Friday, March 24, 2017

Interview + Giveaway: Chaos Unbound by Brian S. Leon

UFI welcomes Author Brian S. Leon. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?  
At one time I was one of the world’s leading experts on an obscure group of animals most people don’t even know exist. They are so obscure that in the 17 years since I left academia, not much has changed with regard to what we know about them.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 
 Fishing. Recently, over the last year and a half, I’ve taken up Kendo. It’s fun to hit people with sticks!

What is your Favorite part of writing?  
Research and creativity. I like discovering things I didn’t know and I hate writing about real stuff unless I can twist it somehow.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?  
Not really. I do have to write in order though. I cannot write one part, then skip ahead and write and then go back. I have to write in order, then I can go back to tweak things.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres? 
 I suppose saying Jim Butcher is too obvious, but he’s the reason I write in this genre. I also like Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman and Kevin Hearne.

How would you pitch Chaos Unbound to someone who has not heard of it before?  
Well the first book in the series, Havoc Rising, was described as Tom Clancy meets the Iliad. A friend described Chaos Unbound along those lines as Jason Bourne meets Harry Potter. I’ll take either.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Chaos Unbound is set in?  
This world. The one we know and live in. Except there’s more to it—the myths and legends of the world are real and there are any number of non-human beings that share the world with us. Some are native to this world, like us, and some are not. Some are hostile towards humans and some are ambivalent. Diomedes, hero of the Trojan War and favorite of the being once known as the goddess Athena, protects us from those creatures that would do us harm. And he has been doing that as a soldier for 3200 years.

Do you have a favorite scene in Chaos Unbound
 I am very partial to the scene that takes place during the Battle of Sirte in Libya. I like the action and the interaction between the characters. I also like the scene with the vampire coven in Coronini.

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about? 
I really really like Diomedes. Since I didn’t make him up and there was already quite a bit about his legend out there, that meant I got to build on it. I like the idea of who he was in the Iliad—a serious tactician and an honorable soldier who was a feared badass. The Trojans actually prayed to face anyone, even Achilles, rather than face Diomedes on the battlefield. And since he’s been alive since then, I have 3200 years of history to play with. The hardest for me to write is Sarah Wright. First, she’s a woman. A tough, capable one, but still a woman. I want her to be able to keep up with Diomedes—sort of what he was before Athena and without his special abilities—but she has her own issues. And of course she didn’t grow up in a time of myths, gods, and legends like Diomedes did.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you? 
More book in the Metis Files series for now. Book 3 is with the publisher and should be out next year. And I’m working on Book 4 right now. Same main characters—Diomedes, Duma, Sarah, Abraxos and the crew.
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Brian S. Leon is truly a jack of all trades and a master of none. He writes just to do something with all the useless degrees and skills he’s accumulated over the years. Most of them have no practical application in civilized society, anyway. His interests include mythology and fishing, in pursuit of which he has explored jungles and museums, oceans and seas all over the world.

His credentials include an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a master’s degree from San Diego State University, plus extensive postgraduate work in evolutionary biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied animals most people aren’t even aware exist and theories no one really cares about anyway.

Over his varied career, Brian’s articles have been published in academic journals and popular magazines that most normal people would never read. They can be found in The American Society of Primatologists, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Proceedings of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the like.

His more mainstream work came as an editor for Marlin and FlyFishing in Salt Waters magazines, where he published articles about fishing and fishing techniques around the world. He won a Charlie Award in 2004 from the Florida Magazine Association for Best Editorial, and several of his photographs have appeared on a number of magazine covers—almost an achievement of note, if they weren’t all fishing magazines.

Always a picky reader, Mr. Leon enjoys stories by classical masters like Homer and Jules Verne as well as modern writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, David Morrell and Jim Butcher. These books, in combination with an inordinate amount of free time, inspired him to come up with tales of his own.

Brian currently resides in San Diego, California.

Find Brian and his books
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Chaos Unbound 
The Metis Files #2
Amazon     Red Adept Publishing


The hunter becomes the hunted.

Framed for the murder of a high ranking member of the Unseelie Court of Fae, Steve Dore–also known as Diomedes, Guardian and protector of mankind–goes on the run. He’s determined to uncover the real culprit and clear his name.

But the assassination may be the beginning of a more sinister plot that involves not just the Fae and Humankind, but all the races of the world. And what if the real assassin is a boogeyman even the Fae don't believe is real?

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/6EuijTcbjns

 Excerpt:



Chapter 1
San Diego, September 2011
Selkies. Thirty-five miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean, and I’m dodging freakin’ selkies in my fishing boat. It’s like they’re seagulls, and I’m dropping French fries at the beach. Man do they screw up the fishing. Worse, when they appear, bad things tend to follow. And it’s just my luck. Of all fae to show up randomly, it had to be these shapeshifters—the kind that could transform into seals and even into sea lions, which scare the crap out of the fish. Every pile of floating kelp we’d fished around so far had one of these fairies under it. Every kelp except the paddy right in front of the boat.
“Captain Dore, look! Another seal,” the woman said, reaching for her camera.
And that selkie made it a perfect five for five.
I couldn’t help but hang my head. My clients—a simple Midwestern family of Mom, Dad, and Teenage Son—considered it endearing to see a seal poke its head up from inside the kelp, but I could see their true bulbous heads, seaweed-like hair, and pudgy gray-green humanoid forms. Their giant, shiny-black eyes fixed on me as if they knew exactly who I was.
The creepy shapeshifters were part of the Unseelie Court—fairies that are decidedly unfriendly to humans—and the fact that we kept encountering them was starting to unnerve me. Encountering one in the Pacific was rare. In fact, I couldn’t recall one off Southern California since an entire tribe of them showed up around Catalina Island in the 1980s. That appearance had led to a spate of unidentified submerged object and alien sightings, not to mention a few mysterious plane crashes around the island and a heap of sunken boats.
“Hey what’s that big fin?” the father asked, pointing at the rapidly approaching triangular object sticking out of the water and heading straight at the paddy from the opposite side.
“Shark,” I said with a sudden smile. “Damn big one, too. Great white, from the looks of it. Rare for us down here in San Diego.”
“Oh, swim, seal! Swim!” the mom said as all hell broke loose around the paddy.
“Wow, really,” the kid said. “It’s like a real National Geographic moment.” He whipped out his phone to video the event.
I was the only one on the boat rooting for the shark. If they’d known what that shark was really chasing, they probably would have thought it was more like a National Enquirer moment.
Knowing the selkie-shark conflict would ruin the fishing within a mile of that paddy, I pushed farther out, always on the lookout for signs of life other than selkies. As long as we could avoid them, we found lots of small football-sized yellowfin tuna while we trolled, and I’d even managed to convince the anglers to release the little guys, in hopes of finding bigger ones. The small fish kept me blissfully busy until we made it back to the dock at around four in the afternoon—so busy, in fact, that I forgot about how screwy the presence of selkies was until I realized my buddy Ned was storming down the dock toward my boat as I pulled in.
As usual, Ned was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with colors usually reserved for Las Vegas neon. The fact that he resembled a derelict version of Santa Claus usually drew people’s attention. It was either that or the fact that he always smelled like beer-soaked seaweed washed up on a beach. It could be worse given that Ned was in fact the Titan God of the Sea, Nereus, in self-imposed exile.
As I secured the boat to the dock, my cellphone, stashed inside my captain’s bag within the console, chirped the unique ring my buddy Geek had helped me assign to Sarah Wright. I felt guilty for avoiding her over the past two weeks. Despite scrambling to reach the annoying device before the call went to voice mail, I wasn’t quick enough. I tossed the phone on the console, thoroughly disgusted with my wishy-washy-ness regarding our relationship—or whatever we had. I was pretty sure we both wanted to take things to the next level, but I was conflicted about what that would mean for both of us since my situation wasn’t exactly normal.
I’ll call her back as soon as I can. I sighed, watching my three clients stumble off the boat, trying to adjust to sea legs on land after a full day on the water. They chatted excitedly about sharks and sea lions as they went. Ned stood down the dock, waiting, staring intently at me with his hands on his hips and one flip-flop-clad foot tapping away. The trio barely managed to get past him before he charged the boat.
“Diomedes, dude, glad to see you made it back okay.” Ned’s shoulders dropped a bit as he exhaled heavily. “Now get yer ass off the damn boat and back onto land.” He dipped his head slightly and glared over his sunglasses at me, his brow deeply furrowed.
I stopped taking rods out of the rod racks under the gunwales and stared back at him. Something had him on edge, and that was saying something. Normally, he made people on Prozac appear edgy. In over a thousand years, I’d never seen him like this before.
“Now, dude. Now!” he said, raising his voice and gesticulating wildly.
The myriad of seagulls and pelicans gathered around the boat awaiting leftover bait and fish carcasses took off in a sudden deafening and chaotic commotion.
“Whoa. Relax, Ned. What’s got your panties in a bunch?” I said, getting back to my after-charter chores. “Sheesh. Besides, I think the dad left a few beers if you want them.”
Normally, Ned’s first question to me would have involved the possible presence of abandoned beer. Instead, he fixed me with a withering stare. His hands were back on his hips, and his foot again tapped on the dock. When we’d first met a few thousand years before, he’d naturally emanated an aura of power. Though he’d since willingly given up most of his other-dimensional essence, the preternatural blue glow was now visible.
“Dude, which part of ‘now’ ain’t you understandin’?” He spoke through a clenched jaw and pointed at the dock forcefully, like a parent demanding a child’s immediate presence. Over his sunglasses, his eyes darted everywhere, keeping watch around us.
“Okay, okay,” I said, eyeing my fish-slimed gear and all the sardine scales and scuff marks marring the deck. “Who’s gonna clean all this up? You know if I let it sit, it’ll be even harder to clean later.”
“I’ll take care of it,” Ned replied. “Just get yer ass off the water. Right. Now.”
“Fine.” I kicked at my rods like a petulant child. “Let me get my damn gear bag, and I’ll leave.”
I grabbed my captain’s bag and stormed down the dock in a huff, glaring at Ned. I didn’t even bother to take off my grungy gray rubber fishing bibs. He avoided making eye contact as I passed him, which only pissed me off more. Instead, his eyes continued to dart around the marina. Whatever.
I got to my truck, threw my gear bag in the bed, then stripped off the rubber bibs. While hopping around on one leg like an idiot, trying to get the bibs off over my deck boots, I worked myself up from a huff to a tizzy. Who the hell did he think he was ordering me around like that? Athena? Throwing my bibs into the bed with the rest, I glanced over my shoulder, toward the dock.
Just as I was about to get into my truck, a more pressing question hit me: Why? Ned actually yelled at me. In over two millennia, I had never even witnessed him raise his voice. What’d I do to him?
I instantly felt like I owed him an apology, without even knowing what I’d done. I headed back down to the dock.
As I approached the top of the gangway, Ned was in a heated discussion with something in the water on the other side of the dock from my boat. I couldn’t get a clear view of who or what Ned was talking with, or hear what was being said. The only things evident were the loud and freakish sea lion-like barks and Ned’s wild and very uncharacteristic gesticulations. Instinctively, I searched for something to use as a weapon—a boat hook was leaning against the fence next to the gate down to the dock.
Then a putty-colored round female head covered in thick yellow-green hair popped up just above the dock and peered directly at me. Ned noticed me, as well, and all at once, the creature disappeared below the water’s surface creating a wake that tossed the floating dock and rocked the boats tied up nearby. She was definitely one of the selkies I had encountered earlier offshore.
I stopped dead in my tracks. Ned shook his head and stomped toward me, which couldn’t have been easy in flip-flops. His eyes were ablaze—literally. His awakened aura pulsed from white to blue like a lightning storm.
I shrugged and raised my eyebrows as his gaze fell on me. The temperature began to drop, and the water around the dock changed from a drab green to black and turned rough, as if it were about to boil. The disturbance bounced the moored boats against their bumpers and the dock, and the rigging on the sailboats began to clang. Even the remaining birds evacuated—only noiselessly.
“Boy, who did you piss off this time?” he said at me more than to me in a voice that reverberated through my skull. It wasn’t loud, but it was insistent in its tone.
“I… um… I, ah… what?” I asked, vapor trailing from my mouth in the cool air.
I couldn’t recall having done anything to anybody since chasing down that witch, Medea, a few months back, and as far as I knew, everyone I could have pissed off doing that was dead.
Ned continued up the ramp from the dock toward me, somehow appearing larger than normal. His face, especially his eyes, darkened. “Don’t play games with me. You got selkies chasin’ yer ass all over the Pacific, and they had to travel around the world to get here to do it. Nytrocyon herself is here to find you.” He pointed back down toward my boat. “She says Mab wants you. Says you killed Lord Indronivay.”
“Nytrocyon, ruler of the selkies? Seriously?” My teeth started to chatter, and my jaw muscles clenched in the frigid air. “Wait… she said I killed who? Lord Indronivay, Mab’s warmaster? Are you kidding me? Why the hell would I have killed that uptight belligerent asshole?”
I’d never even met him, but his reputation as a jerk was legendary. Even as a Guardian and protector of humanity, I knew him only through stories that suggested he was a giant at nearly eight feet tall and was about as friendly as a shark with a toothache. All I really knew about him was that he personally ran every major war and military campaign Queen Mab of the Unseelie Court had waged for tens of thousands of years. Hell, the guy might have charged into battle against Queen Titania of the Seelie Court on the back of a triceratops.
“You’re sayin’ Nytrocyon is lying?” Ned’s voice boomed through my head, shaking me back to attention.
I shrugged again. “Now why the hell would I do something like that? Honestly?”


Ned’s shoulders dropped slightly, and his pulsing aura faded. Though his face brightened and his bushy beard and mustache split, revealing his white teeth in a broad smile, the rest of him remained rigid. “Good. I didn’t think you were dumb enough to attack a member of one of the fairy royal courts. That’d be grounds for war. Only problem is then, dude”—he slowly slipped back into his normal relaxed and carefree persona—“you gotta ask yerself one question: why does she think you did?”



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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Early Review: The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

The Black Lily
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Select: Otherworld
ASIN:  B06XC4R44J
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

I have loved everything written by Juliette Cross in the past and THE BLACK LILY was no different.

THE BLACK LILY brings us an eventful and unforgettable twist on the story of Cinderella. Arabelle might be a peasant that serves those above her, but she has a dangerous secret.  Not only is Marius a prince, but he's a vampire. They lead very different lives, but their connection is too strong for them to go their separate ways.

I liked Arabelle right away, her strength and courage shined right through the pages. She doesn't shy away from the dirty work and she doesn't need someone to save her. She was pretty bad ass and I loved watching her work through numerous sticky situations. Marius was also easy to like. He was a little arrogant, but that was to be expected from the way he was raised. Even having said that, he was willing to listen and research the claims that were brought against his people—and even fight against them to right wrongs.

There was major chemistry between Arabelle and Marius from their first meeting and it only got stronger as the story went on. They worked very well together—when they finally started working together— and they were well balanced as a couple.

THE BLACK LILY has a lot of things going for it. It had great characters, a smooth and constantly moving storyline and the world was fun to dive into. I would love to continue reading about Arabelle and Marius, but Cross often changes main characters with each book so we will have to see what she brings us with THE RED LILY. If you're a fan of fairytale retellings with a paranormal twist, pick up THE BLACK LILY.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Promo + Giveaway: Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter


Beauty of the Beast
Fairy Tale Retellings #1

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.
Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18. 


Excerpt:

~ The East Tower ~
Arms sprang out from the darkness. They spun her full circle and slammed her body against the king’s portrait. Isabelle gasped, more in shock than from pain, as she stared into Adam’s deformed face. The lantern flickered behind his massive form, casting his cloaked body in silhouette. But she saw enough to know he was far from pleased. Rage and frustration radiated from his body like a palpable force.
“I warned you to stay out of here,” he said, his voice dangerously cold and deep. Those rugged vocals vibrated against her body and seeped into her marrow. “What part of forbidden didn’t you comprehend?” His voice lashed out from the darkness like a hurtled knife, and the word “forbidden” seemed to whisper another meaning altogether. Isabelle tried to answer but failed to find her voice. Indeed, her vocal cords had turned to solid ice, as numb and cold as the blood rushing through her veins. She couldn’t breathe; she felt like she was suffocating.
“My mother gave me that musical box on my fourth birthday,” he said, the sensual lull of his voice causing the fine hairs on her nape to stand erect. “And now your recklessness has destroyed it. Have you nothing to say?”
“I—I’m sorry.” He offered no reply; only the ragged sound of his breathing and the hammering blizzard broke the silence. “Please—I didn’t mean any harm.”
She struggled under the weight of Adam’s colossal body and battled to free herself. He merely gave a low chuckle and pressed her firmly against the portrait. He looked otherworldly at that moment, like an angel of death seeking vengeance. Both beautiful and monstrous, his cool, sapphire eyes overflowed with warring emotions. In spite of his harsh and ruthless exterior, she detected a quaver in his voice and saw that his large, cloaked shoulders trembled. The darkness in his soul cast a shadow that embraced her; as she peered up at him, she knew he was drowning in the turbulent waters of a past time.
“What a disappointment,” he went on, his voice growing deeper still, mocking her words from so many days ago, “You’re like any other woman.”
“I—I’m sorry. Please, Adam. I—” Her gaze shot past his body and over the wreckage of a past life. She thought of her private chamber again—of the stale perfumes and outdated garments.
Her flight or fight instinct seized hold of her. She attempted to scramble free, but he merely grabbed her shoulder and whirled her back against the portrait. Gloves wrapped his hands; his long, silk-clad fingers grasped her shoulder and kept her firmly in place.
He stood intimately close.
Far too close.
As close as Raphael had been that night.
“Going somewhere, ma belle? After you’ve worked so hard to find my East Tower?”
Hands like two steel bands held her wrists in place. Hot breaths, which faintly smelled of wine, seared her cheeks and assaulted her senses. Her breasts flattened against the pressure of his strong chest, and she felt that same chest swell and deflate in perfect sync with her own. One large hand slipped down her elbow and glided across her extended arm. The lush material of his gloves drew a shudder from her heaving chest. His breathing grew more ragged, shallower, and the erratic beat of his heart banged against her own.
Anger and desire warred on his face, twisting his features into a mess of both monster and man. “Find anything of interest, aside from my musical box? Come, come. You went through such great trouble to get here,” he asked, his voice now threaded with both anger and something else.
Yes, Isabelle recognized that something else. It was the same note that had entered Raphael’s voice that night…
She attempted to duck under his arm, but he moved swiftly, capturing her in the crook of his elbow. Reeling her toward him, he emitted a low, haunting chuckle that swelled the eastern tower to its rafters. She was back where she’d started—pinned against the portrait, Adam’s body serving as a flesh-and-blood blockade.
Hunger radiated from him, enfolding her in a current of sizzling power. His silk-clad hand grazed the curve of her breast as it moved down her body in a painfully slow caress. Even more alarming was her reaction to him. Her treacherous body responded with a crush of hot and cold pulsating waves. Then he whispered a taunt in her ear, and his liquid baritone slid down her backbone like honey; it swirled inside her, finding its home in her most intimate area.
He leaned closer still. His face’s uneven skin brushed against her neck, the black waves of his hair tickled her chin... His thick arousal expanded against her, reminding her of what he was capable of—and of her sheer vulnerability.
His lips teased the base of her throat. Cursing her traitorous body, Isabelle gasped at the gentle scraping of his teeth. His tongue and lips tormented her throbbing pulse—just barely, stirring her skin in a mere ghost of a touch.

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I live in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, my goofy lowland sheepdog, and my high school sweetheart of fourteen wonderful years. I enjoy writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love. My stories are darker than most traditional romance novels and contain a distinct Gothic flavor.

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been my passion for longer than I can remember. Before learning how to read or write, I would dictate stories while my mom would jot them down for me. I hold a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, I ensure every character is given a soul.

I endeavor to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes my stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

My dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through my words.


Find Rachel and her books
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Releases: 3/19-3/25


Mon. March 20th

 The Struggle (Titan #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Tue. March  21st

 Bound Together (Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #6) by Christine Feehan
 The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
 Gods of the Flame Sea (Flame Seas #3) by Jean Johnson
 Hellworld by Tom Leveen
 Nemesis by Brendan Reichs
 Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project #2) by Mishell Baker
 Pyromantic (Firebug #2) by Lish McBride
 Redux (Tricksters #2) by A.L. Davroe
 Relics by Tim Lebbon
 Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles #1) by AdriAnne Strickland, Michael Miller
 Star's End by Cassandra Rose Clarke
 Wake A Sleeping Tiger (Breeds #31) by Lora Leigh 

Happy Reading!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Early Review: Redux by A.L. Davroe

Redux
Author: A.L. Davroe
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Tricksters Book #2
ISBN:   163375507X
ISBN13 9781633755079
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
The domed city of Evanescence is in ruins. With nowhere to go, prodigy hacker Ellani “Ella” Drexel and a small band of survivors flee to the Undertunnel below their city.

To escape the wasteland she unknowingly created.

But sanctuary is hard to find. With malfunctioning androids and angry rebels at their backs, the group hopes to press on for the neighboring city of Cadence. But Ella’s chosen path is challenging…life-threatening, even. Worse, the boy she loves is acting distant, and not at all like the person she first met in Nexis.

But then Ella learns a secret…and it changes everything.

Ella knows she needs to turn back and make a stand to reclaim her home. She’s determined to bring a new—and better—life to all who’ve suffered.

Or die trying.

There are a lot of surprises in REDUX and when I wasn't being shocked, I was busy being intrigued by the great world that A.L. Davroe created. Be sure to read book one, NEXIS, before diving into REDUX.

REDUX picks up exactly where NEXIS left us. Ellani and her 'friends' are hiding out from all the attacking bots and outsiders that have flooded the domed city when everything went to crap. Most of NEXIS took place in virtual reality, but REDUX takes place in the real world and I really enjoyed learning about it.

I had some pretty big suspicions about the romance and I don't want to spoil anything so I won't share them, but wow. It was pretty intense and the truth was pretty crazy.

I really enjoyed this series. The flow of the storyline made it easy to read and connect with events. Everything seemed to be wrapped up at the end of REDUX, so I don't feel like I need to read anymore, but I would if Davroe decides it's not over.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week in Review: 3/12-3/18



Books Received for Review

Birthright by Jessica Ruddick
Destroyer by Shannon Mayer

Books I've Read

Lynchpin by Shannon Mayer
Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan
Charcoal Tears by Jane Washington
Watercolour Smile by Jane Washington
Lead Heart by Jane Washington
Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Reviews Posted

Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire

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* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Wednesday- Interview + Giveaway for Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland + Michael Miller

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* Did you know you can follow UFI on these other sites?

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.
 

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

Lifeblood
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Everlife Book #2
ISBN:   0373212194
ISBN13: 9780373212194
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.

Ten's Firstlife is over and Everlife starts with a bang.

LIFEBLOOD starts exactly where FIRSTLIFE left off. There is a lot of confusion on the battlefield and in Ten's mind. The consequences of her choice hits pretty quickly when she finds herself torn between protecting Killian—the boy she loves— and helping Troika—the side of the Everlife she chose— win the fight. I didn't find Ten to be as independent and strong as she was in FIRSTLIFE which kinda bummed me out. She got stronger throughout the story, but I wanted her to kick ass and take names from the get-go.

The romance in LIFEBLOOD was all over the place just like it was supposed to be. Ten lives in a totally different Everlife than Killian and the push and pull they feel towards each other is hard to ignore and even harder to act on. Showalter did a great job in keeping us on our toes in regards to figuring out if Killian's feelings were real or just part of the job his superiors set him on. In the end you know, but it was hard to figure out and the suspense just about killed me.

LIFEBLOOD had a nice quick pace to it, but I felt that it could have been slowed down at some points. It was hard to really connect to some of the scenes. I enjoyed learning about Troika and thought the world building was nicely done. I'm excited to see what the last book, EVERLIFE, will give us. 

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.