Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: City of the Lost by Debbie Cassidy (@amoscassidy)

City of the Lost
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Urban Fantasy/
Reverse Harem
Review Copy Source: Author

When life gives you lemons, punch it in the face.

Time is running out for Wila and Azren as the meeting with the dragon liege looms, and Wila is no closer to locating the rogue Shedim base. Death by dragon seems like a definite possibility according to the voice in the basement.

With the Lost loose in the city, and the arcana Institute twiddling their thumbs, it’s up to Wila and Co to clean up the mess, prevent general panic and make sure they get home in time for a proper cup of tea.

Add several mechanical monster’s hell bent on attacking civilians into the mix, and we have a recipe for a case that’s out of this world. But with her jade-eyed shedim partner, an Arcana royalty, a draconi prince, and her troll blood lover at her back, no foe is unbeatable…right?

It’s going to take several slices of lemon cake for the gang to get through the week, but Wila has a plan.

Unfortunately plans have a way of derailing themselves where the dragon liege is involved. Wila is about to be tested, and when the lights go out how loud will she scream?

Wila may be striding into the dragon’s den, but will she be striding back out?

Join Wila as she continues to kick butt, turn heads and unravel mysteries in the thrilling second installment of the Chronicles of Arcana.

A kick-ass Urban Fantasy with a slow burn Reverse Harem romance

I was ready to jump into CITY OF THE LOST as soon as it hit my kindle.

We get some nice development on the storyline, but I honestly can't say there was a whole lot of character development on Wila's part. Who and what she is, is still a giant mystery and I hope we get some tidbits about her soon. I really want some hints about the guy locked up in the basement too. Quite a bit is revealed about Azren and his people. I am excited to learn more as they learn more.

There is a ton of action. People are hurt and there are a few moments where you're not so sure they might come out of stuff.

Again, just like I mentioned in book one. The romance is VERY slow burn. Frustratingly slow at times, but we do have some progress in that department in CITY OF THE LOST. The sexual tension is very high throughout the book though and I'm still not totally sure who all the men in the harem will be.

I still want to read more. CITY OF EVERDARK is set to release on Oct 16, 2018.

I  gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Guest Blog: Pawned by Laura Bickle (@Laura_Bickle, @RoxanneRhoads)

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

Top Seven Magical Things in Stannick’s Pawn Shop
By Laura Bickle

Stannick’s Pawn Shop isn’t what it seems. To the casual observer, it’s a pawn shop like any other, a space crowded with old guitars, military memorabilia, record albums, and jewelry. It’s been run by generations of Stannicks, barely managing to turn a profit on the boardwalk of Starboard City.

Aside from its ordinary inventory, Stannick’s Pawn Shop keeps a secret inventory of magical things that would shock outside observers. These magical objects are coveted by both the Mob and the supernatural underworld. Raz, a teen boy with the gift of psychometry, sorts the powerful magic away from the duds. There are a few things in the shop that he won’t soon forget:

7. A pair of antique dueling pistols. Through Raz’s psychometric sight, he sees that these identical pistols have drawn blood. One always hits its target, and one always misses. It’s anyone’s guess which is which.

6. A watch that stops time. With the Mob breathing down his neck, Raz’s father gives him a watch that belonged to a fighter pilot. It can stop time for a few seconds – maybe even long enough to dodge a bullet.

5. A ring that grants invisibility to the wearer. Raz’s cousin, Carl, has been given a ring that makes him invisible. You’d think that Carl would be tempted to use this magic on the football field, but he’s more worried about the Mob and denizens of hell invading the pawn shop in the dead of night.

4. The Gargoyles. They appear to be sculptures from an old church, but these stone ankle-biters are the shop’s primary security system. If there’s scuttling under the counters, it’s these cat-sized stone creatures fishing around for loose change.

3. An hourglass that can restore life – or end it. A powerful demon shows up at the night window with an hourglass, agreeing to sell it to restore Raz’s Grandpops’ life after a heart attack. The demon demands blood as payment, far too much blood. The Mob also wants the hourglass, and it will take all the shop’s magical forces to defend it.

2. The Gnome. The Gnome is the most fearsome weapon in the shop. When set in the front window, it appears to be a harmless garden statue. But it was sculpted around the head of a warlock, and it likes chewing livers. The Gnome is not a force to be trifled with.

1. Bert. His full magical name is “Bertasimus,” but he much prefers to go by “Bert.” Bert is a six-foot-tall demon who takes the shape of a T-Rex. He eschews the wearing of pants, and serves as security for the shop. Bert’s got a checkered past, but his loyalty to the Stannicks is eternal. Well, that, and they know his magical name. Bert will fight Hell and the Mob to the bitter end…and only Bert’s knowledge of the secret landscapes of magic will determine who is left standing.

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

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For fans of Stranger Things and the works of Neil Gaiman, Pawned is a Young Adult novel that blends dark fantasy adventure and noir — on the New Jersey boardwalk.

You can hock almost anything at my family’s pawn shop…even your own soul.

You think running a pawn shop full of cursed objects with your dad and grandpops is cool? Try it for a week and get back to me. Now try picking up any random object and seeing its creeptastic history play out right before your eyes — yup, that’s my little “gift.” It’s my job to sort out what’s haunted and hexed from what’s not, and do my best to keep all of us — including Bert, our ice-cream-truck-driving-lizard demon — employed.

So it wasn’t all sunshine, roses, and possessed samurai swords even before grandpops’ heart attack — but now things are garden-gnome levels of bad. Dad made a deal with the wrong end of the dark side to save grandpops’ life, putting my whole family smack dab between the forces of evil and our friendly local blow-your-pawn-shop-to-smithereens mobsters. And Lily next door…I shouldn’t even be thinking about Lily.

All I ever wanted was to get out of this crap town and away from my messed-up family, and instead it looks like I’m gonna have to use every scrap of magic in this joint or there won’t be any family left to leave behind…


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Week in Review: 9/9-9/15

Books Received for Review

Heart of Ice by Lisa Edmonds
Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins
Scattered Plume by J.M. Miller
Cowboy Wolf Trouble by Kait Ballenger

Books I've Read

Pride by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)
Prey by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)
Shift by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)
Alph by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)

Reviews Posted

Exile of the Seas by Jeffe Kennedy (@jeffekennedy, @KensingtonBooks)


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

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Courted by her Cougar by Felicity Heaton (@felicityheaton)

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (@GraceDraven, @AceRocBooks)

* Friday- Guest Blog + Giveaway for The Wolf King’s Bride by C.A. Worley (@caworleyauthor, @RoxanneRhoads)


* 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, September 14, 2018

Guest Blog + Giveaway: The Wolf King’s Bride by C.A. Worley (@caworleyauthor, @RoxanneRhoads)

UFI welcomes Author C.A. Worley. Thanks for Joining us!!

Obsession with Fate

I’m a big fan of fantasy and paranormal romance books. I used to think it was because I had an unhealthy obsession with werewolves—or, healthy, depending on how you look at it. Then I read some books where vampires fell in love. Then demons, and so on and so forth. I was devouring these novels like there was no tomorrow. I’ve always been a good reader, but this was becoming an addiction.

Slowly (because I’m slow on the uptake at times), I began to see a running theme through the books that were becoming my drug of choice. These stories were rooted in the idea of fate. I love the idea of fated mates, that there is one person out there in the universe made just for you. It got me thinking about how wolves mate for life. Well, in books they do. Geese mate for life, too, but I doubt anyone’s dying to read about a shifter turning into a goose tearing up your grass. But I digress …

It got me thinking about the supernatural world and what if a wolf found his fated mate, but she was born into a species that did not recognize mates. I’ve also been fascinated by arranged marriages and the horrifying prospect of marrying a stranger. Just how optimistic could one be in that situation?

This is how I came up with the idea of The Wolf King’s Bride. I wanted to write a male character who was alpha, completely smitten, but a little high-handed. As I wrote each chapter, even when Kellan was being a little unreasonable, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. It was hard for me not to allow Nora, his mate, to jump right into insta-love like I had.

Of everything I’ve written (I also write under the Cass Alexander moniker), this is what I’m most proud of. Not because of super-hot werewolves or witches who can control the elements—though, I do find those things way cool. Not because I didn’t use my typical off-color humor. It’s because I choose to believe we all have a fate. We just have to be brave enough to fight for it.

C.A. Worley is the alter-ego of Romance Author Cass Alexander. Where Cass tends to focus on humor in her publications, C.A. loves to write fantasy. She chose to write under the two different monikers to not confuse (or tick off) her readers.

C.A. currently resides in the Midwest, but was born and raised in the South. She spends her days working from home and her evenings are spent shuttling her kids to and fro. Her dinners are subpar, but she makes a mean dessert.

When she's tired of living her sons' travel sports schedules, C.A. enjoys a glass (or four) of wine. She needs the liquid courage to click the publish button for her fantasy romance novels.

Her motto is, "Be Brave," and she tries to live it every day—it takes a healthy dose courage to get through this thing we call life.

Find C.A. Worley and her books

The Wolf King's Bride
Fate of Imperium #1
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When Kellan, Wolf King of the North, meets his fated mate, she is only a child. He immediately brokers a betrothal and, on the day after her 20th birthday, whisks her away to his castle in the Northland. Kellan is elated, believing he has everything he has ever wanted. His new wife, Nora, doesn’t quite share the same sentiment.

Before Kellan has time to court her, Nora is attacked. An ancient brotherhood refuses to allow an heir of one kingdom onto the throne of another. All four factions in the land of Imperium appear to be involved in a surreptitious struggle for power … while Nora hides a few secrets of her own.

***The Wolf King's Bride is the first book in the Fate of Imperium Series. Each book is the story of a different king and his fated mate. While the three books do not have to be read in order, it is highly recommended.

Nora ran for the door and Kellan caught her by the waist. “I don’t think so, love.”
She clawed and scratched at him, using her combat training to try and get free. Her father was in danger. He needed help.
Kellan was bemused by his wife’s strength. She managed to score her fingernails across the side of his face. She drew blood and Kellan was half-proud of her.
In his stupor over witnessing her abilities, he must have hesitated, because she landed a hard knee to his kidney. Kellan grunted, but did not let go. He was the strongest wolf in the pack. His little mate was no match for him.
He carried her to the bed and held her down with one hand. He reached for his belt on the floor and his kidney suffered another blow.
Despite his efforts to avoid it, his cock hardened. He made note to revisit this in the future. Battling with her in bed was something he wanted to explore.
A punch to his mouth was enough to dampen his lust. He growled, seizing her wrists and slamming them above her head.
Holding them with his left hand, he looped the belt around them with his right. Nora was bucking like a madwoman, so he flung one leg over to straddle her ribs as he tightened the restraints.
It took longer than it should have. Nora was a skilled fighter. Yet another secret withheld from him.
“There,” he proclaimed once she was secured to the bed. Her feet were still loose, but he didn’t think she could get her arms free.
“Please, don’t do this, Kellan. My father … please!”
“Nora, calm yourself. I will find him. Did you think I would ignore the vision? I may be furious with him, but I’ll not ignore my father-in-law’s need for help. Trust me to do what is necessary.”
“But I can track him. The earth, it will tell me where he is.”
“As will my nose. Do not worry. I will handle it.”
“Don’t you dare leave me like this, Kellan.”
He ignored Nora as he started to dress, then thought better of it. He would leave the castle in wolf form, so he could track Edward.
“I will return as soon as I can.”
Kellan bent to kiss Nora. Instead of allowing it, she tried to hit his forehead with her own.
“Woman, will you calm down?” Kellan did not want to get his nose broken.
“How could you? Are you trying to ensure you’ve earned my abhorrence? Because I can assure you it’s working,” she seethed.
Kellan recoiled at the vehemence in her words. “No. Do not say that.”
“How could I not? You do not listen to me. You have no regard for me. You think of me as a witch. Do not pretend that you’re not disappointed I’m not a she-wolf. I bet if I was wolf you would let me go to my father. Instead, you’ve tied me to your bed like a damned animal.”
“You are tied to our bed, so I can ensure your safety, Nora. I will be gone from the castle and you refuse to stay put. I cannot concentrate on whatever your father is facing if I am worried about you. You are my mate. Nothing is more important to me than you. Do you hear me? Nothing. I care not that you are an elemental. I shouldn’t have called you a witch. I am sorrier than you could possibly know. My anger got the best of me. It won’t happen again. Just as you will not lie to me again. Mates do not lie to one another. Ever. I am hurt that you could do it so easily. But we’ll discuss it later. I have to go.”
Kellan had his hand on the door handle when Nora landed her final blow.
“I may be your mate, but you are not mine. I am Gwydion. We don’t have mates.”
He bowed his head as his heart filled with more sorrow than he had ever known. He took a calming breath, wanting to ward off the reaction he was having to Nora’s harsh words, but the grief inside him was too big to hide.
Kellan turned his head towards his wife, eyes wet from the enormity of his heartache.
Nora was shocked to see tears forming in Kellan’s eyes. One spilled and mixed with the blood from the scratches on his face. The ones Nora had put there only a moment before.
“I may not have your heart, Nora. But you have mine. You can wound it easily. Yet, I give it to you, freely, with no expectation of anything in return. I’ll endure your hatred to ensure your safety. For this, I’ll not apologize.”
With that, Kellan exited the bed chamber, leaving behind the only thing he had ever truly held onto—hope that his mate loved him.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review: Exile of the Seas by Jeffe Kennedy (@jeffekennedy, @KensingtonBooks)

Exile of the Seas
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Around the shifting borders of the Twelve Kingdoms, trade and conflict, danger and adventure put every traveler on guard . . . but some have everything to lose.

Once she was known as Jenna, Imperial Princess of Dasnaria, schooled in graceful dance and comely submission. Until the man her parents married her off to almost killed her with his brutality.

Now, all she knows is that the ship she’s boarded is bound away from her vicious homeland. The warrior woman aboard says Jenna’s skill in dancing might translate into a more lethal ability. Danu’s fighter priestesses will take her in, disguise her as one of their own—and allow her to keep her silence.

But it’s only a matter of time until Jenna’s monster of a husband hunts her down. Her best chance to stay hidden is to hire out as bodyguard to a caravan traveling to a far-off land, home to beasts and people so unfamiliar they seem like part of a fairy tale. But her supposed prowess in combat is a fraud. And sooner or later, Jenna’s flight will end in battle—or betrayal . . .

The Chronicles of Dasnaria series continues to be character driven with EXILE OF THE SEAS.

I loved the addition of a few new big characters in EXILE OF THE SEAS. Kaja was a big part of the story although she wasn't really present for a majority of it. Her influence and belief in Jenna set Jenna on a course that not only changed her future, but made her so much stronger than she was before and allowed her to really expand as a character. Ochieng kinda snuck up on my heart. I didn't think much of him when we met him, but he ended up having so much depth and character as a person that by the end of the story, I couldn't imagine the story without him in it. We also get a little bit of romance. It snuck up in the background, but it was still a nice addition to the story.

A lot of big things happens in book two, but surprisingly, the most powerful part of EXILE OF THE SEAS for me was when Ivariel met Violet the elephant. What a beautiful moment all around. Violet isn't the only elephant that steals hearts though. Their addition to the story was beautifully done.

I think the author could have ended the story with EXILE OF THE SEAS, but I admit I'm interested to see what will happen next for Ivariel and her new friends.   

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (@GraceDraven, @AceRocBooks)

Phoenix Unbound
Fallen Empire #1
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A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids and a big, doofus dog. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and a USA Today Bestselling author.

Find Grace and her books
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Monday, September 10, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Courted by her Cougar by Felicity Heaton (@felicityheaton)

New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new shifter romance release, Courted by her Cougar, the third book in her brand new Cougar Creek Mates Series. Set in her popular Eternal Mates world, Cougar Creek Mates takes you into the deep Canadian wilderness to a secret place that’s home to a cougar shifter pride led by four sexy brothers, each guaranteed to steal your heart and set it racing! With all four books in the series releasing just weeks apart, this is going to be one hot summer.

Check out the book, download it with your Kindle Unlimited subscription if you have one, and be sure to enter the awesome grand giveaway happening at her website!

Courted by Her Cougar
Cougar Creek Mates #3
 Madness is sweeping through Cougar Creek, and Flint wants no part of it. The fever has two of his brothers in love already, and Flint is damned if he’s giving up the bachelor life to tie himself to one female, but when a perimeter sweep has him running into an exotic and enthralling beauty who rouses his instincts as a cougar shifter and a male, the hunt is on.

All Yasmin is interested in is making sure her friend, Ivy, is safe, but the alluring black-haired man with a wicked smile she meets on the path to the creek has her thinking about other things. When an incident at Cougar Creek leads to her revealing a secret, and Flint’s persistence pushes her to a rash decision, her entire world is in danger of being turned upside down.

With the gathering in full swing, and males determined to prove their worth to Yasmin, Flint discovers he’s not immune to the madness sweeping through the creek, because he’ll do whatever it takes to claim victory and win Yasmin’s heart… no matter how dangerous it is.


When Rath moved towards his cabin, Flint followed, keeping an eye on Yasmin as she noticed his brother approaching. Her smile faltered a little, but it returned as Rath stepped up onto the deck and offered her a warm one.
And a cold beer.
“Crack me one open too.” Flint parked his ass against the railing to the left of the door of the one and a half storey log cabin and shot Yasmin a charming smile. “So, a doctor, huh?”
Her chocolate eyes lost all warmth as she leaned back in her chair beside Ivy and folded her arms across her chest. “If you’re dreaming up scenarios where I’m wearing my white coat, I recommend you stop now, before you end up disappointed, and possibly sexually frustrated.”
He rolled his shoulders in an easy shrug. “Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been sexually frustrated. I’ll take the risk.”
He was frustrated ninety-nine percent of the time he was at a gathering. He didn’t even find any respite in sleep. The damned females haunted his dreams too, his cougar side so wound up by the urge to mate that he dreamed about what he couldn’t have in reality.
She rolled her eyes at him and turned her cheek, glancing Ivy’s way. “Is he always like this?”
Ivy regarded him with cool hazel eyes, ones that didn’t give away what she was thinking.
He waited, not with bated breath, because whatever opinion she had, he could sway it. Just as he was sure he could sway Yasmin into spending a night or two warming his bed. She wasn’t part of the gathering, which meant she was fair game.
Beautiful fair game at that.
With her olive skin, and lush glossy black waves tumbling down from her loose bun, and those rich earthy eyes that held just a hint of spice, flecks of gold that seemed to shimmer whenever she smiled, or burn hot whenever he pressed a button and her temper flared, she was every inch a goddess before he even took into account her killer curves and breasts that could more than fill his hands.
“I think he’s salivating,” Yasmin muttered nonchalantly to someone, a teasing note of warmth in her gentle voice that convinced him that she was speaking to Ivy. “Does he often drool over women?”
Firm fingers pressing under his chin to snap his mouth closed had him frowning at Rath where he stood in the door of the cabin to his left.
That frown verged on becoming a growl when he realised Yasmin had been speaking with his brother in that warm, light tone.
Rath stared him down, a hint of gold colouring his irises around his pupils that had Flint growing aware of the change in his own irises and the pure undiluted anger that flowed through his veins, pushing him to challenge his brother.
Over Yasmin.
He shook off the urge to fight and snagged the brown tall-neck bottle from his brother.
“Perhaps he’s hormonal? Pent up?” Yasmin cast another teasing glance at him before looking to Ivy and then Rath. “It’s my official diagnosis as a doctor that this is a case of blue balls.”
He shot Rath daggers, warning him not to rise to the bait as he so clearly wanted.
“There are plenty of women in the area. You could run along to take care of business. I’m sure we won’t miss you.” Yasmin unfolded her arms, and if she was going to shoo him away, he was going to make her regret it.
“Not interested.” He crossed his left arm over his chest, gripped his side and frowned as he swigged his beer. It was still early, the sun not close to setting yet, but damn, he needed the drink, craved the crisp coldness and the hot slide of it down his throat.
She chuckled at that, and he turned his glare on her.
She instantly fell silent.
He couldn’t tell whether it was because she regretted her words, or because his eyes were gold now, a flare of emerald emerging around his pupils as his cougar side got the better of him, his temper stoked by the irritating way she seemed to see straight through him.
Or maybe it was the way their eyes locked.
He couldn’t look away, fell into the deep, soulful brown pools of hers, drawn into them in a way he had never experienced before.
As if she had cast a spell on him.
He had seen plenty of beautiful women, had bedded most of them, but something about Yasmin had him losing himself whenever his eyes found hers, or entranced by her whenever she moved. Gods, she was graceful. Every action she made was fluid and serene, made somehow beautiful by her.
Even when she broke eye contact and lifted her beer to her rosy full lips. The way she brought her arm up, the tilt of her head, the delicate movement of her throat as she swallowed.
Damn, she was grace embodied.
A fucking goddess.
Rath cleared his throat, jolting Flint back to the world.
“I should thank you for teaching Ivy how to handle any problems that might arise when she’s alone on an expedition,” his older brother said, capturing Yasmin’s focus. Even the way she swung her gaze around and up to Rath’s face was full of grace. Rath saluted her with his beer. “It certainly helped me.”
“Ivy is resourceful. I’m sure she would have been able to help you without my training.” Yasmin glanced at her friend.
Was she graceful in everything she did? She wouldn’t even take the praise Rath had offered, had deflected it back on Ivy, as if she didn’t want his brother’s gratitude.
“I know a little about field medicine, but I wouldn’t say no to learning more.” Flint felt her gaze landing on his as a hot shiver that tripped down his spine, sending warmth spreading through him.
“You wouldn’t say no to much, I think,” she retorted and he frowned at that.
She had been off with him since the woods, had changed markedly from one moment to the next, and he wasn’t sure what he had done to deserve it. He racked his brain, trying to recall everything he had said to her so she could find out what had caused her to lose all the warmth she had shown him when he had been trying to get her to leave.
And what had made her think he was some sort of pent up, sex starved male on the prowl to get his hands on her fine ass.
Which he was, but she didn’t need to paint him with that brush for all to see.
“Listen, Doc,” he started, but Ivy spoke over him.
“Yasmin, I’d love to learn more while you’re here. I know you, and you probably desperately need a vacation that you pretend you don’t, but I’d really appreciate it. Please?” Ivy clutched her friend’s hand, her smile bright and dazzling, and if Yasmin said no to that little angel, she was a cold-hearted bitch.
“Of course.” Yasmin’s smile lit up the world, sent a pleasant light sort of heat spiralling through him and had him losing grip on reality again as he slipped back under her spell.
She had a smile that could fell the hardest of males.
The Devil himself wouldn’t stand a chance against her.
“Can I get in on those lessons?” Rath piped up and Flint barely bit back the growl that rumbled up his throat.
There his brother went again, trying to get close to Yasmin.
Wasn’t that his job?
His brother had asked him to do the recon work on her, and now he was trying to butt in and Flint wasn’t going to take it.
“We could do a group thing.” He regretted it the moment he said it.
Yasmin turned wide eyes on him, her horror clear in them, and Ivy looked unsure whether to be as horrified as her friend or laugh at his plight as he scrubbed a hand over his unruly black hair and frantically back-peddled.
“Not an orgy… because that would be really wrong… I mean… Rath is my brother for a start.” He glanced at Rath and caught the flare of aggression he had sensed in him shining in his eyes too. Rath curled his hands into tight fists at his sides, and Flint held his up, palms facing him as he leaned back. “Ivy is all yours, Man. I’m not interested… I meant like a group lesson… I really do want to learn more about field medicine.”
Yasmin looked as if she was going to deny him again.
So he played his ace.
“I run a tour guide company up north, in a very remote area. It would be useful for me to know how to handle any incidents that might occur. I mean, bears can be dangerous and while I haven’t had anyone attacked yet, who knows when it might happen?” He grinned inside as her face softened. If playing on the compassionate side of her that had probably led to her choosing a career in medicine, and had led to her teaching her close friend how to take care of any wounds she might end up with in the wild, made him a bastard, then he was a bastard of the highest order. He could practically see her will crumbling as he continued, “I’ve had to treat a few sprains and stings, but what if someone is attacked by a bear? I don’t know how to handle that. If I can’t do all I can to help them, the person would probably die before the air ambulance could reach us.”
“Fine, I’ll teach you.” She tilted her chin up, her tone losing its softness as she held his gaze. “But the second you try flirting with me over a suture kit or making an innuendo about… well… anything… you’re out.”
Harsh, and not fair.
No way he could stop himself from flirting with her, not over a suture kit and not over anything. He wanted her, and she knew it. What she was asking of him, it was impossible. He couldn’t just switch off this attraction he felt to her, the burning she had ignited the moment she had stood up to him in the woods, revealing a fiery side of her that had made his instincts label her as a challenge.
He liked a good challenge.
Something told him that Yasmin would be the most difficult, most rewarding challenge he had ever known.
That only made him want her even more.
So he crossed his heart like a good boy, just so he could get closer to her.
Not because he wanted to spy on her for his brother.
But because he needed to be close to her, needed to do everything in his power, pulling out all the stops, until she gave in to him.

Book 1: Claimed by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 2: Captured by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 3: Courted by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 4: Craved by her Cougar (coming 29th September 2018)


 Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

Find Felicity and her books
Tour Wide

Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win one of a $75, $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Card at the Courted by her Cougar book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on September 23rd. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Week in Review: 9/2-9/8

Books Received for Review

The Queen's Wing by Jessica Thorne

Books I've Read

Throne of Secrets by Graceley Knox
Castle of Illusions by Graceley Knox
Wild Card by Rachel Vincent
Stray by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)
Rogue by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)

Reviews Posted

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire, @dawbooks)


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

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Maverick by Cheryl Brooks (@CherylCatMaster, @SourcebooksCasa)

* Thursday- Promo for Timeless by R.A. Salvatore (@r_a_salvatore, @harpervoyagerUS, @carolineperny)

* Friday- Guest Blog for Spirit Warrior by Ella J. Smyth (@EllaJSmyth, @RoxanneRhoads)


* 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, September 7, 2018

Guest Blog: Spirit Warrior by Ella J. Smyth (@EllaJSmyth, @RoxanneRhoads)

UFI welcomes Author Ella J. Smyth. Thanks for Joining us!!

Hi there! My name is Ella J. Smyth and I write Urban Fantasy romance. Today I’d like to talk about how I create my characters.

How do you come up with your characters?

When I begin to work on a new concept for a book or a series, the first thing I do is create a Pinterest board. I generally have a rough idea about the characters and what they should look like. My first question is always, “If somebody made a movie out of my book, who would they cast in the lead roles?”

I knew right from the start that my male protagonist Honiahaka Clearsight Fisher would have to be played by Native American model Martin Sensmeier. Honi is gorgeous with black eyes and hair, calm, rational, in control. Well, until he meets Adi (no spoilers!).

His female counterpart Adi Gutseel needed to be a bit of an ugly duckling. A girl that might look plain compared to the made-up, coiffed beauties we see on TV daily. Yet Adi is incredibly gorgeous in her own right. She is smart, brave, ornery, and Honi falls for her very quickly.

One night while watching House of Cards, I saw my perfect Adi. When I googled Kate Mara, I found photos of her without makeup in a ratty old hoodie. She was Adi, through and through.

Why is it so important to have images of my protagonists? I’m a very visual person. I write with photos of my casting choices open in my document. That way I can refer back to them, making sure I don’t change eye color from one chapter to the next, for example.

Sometimes when I don’t know which way to take the plot, I stare into Kate Mara’s eyes and imagine what Adi would say. It sounds weird, but somehow, giving my brain some concrete image to latch on to, really helps with exploring my characters and getting to know them better.

At the end of the first book, Adi and Honi were like best friends to me. I knew them. I knew their backstory. I knew their wishes and dreams and fears and struggles. That’s the point you need to get to as a writer. Once your characters are more real to you than some of your actual friends, you know you’ll write a good story.

Over to you: which fictional characters feel absolutely real to you? Who would you like to meet in real life if that were possible?

Unapologetic Romances Because Love Needs No Excuses

Growing up in Germany, Ella always had a passion for myths and fairytales. No surprise then that she married an Irishman and lived 6 years in Ireland, the country of Leipreachán, Sidhe, Púca and other fascinating creatures. There's nothing like walking at night through a deserted laneway, fog swirling around your feet, knowing that maybe, just maybe, on the other side of the hedge, there might be some old lady in a black cloak waiting for you...

If you got the shivers right now, you know why Ella feels compelled to write stories around the supernatural and paranormal. There's nothing like a delicious shudder making you enjoy life just a little more... Plus she’s a romantic.

So look forward to modern romantic stories set against the background of ancient myths and legends. Ella hopes you enjoy reading them as much as she enjoys writing them!

Find Ella and her books

Spirit Warrior
Spirit Walker #3
Books2Read Amazon

Adi and Honi journey to Southern Oklahoma to meet Honi's Mekui'te tribe at the reservation where he grew up. Honi's infectious excitement almost erases Adi's apprehension at meeting his family, and she's desperate to make a good impression.

When Adi is met with silent hostility that gets worse rather than better, she realizes there may be more to the initial resistance Honi had warned her to expect.

Honi is confused and hurt by his family's reaction, and by Adi's increasingly strange behavior. She's claiming the spirit animals of his tribe are diseased and sickly, but they look just fine to him. On top of that, when Adi meets Honi's ex, Nina, her jealousy gets way out of hand, and threatens to drive them apart.

While mysterious forces manipulate and distort their realities, can Honi and Adi join forces to figure out what is happening before it's too late and they are separated forever?

Find out in the third full-length novel in the Spirit Walker series!

The wind picked up, carrying with it the smell of late fall, of damp vegetation and sour apples. It played with Adi’s hair, although she barely noticed the cold breeze. Too many eyes were staring at her. Adi’s skin itched with the attention. She wasn’t usually this shy, but the weight of all the glares made her afraid to lift her head.
“Come on, Adi, they won’t bite. Let me introduce you. They’re my family—they’ll love you.”
As much as I do. Adi understood Honi’s unspoken words.
How many people were there? Forty? Fifty? Had the entire Mekui’te tribe come out to greet them? Adi shivered. The smell of early snow made her nose twitch. It brought bad memories of a woman with white eyes, forcing her to make a choice between Honi’s life and a lifelong thrall.
She shuddered when an ice-cold gust blew across the open space where Honi had parked their rental. He had called ahead, laughing and joking with his old friend and mentor, John. The shaman of the Mekui’te tribe had expected them hours earlier, but they’d gotten held up at the airport. Their luggage had gone missing for a few hours, plus the rental car hadn’t been ready yet.
When they’d finally driven the five hours from the airport to the reservation, they had to take turns because both of them had been exhausted after the long trip from Germany back to the U.S. The closer they’d gotten to their destination, the more Honi’d woken up. His excitement to see his family again after more than a year had been so infectious that Adi’d swallowed down her apprehension.
Until now. She kept a smile on her face, trying to appear relaxed and at ease. Inside, she was anything but. There was something disconcerting standing in front of such a large group of people, most of who looked at her with suspicion.
Was it because she was a stranger? Had John told the community she was a spirit walker? She couldn’t imagine he had. So why the hostility that wafted from the silent group like an invisible cloud?
Honi was talking to a tall man with a black Stetson pulled deep into his craggy face. His eyes were warm as he hugged Honi to him. Adi remembered meeting him in the hospital when she’d sat next to Honi’s bed, waiting for him to wake up from a coma. His name was Jim Fisher, and he was Honi’s father.
She watched him for a moment as the two men chatted excitedly. He looked just like Honi would when he got older. Still tall and lean, only the lines around his eyes betrayed his age. Her boyfriend turned towards her and waved her over. She kept her eyes on Jim Fisher’s face as she approached, smiling politely.
His expression changed from one second to the next. Gone was the warmth, the humor. Instead, he crossed his arms and spread his legs, anchoring himself. Adi had already stuck out her hand, ready to shake his. Confused, she pulled it back. She looked at Honi, who seemed equally baffled.
After an awkward silence, Adi spoke, still keeping a timid smile on her face. “Mr. Fisher? Do you remember me? We met at—”
“I know who you are.” The words were harsh, underlined by his angry expression.
“You are the woman responsible for Honi giving up his entire future. For you, he dropped university, and followed you to Germany. And now you have the nerve to come here, with him, asking for my blessing? You, an outsider to this community?”
He stared at her, his dark eyes blazing with fury. Adi swallowed hard. She hadn’t been sure how she would be greeted. She’d been nervous about meeting Honi’s family, but had not expected this level of hostility towards her.
Her eyeballs grew hot, and tears welled up. Driving all the way to the reservation had taken forever. During the entire journey, Honi had told her stories about his family. About his relationship with John and many of the elders. He’d made her laugh so many times with funny stories about how lovable and unique the tribe’s people were. Adi had expected that they might be slow to accept her. But she’d been unprepared to be shut out like this from the very first moment she met Honi's family.
Adi's hands balled into fists. She fought back tears of exhaustion and humiliation. Then she blinked her eyes open again, fiercely determined to not show any weakness. A familiar emotion welled up. How dared they treat her like this? They didn't even know her. They had no idea what Honi and Adi had been through. It was a miracle that they made it out the other side alive and well. Adi had sacrificed the rest of her life in servitude to the faerie queen, with the understanding that Honi could never find out.
“Honi,” she whispered. When he didn't turn around and continued staring at his father, she repeated louder, “Honi!”
He whirled around. His obvious confusion and sadness calmed her down a little bit and softened her next words.
"I'm really tired. Can we please postpone all this until tomorrow? I don't want to stand here in the freezing wind and argue with these people."
She waved her hand dismissively at Honi's tribe—not the nicest choice of words, but she was pissed at her treatment. Honi's eyebrows drew together as the only outward sign of irritation with the way she’d just shrugged off his entire family. He took her arm and without saying another word to his father, he led her back to the car.
The plan had been to stay with his parents, but instead, Honi drove to the only motel within ten miles of the reservation. After he’d checked them in, he silently carried their suitcases into the double room. Adi was glad he’d done so without asking, because the tiredness was now so enveloping that she could barely keep her head up.
It wasn't a five-star luxury hotel, but the linens were reasonably clean, and the room smelled only a little. Adi sat down at the edge of the bed, too numb and exhausted even to cry. Honi sat next to her and put his arm around her shoulders. He looked as upset as she felt.
"I'm so sorry. I don't know why he acted the way he did.” He pulled her in tighter, and Adi put her head on his shoulder. “Let's get a good night’s sleep, and tomorrow we’ll go back and start over."