Sunday, August 20, 2017

Week in Review: 8/13-8/19



Books Received for Review

White Lily by Juliette Cross
Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter

Books I've Read

Oracle of Illaria by Dyan Chick
Ashes Reborn by Keri Arthur

Reviews Posted


No Good Deed by Kara Connolly
 
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* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Monday- Interview + Giveaway for Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio

* Wednesday- Cover Reveal + Giveaway for Treasured by a Tiger by Felicity Heaton

* Friday- Promo for The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle

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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 18, 2017

Promo: The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle


The Dragon's Playlist
Amazon BN iBooks Kobo Google Play

From the author of THE HALLOWED ONES and NINE OF STARS comes a new novel blending the magical and the real…

“This is war,” the dragon said. And she believed him.

Di fled rural West Virginia to study music and pursue a bright future as a violinist. But when a mining accident nearly kills her father, she is summoned back home to support her family. Old ghosts and an old flame emerge from the past. When Di gets a job as a bookkeeper at the same mine where her father worked, she is drawn into a conflict pitting neighbor against neighbor as the mine plans an expansion to an untouched mountain.

If the mining company’s operation goes forward, there will be more at stake than livelihoods or the pollution of the land: Di has discovered a dragon lives deep within Sawtooth Mountain, and he is not happy with this encroachment upon his lair. When catastrophe strikes, Di must choose between her family’s best interests and protecting the dragon – the last surviving bit of magic in Di’s shrinking world.

In every fight, sides are chosen. And there can be no yearning for what has been left behind.
Full eBook Available at Pronoun

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Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

Find Laura and her books
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

No Good Deed
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
ISBN:   0385743939
ISBN13: 9780385743938
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

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.

NO GOOD DEED was an imaginative spin on the Robin Hood story.

Did you ever think that Robin Hood would be totally kick-butt as a girl? Well meet Ellie Hudson, U.S. Olympic archer extraordinaire, who finds herself transported to middle age Nottingham. It was extremely easy to like Ellie. Not only did I find her to be both strong and smart, she was fun to follow during her adventures.

The different cast of characters was introduced at a nice pace to keep you from being overwhelmed. I thought the world building could have been stronger, but the storyline moved along nicely. I really enjoyed how events turned out and it was fun to see enemies turn into secret allies when you least expected it.

NO GOOD DEED is a standalone and ended on a great note, but I would read more of Ellie's story if there happened to be a sequel. 

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Treasured by a Tiger by Felicity Heaton



Treasured by a Tiger
Eternal Mates #14

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com.auiBooks USA | iBooks UK | iBooks Canada | iBooks Australia | iBooks New ZealandBarnes and Noble | Kobo Books | Google Play
Despised by his tiger shifter pride as an abomination, Grey has ventured far from home, deep into the bowels of Hell in search of answers about the machinations of Archangel, the mortal hunter organisation who held his twin captive. With no knowledge of the realm, and little skill with the local languages, he quickly finds himself at a dead end—until he crosses paths with a beautiful hellcat female who rouses his darkest most dangerous instincts.

Lyra has been a fool, falling for the charms of a male whose only desire was to make a fast buck by selling her. Shackled and collared, her strength muted by magic, she awaits her time on the stage at a black-market auction, but before it can come, all hell breaks loose and she seizes a chance to escape—and runs straight into a majestic warrior who steals her breath away and tempts her like no other as he battles alone to free everyone.

When Lyra offers her services as a translator to repay Grey for saving her, will he be strong enough to resist the needs she awakens in him and spare himself the pain of her inevitable rejection when she discovers the truth about him? And when the powerful male in charge of the slave ring starts a bloody hunt for Lyra, can she escape another collar and find the courage to trust the tiger who is capturing her heart?

Excerpt:


Someone peered over his shoulder.
A black clawed finger landed on the piece of paper in front of him, close to his. “Here.”
Grey jumped and growled at the male beside him. The warlock. Wizard. Whatever the hell he wanted to be called. He reeked of magic and death.
Even the succubus backed off, her usual bright smile and sultry air turning cold and dark. She said something, and the male said something back at her, a bite in his tone.
“You speak English?” Grey didn’t want to talk to the male, but he wasn’t going to get anywhere speaking with the bartender or anyone else in the joint.
The male didn’t nod.
Not a good sign.
“This is here?” He pointed to the name on the piece of paper again.
The male nodded and looked around. “Here.”
It was a start.
“You speak her tongue?” Grey pointed towards the bartender. “Speak. Her.”
The male frowned, his icy green eyes darkening a shade, and looked at the female, and then back at him. “Yes.”
Getting there.
But the male didn’t really understand him. He couldn’t ask complicated questions and have him relay them to the bartender for her to answer, and the male wouldn’t know the answer to them himself since he was clearly just passing through and using the village as a rest stop.
He needed to boil it down into something the male might understand.
“Mortals. Humans.” It was worth a shot. He pointed to himself. “I’m looking for mortals.”
The male’s eyes lit up. He pointed east. “Mortals.”
Grey looked in that direction. East. The dragon realm and the Devil’s lands were east of here. He slid his blue gaze back to the male, his hackles rising and his animal side growing restless, prowling beneath his skin.
Was the male telling him the truth?
“Mortals?” Grey pointed east, along the length of the bar.
The male nodded and attempted a smile. It came off twisted and disturbing rather than reassuring.
“Definitely?” Because he was starting to get the feeling that the male was trying to get him killed. “Because dragons are that way.”
The male shook his head. “No dragons. Mortals.”
Grey pulled the map out of his trouser pocket, spread it across the bar top and jammed a finger against the area Sable had labelled as ‘here be dragons’ and had drawn what he imagined was meant to be a dragon, but it looked more like a snake fighting a spider.
“Dragons.” He tapped the paper.
The warlock shook his head again, his eyes darkening another shade and his thin lips flattening. He jabbed a black claw against a spot west of the dragons, and east of their current location.
“Mortals. There.”
So close?
Was it possible?
“Here?” Grey pointed to the map.
The male looked as if he was going to kill him if he asked again, an inky sort of darkness growing around his pupils to devour the pale green of his irises.
“Okay. Here it is. Got it. Thanks.” Grey bundled up his papers and his backpack in his arms and left before the male could even think about muttering a spell to flay his fur off his body.
He breathed deep as he hit the village square again, shaking off his nerves and the sensation that the male was trying to get him killed. He just smelled of death, that was all it was. It had put Grey on edge.
He looked back at the tavern. Even the succubi had avoided the male. He turned away from the village and headed east, glancing at the male’s tent as he passed it. It was set up a good distance from the rest of the tents and from the huts, placed right against the perimeter wall of the village.
That struck a chord in him.
The warlock had come to the village, but had separated himself from them, was keeping his distance even though he obviously wanted to be around others.
The male had been helpful, but because he had looked different to the others, Grey had found it difficult to trust him. He had judged him on his appearance, and had believed he wanted to kill him because of that. He was no better than the others.
He should have been.
Experience should have taught him something, should have made him react differently to the male, but he had treated him with suspicion, just like the rest.
Just like his pride had treated him.
All because he was different to them.
Gods, he was no better than them.
He hated that.
It weighed him down as he trekked east, following the lead the male had given him.
It took him across the valley basin to the foot of a low mountain range.
He looked along it in both directions, and then at his map. By his calculations, the quickest route would be over the mountains, because the range stretched in both directions for miles. If he tried to go around, it would take him at least another day to reach the destination the warlock had marked for him.
By then, Archangel might have moved on.
He adjusted his pack on his shoulders, huffed and started forwards, picking a path up the gently sloping side of the mountain. He crossed a trail around two hundred metres up and followed it as it wound through the sharp towering rocks and up through tall crevasses that sliced into the black mountain. The trail grew narrow near the top, heading towards a sweeping curve between two peaks.
He brought his pack around to his front and pressed his back against the black rock as he edged sideways along the path, his eyes on the steep drop to jagged rocks below and his heart hammering against his ribs. No damn way he was going to fall. He breathed through the fear, refusing to let it get to him, and looked to his right, focusing on the path instead.
It opened up a short distance ahead.
Relief was quick to sweep through him when his boots hit the wider path and the trail led away from the edge, over the ridge.
Gods, he was tired.
He pulled a cloth from his back pocket and wiped the sweat from his brow, and ran his other hand over his silver hair. He would rest on the other side. This high up the mountain, he was unlikely to run into any wild beasts. He could spare a few minutes to catch his breath and rest his legs. He unhooked the canteen from his pack, took a swig of the tepid water, and capped it and put it back again. He was getting low.
Thorne had warned him not to trust the water in Hell.
Apparently, some of it wasn’t water at all.
Grey didn’t want to know what that meant.
He figured it wouldn’t end well for him and that was enough to have him steering clear of hitting any stream he saw for a refill of his canteen.
He reached the top of the mountain.
His breath caught.
Good gods.
It was as if he could see the entire world.
Or at least all of Hell.
Beyond the valley far below him, steeper mountains rose, forming ridge after ridge into the distance, where the sky glowed bright gold. The Devil’s domain.
Hell was bleak, grim, but had a strange sort of beauty to it from up here.
He started down the mountain, his eyes leaping back to the view whenever they could, drinking it in. It was incredible. How big was Hell? He should have looked back in the other direction at the ridge to see if he could figure it out. Maybe he would stop there and drink it all in if he came back this way.
He picked out a spot to rest as he scouted the route ahead of him, a nice flat space just a little over halfway down the mountain and only accessible from one side, giving him some protection.
He was close to it when lights in the valley caught his eye.
He slowed his steps and tracked them as they flickered and danced, a row of flaming gold spots crossing the darkness, heading to his left, deeper into the valley.
Archangel?
He looked in the direction they were heading, and frowned. More lights glowed there. Another village? Or a base of operations for a mortal hunter organisation up to no good?
Thoughts of resting scattered and he marched down the mountain, intent on reaching the valley floor before the people walking towards the settlement reached it. He needed to find out if they were Archangel soldiers, and he needed to do it before they joined up with the others. He could handle a few hunters, but not an entire base of operations.
His boots skidded on the loose black shale as he hurried down the mountain, and he fought for balance more than once, attempting a controlled slide that would get him down into the valley quicker than using the paths.
When he hit the valley floor, he paused for breath, his eyes scanning the dimly lit world around him. He spotted the torches off to his left, about five hundred metres out from his current position. He drew down a deep breath, held it in his lungs to steady his heart and centre himself and exhaled slowly. His senses sharpened, his animal side rising to the fore, allowing him to see into the darkness ahead of him.
Allowing him to see the people crossing the valley.
Every inch of him stilled.
And then a slow burn started in his blood.
It wasn’t Archangel.
He growled low in his throat at the sight of the large male figures, at the thick chains they gripped, and the captives they dragged along behind them.
It was slave traders.
He caught a flash of the two tiger shifter females he had found huddled naked and terrified in their cages, held against their will by Pyotr, the male Maya had been promised to as a cub.
That burn grew hotter, fiercer, blazing white hot, and he curled his hands into fists, his emerging claws digging into his palms as his tiger side raged, battered his control and pushed him to react, to obey his instincts.
To protect.
No one deserved to be treated that way. No one deserved to be abused, mistreated, held captive and condemned to a life of fear.
He snarled through his fangs.
Dumped his backpack and stripped off his t-shirt.
These bastards were going to pay for what they were doing.

 

Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

Find Felicity and her books
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The special sneak preview for Treasured by a Tiger begins on September 3rd, exclusive to Felicity’s mailing list. Every subscriber is entered into the giveaway to win a signed personalised paperback copy of Treasured by a Tiger, with a chance to win a copy in each of the three exclusive sneak peek chapters being sent out on September 3rd, 5th and 7th. 

Not only will joining her mailing list ensure you’re in with a chance of winning one of the signed copies of Treasured by a Tiger, it means you’ll start receiving her newsletters, where she gives away 2 x $25 Amazon Gift Cards in each issue, and rewards subscribers with exclusive excerpts, teasers, flash fiction and cover reveals, and plenty of fun! Plus, you’ll receive FOUR FREE EBOOKS in her Series Starter Library just for signing up! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Interview + Giveaway: Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio


UFI welcomes Author Donna Migliaccio. 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’m the middle child of seven, an Army brat and have been married to the same fantastic man for almost 25 years.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

I enjoy going on nature walks and birdwatching. And I read nonstop. I think I’ve read upwards of sixty books in six months.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

I love the imagining part – staring into space while I think of the next plot twist. And weirdly, I also love to edit. I enjoy getting my prose just as tight as I possibly can.

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

No. I often find music and other noise distracting, but I’ve done some of my best writing backstage in the middle of a show, surrounded by other actors talking or making a costume change and with the show itself blaring in the background. If I’m really engrossed in what I do, that kind of thing doesn’t bother me.

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

I’m a huge fan of Neil Gaiman – but then, who isn’t?

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

KINGLET is neither Urban Fantasy nor Paranormal – it’s more of a traditional alt-universe epic fantasy (without the elves, orcs and dwarves) that is still very much grounded in human reality.

Can you tell us a little -bit about the world that THE GEMETA STONE  is set in?

THE GEMETA STONE is set in a world that’s somewhere in between the high-flown epic fantasy of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and the grim-dark socio-political machinations of GAME OF THRONES.

Do you have a favorite scene in KINGLET ?

One of my favorite scenes in KINGLET is early in the book, when my protagonist, Kristan Gemeta, meets a couple of strange old women who show him a long rift in the ground and warn him that it’s an omen of disaster. He’s dripping wet because his horse just threw him into a nearby lake, the women are trespassing on his father’s land, and he’s about to get into deep trouble for being late to a bout, but he’s too fascinated by what they’re telling him to care.

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

I love writing about Kristan because he’s so conflicted, so human. He’s inherently gentle and compassionate, but he needs find the strength and courage to regain his throne. His antagonist, the Wichelord Daazna, is hard to write because his psyche is so twisted: he’s willing to go to any lengths to get what he wants. Sometimes the awful things Daazna does have surprised even me.

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

The second and third books in THE GEMETA STONE series will be coming from Fiery Seas Publishing soon. Book Two, FISKUR, is set for release in November; Book Three, STONEKING, will follow early in 2018.
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Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, "Yaa and The Coffins," was featured in Thinkerbeat's 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

Find Donna and her books
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Kinglet
Gemeta Stone #1
Amazon  Barnes and Noble  Kobo  iBooks
Kristan Gemeta has lost everything: his crown, his kingdom, his courage – even his name.

In the vast wilderness of the Exilwald, he's known to the other outcasts as Kinglet. As long as Kristan stays hidden, he can elude the bounty hunters, brutal soldiers and terrifying spells of Daazna, the Wichelord who killed his father and destroyed his life.

But when a new band of pursuers comes looking for him, Kristan's wariness gives way to intrigue. For bounty hunters they're oddly inept, and a young woman in their company is leaving enigmatic drawings wherever they go. As they plunge deeper into the Exilwald, Kristan follows. He discovers the drawings symbolize the Gemeta Stone, an ancient family talisman seized by Daazna but now in the little band's possession.

With the Stone's protection, Kristan might stand a chance against Daazna. He could regain his birthright and his honor. But to obtain the Stone, he must reveal his true identity and risk the one thing he has left...his life.
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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Week in Review: 8/6-8/12



Books Received for Review

Nothing this week!

Books I've Read

Satan's Sword by Debra Dunbar
Heir of Illaria by Dyan Chick

Reviews Posted


Ride the Storm by Karen Chance
Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle
Blood Gamble by Melissa F. Olson
 
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* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Tuesday- Promo for Divine Justice Books 1 + 2 by Mary Abshire

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for SEAL Wolf Undercover by Terry Spear

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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 11, 2017

Review: Blood Gamble by Melissa F. Olson

Blood Gamble
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: 47North
ISBN:  1542045835
ISBN13: 9781542045834
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

If there is one city that Scarlett Bernard hates, it’s Las Vegas. But when the cardinal vampire of Los Angeles convinces her to go investigate a new vampire-themed stage show, Scarlett quickly finds herself shoulder-deep in sequins, slot machines, and Old World intrigue.

The show’s creators are vampire celebrities Arthur and Lucy Holmwood, who once inspired characters from the original Dracula. Now, however, they have no qualms about announcing their true status to the human world, endangering the secrecy of the Old World and Scarlett’s mission to keep it hidden.

But before she can begin untangling the Holmwoods’ motives, Scarlett also discovers that their new production has attracted more than just fans: Las Vegas’s many vampires are suddenly disappearing, and rumors are flying that actual vampire hunters may have followed Arthur and Lucy to town.

Now, without her allies, her bargest, or her frequent partner Jesse Cruz, Scarlett must navigate a new underworld of secrets and murders in a city where nothing is ever as it seems. And the stakes have never been higher.

Scarlet saves the day again, but was the cost of it worth it? I love the both the characters and the world that the Disrupted Magic world is set in.

So much happens in BLOOD GAMBLE. I shouldn't have been shocked at the way that Scarlet found herself being sent to Vegas, but I still was. Las Vegas was interesting, but none of Scarlet's usual allies were with her. I enjoyed meeting new friends, but I missed having some of the oldies along for the ride.

I really enjoy how Olson continues to connect her various series together. I do wish we would get more of Lex besides the small appearance from book one and the phone call from BLOOD GAMBLE though. She is such a great character and I miss her adventures.

BLOOD GAMBLE was fast paced and full of action. The storyline introduced some new aspects into the world. The ending **eyes popping out of my head** "Say WHAT???" What a bomb to throw in at the last minute. There is no way that I won't pick up a copy of book 3 with that ending. 

I gave it 4/5 stars

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