Sunday, September 30, 2018

Week in Review: 9/23-9/29

Books Received for Review

Nothing this week!

Books I've Read

Freezing Point by Grace Hamilton
City of Everdark by Debbie Cassidy
Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Re-Read)
Frostbite by Richelle Mead (Re-Read)

Reviews Posted

Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (@GraceDraven, @AceRocBooks)
The Boss by Abigail Owen (@AOwenBooks, @entangledpub)


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

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway: More than a Phoenix by Ashlyn Chase (@GoddessAsh, @SourcebooksCasa)

* Wednesday- Haunted Halloween Spooktacular: Immortal Descent by Carolyn M. Walker (@MissWriteWise, @CleanReads_, @RoxanneRhoads)

* Friday- Promo + Giveaway: Vampires Like It Hot by Lynsay Sands (@LynsaySands, @puretextuality, @avonbooks)


* 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, September 29, 2018

Review: The Boss by Abigail Owen (@AOwenBooks, @entangledpub)

The Boss
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
ISBN:  1640636749
ISBN13: 9781640636743
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Finn Conleth leads his team of enforcer dragon shifters with an iron fist and a cold heart. Every dragon seeks his destined mate, but the process to turn the woman he once thought was his killed her and devastated him. He will never risk his heart again. His team is his family now. When his body eventually gives out, he’ll leave, living his last days alone.

Delaney Hamilton moved across the country to escape the freak fires that plague her. But when another suspicious fire erupts and rapidly escalates around her, her hopes for a new life go up in smoke. She has no choice but to turn to the mysterious men who come to her aid.

Finn knows the fire is dragon-caused, which puts Delaney’s problems directly in his jurisdiction. No matter how her wounded grey eyes call to every part of him, he refuses to risk her life in the mating process.

Until another dragon threatens to claim Delaney for his own, and Finn has to sacrifice everything to keep her alive...

With plenty of action and a nice pace, THE BOSS was a pleasant read.

A few things stuck out to me when I was done reading THE BOSS. I really enjoyed the authors take on the dragon shifters. I really enjoyed the job they perform and the way they work together. There was plenty of action in THE BOSS between the firefights and fighting the bad guys. The secondary characters brought a lot to the table and I want to know more about them.

A few things I didn't love. We were kinda thrown into things without a whole lot of background given. I would have liked to know more about the dragons and even Delaney. The romance between Delaney and Finn started off pretty fast, but I didn't necessarily FEEL their connection as fiercely as it was explained.

I would read more in this world and I wouldn't mind seeing the other dragons find their mates.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Friday, September 28, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Vampires Like It Hot by Lynsay Sands (@LynsaySands, @puretextuality, @avonbooks)

Vampires Like it Hot
Argeneau #28
Amazon  Avon  BN GooglePlay  iBooks
New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands brings the heat in this new Argeneau novel, as one woman is rescued by an irresistible immortal …


When Raffaele Notte pulls a barely dressed, disoriented woman from the ocean, the last thing he expects is for her to utter that word. The immortal has come to the island resort to help his cousin, but now, it seems, there are rogue vampires dining on unsuspecting tourists. And he soon realizes that not only is Jess a target, she’s also the life mate he’s been waiting for…

Vampires are real. Jess would’ve never believed it until she saw them with her own eyes. She knows she has to get off the island, and her gallant rescuer has offered to help. There’s something about Raffaele that’s unlike any man she has ever met, and his touch sends pleasure through her that is beyond all imagining. But when Jess discovers who he really is, will she risk life as she knows it for a chance of forever by his side?

“It’s a woman.”
“Who is she?”
“She’s wearing a life jacket.”
“What happened?”
“How did she end up in the water?”
Raffaele shook his head at the rapid-fire questions shot at him by Zanipolo and Santo as he carried the woman out of the water. Rather than answer, he merely said, “Bring my clothes, please,” and walked past them, heading for the resort buildings.
The men had already gathered his clothes for him on the way down, so merely fell into step on either side of him as he walked.
“Is she alive?” Zanipolo asked with a frown, leaning slightly in front of Raffaele to look at the woman in his arms as they walked,.
“Yes,” Raffaele said quietly. “I think she has just fainted from her exhaustion.”
“Are you taking her to the resort clinic?” Santo asked as they reached the rows of lounge chairs at the head of the beach.
“No. I want to look her over myself first,” Raffaele said solemnly.
“Why?” Santo asked at once.
“Two reasons,” Raffaele responded as they made their way out of the rows of chairs and reached the concrete paths leading to the various resort buildings. Much to his relief the paths were pretty much deserted at this hour with most people already in bed, or situated in the bar enjoying the entertainment. There were only one or two guests making their way to their rooms and they paid them no attention.
“What is the first reason?” Santo asked as they approached the paths around the pools.
“I want to look her over for bites,” Raffaele admitted.
“Bites?” Zanipolo asked with interest. “What makes you think she might have been bitten?”
“Because when I asked her if she’d fallen off a boat or cruise ship, she said no, she jumped, and when I asked why, she said—” he glanced around to be sure no one was near enough to hear, and then lowered his voice anyway as he finished with “‘—vampires.’”
“Bingo,” Zanipolo said with grim satisfaction as they got past the pools and approached their building. “She’ll be able to tell us where the vampire nest is and how they operate. It’s got to be some kind of dinner cruise or something. Or it could be a day cruise. She could have had to swim a long way.” He frowned over that briefly as they reached their building and walked along the open hall to the stairs, and then asked, “What is the second reason you want to examine her before we take her to the resort clinic?”
“When I got to her she was beyond exhausted,” Raffaele said as they started up the stairs. “Her words were slurred and she could hardly keep her eyes open. I thought it would be easier all around if I read her mind to see what had happened, and took control of her to drag her in.”
“And?” Santo prodded as they exited the stairs at their floor and started along the hall to their room.
Raffaele was silent for a minute, having trouble accepting what he was about to say himself, but when they reached the door to their suite and Santo pulled out his key card to unlock the door, Raffaele swallowed and said in almost a whisper, “I couldn’t read her.”
Santo had got the door unlocked and started to open it before Raffaele spoke, but now he stiffened and turned sharply to peer at him with amazement. “What?”
Raffaele merely nodded.
“Score!” Zanipolo shouted gleefully. “Didn’t I tell you? I told you! Didn’t I? Hot resorts are the way to go to find our mates! I so toldyou that!”
“Yes, you did,” Raffaele admitted with amusement as Santo pushed the door open for him to carry his life mate into the room.
“And he’ll remind you of that every day for the rest of his life,” Santo said dryly as he let the door close, locked it, and then hit the light switch, turning on the overhead light.
“Sì, I will,” Zanipolo agreed gleefully, moving to Raffaele’s side to peer down at the woman he held. Eyeing her almost reverently now, he whispered, “Cugino, your life mate is very pretty.”
“Yes, she is,” Raffaele agreed solemnly, his gaze sliding over her as well. Her lips were full and looked soft, her nose straight, and while they were closed now, he knew her eyes were large and lovely, and an eggshell blue. Her hair, of course, was wet, but appeared to be a dark brown.
“What is her name?” Santo asked, moving closer to look her over as well.
Raffaele stiffened at the question. “I don’t know her name,” he admitted.
“You didn’t ask her?” Santo asked with surprise.
Raffaele shook his head.
“Are you kidding me?” Zanipolo asked with disbelief. “You finally meet your mate and you did not even ask her name?”
Raffaele opened his mouth to respond, but was forestalled when the woman in his arms suddenly began to shriek and thrash wildly about.


LYNSAY SANDS is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there’s occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web at

Find Lynsay and her books
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To celebrate the release of VAMPIRES LIKE IT HOT by Lynsay Sands, we’re giving away a paperback copy of Twice Bitten!


GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 9/28/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (@GraceDraven, @AceRocBooks)

Phoenix Unbound
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Ace Books
Fallen Empire Book #1
ISBN: 0451489764
ISBN13: 9780451489760
Genre: Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

PHOENIX UNBOUND wasn't only unique, it was captivating.

Both Gilene and Azarion have been through hell. Gilene is used year after year to save her village even though she suffers greatly for it and Azarion is forced to fight to the death while getting beaten and raped in between battles. I really enjoyed getting to know both characters and enjoyed watching them grow together while they navigated their freedom and captivity. Their depth of development was incredible and really let me fall into their story.

The romance between the two isn't instant, nor is it easy. It's both tragic and beautiful. It's very slow burn, but also all encompassing.

The feels in PHOENIX UNBOUND are bountiful. The battles were fierce. The characters were captivating and I had no trouble loving everything about it. I'm excited to read more about the characters and the world of the Fallen Empire series and plan on adding book two to my wishlist as soon as I see mention of it.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular: Immortal Descent by Carolyn M. Walker (@MissWriteWise, @CleanReads_, @RoxanneRhoads)

UFI welcomes Author Carolyn M. Walker. Thanks for Joining us!!

These easy “coffin bites” were simply ham and cheese sandwiches cut into the shape of coffins, then I wrote on them with black icing gel.

These were store-bought but still great! I simply baked sugar cookies as instructed then sprinkled them with orange and black sprinkles while still warm. The kids loved them!


Carolyn M. Walker is a California native and lover of all things literary. As an avid reader, she always enjoying new and exciting reads. Now as an avid storyteller, it is her mission to bring that same joy to her beloved readers. After earning her Bachelors in English Literature and Psychology, Carolyn went on to pen the draft for her first fiction novel and hasn’t looked back since. Aside from writing, she is also passionate about art, food, travel, history, and music. Carolyn has a soft spot for holiday cooking and loves experimenting with new recipes and treats. She also loves the beach, snorkeling and diving. Carolyn now lives in sunny Florida with her husband and daughter.

Find Carolyn and her books

Immortal Descent
Deep in the caves of rural Western Germany, the truth about immortality has remained a secret for centuries, but now that secret is about to break free...

Ethan West knows what it means to be different. With a haunted past and a strange sixth sense he sometimes can’t control, Ethan’s in search of a better future. Instead, he’s brutally attacked. Narrowly saved by the beautiful and mysterious Rue, Ethan quickly learns the world is darker and more bizarre than he had ever imagined. And sparing his life comes with a price: being reborn immortal.

But Ethan is a anomaly among the immortals, cursed beings—known as Lorns—descended from the Nephilim. He possesses an ancient and volatile power, far more dangerous than anything seen before. Now, a dark faction of Lorns are after him—and they want his newly awakened, rare soul.

Carolyn M. Walker's Urban Fantasy Thriller blends history, magic, and mystery into one, exploring the human condition among those who are no longer human. A psychological thriller with a supernatural twist.
 Excerpt 1:

The memory tore through him and had him shuddering on the couch. Ethan didn’t realize he was screaming until he felt Rue shaking him. His eyes flew open and he stared up at her face and into those bright silver eyes. For the briefest instant, all his fear melted away when he looked up at her. He remembered the shadowed eyes of the woman from the alleyway. These eyes were so different. Never had he seen eyes as hers before, so intense—so bright, so capturing. He held her gaze, almost afraid to look away. If he looked away, what would he see?

“Ethan, are you alright?” Rue asked in a quieter voice. It was soothing, so calming he couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed it before. “Can you speak?” she asked. He shook his head and he felt the anxiety wheedle its way back into his mind. The attack.

How could he have forgotten all of that?

“The woman—no, that thing…she tried to kill me,” he whispered at last. He felt his heart continuing to speed up.

“It’s just the memory now,” Rue assured. “It’s not happening to you anymore.”
Despite her words, Ethan glanced around the room, still paranoid. He tried to quiet the quickened breaths, afraid the memory might become real again if he made a sound any louder than a sigh.

“Just a memory,” he repeated and took a deep breath. Rue nodded and placed a hand on his shoulder. He reached up and took hers in his, squeezing it. “So that’s what happened to me—what I couldn’t remember.”

As much as he wanted to deny it, he couldn’t refute what he’d just seen. He couldn’t explain it; he couldn’t justify it. All he could think of in that moment was it was all real. What he’d just seen in those memories had been real.

“The woman—what was she?” Ethan asked, still speaking just above a whisper.

“It was a Lorn.”

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: More than a Phoenix by Ashlyn Chase (@GoddessAsh, @SourcebooksCasa)

More Than a Phoenix
Phoenix Brothers #2
Amazon  BN  Apple
What do you get when you take
Two phoenix shifter brothers
Throw in one powerful witch
And one...monkey shifter?

Mallory Summers is losing it. She's discovered she can talk to dead people--and she might be able to shift to monkey form. Firefighter Dante Fierro knows the quirky beauty isn't crazy--just supernatural. But what would she think if she knew his secret?

Hothead Noah Fierro has his own sparks flying with gorgeous ER doctor Kizzy Samuels. While the attraction is mutual, so are the supernatural secrets. With this much sizzle going on, how do you not get burned?

Fighting fires is easy... Finding love is the hard part.


“Why did you say no?” Ruth whispered from her spot on the buttery-soft leather sofa.
“I didn’t say no. I said ‘not now.’ It’s not the same thing,” Kizzy explained. Their father would be returning any minute. She had to shut down this conversation.
“It is to a guy. When was the last time you dated?”
Kizzy elbowed her sister in the ribs as their father ambled into the living room, scanning the thick tome in his hands.
“I don’t know, girls. I don’t see anything in here about who could be looking for the other books or why. We don’t even know for sure that there are two more. The story that the three together create unlimited power could be just that. A story. You swear you’ve felt someone probing, Ruthie?”
“I swear, Dad. I don’t know who it is, but the energy feels malignant.”
“Holy pickled pig’s feet!” Kizzy said. “Malignant? Are you sure?”
“Why is everyone questioning my psychic sense? I wouldn’t have said anything if the energy was neutral, benevolent, or if I wasn’t sure.”
“I’m sorry, Sis. Even though Dad and I are less psychic than you are, I would have thought we’d pick up on something like that.”
“Well, I don’t know about Dad, but you’ve had something else on your mind.” Ruth winked at her. “Besides, you can develop your psychic power, if you’re willing to spend the time practicing.”
“Oh? You’re distracted?” Their father picked up on the one thing Kizzy didn’t want to talk about. “Doctors like us can’t afford to let that happen. Is everything all right, Kizz?” He set the book on the mahogany coffee table and sat in the adjacent chair.
“Everything’s fine, Dad. Nothing to worry about.”
“Really? Because you girls know if there’s ever anything you need to talk about, I’m here for you. I’ve been both father and mother for fifteen years, and with the help of a nanny, I think I did a pretty good job.”
“You did. And we know you’ll always be there for us,” Kizzy said. “Don’t worry so much. You raised us to be independent women, able to handle ourselves.”
“Oh, go on. Tell him,” Ruth said.
“Tell me what?” He sounded alarmed. Now, he’d never let it go until she offered an explanation. She gave her sister the stink eye.
“There’s nothing to tell. It’s okay, Dad. Really. I just met a guy. Nothing may come of it.”
“She met a tall, dark, and handsome firefighter. And he asked her out. I hope she’ll give him a chance. It’s been too long, Kizz.”
“A firefighter? Oh, honey. That’s not a good choice. The job is dangerous. You’ll always be worried about him. And talk about crazy hours… They’re on for at least twenty-four at a stretch. I don’t see how that’s even legal. No one can function after a rough double shift. We both know that firsthand.”
“She turned him down,” Ruth said.
“Thank goodness.”
“Now, wait a minute,” Kizzy said. “I only said no for now, because of what Ruth was telling me. It sounded like a bad time. I didn’t necessarily turn him down for a date sometime in the future.”
Aaron Samuels sat forward. “It is a bad time. And so is any time in the future, as long as he’s a firefighter. I imagine that won’t change. They tend to be adrenaline junkies.”
“Come on, that’s an unfair generalization.” Kizzy knew she sounded defensive, but she didn’t care. “Noah’s whole family is part of the fire service. Keeping the city safe is a noble profession, and he seems to love it. Plus, he’s careful, and he does things for charity. He’s a good guy, Dad.”
“Noah? That’s his name?”
“And he works in Brookline?” her father asked.
“No. Downtown Boston.”
“Oh, cra—I mean, crumb bunny.”
“What does that mean?” Ruth asked and giggled.
“It means that’s a crummy place to work. He probably sees the worst of humanity there. If he were working here or in Chestnut Hill or somewhere in the suburbs, it might not be so bad.”
“For crying out loud, Dad. It’s the financial district! Not Dorchester or Roxbury. Maybe he’ll get a hot stock tip from a grateful broker. Why do you always assume the worst?”
“Dad, Kizzy, we need to focus on the book.” Ruth sent her an apologetic look. Clearly, she hadn’t expected the conversation to take such a pessimistic turn.
“Yes, you’re right, dear,” the elder Dr. Samuels said. “I wish I had your psychic powers, but I don’t. Male witches in our family have other gifts, but divination isn’t one of them. I have to rely on the two of you to keep me informed. Please put your love lives on hold until we figure out what this threat is. Please? Humor an old man, okay?”
Kizzy frowned. “I already did that, remember? I said ‘not now,’ and Ruth thinks I might have discouraged him altogether—even though I didn’t mean to.”
“And I’m engaged but without a date set, so I’m all yours for the time being. I’d rather not move back home though. Then I’d have to explain why to Gordon, and I don’t think he’d understand.”
“Look, I know you’re adults, but I’m still concerned for your safety. You’ll just have to put up with me being a little overprotective.”
“Don’t you think it’s time to tell Gordon the truth?” Kizzy asked.
“I’m not convinced it’s necessary yet,” their father said. “Until a date is set. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pushing you to get married. Neither one of you. I’d rather you be one hundred percent sure of the man’s love, devotion, and trust.”
Kizzy sighed. “I know, Dad. And believe me, I’m grateful I don’t have to put up with some of the pressure my friends do. They tell me about parental conversations that include phrases like ‘I won’t be around forever’ and ‘you need to get married before the dreaded 3–0.’”
“You have plenty of time, Kizz. I like your sister’s idea of developing your psychic powers. Maybe between both of you, the other books can be located.
“We don’t know what’s coming for us,” he continued. “If it’s as malicious as you say, we may be facing something truly evil. I never told you this, but on her deathbed, your great-grandmother begged us not to let ‘the entity’ get all three books.”
“The entity? That’s what she called…it? Or them?”
“I wish I knew more. We tried to get her to elaborate, but she died moments later.”

* * * *


 Ashlyn Chase has been a registered nurse for 20 years. During those years, she wrote articles for professional journals and a thesis, but eventually, thank goodness, discovered the joy and freedom of writing fiction.

Ashlyn considers herself lucky. Her degree in behavioral sciences is a combination of psychology and sociology, so she has worked with and studied people most of her life. She never has to write out exhaustive character sketches to understand her characters or predict how they will behave. That doesn't mean they don't surprise her. Sometimes they take her on grand unexpected journeys. For her, it gives "character driven novels" a whole new meaning.

Ashlyn has learned to go with the flow. To enjoy the journey is not only one of her writing goals, but also a challenge in life so she tries to follow where the story takes her. As such, she has lived in 17 different places over the years. At last, she's all settled down and comfy in New England.

Is there a grand design or do we decide our own fates? Perhaps if the powers-that-be have a plot, then they also give us the right to revise it. Ashlyn has certainly made detours on her path, but she thinks she's better for it. She's having fun at any rate and hopes that if she enjoys the journey, so will those around her—including her readers. (less)

Find Ashlyn and her books
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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Week in Review: 9/16-9/22

Books Received for Review

Freezing Point  by Grace Hamilton
Second Star by J.M. Sullivan
City of Everdark by Debbie Cassidy
Shadow and Ice by Gina Showalter

Books I've Read

Heart of Ice by Lisa Edmonds
Scattered Plume by J.M. Miller

Reviews Posted

City of the Lost by Debbie Cassidy (@amoscassidy)


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

* Monday- Guest Blog: Pawned by Laura Bickle (@Laura_Bickle, @RoxanneRhoads)

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway: A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas by Terry Spear (@TerrySpear, @SourcebooksCasa)

* Friday- Haunted Halloween Spooktacular: Flesh by Laura Bickle (@Laura_Bickle, @RoxanneRhoads)


* 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.