Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! 2013 in Review

Happy New Year!!

In 2013 I.....

Read 240 books
Wrote 126 reviews
Posted a total of 443 blog posts 
Here is to another excellent year to come!

Review: Ashes by Sarah Gilman

Author:Sarah Gilman
Release Date: December 30, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Covet
ISBN:  1622661869
ISBN13: 9781622661862
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Publisher
Accidents happen for a reason...

Journalist Ambrosia Pellerin accepts an assignment involving the legendary phoenix, expecting, if nothing else, a little entertainment. Instead, she winds up pregnant—by a surprisingly human-looking firebird, Reece Bennu.

As the Phoenix prince, Reece is next in line to the throne and expected to marry a purebred royal. A common human such as Ambrosia is not in the cards. He swears, though, he’ll never be an absentee father.

As Ambrosia’s due date grows closer, so do the soon-to-be parents. But will their tentative lov
e survive the prejudice of Reece’s grandmother, who will stop at nothing to tear the two apart?

We have so many great books that came out in December of this year and ASHES is right there at the top with many others. I wanted to read ASHES because it sounded unique and it was that and more. 

Ambrosia stumbles upon the house that Reece is in as she is searching for help after she was attacked. She's surprised by Reece's sudden need for her to leave after he was so tender and caring taking care of her injuries and when the house Reece is in blows up as she is getting in his borrowed car she's horrified he didn't make it out. She has no clue how that event is going to change her life forever. 

I really enjoyed Ambrosia's character. She's suitably skeptical when Reece explains who he is and how she got pregnant. She doesn't blindly jump on board but makes him prove himself. There is nothing worse in a story as having someone blindly and immediately believe anything that comes out of a strangers mouth so this made me like Ambrosia right away. I also liked Reece. He is honest from the beginning and although I thought he was a bit of an ass at times I understood where he was coming from and he redeemed himself in the end. The romance was well written and the couples struggles felt genuine.

The story was fast paced, smooth and kept me interested.  I loved the world that ASHES takes place in. I loved the Phoenix storyline and everything that Sarah put into their history and way of life. I don't see anything that makes me think this will be part of a series and the ending completed the story nicely but I can't help wish there was more to read about Ambrosia and Reese. 

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

New Releases: 12/29-1/4

Monday Dec 30

 Ashes by Sarah Gilman
Beg Me to Slay by Lisa Kessler

Tue Dec 31

 Deadshifted (Edie Spence #4) by Cassie Alexander
 Heart of Stone (Gargoyles #1) by Christine Warren
 Othersphere (Otherkin #3) by Nina Berry
 Sunroper (Goddesses Rising #3) by Natalie J. Damschroder

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Chaos Bound by Rebekah Turner

UFI welcomes Rebekah Turner Author of the Chronicles from the Applecross series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Love Triangles: the Do's and the Dont's
Even though it's quite the cliché, especially in urban fantasy and YA, I don't mind a good love triangle myself, if it's done well. The first time I read a series with a good triangle in it was in the early Anita Blake books, between the werewolf Richard and the vampire Jean-Claude. There are other great ones out there, but there are also some clunky fails I've read in the past that make me shudder and pretend to throw my iPad across the room.

When I'm writing, there are certain devices I try to avoid if I want to bring the love triangle element into my story. So ... behold! A list I keep in mind when writing geometry influenced loving:

· Story is king. Your love triangle must to further the plot. Nothing is worse than having no reason for your Love Problem. If it's just some chick who can't decide between two cute guys, then she's just bragging. Fail.

· The triangle is predictable. If I can guess what's going to happen, or there's an obvious choice, then there's no tension. Why would I finish reading? The characters must have their own stakes in the story and also be appealing to the reader. It's a no brainer if one is eeeevil and one is a freaking saint.

· The decision should resonate with a deeper ideal. Make the decision a reflection of the life choices the protagonist is facing. Make the decision they have to make, have character developing elements.

· Don't make your protagonist a whinger. Someone who just goes on and on about it all. See first point about bragging. FAIL.

· Make the choice hard. Kind of relates to my second point. Engage the reader with interesting, three dimensional characters. Each character must offer the protagonist some different, something unique.

Keeping these elements in mind, I think a steamy triangle or even hexagon of mad hot love is always going to be a winner.

Rebekah lives in sunny Queensland and has worked in the past as a graphic designer. She now does freelance work when her kids are looking the other way. An avid writer since she could scrawl in her dad’s expensive encyclopedias, she has progressed from horsey stories to tales of dark fantasy with lashings of romance and a sprinkling of horror.

Her vices include eating overpriced ice cream, over analyzing 80s action and horror movies and buying stationery she just doesn’t need.

Find Rebekah and her books

Chaos Bound
Chronicles from the Applecross #2
The long-awaited sequel to Chaos Born takes us back into the Applecross, where Lora faces increasing threats to her survival and her chance at love.

Lora Blackgoat — mercenary and smuggler — has only just recovered from the last threat on her life and hasn’t even begun to sort out the mess of having both a nephilim warrior and a reborn hellspawn as potential lovers. Work should be a refuge, but a job finding missing persons puts her in the crosshairs of a violent gang and a merchant with a taste for blood sport.

Reluctantly, Lora turns to the two men in her life for help. Roman — the nephilim — professes to be her soul mate and turns to her when he feels the darkness of nephilim madness descending. But though Lora is drawn to Roman, it is Seth, ex-lover and reborn hellspawn, who Lora must ultimately ask to protect those she loves. Can she trust Seth to save Roman and her adoptive family, or will this be a fatal mistake?

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Covet Release Day Blast

Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website and follow them on Twitter, LIKE their Facebook page, and join the Book Club.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Covet's December releases:

Beg Me to Slay by Lisa Kessler

He’ll slay her demons, but it may cost her heart…

Four years ago Tegan Ashton was attacked. Determined never to be a victim again, she devotes her life to martial arts and self-defense. When her assailant returns to finish what he started, only one person can help her.

Gabe is a private investigator by day and demon slayer by night. After losing loved ones, he vows to defend people from a threat they don’t realize exists.

The relationship is supposed to be strictly business, but fighting demons together stirs up emotions they never expected. Turns out demon slaying is a breeze compared to facing their scarred pasts and even worse - hearts.

Ashes by Sarah Gilman

Journalist Ambrosia Pellerin accepts an assignment involving the legendary phoenix, expecting, if nothing else, a little entertainment. Instead, she winds up pregnant—by a surprisingly human-looking firebird, Reece Bennu.

As the Phoenix prince, Reece is next in line to the throne and expected to marry a purebred royal. A common human such as Ambrosia is not in the cards. He swears, though, he’ll never be an absentee father.

As Ambrosia’s due date grows closer, so do the soon-to-be parents. But will their tentative love survive the prejudice of Reece’s grandmother, who will stop at nothing to tear the two apart?

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week in Review: 12/22-12/28

Books Ive Bought/received

* Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey- Publisher

* Salt by Danielle Ellison -eARC- Netgalley

Books I Read

Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey
Three by Kristen Simmons
Temptation by Fire by Tiffany Allee
Salt by Danielle Ellison

Reviews Posted

Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy
Angelbound by Christina Bauer
The Spider by Jennifer Estep
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrew


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

*Monday- Guest blog and Giveaway for Snow White and the Vampire by Marina Myles


* 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, December 28, 2013

Early Review: Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy

Born In Blood
Release Date: December 31, 2013
Publisher: Zebra
The Sentinels Book #1
ISBN:  1420125141
ISBN13: 9781420125146
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source:
In a stunning new paranormal romance series—even edgier than her bestselling Guardians of Eternity books—New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Ivy lures readers into the dark, seductive world of the Sentinels—humans outcast by their hidden abilities, treading the line between life and death, good and evil, pleasure and pain…

Born In Blood

Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. A beautiful erotic dancer is found murdered in her home—no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.

Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line…literally.

I can't put my finger on why but I had a hard time getting through BORN IN BLOOD. I am sure typing out my review will make it clear to me. It was one of those books that you want to finish reading but you find yourself skipping over a few parts to get through it faster to find out what happens in the end.

I found Duncan to be a little too pushy at times but he was suitably protective when needed and tolerant of those in Callie's life (except Fane of course). Callie comes off really fragile and quite but hides a strong woman underneath. The two work well together and make a believable couple. The secondary cast of characters seemed to be the ones who kept me reading though. The world building could have used more explanation and it felt like we were always being cut short on information that we needed to finish a scene. The villain of the story just annoyed the heck out of me. I skipped most of his dialog. 

By the end I didn't really feel like I was emotionally invested in the main characters. The events of the story did however bring out emotion in me so I am giving the story a little more star power because of that. I don't think I will go out of my way to pick up book 2 but I will look into who the main characters of the story will be in case that changes my mind.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: Angelbound by Christina Bauer

Release Date: December 17, 2013
Publisher: Ink Monster LLC
Angelbound Book #1
ISBN13:  9780989405003
Genre: Young Adult
Review Copy Source: Netgalley
Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.

I will admit it, I wasn't crazy about the blurb for ANGELBOUND and procrastinated when it came to starting it. From the first chapter I was hooked.

Everyone that lives in Purgatory has a purpose. Myla goes to school but she also fights in the arena and happens to be the best fighter they have. Her mom is extremely over protective but Myla loves what she does and has no want to give it up. Myla has never really been interested in boys until she meets Lincoln. They are both drawn to each other but also get on each others nerves. It's pretty comical watching them fight with each other. His whole race is a bit wonky when it comes to the roles or perceived roles of men and woman. I instantly liked Lincolns mom and looked forward to parts where she was present. They story was extremely well written. The author seemed to know when to shell out information to cause the best reaction. The world building was complex. There are a lot of things that made up the world but I never felt lost or overpowered with information.

I am left with so many questions. When will they get to be together? Will she leave Purgatory to be with him? Half time there, half time here? They MUST be together! How do their parents feel now? So many questions, so long of a wait to find the answers. SCALA will be here in May.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

The Spider
Release Date: December 24, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN:   1451689012
ISBN13: 9781451689013
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
The tenth book in the bestselling and “outstanding” (Romantic Times) Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series finally reveals for the first time the origins of Gin Blanco’s career as the deadliest of assassins.

For the first time, the origins of Gin Blanco’s career as the deadly assassin “the Spider” are revealed in full. In a story that pre-dates the other nine books in the series, Gin Blanco goes through her paces to become the most feared assassin in the Ashland.

THE SPIDER brings us back to the beginning of Gin's career. I admit that it was a little weird at times and I know this will sound bad but I really enjoyed watching Gin stumble around and make crazy decisions based on anything but her head. Seeing Fletcher again was nice as well. He is present in other novels but he was front and center for a good chunk of THE SPIDER. You can really get a feel for their connection as well as how he trained Gin.

As for the plot, I enjoyed it. It was a little predictable and I wasn't crazy about all the coincidental run ins involving people who are now in her life but I still enjoyed reading about Gin's adventure and trials as a new assassin trying to find herself. Could I have gone on with the series without reading THE SPIDER? Probably, but I wouldn't want to. Jennifer is a fantastic writer and Gin is a fantastic character that I can not seem to get enough of. I am patiently (OK maybe not so patiently) waiting for POISON PROMISE and I am looking forward to getting back to the present day with Gin and her gang. 

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Clean Sweep
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
ISBN13:  9781625173430
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source:Author
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
I've wanted to read CLEAN SWEEP since it was introduced as a free serial on Ilona Andrew's Website, but didn't want to sit at my computer screen to read it. When I saw the authors were offering up review copies to bloggers I jumped at the chance to read it from the comfort of my e-reader.

CLEAN SWEEP introduces a fun and well-built new world with a great cast of characters. The paranormal elements were fresh and interesting with a nice balance of the real world thrown in. I had no issue picturing the characters, especially Dina. She ends up being nothing like the typical innkeeper because she gets involved where others would not. We dive right into a bit of her past and why she's an innkeeper. I look forward to learning more in future books. There is a bit of a love triangle involved. Sean is an ex-military werewolf that knows nothing about the history of his people and happens to be Dina's neighbor. Then there is Arland the vampire soldier that's introduced during the conflict of the story. He ends up as a resident of the Inn for the duration. The two men clash at every turn and fight for Dina's affection when they can. The romance is very light but it's nicely played out with plenty of drama and frustration.

I wasn't crazy about the ending but it didn't take away much from the story. It would have just been nice to have a happy type ending after all the drama that the love triangle caused. I guess I will just have to read book 2 when it's available to find out what happens next. Any fan of the writing duo known as Ilona Andrews will fall right into The Innkeeper series and hang on for the ride.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

New Releases: 12/22-12/28

Mon Dec 23rd

 Ashes to Ashes (Ashes #1) by Melissa C. Walker

Tues Dec 24th

Thur Dec 26th

 Control (Control #1) by Lydia Kang

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Snow White and the Vampire by Marina Myles

UFI welcomes Marina Myles Author of The Cursed Princes Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Fellow creatures of the night. If you love the holidays as much as I do then this post is right up your alley!


That’s right! Online shopping means you won’t have to go out in the daylight. And if you overnight your purchase, you’ll have it time for Christmas. Sigh of relief!
After surfing the internet while enjoying a glass of Vampire wine (yes, they have that) here are my favorite presents:

~ Vampire Lover’s Pajamas ~ Come alive at night in these cozy PJs…

~ Vampire Wine~ “Bloody good!”

~ Key Chain ~

Clue the world in on your vampire obsession with…

~Baseball Cap~
What could be better for a bad hair day!


~ Bumper Sticker~

Entertain the car behind you with this heartfelt message! http://www.zazzle.com/vampire+lover+gifts?pg=3

~ Pet Shirt ~

Get your dog in on the act!


~ Clock ~

I’m not a big fan of Twilight, but I thought this item was so cute…


~ Vampire Perfume ~ Explore your senses!


~ The Entire Series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ~

Love the T.V. show? You can wear your cozy PJ’s, drink your Vampire wine, and wear your Vampire perfume while you watch every season!


~ Bram’s Stoker’s Dracula Novel ~

How about the latest annotated version of the story that started it all!

Hope you enjoyed this holiday gift extravaganza! And I hope you (or your vampire lover) are easier to shop for than your mother-in-law! Lol!

Although Marina Myles lives under the sunny skies of Arizona, she would reside in a historic manor house in foggy England if she had her way. Her love of books began as soon as she read her first fairy tale and eventually led to degrees in English Literature and Communications. Now, with her loyal Maltese close by, she relishes the hours she gets to escape into worlds filled with fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs.

She’s busy being a wife and a mother, but she is never too busy to hear from her amazing readers.

Find Marina and her books

Snow White and the Vampire  
The Cursed Princes #2
Amazon BN iTunes eKensington Blio

Fog And Fascination

Alba Spencer thought her past in Romania and the dark magic that haunted it was behind her forever. She is one of the first female barristers now, safe in London. But London has its dark side, too. A man called the Ripper stalks the midnight streets. There are rumors that her hated stepmother has found her again, suggestions that the nightmares of her childhood are returning. And with them appears the cursed Gypsy boy she once loved, grown into a man more seductive and more terrifying than she ever could have dreamed…

Dimitri Grigorescu has become a surgeon, a gentleman—and a vampire. The lusts that drive his body are scarcely under control, and even he does not truly know what he is capable of. To fight evil and confusion, Alba must rely only on her wits—and a desire that overwhelms her doubts…

 Tour Wide
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week in Review: 12/15-12/21

Books Ive Bought/received

*Temptation by Fire Tiffany Allee- eARC- Netgalley

* Three Kristen Simmons- eARC- Netgalley

Books I Read

Falling Light by Thea Harrison
The Collection by Shannon Stoker
Dark Cravings by Madeline Pryce
The Eve by Kerry Taylor

Reviews Posted

 Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin


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

* Monday- Guest Blog and Giveaway for Taken by Felicity Starr

* Tuesday- Promo and Giveaway for Reaver by Larissa Ione

* Wednesday- Interview and Giveaway for Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity Heaton

* Thursday- Guest blog for Christmas Eve Surprise by Ivy Bateman

* Friday- Promo and Giveaway for Dragon Awakened by Jaime Rush


* 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, December 21, 2013

Review: Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin

Becoming Alpha
Author:Aileen Erin
Release Date: December 17, 2013
Publisher: Ink Monster
Alpha Girl Book #1
ISBN13: 9780989405010
Genre: Young Adult
Review Copy Source: Netgalley
Tessa McCaide has a unique talent for getting into trouble. Then again, it isn’t easy for a girl with visions to ignore what she sees. Luckily Tessa and her family are leaving California and moving halfway across the country, giving her the perfect opportunity to leave her reputation as “Freaky Tessa” behind.

But Tessa doesn’t realize that kissing the wrong guy in her new Texas town could land her in far more trouble than she ever imagined. Like being forced to attend St. Ailbe’s Academy, a secret boarding school for werewolves.

Even if the wrong guy did accidentally turn her into one of “them” and doom her to attending the weirdest high school ever, Tessa can’t help her growing attraction to the mysterious Dastien Laurent.

When vampires attack St. Alibe’s and her visions pinpoint an enemy in their midst, Tessa realizes that boy drama and her newfound canine tendencies might just be the least of her problems.
I'm honestly not surprised that I ended up loving BECOMING ALPHA. The cover does a great job of catching your interest and the blurb draws you in even further. Once you start reading you cant help but wonder what could possibly be better than the situation the characters are in only to be proven wrong when the next chapter starts. I could not put BECOMING ALPHA down and when it was over I scrambled to find out when book 2 was going to be released. 

Tessa is already part of what I would consider the paranormal world before she's even introduced to St. Alibe's Academy. She has had the gift of touch from as far back as she can remember. When she becomes a werewolf her uniqueness takes on a whole new meaning. Before Tessa and Dastien even meet they have a connection. When their eyes connect for the first time you can tell that they will be a couple to reckon with. They don't disappoint. Dastien being the one to doom Tessa to her new fate doesn't help her want to jump into a relationship or put her trust in him but it definitely brings them closer together in the end. Watching them struggle through their feelings and the needs that come along with them being werewolves brought a good amount of suspense to the story. Watching them fall for each other in new ways gave you the romance you might be seeking and watching them fight for each other and their friends helps you connect with everyone that much more. I can't think of one thing I didn't like or enjoy about reading BECOMING ALPHA.

I'm excited to see what will happen next between Tessa and Dastien. The cover for AVOIDING ALPHA isn't as exciting but I wont hold it against them. BECOMING ALPHA was a great start to this new series.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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