Tuesday, July 15, 2014

REVIEW: Discord Trilogy (Discord Trilogy Blog Tour)

Discord Trilogy 1:
The Golden Apple of Discord
Author: Lauren Hodge
Genre: Thriller, Paranormal (vampires & witches), Mythology
Publication date: 1.29.2013
Pages: 453

Date read: 7.10.2014
Recommended by: Worldwind Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: Taralie Severin and her three sisters are a powerful coven of modern-day witches who banish mythical creatures in between classes and shifts at the police station. But when Taralie is kidnapped by vampires and converted into the undead, her sisters are ordered to execute her for crimes against the Milunfran order. Refusing, the sisters become fugitives from both their kind and vampires alike.
     Ignorant and haunted, Taralie becomes entangled with three unlikely allies, a band of vampires in hiding from the ruling vampiric government. With this new addition to their coven, Taralie must balance duty with desire while learning not everything is as it seems, their enemies are worse than she knows, and she could be on the verge of ending a thousand-year-old civil war.

I know – you're thinking "Another vampire story?!?!" When I originally read the book description, I felt the same way. I actually had to think long and hard about whether I wanted to be part of this blog tour because, though I love vampires, there are too many out there that are more Twilight than blood thirsty evil creatures and blood thirsty creatures are the vampires I like. The story is fun and different, though, which is what kept me reading and I'm glad I did – I kept wondering how things were going to turn out and was shocked when things went a different way than I had originally expected.

I really got into the characters, felt for them, wondered more about them, and loved to find out who they were and how they got to where they are. I do think that the romance between some of the characters began too soon – I hate the whole "super protective, especially in battle" thing because it leaves everyone open to be killed, plus there's the potential of it taking away from the rest of the story – but we'll see how I feel about that at the end of the series.

There is a lot of action and funny parts, but also some parts that make you sad. The vampire history discussed is fascinating and goes in a different way than usually portrayed in books. And, yes, they can go out during the day – and they don't shimmer shimmer shimmer.

Written from Tara's point of view, this story is a prime example of WHY I dislike most first person stories. It is, at times, uncomfortable (the flow, not the storyline) and boring – it feels like I am sitting on my couch listening to someone recount the events of their day, including conversations, and there are some moments that I feel are just unnecessary. It does get a little better as the story goes on, but it stays a little jumpy, with spans of time where you're not sure if it's one hour, one day, or a couple of weeks. I do understand why the author chose to use first person – and learning about Tara this way was great – but I think it could have been a little tighter.

There are some editing issues in the copy I was given for review: several missing words throughout the book.

Favorite character: I really like the sisters, but Cora is my favorite. She's hilarious and sarcastic. I also relate to Tara in some ways, understand how she feels in certain situations. The Noricum are interesting and I can't wait to learn more about them.

Favorite line:
I roll my eyes. "It's just a rat."
Cora gags a little. "There is no such thing as just a rat!"
I say, "Now there are four turtles mourning their master."

Discord Trilogy 2:
Author: Lauren Hodge
Genre: Thriller, Paranormal (Vampires & Witches), Mythology
Publication date: 6.24.2013
Pages: 462

Date read: 7.13.2014
Recommended by: Worldwind Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: Taralie Severin and her sisters have secured a non-aggression pact with the rulers of the vampire world, the Noricum. Having relocated to Cannon Beach, Oregon, Alexander prepares to marry his beloved Tara. But when an encounter with average vampires goes wrong, the Severin coven's fragile amnesty with the Noricum is destroyed. With the supremacy of their rule challenged, the Noricum set out to restore the balance of power, leaving the Severin family two choices – die on their feet, or live on their knees.

This book is written from Alex's point of view, and begins a couple of months later in an airport, where him and Cora have gone to pick up the sister's father, Blake.

Just like the first book, the happiness is wonderful, the action is fun … and the sadness makes the reader cry (at least for me, and I'm definitely not a crier.) I liked how comfortable they have all become with each other – and reading of the pranks that they pull one each other. I like the relationship that they all have with Blake – he's a great dad. I love how much the characters learn from each other, how much they grow – and how much the reader can learn about their own lives if they open their eyes up to the things they learn in the story. (To me, that's the sign of a really good book – when it effects you far beyond what the author ever expected.)

When I began this series, I read the description to the first book, but not the second and third because I didn't want to know what happened at the end of the previous one until I read it myself. I knew, though, that everything couldn't be peaceful and happy forever – there would be no point in this book and the next – but I was still completely floored when it happened. The Noricum struck a lot harder than I thought they would (blood thirsty evil creatures? check!).
     They always say, "Payback's a bi…" There's nothing that compares to what four-halfling-witch-sisters-turned-vampire can do. Wow! On their bad side is not a place you EVER want to be.

In this book, more history is unleashed, and with a small (but interesting) course on Greek mythology, we find out who the true "first vampire" is. We also find out quite a bit more about the characters and why Draco wanted to capture Tara so badly.

What a truly sad ending. But knowing there's one more book to read in the series leaves me hopeful of all that can happen with these characters.

The first person writing got much better in this story. I feel like I'm sitting around a fire listening to Grandpa tell stories from the past (something I saw on TV, not something either of my grandfathers were prone to do). It's become comfortable and flows a lot better. There are STILL those editing issues I found in the first one (missing words in sentences).

Favorite character: Teleri, but you have to read the book to find out why :)

Discord Trilogy 3:
Author: Lauren Hodge
Genre: Thriller, Paranormal (Vampires and Witches), Mythology
Publication date: 6.19.2014
Pages: 381

Date read: 7.14.2014
Recommended by: Worldwind Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: Hidden away on a Caribbean island, Tara's body survived abomination while her mind did not. Strangled from within by Verus's accumulated memories, the eldest Severin sister struggles under the weight of so many consciences insider her mind. But the Noricum are not idle, nor are they forgiving. Enraged by Tara's murdering of their princess, they hunt the Severins relentlessly. After turning a powerful Halfling and declaring open war, the Severin coven must choose between defending the Milunfran witches protecting humanity or their own extinction.

The point of view in this book changes back and forth with each chapter (between Taralie and Alex). This is a little uncomfortable at times, but gives you a good look on what is going on with Taralie (now no longer Tara) inside her mind and how Alex is handling it all. The first glimpse into Taralie's mind is quite powerful and sad at the same time, but throughout the story we watch her come back from the evil that is now in her mind and take on the Noricum. They may have been turned to vampires, but they will always be Milunfran witches at heart and I like how the characters prove that in this story.

The intelligence, the planning, the outsmarting – on both sides – really makes for a great read. And the battle scene at the end is just wow, but at the same time, a little too easy. It was harder to get to that part than it was to actually go through that part. This book is like the last Lord of the Rings movie – right when you think it's over, there is more to come. The ending is beautiful, the epilogue sugary sweet (but not in a bad way). In fact, the ending made the whole trilogy that much better.

In the first review, I mentioned that I wasn't so sure about the romances. I have to say now that I am glad they happened. It gave them reasons to be – and the way their relationships are treated at the end of the book (and in the epilogue) was unexpected, but completely enjoyed. They were always a family, from the very beginning, and no one was going to tear them apart.

This review has been one of the hardest ones for me to write – and I went to some friends on BookLikes to get their opinions on how they would handle this. You see, as much as I loved this book, I was also very disappointed. This third book was an Advanced Readers Copy (Amazon doesn't like the acronym and I understand why – if you're not in the book world, you don't know what it means) and book bloggers love these things – you just feel important when an author sends you out a book that isn't even published yet, especially when it's a book in a series you've been following or the latest book by your favorite author. These are not usually the final copy – they get the readers' opinions about anything that needs to be changed and then send it back for a final edit. I've received these before and they usually have a couple of misspelled words or punctuation issues, BUT this book had MAJOR editing problems, sometimes making it hard to read. In all honesty, no matter how much I liked the book, the fact that an author sent this out for people to review is heartbreaking because, along with the missing words that have been noticeable in now all three books, there were a lot of sentences that began one way, then began a different way without removing the first way (does that make sense?) AND several parts that I had to go back and re-read because a character was called by the wrong name. THE WRONG NAME?!?! That is a biggie and should have been fixed before sending it out for a review. It's even more of a biggie when it happens in an epic fight scene. Indie and self-published authors want to be taken seriously and, in doing so, they need to take themselves seriously. This book should have never gone out to review, even if they had told me it was an unedited copy (I looked back and see that nowhere). Am I saying don't read this book or this series? NOT in the slightest!! I definitely think that the series should be read, especially if you were not a fan of Twilight's shimmery shimmery shimmery vampires – and even if you were – but I can only review what I read (not something I've never seen), and in this case I read a poorly edited book that had the potential of being a 5 star one.

Favorite character: The two that became part of their family in the end. You would have never expected them to do so, but that they did was very special.

Favorite part: "TENTACLE!" haha hahaha *snort* I love Cora!!

Favorite line: "I want to face my Goliath so I may be reminded David is alive in me. If I must be defeated in a battle, I wish it to be by powers much greater than myself. The defeat itself will make me larger than when I arrived. I long for the encounter that will empower me with dignity and honor."

"This is what happiness is. Good people unhinged by ego and united under a common purpose. Their character makes them equal."

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