Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Interview: 'Ailani: The Last Warrior by A.J. Llewellyn


What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?
 
Hmm...well, Urban Fantasy Investigations, thank you for having me here! I think many readers might not know I have a seriously unhealthy addiction to computer games. I am hopelessly attached to a Facebook game right now called Pearl's Peril. I've learned a lot from it such as history and geography and the graphics are gorgeous, but I spend more time decorating my island than I do my own home. Talk about an urban fantasy!

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
 
I read, I hike with my dog, I swim, and I um decorate my island! Did I mention it isn't real??

What is your Favorite part of writing? 
 
The research. I love that part. I think that's why I enjoy Pearl's Peril so much. She is an adventuress in 1900...she goes to amazing places that used to exist...old, historic places steeped in myth and fantasy. I particularly loved the portions set during Atlantis and the mythical kingdom of Shambala. Amazing stuff! I Googled everything mentioned in the game and it's all there.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
 
Yes. I am very superstitious so I observe little rituals. Don't laugh but I never wear red on Friday's. If I do, it's a bad, bad thing. This comes from my time on newspapers. I was a journalist for many years and the legend was if you wear red on Fridays you get fired. So I never wear red when I write on Fridays. :)

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
 
I love J.K. Rowling's books but I am not so keen on the new Harry Potter blog on her Pottermore site. Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games books are some of my favorites. I love Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. and of course, I adore the Sookie Stackhouse series.

I absolutely love Marion Zimmer Bradley. She was at the forefront of fantasy fiction and The Mists of Avalon was one of my cherished books to read over and over again. I got to work with her on Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine. I cherish the experiences I had with her. I learned so much from Marion. I also love Mary Calmes. Her fantasy M/M stories are gorgeous. Mercedes Lackey was an early influence for me.

How would you pitch 'Ailani: The Last Warrior to someone who has not heard of it before?
 
This is the story of a young man whose world crumbles when he finds out his boyfriend has been cheating on him. He's forced to move out of their apartment and even loses his job. Sometimes when doors close, others open. For Lio, those doors open him to a whole paranormal realm he never knew existed. That realm is Hawaii before we all came. Before the explorers came and the world found it. A time when he was 'Ailani, the last warrior to work with the ill-fated King of Oahu.
'Ailani had magic and extraordinary power. He comes to the present to help Lio right wrongs and solve crimes the police in Honolulu never even know are going on. He's a Hawaiian superman!

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that 'Ailani is set in? 
 
I am obsessed with ancient Hawaii. I've read so much about it. It was paradise. I had so much fun recreating my idea of this time and place. A time when good magic and bad (the ancient Hawaiians called it Lua) existed.

Do you have a favorite scene in 'Ailani?
 
What a great question! I think it's when he and his new lover Kord first realize they want to be together...except they are dealing with an issue of fleas. Yes. Fleas :)

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
 
I love Lio! He is the kind of character I like to write about. I like to write about men who are dealt a bad hand and I love to help them get out of it. I like imperfect men who learn and grow and find true love. Love conquers all. Even death.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
 
I have several books coming up and I am excited about all of them. I have two more books in The Last Warrior series coming up and Breathless Press is releasing my Haywire series co-written with my frequent co-author, D.J. Manly. That's a fantasy/paranormal set of two stories that we loved writing.

Please check my website www.ajllewellyn.com for updates, free short stories, and free blog stories.
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A.J. Llewellyn is an author whose obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.'s days are spent writing, reading, and dreaming up new worlds. A.J. has definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste-test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 150 published gay erotic romance novels.

A.J. wants you to read them all.

You can find this author lurking on Facebook and Twitter—part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.'s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Diner Dash.

Find A.J. and her books
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'Ailani
The Last Warrior #1
Buy Link
After a bad breakup, Lio rents a cheap house with magical views. It seems the perfect solution, but the house has a haunted connection with an ancient statue. Once unearthed, it gives Lio the power of...THE LAST WARRIOR... 

When Lio's lover cheats on him, he's forced to give up what he thought was the idyllic romance he's lived with Maks, including their stunning, scenic Waikiki apartment. He rents a cheap house with magical views on the other side of the island. So why is it so cheap? 

He soon becomes haunted by dreams in which a fearsome yet sexy Hawaiian man begs him to rescue him. Lio is certain he's going nuts until one night in the midst of a tropical rainstorm he follows the man's urgings and digs a hole in a church graveyard. He finds a gigantic, ancient stone statue with scary eyes...that soon gives Lio the power of...THE LAST WARRIOR...
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Excerpt:

We shared a slice of the pie I'd never tried before. It was like eating a giant orange Creamsicle. That's when I remembered why Hau'ula was familiar. I'd come here many, many years ago on a school excursion. 

"Isn't there a great trail into the rainforest around here?" I asked him. 

"Why, yes." He grinned at me. 

I recalled quite clearly going with my class. We'd bought ice creams from a portable ice cream stand as we were leaving. Orange Creamsicles. 

"Do you hike much?" I asked. 

"Every chance I get." 

"Wow, that's great." 

"You like to hike?" he asked, pushing the last bite of pie toward me. 

"Yeah, my ex hated it, though." 

"I'm always up for a hike," he said. "Give me a shout some time." 

Speaking of shouting, the volume rose considerably with some newcomers so we gave up our table. Outside, I inhaled a mouthful of sweet night air. 

He was giving me so many mixed signals, or so I thought. Sometimes he reached out to me, then pulled his hand away. I was certain he was staring at my mouth in a hungry way. I sure as hell wanted him to kiss me. He smiled at me a lot. Maybe he was being kind, but I felt certain we were on a date. When he took me to his own home, I didn't think I was wrong. His beach cottage sat right on the reef, and I was stunned by his uninterrupted view of the ocean. 

Kord's life seemed to be straight out of my childhood. Everything on the walls and sideboards was found art. He'd discovered gigantic shells, sea glass balls, bleached pieces of driftwood that almost looked like antlers. He'd even made a hammock out of an old fisherman's net. 

He showed me his home office, which took up most of the space. He pointed to the garage. "That's where I build stuff." 

I had a sense he didn't bring many people here. I almost felt glad I didn't see any chick stuff. His home spoke of a solitary existence. 

"Take a seat." He pointed outside. I swung in one of the aged rocking chairs on the lanai as he brought me a beer. Longboard. My favorite. 

"You had a recent breakup too," I said. "Isn't that what you told Marcella?" 

"Sure. It never works out for me with women." He scowled. 

"Why's that? You're a great guy. Handsome, hard-working—" 

"Thanks. That's part of the problem. I love to work." 

The words swayed between us like a coconut palm. "I have a hard time with women because...because..." 

He didn't finish the sentence. He didn't want me to know he was bi. I sensed he didn't want to give me ideas. It was okay. I didn't need any. I was too busy licking my own wounds and couldn't have handled any confusion. 

When he dropped me home and kissed me on the lips, I felt my spirit and my body reacting. 

"Have a great night," he said, then watched as I let myself inside Dad's house. 

As I closed and locked the door behind me, I felt something shifting. I couldn't explain it as I leaned with my back against the blue stained-glass mermaid and felt her coolness seep into my hot skin. 

Aaaahhh...something had changed. Something good. I touched my lips. We'd had a great date. No, not a date. He was being kind. 

So why did he kiss me? 

We'd had a swell time. A gentle time. I hadn't had such a sweet evening with a man in a very long time. When I'd cleaned my teeth, I fell into bed. I could almost feel his dark hair on my face, his lips on mine. I tasted salty tears. Yeah...something was changing. I didn't know what.
I dreamed of fishermen's nets, mad laughter, and mud. 

At around three o'clock in the morning, I awoke from a strange dream. 

No. They were not coming back. I wouldn't allow them to come back. Not the dreams. Not those ones. I closed my ears to the voices whispering... 

Remember...remember...
 
I worked very hard to forget. To think of nothing but the soft press of Kord's lips, wishing for more. So much more.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Early Review: High Moon by Jennifer Harlow

High Moon
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
ISBN:  0989394468
ISBN13: 9780989394468
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author

CLASSIFIED: A F.R.E.A.K.S. LOVE STORY

Telekinetic Special Agent Beatrice Alexander has fought hordes of zombies, psychotic vampires, and even a troll. But now she faces her greatest challenge: love.


Fully recovered from her holiday from hell, Bea has returned to the F.R.E.A.K.S. with a mission, to gain the love of her werewolf teammate, Will Price. Of course nothing is ever easy when it comes to love and war. And when the killing fields of a pack of murderous werewolves is discovered in the wilds of North Carolina, the situation goes from complicated to deadly. Because though Bea always seems to get her man or beast in the end, this time she isn’t sure she will survive with her love intact. Or with her life…

I was emotionally drained after finishing HIGH MOON. How can the series possibly go on after the events of book 4? How can I possibly write a review about HIGH MOON without giving away some sort of spoiler.

I must be honest, Beatrice ended up annoying me quite a bit in the beginning half of the book. It's easy to understand her feelings, but she seemed to not care about anything besides getting what she wanted and I hated witnessing it. I still like her as a character and it got better as the book progressed but the total lack of caring about others feelings really bothered me.

A lot happens with Beatrice and Will in HIGH MOON, but I will have to leave it at that. Surprisingly Oliver ended up making me like him even more. He had a really hard time with things, but I feel like he didn't act AS BAD as I thought Beatrice was making it out to be.

I honestly don't know what else to say. This is a fantastic series, but I have NO clue what could possibly go into book 5. Hopefully Jennifer has some surprises for us.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week in Review: 9/7-9/13


Books I've Bought/received

- Black Widow by Jennifer Estep - eARC- NetGalley

- Burning Desire by Donna Grant - eARC- NetGalley

- Firebug by Lish McBride - Publisher

- Reckoning by S.J. Harper - Publisher

- Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum - Author

Books I've Read

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Black Widow by Jennifer Estep
Forged in Fire by Juliette Cross
Gray Bishop by Kelly Meade
All Bets Are On by Cythia Cooke

Reviews Posted

House Immortal by Devon Monk
Night Unbound by Dianne Duvall
The Witch with No Name by Kim Harrison

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

* Monday- Guest Blog for Chandrea: The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn

* Tuesday- Character Interview & Giveaway for Wounded by Shannon Mayer, Guest Blog & Giveaway for Promise of Magic by Melinda VanLone

* Thursday- Promo for Mind Sweeper by A.E. Jones

* Friday- Interview for Carlos and Casey by Ember Leigh

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* Did you know you can follow UFI on these other sites?

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.
 
 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: House Immortal by Devon Monk

House Immortal
Author:Devon Monk
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher:Roc
ISBN:  0451467361
ISBN13: 9780451467362
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source:Publisher
One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized....

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…
 Devon Monk brings us a unique new series with intriguing characters, a power hungry villain, and an original, well built world.

Matilda (aka Tilly), is a pretty awesome heroine. She knows her way around protecting herself, and has no problem telling people what she thinks. I liked that she accepts herself. She was born a normal human but circumstances have changed her into something that shouldn't be possible. When she is discovered, she of course protects herself and is apprehensive about those that want to use her, but she also steps up to her new role while also trying to protect those she is loyal to. I never liked the Neds, they just rubbed me wrong, but I instantly liked Abraham Seventh. I was a little bummed that the romance between him and Tilly never really developed. Their attraction was apparent and there was some mutual relationship type things, but their relationship didn't go anywhere.

There is a ton of mystery involved with this story. Mystery surrounding Matilda, her parents, her brother, the stitched, the Houses. Lots and lots of questions and slow answers that kept you gripped in the story, wanting more. I enjoyed the twists and turns that the author threw out and the world building was well done. I think HOUSE IMMORTAL had more of a science-fiction with a hint of dystopian feel to it and I really didn't want it to be over. The book ends during a pretty hectic part of the book, so you can't help but want more and fast. March is too far away ...

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Interview: Carlos and Casey by Ember Leigh

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview? 

I can consume a frightening amount of granola and yogurt. 

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

I like going to markets and fairs, trying new restaurants, concerts, exploring new foresty places…I spend a lot of my time inside my house, writing and blogging and working, so when it’s time for leisure, I try to get away from this dang computer screen! 

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Revising. I love, love, love revising. It is SO much easier to me than the actual first-draft writing. I love weaving in details, discovering themes, tweaking characters, all that jazz. 

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

I have no real writing routines, other than I aim to write at least a few times per week on my current work in progress. I spend a lot of time doing writing-related things – social media and what not – and I also blog an insane amount, so it turns out that a good portion of my day is spent in writing endeavors. However, it’s scattered and precarious. I would probably benefit from a routine, to be honest. 

How would you pitch Carlos and Casey to someone who has not heard of it before? 

Two ex-lovers, four years later. Is the flame still there, or has time just made things painfully awkward? 

Do you have a favorite scene in Carlos and Casey?  

One of my favorite parts is the beginning, where the two meet up for the first time in four years. The whole idea of awkwardness is what sparked this story. Two people who had a blazing connection in the past might not necessarily have the same connection years later. So as Casey grapples with her feelings after seeing Carlos for the first time, we see how time makes things awkward, at least in a sense of what might be appropriate or not. 

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

My current work in progress is a romantic suspense involving a baby bounty hunter, a freak snowstorm, and lots of sexual tension between two loner leads. The leading lady, Rose, could probably take down most men, easily, and she dedicates her life to rescuing babies stolen by a rogue parent or babysitter. This book has been a blast to write, and I’m so excited to share it with the world soon!
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Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides in South America with her Argentinean partner, a detail she uses to justify her Bachelor's degree in Latin American Literature. In addition to romance novels, she also writes travel articles, maintains three blogs, and continually attempts to complete a mildly-gripping short story. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, travels the world, and eats lots of vegetables.

Find Ember and her books
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Carlos and Casey 
Buy Link
 What happens when too much time has gone by? Carlos and Casey were lovers, long ago. But in the four years they haven’t seen each other, plenty has happened — marriage, job changes, lifestyle shifts, routine, and ultimately divorce.

When a work trip brings Casey back into Carlos’ territory, she knows she’d have him right there in the airport parking lot. But Carlos doesn’t seem so eager. Unsure of herself post-divorce, Casey knows only one thing: she wants this man as much as she did the last time she saw him. And she’s more than ready to relive every saucy adventure they had together. Can the sparks be salvaged, or has time left them behind?
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EXCERPT:
 
Her breath caught as she followed him up the staircase, tucked to the far side of the house. Carlos had always been fit enough, but it looked like he'd taken up some new form of exercise in the past four years. He was beefier, yet still lean. His ass moved round and tight in front of her as they climbed the stairs. At the landing, he gestured in front of them.

"This is my studio, but it's all yours for tonight."

It was a rec room that took up the whole second floor, and far more standard male than the ground floor alluded to. Movie posters, gaming systems, books scattered on floors and coffee tables, and, off to one side, the trumpet, asleep in a bed of sheet music. In the corner there was an overstuffed couch just about as wide as she was long – it would be great to sleep on, even better if he could bend her over that armrest and fuck her until dinner was ready.

She cleared her throat, deciding adult friendships could be fun, even after four questionable years. "I thought I'd be sharing a bed with you?" She tried to keep her tone playful as she sauntered toward the couch. She tossed him a smile and she caught a glimpse of him looking very stricken. Shit. Too far. Things are too different now. Abort!
 
Maybe too much time had passed in general. Maybe he was courting a girl and wanted to take it slow with her. Maybe he no longer found her attractive, four years becoming the dagger in the heart. Maybe he'd become celibate, or found her life too normal and boring. There was a whole list of reasons why she shouldn't make the first move.

"I was just joking," she said after a moment, rolling her eyes. "Come on, lighten up."

He exhaled slowly, looking down at the ground as his tongue found the corner of his mouth. "I know it was a joke, Case."

"In case you forgot, we used to share a bed." She looked at him pointedly, already horrified that the words were coming from her lips. What was the getting at? Who had authorized this dialogue?

He squeezed his eyes shut and laughed softly. "Oh, I remember."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Promo: Mind Sweeper by A.E. Jones

Mind Sweeper
Mind Sweeper #1

2013 RWA Golden Heart® Winner, Mind Sweeper 
An angel, a demon and a vampire walk into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it's just another day in the life of Kyle McKinley.

Kyle was born with the ability to erase memories, and the inability to keep her opinions to herself. She and her teammates – a vampire who looks like a sexy pirate with fangs, and a Shamat demon with a penchant for Italian pastries – provide supernatural damage control when humans see too much. Today’s problem? A sword-wielding angel and a demon had a supernatural smackdown during happy hour in a Cleveland bar, leaving behind a headless vampire and a dozen human witnesses.

This latest supernatural slip-up is attracting all kinds of attention. So much attention that the police step in, and Kyle has to deal with Joe Dalton, a know-it-all human with the sexiest turquoise eyes she has ever seen. Kyle has no room in her life for yet another human who will treat her like a freak. However, Dalton definitely makes her naughty parts sit up and take notice, and it’s more than mutual. But before they can act on their attraction, they must join forces to solve a dangerous puzzle. And when they uncover the truth, the apocalyptic ripple effect forces Kyle to make a choice. Learn to trust again, or risk losing everyone she cares about, including Dalton.
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Growing up a TV junkie, award winning author AE Jones oftentimes rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural—their angst and their humor. After all life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.

AE lives in Ohio with her eclectic family and friends who in no way resembles any characters in her books. Honest. Now her two cats are another story altogether.

Find A.E. Jones and her books
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