Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week in Review: 10/12-10/18


Books I've Bought/received

-Worlds Collide by S.M. McEachern

Books I've Read

Worlds Collide by S.M. McEachern
Dog with a Bone by Hailey Edwards
Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern
Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh
Bewitching the Enemy by Dawn Chartier

Reviews Posted

Armageddon by Christina Bauer
Cipher by Aileen Erin
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raash

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

* Monday- Interview for Remembered by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

* Wednesday- Guest Blog & Giveaway for The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener

* Thursday- Guest Blog for Sanguinary by Margo Bond Collins

* Friday- Interview for Point of No Return by Torie James

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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, October 18, 2014

Review: Armageddon by Christina Bauer

Armageddon
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Ink Monster
Angelbound Book #3
ISBN13: 9780996086400
Genre: Young Adult
Review Copy Source:NetGalley
Five years have passed since Myla Lewis last fought gladiator-style in Purgatory's Arena. Now, she’s fighting again, only this time in Hell. And the stakes have never been higher. The King of Hell, Armageddon, has kidnapped Myla and Lincoln’s young son, Maxon.

In the wake of Maxon’s abduction, all the after-realms calling for war, and no one shouts louder than Lincoln. Myla knows that a war against Hell will cost millions of lives, so she devises her own plan, involving a small attack team and a secret entrance to Hell. Will Myla save Maxon, or will her child and all the after-realms fall to Armageddon?

I wasn't really sure I would enjoy ARMAGEDDON seeing as so much time has passed since the ending of SCALA and they're now parents. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get into the new setting. I was wrong. I was instantly able to reconnect with both Myla and Lincoln and fell in love with their little man, Maxon.

ARMAGEDDON felt a lot shorter than the previous 2 books. There was a lot of action, but the pages really flew by. The major happenings involved Maxon, their son, getting kidnapped by The King of Hell. I really enjoyed the way everything played out. I enjoyed the additional characters that were introduced and ended up being instrumental in the story. It was great seeing how Myla has grown, but also seeing how she managed to stay herself at the same time. I was really shocked with the revelations that came out involving Lincoln's Dad. I didn't see that coming at all. The ending did a great job of finishing off the storyline that started in ANGELBOUND.

Book 4, MAXON, will feature Maxon as the main character and it sounds like he will fall in love with someone that sounds just like Myla. lol. Can't wait to see where Christina Bauer takes him.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Interview: Point of No Return by Torie James

UFI welcomes Torie James Author of Point of No Return. 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?

That…is a good question! Hmmm. Ah! I used to wear nothing that wasn't pink. True story! Head to toe. Looked like a stick of gum. Or in my case, Hubba Bubba!

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

Painting and catching up on the shows I DVR during the busy days.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Losing myself, even if only for a short time, in a fantastical world. The rush is great but the coming down bit? Not so much.

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

Yes! No writing until I've had at least two cups of coffee and listened to my morning playlist.
 
What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?

 Sherrilyn Kenyon, Charlaine Harris, Lauren Tisdale, Krista Kelley, Decadent Kane and Johanna Rae.
How would you pitch Point of No Return to someone who has not heard of it before? They say the Devil also had one Son. They were wrong. He had a Daughter. And the family business just went straight to Hell.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Point of No Return is set in? 

It's set primarily here on Earth with a few references to both Above and Below. Contemporary time frame with emphasis on the area surrounding Disneyland in Southern California, where I live. I can look out my window (like now!) and see the Magic Kingdom. We're only a couple of blocks away.

Do you have a favorite scene in Point of No Return

That's tough! The reader in me says the elevator scene but I also loved the interaction between the lead female and her two best friends, who are demons and take no guff from anyone. Did I mention they're very short and look like tiny dolls?

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about? 

I begun loving Avan, my main protagonist but by the time I finished, I'd discovered a massive crush on her …competition, so to speak. The whole story was hard to put down but not because of writer's block or anything. I'm more spiritual than religious but a majority of my family is deeply rooted in the church and when you're writing about Heaven and Hell, it can get dodgy..*laughs*

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

Right now, I have Timeless Night and Timeless Desire (Books One and Two of New Camelot) out and available in both Ebook and Print. I just finished drafting the 3rd book in that series, Timeless Seduction, outlined the 4th book as well. Oh, I also have a short Alice in Wonderland inspired tale out called Reclaiming the Rabbit Hole, along with the short, No Change Policy in Room 8 which was part of the My Bloody Valentine Anthology. All published by Breathless Press!

Thank you so much for having me 'round me today, it was a blast!
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Torie James has loved reading since she was old enough to hold a book in her lap. While her friends were out playing, she was generally curled up nearby falling down rabbit holes, catching second stars to the right, and stepping through wardrobes into mysterious lands and countless adventures. When those stories ended, she made up her own and kept going. This later on translated into a strong passion for writing that has helped her keep her feet on the ground while her head stayed firmly in the clouds. Lover of Dr. Pepper, all things chocolate, and Duran Duran, her dreams finally became a reality with the publication of Timeless Night and Timeless Desire, Books One and Two the award winning New Camelot Series. Slated for 3 more books in that series, she's also currently working on The Cloie Chronicles, The Tudor Files, Avan Noxturna: Soul Broker and the Fables of Blood and Stone. Two short stories, No Change Policy in Room 8 and Reclaiming the Rabbit Hole can be found in My Bloody Valentine and Wonderland Tales, respectively, through her publisher, Breathless Press.

Torie lives in Southern California with her family and a houseful of pets who rule the roost.

Find Torie and her books
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Point of No Return
Halloween Flirt
Buy Link
 Full of seething, sensual shadows and hidden faces, the annual Masquerade Ball at Lymbo Resort is one event anyone would sell their soul for.

One night a year, impiety and temptation take center court at the invitation only event hosted by the mysterious Avan Noxturna. Decadent darkness, burning lust, and wicked intentions hide behind innocent masks in the most innocuous places.

The fires of hell may blaze hot, but the flames of passion consume common sense when obsessive memories escape to ignite an inferno of intimate bliss that will sear both saint and sinner.
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Excerpt:

She enjoyed being a highly sexual female who felt no shame in shagging a man for recreational purposes. Guys did it all the time and they were called studs. A woman with the same goal? Slut. Luckily, she didn't much care what anyone thought. She had no desire to settle into a bullshit relationship where she lost her identity. Her mother had schooled her. She was an island and it suited her fine when the occasional ship came into port, docking on a temporary pass. A lustful interlude with a masked stranger on Halloween? Cliché. And tempting. She did have a few extra minutes.

Then he filled her vision and she grew damp under the heated gaze.

One. Quick. Fuck.

Medicinal purposes only.

He opened his mouth to speak and she shook her head. "Shh. Don't talk. You'll ruin it."
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Guest Blog: Sanguinary by Margo Bond Collins

Blog Blitz Header



sanguinary finalA Night Shift Novel 
October 8, 2014

Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.

When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city's vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.

But she didn't know then what she knows now: there's a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.

So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.

But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?

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My Top Five Favorite Vampire Books/Series
A Guest Post by Margo Bond Collins  

  1. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
I loved Black’s short story of the same name and was initially a little disappointed to discover that the novel was not, in fact, a continuation of the same story but rather a new story set in the same world. But that disappointment quickly disappeared as Black’s novel drew me in. The vampires here are horrifying—and being the single (potential) exception to that rule makes the love-interest vampire equally terrifying and attractive, adding up to the kind of vicarious adrenaline rush that draws me to vampire tales in the first place.
 
  1. Sunshine by Robin McKinley 
I re-read this book every year or two—I just finished the latest re-reading in November. McKinley does a beautiful job of setting up a world that is almost, but not exactly, like our own. The eponymous protagonist almost seems to ramble sometimes, but the voice is perfectly her own and the things she reveals about herself are beautifully woven back into the plot. Also, the vampires are creepy as all get-out!  

  1. Quiver by Holly Luhning 
Unlike most of the books I read, Quiver is not speculative fiction. It’s a psychological thriller about obsession—specifically, obsession with Elizabeth Bathory, the psychotic sixteenth-century Hungarian countess who bathed in the blood of her (many!) victims in an attempt to make herself younger. Luhning’s depiction of a dissatisfied academic pulled further into a world of horror and intrigue is both compelling and unsettling. So this isn’t really a “vampire” novel in the strictest sense—but it draws on vampire mythology in interesting ways.  

  1. Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Book 1) by Laurell K. Hamilton 
This was probably the first book I ever heard called a “urban fantasy”—though the term Hamilton used for it was “paranormal mystery.” In the early novels of this series, Anita Blake, is based more on the gritty noir detective than the romance heroine. Though the series shifts toward the erotic later, the early novels are still among my favorite paranormal mysteries/urban fantasies.

  1. Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, Book 1) by Faith Hunter 
This series has landed on my favorite vampires and my favorite shapeshifters lists. I’m a fan of shapeshifter novels in general, and of this series in particular. I like Hunter’s twist on the shapeshifter standards—in these novels, Jane shares her body and her consciousness with a big cat she calls Beast. Watching the two of them negotiating their shared life is almost as much fun as watching them work through whatever mysteries and problems come their way because of Jane’s job as bodyguard to vampires.

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MargoBondCollinsAbout the Author Margo Bond Collins is the author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them. _____________________________________________


Connect with Margo
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins
Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com
Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.net
Blog: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

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sanguinarymeme1

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener

UFI welcomes Michelle Diener Author of The Silver Pear. Thanks for Joining us!!

Fantasy Romance

Hello to everyone. It's such a pleasure to be a guest here.

I've always written books that are probably more strong romantic elements than actual romances, and my fantasy romance series, the Dark Forest, is no exception. I think that fits in with the fantasy genre well, because fantasy is generally very plot-heavy, and the romance works as a thread that runs through the story.

The two books in the series, The Golden Apple and The Silver Pear, are loosely based on the Norwegian fairy tale The Princess on the Glass Hill, and while quite a few fairy tales seem to be romances, if you look deeper, you'll find most of them are really explorations of self.

That's why I came up with the title The Dark Forest for the series. The dark forest has always been a place in fairy tales where the characters are tested, and have to face both inner and external fears.

I love fantasy novels, but have never been a fan of fantasy novels that have too big a cast of characters, too many hard-to-pronounce names, and way too much description. There are exceptions, of course, where the writing and story are so amazing that all of that just works, but mostly I like my fantasy like I like most of my books, intimate, immediate and uncluttered.

In the last couple of years, urban fantasy and paranormal romance have ruled the genre roost, but I'm enjoying seeing a re-emergence of sci-fi romance and fantasy romance as genres that are gaining a little more ground.

What about you? Have you ever dipped your toe in the fantasy romance pool, and which books are your favorite, if so? Or what about sci-fi romance? Any recommendations?

Thanks so much for having me!

Michelle Diener
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Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. Her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series includes IN A TREACHEROUS COURTKEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS and IN DEFENSE OF THE QUEEN. Set in the court of Henry VIII, it features the real historical figures of artist Susanna Horenbout and Henry’s Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and Yeoman of the King’s Robes, John Parker.Other historical novels by Michelle Diener include THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY andBANQUET OF LIES, both set during the Napoleonic Wars in London. DAUGHTER OF THE SKY is set in Zululand during the Victorian era.Michelle’s first fantasy novel MISTRESS OF THE WIND is set for a December 23rd, 2013, release. It is a retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa, and now lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

Find Michelle and her books
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The Silver Pear
The Dark Forest #2
 An unlikely princess . . .

Kayla is determined to master her new-found abilities as a wild magic witch. She's learning everything she can so she and her betrothed, Rane, can put a stop to the sorcerers who are recklessly gathering their power, building up their magic to take each other on in a war that will destroy the countries of Middleland.

An even more unlikely sorcerer . . .

Mirabelle's father was one of the greatest sorcerers in Middleland, but when he used the magic in the silver pear to bespell his pregnant wife to give birth to the greatest sorcerer who would ever live, he never thought that child would be a girl. Mirabelle is nothing like a usual sorcerer, confounding every expectation, and when she comes to the rescue of Rane's brother, Soren, she makes a decision few sorcerers would. She saves him, rather than herself, losing the silver pear in the process.

And using magic always exacts a price . . .

With war not just a possibility but simply a matter of time, there are no neutral parties and no fence-sitters in Kayla and Mirabelle's new world. Everyone is either an ally or an enemy and there is a price to pay for everything. The question is, how high will it be?
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Tour Wide

Review: Cipher by Aileen Erin

Cipher
Author: Aileen Erin
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Ink Monster LLC
ISBN13:  9780989405096
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

In the not-too-distant future, the color of your helix tattoo shows exactly how your DNA was modified—green for super-smart scientists, black for pumped-up warriors, white for the immortal Seligo—but Cipher’s red helix is a death sentence. It’s a sign of unstable DNA, which is probably the reason she can manipulate electricity.

When she was eight years old, Cipher made the mistake of showing her uncle the tattoo. In return, he killed her parents and tried to kidnap her.

She’s been on the run ever since, and twelve long years later, Cipher is tired of hiding. Survival isn’t enough anymore. She wants her life back.

Hacking into the Citadel mainframe is a huge risk, but it pays off when she finds a database on red helixes. Before she can copy it, she loses control of her power, charring her last processor, and the only person in the Arizona Voids that can get her back online is her oldest friend, Knightly. She hasn’t seen him in person since she started running, and Knight 2.0 is fully upgraded with a six-pack and knee-melting smile.

For a girl like Cipher, trust doesn’t come easily, but Knight makes her yearn for a life she knows she can’t have, especially when every secret she reveals endangers them both.

I am very much on the edge about CIPHER. There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about it, but then there was so much left out that after the fact I feel like I missed half the book.

Cipher is an interesting character. She's a red helix that escaped death as an infant and is constantly on the run, hiding from her uncle and those that are out to eliminate her kind. I felt like the author did a pretty decent job of giving us her back story and explaining who she is. Knight is a Shadow Raven who's devoted his life to searching for the little girl who saved his life when he was little. He is also working undercover for the bad guys who hunt down and kill red helix babies, in hopes of saving as many of them as he possibly can. We find out that they share a past pretty quickly and although they both have memories of the other I just didn't feel like they KNEW each other enough now for the relationship they had by the end of the book.

I am really bummed to see that book 2 will be following different main characters for the reason i just listed. I really enjoyed getting to know Cipher and Knight, but I don't feel like I am done learning about them. They JUST started a relationship and still have a lot to learn about each other and I feel like we are being cut off way too soon. Hopefully Cipher and Knight will be involved in book 2 as well so we can get to know them a little more.

We only scraped off the tip of the world and the characters in The Shadow Ravens series with CIPHER and really wish the author would have dug a little more into everything. So although I enjoyed this book, I am left feeling like I really needed more. Even after saying that, I will most likely pick up book 2, Quanta, when it comes out.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raash

Snow Like Ashes
Author:Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
ISBN:   0062286927
ISBN13: 9780062286925
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

SNOW LIKE ASHES sucked me in from the moment I started reading it. It was beautifully written with a great storyline and characters you grow to care about pretty quickly.

Meira has a huge heart and a drive to help get the kingdom she was born into back at all costs. She was raised as a warrior, but treated like a child. She doesn't really understand why she is being held back from helping defeat those that are hunting her and all the other Winter refugees, but she can and does push to help at every turn. It was very easy to relate and fall in love with Meira. She's a strong person and it shows pretty early on in the book.

Meira is in love with her best friend, Mather. Because he is the future king she has no choice but to love him from the sidelines and is told often by Sir that they can not be together. Enter the love triangle. When the Winterians find refuge in Cordell she is pawned off to the future king, Theron in exchange for their help. She is willing to help her kingdom in any way she can, but never thought she would be used as a bargaining chip and never thought that she would actually start to have feelings for Theron. I honestly like both of her options and not sure who would be more perfect for her.

There is a lot of adventure, pain, sacrifice and secrets involved in SNOW LIKE ASHES. I had an idea where the story might have been going before the big reveal but I was still really excited to have my thoughts confirmed. There is just something about Meira that pulls everyone to her and makes them want to help her. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens as the characters get their kingdom back. I know they all have a lot of work ahead of them and I'm hoping the series keeps up the momentum of SNOW LIKE ASHES.  

I gave it 5/5 stars

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