Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Magic Breaks
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Ace
Kate Daniels Book #7
ISBN:   0425256227
ISBN13: 9780425256220
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

MAGIC BREAKS is jam packed with awesomeness. I'm not really sure what more the writing team of Ilona Andrews could have given us in MAGIC BREAKS and I don't want to give away spoilers because lets face it, you're going to want to savor every single second of every single scene in this book.

MAGIC BREAKS starts with Curan going out of town and leaving Kate in charge. She does a fantastic job of keeping everything together but Hugh is out for blood and Curan is just a tad late to the party.  Kate saves the pack but she unfortunately couldn't save herself. MAGIC BREAKS ends with a major life change in Curan and Kate's life after a roller coaster of a book.

Again, a TON happens, but one of the biggest developments was that we FINALLY meet Roland and end that particular story arc. He wasn't exactly what I expected but I was highly satisfied with the events that took place.

The never-ending world building is just one of the awesome parts of this series. It get's better and better as the series goes on. When you think you have something figured out, you're proven wrong. When you think you know the players, more are thrown into the mix. Kate continues to surprise me and I honestly can't imagine getting enough of her and this series.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Promo: Forbidden Kiss by Shannon Leigh

Forbidden Kiss
Amazon.  Barnes Noble
Jule Casale is the perfect daughter. Obedient. Trustworthy. Loyal.  With her high profile Italian family, her public image must be impeccable. And now to gain the respect and position she's desired in the academic world, she hopes to discover the unknown artist behind a masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Rom Montgomery seeks the unobtainable: forgiveness. Those who could grant him relief are dead. Instead, he wanders across continents and through time searching for salvation and the means to right an ancient wrong. But when Jule comes knocking on his door, it's the closest he's ever come to finally finding redemption. The closer Rom draws to correcting his past mistakes, the more his secrets threaten to destroy the woman who might hold the key to his future.

Excerpt from
Forbidden Kiss
by Shannon Leigh

Copyright © 2014 by Shannon Leigh. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher. 

Chapter One 

Jule Casale stomped her Kelly-green rainboots on the top step of the converted warehouse. Fat droplets of water flew to the concrete, adding to the existing puddles forming in the hollows of the aging stoop. 

Typical Chicago. The promise of spring, so fresh and bright this morning, turned to torrential rain by late afternoon, soaking everything, including moods. But nothing would sour her outlook. Nope. Not with the tiny victory she’d achieved at finding one Rom Montgomery, the difficult SOB. 

So it was with the memory of that success in her mind that she rang the bell for the third time before the lock sounded and the door opened. 

And there he was. The reclusive and enigmatic Rom Montgomery, the bad boy collector of the fine antiquities world who defied the press and guarded his privacy with fists and curses. So private, he almost didn’t exist according to her research. At least not before ten years ago. 

He’d appeared on the antiquities scene like a bear in winter, unpredictable and unexpected. Aggressive and hostile. A predator who knew his quarry. He’d quickly established a reputation as a collector of ancient swords, and today occupied the top position as global expert on metallurgy and ancient weapons. 

Except right now in the waning light of late afternoon, on the wet back alley entrance to a hidden gallery, he wasn’t reclusive at all—he was close. Looming. Intimidating. Practically in her face. She couldn’t make him out other than as generally large and muscular, and her impatience regarding his aggression after her long investigation to find him flared to life. 

Antagonistic bastard. 

Jule refused to take a step back into the rain to accommodate such a display, but she did lean back to take him in. All—what appeared to be—six feet and more of him. If she didn’t have five older brothers cut from the same broad shouldered, towering cloth, she might have the good sense to be cowed. Instead, she became prickly as she did when backed into a corner—physically speaking. 

“Rom Montgomery?” she demanded. 

His whiskey colored eyes glowed in the shadows of the stoop, almost backlit by an internal fiery light. 

“A question? Really? Seems unnecessary since you made it to my unmarked door off an inconvenient side street.”

So it was going to be like that? 

“I’m Jule Casale,” she forced her hand into the space between them. “I spoke to you earlier this afternoon about the painting I’m trying to identify.” 

He didn’t acknowledge the earlier conversation. He simply looked down at her outstretched hand like she’d offered him a stack of forms for an IRS filing. 

“No thank you.” And he proceeded to shut the door in her face. 

“Hang on. It’s important!” Jule reacted quickly, wedging her booted foot between the closing door and the jam. The door stopped short of crushing her foot, and reopened, an indifferent expression greeting her once again. 

“I need to talk to you,” she said, her hand holding the door open. 

“You need to talk to someone who cares. Or make it worth my while. I don’t consult for free.” 

Jule had prepared for this. She’d looked long and hard for something to sway him to her cause. 

Here goes nothing. “For your cooperation, I’m willing to get you an introduction to the Great Dane Rescue Society. I know you’ve been trying to hook up with them, but have been rebuffed by the founder.” 

Jule counted the founder of the rescue group as a personal friend, and the woman had relayed Mr. Montgomery’s attempts at a women ‘n wine party, to not only donate money to the cause of caring for terminal dogs, but to host injured and special needs Danes in his home. 

Rejection met his request. The determination: an unsuitable environment for animals with specific needs. 

Jule wondered why the dogs were so important to him . Or why a guy with as much money as he had, cared about fostering terminal dogs. Had to be a story there, somewhere. 

Whatever his interest, his current body language relaxed and Jule considered that yet another victory. A smile teased the corners of his full mouth. And the door opened wide. 

“Come in.” He stepped back and admitted her. 

Jule crossed the threshold into the proverbial bear’s lair and shivered involuntarily. She’d bought her way in, now to get him to help her identify the painting she’d been working on these last few months.

She followed him into a concrete and glass vestibule, noting how his dark T-shirt stretched tight across his shoulders and strained at the arms, revealing large, muscular biceps. Holy crap! This guy is ripped. The small number of pictures she’d seen of him didn’t do his body justice. 

A tapered waist drew her eye to well-fitted jeans that encased strong thighs, and he had a nice ass. Really nice. 

“Jule Casale. Related to Edmondo Casale?” 

The nature of the question didn’t catch her off guard, just the fact he’d gotten to it before she even had her raincoat off. Seemed a bit rude, but then again, she was talking to a man who’d earned a name for himself with his sharp intellect and even sharper attitude. 

“Yes, as a matter of fact. He’s my father.” 

He grunted dismissively. “So you’ve come to discuss a painting?” He left her standing in the vestibule as he moved through an arched brick opening and into the gallery proper. She joined him, shrugging. If he didn’t care about rainwater dripping everywhere, neither did she. 

Swords, knives, daggers, and blades of every length and design served as art. They hung on the walls, lit from above, and were ensconced in cases, resting on rich velvet. There were even some lying freely on the desk and scattered on the few tables visible in the room. 

It gave Jule the willies all the way down to her cotton candy pink toenail polish. For the first time, she questioned her decision to force her way into the man’s domain. 

Too late now. 

Shaking off good common sense (a Casale trait), she stiffened her spine and planted herself directly in the middle of the room. 

“I told you on the phone, Ms. Casale,” he made her name sound like a weapon, sharp and hard like the swords hanging on the walls. “I don’t have any expertise in Renaissance art. Did you need to hear it in person?” 

He had indeed told her the very thing and then promptly hung up. 

“Look, I’m sorry if my father has done something to upset you. We’re not in the same business at all.” How many times did she have to apologize for her father’s mistakes? “But I’m here because the art world needs your help.” She reached in her pocket to retrieve the envelope of color images. 

As the world’s foremost collector and dealer of swords, both ancient and medieval, Montgomery could be her best and perhaps only hope to unlocking the identity of the painting in her possession. 

“This is what I wanted you to see,” she said, moving close enough to show him the glossy photos. 

The barest flicker of recognition flared to life in his eyes. It was a tiny spark, but it grew brighter the longer he looked. 

Jule’s heart beat faster beneath her woolen sweater. He knew! And he would tell her. And then she could identify the painting and present her findings to the museum. The open slot for curator of early Italian Renaissance art had her name all over it. 

With an audible exhale, Montgomery slipped the photo from her hand, brushing Jule with his fingers as he did so. The calluses on his fingers rasped against her softer skin, sending a trickle of warmth from her heart to her abdomen. 

One of Mama Casale’s infinitely silly, but astonishingly profound refrains boomed inside her head. “When you finally meet him, the one, you’ll know it because your insides will feel topsy-turvey,” she’d said. 

Jule’s insides felt neither topsy nor turvy, but intact, if not somewhat awakened, as if she’d been slumbering for too long. 

Montgomery walked into a shaft of overhead lighting. The light draped his head and shoulders, creating a play of shadow and illumination on his face. She noticed the five o’clock shadow for the first time, framing his strong, square chin and lips. 

While he examined the photos, she examined him and found herself falling into a memory, caught in a replay. 

He stood across the hall, an unrecognizable figure among a sea of family. A hooded cloak shadowed his face until he leaned on a column near the servants’ entrance. Overhead torchlight revealed the man, barely out of boyhood. Soft light bronzed the planes of his face, easing the pain and sorrow he so obviously carried. Why someone so young amidst a joyous masquerade ball should be so sad, she knew well. 

Because her heart bled, too. She was to be engaged to one she did not love. 

Tonight, they celebrated. 

“Ms. Casale.” 

Jule’s head snapped up. She glanced around the room, looking for the torchlight and the young man who looked impossibly like Rom Montgomery. 

What had she been doing? Dreaming? And why did she have this overriding feeling of crossing a forbidden line? Like being with Montgomery was going to get her into trouble. 

Because he was trouble. 

“Yes?” She responded, feigning attention. 

Montgomery had crossed to her side, the photos forgotten for the moment. Concern furrowed his brows. Warm. He was so damn warm. It would feel right falling into his arms. 

What the hell is wrong with me? 

“You okay?” 

“Sure. Just chilled from the rain.” What else could she say? Yeah, I just had this weird flashback to a memory I don’t own, but no worries, I’m not crazy. 

Except, maybe she was crazy. 

Refusing to lose her momentum in pursuit of answers, she said, “I take it you have seen the sword in the painting before?” 

He studied her silently for several seconds and Jule prayed he wouldn’t escort her out. The moment was awkward and she resisted the urge to squirm and shuffle her feet. The intensity of his perusal made her nervous—and dammit, kind of excited? 

She stared back at him, noticing his impossibly long lashes. Her gaze drifted down to his soft lips. She imagined they would be supple against hers, but his fierce attitude would create an urgency and dominance that could overwhelm her. 

Feeling like a teenager about to be rejected when emotionally overextended, Jule jerked her eyes back up to his. His steady gaze didn’t waver, but it seemed softer than it had been previously—almost caring. 

Her heart thudded in her chest as he spoke. 

“I know of the sword, yes. But it’s not a very exciting history.” He strode to an ebony cabinet and pulled two highballs from an interior shelf. “Can I get you a drink Ms. Casale?” He said it in an offhanded manner, as if he were only being polite. But nothing about the man was truly polite—in fact, he was all fierce authority. 

She didn’t want to come off as submissive, so she said, “Absolutely. How about I make it?” 

Jule joined Montgomery at the liquor cabinet and sorted through the bottles inside. That’s when she saw it. The dagger. Not just any dagger like those decorating the walls, but the one. 

Blood rushed from her head in a startling whoosh and Jule almost fainted. She definitely staggered as if she’d already consumed the alcohol. She knew that knife. Intimately. Knew the feel of it in her hand, its cold metal against her skin. She knew without looking the fineness of the polished mahogany hilt and the evenness of the grain. 

She knew the weight of it. 

And how it felt cutting into her flesh.

Want to get to know me? Get to know a few of my favorite things:

I love Frito pie. And cowboy boots. Pickup trucks and summer nights. Willie Nelson and Shiner Bock. Essentially, all things Texas.

Ask me about BBQ or dance halls and we’ll be best friends.

Want to really get to know me?

Take me to Vegas and sit me down in front of a Blackjack table and I’ll marry you.

On a serious note:

I have a Masters degree in Information Science
Am certified to sell real estate in Texas
Have been a reporter and freelance writer for 12 years

And I love Hello Kitty.

Find Shannon and her books

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Five Weeks by Dannika Dark

Five Weeks
(Seven Series, Bk #3)
By Dannika Dark 

Izzy has always loved the freedom and adventure of life on the road, but she’s recently decided to settle down—as much as a rogue wolf can. When her boyfriend gets her a job working at a hot Shifter bar, she runs into the last person on earth she expected to see again.

Jericho isn't the famous rock star he once was, though he still plays in a local band and loves to party. Beautiful women come and go, but music is his only passion—until a sassy redhead named Isabelle Monroe shows up unexpectedly.

Fate reunites two former friends living with one foot in the present and the other in the past. But will they have a future when one of them is forced to choose between life and death? Old habits die hard, and sometimes the toughest addictions to shake are the ones that control our hearts.

Available for purchase at 



As the men dispersed, a warm feeling slid over my body when I looked up at Jericho. His eyes were hooded and low, but when he melted me with a possessive gaze, my feet cemented to the floor.

He moved toward me with the grace of a panther—slow and predatory. The external noise from the bar faded away, and all I heard were his silken words as he caressed the ends of my hair, looking at it between his fingers.

“You haven’t changed,” he said in quiet words.

“What do you mean by that?”

Jericho bent down and his mouth brushed against my ear. “Still sexy as sin and making me protect you.”

Goose bumps erupted over my arms. “No one said you had to protect me. I’m not the shy girl you once knew.” My heart raced. The inflection in my tone wasn't as harsh as I’d planned it to be, my words breathy and unsure.

His warm body pressed against mine and when I stepped back, I bumped into a wooden post that pinned me to him. Tingles raced through my body uncontrollably, and I lost the ability to think rationally when I smelled his cologne. Men never had this kind of effect on me. His power slid down my body like hands against my naked flesh.

Jericho had a smile that aroused, and combined with his voice, it became an aphrodisiac.

Or maybe it was the way his callused fingers lightly stroked the back of my neck, as if I were an instrument. As he played me, memories flooded my mind, and I shoved him away, panting and trembling.

Jericho worked his jaw in a frustrated manner, his brows slanting down with a look of disbelief. He shook his head and then backed up.

A brunette appeared out of nowhere in a revealing top that displayed her breasts like cookies in a bakery: warm, tempting, and something you’d regret later.

“How’s my sexy man?” she asked, tucking her fingers possessively in his jeans and nipping on his arm. “You want to go have some fun?”

His eyes stayed locked on mine as he circled his arm around her waist and pulled her against him. She moaned playfully as he squeezed her hip, testing if I had my temper under control.

So I played his game.

“Can I get you a drink, honey?” I asked her. “Maybe some milk in a dish?”

Sometimes I could spot the cats. It was all in the purr and the way they slinked their bodies.

“No, thanks,” she replied. “I have something else in mind I want to put in my mouth.”

When she stroked his crotch, I blinked in surprise. Not just because she had the audacity to do that in front of me, but the fact that Jericho tilted his head and gave me a “so what?” look.

So what?

Maybe he was right. All that connected us were five amazing years, and that was a lifetime ago. Seeing him made me raw again. Those feelings caught up with me like a shadow that had never let go. Part of me wanted to squeeze him tight and tell him how much I’d missed him—because I had. Jericho had shown me the private side of himself he never gave to others, and I’d done the same for him. Another part of me wanted to hate him for the anguish he’d put me through. And yet, I couldn't help but feel elated knowing that despite his insolence, Jericho wasn't lying in a grave as I’d imagined. He’d somehow assembled his life into something meaningful and gotten a grip on his demons.

Meanwhile, my demons were currently on the rampage and waving pitchforks.

So I said cutting words that hurt because I meant them, and yet I didn't.

“I wish I’d never met you.”

About the Author

This is the segment where you learn a little more about who I am, so here's what I can tell you:  I drink copious amounts of vitamin water placed precariously close to my laptop while writing. These are two healthy habits I have no intention of breaking. I'm a transplant living in the south, but I was born in the 70's to a military dad who moved us around the world.

When I'm not writing (which is all the time), I'm hunting down Indie music, watching movies, reading, eating Tex-Mex, discovering new ways to humiliate myself bowling, and burning up my laptop battery on the Internet. I have a relaxed, easy-going personality and don't like drama. I live with a cat who thinks she is a dog, or a goat (she eats plastic, so I'm not sure which).

Throughout my life, I've had insomnia. Counting sheep never worked and eventually I would imagine those sheep were the sole source of food after an apocalyptic battle where only thousands survived. I made up stories in a futile attempt to bore myself to sleep. The problem was, I got so wrapped up in my "head stories" that I would continue them through the following nights, changing it up each time to make it more exciting. Eventually, I started writing my ideas down - creating short stories, and then I discovered my love for poetry.

It's almost embarrassing how many spiral notebooks and stacks of paper I have of poetry and lyrics.

Another passion: digital art. I design all my book covers, marketing, and series art. I'm a very visual person and pursued photography as an avid hobby for many years.

I am not a YA author (I feel like I have to state this only because I've had a few people ask), but I think it's wonderful there are so many books available to teens in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal.

I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do: giving my characters a pulse through writing full time. I focus on adult urban fantasy romance, but I don't like labels and I enjoy blending genres to break out of the confines of predictability.

But it's what I love to do.


You can stalk, I mean find Dannika here: 


Presented by 

New Releases: 7/27-8/2

Mon July 28th

 Forbidden Kiss by Shannon Leigh

Tue July 29th

 Between by Megan Whitmer
Happy Reading!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Black Moon by Becca C. Smith & F.M. Sherrill

UFI welcomes Becca C. Smith and F.M. Sherrill Authors of Black Moon. 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?
Becca: I go to Comic-Con every year for the last ten years. I love it. I love the energy. I love that all my fellow nerds go to one place and unite in our geekdom.
Faith: I love science and math. If my mind isn’t stimulated I’m insatiably bored. I like to challenge myself with new tasks to keep my wits sharp.
What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
Becca: I read, I write, I watch enormous amounts of television and I play warcraft.
Faith: I’m learning the piano, but typically I like to spend time gardening, dancing, singing and enjoying life.

What is your Favorite part of writing?
Becca: Creating worlds and experiencing new adventures through my characters.

Faith: The explosion. The birth of a new life as filtered through my grid of experiences. For me it’s like a kettle. If I don’t let a little steam off through creation my over-active mind can’t slow down.
Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
Not really, but we do like to get up early and work for at least an hour before the “routine” of the day stops us from being productive.
What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
Richelle Mead, Kami Garci, Margaret Stohl.
How would you pitch Black Moon to someone who has not heard of it before?
It has fangs, blood, romance, history and all the romping bad-ass characters you could want in a paranormal romance.
Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Black Moon is set in? 
It takes place in the here and now, but we get to see it through two perspectives. Shea is a character who has no idea that vampires exist, she lives in “our” world. Lucian is a 3,000 year old vampire who has turned cold and cynical over the years, but meeting Shea starts to thaw him out a bit.
Do you have a favorite scene in Black Moon?
We’d love to tell you, but… Spoilers.

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
The biggest challenge for both of us was trying to capture the other character’s voice within our own chapters. Since Becca wrote Shea’s chapters and Faith wrote Lucian’s chapters, and our writing styles are so different, sometimes it was hard to write dialogue for the characters.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
Faith and I are currently editing our next releases of our own. Faith’s is called Cry Wolf and it’s a werewolf apocalypse novel. It will be published in September. Becca just finished the second book in her Atlas Series called Atlas: Grigori Returned and it will be released in August. We’re also working on Black Sunrise and hoping to have it out before the end of the year!

Becca C. Smith: 
Becca C. Smith received her Film degree from Full Sail University and has worked in the Film and Television industry for most of her adult life. In 2010 Becca published her first novel, Riser followed by the sequel, Reaper, in 2011, and the finale, Ripper in 2013. In 2012 Becca wrote the children’s novel Alexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale’s Treasure. She is also the co-author of the teen graphic novel Ghost Whisperer: The Haunted. Most recently Becca released Atlas, the first book in a new urban fantasy series. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Stephan and their two cats Jack and Duke.

F.M. Sherrill: 
Aren't author's bios boring? I always wanted to read one that went something like this:
F.M. Sherrill: recent citizen of earth. Plans on ruling the planet once she gets over the common cold. Or, F.M. Sherrill: time traveler. Decided to alter the space-time continuum by writing a novel, thus changing history slightly, which will eventually lead to the rise of a new human species.

But here it is. F.M. Sherrill is a novelist, A.K.A. an avid bullshitter; that's why she lives in L.A.. She's been writing for as long as her ancient mind can remember, devouring tales like an anemic vampire roaming the streets in hot pink heels, always thirsty for more. When she's not writing, she's making steampunk weapons, sewing giant plant-eater Mario plushes, making costumes for some film bloke or cosplayer, and sculpting/casting movie prop replicas while gardening in her urban apartment. Her favorite tools? A soldering iron, a blowtorch, a band saw, a sonic screwdriver, a replicator and an active imagination.

Twitter: @therisersaga and @fmsherrill

Black Moon
Black Moon Saga #1
Available on Amazon
 Shea Harper is forced to stay in boring, hot and dry Phoenix, Arizona for college. But once she meets the enigmatic yet positively egocentric Lucian, Shea’s life changes forever.

She finds out that she comes from a long line of descendants called Vessels. In her soul is the key to destroying an ancient prison protecting the world from darkness itself: Lucian’s father.

Up until now, Lucian has captured every descendant except Shea. With her powers awakening, all vampires want to drag her down to the pit. But Lucian is territorial. She’s the first female Vessel… and he’s convinced she belongs to him.

Saucy and tauntingly surprising, Black Moon captures the struggle between burning desire or denying the heart. This is a love story that will drain you dry.

Tour Wide
5 copies of Black Moon
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week in Review: 7/20-7/26

Books I've Bought/received

- Chained by Night by Larissa Ione- ARC- Publisher

- Taste of Darkness by Katie Reus- eARC- NetGalley

- High Moon by Jennifer Harlow- eARC- Author

Books I've Read

Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson
Veiled Target by Robin Bielman
Cursed Moon by Jaye Wells
The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

Reviews Posted

Wicked Magic by Madeline Pryce
Witchlight by Sonya Clark
Dark Secrets by Madeline Pryce


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

* Wednesday- Interview & Giveaway for The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton 

* Thursday- Interview for A Touch of Death: Death Witch by Ella Grey

* Friday- Guest blog for Birthright by Ryan Attard


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

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Wicked Magic by Madeline Pryce

Wicked Magic
Release Date: June 11, 2014
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc
ISBN:   1419992007
ISBN13: 9781419992001
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Publisher
Samantha has almost everything she needs to inherit her magic. Everything but Trent, the sexy shapeshifter and local sheriff she’s lusted after her entire life. She’s known for years Trent is destined to be her familiar, but the last time she approached him he turned her down flat.

Trent isn’t about to fork over his bachelorhood to a witch, especially one he knows is too good for him. Turning her down once was easy—she’d been too young and innocent—but Trent never anticipated she’d grow into such an obstinate, sexy, entirely-too-tempting woman. When she serves herself up, deliciously naked, walking away suddenly becomes difficult.

Out of time, Sam focuses on enticing Trent into her bed and into her life. But Sam’s toying with a predator, and once Trent decides he wants her, beneath him and beside him, he’ll pour every ounce of his stubborn pride into protecting what’s his.

WICKED MAGIC was a pretty quick, no-nonsense read with a fast pace and fun characters.  

You can't help but take an instant liking to Samantha. She can take care of herself when needed and has a great attitude. She knows that Trent is the key to unlocking her magic. She threw herself at him years ago but things didn't turn out how she wanted them to. Trent is the sexy werewolf sheriff that Samantha wants, but he's playing hard to get. He's your typical alpha male type and he secretly wants her as well, but refuses to pursue her. The story gets started right away and we know they will end up together by the end but the getting there is all about the drama.

With any novella length book the characters will make or break it and WICKED MAGIC has a great cast. There were a few parts where I was easily able to predict what would happen next but the action and hot scenes make up for that.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest blog: Birthright by Ryan Attard

UFI welcomes Ryan Attard Author of the Legacy Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Into the Past
Ever since I started writing full time, my reading time has greatly suffered. However I firmly believe it’s the things I’ve read before that made me the writer I am today. So here’s a list of what I would have been reading a couple years back:

Age 5: two words – Enid Blyton. I read most of her short story collections over and over again. This was the first love of elves and enchanters and all the rest. We were kind of limited as to what was available for kids in my country and most of us were just encouraged to watch TV.

Age 11: This happens to be the same year that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released and I happened to be one if the few people in my country that has a copy with the first edition cover. I read that thing cover to cover and from then on every brain cell I possessed was put to work making up stories along the likes of magic, wizards and the rest. Coupled with this, I also read the fantasy themed classics, although most of them were adventure based. King Solomon’s Mines, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe – you name it. This was also a formative age where I began taking an interest in astrology and astronomy, outer space, mythology of all kinds (most available was Greek and Egyptian) and to a certain extent even religion.

Age 16: The rebel age. A few years back I had a serious Animorphs crush and anything with violence and tales of revenge. I was severely bullied between ages 12-15 so I took refuge in books. I remember having a deep fascination with guns, weapons, martial arts and most of all The Punisher. I had researched the character and found out that he was based off of a series of novels called The Executioner series, all written in the early 60’s. It so happened that my school library had, due to the incompetence of the administration, acquired a copy of one of those Executioner novels. No kid should ever read that – it was graphic, horrible and I enjoyed every last bit of it.

At age sixteen I was already set in my ways – I wanted to escape in a story to live in it and that’s why I spent horrendous amounts of money at my Junior College’s bookstore. I discovered The Chronicles of the Necromancer (and I am so psyched to be friends with Gail Z Martin, the author, and have had her as a guest on my podcast). I bought Skulduggery Pleasant book one on a whim, simply because it had orange dye on the sides of the pages. I was instantly hooked and even today, I wait hungrily for the last instalment in the series. One of friends had bought me a copy of The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel book 1) and I have finished the series a few years ago.

The list is long and highly detailed but I sought out everything from fantasy (The Summoner) to the action adventure (Alex Rider Series). But I suppose the most important thing I discovered at this age was manga. It was a new mythology, very well written and best of all you could watch it on TV (or in my case, online) as well. Here’s a list of things I watched so many times I could quote my heart: Black Lagoon, Death Note, Naruto, Bleach, Elfen Leid, Hellsing, Black Blood Brothers, Trigun, Ouran High School Host Club – you get the idea.

Age 20: By now I was on the verge of starting to write so I was already mentally categorizing things that had that “something” – that spark that made me want to leave this world and dive into theirs. I would use a lot of these later on when I write. And it wasn’t just book and TV/Movies any more – I would watch video game cutscenes or playthroughs and listen to music that invoked particular imagery. It wasn’t just about having the spark anymore, it was about slowly shaping that magic into something substantial.

By then I had discovered the Dresden Files and I guess that, more than anything, offset me enough to take my current route in life. By this age I was halfway through the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Percy Jackson, Young Samurai, The Fallen Kings Cycle, Skulduggery Pleasant, I discovered some Clive Cussler novels and started Eragon, which had just been published.

I began catching myself doing a strange thing: I would mark down dates on my calendar to know which book came out when, and then would run eagerly to the bookstore to order them. This was before the Kindle age and Amazon wasn’t as established as it is nowadays.

Today most of these stories had been concluded. I’m not one for rereading – most of those stories have captured me enough to forever engrave themselves in my memory. I still treasure the books in my collection and whenever I can I get in touch with the creators/writers. In my line of work I am very lucky to meet people who are great inspirations. In the past two years alone I’ve read stories that are right up there with the best of them. I got to interview the writers and chat with them, picking their brains one question at a time.

In conclusion, a list such as this makes me reminisce and remember why I chose this line of work. I can only hope that my own books will one day stand side by side with such legends and carry on the legacy that these wonderful people stared.

Thank you Stacy for giving me the opportunity to guest blog on Urban Fantasy Investigates.

This or That

Angels or Demons – demons. Way more entertaining.

Vampires or Shifters – shifters if they are polymorphs. Vampires if they have access to magic outside the usual tropes.

Left or Right – right. Cos it’s always right.

Up or Down – both but at decelerated speed. Fast is good for up but no so much for down.

Pizza or Pasta – pizza. Oh glorious pizza. (I am a TMNT fan and any TMNT fan is brainwashed for pizza)

Coffee or Tea – how is this even a question? Coffee. Who the hell can live without coffee?

Coke or Pepsi – Coke. Preferably in powder form.

YA or Adult – adult. YA is fine but only if the story is unique and not forced.

Knives or Guns – Bazooka. (But for the sake of answering: knives. Never take the easy path)

Reading or Writing – Writing. If I’m gonna live in my head might as well make a living out of it. (Reading is important too especially if you’re writing – duh)

Facebook or Twitter – Facebook but only because I can use the Page to tweet as well. See? Gotta love loopholes.

Ryan Attard is the author of the Legacy series. So far only Firstborn and Birthright, books 1 & 2 respectively are available. He also wrote some short stories for the series, two of which have made it out to the public.

He is also currently working on his second series, The Pandora Chronicles and a couple other projects he cannot reveal.

He is also one of those annoying types who write about themselves in the third person.

Find Ryan and his books

The Legacy Series #2
 Following the events of his last adventure, Erik Ashendale is having some serious doubts about . . . well, just about everything. He is doubting his power, his apprentice's progress reached an impassive point and his sister's information is yielding nothing. The Sins can attack at any time, and our hero has no idea what to do.

So he turns to Sun Tsu, an old friend who provides Abi with a few tools and a friendly ear to Erik's tale: the obscure history of Erik Ashendale and how he went from a regular kid born into a rich Warlock family to the hunter we all know and love today.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interview: A Touch of Death: Death Witch by Ella Grey

UFI welcomes author Ella Grey. Thanks for Joining us!!

Answered by Character Fiona Fire-Tongue: Every time I look at these I get a flashback to High School, those aptitude tests about what you should be when you get old. I got Florist, yeah it made me laugh too but I guess they didn’t have thief on that list.

Angels or Demons: Demons, I’m under the assumption that everything tries to screw you over at some point. At least a demon doesn’t hide who it is or what it wants. An angel hides the lie beneath a shiny exterior. Best bit of advice I’ve ever heard, never trust anything that smiles or anyone trying to sell your double-glazing.

Vampires or Shifters: Shifters, vampires have a habit of wanting to latch onto a vein.

Left or Right: Left, because it’s hard to be right.

Up or Down: Down, because I might have to take a trip to the Underworld. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that as much as a root canal with a blind dentist.

Pizza or Pasta: Pizza. There’s a great restaurant that delivers near my home in London. I’ve got them on speed dial.

Coffee or Tea: Is that even a question, coffee, black with two sugars.

Coke or Pepsi: Neither.

YA or Adult: I’m a fire witch, it means I’m guided by my more basic urges. So that rules out Adult, I’d prefer YA as long as it doesn’t have romance in it.

Knives or Guns: Neither, I prefer not to have to kill anyone but come between me and my coffee and you’ll be living on borrowed time.

Reading or Writing: Reading, got to do something with my downtime.

Facebook or Twitter: Don’t have time for social media.

Find Ella and her books

A Touch of Death 
Death Witch #1
Buy Link

There is nothing Fiona Fire-Tongue won't do for revenge. Even make a deal with the Goddess of the Underworld. 

It was supposed to be simple. Just break into a vampire's office and steal a gem. With an unwanted partner in tow, it may get complicated. The air elemental has plans of his own, but he's about to learn that if you piss off a fire witch it is at your own peril.


He was a good-looking guy, no doubt about it. A Sylph, which meant he was more element held together by will than a flesh and blood human. Light blue hair was brushed away from an angular face and piercing eyes that matched his hair. Elementals weren't tied to any particular shape but the one he'd chosen had an interesting effect on something a lot lower than my heart. He'd managed to charm his way right into my bed and became my partner for my current plan.

It had bad idea written all over it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton

UFI welcomes Tessa Gratton  Author of The United States of Asgard series. 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 love to box! It’s a great way to exercise and have fun – about two years ago I hung a heavy bag in the garage and go out to punch it when I need a break from writing.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
Besides reading and watching TV (and boxing of course)? I enjoy coffee shops and hanging with friends in our neighborhood pubs. My dog and I have great walks, and I’m a fan of soccer. Go Sporting KC!

What is your Favorite part of writing? 
That’s hard! I love so many things about it, and manage to find joy (or at least satisfaction in every part). If I had to pick a favorite, it would be writing the climax. I love the thrill of a plot and emotional arc coming together, even when it’s frustrating or there are surprises that ruin everything and I have to rethink and re-strategize, or even sometimes burn it all to the ground.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
I’ve worked hard to make sure I can write anywhere if I have to – in friends’ houses or my parents, in airplanes or coffee shops or crowded writing retreats. I prefer to be in my office at home, with big windows and my lovely prairie backyard, with some music that feels like the story I’m telling.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
To be honest I read more fantasy than anything. It’s my most beloved genre. But for UF and paranormal I love Anne Rice and Rachel Caine and Holly Black for their great vampires, and Brenna Yovanoff for creepy, atmospheric writing, and Maggie Stiefvater for amazing characters and doing fascinating things with the blurred lines between the magical and mundane.

How would you pitch The United Stated of Asgard Series to someone who has not heard of it before?
The US of Asgard is a United States much like our own, but it was founded by Vikings and their gods. You have high school and road trips, Congress and reality TV, but there are also Valkyrie advising the president and mountain trolls and gods making movies and interfering with professional sports.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The United Stated of Asgard Series is set in? 
I wrote it because I wanted to play with the similarities between American warrior culture and Viking and Anglo-Saxon epic poetry. So the world is focused on the ways that violence and religion intersects with how we grow up, and how teens have to choose who they are in a very complicated, very violent modern world.

Do you have a favorite scene in The Strange Maid?
I do! It’s a scene that existed in every draft (and there were about 13 of them over the course of 5 years). It sometimes took place on the deck of a ship, sometimes in a Gulf casino, almost always on a cold northern beach surrounded by ancient standing stones in the shape of ships, and finally on the balcony of a run-down lighthouse. Only Signy and her friend Ned Unferth are in it, and all they do is talk. But it’s pretty complicated and mysterious and sexy.

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
I have a love-hate relationship with Signy Valborn, the narrator. She is so intense and I needed to know her so well to write this hard book about passion and violence and heroism, that sometimes I just couldn’t take it. So although I love her so much as a character, my favorite to write was probably Unferth. He talks like an old man – a very old man – and in riddles and poetry. Plus he’s kind of obnoxious and tragic. A great combo.

How many books are planned for The United Stated of Asgard Series?
Three novels – the third comes out next summer, and I can’t tell you the title quite yet. I’m also going to put out a few novellas in the next year about other important characters.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
You probably know I can only talk about this in vague, secretive ways! I’m working on selling my next books now, and can tell you everything I write is fantasy of some kind, probably YA, too. I love YA fantasy! All my current projects are stand-alone novels, too, though in a few years I’m going to focus on a Giant Fat Epic Fantasy Trilogy just to see if I can!
Thanks for having me!

TESSA GRATTON has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. She was too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in gender studies, and then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog.

Find Tessa and her books

The Strange Maid
The United States of Asgard #2
 Fans of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Maggie Stiefvater will embrace the richly drawn, Norse-influenced alternate world of the United States of Asgard, where cell phones, rock bands, and evangelical preachers coexist with dragon slaying, rune casting, and sword training in schools. Where the president runs the country alongside a council of Valkyries, gods walk the red carpet with Hollywood starlets, and the U.S. military has a special battalion dedicated to eradicating Rocky Mountain trolls.

Signy Valborn was seven years old when she climbed the New World Tree and met Odin Alfather, who declared that if she could solve a single riddle, he would make her one of his Valkyrie. For ten years Signy has trained in the arts of war, politics, and leadership, never dreaming that a Greater Mountain Troll might hold the answer to the riddle, but that’s exactly what Ned the Spiritless promises her. A mysterious troll hunter who talks in riddles and ancient poetry, Ned is a hard man to trust. Unfortunately, Signy is running out of time. Accompanied by an outcast berserker named Soren Bearstar, she and Ned take off across the ice sheets of Canadia to hunt the mother of trolls and claim Signy’s destiny.
US/Canada Only

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: Witchlight by Sonya Clark

Author:Sonya Clark
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Magic Born Book #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

In 2066, the Magic Born are segregated in urban reservations. The laws do not protect them, or their allies.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Marsden is a powerful player in New Corinth politics, but a closely guarded secret could destroy her life—she's a hidden Magic Born. Her family has gone to great lengths to erase all her magic-related records, until a trancehacking outlaw discovers the last remaining one…

Vadim Bazarov smuggles Magic Borns through the underground railroad and threatens to reveal Elizabeth's secret unless she helps him access blank ID cards. Elizabeth wants to hate him for having a stranglehold on her life, but can't help being attracted to someone so sure of who and what he is.

Vadim initially sees her as a political ice queen, but is intrigued by her suppressed magical abilities. He trains Elizabeth to use her magic, and before long finds himself falling for her. But their newfound love may be shortlived; an anti-magic ordinance forces one of them to make a choice that will change both their lives for good.

Vadim played a pretty big roll in TRANCEHACK and we got to know him a bit more than other secondary characters so I was glad to see he was being featured in WITCHLIGHT. He comes off as a pretty big bad boy and even though he is one, we get to witness his softer sides throughout WITCHLIGHT. Elizabeth (Lizzy) is new to us but we quickly get a feel of her personality and struggles as a Councilwoman and Magic Born in hiding. She has a lot of struggles in book 2 of the Magic Born series. She has to put her trust in someone that knows her secrets, learn to control her out of control magic and make some tough choices along the way.

The relationship between the two starts off pretty hot, takes a turn to luke warm when Vadim blackmails Lizzy and gets right back in the hot zone as they work together and get to know each other. By the end of the book they are of course in love and both of their lives are changed forever (Lizzy has the biggest change though).

They make a few appearances but I wish we would have seen more of Nathan and Calla together in WITCHLIGHT. I always like to have previous characters more involved in each book where different couples are featured. I really didn't get a feel for who might be featured next but I have a few characters I would like to see featured. Either way I hope that Clark gives us a nice glimpse into how Nathan, Calla, Vadim and Elizabeth are doing as their story is told.

I also would love to see more world building. We have a feel for the world the characters live in but it feels like we should know so much more by now. Even with my small complaints the Magic Born series has lots of promise on its side and I will continue it into book 3.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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