Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Promo & Giveaway: Dark Light of Day and Fiery Edge of Steel by Jill Archer

UFI welcomes Jill Archer Author of The Noon Onyx Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Excerpt Dark Light of Day:
“I’ve been watching you, wondering, waiting to see where you’d end up. After all, there are other demon law schools,” Seknecus said, making a moue of distaste that made it clear exactly what he thought of them. “But I was happy to see that you chose St. Lucifer’s.” 

Technically my mother chose St. Lucifer’s . . . But there seemed no reason to interrupt to clarify that bit of misinformation. Seknecus wandered around the room, picking through papers, flipping open and quickly shutting the front covers of various leather-bound books, never meeting my eye. I had no doubt, however, that his attention was fully focused on me. 

“So, you see, seeing your name on my list wasn’t exactly a surprise, although it appeared much later than I would have liked.” 

He did look at me then, with a frown of disapproval. I did my best to look expressionless because none seemed appropriate. It wouldn’t do to look amused, bored or, Luck forbid, rebellious. Seknecus stared at me with narrowed eyes and then went back to wandering. 

“You’ve got some catching up to do,” he said, addressing a copy of Sin and Sanction: Codification & Case Law. “It doesn’t matter why or what excuses you’ve got for yourself. You will be held to the same standards as everyone else, regardless of whose daughter you are. And you’ve missed a lot of class already.” 

I opened my mouth to protest, but he cut me off with a wave. 

“Manipulation class,” he clarified. “You’re going to have to work ten times as hard as everyone else just to pass. Quintus Rochester doesn’t go easy on students and he’s likely to see your absence during the early part of the semester as a challenge. You know, failing is not an option. Not if you want to live . . .”
Fiery Edge of Steel Excerpt
“You are familiar with Empyr wine, Ms. Onyx?” Rochester asked. 

I nodded warily. 

Angels were obsessed with apples. They took their love of this fruit very seriously, worshipping it as a symbol of the lost world they once ruled. A common motif in Angel art was the fallen apple that never rotted. Empyr wines were apple wines that were “enhanced” by some of the best Angel sommeliers in Halja. The enhancements were spells. Each batch had its own name, flavor, coloring, and associated spell. They were served upstairs in the Angels’ infamous restaurant on this building’s thirty-third floor. 

I’d had Empyr wine exactly two times in my life. Each time it had produced life-altering effects, although in an indirect manner and not of the kind I could have guessed. 

Friedrich turned back toward me and offered me the cup. Inside, the liquid was pink and fizzy and flecked with gold. I reached for the cup and there was a brief moment when I wasn’t sure Friedrich would let go. Was the spell tied to his touch? I yanked harder and the wine nearly spilled out of the cup as it broke free from his grasp. Rochester’s signature nudged mine, like a parent pinching an errant child. I glanced back at Ari, who gave me a tight smile. 

I tipped the cup to my lips and drank. Immediately, a bitter, chalky taste filled my mouth. I hid my grimace, finished, and handed the cup back to Friedrich. 

“This batch is called ‘Fortuna’s Favorites,’” Friedrich said. “Think you’re one of them?” 

Time will tell, I thought, but said instead, “Fortes fortuna adiuvat.” Fortune favors the bold. Another of Dorio’s sayings. Maybe Fitz had the right idea. 

Friedrich grunted. Ari grinned. 

Rochester held off magically pinching me again. Instead, he handed me a white linen napkin. 

“A gift from this batch’s sommelier,” he said. “Some words of wisdom regarding this semester’s assignment.” 

I choked back a laugh. From tea leaves to wine tannins, where Angels fear not to tread . . . I accepted the napkin and wiped my mouth gently. I’d been generous in this morning’s application of Daredevil Red lip paint. Who knew what my fortune might be if I added too much of that to the mix? But the laugh died in my throat as I looked down at my napkin. Slowly, a stain of words appeared: 

When traveling into the unknown, sometimes the biggest danger is the one you bring with you . . .

 Jill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.


Find Jill and her books

Dark Light of Day
Noon Onyx #1
Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million
Powell’s Books Book Depository IndieBound
 Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, and the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, the daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret: She was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of, and some would consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or to attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

Fiery Edge of Steel 
Noon Onyx #2
Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million
Powell’s Books Book Depository IndieBound
Lucifer and his army triumphed at Armageddon, leaving humans and demons living in uncertain peace based on sacrifice and strict laws. It is up to those with mixed demon and human blood, the Host, to prevent society from falling into anarchy.

Noon Onyx is the first female Host in memory to wield the destructive waning magic that is used to maintain order among the demons. Her unique abilities, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious Angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways.

When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, a task which will most likely involve trying and killing the patron demon of that area, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…
 Tour Wide
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anyone who tweets one of these will be entered to win ANY fantasy book of their choice from Book Depository (so long as Book Depository ships to your address) (up to $10.00). Contest ends on June 3, 2014. One tweet/entry per person.
Lucem in tenebras ferimus. Into the darkness, we bring light.” @archer_jill #DARKLIGHTOFDAY 

“When traveling into the unknown, sometimes the biggest danger is the one you bring with you…” @archer_jill #FIERYEDGEOFSTEEL
“One out of every two hunters who follow the Old Trail will not return.” @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE
Finally! I’m looking forward to seeing Noon embrace her fiery magic. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE 

Ari Carmine is smokin’ hot. I wanna see if Noon can forgive him for that nasty surprise at the end of B2. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE 

I heard a rumor that Rafe Sinclair makes a wish and I wanna know if it’s granted. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE 

Nocturo. Tall dark handsome. Heard his scalpel’s put to good use. Is he gonna threaten Brunus w it again? @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE 

I love the characters, but I’m really just in it for the monsters and magic. Bring on the ice demons! @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE 

Armageddon is over. The demons won. But it’s not as dark as all that. Parts of it are romantic and sweet. @archer_jill #NOONONYXSERIES

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: Before the Storm by Claire Ashgrove

Before the Storm
Release Date: April 21, 2014
Publisher: Untamed Spirit
Windwalker Book #1
ISBN:   1497369347
ISBN13: 9781497369344
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source:Author
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift--she can kill with the fury of the storm.

She should have known that kind of power wouldn't go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She's a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle's closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.

But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.

BEFORE THE STORM is the first book I have read from author Claire Ashgrove and it was a great introduction to her writing. BEFORE THE STORM starts out with Halle peeking in on the family that thinks shes dead. Just as she is about to jump in and defend the sister that is being physically and emotionally abused by her uncle a strange boy stops her. From that moment on Halle learns that she is not alone in the power she wields and she has to learn how to control it or she will never be able to protect those she cares about.

Halle comes across very hard headed, argumentative and somewhat of a loose cannon. I hate to admit it, but I didn't care for her at first. As I got to know Halle, her past was revealed and her attitude becomes understandable. Dealing with what she had and not knowing the people that she now finds herself in the company of is not easy for her. Especially since no one seems to be able to tell her the truth about anything.

The world is nicely built. I enjoy elemental type powers so I had fun learning about the powers used in BEFORE THE STORM. There was a lot of action, especially from mid book through the end. The characters seems to make their fair share of bad decisions but they all come together to help each other when needed.

The end left me feeling sad and a tad bit annoyed with Halle. Her decision process was sound, and I understand why she came to her decision, but I just felt like Halle was giving up and I don't see her as a quitter. I will have to read book 2 to find out how her decision turns out and to learn more about her story.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

New Release: 4/20-4/26

Mon April 21

 Before the Storm by Claire Ashgrove

Tue April 22

 Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
 TALKER 25 (TALKER 25 #1) by Joshua McCune

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Lost Library by Kate Baray

UFI welcomes Kate Baray Author of Lost Library. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Ritual of Writing

A comfortable spot, the best time of the day, a favorite computer—perhaps a typewriter or pen for those luddites out there. These are some of the components of my writing ritual. Getting in the right frame of mind can be helpful when you sit down each day to write. Following a ritual can even make one more productive. When I first started writing regularly, writing very quickly became an important part of each of my days. It wasn’t until after I’d been scribbling daily for several weeks, however, that I started to notice I have my own rituals.

I’m not particularly superstitious—even if some of my characters may be—but I do believe in the concept of rituals. For those who haven’t read my bio, I’ve been a dog trainer and have a trailing dog. It is very common in trailing to have what many trailing folks call a start ritual. There are certain steps that I follow each and every time I take my trailing dog out to train. Out of the crate, 3-5 minutes of walking around and sniffing, a systematic method for checking the area where he’ll be starting his trail, harnessing him the same way each time, presenting the scent article, and then providing him with the same start cue each time. Why do I and many other trailing dog handlers do this? Because it mentally prepares the dog for the upcoming task. It allows the dog to become more and more focused as the process unfolds. It also generates a good amount of enthusiasm for most dogs.

Why do I, or you, care about a trailing dog’s start ritual? Speaking for myself, I can say that I am that excited bloodhound. Because having a start ritual for writing prepares me mentally for the task, invites focus, and generates enthusiasm for the story and writing. While I may not adhere as strictly to my writing routine as I do my hound’s start ritual, I do try to be aware of the components of my ritual. Doing so allows me to help myself if I get stuck. If I’m having a hard time working, I may need to change location, tool, or schedule.

One of the interesting facts of my writing ritual is that I’m most productive early morning, evening, and late-night. The interesting part? I am not a morning person. I struggle to get going in the morning. But I can roll out of bed and write before I’ve had coffee, breakfast, a shower, or any of those other things that I routinely rely upon to get me started in the morning…if I incorporate some of other parts of my writing ritual.

So if you’re interested in writing, already writing, or have some other task that a ritual might aid—give it a try! And if there’s a ritual you practice to invite creativity or productivity, then tell me about it :) You can post responses in the comments

Kate Baray is a paranormal romance and urban fantasy writer. She lives and writes in Austin, Texas with the help of her spotty dogs and hound. Kate has worked as an attorney, a manager, a tractor sales person, and a dog trainer. All exciting and interesting jobs, but none so much as writing!

Find Kate and her books

Lost Library

Author Kate Baray begins her new paranormal romance series with Lost Library, a tale of werewolves, magic, adventure and romance. 
John Braxton arrives unannounced on Lizzie’s doorstep. Little does she know that when she invites him to a drink on the porch, Lizzie opens the door to a secret world of werewolves—oops, they don’t like that name!—Lycan, magic, spelled books, and power hungry evildoers. Caught up in one man’s search for power, Lizzie soon begins to uncover surprising secrets about her own past and powers. 

And romance with a serious but sexy Lycan? It might just happen…

Tour Wide

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edge April Release Blast

Edge, a digital-first single-title romance line from Entangled Publishing, takes its lead from their popular Select imprint but gives its novels an edge in the marketplace by bringing great stories to readers at reasonable prices in a quick-and-easy way. Whether sexy or sweet, traditional romance or love and lust with a women’s fiction bent, at the center of every Edge book is heart. From Urban Fantasy to Contemporary Romance to Science Fiction Romance, Edge has a book for all romance readers—and right at their fingertips! As they say, all’s fair in love and war. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Edge's April 21st releases!!

A Shot of Red by Tracy March

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Find Out More!

When biotech company heiress Mia Moncure learns her ex-boyfriend, the company’s PR Director, has died in a suspicious accident in Switzerland, Mia suspects murder. Determined to reveal a killer, she turns to sexy Gio Lorenzo, Communications Director for her mother, a high-ranking senator—and the recent one-night stand Mia has been desperate to escape. While negotiating their rocky relationship, they race to uncover a deadly scheme that could ruin her family’s reputation. But millions of people are being vaccinated, and there’s more than her family’s legacy at stake.

Undying Desire by Jessica Lee
Enclave #3

Special $0.99 Introductory Pricing!

Find Out More!

Eve Devonshire is a woman hiding in plain sight. Not completely human, but not quite a vampire, she’s accepted by neither race but is more powerful than both. To stay alive, Eve can't trust anyone, including the alpha vampire with midnight eyes and a thirst for pain and submission. With her enemies nipping at her heels, Eve has Guerin cornered, and both are determined to get the answers they're looking for or die trying... if they can fight their desires long enough.

The Perfect Hostage by Misty Evans

Special $0.99 Introductory Pricing!

Find Out More!

Sergeant John Quick has seen the worst in life, both personally and professionally, and long ago decided loving someone comes at too high a price. But when the woman of his dreams “kidnaps” him for a weekend affair with no strings attached, he can’t resist. The smoking-hot weekend turns deadly when John and Lucie are trapped during a blizzard and discover they’re not alone. Someone from their past has come hunting for revenge. Now John must become the perfect hostage in order to save Lucie’s life.

Untamed Hearts by Heather McCollum
Special $0.99 Introductory Pricing!

Find Out More!

Jonet Montgomery has longed for a chivalrous knight her whole young life. Instead she found herself wed to a scoundrel and left a widow. When a lusty, silver-tongued rogue steals a kiss and opens a crack in her routine life, she’s tempted by his offer to taste adventure of the most pleasurable kind. Will’s heart of gold shines through despite his infamous past. But is Jonet enough woman to keep this sexy pirate from straying? With past embarrassments haunting her, she risks more than just her reputation this time. She risks her heart.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week in Review: 4/13-4/19

Books I've Bought/received

* Passion's Sacred Dance by Juli D. Revezzo- eCopy -Author

* My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy- eCopy- Author

* Angel Kin by Tricia Skinner- eCopy- Netgalley via promotion

* A Vampire's Promise by Carla Susan Smith- eARC- NetGalley

* Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews- eARC- Publisher via Netgalley

Books I've Read

Vampire's Thirst by Cynthia Garner
My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy
Angel Kin by Tricia Skinner
A Vampire's Promise by Carla Susan Smith
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Trusting an Angel by Missy Jane

Reviews Posted

Frozen Desires by Jessie Donovan
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa


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

* Monday- Guest Blog for Living Dead Girl by Nessie Strange

* Tuesday- Guest Blog and Giveaway for Shadows of Fate by Angela Dennis

* Wednesday- Interview and Giveaway for The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher

* Friday- Promo and Giveaway for Incarnate by Anton Strout


* 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, April 19, 2014

Review: Frozen Desires by Jessie Donovan

Frozen Desires
Release Date: February 24, 2014
Publisher: LHK
ISBN:   0989733645
ISBN13: 9780989733649
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source:Author
Camilla Melini is a high-ranking soldier with an organization fighting to free elemental magic users. Her latest assignment is to find one of the legendary elemental Four Talents, and she’s determined to get in and out of Mexico as quickly as possible to avoid running into the man who nearly destroyed her life. But when the dangerous man from her past finds her, Cam must work with Marco Alvarez, a man she’d dismissed as a playboy, to prevent the the powerful magic of the Talents from falling into the wrong hands. She never expected the charming playboy to be a cunning warrior worthy of her heart...

Marco Alvarez is sent to Mexico with two goals—to watch Cam’s back and to investigate a series of arson fires targeting former AMT prison employees. But when a shadow-shifter shows up looking for Cam, Marco decides he needs to stick close to her to help her mission succeed. As he gets to know the strong-willed woman, he’s torn between telling her the truth of his elemental magic and keeping the others who share his secret safe. But when Cam sacrifices herself to save her colleagues, Marco must expose the secret of his elemental magic or risk losing the only woman who can match both his passion and his strength.

Book 2 in the Asylum for Magical Threats series features Camilla and Marco. Camilla is Kiarra's sister, we were introduced to both her and Marco in book 1.

Camilla is sent on a mission with her team to Mexico. She has no clue that Marco was sent to keep an eye on her and when she finds out she is anything but happy about it. Marco hides his real self behind a flirty, man whore attitude. He can't really get close to anyone because he holds secrets that can't get out. Cam threatens to break him though and he can't help but try and win her over. I have to say that Camilla and Marco ended up being pretty entertaining.  They bicker a lot but they are very attracted to each other, Marco is the chaser while Cam does everything to push him away. They end up growing close and when Camilla is taken by someone from her past, Marco does everything to get her back. I don't think either of them expected to fall so hard and fast for each other.

There is a secondary story that focuses on Millie (Jaxton's sister from book 1) and Giovanni (Kiarra and Camilla's brother). I don't see any mention of them having their own story so I assume their secondary story lines will continue in future books as well. There isn't enough yet for me to give an opinion on them. I know the background will be needed, it just isn't yet exciting enough for me.

So far I am really enjoying this series. The world is original and grabs your attention. We get a great story with each book that connects to that last but holds its own. I would suggest starting with book 1 so you don't miss out on the great world building that happens in BLAZE OF SECRETS. I see mention of two more books on Jessie's website.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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