Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Firstlife
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Everlife Book #1
ISBN:   0373211570
ISBN13: 9780373211579
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley 

ONE CHOICE.
TWO REALMS.
NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

There were a few things that I didn't love, but I enjoyed FIRSTLIFE and plan to read more.

Tenley is extremely strong willed and stubborn. I personally thought her decision was obvious early on, yet she was still unwilling to choose a side—even when it cost lives— until it was almost too late. She just didn't want to pull the trigger JUST IN CASE she was wrong or in case her decision was too influenced by others. Unfortunately the way she argues with herself was one of the things I didn't totally love about FIRSTLIFE. It was annoying and took up a lot of the book. On another note, I thought she grew a lot from the beginning of the book and I loved the way she was willing to help others even at her own expense. Lets talk about her parents for a second. I wanted to jump into the book and strangle Ten's parents. Her father is just a grade A douche, but her mom seems to really love her and yet she let her be tortured. I could never imagine a mother letting her child go through what Tenley was put through with her parents blessing.

The romance was a bit blah for me. There is a love triangle involved in FIRSTLIFE, but thankfully one of the prospects becomes more of a big brother/best friend pretty early on which makes it a little more bearable. I was looking for more romance out of the other prospect though. Ten can't really trust him because she knows he wants her to join his 'side', but I still wanted more out of it.

The world is by far my favorite thing about FIRSTLIFE. There is so much involved and the author did a great job of bringing it to life for me. There is a lot of action and danger involved in Ten's journey to choose a side. You never knew what would be thrown at her and her allies and it made for some great suspense. I am very interested in seeing what will happen next.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week in Review: 2/21-2/27



Books Received for Review


Twiceborn by Marina Finlasom

Books I've Read

House of Kings by Keary Taylor
Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire
Twiceborn by Marina Finlasom

Reviews Posted

Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
The Isle by Jordana Frankle
Rising Shadows by Bridget Blackwood
Bluescreen by Dan Wells
Demon Princess by Kassandra Lynn

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

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler

* Friday- Promo + Giveaway for Bad Boys of the Night Blog Barrage

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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.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Quick Thought Reviews

Sometimes I read a book where I just don't have a lot to say about it. Hence the name quick thought reviews. These will be short and sweet.
________________________________

The Isle
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Boks
The Ward Book #2
ISBN:  0062095374
ISBN13: 9780062095374
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
The heart-racing and thrilling sequel to The Ward about a teenage female drag racer who will do anything to save her sister—and a flooded futuristic Manhattan.


Drought season is coming....

The Ward is in trouble—its streets filled with seawater after a devastating flood and its impoverished inhabitants suffering from a deadly disease called the Blight.

Ren, with the help of her scientist friend, Callum, and her racing buddy, Derek, has discovered a cure—miraculous spring water—administering it to her sick sister, Aven. But when Aven is kidnapped by Governor Voss, the malevolent dictator of the United Metro Isles (UMI), Ren must go on a dangerous mission to save her sister, again.

The mysterious healing water is the only source of freshwater throughout the entire UMI—water that Ren had been tasked by the government to discover. Although she refuses to give up the water’s location, Governor Voss has his own selfish reasons for wanting it. And he will do anything to satisfy his thirst for unquenchable power.

But Ren and Aven have more enemies than the governor. An ancient order, the T├Ętai, has been guarding the magical water for hundreds of years. And they will kill to protect it. With the Ward in desperate need of freshwater and wracked by disease—and deadly enemies at every turn—the sisters face a dangerous journey, marred by mysterious secrets and horrifying truths, to save their friends and neighbors, and a city.

I have been looking forward to THE ISLE since 2013 and I am happy to say that I enjoyed it as much as I was hoping to. The book had a nice fast pace, lots of evading danger and we got to know the characters better. I did miss the romance in THE ISLE, it was pretty much put on the back burner.

The ending made me think that the story isn't over. I hope book three will be out quicker than the time it took for book two to be released. 

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Rising Shadows
Release Date: October 28, 2015
Publisher: Booktrope
ISBN13: 9781513701271
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
Labeled an Arcane, Rachel Ryan wonders if she’s human anymore. After she’s thrown headlong into the world of The Preternatural Rachel learns Shapeshifters, Faeries, and Vampires aren’t legends. They’ve been living hidden in plain sight among humans. In her quest to save a child she will set off a cataclysmic chain of events. Her actions will disrupt the carefully balanced political chess board, casting once powerful pieces to the floor. A werewolf protector, a lost princess, a mad vampire, and an exiled Fae named Winter will rise up to challenge the status quo. A war that has been brewing in the shadows for centuries is ready to explode. Rachel must choose where her allegiance lies, tipping the scales, but who is an enemy and who is a friend?

No, just no. Not only is there instant love, there's instant marriage and instant adopted child too. Too much instant for me and not enough character and world development.

The storyline was ok, but not enough to get me to read another installment of the series.

I gave it 2/5 stars

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


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Bluescreen
Author: Dan Wells
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Mirador Book #1
ISBN:  006234787X
ISBN13: 9780062347879
Genre: Young Adult Sci Fi
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.

Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.

Dan Wells, author of the New York Times bestselling Partials Sequence, returns with a stunning new vision of the near future—a breathless cyber-thriller where privacy is the world’s most rare resource and nothing, not even the thoughts in our heads, is safe.

I was thoroughly confused for a few chapters and then the book started growing on me and I did end up enjoying it. I thought there were way too many supporting characters, but I didn't get them mixed up which is good. The future technology was super neat to read about. I do however hope that the world never turns up like it does in BLUESCREEN.

I thought BLUESCREEN was a good start to Dan Well's new series. If readers can get past the confusion in the beginning I think they will have no problem wanting to read book two.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Demon Princess
Release Date: December 21, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published
ISBN:  1522875514
ISBN13: 9781522875512
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

With her father gone and her brother missing, Demon Princess Adriana has to assume the throne, temporarily becoming the Demon King. The procession is underway, and the princess is nervous yet determined … until the unthinkable happens and she is summoned! Somehow, Aldric, a mage-in-training has summoned the princess into the human kingdom. Now trapped, Adriana must hide her identity and escape before she loses her life in the hands of her mortal enemies.


I was able to get through DEMON PRINCESS but I there were problems. There wasn't much to the world building, everything was a bit vague. A few issues that came up in DEMON PRINCESS weren't resolved or even brought up again after they were mentioned. I also felt that the characters were lacking development.

After all was said and done I was left with way too many questions. I wasn't interested enough to read more.

I gave it 2.5/5 stars 

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Promo + Giveaway: Bad Boys of the Night Blog Barrage


Bad Boys of the Night: Eight Sizzling Paranormal Romances Boxed Set is now available worldwide for a special introductory price of only $0.99!

This ebook boxed set features sizzling paranormal romances by eight New York Times and USA Today best-selling romance authors. Fulfil your darkest fantasies with alpha-male bad boys of the night in these stories about vampires, shifters, fallen angels, werewolves, demons, psychic warriors and ghosts.

Here’s more about this fantastic eight book boxed set, including an excerpt from one of the stories.

Bad Boys of the Night: Eight Sizzling Paranormal Romances is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/bad-boys-of-the-night/

Bad Boys of the Night Boxed Set
Bad Boys of the Night: Eight Sizzling Paranormal Romances By Jennifer Ashley, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Colleen Gleason, Felicity Heaton, Bonnie Vanak, Caris Roane and Erin Quinn
Featuring…

Bad Wolf (Shifters Unbound) by Jennifer Ashley
Wolf Shifter Broderick is stuck looking after his three younger brothers and a Collar-less Shifter who is driving him crazy, but he’s putting up with them for Joanne, the human woman he wants to take as mate. When Broderick is captured, mistaken for a Guardian, it’s Joanne who figures out that hackers are after the Guardian Network, the database that holds the deep secrets of Shifters past and present.

Shadow Fall (Shadow series) by Erin Kellison
A man with all Custo’s sins isn't cut out to be an angel. One moment he's fleeing Heaven; the next, he's waking up stark naked, called by a woman who's afraid of the dark. Shadow gathers around Annabella as she performs, a magic that allows her to move between worlds. Her abilities attract a primeval wolf, and it stalks her relentlessly. Custo stops at nothing to keep her safe, and though danger proves seductive, they fight for redemption and love.

Warrior’s Heart (Iron Portal) by Laurie London
Librarian by day, Zara Kane is a thief by night, stealing artifacts that belong to her homeland. When she learns a man she once loved has been wrongly imprisoned, she uses her para-abilities to orchestrate a daring escape. Vince Crawford isn’t afraid of anything, but when the woman he’s never stopped loving and the son he never knew he had are threatened by a ruthless enemy, he will stop at nothing to keep them safe… even if it costs him his life.

The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason
In 19th Century London, vampires live alongside the uppercrust members of Society... Even after centuries of lust, hedonism, and women, Voss, rarely finds himself bored. He is a rogue of the first order who loves nothing more than a warm woman, excellent vintage, and even a puzzling challenge to keep his mind active. But when one of his seemingly harmless manipulations sets him on the path to seduce the beautiful Miss Angelica Woodmore, things become a little less simple…a lot more passionate…and definitely more complicated.


Hunger (Vampires Realm Series) by Felicity Heaton
A vampire assassin hardened by centuries of service, Tor is a man of discipline and loyalty, never straying from his mission, and has purged all his weaknesses, including his emotions. But the moment he meets the broken, fiery female he is to escort to Oslo, something dangerous awakens in him, something possessive and powerful, and when he is pulled into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who betrayed her, Tor discovers he will do anything to protect the woman slowly claiming his heart and give her the vengeance she desires—even break all the rules.

The Mating Challenge (Werewolves of Montana) by Bonnie Vanak
Alpha werewolf and ranch owner Aiden Mitchell desires the curvy, vivacious Nikita Blakemore, alpha female of the Blakemore pack. He will have her as his mate and no other. To force her hand, Aiden maneuvers her into hosting a Mating Challenge, the ultimate warrior competition for werewolves, where males fight for the right to mate and breed with a female alpha. Fiercely protective of his future mate, Aiden will do anything to make her his own, even fight to the death...

Dark Flame (Flame Series) by Caris Roane
Committed to the rule of law, vampire Border Patrol Officer Robert Brannick falls hard for a beautiful fae woman who illegally seduces him in his dreams…

Diablo Springs, by Erin Quinn
When she escaped Diablo Springs years ago, Gracie Beck swore she’d never return. But all that changes on the night of her grandmother’s death when Diablo Springs lures Gracie’s teenage daughter to its treacherous border. Gracie races to the rescue—only to find herself trapped in the undercurrent of a hundred year old curse and the menacing spirits that still terrorize the town. She isn’t prepared to deal with Reilly Alexander—a man from her past who she’s never forgotten—at the same time. Reilly is determined to help Gracie and prove his to love to her, but they’ve come to a dangerous place where every lurking shadow should be feared...

Bad Boys of the Night: Eight Sizzling Paranormal Romances is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/bad-boys-of-the-night/

EXCERPT FROM HUNGER BY FELICITY HEATON

The remaining three weakling vampires snarled and launched themselves as one at her. Eve did her best to block each blow they threw, her forearms taking the brunt of their wrath, and tried to get some attacks of her own in. They were relentless, driving her backwards, crowding her and making it impossible for her to escape.
She bit her tongue to silence her cries as claws cut and fists slammed, each blow weakening her a little more.
She couldn’t die yet. She needed peace. She needed to make the bastard pay.
It couldn’t end here. Now.
A cry escaped her as sharp talons sliced through her right biceps and she dropped her only weapon.
A deep male voice rolled over her like a storm, his foreign tongue dark and sinister.
The three vampires crowding her eased back and turned as one to face the newcomer. Eve withdrew, clutching her arm. Blood spilled from between her fingers and the ever-present hunger grew worse, bringing out her fangs as it demanded she taste the sweet, coppery liquid.
A fifth male melted out of the shadows at the entrance of the club, a six-foot-five wall of lethal muscle and deadly grace, his face obscured by the hood of his oversized black sweatshirt. Calm laced with malice rolled off him and she felt his gaze flicker to her.
A hot shiver went through her in response to the intense feeling, the incredible awareness that shot an arrow straight through her heart and made the rest of the room fall away in an instant, drawing every shred of her focus to him.
He calmly set his black duffle down on the bar and strode forwards with purpose, his black army boots loud on the wooden floor. She felt his eyes leave her. The room crashed back into existence and air rushed into her lungs again.
The low lights flickered over the lower half of his face, giving tantalising glimpses of firm, sensual lips and a defined jaw. The corner of those lips quirked, a split-second shift that she would have missed had she not been staring so intently at them.
Panic began as a low thrumming in her belly, a turbulent swirling that made her take another step back for each one he advanced, placing more distance between them. The malice and darkness he emanated grew stronger and her instincts warned her away, screamed that she stood no chance against this newcomer.
He was stronger than the other four combined.
Stronger than Oneiric.
Her panic exploded into outright fear as the man reached behind his back, whipped out a black pistol and fired off a round, nailing the vampire she had tagged as the leader between his eyes. His head snapped backwards, blood spraying from the gaping wound in the back of his skull, and he fell into a table, crushing it under him.
The other two rushed the man.
They didn’t stand a chance.
He took the first out with lethal efficiency, kicking him hard in the balls and then catching him with a diagonal uppercut as he doubled over, snapping his neck.
Eve stood frozen to the spot, unsure what to make of the deadly new combatant, and unsure whether he was friend or foe.
She hoped to God he wasn’t foe.
She wasn’t even sure he was a vampire. Her scrambled senses said that he was but he didn’t fight like any vampire she had ever met. None of them had used guns for a start, and none of them fought dirty as this man did.
The remaining male bravely faced off against him, brandishing both of her fallen knives.
It didn’t help him.
The huge male cupped his hands and stepped forwards, nothing more than a blur as he closed the distance between him and the remaining vampire. He slapped his hands over the vampire’s ears, the crack as they connected startling her into moving, placing even more distance between them. The vampire unleashed an agonised snarl and thrust with one of the blades. The man sidestepped, caught his arm and twisted it hard, bringing his other hand down in a devastating blow that shattered the bone.
The vampire’s agonised snarl became a scream.
The man calmly grabbed him by his throat, pressed his free hand against his face, and shoved forwards, snapping his head backwards and breaking his neck.
Eve took another step backwards, towards the door to the back rooms. Maybe she should have made a break for the exit while the man had been occupied with neatly defeating three vampires in under three minutes.
He advanced on her, the sense of malice coming from him not abating. If anything, it was getting stronger.
When he reached the gunshot victim, he casually crouched over him and ruthlessly snapped his neck, twisting hard enough that the crack was audible and sickening, making her own spine ache in response and her stomach turn. He rose to his feet, his backdrop a vision of darkness as the vampires began to turn to ashes, and approached her, silent but not wary.
Confidence and danger flowed from him, as if those two words were created for him alone.
An assassin.
A man bred for the purpose of killing.
She had met men like him in her years as a hunter, but not on his level.
Eve backed off another step and hit the wall beside the door to the back rooms.
The man continued his advance, each step closer he came only making her more aware of how immense he was as she had to tilt her head back to keep her unsteady gaze on what she could see of his face.
Oneiric appeared beside her and the man halted his approach.
“I dealt with all the ones out the back. Are you alright?” Oneiric said in a low voice, his crimson gaze never leaving the newcomer.
Eve kept her eyes locked on him too and nodded. “Sustained a few injuries but they’re healing. I took one down, and… well… he handled the rest. Any idea what they wanted?”
She waited, curious and a little afraid, as the male shifted his focus to Oneiric.
“I imagine it was the usual grudge against our kind. My ones had a few choice things to say about us.” Oneiric moved closer to her, a protective gesture by the vampire who called himself her father, one that she appreciated.
“It must get tiring. You think they would get bored of killing themselves.” She glanced at him, catching his brief smile.
They had spent hours discussing how foolish the weakling vampires were, those with muddied blood that made them far less powerful than vampires of the seven pure bloodlines. They often attacked pureblood vampires. Oneiric had called it suicide. She had to agree. As a hunter, she had seen weaklings picking fights with purebloods and it always ended the same. A gruesome death for the weakling.
She pressed her palms against the wall behind her, clinging to it for support as her tired body threatened to give out under the stress of the fight and the presence of the assassin.
Whenever his focus leaped to her, she felt the full extent of his power and it pressed down on her. Oneiric had warned such a thing would happen around stronger members of the seven pure bloodlines and she hadn’t believed him until now.
This vampire was more powerful than any she had met. What did he want with her father? Had he just been passing and had sensed the fight, and had come to help them? Or did he have business at the club? He would make one hell of a bouncer.
Her father eyed the ashes of the vampires and then the man before them.
“I thought Lilith would be the one to come for Eve,” Oneiric said and Eve swallowed hard.
This man couldn’t possibly be her escort.
She wasn’t going anywhere with him.
The towering male said nothing in response. He simply stuck his gun down the back of his black jeans and then casually pushed his hood back.
Eve’s breath left her in a rush.
Piercing glacial blue eyes held fast on Oneiric, the pale white-blond eyebrows above them drawing down, causing them to narrow and intensify. The man was handsome, not at all as she had expected, but radiated danger too, a sense of deadliness that his appearance could easily belie.
She had never thought she would face a vampire and think they were beautiful. Her body heated, her blood turning to liquid fire at the sight of him, a startling reaction that she couldn’t control.
He glanced at her and then his cold eyes shifted back to Oneiric.
Eve could only stare at the contradiction before her. No doubt he made the perfect assassin. His looks distracted her from the darker side she could feel in him—the vast coldness—and the dangerous side she had witnessed—the lethal, efficient killer. His pale eyes glittered with intelligence as they held Oneiric’s, filled with a calculating edge that made her feel he was five steps ahead of them, already predicting the outcome of every move he made or thing he said.
Here was the kind of man that nothing slipped past. Not even the smallest detail. He was dangerous because of that, and confident too. He knew himself and his skills, and that he could take down both Oneiric and her without breaking a metaphorical sweat. That scared her a little, but didn’t stop her from feeling drawn to him. If anything, it only pulled her deeper under his spell.
The man he was inside lent a rough edge to his beauty that made him masculine. Probably the closest definition to male she had ever met. A feral, deadly devil wrapped in the guise of an angel.
She had never seen anything like him, and knew she never would again.

Grab the boxed set for just $0.99 to read this story and seven others…

Bad Boys of the Night: Eight Sizzling Paranormal Romances is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/bad-boys-of-the-night/


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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas

Kingdom of Ashes
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN:   0062303562
ISBN13: 9780062303561
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
Asleep for a hundred years, awoken by a kiss, Aurora’s life was supposed to be a fairytale. But since discovering that loyalty to the crown and loyalty to her country are two very different things, Aurora knows she can only dream of happily ever after. Once the enchanted princess, savior of her people, she is now branded a traitor.

Aurora is determined to free her home from the king’s tyrannical rule, even if it means traveling across the sea to the kingdom of the handsome and devious Prince Finnegan—someone who seems to know far more about her magic than he should. However, Finnegan’s kingdom has perils of its own, and any help he gives Aurora will come at a price.

As Aurora and Finnegan work together to harness her power—something so fiery and dangerous that is as likely to destroy those close to Aurora as it is to save them—she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before…and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill.

Brimming with captivating fantasy and life-threatening danger, the sequel to A Wicked Thing takes Sleeping Beauty on an adventure unlike any she’s ever had before.

I didn't think I was going to pick up book two after I read A WICKED THING, but I saw it on EDELWEISS and thought, why not?

Aurora is on the run and thankfully an ally comes to her aid and gets her out of her kingdom before the king can get his hands on her. I enjoyed following her journey and thought that she did a really good job of standing up for herself and learning how to use her magic to best help her people. I didn't think much of Finnegan in A WICKED THING, but I happened to like him quite a bit in KINGDOM OF ASHES. Both him and Aurora get close in book 2, but not close enough. I wanted some epic romance, but we just got some light flirting and a few things more than that. Where's her happily ever romantic ending?

I ended up liking book two more than I thought I would. I got to know the characters better which was needed after A WICKED THING and I thought the introduction of the dragons added some more danger to things. Even having enjoyed KINGDOM OF ASHES, I have some huge issues. This is the last book in the series and there were so many things left open. The wicked enemy is still out there, Aurora's kingdom is still in upheaval and the romance, where is the romance I was hoping for? Sigh. I don't know. This didn't feel like the end and I am not satisfied.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Promo + Giveaway: Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler

Paige Tyler’s latest X-Ops title, Her Fierce Warrior, comes out this March! To celebrate the release, Paige Tyler stopped by to share with us a fun factoid about one of her X-Ops agents.

X-Ops Factoid: Ivy Halliwell (Her Perfect Mate) has a younger sister who is also a feline shifter. Ivy doesn’t want her “baby” sister in the DCO, but that hasn’t worked out too well.


Her Fierce Warrior
X-Ops #4
March 1, 2016

The woman tensed. As anger and fear ricocheted across her face, her eyes changed from red to green to brown in a dizzying display like nothing he’d ever seen. 

Every instinct in Angelo’s body screamed at him to lunge for his weapon. Instead he set his feet for impact, blocking her slashing claws. Unbelievably, after a few moments of struggling, she went still, all the fight gone… 

Minka isn’t sure she should trust the sexy Special Forces soldier who found her. Subjected to horrors, on the run from scientists set on locking her in a cage, Minka is terrified of the monster she’s becoming…and somehow, Angelo is the only one who can calm the beast inside her and make her feel safe.

But can she trust the way he makes her feel when she’s not even sure she can trust herself?
Buy Links:
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Apple: http://apple.co/1QcqsTP
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Excerpt:


“So what did you and Landon do this afternoon?” Minka asked, her soft voice dragging him back to the present.
Angelo looked up to see that Minka had already polished off two fajitas. Damn, the girl could eat. “Landon gave me a tour of the DCO complex. I did some target shooting and blew up a few things. He even let me play with the expensive surveillance toys. I swear, it felt more like a recruiting pitch to get me to work there than anything.”
Minka’s eyes flashed green, her full lips curving slightly. Damn, why the hell had he said it like that? Now she probably thought he was going to come work for the DCO. Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t, not after just reenlisting for another five years. The army wasn’t the kind of job where you could walk into the boss’s office and say, “I quit.”
Thinking it would be a good idea to steer the conversation back to safer ground, he reached for another fajita and asked Minka a question instead. “What do you think you’ll work on next with Ivy and Tanner? You going to practice with the claws for a while or move on to something else?”
Angelo felt a little crappy about changing the subject, but if Minka noticed, she didn’t seem to mind. And it wasn’t like he had to fake interest in what she was saying. Anything that involved Minka was important to him. Besides, he didn’t know much about shifters or hybrids, so the whole thing was pretty damn fascinating.
“What do you visualize when you see the beast in your mind?” he asked.
“Before today, I thought of it as a giant, blurry monster.
But after learning that the beast is a cat, that’s how I picture it now.” She smiled. “Not a little house cat, of course. They aren’t scary enough. More like a big cat that roams the mountains.”
“Makes sense,” he said.
Minka set the other half of her fourth fajita on her plate and gave him a curious look. “Would you mind if I ask you a personal question?”
His mouth twitched as he prepared another fajita. He wasn’t used to Minka being so reserved. She usually said whatever was on her mind, regardless of whether it was personal or not.
“Go ahead,” he said.
“The first time we met, I had claws, fangs, glowing red eyes, and I tried to kill you. Since then, I’ve spent most of the time telling you about an imaginary creature that lives inside my head and makes me act like a monster. How are you so calm about that? Most people would have run away already.”
Angelo chuckled. Not exactly the personal question he’d expected, but then again Minka rarely did the expected.
“Well, my mom was full-blooded Cherokee, and I grew up around all kinds of Indian folktales and legends.
My dad was in the army, and whenever he was deployed, Mom would take my sisters and me back to the reservation where she grew up in Oklahoma. I’d stay up half the night listening to the old men tell stories about shape-shifters, animal spirits, skin-walkers, and trickster spirits.” He grinned. “I’m not saying I necessarily believed in all that stuff back then, but after meeting Ivy, Tanner, and the other shifters at the DCO, it just didn’t faze me that much.”
Minka looked at him with wide eyes. “You’re a real American Indian? Like in the movies? With horses and everything?”
He laughed again. The expression of wonder on her face was adorable. “First, I’m only half-Indian. My dad is Mexican, so there’s that. And second, Native Americans are almost nothing like you see in the movies. We don’t all live in tepees and ride horses. In fact, I don’t even own a horse.”
Minka was a little disappointed about the no-horse thing, but she was fascinated with what it was like growing up on an Indian reservation and being surrounded by all those legends. She immediately asked him to tell her some Indian stories. It had been a long time since he’d thought about them, but to make her happy, he dug through his head and tried to remember every tale he’d heard as a kid.


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Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

The Shadow Queen
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Ravenspire Book #1
ISBN:  0062360248
ISBN13: 9780062360243
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source:  Edelweiss

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
Snow White is one of my favorite stories, so I was excited to read THE SHADOW QUEEN. Unfortunately although I liked the story, it didn't blow me away and I didn't find myself yearning to read more. To tell the truth, the story didn't stick with me at all after I was done reading. I had to go back and read a recap of the book to jog my memory just to write this review.

Lorelei wants to free her people from the queen that killed her father and stole her throne. She has lost a lot and she is ready to take her throne back. I thought Lorelei was pretty fierce in her mission to kill the evil queen and I had no trouble rooting for her. Kol is now king and he feels the only way to save his kingdom is to enlist the help of the queen of Ravenspire. Little does he know that he will meet the true queen on his journey and have to fight for his life while helping her to get her throne back. Both Lorelai and Kol had some major struggles and I thought they worked in the best way they could to overcome them. Although I could see a bit of a romantic spark their romance didn't jump off the page or make me think they were destined for each other.

The pace was extremely slow at times and things tended to drag a bit in THE SHADOW QUEEN, but I thought the world building was really well done and the supporting characters were well written. I didn't love THE SHADOW QUEEN, but I didn't hate it either. It just was.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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