Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: The Asylum Tales by Jocelynn Drake

UFI welcomes Author Jocelynn Drake. Thanks for Joining us!!

Is this your first time in Low Town – the setting of the Asylum Tales series?  I asked Gage Powell, local tattoo artist, to give you a quick tour of the city so you know all the great spots you need to visit.

Low Town Tour Guide
By Gage Powell & Jocelynn Drake 

I talked to that author I work with, Jocelynn Drake, recently and she mentioned that people were interested in visiting Low Town.  My first reaction was naturally, “You’re kidding, right?” but she was dead serious.    She suggested that I supply a quick guide to out-of-towners wanting a little adventure.

First, Low Town is in the Midwest, which means we get more snow than Florida and less snow than Montana each winter (unless the Winter Court decides to come to town and then you’re just better off vacationing at the South Pole because there’ll be less snow there).  In the summer, it’s hot.  Fry an egg on the sidewalk hot.  And no, it’s not a dry heat.

If you happen to be a shape-shifter, you’ll need to check in with the local packs to get approval to come into their territory.  Jackson Wagnalls is the alpha for the Low Town werewolf pack.  He’s an okay guy, but I wouldn’t mention my name since he’s not a fan of mine.  (I still think he’s blowing that whole Chihuahua thing out of proportion.)    Of course, if you’re a vampire, you’ll also need to swing by one of the local nests for approval as well.  We have two nests in town.  There are also several troll-friendly hotels in the area if you’re the type that’s extremely allergic to sunlight.

Low Town is like any medium-sized city.  We’ve got skyscrapers (the tallest being Lindner Tower).  We’ve got a zoo, theaters, and sports arenas, but you want the off-the-beaten path, 50-cent tour, right?

First, if you’re looking for something sweet, on the south side of town, there’s a little pastry and sweets shop called Brownie Delights.  I’ve been told that the things they do with chocolate are worth killing for (though they haven’t reported any deaths in over three years).  I don’t stop at the shop because I don’t trust the fey when it comes to food.

On the more adult end, there is a great tapas bar called Warm & Toasted.  The place has an excellent selection of wines, coffees, and empanadas.  Also, the place has become quite popular with vampires since they recently set up an agreement with local blood bank to keep in stock a few types of blood each night.  Just be sure to have your BBC (Blood Bank Card) on hand if you wish to order.  (Keep in mind this is the more slacks and collared shirt crowd.)

If you’re looking for more of the vintage rock T-shirt and jeans crowd, head over to Cock’s Crow.  The bar is wall-to-wall awesome with rock music blasted over the speakers when there isn’t a live band in the back.  The owner Dolan caters to all types.  He’s even set up some smaller tables on ledges near the ceiling for the pixies and faeries, but I wouldn’t advise sitting under them as they tend to spill their drinks as the night wears on.  The other nice thing is that since Dolan is a minotaur, the fights are kept to a minimum (except on Wednesday night – half-price shots and domestic beers for ogres and trolls).    

If you’re a fan of good beer and German food, head over to Strauss Haus Restaurant and Bier Garten.  They have the best imported beer selection on tap in the city and Tuesday night is half-priced sauerkraut balls.  (But watch out for Fridays, there’s a wandering polka band.  Also, don’t mention my name to the seating hostess.  She’s a siren and doesn’t like me much at the moment either.)

For a real adventure, or maybe just a wild bachelor/bachelorette party, I suggest Miss Holly’s Hot House.  Hidden in a quiet neighborhood, the succubus-run brothel employs only succubi and incubi, and caters to nearly every fantasy.  (Don’t worry, they are regulated by the health department.)

And what visit to Low Town would be complete without a new tattoo to show your friends when you get home?  Asylum Tattoo Parlor is just down the street from Strauss Haus.  Get Trixie, Bronx, or me to give you some fresh ink.  Want to forget about this vacation completely?  I’ve got the right potion that can help with that too.

You’re going to have a great time in Low Town.  If not, I can help you forget!

Gage Powell, tattoo artist and owner of Asylum Tattoo Parlor

[Dear Gage, Are you trying to scare people away? Also, this is a family-friendly site. I don’t think you need to include a BROTHEL in your highlights. Thanks, Jocelynn] 

[Dear Jocelynn, I think most people need a trip to a brothel while on vacation.  I’m keeping it in. Thanks, Gage] 

Low Town is a wild and strange place filled with the dangerous and unexpected.  Follow tattoo artist Gage Powell on his adventures through Low Town in the Asylum Tales with his friends Bronx and Trixie. 
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By day, Jocelynn Drake is a clean-cut financial editor, picking apart stories about Wall Street and the global markets. But in her free time, she writes about a dark underworld where vampires and warlocks rule.

The author of Dark Days and Asylum Tales series, she lives in Florida with her husband, dog, and cat. When she's not working on her next book, she's usually hiding from the sun by playing video games.

Find Jocelynn and her books
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Demon's Fury
The Asylum Tales #3.1
 Amazon
 Jocelynn Drake continues her successful urban fantasy series, Asylum Tales, with Demon’s Fury, set in a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires walk free among humanity.

Powerful warlock and tattoo artist Gage has managed to escape the magical Ivory Towers who terrorize the rest of humans and monsters – but at a price. Now he must join forces with his nemesis Gideon to stop an unknown entity who is using old magic to commit gruesome murders. And if that’s not keeping him busy enough, an investigator recruits Gage to help her track a killer … who might be targeting tattoo artists.

Demon's Vow
The Asylum Tales #3.2
 Amazon
 Bestselling author Jocelynn Drake continues her urban fantasy series with the second installment of the Final Asylum Tales, Demon’s Vow.

Tattoo artist and warlock Gage is having a rough week. He’s trying to track down a mysterious murderer in Low Town while also chasing a powerful entity using forbidden Death Magic across the nation. When Gage discovers the two forces may be trying to unite, the stakes get even higher. With Gideon’s help, Gage is determined to stop the murderers before anyone else gets hurt – including his girlfriend, Trixie.

Inner Demon
The Asylum Tales #3.3 
Amazon

Gage is a powerful warlock in Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, goblins, and vampires walk free among humanity. But there are two dangerous entities murdering families and children, and Gage needs to stop them before anybody else gets hurt.

When Gage discovers a demon locked away it offers him access to dark magic in exchange for its freedom – a dangerous opportunity, but one that could save his loved ones. Gage must choose between what is right and what is easy … except he’s running out of time.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones

Seventh Grave and No Body
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: St. Martins Press
ISBN:   1250045649
ISBN13: 9781250045645
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher
Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out the jugular of Charley Davidson and serve her lifeless, mangled body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that. But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and the more she retraces his last steps, the more she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him. Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fiancĂ© who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life.

A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.

We’re doomed.

I'm always really impatient and excited to get my greedy little hands on the next Charley Davidson book, so when my request for a review copy was granted I did a little happy dance and stalked my mailbox until my pretty new book arrived in the mail.

We were hit with some major news at the end of SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE. Thankfully we don't have to wait long to learn more about that news in SEVENTH GRAVE AND NO BODY. It was interesting to witness all the feelings that the news brought out from not only Charley, but also Reyes and their friends/allies. I was a little curious how everyone would protect her now and if she would LET them and was glad to see this was addressed quite a few times throughout the book and especially at the end.

As with all the other books in this series some heavy stuff happens in SEVENTH GRAVE. I'm an emotional reader and it always seems to surprise me how easily I can go from laughing to crying with books in this series. Each book has brought out both in me and SEVENTH GRAVE is no exception. The book ends on a pretty heavy moment that left me with a box of kleenox, a "NO, it can't end like that" coming out of my mouth and lots of open strings to bring us into book 8.

Let's talk about the humor. LMAO is what I do for a good portion of each book. Charley is super snarky and finds a way to make a smart ass comment at every turn. She also happens to name EVERYTHING no matter how inappropriate it is, which happens to be hilarious.  Each chapter starts off with a t-shirt quote, or funny saying. Not sure where Darynda finds all of these, but I would definitely buy and wear most of them. So, if our looking for some humor with your action, hot romance and emotional roller coaster this series is for you!

I find it really hard to write reviews for books in long series because I usually have already said everything about the characters or the writing and world in previous reviews so I will leave my review at that. SEVENTH GRAVE AND NO BODY was another fantastic addition with another ending that left me salivating for more. Darynda Jones will continue to have a prominent spot on my bookshelf.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

New Releases: 10/19-10/25


Mon. Oct. 20th

 Soulfire (Nightwing #1) by Juliette Cross

Tue. Oct. 21st

 Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
 Loop (Loop #1) by Karen Akins
 This Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld
 The Vines by Christopher Rice

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Tainted Blood by Karen Greco

UFI welcomes Karen Greco Author of Tainted Blood. 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 desperately afraid of heights, so the scene in Chapter 1 of Tainted Blood was a tough one for me to get through. Also, I am a Libra!

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

Is it bad to say that I love watching TV? We are really in a new Golden Age of television and there are some really wonderful shows out there.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

I love living with my characters -- sometimes when I am thinking about them and the story line, I will actually say something out loud to them. I also love the research phase. I am working on a new novel now that sent me to Trulio.com looking for an old Victorian house as a setting. Real estate porn is so much fun.

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

Because my schedule is pretty crazy, I don't follow any routine, or else I would never write. I write, or outline, or jot down ideas on buses, subways, while waiting on line. There never seem to be enough hours in the day, so I cram it in wherever and whenever.

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

There are loads! I love Richard Kadrey. Michael Carey, Kim Harrison. Of course, Ann Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton, who I think of as mentors to all who write urban fantasy/paranormal. Chris Ward is an indie writer that I absolutely adore. His Tube Riders series is terrific.

How would you pitch Tainted Blood to someone who has not heard of it before?

Someone called the Hell's Belle series "Buffy for grown-ups," which is not entirely inaccurate! It's about a half vampire/half witch who is coping with a very real supernatural threat that, more and more, looks like only she is the key to extinguishing. She is dealing with loads of family issues, too, wrapped up with issues of trust. What makes a family? Does family have to be blood related? Can you trust your family? What does it mean if that trust is destroyed?

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Tainted Blood is set in? 

Tainted Blood, and Hell's Belle, are set in the not-too-far future. The idea is that supernatural creatures walk amongst us, and the government agency that Nina and her crew works with—Blood Ops—is around to make sure it's kept that way. They are kind of like a secret police force.

Do you have a favorite scene in Tainted Blood

Wow. This is a tough one. I love the opening scene. I love action, I love writing action, and Hell's Belle (the first book in the series) had a ton of it. There is a bit less action in this one, so I find I gravitate to the scenes where Nina's kicking someone's ass.

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

I love Nina, and I adore writing for Frankie. Those are my favorite characters to write. And they are really great together. I can't say what the hardest one was to write in this book, because it's a major spoiler. But there is one chapter that I still choke up when reading.

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

I am jugging three (OMG!) book projects right now, including the third book in the Hell's Belle series. I am also working on a stand alone paranormal romance, and I have another stand alone urban fantasy in the outline phase. There are a lot of stories I am aching to tell!
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Karen Greco has spent close to twenty years in New York City, working in publicity and marketing for the entertainment industry. Originally from Rhode Island (she loves hot wieners from New York System, but can't stand coffee milk), she studied playwriting in college (and won an award or two).

After not writing plays for a long time, a life-long obsession with exorcists and Dracula drew her to urban fantasy, where she can decapitate characters with impunity.

Her first novel, Hell's Belle, was released in 2013. Tainted Blood is the second book in the best-selling Hell's Belle urban fantasy series.

Find Karen and her books
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Tainted Blood 
Hell's Belle #2
After surviving a vampire assassin (not to mention an awkward affair with a hot FBI agent that ended worse than she could have imagined), witch/vampire hybrid Nina Martinez is reunited with the full Blood Ops team in Providence, Rhode Island. Her Aunt Babe is tutoring her in all things witchcraft, and her vampire partner Frankie is enjoying the benefits of daywalking, courtesy of a demon spell.

When a segment of the Rhode Island vampire population is marked for death by a tainted blood supply, Nina and her team race to find Patient Zero before the local vampire population is wiped out. But when a demon infestation threatens to take control of the city, Nina must join forces with newly elected mayor—and closet demon— Ami Bertrand before the city falls into ruin.

Filled with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Nina and her group of supernatural misfits battle a surprising new enemy that threatens their very existence.

No wonder she still can’t get a date.
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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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