Friday, July 29, 2016

Promo: Dragon in the Blood by Juliette Cross


Dragon in the Blood
Vale of Stars #2
Amazon
While all seems quiet in Gladium Province, the Morgon Guard—the global justice force for the dragon hybrid race—knows their enemy is rebuilding its forces in the underground.

Valla Moonring, an assassin for an order of the Morgon Guard, is ordered to join an expedition through the Wastelands of Aria, a formidable, icy wilderness fraught with all manner of dangers, including outlaws, deadly weather, and big-game predators.

To her great distaste, she’s partnered with a Nightwing Security operative, Conn Rowanflame, a Morgon with the aggravating ability to get under her skin. While she takes her mission seriously, Conn’s confident charm throws her off balance, a dangerous place to be in conditions like these. Especially when cold nights require close contact.

Sensual attraction binds them ever closer, igniting a passion of unexpected force—soulfire. But when the hunters become the hunted, their bond could prove perilous. Even fatal…

Excerpt:

Conn slowed his descent as treetops came into view beyond the fading mist, which had thinned to nearly nothing in the past hour. Whipping open my wings, I landed softly on the hard ground among a grove of evergolds. Even in this frozen tundra, the giants famous for their flora of fire-gold leaves grew tall and thick-branched in abundance. I lifted my visor to a brilliant burst of color that contrasted against the brown earth and snow-swept embankments.
Bowen landed quietly behind me. “How about some lunch before we set out on foot?” He removed and tucked away his visor and unpacked his crossbow from its sheath on his back for the first time on this journey.
“Let’s get into the cover of trees,” said Conn, moving along the natural path. “And lunch sounds perfect.”
“Benta’s breakfast wasn’t enough for you?” I asked, meeting his long stride.
“I always have an appetite, sweetheart.”
“While you two continue flirting, I’ll find some small game nearby. Set up the hotpad over near that big evergold.”
Without a sound, Bowen disappeared into the trees.
“Flirting?” I scoffed. “I wasn’t flirting.”
“I was.” Conn grinned.
“Stop it.”
“I haven’t even gotten started yet.”
“You’re infuriating.”
“So you’ve said before.”
“Listen—” I put up both gloved hands to stop his snarky banter for just one second. “I’m glad we’re finally alone.”
“Me, too.” His lopsided grin made my heart flutter.
Exhaling a frustrated sigh, I stopped under a thick oak with ample coverage from above and unhooked my chest pack before dropping it to the ground. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about…about last night.”
“Mmm. Last night.”
He removed his own pack and gloves, then pulled out the small, electronic hotpad. After opening the tripod that kept it off the ground, he turned it on. Gisa ordered us to use the hotpad instead of fire when we were in the open to avoid alerting predators or criminals to our presence.
Conn stood and propped his hands low on his hips. “Would you like a second round?”
“No…no.” I cleared my throat and shook my head, my ponytail sliding on the smooth leather of my jacket. “Actually, that should never have happened. I shouldn’t have let that happen. But I—”
“Couldn’t resist,” he finished, a devilish smile brimming his beautiful face. “It’s okay. It happens a lot.”
“You’re such an ass.” I rolled my eyes. “I could’ve resisted.”
“Could you?”
He broke his rigid stance and sauntered closer, a feral glimmer in his gaze. By instinct, I backed up a step, my wings scraping the rough bark of the evergold behind me. He moved into my personal space.
“What are you doing?” I asked, heart hammering.
He flattened one hand against the tree above my head, his finger grazing the arch of my wing. I shivered.
“Are you sure you could resist?”
I cleared my throat. “Of course,” I said, trying to sound confident, but my voice betrayed me and broke.
“Well…I couldn’t.” He brushed the back of his knuckles along my jaw. I held still, caught.
“Actually, I want to taste you again. Right now.”
Even stone-cold sober, I felt drunk from a single touch, longing to fall back into his arms and let him show me what his hazel-gold eyes promised without a word.
He leaned close, his warm breath grazing my ear.  “Let me taste you again, Valla.”
I planted my hands on his chest, wishing there weren’t the layers of thermal suit and leather between my palms and his rock-hard chest.
He nuzzled the shell of my ear with his nose, then his lips. “Let me.”
His darkened voice pleaded and demanded at the same time, spreading warmth between my legs. What had gotten into me? I pushed him out of my way and stormed toward a densely wooded area.
“Where are you going?” he laughed. “Running away?”
“I’ve gotta go to the bathroom,” I yelled over my shoulder.
“Not by yourself, you’re not.” His footsteps crunched across the thin blanket of snow and leaves behind me.
I whirled, heat burning up my neck, now from anger not lust. “Whoa, there, big boy.” I threw up a hand, halting him several feet away. “Look. You’re not my keeper. And just because we shared one kiss doesn’t mean anything. I’m going to relieve myself by myself. Do you understand?”
His wings twitched at his back. Agitated. Whatever.
“And stop scowling at me,” I called back as I spun and trekked off the path into the brush.



__________________________________

Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona. Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

You can discover more of Juliette and her books on her website.
__________________________________
Tour Wide

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Out of this World by Patricia Eimer

Out of this World
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Publisher: Entangled: Otherworld
ISBN:  163375667X
ISBN13: 9781633756670
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Science Fiction
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
Engaged to a murderous, intergalactic warlord, Capridocian Princess Corripraxis is running for her life and crash lands on Earth, where large creatures moo at her, threatening to expose her as an alien. If she can just get some help—in the form of the very attractive Earth male who just pulled up in a tow truck—she can hunker down in the Martian colony until she figures out her next move, right?

One hunky Marine. One sexy alien. One deranged intergalactic warlord. What could go wrong?

At the scene of an accident, a sexy woman asks ex-Marine Mattias Cadiz to take her to Roswell NM. He really should be getting on with living a nice, sane—quiet—life, because the very pretty Corri is probably on her way to the annual Convention with the other alien-crazy wackos. Still, no way he can refuse such a gorgeous, if confused, violet-eyed beauty.
OUT OF THIS WORLD was....weird, but I finished it without having to skim through the pages so it wasn't bad.

Patricia Eimer isn't a new author to me and when I saw OUT OF THIS WORLD was one of her books I read the blurb and signed up for a review copy. The blurb does a really good job of summing-up the book, but I was hoping it would be more sci-fi and less odd.  

Corripraxis AKA Corri, is an alien on the run from her murderous warlord fiance. You expect her not to know anything about earth or the way things are on earth, but she was beyond weird and it was hard to connect with her—it didn't help that she didn't actually look like a human in her natural form. I did end up liking her, but it took a while. Mattias is very patient and pretty understanding. He is drawn to Corri even though he thinks she is odd and one of those 'alien-crazy wackos'. I was a little surprised that it took them both so long to act on their feelings for each other, but it was easy to understand with everything that was going on and who Corri actually is.

My favorite part of the book ended up being the end. All the events of the book kinda blow up and there is a nice action scene inside of all the other drama that was going on. I don't know if I would read more. On one hand, the characters were interesting, but the storyline was a little out there for me. There would have to be something pretty big in the blurb of book two to draw me in. 

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review: Son of Thunder by Libby Bishop

Son of Thunder
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Publisher: Entangled: Otherworld
ISBN:  1682812464
ISBN13: 9781682812464
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
Rune is the grandson of Thor, and just as strong. Exiled to the realm of Earth for nearly killing his brother–it was a little misunderstanding– he has to find a way to redeem himself so he can get back to Asgard. And when he lands—literally—in the bed of a fiery redhead with an FBI badge, he realizes that she may be the key to going home. But helping Liv hunt a killer has one big consequence—chemistry. He can’t keep his hands off her, and there’s no way they can ever be together.

Six years ago, FBI Special Agent Liv Winter’s best friend was murdered. Since then, she’s taken a two-week vacation around the anniversary of the death to try and solve the case. She’s used every available resource. Yet, her friend’s killer is still on the loose. She refuses to give up—willing to do almost anything to bring the person to justice.

Apparently, almost anything includes trusting a god. And while she might need Rune’s help with her case, there’s no way she’ll ever trust him with her heart.

Six years later, Liv is still searching for her best friends murderer. Rune has been exiled from Asgard and he needs to redeem himself to find his way back. Together they make a deal to accomplish their goals only to find out their goals are intertwined and soon, so are their hearts. SON OF THUNDER was a great read with an interesting world and a spicy romance.


The attraction between Liv and Rune is instant. They make their attraction to each other known and even act on their attraction right away, but the actual relationship grows nicely from beginning to end. There wasn't an instant, all consuming love which was nice. There is also a really interesting storyline to follow in SON OF THUNDER besides the romance. There is some investigating and danger as well as some action and suspense thrown in along the journey of Liv and Rune falling in love.

Everything but a really small scene takes place on earth, but there is still mythology involved and talked about in SON OF THUNDER. Humans are also aware of the gods and its completely normal to see one walking around among them.

I'm not sure if there will be more books to follow, but I wouldn't mind reading more of Rune and Liv or even follow a new couple.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Guest Blog + Giveaway: The After Effect by Rose Shababy

UFI welcomes Author Rose Shababy. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Real Life of a Writer
What’s it like to be a writer?
It’s a common question, one I’ve answered in interviews and from individuals.
And it’s hard to explain, but I think I finally have a way to explain it, all thanks to a conversation I had with a new friend the other day.
This friend asked me if I wanted to go have coffee with them on Sunday. Since I work a regular nine-to-fiver, I spend a lot of time writing on the weekends. Especially if I have a deadline, which I did in this particular instance.
“I’d love to. However, I only get to go if I meet my goals for the weekend,” I answered a little ruefully.
His face lit up a little. “I’m curious, what does that mean exactly ‘your writing goals’?”
“Well, I usually have a certain word count I like to hit. So, for instance, today I hit fifteen thousand words.”
“Wow! You wrote fifteen thousand words today?”
I laughed. “No, I started out at twelve thousand.” At the look on his face I protested a little. “I know that doesn’t seem like very much. But one of the characters in my book is from the past, so I’m spending a lot of time researching things like, when was tuna salad invented? Or when did running hot water and indoor showers become commonplace? I spent forty-five researching tuna salad and chicken salad just to add dimension to the story. So my character could eat a tuna salad sandwich and marvel at “this delectable filling.”
“Wow. I never really thought about the time you would spend researching things like that.” He seemed impressed. “So when was tuna salad invented?”
I smiled. “1903.”’
The conversation made me realize think about one of the reasons I love writing so much. Because writing a story isn’t just putting words on paper. It’s plotting and crafting and editing and researching.
It’s learning, and then constantly learning some more.
And I don’t know about you, but I love discovering new and interesting things, subjects, trivia. Knowledge.
I’ve written three books under Rose Shababy and one contemporary romance under the pen name Bella D’Amato. And during that time, I’ve spent hours upon hours researching things like the following:
  • How cold does a body need to be to keep it intact for many years
  • The step by step process of DT’s and how they affect the human body
  • Concussions
  • The best massage therapy schools in the Seattle area
  • The Theory of Relativity
  • Mutations in human DNA
  • The business of health insurance
  • Jazz
  • The biology of electric eels
  • Communes of the United States
  • The experiments of Auschwitz
  • The Founder effect
  • The history of Georgia (the country, not the state)

Just like the characters in my books, I dig and dig, trying to find the next clue to the whole story. When I finally put them all together, what happens is wonderful.
I’ve unwrapped a mystery, put all the pieces of a puzzle together, revealing a helluva picture.
In the course of writing first The Blue Effect then The After Effect, my research has taken me down paths I hadn’t originally considered. Some of those paths were happy coincidences, others forced me to look in different directions than I had originally intended.
Just like my stories, there are twists and turns during the writing process. It becomes an adventure.
In The After Effect, you’ll see a number of the puzzle pieces mention above. Kasey and his friends must unravel new mysteries. They must also continue their search for answers to questions laid out in The Blue Effect.
Which leads me back to my original question: what’s it like to be a writer?
It’s like being a drunk. Or a lonely young woman. Or a painter. Or a detective. Or, like Kasey and his friends, a superhero.
What’s more awesome than that?
__________________________________



Rose Shababy and her family reside in eastern Washington State. Rose grew up in the Northwest but swears she’s going to move to warmer climates someday. She’s claimed this for over 20 years, however, and has yet to move more than 75 miles away from her mother.

Rose has a deep love of all things Star Trek and yearns to travel the heavens, as well as an intense desire to be bitten by a radioactive spider. Unfortunately she sucks at science and math so she hasn’t been able bring her dreams to life, instead living vicariously through books, comics, television and film. She hopes to someday make a million dollars so she can afford to buy her way to the international space station, but she’d settle for being able to fly around the world and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Rose also loves to cook and worked for years in a gourmet Italian grocery and deli where she learned to hone her skills. She prepares culinary masterpieces for her family, but fervently wishes the dishes would wash themselves. Especially now that her dishwashers/children are nearly grown and only one still lives at home.

Rose likes to use her free time wisely. For instance, she likes to daydream, will often read for hours until she falls asleep on the couch with an electric blanket and a warm tabby cat curled up on her hip, as well as spending cozy weekend days watching Syfy movies like Sharknado and Mega Piranha with her husband.

If Rose were a cartoon animal, she’d prefer to be a wise old owl or a sleek and sexy jaguar, but in reality she’d probably be a myopic mole with coke-bottle glasses.

Find Rose and her books
__________________________________

The After Effect
Renegade Heroes #2
On Sale for .99
Amazon BN Smashwords Kobo iTunes
Maximum Ride meets Sin City in the Renegade Heroes series!

Kasey and his friends are fringe heroes. They use their abilities to protect society, until their last battle leaves Kasey almost dead. Disillusioned, they leave the city in search of peace.

But peace is the last thing they’ll find. Ever since Kasey escaped the cold fingers of death, his powers have been running wild. It doesn’t take long for his girlfriend, Blue, and the others to notice.

In the lush forests of northern Idaho they meet a brand new hero whose shocking revelation sheds new light on Kasey’s strange behavior.

And with her revelation comes a terrible solution none of them can accept.

Worse still, Kasey soon comes face to face with the nightmares of his past.

Will the heroes find the strength to face the consequences of their mistakes? Or will Kasey be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Excerpt:

After the events of the morning, everyone seemed to need some private time, especially Blue. She went to our room and crawled back into bed, claiming to still be tired from the night before. Esme and Avery retreated outside, while Val and Ash went to town to go bowling with the couple they met the night before.
I sat by myself in the living room, remote in hand and flipping mindlessly through channels. With no one in close vicinity, I didn’t have to work to block out random thoughts and impressions. I stretched out on the couch and let myself relax completely, a rarity for me. No walls in my mind, no struggle for control, no confusion as I tried to sort out all the voices.
I came across the movie Casablanca as I scrolled through channels, and stopped. Something about the movie spoke to me, reminded me of me and Blue. I wondered if it was the depth of Rick and Ilsa’s love for each other that mirrored mine and Blue’s.
Maybe it’s the hopelessness of it, the voice inside me mocked. She has to give him up to do the right thing, and he has to push her to do it. Just as you’ll have to push Blue. There’s nothing you can do to change it. At least she’ll have Avery to comfort her after you’re gone.
Once again, the foreign anger inside me growled to life.
In defiance I pushed the channel up button on the remote, flipping through channels until I found one playing music videos and a close up of a woman’s face filled the screen.
Zelda, I thought as I studied her features. Despite Blue’s denial, I could still see a resemblance between the two of them. Zelda wore heavy makeup so it was hard to tell, and she seemed taller, leaner, and had longer features, but the similarities were there.
Her brow wrinkled as she sang, and the sadness in her eyes seemed to seep through the screen.
Stuck inside a life of maybe
Finding bliss in erratic shifts
I watch you avoiding me
Sin-free and quietly

Keep your hands clean
Keep your mind free
Never touch me
Forget to love me

We can be pure
so we can be godly
We can be meek
so we can be lonely

Open your eyes
Free from the guise
No longer hypnotized
Breaking out

Searching for a beautiful life
Somebody else’s life
Can I start over this life?
Breaking out

Something about her singing made me uneasy as I stared at her. The song was a kind of ballad, but still possessed an edge, an undeniable hardness. The mournful expression of earlier now seemed like a persona, fake sorrow. I turned the television off and laid back, closing my eyes, trying to quell the uneasiness.
I pushed the song from my mind, thinking about the events of the previous night, as well as this morning. I wondered if Rayne’s solution was truly the only way to fix things, but it was the image of Blue’s tear-stained face that haunted me as I fell asleep.
***
Home, I realized. I was home. I looked around the small room as I pulled the nightshirt in my hands over my head. The water closet, the old bed with the rusted frame, the bare wooden floor slats. I looked down at my hands and realized they were those of a child.
Suddenly, a gunshot rang out from the other room, and I dropped to the floor behind the bed as angry voices barked orders through the wall.
The door burst open and I scurried under the bed as a man dressed in camouflage and carrying a rifle marched in, dragging my sister Zoya by her hair. She screamed and I clamped a hand over my mouth to keep from screaming as well.
My father rushed into the room, yelling at the man until another soldier came up from behind and struck him on the back of the head with the butt of his own rifle.
Zoya screamed as our father crumpled to the ground, blood gushing from the wound at the back of his head. From under the bed, I watched it pool beneath him before one of the soldier’s dragged him from the room, the blood streaking across the floor in a gruesome smear. The first soldier shut the door behind him.
I watched as Zoya twisted herself around the soldier’s leg, biting him hard on the calf. The man backhanded her with a force that knocked her to the floor.
She lay still for a moment, facing the bed, until her eyes landed on me. Her voice filled my mind. Do not move, brother. Do not make a sound.
The soldier heaved her off the floor and threw her on the bed. The bedsprings flexed above me, and I flattened myself against the wooden slats of the floor to avoid being crushed.
The sound of Zoya crying filled my ears, and I squeezed my eyes shut as if I doing so could block out the noise. A wave of nausea hit me and suddenly, I found myself staring up at the soldier as he ripped the clothes off my body. In the same moment, I realized I was also staring down at Zoya as I shredded her clothes with strong, unfamiliar hands.  
I felt the screams tearing out of my throat as mad panic overwhelmed my senses, barely able to separate the image of the soldier above me and Zoya below.
A second later, the maniacal glee of the soldier ripped through me, and I couldn’t hold back my screams any longer.
I screamed until my throat was hoarse, until the screams turned to great heaving sobs. Only then did I hear the voice calling my name.
“Kasimir,” the voice soothed. “Shh. Open your eyes, little one.”
Peeking through my eyelids, I saw Zoya’s face peering at me under the bed. She reached out a hand.
“Come, little one, you are safe.”
“But you’re dead,” I breathed as I put my hand in hers and she helped me from under the bed. I looked around in wonder.
The walls had fallen away, and the bedroom sat in the middle of a clearing, a lush forest surrounding it on all sides as the sun shone down on us.
I looked at our joined hands and realized the hand that held hers belonged to an adult. The childish persona I had adopted in the dream had disappeared.
“That’s right,” I said aloud. “This is a dream.”
“Are you certain?” Zoya asked with a smile. “Just because you are not awake does not mean you are dreaming. I have been trying to communicate with you for a long time, but it was not until you understood what was happening that I was able to break through.”
“If this isn’t a dream, then what is it?”
“You are between,” she said.  
“Between what?”
“Between spaces. Between worlds.” She pointed toward the woods. “Look, there. Do you see it?”
I stared in the direction she pointed, and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the woods, I began to see a black void deep in the trees. At first I thought it was just the darkness of the woods itself, but after a moment I could see the outline of the void. The edges writhed and seethed as if alive, and the entire void blurred and shimmered like a puddle of oil.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It is the other side.” She lifted her hand again, this time pointing in the opposite direction. “And there. That is the world you know.”
I looked, this time shocked to see a ghost image of me sleeping on the couch projected against the trees.
Zoya continued, pointed at the ground beneath us. “This space is the crack between worlds. This is what you created when you died and went back. This is you.”
I nodded. “I understand. I just don’t know how to fix it.”
Zoya gave me a sad smile. “Yes, you do. Look again,” she said as she pointed back to the void.
I looked again, and suddenly I could see long, tentacle-like strands from the void snaking across the clearing, their thin fingers wrapped around me.
I cried out and tried to shake them off, but they moved and slid over my skin like oily, black mercury.
“Just as you are attached to the world you know, you are now attached to the other side,” Zoya told me. “As long as you are attached to both worlds, they will continue to merge.”
“What will happen if the worlds merge?” I asked.
Her smiled disappeared. “Ultimate chaos. Both worlds will be lost.” Her voice took on a tone of urgency. “You must seal the rift before it is too late. If you do not, everything you love will be destroyed.”
I thought of Blue and realized that if I had to die, I couldn’t think of a better reason.
I looked at Zoya. “How do I fix it?”
“You must go back. The pieces of that world you see attached to you will follow you back in, and the rift will seal itself.”
“Is there any way I can seal it and stay with Blue?” I asked.
Zoya frowned. “As long as you are attached to the other side, you cannot stay with her.”
“She won’t let go easily,” I told her.
“No,” my sister agreed. “She loves you as deeply as any person has ever loved another. I am glad you found such a love, little one, even if only for a short while.”
I stared at her, as if realizing for the first time who I was talking to, and I reached for her hand again. “I wish you could meet her. I miss you, sister.”
She pulled me into an embrace. “I have been with you since the rift was opened,” she whispered against my ear. “Fighting to protect you. I will stay with you as long as I can.”
I pulled away and looked at her worried face. “What do you mean?”
She glanced toward the void. “There are others who are not so benevolent. I fight them as much as I can, but I cannot fight them all. Your mind is too open. The barriers are down, and the others are trying to use you to gain access to the other side. If they overwhelm you, you will be lost forever and the side you know, her world,” she said pointedly, and I knew she meant Blue, “will be lost along with you.”
I nodded, tears filling my eyes as I looked at my sister. “Is it terrible, Zoya? The other side?”
“No,” she smiled. “Those of the light, stay within the light, and those of the dark, stay within the dark. I existed in place of pure joy. The two sides have begun to merge only since the rift was created. If you repair it, all will be as it was.”  
Zoya glanced at the void again, before looking back at me with fearful eyes. “It is time for you to wake up, little one, but before I go, one last warning. The past may be gone, but it is not dead. Very soon you will come face to face with your nightmares.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
The void emitted a strange mix of moaning and hissing, and Zoya’s frantic eyes darted to the abyss. “No time,” she whispered. “Wake up!”
***
I gasped for air as I woke, rolling off the couch in my panic. I hit the floor with a heavy thud.
As my breathing calmed, I replayed the dream in my mind. Not a dream, I reminded myself. It may have started out just like my nightmares, but it definitely hadn’t ended like one.
I warmed as I thought of Zoya. Ever since I lost my family, I’d tried to put it in the past and forget what happened. I’d told myself to look to the future and focus on becoming the person I wanted to be.
Now I realized the past stayed with us no matter how much we tried to ignore it. By trying to ignore it, I had dishonored the memory of my family. I had dishonored Zoya.
“I will do better,” I said aloud. “I promise you, Zoya, I will make things right.”



__________________________________
 Tour Wide


a Rafflecopter giveaway