Monday, October 31, 2016

Review: The Surrendered by Case Maynard

The Surrendered
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing
ISBN:  0997010460
ISBN13: 9780997010466
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

The cover for THE SURRENDERED didn't really drab me in, but I read the blurb and thought, "Wow, what a crazy premise for a story". I was definitely intrigued and decided to give it a shot.

The characters were well developed, the storyline had a great flow and the world was unique and filled with drama, danger and situations that make you think that this could really happen. Everything about THE SURRENDERED kept me reading.

The main character, Vee, was very well thought out and put together. She is very strong-willed, bold, and will fight tooth and nail for what is right, even if it puts her life in danger. She was very easy to look and root for. I honestly had no issue with any of the characters that we were supposed to like. There is a bit of romance in THE SURRENDERED. Not IN YOUR FACE romance, but light and in the background romance. I would have loved to see it explored more.

The world was very realistic. I pictured everything that was talked about and nothing was so out there that I couldn't imagine it. The story unfolded at a nice pace with plenty of action and details. It really feels like THE SURRENDERED is just the start of a bigger story. It in no way feels finished and even ends on a note that leaves you thinking there will be more. I will keep an eye out to see if there will be a follow-up book.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week in Review: 10/23-10/29

Books Received for Review

Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

Books I've Read

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
The Bound by K.A. Linde

Reviews Posted

Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson
Shadow Marked by Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton
Quanta Reset by Lola Dodge


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

* Monday- Guest Blog + Giveaway for Black and Blue by JC Andrijeski

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson


* 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, October 28, 2016

Review: Quanta Reset by Lola Dodge

Quanta Reset
Author: Lola Dodge
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Ink Monster
ASIN:   B015GI4B46
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher
Quanta has escaped her laboratory prison, but that’s where the good news ends.

Life at the Shadow Ravens’ compound is a disaster. She’s drowning in visions of the dark pasts and darker futures of her fellow Ravens and is plagued by her own panic-inducing memories, but Lady Eva still expects her to “train” and “participate in missions.” Plus, the food tastes like burnt plastic.

The only bright spot is her genetic pairing to the brilliant Altair Orpheus. As their relationship grows, she’s positive that chemicals aren’t the only things drawing them together—although chemistry is definitely involved.

While they test the limits of her game-changing new ability to reset time, word arrives from Eva’s agents: Doctor Nagi is still experimenting with her DNA. If he succeeds in duplicating her power…

Forget the Shadow Ravens. The whole world is toast.

I had enjoyed both of the books so far in The Shadow Ravens series so when I saw that it was continuing with QUANTA RESET, I didn't hesitate to grab a review copy.

QUANTA RESET continues the series with a great quick pace and easy flow.  The characters continue to develop and learn what they can do on their own and as a team. Quanta is having a hard time being so close to so many people, but Altair continues to be a great support to her. Although I liked the story and didn't have any issues getting through it, there wasn't much suspense and there wasn't a whole lot happening like in the previous two books. It was more of a filler book.

QUANTA RESET ends pretty suddenly, which does makes you want to read more. It looks like book four, QUANTA REWIND, will once again feature Quanta's story. I do miss Cipher being the main gal though so I hope we might have more of her in the next book.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Early Review: Shadow Marked by Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton

Shadow Marked
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Publisher: Blue Bolt Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author
In the Shadows of Salem, there are no good guys...

For years, Detective Brooke Chandler has been deliberately shielded from the supernatural world. But now that the supernaturals know about her, there's no line they won't cross to harness her powers for their own wicked needs.

To stay alive, Brooke needs to learn what it means to be a Shadow. Unfortunately, the one person willing to help her may be just as guilty of using her unique skills for his own gain as the people she is trying to escape.

Her training comes at a price: helping a fae lord find several dangerous artifacts and shadowing them from his enemies. But the more she uses her abilities, the deeper she becomes embroiled in the cutthroat societies closing in on her. Soon, Brooke finds herself hemmed into a corner, condemned to make an impossible choice that might destroy the human world as she knows it.
It was easy to get back into the Shadows of Salem world with SHADOW MARKED.

If you read my review of book one, SHADOW BORN, you know I felt the closure part of the murdered fiance storyline was lacking. Going into SHADOW MARKED, I was hoping that that part of the story wouldn't be as dominant to the storyline and I am happy to report that it wasn't. There is mention—it would be weird if there wasn't—, but there is a whole new storyline to follow and fall into. YAY!

There is a ton of action in SHADOW MARKED. There's also trouble at every turn. We find out a little bit more about Brooke's parents, but we definitely need more answers. The "relationship" between Brooke and Maddock is SO frustrating. There is so much attraction and sexual tension between the two that I just want to grab them and shove them together. Uggh, so frustrating.

The ending is WOW. I was not expecting that and I am dying to see what happens. Book three needs to get here NOW.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review + Promo + Giveaway: Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson

Of Flame and Light
Author: Cecy Robson
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Self-Published
Weird Girls Book #7
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Amazon iBooks | Barnes Noble | Kobo

Taran Wird holds the unique ability to conjure fire and lightning. She is mated to Gemini, Second in Command to the Squaw Valley Pack of the Lake Tahoe Region, and the sole werewolf to possess the ability to split into two wolves. And although they are mates, Taran's insecurities have driven them apart.

Devastated by an injury that left her with a zombie-like limb, Taran struggles to regain command over her magic. But when her arm and her power turn against her, lashing out on those she most loves, she knows she can no longer carry this burden alone. Not that she likes the alternative.

The only way to regain control of her magic is to align and learn from the local coven of witches―the very ones who sought to banish her when she and her three unique sisters first moved to the mystical region. But although Taran is trying, the teachings don't come easy, and the tasks leave her weak and emotionally shattered.

Yet Taran must learn and learn fast. Time is running out. The fire she once mastered so easily has become her greatest adversary and is now slowly burning her alive . . .

Taran still hasn't come to terms with losing her arm and the replacement arm that she now has. On top of that the arm knows she can't stand it and goes on the offensive and causes trouble at every turn and puts her family in danger. To try and get things under control, Taran is forced to seek help from the coven and the woman that tried to banish her and her sisters—oh and spends way too much time with Taran's man!

OF FLAME AND LIGHT was a roller coaster of emotions and events. Taran is in a really dark place and it was hard not to fall into it with her. It absolutely amazed me how utterly blind Gemini was when it came to how Taran saw his relationship with Genevieve. He truly didn't understand and it totally blew my mind. I would have thought the same exact things she did and probably acted the same way. It was heartbreaking to watch and I'm glad everything worked out the way it did by the end of OF FLAME AND LIGHT.

I loved the change of scenery that we got with book seven. We get to learn quite a bit about how the witches work and I really enjoyed a few of the new characters that were introduced. Even though OF FLAME AND LIGHT was Taran's book and she has to do a lot of her soul searching and training on her own, it was still great to see the other Wird sisters, their mates and their allies from the previous books. It's great that they all continue to grow with each installment, even when the focus is on another.

I'm not sure what is scheduled to come next for the Weird Girls Series, but I can't imagine not getting more and I will be on the lookout to add book eight to my wishlist.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Excerpt #1:

Son of a bitch.
I groan as I roll onto my back. I’d like to say this is the first time I’ve been knocked unconscious. I’d also like to say my boobs are the same size, but hey, such is my life.
Dirt. All I sense is that and dank heaviness that accompanies a . . . cave? Through the fog taking up residency along my brain, I make out a dim glow. It takes me a moment to realize it’s coming from my light-saber arm. I push up on my hands, grimacing when my fingers sink into the soil. Yet it’s what I see when I glance up that has me scrambling to my feet.
A lonely hand scuttles by me, chasing after a rat. Oh, but it gets better. I press my back against a dirt wall as a foot hops by, chasing after the hand, that’s chasing after the rat, with a decapitated head rolling —I shit you not—merrily behind them.
It’s like some kind of fucked up nursery rhyme. I don’t want to know the next verse, especially not with the collection of zombies gathering from all sides. These are different from the ones who pulled us onto shore. Their grisly faces are more emaciated and their bodies are in a more advance stage of decomposing. As they shuffle toward me, pieces of their skin fall in small moist clumps.
I hold out my hand. “Stay back.”
They collectively moan.
And move closer.
I grit my teeth, summoning that spark from deep in my core. The dank air seems to enclose around me, giving me a chill and snuffing out my inner heat.
Shit, shit, shit.
On wobbly legs, I slide my back against the dirt wall, my hands out. The zombies gather closer, cocking their heads, their empty sockets mesmerized by the glow of my arm. At first, I think they’re simply curious. But then their short thick tongues push forward, appearing to lick what’s left of their lips.
I jump when another hand scrambles by, its pinky brushing against my foot. My back presses against the dirt wall as I slide against it. I’m not sure where to go. I only know I can’t stay here.
I bang my fists against the wall, trying to stimulate my fire. My left hand doesn’t react, tensing uselessly. But that spark I so need triggers from my right arm, igniting flames along the path of my blue veins only to putter out.
Come on, light.


Cecy Robson is an award-winning author of magical realms, to-die-for Alpha heroes, and young adult adventure. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and published author of more than fifteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Find Cecy and her books
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Black and Blue by JC Andrijeski

UFI welcomes Author JC Andrijeski. Thanks for Joining us!!

Bangkok Halloween
Guest Blog by JC Andrijeski

I’m an Amreican living in Bangkok, which means every year around this time, I experience Bangkok Halloween. Holidays are always kind of a trip when you live abroad, anyway. They were weird when I lived in India and while they might be somewhat less weird here, they still have a distinctly different flavor than they do in the States.

I’m lucky living here though, in terms of American holidays –– Bangkokians love a good party. They’re also wide open to celebrating any event deemed interesting by the locals, whether Thai or not. It doesn’t hurt that there are a ton of Americans living here. 

I learned this my first Halloween living here, when I decided to venture out and see if I could find some fellow ghouls and goblins for some (mostly) harmless Halloween fun. Even though there wasn’t the full range of kids trick-or-treating on the streets or decorations in all the stores... there were a TON of Halloween bashes. There was even a Halloween street fair for kids and families, along with haunted houses, a big horror film event, numerous costume parties and other themed events at bars and restaurants for the more “adult” take of Halloween.

Thailand has a big market for paranormal stuff in general, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. They have a yearly Comicon in Bangkok, and of course all the supernatural and romantic and action movies, as well as most of the television shows. My first Thai teacher was a HUGE Supernatural fan, (meaning the television show) and we’d often get totally sidetracked in lessons to talk about that, the Vampire Diaries and all else sexy and supernatural.

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel too out of place here, despite the culture gaps. Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Halloween in the States. It’s probably “the” holiday for a lot of my friends... and I really miss the kid side of things, and all the decorations and craziness.

Also, in a tropical climate, you just don’t get the colors from the leaves changing or the carved pumpkins or fireplaces... or the fall skies. The weather alone is a pretty stark reminder of being in a distant land.

Still, I have to say, I really love where I live. It works well for me as a writer too, so for now at least, I might just have to plan more visits to colder climes during the spooky time of the year...
Until then, Happy Halloween everyone!

JC Andrijeski is a USA TODAY bestselling author who writes paranormal mysteries and apocalyptic fiction, often with a sexy, romantic and metaphysical bent. JC has a background in journalism, history and politics, and loves martial arts, yoga, meditation, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, painting… and of course reading and writing. She grew up in the Bay Area of California, but travels extensively and has lived abroad in Europe, Australia and Asia, and from coast to coast in the continental United States. She currently lives and writes full-time in Bangkok, Thailand.

Find JC and her books

Black and Blue
Quentin Black Mystery #5
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iBooks Google Play BN Kobo Omnilit Smashwords
"He'd be fresh meat here. And he didn't have his sight..."

Black takes a new consulting gig with the LAPD, helping them find a contract killer who left a dead body behind the Los Angeles Theater. Despite Miri's lingering fears after what happened to him during the last murder case he worked, he assures her it's routine, that he won't be doing fieldwork, that nothing could possibly go wrong.

Then, during his first night on the job at the Port of Los Angeles, all hell breaks loose and all bets are off.

Black wakes up in a nightmare he couldn't have foreseen, with no way out and no idea how he got there. Robbed of his psychic sight, he can't even call to Miriam for help, or use his abilities to figure out where he is, who took him, or what they want from him.

On the outside, Miri is frantic, working with the police and Black's team to find him. She has even less information than Black... until a confession from her Uncle Charles brings her face to face with a much older enemy, the same enemy that may have killed her entire family.

BLACK AND BLUE is book five in the paranormal mystery romance starring brilliant but dangerous psychic detective, Quentin Black, and his partner, forensic psychologist Miri Fox.
Book Trailer:

Tour Wide

Spooktacular Wide

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week in Review: 10/16-10/22

Books Received for Review

Dauntless by Shannon Mayer

Books I've Read

Bound by Magic by Jasmine Walt
Hunted by Magic by Jasmine Walt
Marked by Magic by Jasmine Walt
Betrayed by Magic by Jasmine Walt
Dragon Heartstring by Juliette Cross

Reviews Posted

 Nemesis by Anna Banks
Beast of All by J.C. McKenzie


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

* Monday- Interview + Giveaway for Blood Bound by Traci Douglass

* Tuesday- Release Day Blitz + Giveaway for Of Flame And Light by Cecy Robson

* Wednesday- Guest Blog + Giveaway for Rendezvous With Yesterday by Dianne Duvall

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway for Soul Keeper Series by L.A. Starkey – Box Set Sale!

* Friday- Interview + Giveaway for Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter


* 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, October 21, 2016

Interview + Giveaway: Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

UFI welcomes Author Faith Hunter. Thanks for Joining us!!

Faith answers questions from the Beast Claws, her Street Team.
Q – How did Occam get from spending 20 years in a cage with a carny show to being a PsyLed officer? 
Faith – That is the subject of a short story someday. Shhh. Spoilers.

Q – Is it Occam, as in Razor? And is the name some kind of hint?
Faith – Yes, except he pronounces it with a long O at the front. Because he’s Texan and was uneducated when he chose the name.

Q – How old is Occam?
Faith – Somewhere between 28 and 38. He hasn’t told me yet.

Q – Will we see more (ahem) of Occam with Nell?
Faith – This is a very delicate question. For Nell, sex is something you do because you have to. Pleasure and passion have never been part of it. Sex was a bargain she kept, nothing more. So to Nell, it is unromantic, and purely physical and probably uncomfortable. Occam would want more. He would want the thrill of the chase and the build of passion and fireworks. Nell would as soon shoot a potential lover who chased her. Been there, killed that. So the short answer is, I don’t know. I hope so. 

Q – What is the nature of the relationship of the weres with their inner animal? Is it different in weres born human, and weres born animal?
Faith – Last one first: yes the nature of the creatures are very different. The born animal is much more feral, untamable, a predator in the purest respect. As to the first question, that is something that I may need to reveal in the future so I have to keep that one close to the vest for now. 

Q – Will Rick ever be able to transform into his cat form?
Faith – I think if I gave that away, it would be a huge spoiler for the rest of the trilogy. So … You’ll have to wait and see!


Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)

Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.

Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

Find Faith online at her website, her blog, on TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads.

Curse on the Land
Soulwood #2
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Set in the same world as Faith Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the second Soulwood novel tells the story of a woman whose power comes from deep within the earth...

Before Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she had no one to rely on, finding strength only in in her arcane connection to the dark woods around her. But now she has friends in the newly-formed PsyLED team to keep her grounded—even if being part of the agency responsible for policing paranormals presents dangers of its own...
After training at the PsyLED academy, Nell returns home to her woods to find the land feeling sick and restless. And that sickness is spreading. With the help of her team, under the leadership of agent Rick LaFleur, Nell tries to determine the cause. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that awaits: an entity that feeds on death itself. And it wants more...


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Review: Nemesis by Anna Banks

Author: Anna Banks
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Nemesis Book #1
ISBN:   1250070171
ISBN13: 9781250070173
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But Mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift may be able to save Tarik’s kingdom. But should she risk exposing herself and her growing feelings for her nemesis?

NEMESIS kept my attention from front to back and when it was over, I wanted to read more.

I have seen a few other reviews mention that they didn't like the cover from NEMESIS, I am the opposite. It intrigued me from the moment I saw it and was the reason I read the blurb. After reading NEMESIS it makes complete sense as it really represents Princess Sepora. Speaking of Sepora, I LOVED her. She's strong, opinionated, feisty, willing to do the hard things to get what she wants out of life and to help those that need it. She was the whole package in my book.

There is a romance in NEMESIS and thankfully no love triangle. Tarik and Sepora have a great connection. They are both frustrated by and highly attracted to the other throughout the book and their banter brings out a lot of laughs. It wasn't easy for either to trust the other, but I really enjoyed watching their connection grow.

The world was highly thought-out and built. There are a lot of differences between the 5 kingdoms that make up the world and I was able to get a feel for them with the descriptions that were given. I really enjoyed the moments when Sepora and Tarik where out exploring Theoria. I felt like I was walking—or flying—with them. 

I have no complaints with NEMESIS. I had no problem staying in the story and was really interested in reading more when the last line was read. Sadly NEMESIS is only part of a duology so hopefully ALLY, book two, will leave me feeling like I read enough.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review: Beast of All by J.C. McKenzie

Beast of All
Release Date: October 19, 2016
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Carus Book #5
ISBN13:  9781509210046
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author

“Two months ago my world collapsed and the beast reigned.
Seven weeks ago the SRD captured me.
Nine days ago, they injected me with something vile.
Today, I break free.
And tomorrow?
I’ll make them pay.”

Badass Shifter Andy McNeilly wakes up from a horrible nightmare, only to discover it wasn’t a dream, and she’s no longer quite so badass. Chemically curbed, Andy has lost touch with her feras and beast when she needs them most. Can she regain control of her supernatural abilities in time to reap retribution from her enemies, or will she fall as fodder in a power play for control of Vancouver’s seedy underworld?

What an ending! I'm glad J.C. reached out to me a few years ago to review SHIFT HAPPENS and continued to reach out to me with each release after that.

I was EXTREMELY confused when I started reading BEAST OF ALL. I felt like I missed a lot and had to go back to SHIFT WORK and make sure it ended like I thought it did. It did, but the author skipped over a major event when starting BEAST OF ALL and it takes a while to grasp the emotions that Andy is feeling because we are kinda just dumped into them. Having said that, BEAST OF ALL was pretty emotional. There is heartache, happy endings and every emotion in-between and not only on Andy's side. Even with a lot of the emotions being heavy, Andy was able to work through what she needed to to get things done and never gives up.

BEAST OF ALL had a lot of action and was heavy on the drama. There is a lot of things going on in BEAST OF ALL, but the flow is great and there wasn't one moment where I didn't want to keep reading instead of doing laundry or maybe feed my kids lol.  Another great thing about BEAST OF ALL is that it wrapped up everything. We get a lot of final answers and I can honestly say that I don't have any questions left over.

I would love to say that I wasn't surprised at how things ended for the Carus series, but in its own way, it all makes perfect sense. I'm glad I was able to follow Andy's journey and I look forward to seeing what J.C. McKenzie comes up with next!

I gave it 4/5 stars

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