have appeared a formidable warrior, but the thin, spiky-haired waif of a vampire could hold her weight and more when put to the test. Amplified by the superb acoustics, the sound of bones cracking echoed through the Superdome arena. The defeated, a red-headed male vampire staggered, punch-drunk, and then dropped to his knees. Dirt and sweat coated his face but could not mask the fear in his icy blue eyes. His was a look Mira had seen so many times before. Her opponent’s immortal life had finally come to an end, and he was ready to take the final deadly blow.
Above her, Mira knew the fifty-foot mega screen showed her hapless victim in brilliant resolution, ensuring that all who were attending, and those watching from the comfort of their homes, could see these last gruesome moments in crystal clear high-definition.
Mira gazed down at her opponent’s blood-soaked face. Though he was her enemy for the moment, she did not relish having to end him. No one should be forced into the arena and told to kill or be killed. It wasn’t right. But it was what was demanded of her, and given the choice between her life and someone else’s… well, there really was no choice. No matter the cost, Mira was a survivor.
She glanced up to the large private box overlooking the arena. A well-dressed man in deep-purple robes sat, enjoying what appeared to be a dinner of filet mignon and roast potatoes. Even here, in the dusty arena below, Mira’s enhanced senses picked up the tantalizing scent of very rare, bloody steak. She could hardly believe that a human could not only watch the murder about to take place, but also sit and eat the dead flesh of a once-living being while doing it. From the smell of it, the poor beast was practically still bleeding on his plate. Who was truly the more savage creature?
Over the crowd’s roar, an announcer introduced the well-dressed man, Lucian Stavros, Regent of the Iron Gate. Lucian gently and purposefully slowly set down his knife and fork. He took another moment to wipe his face clean and then smiled, acknowledging the roaring crowd.
Chants of “Death, death, death,” rang out from the throng as a single unified demand.
The Regent listened for a moment, making a show of putting his hands to his ears to hear screaming hoard’s request, and then held a hand out, with his thumb pointed to the side.
As if the next moment were the most important, the anticipating mass hushed. Eerie silence filled the arena as everyone watched for the Regent to make his decision.
From her vantage point below, Mira saw the steely look of determination cross the Regent’s face. If she didn’t know better, she might have thought he took this decision seriously; but then, he was human, and they never cared much if her kind lived or died. Lucian Stavros took a cursory glance down at Mira. Their eyes met. It was only a brief moment, but in that short time, Mira saw him waver.
Could it be true, she wondered, or was it just a trick of the light? No human actually cared about the lives of vampires. The moment faded, and the fleeting thought left.
Mira saw the Regent’s decision. He turned his thumb down. Death!
The crowd went wild.
The last hope for her defeated opponent had vanished; Mira had to finish him. “Sorry,” she whispered to the half-dead vampire on his knees before her. Though her fangs tingled at the prospect of tasting his final dying moments—her reward, if you could call it that, for living through another battle— she did not enjoy what she was about to do. Like her, he was a slave, forced into servitude to the humans as they saw fit. He had not asked for this, and neither had she. But, despite what either of them wanted, it was the will of the crowd, the humans, that had to be served.
Aiming to sever the carotid artery with her fangs, Mira dove at her opponent’s neck. His death would be quick. At least she could afford him that luxury.

Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkins 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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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Enjoy Your Stay by Carmen Jenner

reviewEnjoy Your Stay....where do I begin? I kinda hated the first 20%. I don't know what the official genre of the book is. I assumed it was New Adult but I would consider this more erotica than an NA contemp. I was literally rolling my eyes every chapter thinking "they're banging each other AGAIN?!" There was A LOT of sex. Jeez Louise! The only thing that had me pushing past that 20% was that it was piss your pants kind of funny. I'm glad I stuck it out because it turned out to be better than I expected. I also need to stop comparing books to their predecessor. I really loved Welcome to Sugartown and I held EYS to that high standard.

Back to the humor... I put this up there with Wallbanger in the funny factor. I liked Jackson in the beginning. His dialogue was awesome! But then her started doing dumb shit and I wanted to junk punch him. He has since redeemed himself. And Holly....what can I say about her stubborn self? I love her LOL. Feisty reds have to stick together. She was a riot. I need to put this out there...I'm kinda Team Coop. Don't give me the side eye! I'm like 60/40 LOL. Aside from the rabbid sex, this was a great story with lots of plot twists and crazy shit going on. As for Ana and Elijah, they felt a little flat to me. Yeah, they were supporting characters in this one, but they were just blah.


Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something author, doctor, pilot and CIA agent.

She's also a compulsive, flagrant prevaricator who gets to make things up for a living. While Sugartown may not technically exist, Carmen grew up in a small Australian town just like it, and just like her characters, she always longed for something more. They didn't have an Elijah Cade, though. If they did, you can be sure she would have never left.

Website | Welcome to Sugartown Website

| Facebook | Twitter |

Goodreads | Carmen Jenner Street Team | Pinterest

Other Books By Carmen


Welcome to Sugartown (Sugartown #1)

Amazon US | Amazon UK

| Amazon AUS | Amazon Paperback |

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| Kobo | Smashwords

Judging a Book by its Cover #utopya2014 @utopyacon


Hey everyone! I was having a brain fart on what to write for my utopYA post this month. Toni had an awesome post on book blurbs last month so why not talk about something equally as important....the cover! I admit, I'm the type of person that judges a book by its cover. I think it's just as important as the story, if not more so. It's the first thing you see when you go to a book store, library, or online retailer.

Here are some things you should ponder when looking to get your cover designed.

  • Does the cover honestly portray your book? (This seemed to be the biggest response from the experts)

This is incredibly important to me as a reader/blogger. It kinda sets the tone for the the characters look or the background. When asked what's the most important part of designing a beautiful cover, Lori at Contagious Reads says "The cover portrays the story, and the key to that is communication between the author and cover artist."

When asked the same question, author Alivia Anders replied "In my opinion, the most important part of designing a beautiful cover is capturing the essence of the story in a single image- one that tells you everything and nothing all at once. It can be formulaic for the genre at hand, but it doesn't (and shouldn't) have to be. Take The Hunger Games for example. It's incredibly minimalistic- both a telling factor to Katniss' life, and a huge contrast to the life in the Capitol. The Mockingjay symbol is always referenced as a key symbol, and it is, but when you pair it with the entire book cover, it tells a portion of the story before you've even opened the jacket flap to read the synopsis."

Graphic artist/cover designer Victoria Faye says "I think the most important part is staying true to the imagery in the story. You don't want readers to feel misled. besides for me its always fun reading the book and then looking back at the cover and saying OH I get it."

  •  Staying true to your aesthetic (both the author and designer)

Designing a cover takes team effort. I always believed that there has to be some give and take. The author deserves a cover that fits with their book and the designers need to stay true to their craft.

Photographer and cover artist Kelsey Keeton says "Making the author happy, but making sure it represents you as the artist as well. Personal infusion as an artist is what makes the over all design yours," is important when designing.

  • Branding

Branding makes me squeal like a tween at a One Direction concert. I swear it does funny things to my insides. Not only does it look awesome on your bookshelf, it gives your books a cohesive look.

Graphic artist/cover designer Regina Wamba says "A clean easily read title. Anything over the top (which for some reason people believe needs to be done) will be hard to read as a thumbnail. And establishing a brand or consistency as a series"

  • Visibility

Along the lines of Regina's statement, the typography can make or break a cover. Sometimes fancy isn't the right look for your book. Speaking with a designer can help narrow down what would look best for your cover. Always stick with something that's easy to read and not overly done. If you have to stare at a cover for more than a couple of seconds to figure out the cover, it's not right for you.

  • Stock images

I can only imagine how expensive these can run. Some of them are relatively affordable, but guess what, other authors have the same ones. Splurging on custom stock or photo shoots can hurt your pocket initially but can pay off in the long run. Find an up and coming photographer if you can't afford the more expensive ones.

 I do have a big "don't do" when it comes to cover design

  • Don't do it yourself!

If you're a graphic designer, by all means, make your own cover. Your cover should be your second baby next to the story itself. Go with a professional or invest in a quality image editing program. You could always watch YouTube tutorials but nothing beats the quality that an expert can give you.


 utopYAawards2014logo1 I hope to see you all at UtopYA 2014! There will be plenty of panels that are helpful for everyone and you wont want to miss it! To see what UtopYA is all about, visit and for tickets visit

Be sure to follow the rest of the Official UtopYA Bloggers for exclusive content and news!

Delphina of Delphina Reads Too Much

Toni of My Book Addiction

Heather of SupaGurl Books

Kathryn of TSK, TSK, What to Read?

Tootles! ren