Thursday, March 5, 2015

Guest Blog: Fortune's Blight by Evie Manieri

UFI welcomes Author Evie Manieri. Thanks for Joining us!!

Teenage Garage Sale
My mother sold our house about a year after I graduated college, and since I was living in a Brooklyn apartment at the time I wasn’t able to snag much from the jaws of the many yard sales she held. It’s nice not to be saddled with a lot of cardboard boxes I’ll never open but every now and then I’ll think of something I wish I still had, like the little wooden TARDIS I built in our basement out of wood scraps or the Scholastic book about magical fudge that turns kids into squirrels. (Ruth Chewy’s No Such Thing as a Witch. I googled it the other day to make sure it hadn’t been some chicken-pox-induced hallucination.) Here are the listings for some of the things I’m very glad are gone forever:

Cassette tape, Journey’s Escape
Makes a loud hissing sound on most tracks due to excessive wear, particularly “Separate Ways”. Will probably snap completely after about a dozen more plays. Case only has one hinge. Insert a little stained with the tears of unrequited love. Someday love WILL find you.

Hand-painted toy chest with high school theater mementos
Random costume pieces, a pair of broken “character shoes” with four coats of chipped paint, programs, photocopied scripts with one character’s lines highlighted and marked up with stage directions, smeared tubs and sticks of makeup with broken or missing lids, dust of dried roses. Distinctive smell of water-based paints and sawdust. Bonus: Wooden toy chest built in the 1970s includes lid weighing approximately 80 lbs. Hinges include no safety mechanism and operate at roughly the speed of a guillotine. Responsible for at least 4 undiagnosed concussions.

Prom dress
Violet with a lavender lamé drape, off-the-shoulder, fitted bodice. Zipper in perfect condition. No stains, rips or holes. Gay-prom-date approved. Excellent for executing pre-choreographed dance routines and getting home by midnight with no regrets.

10-speed bike, yellow, banana seat, good condition
Used mainly to ride back and forth in front of the house of a boy who lived about ten blocks away in the hopes he’d be out in his front yard to see me go by. Rubber handgrips may still be sweaty. Price reflects 100% success rate in enticing high school boys with freckles named Chris.

Evie Manieri graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Mediaeval History and Theatre, disciplines that continue to influence her work in about equal measure. She is enthralled by intricacy, and when not weaving together the threads of her plots, she can be found knitting airy lace shawls and singing Renaissance polyphony. Evie lives with her family in New York.

Find Evie and her books

Fortune's Blight
Shattered Kingdoms #2
The second book in a compelling epic fantasy series takes place after the Shadari revolution, as danger beckons across the sea—a stirring adventure in the vein of Karen Miller and Robin Hobb.

Victory for the Shadari rebels has come at a terrible price. Hardship, superstition, and petty feuds poison King Daryan’s young reign, and entire families are vanishing without a trace. Help is nowhere to be found, for their Nomas allies have troubles of their own and the Mongrel, plagued by the sins of her violent past, has disappeared.

While Daryan struggles to maintain the peace, Eofar and Rho are racing to their northern homeland to plead—or fight—for the Shadar’s independence. But Norland has changed, and they soon find themselves embroiled in the court politics of an empire about to implode. Meanwhile, the Mongrel’s path carries her deep into Norland’s frozen wastes to redeem a promise—one that forces her into the heart of the growing conflict.

As the foundations of the two far­flung countries begin to crack, an enigmatic figure watches from a tower room in Ravindal Castle. She is old, and a prisoner, but her reach is long, and her patience is about to be rewarded...
Praise for Evie Manieri
“Manieri’s BLOOD’S PRIDE, the first book in
the new Shattered Kingdoms series, is the perfect mix of romance, family ties, betrayals and agonizing dilemmas…The world created by Manieri is one of love, treachery and intrigue that will keep the audience hanging on until the very last page.”
-- RT Book Reviews
“The setting is what sells me on this book:
quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region. Just as with Indian fantasy, I think this subgenre is a really ignored one, and it’s fantastic that Evie Manieri is going to be exploring it in this novel.”
-- Most Anticipated Releases for 2013

“This hefty fantasy, first in a series from debut author Manieri, presents the tangled dynamics of two cultures at war with each other and within themselves….Plot twists, romantic entanglements, and political rivalries make for lots of melodrama.”
-- Publishers Weekly


Review: Dark Debt by Chloe Neill

Dark Debt
Author: Chloe Neill
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: NAL Trade
ISBN:   0451472322
ISBN13: 9780451472328
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher
A vampire never gets old. But neither do his enemies. When a figure from Ethan's dark past makes a splashy debut in Chicago, Merit and her Master don't know whether he's friend or foe. But they'll have to figure out soon, because trouble is brewing in the Windy City.

At an exclusive society soiree attended by the upper echelons of the human and supernatural worlds, Merit and Ethan barely stop the assassination of a guest. When the target turns out to be a shady businessman with a criminal edge, Merit suspects a human vendetta. But the assassins have fangs....

The connections to Chicago's Houses go deeper than Merit knows, and even one wrong move could be her last....

What can you really say when one of your top 10 favorite series reaches its 11th book? Not a whole lot that you haven't said in previous reviews, but enough to tell you that it added to the overall series.

Ethan's past has come back to haunt him. Ethan and Merit have to get to the bottom of things before it tears their house apart. I really loved that Ethan and Merit's relationship didn't take any huge hits in DARK DEBT. A lot of the books in the Chicagoland Vampire Series has them on the brink of breaking up, not trusting each other or questioning the others decisions. They have grown into a great team unit and them working together gets way more done than when they are on the opposite side of things.

All of the usual characters are involved and we even get to see Morgan again. Although I don't particularly care for him much, I feel he has grown quite a bit since we first met him. His house is at the forefront of some of the major conflicts in DARK DEBT and it was nice to see him at the table accepting help instead of being a stubborn jerk. Mallory & Catcher brought a whole lot to DARK DEBT. They even stayed at Cadogan House, which tells you how much Mallory has grown back into a person that Merit and Ethan can again trust. They both had a big part in helping resolve the conflict that were brought to the houses attention and I think having them there was one of my favorite parts of the book. I usually like Jonah, but he really disappointed me in DARK DEBT. I'm not sure that his and Merit's friendship will ever be the same.

I don't want this series to end, but I really really want the predictions to finally come in to play. I want to see them play out and not in this is the last book, here is a paragraph of the future kind of way. Having said that, there was a lot of growth in book 11 relationship wise, character wise and past hurt wise and I, as usual, will be waiting for the next book.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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