Friday, March 16, 2018

Review: Guardian's Bond by Rhenna Morgan

Guardian's Bond
Author: Rhenna Morgan
Release Date: March 12, 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Ancient Ink Book #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

For decades, he’s been alone.
Now, she’s here. His fated mate.
His to win. To protect.
To provide for and pleasure.

Priest Rahandras has lived with the darkness trapped inside himself for years. Betrayed by his own brother and forced to watch his clan’s brutal annihilation, the only thing Priest wants more than to escape the curse that haunts him—as both man and beast—is to rebuild.

Until the mate he’s longed for walks into his life with an elder from his past. She’s everything he’s wished for, and the key to the clan’s very survival.

Kateri Falsen is a woman of logic and facts. While Priest’s cat can sense her arousal, telling her they’re fated won’t be enough. He’ll have to show her his love: with his words, with his actions, and with his body.

Protecting Kateri from the evil trapped inside him is paramount. But when lost clan members are systematically murdered, he’ll have to choose between exposing his mate to his black magic, or risking her as the next victim.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed GUARDIAN'S BOND.

Priest has finally found his mate, but she knows nothing of the clan ways so he has his work cut out for him to win her heart. I liked Priest. He has a lot of life experience and seemed to have a pretty level head. He is very protective of those he considers part of his family. Kateri doesn't believe in anything that doesn't make sense and Priest and the way she feels about him doesn't make sense. Katy didn't grow up knowing about the clan world. On top of that, her father hated who he was, so he pushed his 'logic and fact' life on her from an early age and she is having a really hard time finding a way to let that go. Katy was very stubborn and I wanted to just squeeze some sense in her a few times, but I understood where she was coming from and I had a hard time holding her stubbornness against her. I was very frustrated with her though at quite a few moments.

The romance was slow, but burned bright. I enjoyed watching the characters learn each other. The world was interesting and I enjoyed the pace at which information was given out. The characters are easy to like and learn about. Priest and Kateri's relationship is a big part of the story, but so are all the characters and the journey they are on.

New mates are introduced at the end of GUARDIAN'S BOND and it once again deals with a character that grew up knowing about the world and one who didn't believe in it, so I'm sure book two will be just as interesting. I look forward to reading more.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Ace
ISBN:  0425281310
ISBN13: 9780425281314
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source:  NetGalley

In her bestselling Alpha and Omega series, Patricia Briggs “spins tales of werewolves, coyote shifters, and magic and, my, does she do it well” ( Now mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other–one that lurks too close to home…

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

BURN BRIGHT didn't pull me in like the Alpha and Omega books of the past, but still does a good job of continuing the series and setting up the next chapter in Charles and Anna's story.

My biggest issues with BURN BRIGHT was the pace and the way that information was just sort of chaotically thrown around. The pace was slow and I had a hard time getting excited when I just wanted things to happen. It left me a bit bored which made it hard to get into when things actually did start happening. Information was thrown out so willy-nilly that it made things a little confusing at times. Thankfully the plot twists and the action helped me get back into the story.

The plot as a whole was interesting. There was a lot of character driven moments and the mystery actually stayed a mystery. There are some things that are revealed about Mercy's past and some things about Bran that were a bit shocking. I am interested to see if this information comes out again in future stories.

Like I said, not my favorite Alpha and Omega installment, but it furthered the series. BURN BRIGHT definitely ends in a way that makes you want more though so here's to hoping that the next book doesn't have these same issues.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Guest Blog: Shadow of the Moon by Kwen D. Griffeth

UFI welcomes Author Kwen D Griffeth. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Story Behind the Story
Guest Blog – Kwen D. Griffeth 

The most often comment I hear about “Shadow of the Moon,” is “Why on earth would you write a fantasy werewolf story?”

My response always starts with a smile.

A few years ago, I read a trilogy written by a well-known author, and part of the story was the experiences of a female werewolf. Out of all the fantasy stories, i.e., the Mummy, Dracula, Swamp Creature and such, the werewolf has always been my favorite. In the telling of the story I referenced, I felt the she-wolf was cheated.

When in human form, the character was tough, intelligent, educated, and determined. When forced to change by the moon, she became little more than a wild dog chasing rabbits through the woods. Her ability to shapeshift indeed was a curse.

Fast forward several months and the story was still with me, and a nugget of an idea started to form. I decide to write my own story, and I begin by doing weeks of research about the history of the werewolf, as well as the social order of actual wolf packs. My theory was a family of werewolves would fit somewhere within that structure.

You may know that according to legend, Rome was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus, who were nursed by a she-wolf. Is it a leap of logic to say these brothers were the offspring of the wolf? It has never been documented that wolves are kind to orphans. Point two, later, Romulus killed his brother and then named the city Rome, after himself. Such actions are not limited to wolves but certainly would fit the violent nature of the animal.

Perhaps the best beginning of the wolf is the story of Lycaon, a Greek, who tried to trick Zeus. As a punishment, Zeus transformed Lycaon into a wolf and forced him to remain so for many days. Later, he changed him back, and the ability to shapeshift was complete and was a gift from a god. Lycaon went on to father many sons, fifty in fact, and he is said to have started the Lycaean Games, which led to the Panathenaic Games and thus the Olympic games.

I particularly like this part. The old man has fifty sons, all of whom needed wives. He doesn’t start a university, as his boys aren’t the brightest. Nor does he build a debating hall, again, the boys are not so articulate. What his boys are, is the biggest, the toughest, the fastest and the strongest of all the men in the area, so Dad starts physical contests in an effort to marry them off.

Accurate or not, such was one side of the story that came to be known as “Shadow of the Moon.” The other side was the social behavior of wolf packs. Lone wolves usually do not survive as the dynamics of the pack determines survival. I took that to mean werewolves have stable, as well as extended, families. The wolf pack is a matriarchal society; so must the werewolf family be.

Last, the werewolf would be conflicted. On the one hand, they would be some of the toughest and meanest of us. They would be athletic winners as well as leaders in combat if they could accept the rules of society. If not, they would undoubtedly be capable of being the cruelest of serial killers. They would be the best of us and the worst of us. Underneath it, all would be the fear of extinction, as they are also the least of us.

“Why would you write such a story?” is the most common question I hear.

“You almost made me believe in them,” is the most common statement.

Winner of Readers' Favorite Silver Award for Historical Fiction/Western, Kwen knew he wanted to be a writer when he was fourteen years old. He felt the urge when he finished Earnest Hemingway’s masterpiece “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” The story touched him in a way no other book ever had. It transported a kid born and raised on a farm and ranch in Idaho to the mountains of Spain. It took him back in time forty years to witness the Spanish Civil War. Kwen knew he wanted to share that wonder with other people.

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you make other plans.” While Kwen lived a full and varied life, his dream of writing remained in the back of his mind.

Finally, in 2012, he wrote a novella named Dear Emma. He self-published through Amazon and asked people to read it. “The best way to see if I can write is to let people check it out,” he said. Like it, they did. Currently, Dear Emma enjoys a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.

Often asked what genre he writes, Kwen replies he writes stories about people and uses the genre that best fits the story. “I think of the genre, or setting as another character that interacts to help tell the story,” he says.

His most often received and constant comment is how real his characters seem. Upon the completion of his historical fiction trilogy Sam and Laura books, a reader telephoned Kwen and directed him to write more stories about the couple. When asked why the reader was so adamant about more stories, he replied he “wasn’t ready to tell Sam and Laura good bye yet.”

Kwen considers that comment one of his highest compliments.

Kwen’s books are getting some attention from the literary community. The Law of Moses, the Silver Award winner from Readers' Favorite, and The Tenth Nail both received the Gold Award from Literary Titan Book Review. In addition, The Law of Moses was awarded five 5 Star Reviews from the reviewers of Readers' Favorite.

Kwen’s books are available in several formats; e-Book, paperback, and audio. He invites you to check his writings out. Who knows? He might become your next favorite author.

Find Kwen and his books

Shadow of the Moon
Shadow #1
The grisly murder of a diplomat’s son in Central Park draw NYPD Detective Gerald Meeker and FBI Special Agent Andee Trakes into a twisted and confusing investigation. Within hours, the evidence indicates the man was executed in the manner saved for werewolves. Andee Trakes is assigned to liaison with a history professor, who is an expert on folklore and legends.

Professor Alwyn Lloyd, handsome, articulate and successful, not only agrees the method of death was indeed an execution, he claims to be a werewolf. Andee is torn between the desire to date the man and the suspicion to arrest him.

From the initial killing in the park, a bloody spree is ignited that soon has Andee and Lloyd forced to work together to protect themselves and family members.

Shadow of the Moon explores the world of werewolves and paints a picture of what is good about them, as well as bad. The story explains what is beautiful as well as ugly about the wolf.

The story is fast paced and full of interesting characters and several twists and turns to keep both the fantasy as well as the suspense and romance enthusiasts entertained.
Book Trailer:


“I’m Professor Lloyd’s assistant. Is he expecting you?” Her smile never wavered, though the hand dropped to her side.
“No, as I said, I’m with the FBI, and we don’t normally make appointments.”
Miranda, with smile still in place, walked to the door leading to the professor’s office as she said, “Let me check with him, but I’m sure he will be able to meet with you. I keep his appointment calendar, so I know he’s not overly busy.”
“Hey, I was here first, and I’ve waited thirty minutes.”
Trakes turned back to the office and noticed a blonde had stood to announce her displeasure. She tried to show her indignation with the agent, but her glare fell short.
Trakes smiled at the student and held out her FBI credentials for the blonde to see.
“I’m with the FBI, sweetie. We get cuts.”
Behind her, she heard Miranda say, “Sit down, Shelly, you know as well as I do the professor won’t change your grade.”
Trakes turned back to Miranda and waved the credentials one more time.
“These are really the only announcement I need, but thank you. I’ll just pop in. Then the professor and I will get acquainted.”
Before Miranda could object, the agent turned and stepped through the door.
Her first impression of the office was the desk. It was large, made of wood and appeared antique. The floor was wood, with a large rug that covered most of it. Like the outer office, this one was also wainscoted with dark wood paneling. Opposed to the other space, this one was painted an off-white the rest of the way to the 10-foot ceiling. Again, keeping with the theme set by the outer office, this one also had pictures and paintings on every wall. Bookcases, shelves and glass cases flanked the desk, with two chairs centered in front of it. A two-person sofa along the wall to the left and a coffee table finished the décor. Professor Lloyd sat behind the desk.
He studied papers with his head lowered, and her first glimpse of him took in the breadth of his shoulders and his hair. It was thick and dark, almost black down the center of the head, but shaded to grey by the time it reached the man’s ears. It was combed back, but a natural part down the center caused it to fall to each side. She wondered what it felt like, then forced herself to refocus.
As she stepped through the door, Trakes announced, “Good afternoon, I’m…”
He looked up from his papers.
The eyes were a pale blue. Ice blue. The shade of blue used to sell breath mints, and her intake of air seemed fresher as it travelled to her lungs. The eyes were hard and unwelcoming. Andee wished she had waited to be announced. She stepped into the room and tripped on the edge of the rug. She whispered a curse, caught her balance, held her blush to a minimum and muttered an apology.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”
Those eyes, still focused on her, softened enough to indicate his irritation at the interruption had grown into a mild curiosity. As he studied her, he allowed an eyebrow to raise and his head to cant to one side. She suddenly felt exposed, and her blush from the ungainly entry deepened. Her heart paused, and then quickened. Her stomach tickled, then settled into nervousness. Her underarms damped and a question about deodorant flashed through her mind. She tried again to introduce herself, but discovered she had forgotten her name.
“Professor, I’m…a…I’m…”
Her words came in a small squeak. It may have been the squeak a mouse makes when she sees the hawk dive, but it was certainly the squeak of prey. She froze. The corners of his mouth turned.
“Uncle Alwyn, you stop this. Stop it, right now.”
The commands came from Miranda, and the professor looked past Trakes to his niece, who was standing in the doorway. As he broke eye contact, Andee gulped air. She realized she’d forgotten to breathe.
“Uncle Alwyn, I’m ashamed of you,” Miranda continued, and she took Andee’s arm and assisted her to one of the chairs in front of the desk. Andee smiled her gratitude as she felt dizzy. She looked up at the assistant, who smiled down at her.
“Don’t mind my uncle. He does that sometimes. It’s because he is an Alpha.”
“He’s a what?”
Andee felt as if she was clearing a fog.
“He’s an Alpha, and sometimes he takes advantage.”
“An Alpha? Is that a fraternity?”



Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence
Author: Anne Bishop
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Ace
The Others Book #6
ISBN:   0399587241
ISBN13: 9780399587245
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

In this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

I put off reading LAKE SILENCE for quite a while. I was scared that I wouldn't love it like I loved the previous books in the Others series with the different setting and characters. I am happy to report that I was worried for no reason and that I loved LAKE SILENCE just as much as its predecessors.

I DID miss Meg, Simon and the rest of the Lakeside Courtyard crew, but Vicki and her new friends—both human and Other—were easy to like, easy to root for and so much fun to get to know. Vicki has a lot of insecurities and doubts throughout LAKE SILENCE. If you're looking for a romance, you won't get it. She isn't ready to trust men romantically yet after the disaster that was her marriage, but she is on her way there.

I loved learning about another part of the world. The town and the people really helped make the story. We don't have that Courtyard feel of the last books, but there is definitely a community.

I would have liked to get to know the Others better. We get a lot of information on the humans of the group, but we only got a few tidbits about the others. Even with not getting to know them, we do get to see what their powers are used for and what they are willing to do for those that have their protection.

After finishing LAKE SILENCE I'm once again excited to continue the series and look forward to seeing what will come next.

I gave it 4.5/5 stars

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

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Week in Review: 3/4-3/10

Books Received for Review

Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch
The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Books I've Read

Blood Oath by Raye Wagner + Kelly St. Clare
Shadow Wings by Raye Wagner + Kelly St. Clare
First Shift by J.L Weil
Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

Reviews Posted

Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire


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

* Monday- Guest Blog + Giveaway for Witch Creek by Laura Bickle

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway for Flight of the White Wolf by Terry Spear

* Friday- Interview for Daemon Deception by Mariah Ankenman


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

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Interview: Daemon Deception by Mariah Ankenman

UFI welcomes Author Mariah Ankenman. 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? 

I was raised by a professional clown. We have a family photo of us all in our clown costumes.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

Playing my ukulele, crocheting, scrapbooking, and hiking when the weather is nice.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Plotting. I love putting a story together, the high you get when all the pieces just fall into place. It’s magic.
Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write? 

I always plot out a book before I start writing. Right now, I have two kids ages 5 and 2 so I have to wait until after bedtime to write. Plotting out where the story is going helps me avoid writers block since I have a limited window in which to get my word count.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres? 

Cynthia Eden is my go-to for Paranormal. Kim Harrison’s Hollows Series is one of the best I have ever read. I also enjoy Katie Reus, Kerrelyn Sparks, and Adrienne Bell. There’s a lot more, but then this interview would go on for days ;)

How would you pitch Daemon Deception /The Daemon series to someone who has not heard of it before? 

The things that go bump in the night are real. Hidden in our world is another, one of darkness and shadow. There lie the monsters and the saviors, fighting a never-ending battle for the fate of the world, a battle that has been waging since the beginning of time. Unbeknownst to the humans, their souls are being hunted by the evil Kakodaemons, but the benevolent Euadaemons work day and night to keep back the Kako horde. Only now, the Kako’s have a secret, a new power tipping the scales toward darkness. It’s up to the supernatural council to discover and destroy this new power, before it’s too late for humanity and the world.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Daemon Deception/the Daemon series is set in?

It’s our world. Modern times, but the supernatural creatures have always existed alongside us, hiding in the shadows. Much like humans, there are good and bad supernatural creatures. The supernatural council is in charge of keeping evil in check and their existence a secret from the humans, but the dark creatures of the night are tired of hiding. They want to rise up and rule and they don’t care who they have to kill to achieve their goal.

Do you have a favorite scene in Daemon Deception

I love the scene in Clem’s metaphysical shop. No spoilers, but let’s just say I love “first” moments.

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about? 

Krista, in Daemon Reckoning (the third and final book in this series, due out later this year). I loved her spunk and willingness to fight back. She’s so positive through all the devastation life throws her way.

Kayla from my Peak Town, Colorado series was the hardest to write because she is a teacher. She’s very calm and patient, basically the opposite of me.

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

Daemon Reckoning the third book in the Daemon series will be out later this year.

RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes. 

Since 2016 Mariah has published seven books and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Whether she’s writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books.

Find Mariah and her books

Daemon Deception
Daemon #2
Amazon The Wild Rose Press
As a witch, and one of the smartest scientists around, Celia’s job is to help the Enforcers defeat evil. Her latest task is to decipher the new language of the Kakodaemons. It should be easy, but she finds it nearly impossible with the demanding, frustratingly attractive council head breathing down her neck.

Euadaemon Damien has been called tough, but he’s tasked with protecting the innocent and war is brewing. He recruits Celia Dahl. Though he needs her brain, he finds much more about the sexy woman appealing.

As they work together, they find themselves engaged in more than just a working relationship. But even those closest can hide dark deceptions. Celia and Damien discover sacrifices must be made if there is hope for humanity and love.

“What do you need?” he asked, once he reached her side, bag in hand.
“There’s a vial inside. A potion I made to lessen the effects of the blood curse. I took one before I broke the spell, but I’m not sure it did much good.”
As horrible as her wounds were, he suspected her potion did help. If Racine’s account was accurate, the blood curse could have been a lot worse. “This?” He held up a glass tube with blue liquid inside, so bright it almost glowed in the dark room.
“Yes,” she panted, clearly in pain. “Pour it directly onto my wounds.”
He hesitated. “Will it hurt?”
She managed a small shrug. “It can’t hurt any worse than it does now.”
If he ever discovered the Sorcerer who created this blood curse, he would put him or her in the ground. After he made them bleed, a lot. Removing the stopper, he tipped the vial over her wounds. The blue, shimmering potion dropped into the deep gashes and started to bubble. Celia sucked in a sharp breath.
“Does it hurt?”
She giggled. “No. It tickles.”
Odd, but better than hurting. If he had his way, Celia would never feel any pain again.
He watched in amazement as the potion bubbled and sparked. Before his eyes, her wounds started to shrink. The skin began to knit itself together. In just a few short minutes, those deep, raw cuts reduced to three long, thin scars. The skin remained red and tender, but the wounds had closed.
“Did it work?”
“Baby, you are one amazing Witch.”
A smiled tipped her lips as her cheeks tinged a tempting pink. She rolled to her side, then winced and rolled back.
“Well, it’s better. That’s a start. I guess I’ll have to sleep on my stomach tonight.” She frowned and he found the expression adorable. “I hate sleeping on my stomach. I can never fall asleep that way. It’s so uncomfortable.”
He stood and started to unbutton his shirt.
He didn’t answer, just continued to undress until he was down to his boxers. Then he slipped into bed with her and pulled her onto his chest.
“There. Better?”
She buried her face in his chest. “Much.”
Careful of her back, he wrapped his arms around her and immediately realized his mistake. Celia was naked. He’d removed her clothes himself, but had been too distracted by her wounds to notice or appreciate her nudity. He noticed it now. Silky, soft flesh pressed against every inch of his body. Her firm breasts smashed against his chest, and he felt her nipples begin to harden. One leg draped across his groin, moving slowly back and forth. Yeah, he noticed all right. If the rising tent in his boxers was any indication, he appreciated it, too.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Flight of the White Wolf by Terry Spear

Flight of the White Wolf
Heart of the Wolf #24
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
 Stranded in the wilderness, these warring hearts will be forced to work together―or die together.

Gavin Summerfield―an arctic wolf shifter with a fear of flying―has to fly into the vast lakeland wilderness of northern Minnesota to track down his suspect―where his ability to shift will come in very handy. Imagine his chagrin when his pilot turns out to be the woman who tasered him last time they saw each other. Things are off to a rocky start...again.

Arctic wolf shifter Amelia White isn't entirely displeased to see Gavin again, but priorities shift when their plane is sabotaged and goes down in the middle of nowhere. As their attraction grows, Amelia hopes Gavin doesn't discover the secret she's been keeping...she knows he could never forgive her...


As a wolf, Gavin ran through the woods, searching for recent signs of anyone having been on the island. He was sniffing wet leaves, looking for tracks, and watching for any movement. While he was searching for anyone, he thought about Amelia and what she’d told him. As a cop, or a PI, instinct told him he needed to investigate every detail of her story to prove she had been telling the truth. Gut instinct, or some lower power, was telling him she was the wolf for him and everything she had told him was true. That she was innocent of any crime, a victim every bit as much as he had been. He wasn’t sure he would have ditched a plane to save himself and another passenger. That took real mettle. Even then, she’d managed to do so in a way that everyone had survived. At least initially, after they had crashed.
When she’d finally fallen asleep during their nap, her breathing steady and her heartbeat slowed, Gavin had moved Winston over so he could be next to her again. He liked the intimacy they’d already shared. And he wasn’t taking any steps back from this. He was certain they could put the past behind them. The thought kept running through his mind that she had saved him three times already. That had to mean a whole hell of a lot. And it sure sounded like mate material to him. He did worry she might want to leave for the bay without him to wait for a seaplane to pick her up. After what had happened to her plane, he wasn’t letting her out of his sight until she was safely on her way back home.
He’d been running about an hour and continued to move through the spruce trees, and checked the shorelines so he could see if anyone was camped across the lake on the island about an eighth of a mile away.
He suddenly saw movement across the lake. A soaking wet, black bear was lumbering out of the trees to drink from the water, but then saw Gavin and watched him with a wary eye. Gavin was glad the bear was on the other island. Gavin continued running along the rocky beach when he saw a bright yellow canoe on the south side of the other island, the symbol on the boat indicating it was a rental from Ely. Excited to see anyone in the vicinity, Gavin would have to return in his canoe and see if he could locate the paddler. But then he saw a man in the woods, near the edge, wearing a camo jacket and pants, boots, and hat, like he was dressed to hunt, not that it was allowed out here, or he was on a military mission. The only reason Gavin even saw the guy was that he’d turned to head deeper into the woods and out of view, bags in hand. He was probably carrying his gear over a portage. The movement had caught Gavin’s eye, but he didn’t think the man had seen him or he would have come out of the woods to get a closer look at the out-of-place Arctic wolf.
This was one time when Gavin wished he was in his human form and he could call across the lake to get the man’s attention. In the direction the bear had been, motion across the lake caught Gavin’s eye. Sure enough, the bear was heading for the canoe. He must be smelling the scents of food that had been carried in the craft. When he finally reached the guy’s canoe, he poked his nose into it. Apparently not finding anything, the bear headed into the woods the way the paddler had gone. He had to be making a couple of trips to carry all his gear across the portage. Gavin hoped he didn’t run into the bear. But Gavin imagined the bear was smelling the food the man was probably carrying.
With any luck, the man had something to make lots of noise and scare off the bear.
Gavin thought the bear might help to delay the paddler from reaching his canoe on the return trip, which could give Gavin time to come back as a human and meet him. Gavin lifted his chin and howled to Amelia back at their makeshift camp to let her know he found something.
She howled from another direction way on the other side of the island, confusing and concerning him. She was supposed to be staying with Winston as a human at their campsite. What was she doing running as a wolf? Where was Winston? He immediately worried they’d had trouble and she felt safer as a wolf.
His heart racing, Gavin tore off toward the direction of her howl, stopping for a moment to howl again, to let her know he was coming to her location. She howled back to acknowledge his message. He ran for about half an hour when he heard something moving in the brush, turned and saw Winston. The dog ran to greet him and he greeted him back with licks to the face. Not immediately seeing her, Gavin woofed for Amelia.


USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over sixty paranormal romances. In 2008, Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world. She lives in Spring, Texas with two Havanese puppies.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire

Tricks For Free
Release Date: March 6 2018
Publisher: DAW
Incryptid Book #7
ISBN:  0756410401
ISBN13: 9780756410407
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Netgalley

Penance, noun:
1. Punishment for past actions.
2. An attempt to pay for what can’t be bought.
3. See also “exile.”

Antimony Price is on the run. With the Covenant on her tail and her family still in danger, she needs to get far, far away from anyone who might recognize her—including her own mice. For the first time in a long time, a Price is flying without a safety net. Where do you go when you need to disappear into a crowd without worrying about attracting attention? An amusement park, of course.

Some people would call Lowryland the amusement park. It’s one of the largest in Florida, the keystone of the Lowry entertainment empire…but for Annie, it’s a place to hide. She’s just trying to keep her head down long enough to come up with a plan that will get her home without getting anyone killed. No small order when she’s rooming with gorgons and sylphs, trying to placate frustrated ghosts, and rushing to get to work on time.

Then the accidents begin. The discovery of a dead man brings Annie to the attention of the secret cabal of magic users running Lowryland from behind the scenes. They want the fire that sleeps in her fingers. They want her on their side. They want to help her—although their help, like everything else, comes with a price.

No plan. Minimal backup. No way out. Annie’s about to get a crash course in the reality behind the pretty facade. If she’s lucky, she’ll survive the experience.

TRICKS FOR TRADE was a bit slow in the beginning. Antimony finds herself isolated after the events of MAGIC FOR NOTHING force her into hiding. On her own she has to find a way to make money so she can eat and sleep somewhere other than the side of the road. Lowryland might not be the circus, but a chance encounter with someone from her past gets her a job there. Unfortunately she might not be as safe there as she expected.

A lot happens in TRICKS FOR TRADE. It's all connected, but a lot of crap falls on Annie's shoulders. Thankfully she doesn't find herself as alone as she expected. I really enjoyed the introduction of the new characters that are now a part of Annie's 'crew'.

One thing that doesn't happen is anything having to do with the Covenant of St. George storyline. Having it so heavy in the last book and not having anything happen with it in TRICKS FOR FREE was a little odd. I also realllllly missed the mice.

I still find her relationship with Sam a little weird. I'm just not in love with 'them' and it makes it hard to really get into those parts of the story.

I can't say that Antimony is my favorite Price sibling, but I still enjoy reading about her adventures. Having said that, I wouldn't be disappointed if there wasn't a lot more books with her as the main character unless something drastic happens. I guess we will see what comes next.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Witch Creek by Laura Bickle

UFI welcomes Author Laura Bickle. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Dark Mermaid
By Laura Bickle 

I’ve always been a little obsessed with mermaids.

When I was a little girl, my mom gave me a Sea Wees doll for my birthday. I knew instantly that she was a magical creature, both human and something other. She had brown hair and green scales. She floated in my bathtub on a foam lily pad. I took her everywhere with me, from climbing trees to my pillow at night. She heard all my secrets and dreams.

I carried that fascination with me into adulthood. I learned about the mythology of mermaids, of their roles in luring sailors to their deaths, their seductive singing voices. I came to feel that mermaids were complex creatures, that there was a dark side to these sirens that I didn’t see as a child. And I sought an opportunity to write about this idea.

Over the years, I’ve come up with several ideas and discarded them. None of them seemed quite right. I wanted the mermaid I wrote about – my mermaid – to be something more than an idea that sailors projected their fantasies on. Then I began to work on WITCH CREEK, and I knew that this was the story for the mermaid that had been swimming at the edges of my dreams for decades.

Muirren, the dark mermaid of the story, didn’t start out as a water creature. She began life more than a century and a half ago as a mortal woman, a witch and a singer. She allied herself with the alchemist of Temperance, Wyoming, a town built on the gold the alchemist conjured. For a time, they made magic together, raising the dead and chasing salamanders around the parlor. There was a sinister wonder in their relationship, I think, as they both sought the limits of magic in their time.

Inevitably, as with all volatile partnerships, there was a falling out. They fought, chasing each other through the backcountry of what is now Yellowstone National Park. The alchemist was the victor, and he dragged her back to his basement laboratory to become the subject of one of his many alchemical experiments.

Suspended in a glass tank, Muirren was given a mouthful of sharklike teeth, fins, and an appetite for flesh. The alchemist grew bored of her and cast her out. He imprisoned her in an underground river, where she would eventually starve, forgotten.

But Muirren has endured to the present day, eating the unhappy fish that have wandered into her territory. She’s tricked the new owner of the land to release her. For the first time in more than a century, she’s feeling the sun on her skin…and seeking the taste of human flesh. No fisherman or swimmer in the rivers and streams of Yellowstone is safe from her hunger.

Muirenn is a tragic character, possessing both magic and a desire for revenge. There’s a big part of me that’s rooting for her to finally have her day, to break the magic that’s kept her under its evil thumb. But Muirenn has other ideas, and she’s determined to devour anything she touches.

Obsessions are like that, I think. We place them on pedestals and tell them secrets…and they take on a life of their own.


Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs, also writing contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams.

Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

Find Laura and her books

Witch Creek
Wildlands #2
HarperVoyager Amazon Kindle
BN Books a Million Indiebound

In the backcountry of Yellowstone, evil moves below the surface . . .

Following Nine of Stars comes the next chapter in Laura Bickle's critically acclaimed Wildlands series

As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has battled supernatural horrors and experienced astonishing wonders. But there’s no magic on earth that can defeat her recent cancer diagnosis, or help find her missing husband, Gabriel. Still, she would bet all her remaining days that the answer to his disappearance lies in the dark subterranean world beneath the Rutherford Ranch on the outskirts of Temperance, Wyoming.

Gabe is being held prisoner by the sheriff and heir to the ranch, Owen Rutherford. Owen is determined to harness the power of the Tree of Life—and he needs Gabe to reveal its magic. Secretly, the sheriff has also made a pact to free a creature of the underground, a flesh-devouring mermaid. Muirenn has vowed to exact vengeance on Gabe, who helped imprison her, but first . . . she's hungry. Once freed, she will swim into Yellowstone—to feed.

With her coyote sidekick Sig, Petra must descend into the underworld to rescue Gabe before it's too late . . . for both of them.

Peering through the cattails, she saw a man with a fishing pole, standing on an outcropping. He seemed alone, caught in a bit of reverie, gazing at his line skipping along the surface of the water.
She dipped below the surface of the water, toward the shiver of the fishing line. With green-spotted fingers, she lifted the struggling fish from the hook. The line jerked away.
The man swore.
Muirenn lifted her head above the water.
“Holy shit.” The man stumbled backward. “I didn’t realize you were swimming there . . . I . . .”
His expression changed from embarrassment to curiosity as he looked at her. The pupils of his eyes dilated. “Who . . . are you?”
Muirenn gripped the fish close to her chest, giving a small smile.
The fisherman crouched on the rock, setting his pole beside him. “Wow. You’re uh . . . green? Is that real?”
Muirenn cocked her head and slipped forward a bit in the water. The edge of her tail skimmed above the surface.
“Is that like . . . one of those tails that the girls have at that park in Florida? For a movie or something?” His suntanned brow wrinkled. “No. That’s real,” he decided. “You, um . . . want the fish? You can have it.”
She was within arm’s length of him. She released the squirming fish into the water.
“You wanted to let it go? Look, I . . .”
The man talked too much. She swam closer, tentatively.
The fisherman looked at her, at her dappled skin and the dark rust hair spreading into the water. She wouldn’t ordinarily have been so bold. The weight off her tail was going to her head. She let him take in the black of her eyes, the gills on her throat. He gazed in wonder, and his fingers twitched to a small square piece of plastic on top of his tackle box.
“Can I take your picture? What . . . are you?”
A smile played across her lips, and she spoke to him in a silvery voice. “I’m the Mermaid.”
“Wow. I . . . wow. I’m, uh, Norm. Do I, like, make a wish or something?”
“You can, if you want. I’ll listen.”
She reached up with delicate fingers to touch him. Her fingers brushed the pockets of his fishing vest, playing with wonder over the bits and baubles there meant to lure the attention of fish. The man forgot about his camera and stared, transfixed.
Muirenn reached up for his collar . . .
. . . and dragged him down into the water.
He splashed and flailed. She brought him down—down to the bottom of the creek. It wasn’t so far, but it was far enough for a land dweller. He couldn’t fight her for long. He thrashed until his lungs grew heavy with creek water. He convulsed as the lack of oxygen reached his heart and filtered up to his brain. And then he stopped.
Muirenn grinned, showing row upon row of shark-like teeth. She ripped off his arm and began to chew. It had been so long since she’d had anything but the errant fish that wandered into her realm . . . this was a meal worth waiting for.
The creek ran red.
Red as the idle red-and-white bobber drifting on the surface of the water.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Week in Review: 2/25-3/3

Books Received for Review

Shadow Keeper by Christine Feehan

Books I've Read

Volatile Bonds by Jaye Wells
The Black Tide by Keri Arthur
Wraith by Helen Harper
Soul Thing by Lana Pecherczyk

Reviews Posted

None this week...


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

* Monday- Guest Blog for Bitter Harvest Series by Ann Gimpel

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for Highland Dragon Master by Isabel Cooper

* Thursday- Interview + Giveaway for Soul Thing by Lana Pecherczyk

* Friday- Promo + Giveaway for Hooked on a Phoenix by Ashlyn Chase


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

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Hooked on a Phoenix by Ashlyn Chase

Hooked on a Phoenix
Phoenix Brothers #1
Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo

Misty Carlisle works as a bank teller in Boston's financial district. She's had more rotten luck in her life than most, except when her childhood crush shows up to cash his paycheck. Then her heart races and her mouth goes dry.

Gabe Fierro is a firefighter―and a phoenix. Like his brothers, his biggest challenge is finding a woman open-minded enough to accept a shapeshifter into her life. When his boyhood friend asks him to watch over his little sister Misty, he reluctantly agrees. But when the bank where she works gets held up, Gabe does everything he can to protect her. The two of them end up locked in the bank's vault...where things get steamier than either of them ever imagined.

“Holy shit!” Gabe exclaimed. “Is that Parker?”
Parker whirled around and met his best friend coming up the walk. They gave each other a man hug with many slaps on the back.
“Good to see you! Hey, Julie, I didn’t realize you knew Gabe.”
“I don’t. Well, not really. I thought he was a stripper, and then he ran off before proper introductions could be made.”
Parker’s brows rose.
“Jeez, Julie,” Misty interjected. “It’s not what it sounds like. I was having a party at my apartment for Julie and my friends from high school, and Gabe just showed up to check on me. I thought he was the pizza delivery guy and went into the other room to get my wallet and, well…the girls thought I had arranged something else—which I didn’t, by the way.”
Parker laughed hard. “So, I guess you’re still looking after my little sister, Gabe. Thanks.”
“What are you doing here?” Gabe asked. “Did you get emergency leave when you heard that Misty’s house blew up?”
Parker took a step back. He grabbed Misty’s arm. “Your house blew up? How? When? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I was going to. It just happened, and there was a lot of other stuff going on.” She realized she’d inadvertently introduced subjects she didn’t want to get into just yet. “Hey, let’s go inside. Why are we all standing in the foyer with the door open? It’s February, for God’s sake.” She grabbed Parker’s hand and tugged him inside.
As soon as Gabe had closed the door, she quickly addressed Parker’s concerns. “It was a gas leak. Gabe saved both me and my landlady. He was in the hospital, knocked unconscious for a while.” There. Put the focus on Gabe. That should buy her a little time.
Parker let go of Misty and clamped his hand on Gabe’s shoulder. “I knew I could count on you, man. Thank God you were there.”
Gabe offered a weak smile. Maybe he was just being humble, or maybe he didn’t want Parker to know how close they had become. Either way, it was time for another distraction.
“Let’s get out of the chilly hallway.” Misty made a point of shivering.
Julie laughed. “No shit. If my father were here, he would have yelled, ‘Do you want to heat the whole damn neighborhood?’ ten minutes ago. Let’s go into the kitchen where it’s warm. I’ll make some coffee.”
They all tromped into the kitchen and found seats at the round glass table in the corner.
“Nice house, Julie,” Gabe said.
“I’m a squatter. Sort of. My folks are in Germany. My dad got transferred, and they’re looking at houses. Until they buy one, they won’t put this one on the market. I get to live here until the new owners evict me.”
Misty brightened. “Maybe you and I can get a place in the city when they sell this out from under you.”
Parker groaned. “That’s a recipe for disaster.”
“What do you mean?” Gabe asked.
Parker laughed. “When these two get together, you never know who’s going to call you. The towing company, the cops, or—”
Gabe held up his palm. “I don’t need to know the details.” He gave Misty the hairy eyeball.
“Hey, we’re not that bad.” Julie giggled as she filled the coffeepot with water. “At least we’re no
longer underage.”
Parker smiled. “I guess it’s just harmless girl fun.
Nothing to be concerned about. But what does concern me is where are you living now, Misty? Can you get to your job from here—or wherever?”
“The Fierros took me in. I just have to commute from the South End to the North End. It’s nothing the subway and a CharlieCard can’t handle.”
Parker glanced at Gabe. “You’re still at your place near the theater district and Chinatown, right?”
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Just making sure.”
Misty sensed her brother’s discomfort. Or maybe it was her own worry she was projecting. Parker obviously didn’t want them together. She and Gabe shared a quick glance and looked away.
Julie joined them at the table while the coffee was brewing. “Hmmm… Something is going on here.” She pointed to the other three in turn.
“Oh? Is there something I should know?” Parker asked.
Oh, crap. Julie was always too observant and never could shut the hell up. Misty had to get her brother and Gabe alone and tell them her news soon—before Julie blurted it out at the worst possible moment.
“Julie, can you please give us some time alone?”
Julie straightened and looked offended. “You don’t want me here? I would think you might need my support.”
“No! What I need is for you to disappear for a few minutes.” Misty felt bad as soon as she raised her voice to her friend, but it had to be done. Her well-meaning friend would probably add her two cents and just complicate things.
“Fine.” She sounded hurt as she rose and stomped out of the room. “When the coffee is ready, you can help yourselves.”
“I’m sorry,” Misty called after her.
“No, you’re not, but you might be when I’m not there to help you figure out what you’re going to say.” Julie’s voice trailed off, but it looked as if the guys caught the gist of it.
Misty muttered, “Jesus.”
“What’s she talking about?” Parker asked.
Misty leaned back and crossed her arms. “There’s something I have to tell you. Both of you. I didn’t want to do it here, like this, but it seems like I have no choice now.”
Parker narrowed his eyes. “Spit it out, Misty. What did you do?”
She straightened and glared at her brother. “What makes you think I did something?”
“Whoa. Relax, Parker,” Gabe said. “Misty hasn’t done anything. She’s had some bad news, and if you’ll just shut up, she’ll tell you what it is.”
Gabe was trying to help, probably thinking she had to tell him about the MS. Boy, was he in for a rude shock.


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

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

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

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

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