Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O'Neale

Mortal Enchantment
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Phoenix Reign Publishing
ISBN13: 9780991451920
Genre: Young Adult
Review Copy Source: Author
In Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more...

By the end of THE SHADOW PRINCE I had no doubt that I wanted to read MORTAL ENCHANTMENT. I really enjoyed meeting Rowan and the world that O'Neale created.

It took me a few chapters to 'like' Kalin. I didn't dislike her I just didn't instantly connect with her like I did Rowan. She was never in a good position with being a half-ling and entering the Air Court for the first time. Her father's disappearance only made the whole situation worse. Considering her position I felt she handled everything pretty well but there were few times where I felt she could have acted a bit more mature. She is young though so I didn't hold it against her too much. I still very much enjoyed Rowan. I like his personality and even though he doesn't have to he did a great job teaching Kalin how to use her magic and navigate things at court (After reading THE SHADOW PRINCE I had no doubt he would be glued to her side.) Their romance was slow and cautious but there is great hope for them in the future.

The story was told at a nice pace and there was some great action. There could have been some greater detail in some of the scenes but overall I enjoyed the world building. I still have a lot of questions after reading MORTAL ENCHANTMENT so I look forward to seeing what comes next for the characters.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Friday, May 30, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: A Timeless Melody by R. Ann Siracusa

UFI welcomes R. Ann Siracusa Author of A Timeless Melody. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?
 
Who is Author R. Ann Siracusa? That’s my real name, but you’ll have to guess what the initial R stands for.

The Conventional Bio

I am retired from a 37-year career as an architect and urban planner, which makes me older than dirt. My husband and I live in San Diego, with no pets, but we do have a wild rabbit that lives under the workbench in the garage. We also have three grown children and eight grandchildren, all living in normal houses and not under anyone’s workbench.

My debut novel was a WWII Mafia thriller published in 2008, and since then Breathless Press has published a five-book romantic suspense series, a sci-fi romance, three short stories, and the time travel novella being released this month. I have been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1985.

Tah-dah!

The more interesting version


Ann ziplining in Mexico 2012

In June, oh, so many years ago, with my Bachelor of Architecture degree from UC Berkeley tucked in my suitcase, I toodled off to Rome, Italy, to take a doctorate in Urban Planning at the University of Rome. Instead, the first day there, I sat down next to a handsome Italian at the Fountain of Love in Piazza Esedra…and the rest is history.

(My choice of seat was not an accident, by the way.) I didn’t speak much Italian, he didn’t speak much English, and a month later I had to look up the word fidanzata in the English-Italian dictionary to find out I was “engaged.”
In October I wrote home to tell my parents I intended to marry an Italian policeman from Sicily. Without warning, my mother showed up in Rome to take me home…and I hadn’t even told my folks yet that he was a widower with a three-year-old daughter. I was just twenty-four at the time.

Scary, isn’t it? Not the brightest bulb on the tree.

I refused to go but promised my mother if I didn’t have a job by the end of the year, I would come home. She left me with a plane ticket back to California. I immediately cashed in the ticket, borrowed a hundred dollars from my ex-boyfriend―Ronnie, if you’re out there somewhere, I want to pay you back with interest ―and Luciano and I got married in a civil ceremony at Christmas time.

Now, here’s naïveté for you. I had this plan that if I didn’t get a job, I would go back to California, work for six months, save up some money, and convince my parents I hadn’t turned into a raving lunatic, then go back to Italy and live HEA. He was going to “wait” for me.

Yeah, right! This would never get past an editor. “It’s too unbelievable. The heroine is TSTL.” Fortunately, a week before I was scheduled to return to the US, I got a job as an architect with an Italian land development firm. Lucky for me, because I was already pregnant.

Fifty years, three children and eight grandchildren later, we're still married. It hasn’t always been fun, but it’s never been dull. Maybe I wasn’t so stupid after all.

P.S. I've never told anyone this, but the most unusual place I ever made love was on the steps of Palazzo della Civiltá Italiana in the EUR quarter of Rome. Well, it was late at night and dark..and I was young.


What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
 
What?! You mean I'm supposed to get down time? When?

These days, I quilt and read in my limited relaxation time. I used to play classical piano, but arthritis put an end to that. I also used to enjoy riding motorcycles and quads in the desert, but I haven't done much of that recently, either.

I use larger amounts of "down time" to travel to somewhere in the world I haven't been before. In February 2015, I'm going to Antarctic.

What is your favorite part of writing?
 
The beginning, when the ideas are fresh and exciting, and the end, when I finally type "The End" which my editor always takes out.

In addition, I enjoy delving into the thinking processes of the characters, trying to assume their mindsets and to become someone I'm not. What would this character do? How would he/she react? It's exciting when the character comes alive and starts taking over the story, sending it in directions I hadn't planned, saying and doing unexpected things.

I used to change those unplanned surprises because they were "out of character", but I've learned that it usually means the character knows something I don't. Now, I leave those quirks or hiccups, and most of the time I learn the reason later on. I have to drop only about a fourth of them.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
 
I try to write every day, from about 4:30 am to 7:30 am and then after other times when my schedule permits, but I'm not always successful. And even when I'm trying to write, my family doesn't understand that interruptions—even the well-intended ones—set me back. But what am I supposed to say when my husband comes into my office and says, "I just want to give my lovely wife a kiss."? That kiss may cost me forty-five minutes, but I've learned to keep my yap closed.

I write in scenes and stop at the completion of each. I write down what I believe the next scene needs to have. Each morning when I sit down to write, I read and edit the material I wrote the day before (or go back even further). By the time I get the place where I need to write new material, I'm back into the story.

I use a one page outline that gives one line about what has to happen in each scene in each chapter. So I have an idea where I'm headed all the time. Changes do occur and new things pop up. I don't always change the outline, but if it's a major change in direction, I have to.

What are some of your favorite books or authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
 
I've been a sci fi/fantasy fan for many years, back to the time when booksellers didn't know how to shelve fantasy/paranormal in book stores (when we still had them). In those days, such books were always put with Science Fiction. So, my favorites go back to Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and C.J. Cherryh.

More contemporary authors include Katie MacAlister, Evie Woolmore (a new discovery), Lisa Kessler, Jade Lee, and Deborah Harkness. I find new "favorites" all the time.

How would you pitch A TIMELESS MELODY to someone who has not heard of it before?
 
A Timeless Melody is a time travel romance (novella length) about a university student in 2500 AD at the University of Red Gulch, the Mineral Capital of the Solar System. A history student completing her master's thesis on the founder of Red Gulch, she illicitly uses the university time machine to go back to 1979 to research, first hand, the founder Brandon O'Donnell. There, she falls love with the topic of her thesis and plots to return to his time to spend the rest of her life with him.

But she quickly discovers, the task isn't that simple. To achieve her goal, she'll have to a secret that could destroy her plans.


Can you tell us a little bit about the world that A TIMELESS MELODY is set in?
 
This novella isn't the kind of time travel novel set in another time or world. The primary action takes place in the California Mojave Desert in 1979 and 1980.

Critical to the plot, the portion of the novel is set in a future on earth (2500 AD) when humanity has spread into the solar system and is exploring beyond. In this time period, there are functional time machines, but the use of them is controlled. History graduates at some universities have access to the machine on a limited basis. Residents of this future have children to meet their obligations for keeping the population stable, but children are raised in nurseries, not by their parents. There isn't much more about that future world in the book. Just pertinent facts.

But even though most people define world building as the construction of an imaginary world, all writers deal with world building. It's a necessity if a writer hopes to produce a novel, in any genre, that is consistent, real, and believable. Creating the setting of a novel is a type of world building.

Novels set in contemporary times and in familiar places don't require as much time, research, or as many words. A writer often sets the stage in a few words or sentences. That's all the reader needs to understand where and when the novel takes place, how people dress and act, and the laws of physics that apply. The reader can rely on what he/she knows of that time and place and the planet we live on.

Do you have a favorite scene in A TIMELESS MELODY?

My favorite scene is toward the end, but talking about it would be a spoiler.

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
 
I initially wrote this as a short story in the first-person viewpoint of the hero. I suppose you could say that the hero was my favorite because it was his story I chose to tell.

Alas, my editor asked that I rewrite it in third person so I could include the heroine's viewpoint. She was the hardest to write because in creating the story, she was seen only as the hero could see her. Once I got into her mind, I had to create a future world for her as well as deal with her reactions.

It was a good choice. The story went from 10,000 to 30,000 words and is a much better story as a result.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
 
Currently available from Breathless Press is the Tour Director Extraordinaire romantic suspense series about a tour director and a spy. It's a five-book series, although each novel can be read as a standalone. Each book tells a spy/intrigue story in a different country, and in each book the relationship between the hero and the heroine kicks up a notch.

Also available is a Sci Fi Romance entitled All In The Game.

My next new project, after I finish editing an already-completed murder mystery, will be a historical WWII novel about the incarceration of the Japanese-Americans in the US. It's a shameful piece of our American history that I feel strongly about, and I have been wanting to attempt a mainstream novel about the topic for years. The working title is Belt of a Thousand Stitches
 
In addition to that, I have far more ideas than I have time to write, so many of them may never see the light of day.
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A Timeless Melody
 Buy Link
Melody is out of her element, and Brandon believes she knows more than she lets on. Her secret may be more than he bargained for. 

She appeared out of nowhere, blown into of Red Gulch—a decaying mining town in the Mojave Desert—on the crest of a desert breeze like the ever-present tumbleweeds that filled the empty streets in the blink of an eye. Except everyone knew where tumbleweeds came from. 

Brandon O'Donnell never figured out where Melody came from, but she captured his heart with her flaming red hair, hypnotic light-grey eyes, and intense but distant way of speaking, almost as if she knew a lot more than she let on. 

What will happen to their love when Brandon finds out the secret Melody has been hiding from him all these years?
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Excerpt: 

Their gazes met. In that moment, a myriad of emotions flashed across his features. Surprise. Suspicion. Desire. 

Swept by prickles of fear and doubt, she reined in the panicky feeling as a bead of sweat slowly rolled down her spine. She'd been so confident that she had done the right thing…that everything had already happened…that her destiny brought her here. Her resolve had faltered when Brandon approached her in the Gold Nugget Café. The power of his mere presence rendered her speechless. She'd forgotten her well-rehearsed speech. Her heart tripped and stuttered. 

After dreaming of the moment so long, when their gazes locked, his light blue eyes, gentle but filled with hunger, were the eyes of a stranger. 

Now, before she lost her nerve, she stripped off her damp shirt and unzipped her jeans. She dared not let him see her misgivings, even though she intended to show him everything else. She couldn't afford to fail. By coming here, she'd risked more than her own future and happiness. 

Much more than she had any right to gamble. 

Brandon stood appraising her. Hard, lean, and bronzed by exposure to the desert sun, with sandy-colored hair like silk, his snug T-shirt outlining sculpted muscles all the way down the length of his long torso. Just as she remembered. But much younger, and so delicious she wanted to eat him. 

Her body tightened at the core. Of its own volition, her tongue slid across her lower lip before she realized she returned his ogle with equal intensity. 

He's letting me call the shots. Smiling self-consciously, she hooked her thumbs into the elastic of her panties and pulled them off. 

In two seconds flat, he shed his boots and clothes. 

Without hesitation, Melody dove naked into the shimmering water, cool relief caressing her skin and driving away the oppressive heat. How could anyone live in such heat? 

Seconds later, from behind, strong arms closed around her middle, just below her breasts. Brandon must have dived almost at the same time. He pulled her into his embrace, his body throbbing against her. A riot of sensations exploded in her. They surfaced together, in full body contact, both drawing in gasps of air that had nothing to do with needing oxygen and everything to do with young healthy hormones.
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Leave a comment and enter a drawing for an E-Book from my romantic suspense series Tour Director Extraordinaire

Here's a question to think about: If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?

Cover Reveal: Dance with the Devil by J.M. Gregoire

Demon hunting sucks. Dez and Vegas decide to take the summer off to relax and be a normal couple for once. They quickly fall back into their old routine, mostly evenings spent together at Onyx. The nightclub for the supernatural denizens of New York City now hosts live bands and DJ’s nightly, and Dez is elated to find the club at capacity seven days a week. Everything seemed perfect…until it wasn’t. Without warning, their cozy life together gets tipped on its axis. Dez isn’t acting like herself, and Vegas believes something mystical is to blame. Will Vegas get to the bottom of things before it’s too late, or will he lose her forever?

DanceWithTheDevil_72
Gregoire Series: Demon Legacy #3 
Expected Release Date: Spring/Summer 2015 
Genre: Urban Fantasy Paranormal Romance 

 Previous Books in the Series: 
Burning (Demon Legacy #0.5) - FREE 
The Devil You Know (Demon Legacy #1) 
Suffering (Demon Legacy #1.5; The Stroke of Midnight Anthology) - FREE 
Speak of the Devil (Demon Legacy #2; Coming June 17, 2014)
  burning_ebook72dpi ebookcover72dpi StrokeofMidnight_forAmazon ebookcover72dpi 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
J.M. Gregoire was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA, and despite her abhorrence for any season that dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and her two cats. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books eventually morphed into a love of writing them. She is currently working on the urban fantasy / paranormal romance Demon Legacy series, and has a new urban fantasy / thriller series coming out soon.  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Queen of Swords by Katee Robert




Queen of Swords
Release Date: July 10, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Select
Sanctify Book #1
ISBN:  1620610655
ISBN13: 9781620610657
Genre: UF/Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Publisher


When the cards tell Ophelia Leoni she's supposed to marry the Prince of Hansarda, the gunrunner grits her teeth and boards the starship that comes for her. It doesn't matter if the ship's commander is the gorgeous stranger she just spent a wild, drunken night with. As a Diviner, she’s painfully aware the cards don't lie. Ever.

Boone O’Keirna knows Ophelia is trouble the second he sees the way she moves. Not about to let the deadly little hellcat marry his sadistic half-brother, Boone pretends to be the Prince’s emissary and kidnaps Ophelia. Too bad they can’t be in the same room without him wanting to throw her out an airlock–or into bed.

Even as they fight each other–and their explosive attraction–Ophelia and Boone sense something is wrong. Too much is going their way. Soon, they realize while the cards may never lie, the truth is sometimes hidden between them...and the future king of Hansarda is not one to take defeat lying down.


My goodness are these characters stubborn. Every single one of them will make you want to wring their necks at some point. Ophelia and Boone will make you the most frustrated. Ophelia is extremely headstrong and independent. She does not trust easily and she has some emotional issue she is working through that make her a little more headstrong than normal. Boone doesn't want to be as attracted to Ophelia as much as he is. He hates that she doesn't remember their time together yet doesn't really want a relationship. They mutually want each other but its like neither wants to be the one to want the other more. Lots of sexual tension and head butting going on.

The QUEEN OF SWORDS has a great cast of characters. Jenny was a ball of fun. I'm excited to see her in action in her own book. It was interesting to see what each character could do. I also really enjoyed Cole. I loved the way he got protective and caring towards Ophelia.

I very much enjoyed the Sci-Fi aspects of this story. Katee did a great job with her world building and I felt like I could picture the things she described and the things that belonged there. If you want to read more about Ophelia's parents, there is a short story that features them called THE HIGH PRIESTESS. Jenny Boone's sister is featured in book 2 QUEEN OF WANDS.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Interview: Spring's Promise by Kelliea Ashley

UFI welcomes Kelliea Ashley Author of Spring's Promise. Thanks for Joining us!!

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

Well, my Husky/German Shepherd/who knows, is seriously afraid of water. He cries like a baby when he has to go out in the rain. On the other hand, we can't seem to keep Copperkitty out of the shower. She even plays in the sink. Where did I go wrong? J


What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

Gardening. It's strange, my flowerbeds are so pretty, but my house is a plant mortuary.
 
What is your Favorite part of writing? 

I love not knowing where the plot is going to go.
 
Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write? 

Nope. I wish I did, but when I get the urge to write I just plop my laptop on the kitchen table and go at it. I keep bugging my hubby to make me an office.
 
What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres? 

I love Christine Feehan's Carpathian Series. I also like Lora Leigh's Breeds.
 
How would you pitch Spring's Promise to someone who has not heard of it before? 

I would tell them it is a sweet romance with a dash of sizzling sexy mixed with a little action all tossed into a country setting with relatable characters.
 
Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Spring's Promise is set in? 

It is set in the small town of Penning, New York. It is a town surrounded by farms, lakes, rivers, and scenic woodlands. Anything can happen in Penning.
 
Do you have a favorite scene in Spring's Promise

I do. There's a scene where Ben has Becky up in the hayloft. He is determined to teach her some self-defense moves, not knowing that her father was a marine and a man who wanted his girls to know how to kick a little ass. I won't spoil it, but Becky isn't the one who hits the hay.
 
Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?

Ben. He is a stubborn ex-SEAL who came to Becky's family farm because he didn't want to go straight home to Montana. At a crossroads in his life, he sure wasn't expecting to find trouble-loving Rebecca Grant waiting to change his directions.

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

If you like Becky and Ben's story, you'll want to read the book that motivated me to write about them. Winter Gifts is my very first publication and my favorite. It is the story of Becky's sister, Maxine. I also have three small flirts coming out from Breathless Press in the next few months that you might enjoy and several books I've already published, but if you love paranormal fantasy, you will want to check out my Sister's of Fate Series. The third story is in the writing stages right now.
 
Thank you Urban Fantasy Investigations for having me over to chat about my new release. I've had a lot of fun and can't wait to return and share more characters with you.

This Or That Interview
 
Character: Rebecca Grant, heroine of Spring's Promise. 
 
Angels or Demons – Angels

Vampires or Shifters –Shifters because their existence could be easily hidden.

Left or Right –Right.

Up or Down –Up. There's nowhere to go when you are down.

Pizza or Pasta – Pasta. I make a mean spaghetti sauce.

Coffee or Tea –Tea. Who knew it would feel so awesome to throw a tea kettle at the head of a stubborn male?

Coke or Pepsi –Coke. I have to go with the classics.

YA or Adult – Adult. I have just recently found out why my sister likes to take romance novels in the tub.

Knives or Guns –Knives, though any sharp object will do in a pinch.

Reading or Writing -Reading.

Facebook or Twitter-Facebook. I love playing games while on long car trips.
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Kelliea Ashley lives near the Canadian Border in upstate New York with her husband, a cat named Copperkitty, a dog named Sammy, and several fish, who do not have names and are very lucky her husband feeds them.

A Jill-of-many-trades, she likes to incorporate her experiences from various jobs into her writing. She has been a nurse's aide, a news reporter, a radio personality, a dairy farmer, and a pharmacy technician to name a few. Though she didn't enjoy every job, she did take something important from each and every one of them.

Kelliea grew up an only child with a devoted single mother. She looked at books as companions and writing as a favorite escape. She has always been a bookworm who steadfastly refused to give up her paperbacks until her loving hubby bought her a Kindle for Christmas. Secretly she still adores the smell of a well-read book, but sh… don’t tell her husband.

She has a habit in the form of chocolate and loves a glass of sweet red wine. Romance has always been her favorite genre because she sees the miracle and magic in finding ones’ true love.

Kelliea has several other titles published by Breathless Press. They are for sale on Breathless Press's website, Amazon, Bookstrand, and Goodreads.

Find Kelliea and her books
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Spring's Promise
 Buy Link
A man lost and looking for his future. A woman tempted to break her own promises. Can they find a compromise in a season made for new beginnings?

Rebecca Grant came home to the farm to find herself and make amends for the damage she caused her younger sister. She never expected to find herself under Ben's seductive spell. Nor did she expect him to be engaged to a girl back home. 

Benjamin Farrand is a man trying to find his place after leaving the military. He wants to make those he loves back home in Montana happy, but when he falls for spirited Rebecca Grant all he wants to do is find his own happiness in New York. 

When spring brings an attraction for her sister's farmhand, Rebecca faces the challenge of keeping promises or breaking them to fight for the man she loves.
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Excerpt:

"I'm going to grab you now, don't move when I do." As he spoke, he moved up close behind her wrapping one arm around her waist and the other around her neck. Her muscles tensed beneath his palms, but she didn't give any other reaction. He took a deep breath, but was unprepared for the soft scent of coconut and woman. The urge to sink his nose in her hair was overpowering. Clearing his throat, he tried to shake off the temptation. "Now, your first instinct is to scream and grab my arms to remove my hold on you. That would be a mistake." 

"Okay, so what am I supposed to do?" Her voice came out a bit husky and her breathing sounded uneven. He grinned, knowing she wasn't immune to his touch. He wondered if the kiss in her Blazer had kept her up all night as well. I've been without a woman for too long, what's your excuse, Princess?
 
"Pretend to stomp the inside of my instep. When my hold eases slam your head into my face, then run like hell once you're free. Do it in very slow motion, I don't need a fat lip." 

"Yeah, I wouldn't want to ruin that pretty face of yours." She snapped out in thick sarcasm. 

"That's the kind of comments that are likely to make a man cry. Now, move." 

She huffed out a deep breath, slid her shoe down his leg a little too leisurely and then slowly moved her head back toward him. He gave a mock cry before dropping his arms. "So, now I run." She turned to face him and he noticed her cheeks were a rosy pink color. Oh, yeah. She's hot. Keep it professional, Farrand

"You run like the hounds of hell are on your heels because you don't stand a chance going one on one with any man who's bigger than you." 

"Thanks for the confidence building chatter, Ben." She placed a hand on her hip and tipped her head at him in a silent challenge. He stared at her neatly cut nails and grinned. Though she played at challenging him, Rebecca was a delicate flower. One he'd love to pick up and take home. He cleared his throat. 

"All right, this time I'm going to attack you from behind and you'll do the maneuvers a little faster, but with a measure of control. Try not to actually connect." 

"I'll try." She rolled her eyes and turned her back on him. Again, something in her readiness worried him, but he shrugged it off. "Relax your body. You don't know I'm coming for you. I'm silent in the shadows and you are...watching your favorite show. Sex in the City or The Bachelor." Her head turned and the look she gave him was lethal. 

"For your info. I do not watch either of those shows." Her tart tone of voice upped his respect for her. A little. 

"Then whatever it is you like to watch." He shrugged. 

"I like Duck Dynasty and Lost Girl. See? You don't know a thing about me." She turned back around, her ponytail bouncing against her back as she moved. 

"Duck Dynasty, huh? That does surprise me." 

"I love Si. He's down to earth and funny. Don't judge me." 

He moved then, rushing her with a swiftness that would have stolen the breath of any victim he chose to attack. His arms wrapped around her, but instead of using her foot on his instep, she twisted to the side, planted an elbow in his gut, reached back, and then grabbed his neck. Before he knew it he was flying over her hip and hitting the scratchy hay. Only his extensive training had him moving with the roll to end in a crouch before her. 

"This is the part where I run like hell?" she asked innocently.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest Blog: The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

UFI welcomes Sarah Beth Durst Author of The Lost. Thanks for Joining us!!


One of the best things about living in the town of Lost is that you can always find books.
Lost is the desert town at the heart of my new book, THE LOST. It's a town full of only lost things and lost people. Feral dogs roam the alleys. Keys, wallets, and umbrellas clog the gutters. Suitcases litter the parking lots. It's easy to find half-eaten sandwiches but much harder to find fresh food. You have to scavenge and barter for anything you need. 

But finding books is easy. People are always losing library books, or leaving paperbacks on trains and planes. You might be stuck with nothing but soggy potato chips for breakfast, but you can always have a library full of amazing books. 

So I thought this made for a good excuse to talk about what books I'd look for to fill my shelves in Lost: 

Favorites that I've read ten thousand times but still must own:
THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley
BEAUTY by Robin McKinley
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen
THE BELGARIAD by David Eddings
JACK THE GIANT-KILLER by Charles de Lint
ALANNA by Tamora Pierce
DEEP WIZARDY by Diane Duane
A FISTFUL OF SKY by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE by J.K. Rowling
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones
DEALING WITH DRAGONS by Patricia C. Wrede
DRAGONSINGER by Anne McCaffrey
ARROWS OF THE QUEEN by Mercedes Lackey
DREAMS UNDERFOOT by Charles de Lint 

Recent reads that I'd like to reread:
MAGIC RISES by Ilona Andrews
HALF-OFF RAGNAROK by Seanan McGuire
A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennan
THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY by Mur Lafferty
CHRISTMAS ON 4TH STREET by Susan Mallery
THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
STAR WARS: JEDY ACADEMY by Jeffrey Brown
SEVEN WILD SISTERS by Charles de Lint
HERO by Alethea Kontis 

What books would you look for, if you were in Lost?
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Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat.

Find Sarah and her books
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 The Lost
Award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst has been praised for her captivating novels that merge the darkly imagined with very real themes of self-discovery and destiny. In The Lost, we'll discover just what it means to lose one's way.

It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassible dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she's going to have to figure out just what she's missing and what she's running from before she can leave. So now Lauren's on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she'll be found.

Against the backdrop of this desolate and mystical town, Sarah Beth Durst writes an arresting, fantastical novel of one woman's impossible journey and her quest to find her fate.

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New Releases: 5/25-5/31


Tue May 27th

 Blur (Blur Trilogy #1) by Steven James
 The Dark World (Dark World #1) by Cara Lynn Shultz
 Divided (Dualed #2) by Elsie Chapman
 The Given (Celestial Blues #3) by Vicki Pettersson

Happy Reading!

Monday, May 26, 2014

May Select Release Blast


Whether you’re looking for a romance that makes you laugh, makes you ‘walk the plank’, keeps you guessing, or stars your favorite paranormal, look no further. Select books have the single-title stories you crave, and the longer length you need to really get ‘lost’ in a great book. 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 Select's May releases:


A Hornet Novel

Available in Print and eCopy!

Find out more!

Giveaway
A Sanctify Novel

Available in Print and eCopy!

Find out more!

Giveaway
Never show fear to a demon.

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Find out more!

Giveaway
Save the Dragons

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Find out more!

Giveaway
A week together could be
just the cure she needs...


Only 99 Cents!

Find out more!

Giveaway
It's never the
same old song...


Only 99 Cents!

Find out more!

Giveaway


Fall in love,
save some immortal souls,
break a curse...
No problem.

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Find out more!

Giveaway


Plus don't miss these two special events!



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Week in Review: 5/18-5/24


Books I've Bought/received

* Witchlight b y Sonya Clark- eARC- NetGalley

* Scorched by Erica Hayes- eARC- NetGalley

* Cover Him With Darkness by Janine Ashbless-eARC- Edelweiss

* Crimson Sins by Madeline Pryce-eCopy- Publisher

* Cold Hard Secret by Sierra Dean - eARC- Author

Books I've Read

Cold Hard Secret by Sierra Dean
Crimson Sins by Madeline Pryce
Darkness Falls by Erin Kellison
Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson
Penumbra by Keri Arthur
Generation 18 by Keri Arthur

Reviews Posted

Against the Dawn by Amanda Bonilla
Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones
Avoiding Alpha by Aileen Erin

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

* Monday- Spotlight & Giveaway for Kiss of Wrath by Sandra Hill

* Tuesday- Promo and Giveaway for Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O'Neal

* Wednesday- Interview for Steel Your Soul by Decadent Kane

* Thursday- Giveaway for Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones

* Friday- Interview for Eat Dessert First by Brantwijn Serrah

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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, May 24, 2014

Review: Against the Dawn by Amanda Bonilla

Against the Dawn
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: NYLA
ISBN:  1625174772
ISBN13: 9781625174772
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author

Six months can feel like just a couple of weeks when you’ve been away in another realm. Literally.

Now that Darian is back in Seattle, she’s ready to face the life—and the man—she left behind. But it’s not going to be easy when a ghost from her past shows up looking to wreak havoc on Seattle’s supernatural crime scene.

Darian isn’t as careless as she used to be, though. She and Tyler, her sexy Jinn protector, have come a long way in the trust department. And it’s a good thing too—because when Ty contracts her to assassinate a wickedly powerful supernatural who goes by the name of Mithras, it will take all her faith in Ty, and herself, to get the job done.

While Darian does whatever it takes to get to her mark, Xander, the Shaede King is busy making plans of his own. With Darian’s attention divided between Lorik’s secrets and her mission she might not be able to stop Xander from doing anything in his power to separate Darian from her sworn protector and in the process, destroy his own kingdom…

It's been a month full of books with humongous cliff hanger endings. I am sad to report AGAINST THE DAWN is on that list. CRAVE THE DARKNESS left Darian pretty destroyed emotionally and escaping to O Anel. AGAINST THE DAWN starts off with her facing her life again.

No body expects Darian to be unaffected when she gets back and she really isn't. Thankfully she has a lot of people there to help her when she needs it. On top of that, someone from her past shows up and is set on a path Darian doesn't want to go along with but has to to get what she wants. Little does she know his reason for jumping back into her life are far worse than she could have imagined.

The love triangle that shouldn't be, continues in book 4. Darian has made it clear that she has picked Ty but Xander refuses to listen. Although his rule is in question he refuses to leave unless Darian goes with him and that isn't going to happen. Xander is convinced that he needs to get Tyler out of Darian's life and he uses past events to try and accomplish that. Unfortunately it leaves Darian unprotected at the worst possible time. Drama, drama, sweet drama. You cant help but get sucked into it all.

AGAINST THE DAWN was emotional, drama filled and suspenseful. The action was plentiful and if you were hoping to finally get a glimpse into the Jinn you're in luck. Just when things start to smooth out another obstacle jumps up to halt its progress. I have a feeling book 5 just might be more emotionally draining on the characters than CRAVE THE DARKNESS was. Bring it on!

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Friday, May 23, 2014

Interview: Eat Dessert First by Brantwijn Serrah

UFI welcomes Brantwijn Serrah Author of Eat Dessert First. Thanks for Joining us!!

This or That

Angels or Demons – Demons. They are so much more interesting...

Vampires or Shifters – I like shifters when they're done well, but I still gotta choose vampires. Classic.

Left or Right – Left. In honor of my oldest brother, all of my main characters are left-handed.

Up or Down – Ha. This one really depends. I think "up" is more positive, but there's lots to be said about "going down".

Pizza or Pasta – Pasta, especially any cheesy pasta.

Coffee or Tea – Tea, no sugar.

Coke or Pepsi – I don't really like colas, so I prefer Cherry 7Up or Cream Soda.

YA or Adult – Adult.

Knives or Guns – Knives. My partner is the gun guy.

Reading or Writing –I like both but I'll spend my free time writing.

Facebook or Twitter – Facebook has more versatility for me.
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In 2010, Brantwijn Serrah embarked on a personal challenge: to write 365 Sexy Days, a blog of erotic fiction, poetry, and review. The blog later became Foreplay and Fangs, Brantwijn's current erotic domain. As part of the Sexy Days project, Brantwijn made it a goal to explore a variety of different lifestyles, interests, and turn-ons. When it came time to look at food used in seduction, Eat Dessert First came about. It has grown to become one of her favorite short stories.

When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies, and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

Brantwijn has published two full-length erotic novels with Breathless Press: Lotus Petals and Goblin Fires. In addition to these, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology. She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on Goodreads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.

Find Brantwijn and her books
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Eat Dessert First



Andres makes a living in delectable desserts. When his own sweet temptation catches him by surprise in his kitchen, Andres will sample something truly delicious... 

Like any good dessert chef, Andres takes the extra time to perfect his recipes. That's why he's in the kitchen early tonight, getting familiar with a unique menu item. He didn't expect the beautiful sous-chef, Pietro, to show up... or that Pietro would be interested in a special sweet treat.
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Excerpt:

I lifted the bubbling saucepan up and over to ladle the crème brûlée into each dish with slow, patient care, letting the rich mixture cascade down in rippling slow spirals as I moved the pan in little circles. 

"There," I said when the last ramekin was filled. "And now you can lick the spoon." 

I pronounced this with open brightness and offered him the spoon I'd stirred with, dripping with white chocolate and vanilla cream. Before he could take it, though, I snatched it back, holding it up in front of my own lips and sticking out my tongue to run it coyly over the back of the spoon. 

"Mmm," I said. "Good." 

He took the spoon from me, his smile reflecting the same naughty suggestion as mine. He licked the spoon as I had, dragging his tongue across it almost lewdly, dark eyes sparkling. Then he grinned, put the utensil down on the gleaming brushed chrome of the pastry counter, and—devilish boy—snuck his fingers into one of the ramekins, trailing them through the cooling, creamy sugar until he found one of the raspberries and plucked it up from the dish. It dripped more white chocolate cream on his hand and the front of his crisp shirt as he popped it into his luscious mouth.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones

Sixth Grave on the Edge
Author: Darynda Jones
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: St. Martins Press
ISBN:  1250045630
ISBN13: 9781250045638
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source:Publisher via NetGalley

Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it's time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn't come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.

Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she's used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.

Dun Dun Duuuuun. THEIR BACK! Every Charley Davidson book has left me with a book hangover and SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE is no different. I couldn't pick up a book for a good 24 hours (which by now you know is very weird for me) and even now, over a month after I read book 6, I'm still thinking about it and waiting to get my hands on book 7.

I just love Charley's mouth! OK that sounded dirty, I shall rephrase. I love the way she thinks and her way with words. She is beyond hilarious and I wish I had a friend like her. The humor in this series is off the chart and it is always done so darn well. I love learning more about Charley, Reyes and the other characters as the series goes along. I am never left un-surprised (is that even a word?) about the bombs that are dropped. And I must say (even though you will have NO clue until you read the book). The missing wall moment was HILARIOUS. Ahh that Reyes. He is something else.

That ending *eyes bugging out of my head* WHY must you drop that news and end it? I will go crazy until I get my hands on SEVENTH GRAVE AND NO BODY. I only have a few slight issues with SIXTH GRAVE, 1: There were some pretty big questions and plot happenings raised that we never got answers to and 2: the massive cliffhanger ending.

Haven't started the series yet? I feel bad for you, you are SO missing out.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

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NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.

Find Darynda and her books
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