Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Early Review + Promo + Giveaway: Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep


Bitter Bite
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN:   1501111272
ISBN13: 9781501111273
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher
Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship?

It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in.

It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.

BITTER BITE was surprisingly hard to read. Finn has always been loyally by Gin's side and BITTER BITE pulls them apart.

Finn, Finn, Finn, oh how you disappointed me in BITTER BITE. I can totally understand his mommy issues and that he really wanted to believe his mother was everything he dreamed a mother would be, but I never thought he would pick a stranger over Gin. On top of feeling horrible for Gin, I thought Bria got the short end of the stick too. I mean who wants to hang out with their boyfriend's evil mother, having to pretend she is the best thing in the world because the person you love can't see through her crap?

As for Gin, she takes in all of the events in BITTER BITE like only Gin can. She is loyal, ruthless and willing to do anything she can to take care of those that she loves. She has faced some evil foes in her time, but I truly enjoy watching her take down all the new ones that throw themselves in her path.

I have come to the realization that I probably won't ever dislike an Elemental Assassin book. I love the characters, I love the world and I look forward to seeing how Estep ends the series when the ending happens to come—even though that will be a sad day.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Thunk.
My shovel hit something hard and metal. I stopped and breathed in, hoping to smell the stench of decades-old decay. But the cold, crisp scent of the snow mixed with the rich, dark earth, creating a pleasant perfume. No decay, no death, and most likely, no body.
I cleared off the rest of the dirt, revealing the top of the casket. A rune had been carved into the lid—jagged icicles fitted together to form a heart. My stomach knotted up with tension. Fletcher had inked that same rune onto Deirdre’s file. This was definitely the right grave.
I was already standing in the pit that I’d dug, and I scraped away a few more chunks of earth so that I could crouch down beside the top half of the casket. The metal lid was locked, but that was easy enough to fix. I set down my shovel, pulled off my black gloves, and held up my hands, reaching for my Ice magic. The matching scars embedded deep in my palms—each one a small circle surrounded by eight thin rays—pulsed with the cold, silver light of my power. My spider runes, the symbols for patience.
When I had generated enough magic, I reached down, wrapped my hands around the casket lid locks, and blasted them with my Ice power. After coating the locks with two inches of elemental Ice, I sent out another surge of power, cracking away the cold crystals. At the same time, I reached for my Stone magic, hardening my skin. Under my magical assault, the locks shattered, and my Stone-hardened skin kept the flying bits of metal from cutting my hands. I dusted away the remains of the locks and the Ice, took hold of the casket lid, dug my feet into the dirt, and lifted it.
The lid was heavy, and the metal didn’t want to open, not after all the years spent peacefully resting in the ground. It creaked and groaned in protest, but I managed to hoist the lid up a couple of inches. I grabbed my shovel and slid it into the opening, using it as a lever to lift up the lid the rest of the way.
Dirt rained down all around me, mixing with the snowflakes, and I wrinkled my nose to hold back a sneeze. I wedged the length of the shovel in between the lid and the edge of the casket, so that it would stay open. Then I wiped the sweat off my forehead, put my hands on my knees to catch my breath, and looked down.
Just as I expected, snow-white silk lined the inside of the casket, with a small square matching pillow positioned at the very top, where a person’s head would rest. But something decidedly unexpected was situated next to the pillow, nestled in the middle of the pristine fabric.
A box.
It was about the size of a small suitcase and made out of silverstone, a sturdy metal that had the unique property of absorbing and storing magic. The box’s gray surface gleamed like a freshly minted coin, and it looked as clean and untouched as the rest of the white silk.
I frowned. I’d expected the casket to be completely empty. Or for there to be a decaying body inside; if I had been extremely lucky, Deirdre would have been in there, dead after all.
So why was there a box in it instead? And who had put it here?

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Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Bitter Bite, the 14th book in the series, will be released on Feb. 23.

Jennifer also writes the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series. She is also the author of the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

Find Jennifer and her books
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Giveaway #1: US/Canada Only

Giveaway #2: Tour Wide
There is a tour-wide giveaway for a complete set of the Elemental Assassin series, a $25 Amazon gift card, and 3 signed copies of BITTER BITE. Series & gift card are open to US/Canada; signed copies are US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN:  0062377647
ISBN13: 9780062377647
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

I'm having a hard time deciding if I truly liked REIGN OF SHADOWS or if I just liked the ideas behind it.

I very much enjoyed the characters in REIGN OF SHADOWS. Both of the main characters were strong willed with a lot of fight in them even though they had lived very different lives and have very different roles. One was hard while the other was soft and they somehow ended up complimenting each other even as the bumped heads. Their romance is more sweet than fierce and even though it seems to come on fast, it is really drawn out too. The story was interesting and made me want to read and find the answers the author was slowly doling out.

So where is my problem with REIGN OF SHADOWS? There was a lot of nothing going on between the meat of the story and there were a lot of things I didn't feel were explained. Sure we learn some things about the characters and the world as they are slowly traveling and nothing is happening, but I would have loved more things to happen or for them to find a way to travel along faster. At the pace they are going right now, they will never get anywhere. I honestly can't tell you more than a handful of things that happened in the 304 pages I read. I am glad I got the points of the story, but it didn't feel like enough happened.

Of course then REIGN OF SHADOWS had to end on the cliffhanger that it ended on. It was one of those WHAT juts happened moments and I WANT to know what will happen next, so now I feel like I want to read book two even though book one had its issues.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Hound's Bite by E.J. Stevens

I am excited to reveal the cover for HOUND'S BITE, the fifth full-length novel in the Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens.  We also have a giveaway and a sneak peek book excerpt to share!

Cover Reveal: Hound's Bite

Hound's Bite Ivy Granger urban fantasy by E.J. Stevens

Hound's Bite (Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective #5) by E.J. Stevens

Ivy Granger thought she left the worst of Mab's creations behind when she escaped Faerie.  She thought wrong.

In a cruel twist of fate, Ivy has unleashed a powerful horde of Unseelie beasts upon her city, turning her homecoming into a potential slaughter of innocents.  Now Ivy must gather her allies to fight a reputedly unstoppable force—The Wild Hunt.

Will the training Ivy received in her father's court be enough to save her city, or will Harborsmouth be forced to kneel before the Lord of the Hunt?  She is willing risk her own life, but some sacrifices come at a cost worse than death.  When an ally is bitten by one of The Wild Hunt's hounds, Ivy must face the possibility that winning this battle may mean killing the one person she has come to love most.

Release Date: July 12, 2016
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Hound's Bite Book Excerpt

     “Are you saying we should run?” I asked, eyebrows raised.  “Because you should know me better than that.”
     “What he’s saying, Princess is that you woke up something too big for the three of us to defeat alone,” Torn said.
     That made me pause.  We’d fought faerie queens, pyro demons, a lovesick necromancer, and a psychotic lamia, to name a few.  I may not have come through those battles unscathed, or with all my guts still on the inside, but with my friends at my side, and a new arsenal of wisp powers at my fingertips, I felt nearly invincible.
     I looked to Ceff, hoping he’d grab his trident and join me for some quick monster cleanup.  I may not be on the clock for this one, but I didn’t let hungry fae prowl the streets of Harborsmouth.  And if Torn was right, I’d somehow let this one follow us out of Faerie.  No way was I turning tail, no matter how tired I was.
     But Ceff didn’t reach for his weapons.
     “We need allies,” he said.
     “And larger weapons,” Torn said, with a wink.
     The cat sidhe looked excited, which was a clue that I wasn’t going to like the answer to my next question.
     “And what monster do we need to gather our allies and weapons against?” I asked.
     “Haven’t you guessed yet, Princess?” Torn asked, eyes gleaming.  “We’re not just facing one howling beast.”
     Ceff turned to me, closing the space between us.  In the moonlight, I could see my reflection in the dark pools of his kelpie eyes—eyes that were tight with worry.
     “What are they?” I asked.
     Ceff’s voice was low and reverent, and tinged with the taint of fear.
     “The Wild Hunt.”

Hound's Bite Cover Reveal Giveaway

To celebrate the Hound's Bite cover reveal, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Win $10 Amazon Gift Card

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends February 23, 2016 midnight EST.

What do you think of the cover?

E.J. Stevens is the author of 14 works of speculative fiction, including the Hunters' Guild urban fantasy series, the Spirit Guide young adult paranormal series, and the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series.  She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines.

Connect with E.J. Stevens by following her on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter, Blog, Goodreads, and Amazon.

New Releases: 2/7-2/13


Tue. Feb. 9th

 Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Promo + Giveaway: Darkness Raging By Yasmine Galenorn

Darkness Raging
Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon #18
The New York Times bestselling author of Panther Prowling returns to the Otherworld where one of the D’Artigo sisters faces a terrifying challenge that’s more personal than she ever could have imagined.

We're the D'Artigo sisters: savvy half-human, half-Fae ex-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch. Delilah is a two-faced werecat and a Death Maiden. And me? I'm Menolly, a vampire married to a gorgeous werepuma. As the war in Otherworld arrives, Blood Wyne, Queen of the Vampires, summons me. Apparently, my position as Roman's consort entails more than I imagined...
 
As the Demon Lord Shadow Wing creates his own sinister version of the Keraastar Knights—the guardians of the spirit seals—to destroy the portals and free himself from the Sub Realms, his ally, the necromancer Telazhar, leads an assault from Otherworld into the streets of Seattle. And my sisters and I are caught dead center.
 
Then, on the eve of war, my wife, Nerissa, is captured. The enemy demands we surrender the rest of the spirit seals, or they are going to kill her. I will do anything to save her. Even if it means leading an army of vampires into the very depths of the Subterranean Realms...
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Yasmine Galenorn is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of the Otherworld Series (Sisters of the Moon) and the upcoming Fly By Night and Whisper Hollow Series. In the past, she also wrote the Indigo Court Series for Berkley/Jove, two mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime (one under the pen name of India Ink) and eight nonfiction metaphysical books. She also writes short collections to fill in the gaps in her series and publishes these herself in e-format.

Yasmine is a caffeine junkie and describes her life as a blend of teacups and tattoos--the former in her china closet, the latter on her skin.

She is a shamanic witch, has been married to Samwise Galenorn since 1993, is the mother of four cats, and they reside in Kirkland WA.


Find Yasmine and her books
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US Only

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Cover Reveal: The Rise of Genesis by M.R. Merrick


Announcing a new book by M.R. Merrick!




In a world where being Supernatural means you’re in danger, Ash Lawson is front and center. After years of helping others escape ATOM—a government entity known for abusing Supernaturals—he’s captured, and saving himself will prove to be the most difficult task he’s undertaken.

Tryst Rivera is a Succubus and veteran at the Academy, a facility tasked with converting underage Supernaturals into cooperative ATOM soldiers. She’s endured her time mostly unscathed, but when Ash arrives and their lives are tethered to one another, she’s placed in immediate danger.

With escape at the forefront of his mind, Ash struggles with the idea of life under ATOM’s thumb. He’ll die before he converts, but his life isn’t the only one he’s responsible for, and he already has more blood on his hands than he can bear. When a chance for freedom arises, Ash needs to decide how much—and who—he’s willing to risk for a second chance.




Coming March 15, 2016



About the Author

M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, and The Rise of Genesis. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he's usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and a large bowl of cereal.



Connect with the author




Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week in Review: 1/31-2/6



Books Received for Review


Hunting for Spring by Katherine McIntyre
Wedding Bells, Magic Spells by Lisa Shearin
Demon Kissed  by Karilyn Bentley

Books I've Read

Demon Lore by Karilyn Bentley
Firstlife by Gena Showalter
Demon Kissed by Karilyn Bentley
Thorne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Reviews Posted

Windburn by Shannon Mayer
Wickedly Powerful by Deborah Blake
Grave Visions by Kalayna Price

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

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for Blood In Her Veins by Faith Hunter

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway for Winterwood by Jacey Bedford

* Friday- Promo + Giveaway for The Deepest Well by Juliette Cross

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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.