Sunday, July 15, 2018

Week in Review: 7/8-7/14



Books Received for Review

City of Demons by Debbie Cassidy

Books I've Read

Box of Frogs by Helen Harper
Seventh Born by Monica Sanz
City of Demons by Debbie Cassidy

Reviews Posted

Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

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

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Queen of Thorns and Roses by Connie Suttle ( @puretextuality, @SubtleDemon )

* Wednesday- Interview for His Earth Maiden by Michelle M. Pillow (@MichellePillow @ravenhappyhour)

* Thursday- Interview for Tangled Dreams by Cecilia Dominic (@RandomOenophile)

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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.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Review: Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall (@DianneDuvall, @AuthorsTaproom)

Awaken the Darkness
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
ASIN:   B07CVCVFNR
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Author

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

AWAKEN THE DARKNESS wasn't my favorite book of the series, but it was still an enjoyable addition to the overall storyline.

AWAKEN THE DARKNESS felt more like a filler book than a book that continues the overall storyline. Most of the book takes place with Stanislav and Susan in isolation and getting to know eachother and in Stanislav's case, getting to know himself.

The romance didn't totally draw me in like the previous couples.  Don't get me wrong, Susan and Stanislav fit together nicely and have a strong physical connection, but It didn't feel totally believable with the amount of trust and dependency they put on each other so quickly. Now having said that, Stanislav doesn't know who he is for a good portion of the book, so some of the trust and dependency can be contributed to that. I still would have liked a deeper build up to everything.

I loved the action scenes, they fit with the rest of the series nicely. The storyline was nice and entertaining. There was danger and mystery involved. I loved how easily the rest of the Immortal Guardians reacted to both Stanislav's return and Susan's addition to his life. I would have loved to have the team more involved in the book, but Stanislav needed that time to tell his story.

I look forward to seeing what comes next for the Immortal Guardians we already know and to seeing who else joins their family next.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Interview: Tangled Dreams by Cecilia Dominic (@RandomOenophile)

UFI welcomes Author Cecilia Dominic. 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 had to think about this question, but then I realized I have a strange talent that only comes up occasionally. I have now twice been elected to positions I haven't run for.

The first time it happened, I was in college, and I got elected as treasurer of my sorority. I was a math major, so I guess they thought I'd be good with money, and I was a junior. There was some question as to whether I could take the position since I was still a pledge at the time. I'm all about experiential experiments, so I rushed late, as a junior, to see what being in a sorority would be like. The morning after the election happened, my sorority sisters were congratulating me, but they couldn't tell me what for until they knew I could accept the position. It was a bizarre feeling. I did end up being treasurer, and it went fine. Maybe it even partially prepared me for running my own business.

The second time I got elected without running was for treasurer of the Georgia Association of Sleep Professionals. I found out I'd won when I went to sleep grand rounds at Emory one Monday morning, and again, there was that weird experience of being congratulated and having no idea what for. Someone had nominated me and thought the organization would check with me before putting me on the ballot, but the organization thought the person who'd nominated me had asked. I declined that position – I didn't have time for the meetings at that point. Oh, and I ran unopposed, thank goodness. I would've felt bad for the losing contestant if there had been one.

One accidental elected position would have been a funny coincidence, but two? Stay tuned. I'll let you know if I end up with any surprise positions after the upcoming midterm elections.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Since I have a day job as a sleep psychologist, writing fills most of my non-work time. Otherwise, I love to cook. It's my Zen happy place when I can focus on something outside of my head. I also love to eat, so it works out well.

Baking is my favorite type of cooking, but I live in a drafty old house, so using the oven in the summer makes the kitchen unbearably hot. I save my baking projects for when we're at my parents' house in the North Georgia Mountains, where using the oven doesn't heat up the place too badly. We're at the cabin this weekend, and I made biscuits this morning and two kinds of pie this evening, one peach and one tomato-eggplant. Everything tasted delicious.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

I love it when the story is clicking and ideas come to me without me having to chase them. Usually that's because I've gotten to know my characters, and the process feels less like writing than it does chronicling their experiences. I can't wait to get back to drafting when I'm in that flow, which usually happens about two thirds of the way into a story.

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

I prefer to write with some sort of beverage at hand, either coffee or tea in the morning or something more adult in the evening. Otherwise, since writing is my second job, I don't have time for an elaborate lead-in routine. I've had to get good at what I call "writing in the corners," or taking advantage of short stretches of time. I wish I could write at my day job office, but there's just too much chance of being interrupted and having to shift mental gears. But oddly I can do edits there.

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

I love Darynda Jones. Her main character Charley makes me laugh out loud. Linsey Hall is also one of my go-to's. I've loved everything of hers I've read. The same goes for Debbie Herbert. She does it all so well – mermaids, shifters, and fairies. She's currently taken a detour into romantic suspense, and I hope she'll come back to the paranormal soon.

How would you pitch The Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers series to someone who has not heard of it before?

You know how your dreams seem so real and logical while you're having them, but then you wake up and think, "Where the heck did that come from?" This series explores possible reasons why. The inhabitants of the dream world, the Collective Unconscious (C.U.), are getting restless and keep trying to figure out how to make trouble in the waking world. Basically it's urban fantasy written by a sleep psychologist.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers series is set in?

The books take place partially in the waking world of modern-day Atlanta and partially in the Collective Unconscious, which is the world some humans can visit in their dreams. As I mentioned above, the inhabitants of the C.U. are getting bored since humans are getting less sleep, and therefore less REM (deep dream) sleep, so they're not visiting the C.U. as often. This world is so much fun to write in since pretty much anything is possible, and there are Greek gods and goddesses, bits of Arthurian legend, and all kinds of paranormal creatures. If it can live in the imagination, it can exist in the C.U.

Do you have a favorite scene in Tangled Dreams?

In one scene, the goddess Aphrodite has come through to the waking world and has been ignored by my hero Damien, who is more interested in my heroine Audrey. Aphrodite has her son Eros shoot Damien to punish him and Audrey. Poor Damien then annoys Audrey with his over-the-top devotion. It was a great modern twist on Aphrodite's legendary jealousy and so much fun to write since Damien loses some of his inhibitions, which of course comes back to haunt him later. Since I'm a psychologist, I loved playing with what would happen if someone's inhibitions came down and exploring how much of it was really them and how much came from Cupid's arrow.

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

While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Edward from Eros Element, my current favorite is Morgan le Fay, who is the heroine of Web of Truth, the next Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers book. She enters the scene with a huge chip on her shoulder and a bunch of legitimate pain to back it up, and she's angsty but still strong and clever. I enjoyed getting to know her and telling her redemption story because I always felt the women in the King Arthur legend got shortchanged.

As for the hardest character to write, that may have been Gabriel, the hero of Blood's Shadow, the third book in my Lycanthropy Files series. He was tough because that series is in first person POV, so for that book, I had to stay in a guy's head for 300+ pages. As it turns out, writing guys convincingly involves more than mentioning boobs every so often, and I'm so grateful to my critique group for helping me out. Gabriel is also a series favorite, so there was a lot of pressure to get him and his story right.

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

Web of Truth will be out in October, and those who read Truth Seeker will get to see what happened to Philippe.

After that, I'll be putting out a new steampunk project in December that I can't say much about yet, but I'm excited about. Henry Davidson, who is an inspector who appeared in all of the Aether Psychics books and had a major role in the last one, is getting his own series.

Then there will hopefully be a new Lycanthropy Files book in early 2019.
 
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By day, clinical psychologist Cecilia Dominic helps people cure their insomnia. By night, this urban fantasy and steampunk author writes fiction that keeps her readers turning pages past bedtime. She prefers the term “versatile” to “conflicted” and has been published in short story and novel-length fiction. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with one husband and two cats.

Find Cecilia and her books
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Tangled Dreams
Dream Weavers and Truth Seekers #2
When the walls between reality and the dream world crumble, sleeping with the lights on won’t save anyone from their nightmares.

Restaurant reviewer Audrey Aurora Sonoma's life is like a steakhouse meal: utterly predictable, comfortable, and just exciting enough to satisfy her independent streak. But when odd characters from her dreams show up during daylight hours – were-bats and a vegetarian dragon, of all things! – the menu goes from familiar to fusion. When she learns the job she accepted in her dream is real, well... Who would have guessed the goddess Persephone exists? Finding her – and figuring out why the walls between reality and the Collective Unconscious are slipping – seem to be impossible tasks for a mere mortal.

Damien Lewis turned down promotions to keep his life orderly and predictable. He has enough challenge with real-life hassles like eating regular meals. And forget dating. But after encountering three naked, delirious Jane Does on consecutive nights, he suspects more than drugs are behind their appearances, and he soon becomes much more involved than he’d like.

As the walls between the Collective Unconscious and real world continue to erode, vampires, demons, and, of course, were-bats come through to prey on those who get in the way of the god who is masterminding it all with human help. Can Audrey and Damien face their biggest fears and work together to stop the waking world from being overrun by creatures that no human has dared to dream of? Or will their nightmares become real – and permanent – when the pathways open for good?


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Interview: His Earth Maiden by Michelle M. Pillow (@MichellePillow @ravenhappyhour)

UFI welcomes Author Michelle M. Pillow. 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 hate purple onions. So much guacamole is ruined nowadays by purple onions.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

I love new adventures and try to keep an open mind to opportunities that might come up. My husband and I enjoy traveling, meeting new people and hearing their stories. We were able to work as extras on SyFy Channel’s Z Nation a couple years ago. Nothing says romance like hanging with zombies in a greenroom.

In another life I was a photographer, and I still enjoy picking up my camera when I get a chance.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

World building. I love taking all my research, experiences, and imagination and making something out of it.

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

Not really. I can pretty much work anywhere. Not because I’ve wanted to over the years, but because I had to learn to—waiting rooms, parking lots, airports, hotels. I even fished a book in the passenger seat of a car while driving halfway across the country. It wasn’t a fun 10 hours for the driver. Lucky for me, he still married me.

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

I always have to list Mandy M. Roth’s Immortal Ops series. I read the first one 15 years ago and loved it. We both published our first books together and have been besties almost from the start of our careers. I love getting sneak peeks from her Ops worlds, including the spin off series. It’s like a behind the scenes look each time she writes one.

Another great author in the genres include Kristen Painter, who I had the pleasure of working with on The Happily Everlasting Series project. Kristen has the Nocturne Falls series. Jana DeLeon was also on that project with Mandy and I. Gena Showalter just sent me the ARC of her upcoming, The Darkest Warrior. Yes, I’m bragging a little, LOL.

How would you pitch the Space Lords series to someone who has not heard of it before?

Cursed, lonely Space Pirates just trying to find their way in the universes and having a helluva good time doing it.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that the Space Lords series is set in? 


Space Lords series is a series installment in the sci-fi romance Qurilixen World collection.

The Qurilixen World is an extensive collection of science fiction and futuristic romance novels that started nearly 15 years ago with the original Dragon Lords series and has since grown into a massive collection with 34 books within 7 series installments and growing. Each book in each series is a standalone story.

The Space Lords are interconnected with the other series, as well as set in the same universe. It gets a little confusing, so I have several handy guides on my website to help new readers navigate, but really they can jump in anywhere.

Qurilixen World: https://michellepillow.com/dragonlords/

Qurilixen World Collection of Series:
Dragon Lords
Lords of the Var
Space Lords
Captured by a Dragon-shifter
Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides
Dynasty Lords
Galaxy Mates (Reissues coming soon)
More Coming Soon!

Do you have a favorite scene in His Earth Maiden?

Yes, but saying too much will contain spoilers. So I’ll just say, the one where the person who was in the thing comes out of the thing and does some things.

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

I was just recognized for writing over 100 published romances by Romance Writers of America, so picking favorites is hard. Reid from The Rogue Prince was a favorite…until it came time to write his story and he didn’t behave. Rick from Space Lords is a favorite…which I’m sure will change as soon as I write his book and I know he won’t behave.

Jiri from the Tribes of the Vampire series and the King of the Damned from the Realm Immortal series, both side characters who only show glimpses of being redeemed before they do something questionable again. They will probably never get their own books, at least not romances, but those baddies are so fun to write.

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

I love new challenges. I have several new projects and series coming up, including more in the Qurilixen World collection. As long as readers want them, I’ll keep writing them.

I’m very excited to have released book one in my new cozy mystery series, Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes. It’s book one in the (Un)Lucky Valley series.

Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes
(Un)Lucky Valley Book 1
Cozy Mystery Paranormal Romantic Comedy
June 26, 2018

Welcome to Lucky Valley where nothing is quite what it seems
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Lily Goode wasn't aware she had an inheritance waiting for her in the form of a huge Victorian house in Lucky Valley, Colorado. Life might finally be coming together for her. That is if you don't count the endless home repairs, dealing with eccentric Aunt Polly who claims they're both witches, and Nolan Dawson the handsome home inspector who seems to have it out for her, then, sure, life is grand. Oh, and not to mention the strange hallucinations and garden gnomes who are far more than lawn ornaments.

If mysterious accidents don't do her in, then the rebellious gnomes just might. With the help of Aunt Polly, it's up to Lily to discover who's sabotaging her new home and trying to drive the Goodes out of Lucky Valley once and for all.

https://michellepillow.com/book/better-haunts-garden-gnomes/
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NYT and USAT Bestselling Author Michelle M. Pillow is an award-winning romance writer with over 100 published books over the course of her nearly 15-year career. She is best known for her Quirlixen World including the series: Dragon Lords, Space Lords, Lords of the Var, Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides, and more.

Michelle is always up for a new adventure or challenge, whether it's a paranormal investigation of an old Vaudeville Theatre or climbing Mayan temples in Belize. She was a refugee extra on SyFy's Z Nation.


Find Michelle and her books
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His Earth Maiden 
Space Lords #4
Amazon  Nook  Kobo  iBooks
Former elite Federation soldier, now turned space pirate, Jackson Burke has done his best to turn his life around—for the better. He isn't prepared when fate leaves a woman's safety totally in his hands. Since heroes don't leave a damsel in distress—and despite being outlaw pirates, the crew considers themselves the good guys—Jackson assumes responsibility for the beauty. It’s enough that his ship is held together by rust and sheer will, now he's got to keep this good guy thing straight and not give into the urges the sassy female brings out in him. Raisa is everything a man could want and for some reason she seems to like him, rough edges and all, but he's on the Federation's wanted list and they aren't known to back down.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Queen of Thorns and Roses by Connie Suttle ( @puretextuality, @SubtleDemon )


Queen of Thorn and Roses
Black Rose Sorceress #4
Amazon
“You thought you could walk right into Az-ca, take over where you left off centuries ago, and everybody would just fall in with your plans. Is that it?”
“I didn’t count on her—never saw her in all my divinations.”
He meant Sherra. An unseeable. He’d divined Thorn II, just not his Queen and partner. “So. You wanted to take over after practically destroying their current King—who was a very good King, and before that, an excellent Commander of the army. That’s a hell of a way to get Az-ca’s population to adore you, isn’t it?”
“I can offer them peace,” he began.
“Except you can’t. Kaakos is still alive, remember, and he’ll be coming for you—of that I have no doubt. You know it, too, and you can’t take him on without Az-ca’s army at your back.”
“I thought we could work together—Thorn II and I. That he’d see the reason in it after a while.”
“And, as he’s currently powerless, what choice would he have?” I sniped. “Except he has the strongest Queen you’ve ever seen at his side, and she certainly won’t fall for that bullshit.”

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The present King of Az-ca has been rendered powerless through an unsuspected coup, and is overcome with despair.
Kaakos has escaped death, but is forced to leave Ny-nes. Now, his sole focus is revenge.
Az-ca’s citizens have fallen victim to the enemy’s lies, and civil war threatens to split the country.
Sherra is forced to divide her attention between searching for the enemy, dealing with traitors and struggling with the King’s misery and desolation. When the blood spell that rendered Kerok powerless takes a turn even its maker didn’t expect, only her dreamwalker, with help from another, can hope to turn the tide…

The Black Rose Sorceress Series

    

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CONNIE SUTTLE is the author of the Blood Destiny series, the Legend of the Ir’Indicti series, the High Demon Series, the God Wars series and the Saa Thalarr series. Other titles are scheduled for release very soon.

Connie earned her MFA from the University of Oklahoma and has taught courses at the university level. Reading (and writing) have been a constant throughout her life.

The author lives in Oklahoma with her patient, long-suffering husband and three cats. Obviously, the cats are not so long-suffering and are certainly not patient.

Find Connie and her books
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon
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Tour Wide

To celebrate the release of QUEEN OF THORNS AND ROSES by Connie Suttle, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS + CONDITIONS:  Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Connie Suttle.  Giveaway ends 8/18/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!




Sunday, July 8, 2018

Week in Review: 7/1-7/7



Books Received for Review

Magnolia Mystick by Lisa Kessler
Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven
City of Broken Magic by Mirah Boldender
Seventh Born by Monica Sanz

Books I've Read

Held by Magic by L.J. Swallow
Stroke the Flame by Elizabeth Briggs
Mistake of Magic by Alex Lidell
Embers by Suzanne Wright

Reviews Posted

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

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

* Monday- Promo for Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes by Michelle M. Pillow (@MichellePillow @ravenhappyhour)

* Wednesday- Interview for A Tracker's Tale by Karen Avizur

* Friday- Guest Blog for Love Detour by Susan V. Vaughn (@susanvaughn1124)

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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.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Guest Blog: Love Detour by Susan V. Vaughn (@susanvaughn1124)

UFI welcomes Author Susan V. Vaughn. Thanks for Joining us!!

I take the inspiration for my books from everyday life. The first contemporary romance series I wrote was based on a story I read about a mother of three who struggled with addiction. I remembered being touched by her story and questioning what life would be like for her three children after they grew up. Would they be happy? Would they be able to lead normal lives? Would any of them become parents too? It’s curiosity that leads to creativity. An author is more than a storyteller, they are also a detective, and a therapist.

Before I wrote Love Detour, I was watching a documentary on TV about a woman who possessed psychic abilities. She could see and communicate with ghosts. She claimed that sometimes when people died they had a hard time moving onto the other side and would find people like her to leach onto. She had one ghost who wanted to connect with his son, and after some research, she was able to find the boy and convince him to meet her. I was skeptical watching their meeting. I kept thinking the woman was trying to pull over a fast one on this poor innocent boy. But that was not what happened. Instead, the woman connected with the boy and told him things only his father could know. She brought the boy peace. After the documentary finished my mind kept going. I thought about what it would be like to be able to see and communicate with ghosts. I thought about what it would be like to connect to a loved one through a stranger. How would I feel? Would I be able to believe a stranger and find peace? Would my life be better because of that connection?

As an author, I always have my eyes and ears open. I watch the world unfold around me and connect to others empathetically. I ask questions, constantly, and try to dig deeper. What makes a person the way they are? How would I feel if I were in their shoes? Writing is not just a creative process it is about discovering a life outside your own.    
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Romance Author, Susan Vaughn understood the meaning of sarcasm before she could walk. Her childhood in the suburbs of Detroit was spent mainly trying to outwit her six creative siblings. When she wasn’t working on the next soul-crushing jab, she sharpened her imagination on romantic literature and day dreamed about her knight in shining armor.

It didn’t take long for this hairdresser by trade to turn her passion for reading romances into writing her own unique love stories. Susan lives her life finding laughter in all situations, and delights in marrying sarcasm with romance to create realistic falling-in-love stories in the unlikeliest of scenarios. 

Susan lives on the shores of Lake Huron with her real life knight in shining armor and enjoys watching their three children learn the art of sarcasm and wit.


Find Susan and her books
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Love Detour 
Amazon Kobo BN
 Life can change in the most unexpected ways.

Ashlyn Montana had encountered ghosts her whole life, but none more charming or irresistible than Bob Abbott. From the moment the fatherly figure floated into her life, she knew she met a friend she could trust. Pressured by her family to marry young, Ashlyn takes Bob’s advice and goes on the run in disguise. But when he talks her into taking a job in Breaker Creek as a farm boy named Al, she becomes suspicious. Did her ghostly pal lead her to freedom, or entangle her into his past?

Hunter Abbott had no idea what he was getting into hiring the clueless and scrawny farm boy, Al. But he felt for the kid. There was a time he was once a lost boy looking for a place to belong, until his Uncle Bob took him under his wing. But when Hunter tries to help guide Al into a farmer it leads to a shocking discovery. His new hire is hiding an unbelievable secret. And Hunter is about to face a reality he never thought possible.

Can the two people Bob Abbot loves most, find love as they work to solve the mystery of his murder?
Excerpt 3:

“So what?” Al challenged back. His voice had gone up in pitch again, and his eyes were blazing with anger. “You’re not the boss of everything I do.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. If Al wanted to fight with him like a man, then he had better be ready to act like one. “I pay you, feed you, and give you a place to live. And as long as I do all three of those things what I say goes.” He leaned close and lowered his voice. “Now go take a shower, change your clothes, and join our guests for dinner.”
Al turned his head to the left of him and stuck out his tongue.
Hunter grabbed him by the front of his overalls and pulled him up into the air so that they were face to face. “Now you’re sticking out your tongue at me?”
“Not at you,” the boy squeaked, fighting Hunter’s grip.
“Then who are you giving that look too, kid?” He gave the boy one gentle warning shake, before lowering him back to his feet. “I’m the only person standing in this room with you.”
Al looked down at his boots, refusing to answer. And just like that, Hunter snapped again. He grabbed onto the boy’s arm firmly, and repeated, “Who are you giving that look to?”
“Nobody.” Al tried to pull his arm back and got nowhere. He glanced up at Hunter with desperation, and his eyes were so startling green at that moment—his lashes so long, his cheeks so pink—he looked exactly like a woman.  
Hunter dropped the boy's arm and took several steps back.



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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (@ilona_andrews)

Iron and Magic
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
ASIN:  B07CZ39YYV
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

I LOVE Kate Daniels and I love everything Ilona Andrews, but I was scared to read IRON AND MAGIC because I just couldn't imagine that Ilona Andrews could make me like Hugh enough to read a whole book about him. I was wrong. I enjoyed every single moment, and I see Hugh in a whole new light.

We already know the overall world, but we now get to see a different slice than we're used to. Hugh is a giant mess when we start IRON AND MAGIC. He has always been a bit of a dark character, but we see him at his lowest and watch him grow into a man he can start to be proud of. Elara is a bit of a mystery, but she has a strong following of people that look to her for protection. It takes a while to really find out about her, but there wasn't one point in the book that I didn't like her.

Hugh and Elara are anything but a happy couple. You can feel their attraction, but they will do anything to hide it and make each other miserable. They bicker and banter constantly, but it was pure entertainment. Things develop slowly, but they are definitely moving in a good direction.

I enjoyed getting to know the side characters. The Iron Dogs and Elara's people mixed well together and it was neat seeing them work together towards common goals. We also get a visit from some familiar faces and I can't wait to see more familiar faces come together in future books.

I'm excited to see Hugh and Elara grow as allies and partners and I'm excited to see what Kate and Hugh can do on the same side against Kate's dad.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Interview: A Tracker's Tale by Karen Avizur

UFI welcomes Author Karen Avizur. 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 wrote my first story when I was twelve, working on a laptop. I'd save my story on a floppy disk. One time I left it in my back pocket and accidentally sat on it. I was in tears until my father managed to salvage it -- an early lesson on the importance of backing things up in multiple places!


What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

I take my dog Ginger on walks, though during the summer we usually only go in the mornings or evenings since it gets so hot down here in Florida. I'm also a big movie buff, and I love to read, mostly stuff similar to what I write, urban fantasy. That genre has always had a special place in my heart. I remember needing to wait a few years to read Goosebumps, since it scared me so much when I was younger, but when I got to my teens, it was the most awesome book series.


What is your Favorite part of writing? 

I think when a character kind of pokes me and goes, "Nope, that's not what I'd do." That's pretty fun. Having a whole other world in my head is wildly entertaining. And making up all the rules for the science, breaking physics, so to speak. The sky's the limit.


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

Not routines, exactly. The only thing I really feel I need is the desire to write. Forcing a story to happen never makes a good story. The best stuff comes out when I've got a great idea that's fleshing itself out without me trying and I end up close to bursting, needing to get it written down. I actually wrote the first chapter of Trackers while on vacation, on my cell phone! I had this awesome idea for an introduction and absolutely needed to get it down somewhere.


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

I am a major Harry Dresden fan. Jim Butcher rocks. I also enjoy Seanan McGuire's books immensely, several of her series; the Newsflesh series is my favorite take on the zombie genre. I also liked Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series. Just an excellent world of werewolves and magic.


How would you pitch A Tracker's Tale to someone who has not heard of it before?

It's a day-in-the-life story following a psychic FBI agent, Katherine Colebrook, as she handles various cases involving "parasapiens". These most commonly include werewolves, vampires, and pucas (fae), and also others, some more dangerous, that pop up occasionally. And we follow her daughter, who is psychic too, and tends to find trouble.


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

What fascinated me most was the idea of a world where supernatural-type creatures existed, and everyone knew and had always known. Most of the series I read and TV shows that I watch revolve around a world where these things are in the shadows. I thought it would be interesting to have things like civil rights issues for faeries, reality shows starring vampires, a werewolf that runs a company that sells certified silver-free products, and so on. How would they fit into society?


Do you have a favorite scene in A Tracker's Tale?

I think the court scene in the beginning is one of my favorites. I wrote it later and added it in, thinking it would be a great way to introduce Katherine, mostly

because she's out of her element. She's much more comfortable doing her job, where she calls the shots, than talking about it. Especially since she's a psychic, it's difficult testifying in a court case. She knows too much and feels like she's the only one in the room who really understands what's going on.


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

I think my favorite character to write is Katherine's daughter Alexandra, just because she doesn't take any crap from anyone. She's had a difficult time of it, growing up psychic, but it's just made her stronger. She and her mother aren't always on the same page, but they've been through a lot together, and their close relationship means a lot to Alex.


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

A Tracker's Tale is just the beginning of Katherine's adventures. If everything goes according to plan, I'll be releasing the second novel in the Trackers series this October; my editor and I are working on it at the moment. Also, I have a prequel that I can't wait to eventually share with my readers. Katherine's life has been a long one, she's had to endure some tragedy, and this are what made her who she is. It's definitely an important part of her story that I can't wait to tell!
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Karen Avizur was born in Montreal, and grew up in Long Island, New York, with stops in Connecticut and West Virginia along the way. She's been writing stories since she was twelve years old. In those early days, she discovered it was impossible to keep up with her thoughts by writing longhand, and ended up borrowing a 7-pound laptop from her dad, quickly honing her typing skills.

After graduating film school, Karen moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a film editor for several years while also pursuing her writing. “I was taught that a film editor is really the final-draft screenwriter. It’s true,” she notes. “I’d written much of Trackers as separate short stories over the years, but being an editor helped me see how to weave those stories together into novel form.”

Karen now lives in Florida with lazy dog Ginger (her Australian cattledog mix), and still keeps a hand in editing for special clients.

Find Karen and her books
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A Tracker's Tale
 Trackers #1
Amazon 
Welcome to the strange and perilous world of Katherine Colebrook: FBI special agent, Los Angeles… Trackers Division.

In Katherine’s world, werewolves, vampires, pĂșcas, and other parasapien species – forced for centuries by human fear and prejudice to live at the fringes of society – have finally come out of hiding to demand their rightful place alongside us. It’s a fragile co-existence, fraught with mutual distrust: a new social contract for which the rules are still evolving. And when those rules break down – usually when a parasapien begins preying on humans – that’s when the Trackers step in. It’s their job to hunt them down and stop them by any means necessary.

Within this elite unit, Katherine Colebrook is one of the best. Her psychic abilities made her a natural for the Trackers Division, allowing her to move between the parasapien and human worlds in ways that no other agent could. But Katherine’s calling hasn’t come without struggle and losses along the way. As a single mother, she must contend with her teenage daughter, Alexandra, who not only shares Katherine’s psychic abilities, but seems determined to follow the same dangerous path as her mother.

And so, when Katherine’s latest assignment threatens to bring that danger too close home, she finds herself faced with the toughest challenge of her career: Can she protect her daughter’s life, while battling a ruthless adversary who’ll stop at nothing to destroy her?

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Promo: Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes by Michelle M. Pillow (@MichellePillow @ravenhappyhour)


Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes
(Un)Lucky Valley #1
Amazon  BN  Kobo

Welcome to Lucky Valley where nothing is quite what it seems.

Lily Goode wasn't aware she had an Aunt Polly, let alone an inheritance coming to her in the form of a huge Victorian house in Lucky Valley, Colorado. Life might finally be coming together for her. That is if you don't count the endless home repairs, dealing with eccentric Aunt Polly who claims they're both witches, and a handsome home inspector who seems to have it out for her, then, sure, life is grand. Oh and not to mention the strange hallucinations and garden gnomes who are far more than lawn ornaments.

If mysterious construction accidents don't do her in, then the rebellious gnomes just might. With the help of Aunt Polly, it's up to Lily to discover who's sabotaging her new home and trying to drive the Goodes out of Lucky Valley once and for all.

From NY Times & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Michelle M. Pillow, a Cozy Mystery Paranormal Romantic Comedy.

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NYT and USAT Bestselling Author Michelle M. Pillow is an award-winning romance writer with over 100 published books over the course of her nearly 15-year career. She is best known for her Quirlixen World including the series: Dragon Lords, Space Lords, Lords of the Var, Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides, and more.

Michelle is always up for a new adventure or challenge, whether it's a paranormal investigation of an old Vaudeville Theatre or climbing Mayan temples in Belize. She was a refugee extra on SyFy's Z Nation.


Find Michelle and her books
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