Excerpts from the six novels composing Shades Of Chaos:
From “Released” (by Megan Duncan):
“Carter!” I grabbed him on the shoulder, and waved my other hExcerpts from the six novels composing Shades Of Chaos:
From “Released” (by Megan Duncan):
“Carter!” I grabbed him on the shoulder, and waved my other hand in front of his face to get his attention. “What, Abby?” he said annoyed, but when he saw my reaction he immediately softened. “Tell me what you see inside that van.” Carter leaned over the front seat, resting his hands on the dashboard. He squinted hard and I silently watched as a drop of sweat rolled slowly down his temple. “Holy shit,” he blurted out as his mouth dropped. “What?” Max questioned. “What do you see?” “There is someone inside of that van,” I announced. When his face still looked confused I added “alive.” Max’s eyes opened wide, and he quickly pushed Carter aside to have a look for himself. “Well, we gotta get them,” Max insisted. That being his first reaction made my feelings for him grow. He was so much like my father. Everything I respected in a man; brave, honorable and selfless. He always wanted to play the hero no matter what the risk. “What, are you crazy?” Carter questioned. “That might not even be a person, it could be a demon bird inside that van, or it could be something else. You really want to take that risk?” “Carter, you said yourself that the whole point of this trip was to kill every damn demon we saw. I see three right there!” Max barked, pointing his finger out the windshield. “So do I,” I added for good measure. After a short pause Carter gave in to our reasoning. “You’re right,” he admitted while dropping back into the seat. “What do you think we should do?” I watched him sit there for a moment, all our minds reeling, trying to figure out what to do. My brother picked at the frayed little crocodile emblem on his polo shirt, while Max rifled through what weapons we had and mumbled angrily about how much ammo was left. “I think we should stick with Max’s idea,” I said trying to convey as much confidence as I could even though I was starting to feel the fear creep in. “I say we haul ass to that van, and we each unload on a bird. There are three of us and three of them. Sounds pretty damn even to me. If there really is someone inside that van, we take them with us.”
From “Dissension” (Katie Salidas):
Dragged back down to the dank, dark prison wing, Mira was in no mood to antagonize her handlers or even attempt to decipher the code to her cell. She wanted nothing more than to just lie down on her mattress and sleep. She didn’t even rise to their taunting comments or the hard jab in the back from a UV torch. She simply stepped forward into her cell and held out her hands to be unshackled. “Finally broke her,” the male handler taunted. Mira shrugged and dropped to her mattress. Let them think she was broken, if it meant they would leave her to rest. The handlers laughed as they walked away. As soon as they were out of earshot, George appeared at the cell bars. “Mira, baby. I thought I’d never see you again!” The relief in George’s voice was apparent, but Mira could barely lift her head to acknowledge him. “You okay?” George asked. “Yeah. I’m good. Just tired. Really, really tired.” “I can see that. What did they do to you after the fight?” Where should she begin? “We’ve got to get the hell out of here!” “You say that on a daily basis, babe,” George laughed. “Can’t be hurt all that bad if you’re still plotting your escape.” “I’m serious, George. Bad things are happening. We need to get the hell out of here… all of us.” “Whoa. Calm yourself. Keep your voice down. What happened?” “I think they figured it out.” “Figured what?” “George, they took my blood. All of it.” George’s jaw dropped. He let out a small noise, not quite an “oh,” but close enough that Mira knew he understood. “Maybe… maybe they just know of our healing properties. You know, topical uses.” “No… The way they were talking, it sounded like a transfusion. One to one. They took ten pints from me over the last… however long I was there.” “About two days total.” “It felt longer. I was drugged for most of it. Kept me still, but conscious.” “Poor thing.” Horrorstruck, George looked as if his eyes were about to pop from their sockets. They gave you rations, right?” “Some… yeah. Lucian brought them, but not nearly enough.” She hoped he would keep his word and send her more rations. As much as she wanted to tell all, her conversation with George was already taking more energy than she had. Mira needed rest and blood, in whatever order they came. She wasn’t going to remain conscious much longer. “That man is really looking out for you. Did you see the way he stepped in at the games and stayed your execution?” She remembered his swift work staying the Magistrate’s order for her execution, but she’d have much rather he’d let it be done. The alternative was a fate worse than a quick death would have been. “Yeah,” she scoffed. “So he could use me as his blood bag.”
From “Rex Rising” (Chrystalla Thoma):
“Your gun and your money, boy,” a male voice grated behind him, and Elei whipped around so fast the world pitched. Colors jumped and flashed as he raised his gun. But the man was faster. He closed in and pressed a blade to Elei’s neck, at the juncture where it met his shoulder. Red pulsed rapidly in the man’s chest. “Drop the gun,” he said. “Now.” Elei set his jaw, teeth grinding together. If he did, he’d stand no chance in the five hells of getting out of this alive. The blade scraped soft skin, but only a little farther down it would encounter the light gray snakeskin covering his back; a veritable armor. Elei knew from experience that if he turned, the blade would glance off. The man bared his teeth, showing dark gaps and bloody gums, and pressed the blade till it bit into Elei’s flesh. “I don’t have all day.” Biting back a retort, Elei took a deep breath and twisted from the knees, turning against the blade, cursing as pain exploded in his wounded side. The knife screeched against the hard skin covering his shoulder blade and upper back. “Hey, what’s this new trick?” The man moved in, just as Elei expected, to see better. Elei elbowed him in the stomach and then lurched sideways until his shoulder hit the door of a store. It opened with his shove and he stumbled into a warm, brightly-lit room with a long counter. A diner. Turning about, Elei raised his gun and aimed at the door. The man followed him in, lips twisted in a sneer and a revolver in his hand, trained on Elei. “Where do you think you’re going?” He clucked his tongue. A shriek pierced the air and they both jumped. They whirled toward its source. A tiny, dark-haired woman scowled at them from behind the counter. She held a machine-gun pointed at them. Oh great, more guns. “Get out of my diner.” Her voice was clipped and high-pitched. Elei took a step back and she spared him a stern look. “Not you, boy. Stay put.” She motioned with her gun at the man. “You there. If I ever see you again in the neighborhood, I’ll tell Aji.” The man glared, chewing on the inside of his cheek. “Damn you, Dima. Stop interfering, or you’ll get hurt.” She just pointed and squinted over the gun barrel. The man held her gaze for a long moment. Then, tipping up his gun, he threw Elei one last angry glance and left, slamming the door behind him. Relief weakened Elei’s knees. He glanced around and saw no other customers. “Listen—“ “How about you leave as well.” She swung her weapon on him. “I want no shooting in my diner.”
From “I Am Alive” (Cameron Jace):
I am going to surprise you. You have no idea… Every time the bus hits a patch of uneven pavement, it jostles me from side to side. I am holding on to the overhead railing while on my tiptoes, trying my best to keep my balance. Faustina, the school’s queen bee, laughs at me, checking out her fingernails. She must be calling me a dork under her breath. She is predicted to become a Nine today, and Nines are always mean to me. I live in a world where every teen is ranked on a scale from five to nine. Nines are the luckiest and highest rank in our nation, and Fives are the lowest rank allowed. I’ve been told that I would make a perfect Seven. The bus stops in front of my school, Cubberley High. I wait for the Nines and Eights to get out first. Nines are usually the most beautiful. Eights are the most elegant. Predicted Sevens like me have to wait in line. At least I get to get up before the Sixes and the Fives.
From “Reign of Blood” (Alexia Purdy):
I rounded the corner and came to dead stop. Before me stood a woman, dirtied and with wild hair. Her face was streaked with grime and rips ran through her clothing. Blood had dried in dark red and brown splats on her shirt and pants and the large Rambo-like knife that she fingered in front of me. She was ready to pounce, slowly shifting on her legs as she narrowed her eyes at me. Sucking in my breath, I instinctively reached for one of the machetes strapped to my side. I was too slow. The woman moved inhumanely fast, faster than even Miranda. She snatched my arm and twisted it behind me, forcing my fingers to lose their grip on my weapon as she pushed me to my knees and held the knife to my throat. The machete clanked onto the ground, far from my sight. Her breath felt hot on my neck as I struggled against her. She was incredibly strong, like there was a powerful beast inside her. My eyes bulged wildly, unable to pull my arm away from her as it burned in pain. I tried to claw at her with my free arm but she shoved me down to the floor, smashing my cheek against the rough concrete slab. “Get off me!” I grunted, bucking as much as I could as she dug her knees into my back, making me groan instead. She was a bit smaller than me but she had me pinned pretty well. I stopped squirming as she brought the knife back to my neck, snickering as she whispered into my ear. “Stupid fool, I could slice your throat like nothing.” She pressed the blade against my skin, slightly dragging it along the surface. The sting of the blade on my skin made me gasp as my crimson blood slowly dripped down to the ground. She stopped suddenly, sniffing at the air and shifting her weight but still pressing down on my back painfully. “You don’t smell right.” She stated. Her voice was now cracking and uncertain. She pushed off me and stood up, letting me catch my breath as I scrambled off the floor, turning to face her as my hand flew to my throat. It was just a scratch but my fear welled up in me like an overwhelming flood, my eyes wild as I stared at the filthy creature before me. “What’s going on here?” Blaze came storming down the hall, followed by Miranda and Rye as he pushed the woman out of the way. “What do you think you’re doing?” He yelled at her as he pulled my hand from my bleeding throat. He let go and nodded, relieved to see that it was just a superficial wound.
From “Burning Bridges” (Nadège K. Richards):
I was to die this night. There was no escaping it or any way around it. I couldn’t run from my destiny this time; I couldn’t hide. No, tonight I faced my fate in the chambers of death. The screams of the crowd in the arena filled my ears, the shouts of excitement and laughter boiling my heart down to nothing but untainted sorrow. I refused to open my eyes, but I could sense where I was by that rusty smell of metal and dried blood Father brought home with him every day. The shackles that bound my ankles and wrists to the wall confirmed it. I was a prisoner in my own home, my own Haven. I couldn’t fathom how in forty-eight hours my life had taken a one-eighty spin, but here I was, locked in the dungeon of my father’s kingdom, hidden from the world until it was my time to surface. “Echo . . . Can you hear me? Echo?” The voice’s intensity made me stir. I ignored it at first, but it just grew louder and more insistent. “Echo!” As I moved to sit up, the cold cement scrapped against my bare body, causing my scabbed wounds to bleed. My head felt heavier on one side than it did the other, and my torso seemed as flimsy as flax. I searched for the calling in the obscurity of the sector and found him chained to the opposite wall. It took me a second to orient his face from the rest of his body, but when I met those otherworldly, violet irises, reality struck me hard and cold. “You’re alive,” Ayden sighed. “Are you all right?” “Barely,” I croaked. Silence filled us as we stared at each other for what felt like forever. I wanted to touch him, to hold him again, but I knew there was no way. The chains on my wrists held me in place with barely a foot’s room to move. It was cruel. “Ayden, I—” “Don’t say it,” he interrupted. I frowned. “How do you mean?” “Don’t try to dissuade me from my decision, Echo. I don’t regret anything, nor did I ever.” I felt my knees begin to tremble as tears welled in my eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re going to go through with this? Ayden, that’s ludicrous. You can die out there!” He wouldn’t look at me and for a while he said nothing. “Do you remember the question you asked me that one day at the river? Do you remember what I said?” I nodded slowly. “I asked you if you believed in second chances and you said—” “Not until I met you,” he finished, his expression solemn. Not wanting him to see the tears that had come to my eyes, I glanced out the small crack in the ceiling. Very little light shone through, but it provided a sense of security that the dungeon surely could not. As the screams grew louder above our heads, Ayden and I listened to the Announcer call in the prisoners one by one. The horn was soon blown and I heard the clanging of swords and the sputtering of death threats as the two prisoners fought for their right to live. It frightened me to think only one person would come out alive; only one person had that second chance. When the crowd exploded in what could only be bloody exhilaration, I knew that one person was chosen. Blood seeped through the crack and dripped onto the ground beside me, its descent like a wakeup call for the both of us. Knowing that Ayden’s blood or mine was next to be splattered against the sands of the arena made me suddenly feel ill.
I'm not a big fan of Jane Austen or Pride and Prejudice. Sure, I read Pride and Prejudice (about a thousand years ago) and seen the movies. To be honeI'm not a big fan of Jane Austen or Pride and Prejudice. Sure, I read Pride and Prejudice (about a thousand years ago) and seen the movies. To be honest, I didn't think I'd like reading a modern version of the tale. I couldn't have been more wrong (as the five stars indicate, lol). I didn't expect what I got, this realistic, funny, touching, fast-paced story set in Canada with all its vivid characters and interactions. I can't remember the last time a novel has kept me up all night AND the following morning reading. And, get this: I knew the ending. Of course I did - I know the story, as I said. But I wanted to see how *this* Lizzy, *this* Darcy, *this* Charles would deal and bring the story to its expected ending. Because they felt like real characters and quite different from what I expected. The book kept surprising me in all the good ways. Lizzy's voice is marvelous - angry, and hilarious (I had tears in my eyes) and it rang true. All her ordeals, all her work choices, they sounded like they came from real life experiences - and as it turns out, that's true (see the author's note at the end). Lizzy's dilemmas for work, morals, religion, life in general, they all drew me because they are questions I keep dealing with in my life. This book made me think, and rethink all my answers. It taught me things I hadn't thought or imagined - about poverty, about choices, about social norms. And above all, this book gave me hours of pure enjoyment. I liked Lizzy and cheered her on even through her mistakes. I liked the whole family, each member so different (okay, so I liked some much more than others, so sue me), awkward Darcy, charming Charles, annoying Caroline, shy Jane... The dialogues. Man, the dialogues. This book *must* be made into either a movie or a theater play. Or both. They are top notch. And Lizzy's thoughts, especially when it comes to Darcy. And the descriptions of the family get-together. To sum up: this book is extraordinary. I recommend it without hesitation to fans and non fans of Jane Austen alike. It's perfect. ...more
What can I say? I love this book. I wish there was a six star rating for it. Informative, fascinating, funny, what more can one ask from a history guiWhat can I say? I love this book. I wish there was a six star rating for it. Informative, fascinating, funny, what more can one ask from a history guide? But it's not just that. It's also a writer's guide, and as a fantasy writer, I can't tell you how much this book is helping me create a realistic backdrop for my epic fantasy and my steampunk stories. From how to pickle eggs, to what one could find in a medieval market, what a rich man's table looked like and what a poor man would do to feed his family, from what armies ate in the past and when certain fruit and vegetable or meat are available, this book has it all - even great recipes to try. One last thing: There should be a warning against reading in public. I can't count the times I burst out laughing. *unsafe for reading in public places*...more
I don't write many reviews, but I had to write one for Incoming Alert, because it's just amazing. I knew this author's work from before, and how she mI don't write many reviews, but I had to write one for Incoming Alert, because it's just amazing. I knew this author's work from before, and how she makes characters come to life so wonderfully, but this one... it's special. I couldn't put my kindle down. My fingers cramped. I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more, and when I finished, I went back and started reading it again. It's that good. Caron is such a lovable character, and his brothers also, so different from each other and yet so bound by love, it's really moving. All secondary characters feel real, and the setting is unique. I can only say this: I honestly can't wait for the sequel! ...more