Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Lure of Obsession by Lisa Kessler

Lure of Obsession
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Publisher: Entangled
ISBN13: 9780997627404
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
The Prophecy - “Every generation the nine daughters of Zeus are reborn, and with their rebirth are also nine Guardians. They will be marked by the gods, and given gifts to protect his treasure. Their abilities will only be unlocked when they find their muse.”

Melanie Jacoby teaches English at Crystal City High School. She’s also the reborn Muse of Tragic Poetry, but she isn’t prepared for the tragedy of finding her roommate dead at the bottom of the stairs.

Nate Malone is the detective assigned to the case, but as the evidence points to an accidental fall, the visions begin. He sees a killer in a gold Kronos mask.

Mel is the next target.

The Order of the Titans are eager to bring about the return of the Golden Age of Man, and they’re prepared to kill the Muses to complete their mission. But Nate’s desire to protect Mel is almost as strong as his hunger for her.

And tragedy isn’t part of his plan.

LURE OF OBSESSION starts with a bang when Melanie, who happens to be the Muse of Tragic Poetry, finds her roommate and sister Muse dead in their home. She knows right away that it can't be the accident that the evidence point to and makes that clear to the detective that is charged with taking her statement. Nate quickly starts believing her when he starts having visions of the killer in a gold mask. I am pretty picky when it comes to reading books with Greek mythology, so I wasn't really sure how much I would like LURE OF OBSESSION when I picked it out to review. Thankfully Lisa Kessler did a great job with her interpretation and made the story interesting with her own creative twists.

Mel and Nate have an instant draw to each other and the connection only grows with each interaction they have. Even the fact that Mel has made a pact with her fellow sister Muses that there would be no relationships until their theater was finished and opened can't keep Mel away from Nate. The fact that it is made clear that Nate is Mel's Guardian does help them feel closer to each other, but it doesn't necessarily make things easier. Their interactions are easy and their relationship grows nicely even with Nate's penchant to not let anyone close to him.

The secondary characters are a huge part of the story. Their roles are different, but they all fit together. The mystery added a lot of suspense to the pages. There was also a nice amount of action involved in LURE OF OBSESSION. I had no trouble following the world or the mythology involved in the storyline.

One thing that came to mind after reading LURE OF OBSESSION was that I want more. Not only would I love to see more of Mel and Nate, but I am excited to see how the other Muses meet their Guardians and fall in love while battling the evil that is after them. LEGEND OF LOVE, Callie's story, is set to release in December 2016 and it's already on my wishlist.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review: Saving Her Angel by Missy Jane

Saving Her Angel
Author: Missy Jane
Release Date: August 8, 2016
Publisher: Entangled
Archangels Book #3
ISBN:  1633757226
ISBN13: 9781633757226
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source:NetGalley
Eleanor has loved her boss Cam from afar for years, but now he wants to retire and send her away. Tearing her heart out would have been kinder.

Archangel Camael must never fall for a woman. If he does, he’ll lose his angelic powers, and he will age like a human. Protecting humans from evil is paramount and has meant periodically reinventing his identity to avoid rousing suspicion. But as his desire grows for his secretary, Eleanor, duty feels more like a burden, because he can’t imagine starting a new life without her.

He can never fall in love.

A force of evil is wreaking havoc and Cam and his Archangel brothers scramble to determine and thwart the cause. The key lies in Eleanor’s tormenting memories, but if they push her too hard, she might snap. Cam must walk the delicate line between protecting Eleanor, appeasing his brothers, and saving the world.

SAVING HER ANGEL reads pretty similar to it's two predecessors, but I enjoyed meeting Eleanor and getting to know Camael better while Missy Jane unraveled their love story. While you can read book three as a standalone, you will miss a few things and you won't always have the full story when things are talked about.

Eleanor has been in love with her boss Cam for years, but Cam has never seen her more than a colleague. Cam is now retiring and not only does that mean she is losing her job, but she won't see Cam everyday anymore either. It's time for Cam to reinvent his identity and that means putting his current identity to rest. As he is in the process of doing that, evil goes after his secretary Eleanor. Cam starts waking up to the fact that Eleanor is a beautiful woman that is on the way to stealing his heart and making him want to fall.

As in most paranormal romances, Cam and Eleanor's relationship is up and down throughout the book. They do make a super cute couple and they have a recognizable spark, but I felt like we only got to see the surface of their feelings for each other. I felt like the writing was missing the depth of feelings I felt from the first couple in the Archangels series. I really did enjoy Cam and Elanor in SAVING HER ANGEL, I just wish the emotions would have jumped a little more off the pages. I guess that has more to do with the writing than the relationship itself though.

I will continue the series because I still really want to hear more about Gabriel. He is mentioned again in SAVING HER ANGEL, but we don't get anymore information on him and I think his story will be phenomenal.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

New Releases: 9/21-9/27


Tue. Aug. 23rd

 Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter
 High Stakes (Wild Cards #23) by George R.R. Martin 
 The Secret Sea by Barry Lyga 
 To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi, Poppy Toland

Happy Reading!

Cover Reveal: I'm Not Afraid of Wolves by Erin Hayes


Add it to your Goodreads TBR here!

Christine would do anything to get away from it all.

After escaping an abusive marriage and heading up a group of brand new performers, she’s tired and in need of a vacation. So when her sister Sara wants her to go camping out in the mountains of Georgia with the girls, she packs her bags for some rest and relaxation. Not even meeting a gorgeous park ranger like Colton Donnelly is going to distract her.

Except Sara didn’t tell her the real reason for the trip: she’s running away from a terrible secret. One that puts all of their lives in danger.

Now the vacation that Christine so desperately needed is ruined, but that’s the least of her worries. She has to use her wits and skills to save them all. Because she soon finds out that werewolves are very real. And they’ll stop at nothing to get their claws into her sister.

Coming to Amazon on September 22nd!

I’m Not Afraid of Wolves is the fourth book in the Cotton Candy Quintet. Add them all to your Goodreads TBR here.

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Get the other books on Amazon here:
 


 

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About the Author



Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.
She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she's a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.
You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.




Monday, August 22, 2016

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Zombie Uprising by William Burke

UFI welcomes Author William Burke. Thanks for Joining us!!

Voodoo Child’s Voodoo Spirits
In writing VOODOO CHILD, BOOK ONE: ZOMBIE UPRISING I did quite a bit or research into the practice of Voodoo. This ancient religion has gotten a bad rap in literature and movies, and I’m probably not helping a bit. Suffice to say it is a faith practiced by millions of kind, decent people who have no desire to curse you by sticking pins in dolls or turn you into a zombie. What really fascinated me about Voodoo was its rich pantheon of spirits. Voodoo belief is based on one god (Bondye) who interacts with mankind through an array of spirits (Loa).  Each Loa represents specific facets of nature or life.  For VOODOO CHILD I’ve used two spirits—Baron Kriminel and Pomba Gira.  Like most ignorant authors I’ve played fast and loose with those characters but I still tried to stay close to their roots.

Bear in mind that there are three types of Voodoo—African, Haitian and Louisianan—each with different practices and spirits.  That’s why the information can get a bit hazy.

BARON KRIMINEL– This guy is complicated, so bear with me.  The largest family of Voodoo Loa is the Ghede, led by the barons—La Croix, Samedi, Cimitière, Kriminel and Maman Brigitte.  The barons are each facets of their leader, Baron Samedi, and hence share his appearance. Classically, he has a skeletal body wrapped in a cape and top hat with an ever-present cigar.  All of the barons are wild, raucous and often obscene. I don’t practice Voodoo, but in the same breath didn’t feel it was appropriate to use the beloved Baron Samedi as a bad guy, insulting a few million practicing Voudon in the process.  BUT Baron Kriminel is a universally evil spirit, and therefore fair game.  In Voodoo lore he’s envisioned as a murderer who was condemned to death. This is a spirit so wicked that evoking him requires setting live black chickens on fire just so he can hear them scream!   Please note that very few Voodoo practitioners evoke this maniac.  He is one of the few Loa who can admit people into the afterlife and he holds no grudges against the dead … but is not so enamored of the living.  There have been many cinematic depictions of the baron's family tree but the most famous is from the James Bond film Live and Let Die, primarily due to Geoffrey Holder’s amazing performance.








NOTE – Baron Kriminel is super-bad but there’s another Voodoo loa that's so evil she makes him look like a boy scout. Her name is Marinette - Lady of the Screech Owl. She is the mistress of the dreaded Bizango cult and holds authority over werewolves. She’ll be prominently featured in an upcoming VOODOO CHILD book.:::Marinette Bois Sèch.jpg






POMBA GIRA – Gira’s persona is more varied and complex than all the barons combined.  Like the barons there are several Pomba Giras, each a facet of another. She’s either a spirit of love and fertility or (in the Brazilian variation) the mistress of the devil.  It all depends on which belief is your thing.  Traditionally, she is more recognized by practitioners of Umbanda, a variation on Voodoo.  Universally she personifies sexuality, fertility and strength.  Her appearance varies from being an insanely voluptuous, red-skinned, horned devil woman to an equally voluptuous mortal woman wearing next to nothing. Gira is irresistible and promiscuous so it made perfect sense for Baron Kriminel to become obsessed with her. Appropriately, in cards the Queen of Hearts represents Gira.

In my book these two loa make a wager, with the fate of all mankind as the prize. So check out Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising and see how their deadly game plays out.
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After two years of ghostwriting, William Burke has released his first novel VOODOO CHILD, Book One: Zombie Uprising. It's the first installment of a new horror series chronicling the exploits of Maggie Child and her Voodoo priestess partner Sarafina as they battle to save the island of Fantomas from the wrath of evil Voodoo spirits.

The author was raised on a diet of late night creature features, comic books, Mad magazines and horror stories. As a result every volume will be packed with eccentric characters, dark humor, chills, zombies, ghosts, monsters, military hardware and plenty of stuff blowing up.

Prior to writing Voodoo Child he was the creator and director of the Destination America television series Hauntings and Horrors. He has also written scripts for two Cinemax television series, Forbidden Science and Lingerie, which he also produced. He has also written magazine pieces for Fangoria and the Phantom of the Movies Videoscope among others.

William began his film and television career as a perfectly respectable video engineer at the venerable United Nations. Budget cuts shifted him to becoming a production manager and assistant director on an array of New York based indie films. With that experience under his belt he relocated to Los Angeles where he eventually produced sixteen feature films and two television series for the Playboy Entertainment Group. After years of producing T&A extravaganzas, kickboxing epics and gangster rap videos, he created a self financed television pilot entitled American Mystery Tour. Canada's CTV picked up the series under the title Creepy Canada, which was then re-titled Hauntings and Horrors in the USA.  Since then he has successfully produced three series for HBO/Cinemax as well as documentaries and other … stuff.

After hundreds of hours of film and television production he is basking in the freedom of the written word, where small budgets and giant egos are only memories. He lives in Toronto.

If you enjoyed the first adventure please visit www.williamburkeauthor.com where you'll find lots of interesting information about Voodoo and military hardware, along with excerpts from Sarafina's personal diary AND, as a gift to readers, the author will be serializing a prequel novella.

Find William and his books
Author interview video: https://youtu.be/SXanlSkmHEI
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Voodoo Child
Zombie Uprising #1
Amazon
The forces of darkness are out to destroy mankind… Too bad they never reckoned on facing Maggie Child!

Army chopper pilot Maggie Child has a reputation for being fearless, professional and, above all, rational. But when she's shot down over Iraq her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. Alone, wounded and surrounded by hostile forces, Maggie is rescued from certain death by a demon straight out of Dante's Inferno. Then, barely alive, she's abducted by a private military corporation conducting insidious medical experiments. Her escape from their covert hellhole lands her on a Caribbean island where an evil voodoo spirit and a psychotic female dictator are conspiring to unleash an apocalyptic zombie plague. Then she uncovers the most terrifying secret of all—her own destiny. It seems a Voodoo oracle has ordained her the only warrior capable of saving humanity from a supernatural Armageddon … whether she wants the job or not!

But saving the world isn't a one-woman job, so she teams up with a trio of unlikely heroes—a conspiracy obsessed marijuana smuggler, a Voodoo priestess with an appetite for reality television, and a burnt out ex-mercenary. Together, they'll take on an army of the walking dead, with the fate of humanity resting in their eccentric hands.

Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising is the first novel in a new horror series packed with supernatural thrills, rousing adventure, dark humor, Voodoo lore and plenty of zombie stomping action. But a word of warning; don't shoot these zombies in the head … because that just makes them mad!

It's the legions of hell versus Maggie Child … and hell doesn't have a prayer!
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/yPfVbgm-1XY


Excerpt-Orphanage Scene:

It was an hour before Rip reached the orphanage's unpaved entry road. He stopped the Rover. "Everybody ready?"
Crimson shoved a full magazine into her AK47. "I only have two more magazines after this."
Maggie checked her ammo. "Same here, so let's make every shot count."
Glen tapped on the roof. "I'm ready as I'll ever be."
Sarafina looked at her friends. "So… Hooah then?"
"Now you're learning," Maggie said, cocking the AK-47.
Rip threw the Rover into gear. "Let's do this!"
Rip drove down the bumpy dirt trail until they saw the orphanage dead ahead. Dozens of zombies were clustered in front, pounding at the doors and windows. He stopped forty yards from the building and pulled a pair of binoculars from the glove box.
"I see barricades on the windows. But it's just piled up furniture so it won't hold for long."
Maggie grabbed the binoculars and took a look. "The problem is we can't fire into that horde without stray bullets going inside."
Glen leaned into the driver's window. "And I'm betting the building ain't up to fire codes, so if we use my flamethrower…"
"We'll risk burning the whole place down. Rip, how many kids are in there?"
"By my recollection about thirty."
Maggie continued scanning the layout. "The school bus is parked about fifty yards to our left, that's the only way we’re moving all those kids. But we still have to draw that swarm away from the building, or at least thin the herd."
"Let me out," Sarafina said, climbing over the front seat. "I will sing the Voodoo purification ritual. It is what I used to draw the first zombie away from you."
Maggie pulled her back onto the seat. "Good idea but save your voice, I've got a better plan."
Maggie hopped out of the Rover, shouldering her rifle. "Give me the boom box—" Rip handed it to her "—I'm going to try to draw the bulk of them away, and then grab the bus. You guys round up the kids."
Glen jumped down off the roof. "Wait a second! I'm trained infantry, and you're just a pilot, so this is my kind of show."
"Except if one of them one bites you you're screwed, and so are all those kids." She held up her bitten arm. "But I can take a few bites and still keep moving."
Glen knew she was right but didn't want to admit it. Maggie leaned in and kissed him. "Don't worry, Glen, I'm not going to die on you again."
Maggie turned, running directly at the building, and then cut sharply to her left. I need a decent field of fire, she thought, one that won't hit the building. She found a good angle and stopped halfway between the building and the school bus. I hope to hell Rip put fresh batteries in this, she thought. Maggie hit play and the opening strains of Inna Godda Davida, rumbled through the air. "Hey assholes, come and get some!" Maggie shouted, holding the boom box over her head; she felt like John Cusack in that movie.
The zombies shifted their attention to Maggie and within seconds at least half were scrambling her way. The less decayed zombies moved at a fast trot while the older cadavers shambled behind, forming a second wave.



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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Week in Review: 8/14-8/20





Books Received for Review

Dragons Against Them by Kyra Jacobs
Hound and Key by Rhiannon Held

Books I've Read

Ash by Shannon Mayer
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Dragons Against Them by Kyra Jacobs

Reviews Posted

The Sight by Chloe Neill
Shadow Born by Rebecca Hamilton and Jasmine Walt

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

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Alpha Call by B.A. Tortuga

* Wednesday- Guest Blog for Lucy Trilogy by L.M. Pruitt

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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, August 19, 2016

Review: Shadow Born by Rebecca Hamilton + Jasmine Walt

Shadow Born
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Publisher: Blue Bolt Publishing
ASIN:   B01FT4OAUW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author
Chicago Police Detective Brooke Chandler is keeping a secret… and if she’s not careful, it could get her killed.

Brooke is no stranger to the supernatural. In Chicago, vampires are just as prevalent as drug lords, and infinitely more bloodthirsty. So when her partner and fiancé dies in a mysterious fire while chasing down a lead in Salem, she suspects something dark and otherworldly is at play.

Blessed with the ability to see into the past by touching inanimate objects, Brooke transfers to the Salem PD, hoping her talent will help her get to the bottom of things. Between dodging assassination attempts and being stonewalled at every turn, the going is tough. Add in a mysterious fae club owner with secrets of his own and a personal grudge against her, and it becomes nearly impossible.

If Brooke wants to play in the supernatural sandbox, she’s going to have to roll up her sleeves and get dirty. But how many people will have to die for Brooke to discover the truth about her fiance? And is she even ready to know?

Both Rebecca Hamilton and Jasmine Walt are new authors to me. I can't remember how the came to be on my radar, but I saw the cover for SHADOW BORN at some point, knew I had to read it after reading the blurb and added it to my wishlist. Once I started reading it became clear that storyline was easy to follow, there were interesting characters and I very easily stayed glued to the pages.

I had no trouble liking Brooke. From the first chapter you start to get a good idea of who she is and what she is willing to do to get answers and justice. As for her being a part of the supernatural world in  her own right, there is a ton of mystery. A few things are revealed throughout the book, but there is so much more to learn. Maddock took a little bit to grow on me. He is a bit of a mystery, but by the end of SHADOW BORN I really wanted more to be between him and Brooke. They butt heads a lot, but they definitely have a spark and I have some hopes for them in future books.

So if you jumped ahead to my rating you might be wondering why I gave SHADOW BORN a 3.5. Well, the murdered fiance part of the storyline was a HUGE part of the story and while there are a lot of answers, the closure part of the story was lacking to me. I can't really say much about it without giving away spoilers, but I needed a little more out of the final revelations at the end.

Will I read book two? Heck yes, I immediately stalked the author page to get more information for it. SHADOW MARKED is expected to release on October 28th and I can't wait to jump back into the Shadows of Salem world.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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