Dawn of the Vie by Laura Diamond – Launch and Giveaway

Dawn of the Vie by Laura DiamondSince their Arrival less than 30 years ago, immortal Vie rule the planet like the super-predators they are. Enslaved humans are their servants…their entertainment…and their food. Anemies—humans with various types of anemia—are simply exterminated. Their nutritionally deficient blood is useless to the Vie.

Or so it’s thought…

Alex, an Elite Vie, is a bit of a Renaissance Alien. Part scientist, part Raid Specialist, part drug addict, he knows Anemie blood is valuable. Rather than blindly carrying out his boss’s kill order, he convinces some colleagues to spare a few Anemies, not only for study, but also to reserve a secret stock.

The more Anemie blood Alex drinks, the more he slips into delusion, and the more his double life threatens to crumble. But quitting Anemie blood is not an option. Every Anemie has their own personal flavor. Each gives a unique high.

When Alex takes a hit of Justin’s blood, his hallucinations bleed into reality…


Anemie Justin knows his little sister, Sammie, and he are living past their expiration dates. It becomes a guarantee when they’re bitten by a Vie named Alex during a raid. (The bite is fatal, thanks to a toxin carried in Vie saliva.) Alex adds insult to injury by promising Justin a second chance—an antidote in exchange for agreeing to be a lab rat.

And a mule…of his own blood.

When Justin says no, Alex takes off with Sammie.

All Justin has to do is find them, beat Alex, and cure himself and Sammie. All he has is a stake and serious lack of self-preservation.

No problem.


Alex wants Justin’s blood.

Justin wants his sister back.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Will be found here come release day: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=+Dawn+of+the+Vie+Laura+Diamond+

Laura Diamond - author
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist currently specializing in emergency psychiatry. She is also an author of all things young adult—both contemporary and paranormal. An avid fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and anything magical, she thrives on quirk, her lucid dreams, and coffee. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found sniffing books and drinking a latte at the bookstore or at home pondering renovations on her 225 year old fixer upper, all while obeying her feline overlords, of course.
Author Links:

Catalyst Moon: Incursion by Lauren L Garcia – 1/5 Stars

catalyst-moon-incursion-by-lauren-l-garciaIn a world where supposedly dangerous mages are held prisoner in bastions by trained sentinels, Kali a crippled mage has to be escorted to a healer in Whitewater City. Unfortunately, on the way the sentinels guarding the mage carriage Kali was being transported in are viciously attacked by a wild group of Canderi who fight like no Canderi they have ever seen, and no Canderi the reader has ever seen either…

I’ll start with the positive. Despite my criticism below, the dynamics between Kali and Stonewall, sentinel who is left alive after the attack, are introduced well in chapter three, sketching Kali as curious and contrasting it with Stonewall’s resolve and sense of duty. These characteristics were certainly not original, but were interesting to read. There were several clean well-written passages that proved the author could write well when she wanted (Page 73 and 74 come to mind). The progression of some story arcs and how the character’s relationships changed, as with Milo and Flint, meant Catalyst Moon wasn’t completely nonsensical.

Let’s tackle the first chapter. It didn’t pull me into the story at all. How the reader was introduced to who was who was an issue: ‘Male Sentinel’ is ‘Stonewall’, and ‘Kali’ is ‘Mage Halcyon’ from another character’s perspective. It might make sense after you’ve read the first chapter. ‘Mage Halcyon’ sounded like a reverential name, and throughout the remainder it’s clear sentinels do not revere mages whatsoever – they fear them and look down upon them like dirt. The main scene of monstrous bandits attacking the mage carriage that should have really grabbed my attention and shown what the author could really deliver utterly fell on its arse. In other words, it did not deliver with the import it needed to be, and set a rather disappointing tone for the remainder, which did fail to pick up in meaning and pace. I mean, how did the characters feel when they were being attacked by the bandits? How were they going to get out of the struggle? If it wasn’t an important part of the plot, and it is according to the book description, then why include it in the first chapter?

  • Problem two is the sheer number of character or place names, which only confused the writing and made it nonsensical.
  • Chapter one – chapter five characters: Gray, Kali, Stonewall, Ganister, Pinion, Milo, Beacon, Flint, Rook, Gideon Echina, Sadira, Hornfel, Cobalt, Eris Echina.
  • Place names: Whitewater City, Starwatch, Ea’s realm, Aredia, Silverwood Province.
  • There was apparently a magic power that could send two people and a horse leagues and leagues across the countryside, three days’ journey (really?).
  • Cliches: ‘A chill crept across his skin, one that had little to do with the cold and damp’, and ‘the one has entrusted you with great power, so you must always use it wisely’.
  • Inconsistent vertical spacing between the text was painfully apparent in the interior of the paperback.
  • The spine was the wrong way round so the title and author name was upside down, though this could have been a printing error.
  • Difficult to find and remember the dialogue as it was embedded in the narrative text, as to make it invisible. To make matters worse, sometimes the answer to a question would be several paragraphs down, which stole away the dialogue’s impact.
  • Subplots crowded themselves in between scenes, and insignificant characters cropped up and distracted from the tale.
  • Inconsequential character would spend a chapter discussing scenes that had already occurred or that more important characters had experienced. Which do you think is more important?

Half way through reading it, I was struggling to relate to the circumstances the characters found themselves in. Events repeated those that had already occurred: Kali healing somebody or a Canderi attack on characters I couldn’t empathise with. There were rumours repeated about the Canderi, all the time, which didn’t show me anything new. Kali kept asking Stonewall to take off her cuffs on their journey, but why would she have expected him to agree and free her when she was a prisoner mage?

Conclusion? Meshed between irrelevant writing and subplots, there is a story of a romance between a sentinel and a mage in Catalyst Moon: Incursion and examples of writing that can engage. Unfortunately, it’s not in a structure and format that makes it pleasurable for readers, at this time of writing. It was impenetrable for the discerning reader, and I believe all writing should be there for a reason. I know the author has had both many positive and negative reviews, and I don’t mean to be patronising in the following comments but I feel I should offer my advice anyway for the sake of my own reading experience. Lauren L Garcia needs to either further develop Stonewall and Kali’s plotline or create one or two dynamic characters that can hold the reader’s interest and whose experiences better complement Stonewall and Kali’s plotline. The author shouldn’t be too hard on herself. Her writing isn’t the problem, it’s her story! I understand this may be her first published book, so you can expect some weaknesses, but I hope this critical review can help her identify and improve on them. Catalyst Moon: Incursion was the worst reading experience I’ve had in living memory, in terms of the structure, plot, and delivery.

Lauren L Garcia’s website

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – 3/5 Stars

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is a controversial young adult dystopian novel that is a highly competitive death-dealing game, and a fight for survival. I couldn’t watch the film – there wasn’t enough to grab my attention – but the book was bought as a gift and was the only dystopian one on my shelf. As a result, I didn’t begin reading with much expectation that I would take to the novel: I’m not a fan of the young adult genre in general, with some exceptions.

The novel had quite a potent political message, especially early on. It illustrates simply and yet strongly how inequality can lead to resentment between the starving and the better-off, even if both groups know better on a full stomach. It’s a clever ploy of the Capitol’s system to divide the people so that their hold on power is relatively undisrupted. The Capitol uses official excuses for those who have starved to death, burying their guilt and complicity at ridding many of the districts of their inhabitants. The population are not fooled, but what can they do to act against the Capitol when the Treaty of Treason is an intimidating warning to those who would oppose them, in the form of a reminder that past uprisings have bitterly failed. It’s at this point the reader must wonder how accurate this history is, and if it is, why do the Capitol need to remind the districts not to rebel if there weren’t weaknesses?

Let’s start with the positive. There were more than a few lengthy passages that sustained my interest, mostly between Katniss and Peeta’s struggle to understand and trust each other before they entered the Hunger Games as the two Tributes representing District 12. The battle for survival in the arena started off very well, capturing my interest and impressing upon me the severity of Katniss’ predicament. The conclusion as well, was well written, emotionally tense, and with enough peril to make it impressive. First-person point-of-view worked well at intervals, bringing Katniss’ personality, likes, and dislikes to the fore and engaging the reader.

Katniss’ voice did bother me, rendering her emotionally numb to any related or past events. This is where first-person point-of-view didn’t work well, and the switches were occasionally noticeable. Katniss and Peeta’s mostly passive and tolerant attitude to following rules irritated me. I know why they did it – to protect their families – but it almost seemed to justify the need for a sycophantic totalitarian regime, bloated by wealth and superficiality. It made the characters sick, and it made me feel sick, but the characters still went along with it more often that I would have liked. I’m obviously only commenting as a reader/observer here and not a participant in the Hunger Games; maybe that would make a difference to my opinions.

Katniss’s boundaries were pushed once or twice, causing her to act in rebellion, but her actions only really made a difference where it concerned the Capitol’s perception of her and to me reinforced the idea that if you have enough talent you can become popular enough that it doesn’t matter that most districts are starved and oppressed. The bottom line is that Katniss and Peeta were absolutely helpless, and had to do as they were told. I didn’t think this philosophy did much to encourage young adults in life, even if the suspense and gory deaths were appealing to some.

Suzanne Collins’ Website