Monday, June 29, 2015

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Idol of Blood by Jane Kindred

UFI welcomes Author Jane Kindred. Thanks for Joining us!!

Oh Mighty Isis 

You’re welcome, five people who got the reference in that title. One of the prizes for this giveaway is a Cult of Isis necklace. You may be wondering what Isis has to do with my new release, Idol of Blood, Book 2 in the Looking Glass Gods. Isis, herself, was not a goddess of blood or vengeance, as this title would imply. But as I was writing the original draft of the novel that became the Looking Glass Gods series, the first thing that came to me was the character’s name: Ra. This Ra was female, and not the Ra of Egyptian mythology, but the world that began to develop around her had a decidedly ancient-Egyptian feel.

The gods in Ra’s world are a race called the Meer, worshipped for their ability to conjure with a word. The cities they ruled from the temples they conjured are situated along a river named the Anamnesis—which means remembering—in a place much like the Nile valley.

As I wrote Ra’s story about remembering her forgotten past, I felt more and more connected to the goddess Isis. In Idol of Blood, one of the characters recovers memories of childhood abuse, and as I wrote those scenes, I remembered some things that had happened to me as a child that I’d pushed into the dark corners of my mind. They were nothing to what happened to my character, but they were enough that I had some issues with feeling safe.

Isis became my image of a protector goddess during that time, and I even got a tattoo of something called a “tyet” or Isis Knot as a permanent symbol of protection and to mark the completion of the book.

The two Sanskrit characters on the sides of the tattoo represent the Hindu goddess, Kali, whom my character MeerShiva—another case in which the character herself insisted on the name—came to represent for me. MeerShiva is the goddess of vengeance in Idol of Blood.

While it isn’t an Isis Knot, the Cult of Isis necklace I’m giving away is an image of the Isis headdress often seen in Egyptian art. It features a red solar disc cradled in the horns of a cow, with the throne representing Isis above it. When I saw the necklace, it reminded me so much of the design on the cover of my book (by awesome cover artist Kanaxa) that it seemed like fate. Fate and synchronicity have marked my experiences with writing Looking Glass Gods from the start. But that’s another post for another time.

For those of you wondering about the reference I made in the title (and as a special treat for those who got it), here you go:

Jane Kindred is the author of epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and Looking Glass Gods. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.

Find Jane and her books

Idol of Blood
Looking Glass Gods #2
Amazon BN iTunes Kobo Samhain
 The price of revenge may be her sanity…and the lives of those she loves.

No longer haunted by memories of her life—and death—as the Meer of Rhyman, Ra looks forward to a quiet existence with her lover Jak in the Haethfalt highlands. Having made peace with Ahr, her consort from her former life, Ra can finally explore her new relationship, free of the ghosts of the past—until she unwittingly unearths Jak’s own.

Out of instinct, she uses her Meeric power to heal the pain of Jak’s childhood trauma. But all magic has a price, and Ra’s bill has come due.

Succumbing to the affliction inherent in her race, Ra flees to the mountain ruins where her mother’s temple once stood. As the madness takes hold, she resurrects the ancient city of AhlZel in a tremendous act of magic that seals her fate—and threatens to destroy those who would give up everything to save her from herself.

Warning: Contains dark themes, violence, gender-bending sex, and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.
Since the light was beginning to lower, they set up camp, only a dozen leagues from the green riverbanks of Rhyman. Jak and Geffn lay on either side of Ra, a peculiar triad of necessity, and Geffn, fatigued, was asleep almost instantly.

Ra curled away from him toward Jak beneath her blanket, eyes seeming to glint like a cat’s, though nothing else was visible in the darkness. “We haven’t really had a moment alone since…” The soft murmur trailed off. Jak knew precisely what moment Ra meant. Before they’d left Rhyman; before Ra had disappeared in the night to rescue little Pearl—a Meerchild bred in captivity and kept in a cage by the prelate of In’La; before Ra had set fire to the temple there, and the prelate with it, Jak had thrown caution to the wind and climbed into bed with a goddess. The commitment to celibacy Jak had tried to maintain since before Ra’s arrival in Haethfalt had been tossed aside like a cheap shirt.

After returning to Rhyman with Pearl, Ra had made no further overtures toward Jak, and Jak hadn’t presumed to make any toward Ra.

“It’s all right. We don’t need to—” The weak protest died on Jak’s lips as Ra’s descended on them. Her kisses had a tendency to take one’s breath away, as if she gathered it all into herself, holding it, holding time, before giving it back.

When she finally let them both breathe, Ra slid beneath the blanket and rested her head on Jak’s breast. “I could deepen Geffn’s sleep.”

Jak considered it for a rash moment before squelching the thought. “No. That wouldn’t be fair to him.” That was an understatement. Screwing one’s new lover while asleep next to the jilted lover whose heart one had recently broken would be in bad form, to say the least. And it would add more to that invisible price Ra must be paying if she were to expend magical energy when she had so little physical energy to spare. “We’ll have time enough when we get home.”

“Home.” Ra snuggled closer. “That sounds very nice. I’ve never had a home before. Just a temple.” She said the word as if it meant “jail”. While she spoke, however, her hand moved down Jak’s arm with feathery strokes, dipped over Jak’s hip and across Jak’s belly, and played at the loose drawstring waistband, fingers just inside it.

Jak placed a hand over Ra’s, meaning to stop her, but Ra entwined their fingers and slid them lower. As if it were an act of self-pleasuring, Ra used Jak’s fingers to delve deeper and press against the supple flesh, tentative, leisurely motions encouraging Jak to show her how to proceed.

“When we return to Mound RemPetaJakGeffnMelKeirenRa—” She murmured the absurdly long name of their Haethfalt household as if they were only having a quiet conversation—“I’d like to make a quilt by hand.” She drew Jak’s fingers in a complex pattern, up and down, over and across, doubling back in infinity symbols that ended in sharp, insistent points, like the edges of rings bisecting each other. “Do you like this pattern?”

Jak shivered and breathed ascent as Ra pressed Jak’s fingers into the center point of the bisection. Her motions became smaller, tighter and more definitive.

“Some little rosettes where the squares join,” Ra whispered. “One. Two. Three. Four…” She demonstrated. “With a diamond in the center. Right…there.”

Jak had to grab the blanket and bite down on it to keep the sweet little crooning howl Ra had inspired from escaping audibly.

“And another, there.”

Jak struggled not to thrash, rationing sharp rhythmic breaths into the fabric of the blanket.

“And there.”

Oh gods.

“And then just there.”

In the grip of a wave of pleasure so intense it was almost unbearable, Jak clutched Ra’s hand so she could no longer effect her blissful torment, the other hand digging into the bedroll as pantomimed moans were buried in the crook of an elbow.

“Perhaps in peacock blue with threads of gold,” Ra continued as if she hadn’t just destroyed Jak utterly, her other hand casually stroking once more up Jak’s arm. “The colors of Ludtaht Ra. Though it may be time for new colors. I’ve always liked indigo.” She nestled against the hollow of Jak’s neck, putting a little kiss there before relaxing with a sigh to match Jak’s heaving breath. “Does that work for you?”

It took a moment to remember how to swallow and speak. “Work for me?” Jak let out a nervous, whispered laugh. “Just about killed me. I’m crazy about it.”
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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week in Review: 6/21-6/27

Books Received for Review

- The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling- eCopy- NetGalley

- Old Dog, New Tricks by Hailey Edwards -eARC- NetGalley

Books I've Read

Angel Lover by Tricia Skinner
Breakwater by Shannon Mayer
The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

Reviews Posted

Angel Lover by Tricia Skinner
Dying to Date by Victoria Davies
Shades of Loss by L.M. Pruitt
Shades of Vengeance by L.M. Pruitt


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

* Wednesday- Interview + Giveaway for Hunter of Her Heart by Kaylie Newell

* Saturday- Cover Reveal for Deep Kiss of Winter + Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole


* 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, June 27, 2015

Cover Reveal: Deep Kiss of Winter + Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole

Check out the next two covers for the repackaging of Kresley Cole’s phenomenally popular Immortals After Dark series.

Deep Kiss of Winter
Immortals After Dark #8

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR KRESLEY COLE delivers a breathtaking tale of a brutal vampire soldier about to know love for the first time... and a Valkyrie aching for his touch.
A brutal vampire soldier about to know love for the first time…
Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice Maiden–the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can’t be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure.
A Valkyrie aching to be touched…
Soon desperate for closeness, in an agony of frustration, Murdoch and Danii will do anything to have each other. Together can they find the key that will finally allow them to slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?

Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Immortals After Dark #9

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole enraptures again with this seductive tale of a fierce werewolf prince who will stop at nothing to protect the lovely archer he covets from afar.


Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her -- and those she loves.


Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.


From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia's greatest weakness -- her wanton desire for him.

Each of the above will be available in eBook format at a special price of $1.99 from June 29th – August 2nd.

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

Her IAD books have been translated into twenty foreign languages, garnered three RITA awards, a Hall of Fame induction, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.
Cole lives in Florida with her family and “far too many animals.”

Find Kresley and her books

Friday, June 26, 2015

Early Review: Angel Lover by Tricia Skinner

Angel Lover
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Select Otherworld
ISBN:  1633752690
ISBN13 9781633752696
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Publisher
There’s no danger greater than falling for your enemy…

The Nephilim are bound. Their powers cursed. But half-angel Kasdeja will do anything to free them from Heaven's tyranny. When Kas is approached by a striking, mysterious woman, she tells him his greatest enemies hold the key to his freedom.

Mariel keeps herself shrouded in secrets, using them to hide her true self. For she is not just employed by the Renegades--enemy fallen angels—she is a double agent, working on the sly for Heaven. Her directive is to seduce the gorgeous Nephilim—despite her insecurity about such sensual acts.

For Mariel is playing a dangerous game, and falling for Kas could only cause trouble; her assignment isn't just seduction. It's destruction.

ANGEL LOVER is the second book in the Angel Assassins series. It was a quick and easy read with a good amount of action and deception. The book focuses heavily on the budding relationship of Kas and  Mariel. Kas is a bound Nephilim who is super loyal to his brother Nephilim and wishes he were free from the bonds holding him and his brothers back and Mariel is a broken angel working undercover with the Renegades to earn her wings back.

The relationship part of ANGEL LOVER was great. There was a ton of chemistry between Kas and Mariel and the sexy parts were hot and heavy. They come from different worlds, but fight to overcome the problems that are put in front of them.

I didn't feel like as much happened in ANGEL LOVER compared to ANGEL KIN. There was still a good amount of action, but I found the overall storyline to be less. I missed the other Nephilim in ANGEL LOVER. Most of the book takes place without them and I really wanted to get to know them more and see Katie and Cain together again and get a glimpse into their relationship now that their book is over.

There was a surprising amount of twists in ANGEL LOVER and the characters have a good amount of depth to them. Some things happen at the end of the book that make me think I know who the next half-angel featured will be. I am hopeful that the next book won't take too long to come out.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Dying to Date by Victoria Davies

Dying to Date
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Covet
Fated Match Book #2
ISBN:  163375314X
ISBN13: 9781633753143
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Publisher
Vampire socialite Melissa Redgrave has the worst luck with men. Frustrated, she decides what she needs is a little help...from New York's biggest supernatural dating agency. Except that sometimes, a vampire doesn't always find her match.

Until she does. And he's delicious enough to bite.

Tarian Drake keeps his necromancy background quiet. After all, the ability to control the dead isn't exactly welcomed in the supernatural community. When he runs into the beautiful Melissa, she tempts him in a way that has never happened before. She’s his perfect match in every way.

But just as they are about to take their relationship to the next level, his family decides to make a stand—by kidnapping his new girlfriend. Now, if he ever hopes to date again, he’s going to have to get control of his family and free the girl. Oh, and stop a war.

Melissa and Tarian have an instant connection and fall for each other pretty quickly, but Tarian has a huge secret that could change their relationship in an instant.

We met Melissa in LOVE AT STAKE, she is Lucian's daughter. She is ready to fine her mate and she turns to Fated Match to accomplish that. She is very strong willed and knows how to take care of herself. Tarian has been hiding for a long time and he is ready to settle down. The only problem is that the paranormals have shunned his race. He never thought he would fall for a vampire, but when he does, their families issues threaten to tear them apart. The couple had a rocky go of it after Tarian's secret was revealed, but their connection was always there.

I enjoyed the danger and suspense that DYING TO DATE brought to the table. There is a considerable of action involved as things heat up. We were introduced to another race of paranormal with the necromancers. The world building was continued from book one, LOVE AT STAKE, and it was nice that there was more to learn.

Fated Match dating agency is of course featured in DYING TO DATE, but Tarian and Melissa hit it off right away so there isn't a bunch of dates being followed or much going on at the agency for these two. In fact, a lot of their time together takes place outside of New York. We do get a few visits with Lucian and Abbey and they are still going strong. They are mates though, so that was expected, but it was still nice to see them after the fact. I imagine there will be more to come out of the Fated Match series and I look forward to seeing who is featured next.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Interview & Giveaway: Hunter of Her Heart by Kaylie Newell

UFI welcomes Author Kaylie Newell. 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? 

I love shopping, Lifetime marathons, frozen waffles, cheesy 80’s television, sparkly blue eye shadow and I Love Lucy memorabilia.  Me in a nutshell ;)

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

I like to read, cuddle with my girls, watch movies with my husband, and I also have a YouTube addiction in the form of every Dateline episode ever created.  

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Going back to read a completed book!  By far the best part for me ☺

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write? 

I have a very specific routine.  I usually try to write in the mornings and I have to have a cup of hot chocolate starting out.  My cat always knows when I’m settling in and she’ll jump up and curl up on my legs.  Always the same spot.  We pretty much have it down to a science.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres? 

I love Stephen King.  He doesn’t always write paranormal, but when he does, he just knocks my socks off.  Bag of Bones is one of my favorite books of all time.

How would you pitch Hunter of Her Heart to someone who has not heard of it before?

I’d say it’s kind of like Twilight meets Twin Peaks.  Lots of hunky werewolves, but also a lot of quirky side characters, too.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Hunter of Her Heart is set in? 

I’ve been told that Wolfe Creek (the tiny mountain town where the books take place) is almost like another character.  It’s definitely dark and broody.  Magical.  The first book takes place in the fall, so there’s lots of fog and drizzle as the backdrop to the mystery.  The second book takes place in the summer, so it’s hot and sultry.  The third book happens during the winter with snow and severe storms.  All these seasons help set the tone for the individual stories.

Do you have a favorite scene in Hunter of Her Heart

There’s a scene where Zane and Candi meet for a picnic in a park.  A thunderstorm rolls in and it starts raining, but they’re so attracted to each other, and so caught up in the moment that they can’t keep their hands to themselves and one thing eventually leads to another.  It was very steamy.  And super fun to write!

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about? 

I loved writing Zane.  He’s a bad boy and has no interest in settling down.  He’s always messing up and getting into trouble.  But he was also one of the hardest characters to write because I had to show him changing emotionally toward the end of the book.  I had to have him finally grow up and be worthy of Candi’s love.  It’s a fine line, while still keeping him true to his wild heart.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you? 

Book Three will be out sometime this fall.  This story will wrap up the Wolfe Creek Series in a way that I hope will be satisfying to my wonderful readers.  Everyone in this mystical little town will get their own story and their shot at a happily ever after ☺

For Kaylie Newell, writing ranks right up there with the things she loves most in life- falling somewhere behind her family, but ahead of Bradley Cooper (which says a lot).  She fell in lust with the romance genre when she was about thirteen and began sneaking her mother’s paperbacks from the bedside table.  After acne, college, marriage and kids, she decided to take a crack at writing one herself.  Turned out to be the best adventure she’s ever taken.  When she’s not dreaming up her next book, she’s usually eating chocolate or walking the family mutt.  In that order.

Find Kaylie and her books

Hunter of Her Heart
Wolfe Creek #2
Buy inks
 Bad boy Zane Wolfe has always been wild and reckless. Even though he’s hot for his high school sweetheart, Candi Brooks, settling down has never been in his plans. Beyond that, he’s changing in strange ways—and begins to wonder if there's truth to the local folklore that claims his family is cursed to be werewolves...

There's never been a time when waitress Candi didn't have a serious weakness for Zane and his intense, dark sex appeal. She craves him. But after her life changes dramatically, and Zane won’t commit, Candi’s reached her limit. She can't wait she's taking her heart off the table before it gets good and broken.

Something mysterious is going on in Wolfe Creek, and danger stalks Candi. Zane will do anything he can to protect her. But the one person she needs protection from might just be him…
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Shades of Loss + Shades of Vengeance by L.M. Pruitt

Shades of Loss
Author: L.M. Pruitt
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: SP Press
Jude Magdalyn Book #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Bewitching Book Tours

We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal. Tennessee Williams

Fact--Hart is back from the not-quite-dead.
Fact--His ultimate goal is my death.
Fact--He'll use anything--and anyone--to help him reach that goal.

The only way to save myself--my family--the entire Covenant--is to find the answer to one simple question.

Who is the traitor?

Jude is super pregnant in the beginning of SHADES OF LOSS and can't relax for a second without another problem surfacing. Hart is making a lot of trouble for the entire Covenant and they all want Jude to make it stop.

I loved that we finally get to meet the babies, but that is overshadowed by the danger and the hard decisions the new parents have to make to keep the babies safe.

The ending was pretty suckish on the I need to read more front, so I am glad that I had SHADES OF VENGEANCE already loaded and ready to go after I was done reading.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Shades of Vengeance
Author: L.M. Pruitt
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Publisher: SP Press
Jude Magdalyn Book #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Bewitching Book Tours

In moments of pain, we seek revenge.--Ami Ayalon

My home is compromised.

My children are gone.

My husband is dead

Every inch of my life is in ruins.

The only thing I have left is vengeance.

And no matter what it takes--no matter what took must be used--no matter the cost--I will have it.

SHADES OF VENGEANCE is SUPER short. Even shorter than SHADES OF LOSS and that says its a novella.

If you have not yet read SHADES OF LOSS, the blurb for book 5 is super scary to read. I don't want to spoil anything though so I will not tell you why. I found SHADES OF VENGEANCE to be pretty fast paced, but more of a filler type book. I think book 4 and 5 should have probably been combined to make a large book. The flow would have been nicer and my review stars would have been higher. I enjoyed SHADES OF VENGEANCE, just wished it was longer.

I was a bit disappointing to see that SHADES OF VENGEANCE was the last novel Pruitt is publishing through a publisher. She is continuing the series but she is doing so through a spot on her website and releasing segments in small bits. I don't really read like that so I will most likely never know what happens to the characters of the Jude Magdalyn series, which is a bummer seeing as nothing is ended yet and there are so many things up in the air. After following the series for so many years, it would be nice to gets some finality without having to read a serial to get there. *Sad Face*

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week in Review: 6/14-6/20

Books Received for Review

- Illicit by Madeline Pryce- eCopy- Publisher

Books I've Read

Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh
The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent
Dying to Date by Victoria Davies

Reviews Posted

Pure Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Endgame by C.J. Daugherty


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

* Monday-  Guest Blog + Giveaway for Hunting for Witches by Lana Pecherczyk

* Tuesday- Guest Blog  for Jude Magdalyn Series by L.M. Pruitt

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway for Dark and Damaged Blog Barrage

* Saturday- Promo + Giveaway for The Six by Mark Alpert


* 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, June 20, 2015

Promo & Giveaway: The Six by Mark Alpert

The Six
Sourcebooks Fire  
July 7, 2015
Adam’s muscular dystrophy has taken his motility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. He takes solace in playing video games he’s programmed to reflect the life that he used to have. Virtual reality is the one realm where he can be the hero, and it’s where he chooses to spend his time, until an entity called Sigma tries to kill him.

A dangerously advanced artificial intelligence program created by Adam’s computer-genius father, Sigma has escaped its cyber prison and is threatening global destruction and domination. But Adam’s father has a plan. He will stop Sigma by using the technology he developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son.

Adam’s consciousness is uploaded into the body of a weaponized robot, along with a group of five other gifted teens who are terminally ill. Together, they must learn how to manipulate their new mechanical forms and prepare for combat before Sigma destroys humanity. Adam can finally play the hero for real, but will his new body be worth the sacrifice of his human existence?

This innovative and thought-provoking young adult debut, from the critically acclaimed author of adult thrillers Final Theory and The Omega Theory, questions what it means to be human and whether we are destined to be defined by our physical bodies or our intellect.   

Amazon | Apple| B&N | BAM | !ndigoIndieBound | KindleNook

Advance Praise for Mark Alpert
“Adam is an unusual hero—and he faces a frightening question: Computers can’t kill—CAN they? I’m still shaken by the answer. Will the near-future really be this terrifying?” —R.L. Stine, bestselling author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series
“An exciting action story chock-full of characters you’ll love. The Six is full of big ideas, big questions, real science, and things that will make you think and wonder and lie awake late at night.” —Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series 
“The Six are introduced as terminally-ill teens, but there’s plenty of high-speed action in which they engage. Their physical disabilities and limitations through disease are forgotten as the teens’ hearts, minds, and personalities shine through...questions of principle, power, and possibility keep this look at our modern, hardwired existence fresh and fascinating.” STARRED Booklist
“Alpert's exploration of neuromorphic electronics raises interesting questions about ethics, technology, and human nature…a haunting ending scene will leave readers pondering the line between progress and loss. A thought-provoking clash between humanity and machinery.”- Kirkus Reviews
“A well-researched, hardcore science-fiction joyride, great for fans of first-person shooter video games like Halo and Destiny. Highly recommended” –School Library Journal
“Do not just read The Six; make your friends read it too.” –VOYA Magazine


Shannon rears back in her seat as if she’s been slapped. “And where are you going to store the copies of our brains?” Her voice is furious. “In a supercomputer? A big electronic prison?”
Dad doesn’t take offense. He answers her calmly. “The scanning process converts human intelligence to a digital form, allowing it to run on any neuromorphic computer that has enough memory and processing power. But in the initial stage right after the transfer, we believe it’s important to connect the intelligence to a machine that can move around and sense the outside world. A human intelligence is accustomed to controlling a body, so if we want to preserve its sanity, we’d better give it something to control. Here, let me show you.”
He puts the vial of nanoprobes back in his pocket and pulls out something else, a small remote--control device. He points it at the doorway beside the stage, and a moment later I hear a loud clanking. The noise startles the soldiers standing by the doorway. They step backward, flattening themselves against the wall. Then a seven--foot--tall robot emerges from the doorway and brushes past them.
The robot strides across the stage. It has two arms and two legs, but otherwise it isn’t very humanlike. It has no head or neck. Its torso is shaped like a giant bullet, with the rounded end on top. Its legs angle downward from the base of its torso and rest on oval steel--plate footpads that clang against the floor.
The machine marches briskly past the podium and stops in front of my dad, who presses a button on his remote control. This command extends the robot’s arms, which telescope to a full length of six feet. They look like multi--jointed tentacles. The machine’s hands, though, resemble human hands, with dexterous mechanical fingers and thumbs.
Dad presses another button, and the robot’s rounded top starts to turn like a turret. “The cameras and acoustic sensors are up here,” Dad says, pointing at the top end. “But the neuromorphic electronics are deep inside the torso, encased in armor plating. These robots were originally designed for the war in Afghanistan, so they’re pretty sturdy.” He raps his knuckles against the torso. “All in all, it’s an excellent platform for a newly transferred intelligence, but really it’s just the beginning. The whole point of the Pioneer Project is to bridge the gap between man and machine, and that means the human intelligences must explore their new environment. The Pioneers will have to learn how to use their new capabilities, and that includes transferring their intelligences from one machine to another.”
His voice grows louder again, full of enthusiasm. “Once the Pioneers have mastered these tasks, our hope is that they’ll be able to establish a connection with Sigma. If all goes well, they’ll start communicating with the AI before it launches any of the Russian missiles. And then the toughest challenge will begin. At the same time that the humans are learning how to be machines, they’ll have to teach Sigma how to be human.”


Mark Alpert is a former editor at Scientific American, and the author of several adult thrillers. He’s been praised by Douglas Preston as the “heir to Michael Crichton.” Visit Mark online at

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: Pure Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Pure Blooded
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN:  0316404357
ISBN13: 9780316404358
Genre: Urban Fanasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Jessica arrives back from the Underworld to find her father embroiled in a battle against the Made wolves. She and her crew drop everything to join them.

Once she arrives, the threat is after her. Jessica is lured into danger when her adversary takes something precious from her. With help from an unlikely source, Jessica goes up against her creator in a battle that will decide the path of everyone involved. She must war against a new set of foes, ones who could not only steal her power, but could take her soul as well.

I was VERY hesitant to read PURE BLOODED because RED BLOODED really threw me off the Jessica McClain train.

I can not begin to tell you how happy I am that PURE BLOODED took place outside of the Underworld. I truly never want to have to read about that place again. I loved the twists and turns involving Jessica's neighbor. Who would have thought? I am glad she has another powerful person in her corner. There was a great deal of action in PURE BLOODED, but I don't feel that any of the Jessica McClain series books ever lacked that. There wasn't a whole lot of romance between Jessica and Rourke going on, but he is right along with her for most of the book. I was happy that the whole group was back together as well, it's weird when they are all separated.

Although I am not totally back on the Jessica McClain train, I need another good read in the series to put me back there, I am more excited to read book 6 than I was to read PURE BLOODED so that's a positive check in the series corner.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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