Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Drakon's Plunder by NJ Walters

Drakon's Plunder
Release Date: July 3, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Otherworld
ISBN13: 9781640631724
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Life is not going well for archaeologist Sam Bellamy. She's stuck in the middle of the ocean on a salvage boat with people who want her dead. It wasn't her gift for being able to sense objects of power that got her here, rather her need to make a secret society called the Knights of the Dragon pay for killing her mentor. Sam doesn't believe in dragons, but the Knights do, and if she can get one of the sacred artifacts they're searching for away from them, she'll consider it payback.

Ezra Easton is content to run his marine salvage company and live alone on his private island. He may be a four-thousand-year-old water drakon, but he's civilized enough to know just because he pulls an injured woman from the ocean, doesn't mean he gets to keep her...

When she wakes up, she has a few tall tales to share, and it seems the Knights are after her. But this drakon won't give up his treasure.

DRAKON'S PLUNDER is book three, but it seemed to follow the same timeline as the previous two books in the series.

Although Ezra and Sam have just as strong of a connection and the bedroom scenes are just as hot as the previous two couples, I will admit that I got bored more than once while reading.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the couples of this series, but I would love to see more outside interaction. Besides book one, the couples are always on their own in a little bubble having lots of sex with little outside interaction except for one, maybe two, action scenes. I would like to see some more relationship development to go with the insta-lust the couples all seem to have had. I would like to see some more action with the Knights of the Dragon. Besides one big conflict that is always instigated by the Knights, I would like to see some development in the Drakons beating them back. I really just need more at this point in the series to keep reading.

From the ending of DRAKON'S PLUNDER I have high hopes that book 4 will have two of the brothers together again in the same book for more than a chapter which I am hoping will heat the series back up for me. Fingers crossed.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Promo: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess in…

No Good Deed
Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.
“This cheeky take on the Robin Hood legend is pure fun. Connolly’s swashbuckling debut will satisfy any adventure fans.” –Booklist

“This fresh take on the Robin Hood mythology...is well worth it.” —Publishers Weekly
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KARA CONNOLLY loves history, though she's never time traveled. She lives and writes in Arlington, Texas. To learn more about Kara and her books go to karaconnolly.wordpress.com or follow @karaconnolly4 on Twitter and @readkaraconnolly on Instagram.
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Monday, July 17, 2017

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Illumination by Susannah Sandlin

UFI welcomes Author Susannah Sandlin. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Challenges of Ending a Series
Susannah Sandlin

Okay, I’ll ‘fess up here. I love series. Love reading them and writing them. I fall in love with the characters and it’s had to say goodbye to them.

Sometimes, however, it’s time for a series to end—either because the planned story arc has come to a logical conclusion or because the publisher decides it’s time. And so, for both reasons, I found myself faced with writing ILLUMINATION, which brings the primary story arc of The Penton Vampire Legacy series to an end.

There are challenges to writing the end of a series that you don’t have to worry about in an ongoing story. In a paranormal romance series, each book generally focuses on a single couple where either the hero or heroine are part of a larger group. In the case of the Penton series, the heroes have all been residents of the vampire enclave of Penton, Alabama, engaged in a war for survival as vampires starve following a human pandemic whose vaccine rendered the blood of vaccinated humans poison to vamps.

I had several major challenges in writing ILLUMINATION.

First, in the last book, ALLEGIANCE, I introduced a couple of shapeshifters and a human Army Ranger into my vampire story. The Ranger was the one I wanted as the hero of the last book, and the heroine is human. What kind of vampire series has humans as the h /h of its final book? Well, there’s an obvious answer to that problem, but I’ll say no more.

Second, I had my new hero and heroine—Nik and Shay—for ILLUMINATION, but since this would be the final book in the series, I wanted readers to be able to see what the previous “supercouples” were up to. Aidan and Krys had an ongoing storyline, but I also wanted Mirren and Glory, Will and Randa, Melissa and Mark, and Cage and Robin to be really involved in the storyline….without losing track of Nik and Shay’s growing relationship.

There also was the big story arc that needed to reach a plausible conclusion—the looming civil war between the Penton vampires (i.e., the good guys) and the Vampire Tribunal leader (i.e., the nasty, evil guys).

And finally, I wanted to leave the door open to use these characters in a different series or standalone if I want to and if the fans want it.

Did I meet all the challenges of ending the Penton Legacy series?

Well, it’s a good month to try it and see! The first four books of the Penton Legacy series are currently on sale for 99 cents each for Kindle; add ILLUMINATION for $4.99 and you can read the whole series for less than $10. Happy reading!
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Susannah Sandlin writes award-winning paranormal romance, including the popular Penton Legacy series for Montlake Romance, and romantic suspense and thrillers, including two series, The Collectors and Wilds of the Bayou, also for Montlake. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books. Suzanne grew up in Alabama halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’s birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she is a full-time author who does copy editing on the side through Reedsy.com.

Find Susannah and her books
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Illumination
Penton Legacy #5
Goodreads

From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the final book in the smart and steamy Penton Legacy series.

He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family curse, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that come unbidden whenever he touches anyone–except vampires. With them, he has finally found a respite. But as Penton moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself deep inside the conflict, not to mention fighting a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s faced.

She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another, helping others–until both died following an outbreak of Dengue Fever. Driven to pursue a career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents–until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a desperate vampire society engaged in human trafficking.

Two cities, two strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirrren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for Penton–and themselves–to survive.
 Excerpt:

“Right then. We have an obscenely large vehicle on the other side of that brick wall,” Cage said. “Archer or Nik should be able to help you over. Once I’m sure you’re in the car and locked up tight, I’ll collect Robin and Glory from the cemetery entrance and we’ll all be on our way back to Penton.”
Shay bit her lip. She had absolutely no reason to go to Penton, wherever the hell it was. 
Her home and life and work were here in New Orleans. She knew she’d have to be careful, but now that the breeding house was broken up and Jonathan was dead, the vampires and their minions had no reason to come after her. Whatever feelings Shay had nursed for Nik Dimitrou in high school, they were long dead. Gorgeous only took a person so far. Besides, he was a vampire.
She’d wait until they got her out of this cemetery, though, to decline her visit to Vampire Central. Maybe the handsome cat boy would drop her off somewhere. But where? She had no money or identification with her. She didn’t even have the keys to her own apartment or lab.
Maybe a police station. They could come up with a plausible story for her disappearance. Maybe even name Simon as her kidnapper, and the warehouse location. Let the authorities make of it what they would.
Shay was distracted by the sight of Archer leaping to the top of the brick wall behind the Le Boeuf crypt, followed closely by Nik. Her old classmate might be injured and hungry, but that wall had given him no challenge. Shay wasn’t sure she could climb over it without a sturdy ladder on a good day. Today had not been a good day except that she hadn’t died.
Nik reached down and motioned to Shay. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.”
Shay looked at the wall, at Nik, and back at the wall. “I don’t think you can lift me. You’re hurt.”
“Trust me.” Nik grinned, giving Shay a glimpse of an older, even more handsome version of the boy she’d known so many years ago. She’d thought she loved that boy; this man, though….was a vampire. Don’t forget that, idiot.


 She nodded, dried her hands on her jeans as much as she could, and reached up toward Nik. He leaned over, wrapped strong fingers around both of her wrists, and lifted her to the top of the wall with what seemed like little effort, setting her down beside him.
“Swing your legs over, and I’ll lower you down the other side. Or I can leap down with you in my arms.” His grin widened, and her heart beat double-time when their gazes locked. Vampire. He’s a freaking vampire. He’s a freaking vampire involved in a war with other freaking vampires. You cannot trust him. Lust, yes. Trust, no.
“Whatever you do, would you please move your arses?” Cage stood beneath them. “I’m getting soaked and—”
A loud pop sounded from the Washington Avenue end of the cemetery, followed by a splintering noise and another pop pop. Shay had lived in New Orleans long enough to recognize the sound of gunfire.


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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Week in Review: 7/9-7/15



Books Received for Review

Nothing this week!

Books I've Read

Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle
Ashes by Suzanne Wright
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Shadows and Gold by Elizabeth Hunter

Reviews Posted


Fury of a Phoenix by Shannon Mayer
Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller

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

* Monday- Guest Blog for Waking for Winter by Katherine McIntyre

* Tuesday- Promo + Giveaway for Tales from Harborsmouth by E.J. Stevens

* Friday- Interview for The Rift Uprising by Amy Foster

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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.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Interview: The Rift Uprising by Amy Foster

UFI welcomes Author Amy Foster. 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 am a hardcore knitter. I have been knitting for fifteen years and I knit EVERY day. Even if it’s just one row.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

Apart from the knitting?! I read a lot. I work out every other day (I hate it, but I like to eat). I watch a lot of TV. Basically, I have the opposite of ADD. I can sit in the same position doing nothing for hours. Like a cat.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

For me it’s about the story. I have an over active imagination so writing the story down is like letting the pressure out so I can fill it back up again with more crazy plot ideas.

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

I bought a condo ten minutes away from my house. This is my own private place (visitors are highly discouraged) where I can write for hours at a time uninterrupted. It’s not a routine exactly but, it’s become a necessity.

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

Terri Windling, Charles DeLint, Stephanie Meyer, Laini Taylor, Victoria Aveyard, Danielle Page, James Dashner and William Ritter.

How would you pitch The Rift Trilogy to someone who has not heard of it before? 

It’s about a teenage super soldier guarding a portal to the multiverse and her ever growing awareness that she and all her fellow teenage soldiers are probably the last people on (this) Earth who should have such an important job.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Rift Trilogy is set in? 

Well, it’s not Dystopian. It really irritates me when people call it that! It’s Crypto Historical which is a great genre term that people don’t use enough IMHO. Basically, it means that everything is business as usual in the world except there is this whole other thing that’s going on that no one knows about- sort of like Harry Potter. The first book in the series is about the protagonist uncovering a portion of the truth about her origins. In the second book, Ryn goes through the portal and into the multiverse and the book kind of switches things up and becomes more fantasy. The final book is about how she’s going to get her life back and how far she’s willing to go to do that.

Do you have a favorite scene in The Rift Trilogy ? 

In the second book, The Rift Frequency, Ryn lands on an Earth where the Roman Empire never fell. That was a blast.

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

Ryn is always going to be my favorite. She’s like another daughter to me which is why it was EXTRA weird when I had to write the sex scenes- So while I do believe the sex scenes ended up being pretty hot, it was just awkward to write them. I would like, blush, leave the room, scrunch up my eyes, cover my face…

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

I’m working on another series but it’s early days and I don’t want to jinx anything!
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Amy S. Foster was born in Victoria, Canada to singer B.J. Cook and legendary record producer David Foster.  But Amy opted out of a career in music and chose international business instead.  While going to American University in Washington DC, she took a course in creative writing with renowned poet Ann Darr that would change the direction of her life.  After graduating, Amy moved to London to hone her literary skills, determined to get a collection of her own poetry published.  It was there that she met producer Martin Terefe (Mike Posner, Shawn Mendes, James Morrison) who asked her if she wanted him to put some music to her poetry.  The two made a ground breaking spoken word record which turned Amy’s focus entirely to music and from there, the progression to becoming a lyricist was natural.  Since then, artists have sought out Amy’s easy, conversational style of writing and her uncanny ability to help them tell their own stories.  She has penned four number one hits with Michael Buble (Home, Everything and Haven’t Met You Yet, Beautiful Day).  “Home” has also been covered by Westlife and Blake Shelton which gave Amy her first country Number One.  She has worked with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Destiny’s Child, Solange Knowles, Eric Benet, Diana Krall, Josh Groban, One Flew South, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, John Paul White of The Civil Wars, RyanDan, Who is Fancy, Chris Mann, and most recently a collaboration with Michah Wilshire of the band Wilshire. The two have formed their own group called QOINS .

“When Autumn Leaves”, Amy’s first work of fiction was published by The Overlook Press in September 2009.   Currently, Amy lives in Portland, OR with her husband Matt Freeman and their three children, Mikaela, Eva and Vaughn. Her next release is, the first in The Rift Trilogy, for Harper Collins is coming to a bookstore near you in the Fall of 2016.

Find Amy and her books
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The Rift Uprising
The Rift Uprising Trilogy #1
Heroine Ryn Whittaker isn’t like other teenagers who Instagram and binge-watch Netflix. She’s a genetically modified gun-toting take-no-prisoners super-soldier, designed to protect The Rifts, a series of fourteen mysterious portals that lead to a billion alternative Earths. Foster’s fantastical narrative both transports and inspires - it’s imaginative and challenging, with a badass, brilliant, break-neck heroine expressly created for the authors’ daughters. She’s chockful of character traits YA readers will both adore and adopt, using her innate combat skills to guard, and fight, whatever materializes out of The Rift, from mutants to advance humanoids.

Then there’s the guy thing…. When otherworldly Ezra Massad appears, he pierces her emotional armor.  He also turns her worldview on its axis, questioning The Rifts themselves, and the entire structure of their society, leading to uncomfortable, even dangerous answers. Ryn and Ezra are pivotal in starting a coup; in the ensuing fray, he vanishes back into The Rift. Ryn launches a plan to rescue him. But he could be anywhere in the world… on millions of worlds…  Here Foster delivers an incredibly cinematic, pulsing book with a breakneck pace, with unforgettable action sequences led by an unforgettable leading lady.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller

Fallen Flame
Author: J.M. Miller
Release Date: June 19, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Fallen Flame Book #1
ASIN:  B072KNSWZD
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Nineteen years ago, on the island kingdom of Garlin, a girl was born. With charred skin as rough as rock, Vala was instantly feared. For how could one be scorched by magic when it had perished ages before?
Recognizing an asset, the royal family welcomed her on their Guard. Her detail: the prince.
To watch. To protect. She has grown with him, lives her life for him.
When the high kingdom’s princess comes to assess the prince, assassins of rival courtiers come to claim his life. One nearly succeeds in his mission. But with shadowy movements and charred skin like her own, Vala knows he is not like the rest.
As threats to the prince continue and questions about Vala’s life begin to rise, she faces a fear worse than fire or water, worse even than losing him.
She fears finding out who she truly is.

I picked up FALLEN FLAME from Netgalley on a complete whim and I'm so glad I did. The story was easy to follow, the pace was nice and the characters and their development kept me reading.

I loved Vala. She is a mystery to those in Gala and even to herself, but she has made a good life for herself and lives to protect the prince. I found Vala to be strong, loyal and willing to get her hands dirty to protect those that needed protecting.

There are a two love interests in FALLEN FLAME. I liked prince Caulden when he was introduced and was rooting for things to work out between Vala and him, but I slowly lost respect for him as the book went on and by the end knew that even if they could have been something, they weren't right for each other. Xavyn was a huge mystery when he was introduced, but was very open with Vala and really opened her eyes to the world outside of Garlin and how she could fit into it. Although nothing happened romantically between them in FALLEN FLAME, I look forward to the time when something does.

The plot was interesting. Some things were predictable, but I still very much enjoyed the way things were revealed. The mystery surrounding Vala and her birth was very intriguing and made the plot even more exciting. Vala is a true fighter and I enjoyed the action throughout FALLEN FLAME. There is zero doubt in my mind that I will be grabbing a copy of book two when it is out. In fact, I am stalking the author's pages in hope that there will be information about it soon.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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