Saturday, February 28, 2015

Early Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Vision In Silver
Author: Anne Bishop
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Penguin
The Others Book #3
ISBN:   045146527X
ISBN13: 9780451465276
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher
The Others freed the  cassandra sangue  to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

Phenomenal , extraordinary, remarkable, amazing, they all describe The Others series.

Meg has a little bit of difficulties in VISION OF SILVER, but the other cassandra sangue have it worse. They are having a really hard time being in an uncontrolled environment and Meg, with the help of some of the other human woman, is drafted to make a guide that will help those caring for the cassandra sangue understand what they need to be happy and enjoy the world they now live in. Meg continues to show how strong she is in every chapter of VISION OF SILVER. I love the way that the others treat her and in turn how she treats them. She has proven to be a huge part of the courtyard.

The Humans First and Last movement is really amping up their game. Vendors no longer want to deliver to the courtyard even though there are consequences and the Others are NOT happy about that. They are also treating the humans that work with the Others like scum and singling them out and making their lives difficult. The relationship between the human employees/police and the Others is still going pretty strong. There were a few mishaps in VISION IN SILVER that made it feel like that would change, but the difficulties ended up making the partnerships stronger.

I was really happy with not only the development of the storyline in VISION IN SILVER, but also the budding feelings between Meg and Simon. It's a delicate situation and Bishop is doing a fantastic job of making it come to life in a slow, well measured and believable way.

I tend to be pretty stingy in giving out 5 star reviews, so 3 for one series with only 3 books in it so far should tell you something. Go grab your copy of book 1, WRITTEN IN RED, and fall into a great series that will leave you wishing the year would fly by really fast so you can get your greedy hands on book 4.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Heir of the Dog by Hailey Edwards

Heir of the Dog
Release Date: January 30, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published
Black Dog Book #2
ISBN: 1632110083
ISBN13: 9781632110084
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author
Faerie teeters on the brink of war and the mortal realm swells with fae refugees desperate to escape the bloodshed. As a half-blooded fae, Marshal Thierry Thackeray has a stake in the outcome of both realms and isn’t afraid to knock a few heads together if it keeps the peace.

When her father goes missing, the only hope of negotiating a truce between the light and dark fae vanishes with him. Eager to avoid another Thousand Years War, the Faerie High Court reaches out to the one person they believe can track him down—the daughter who shares his curse.

This series is unique, full of interesting settings and filled with events that leave you wanting more. DOG WITH A BONE introduced us to the characters and the world, HEIR OF THE DOG introduces us to Faerie and digs a little deeper into Thierry's parentage and Fae side.

Thierry's father goes missing and the Fae think she should stand in for him in an event that will decide the new ruler. She wants nothing to do with Faerie, their politics or their problems, but they give her no choice and she finds herself running for her life and hoping she runs into her father along the way. Thierry seriously kicks ass in HEIR OF THE DOG. Not that she had a choice in the matter, but she never gives up. There is plenty of action, plenty of growth and a nice dose of hot guys vying for her attention.

I was not that surprised to hear about what happened with Thierry and Shaw. He is an incubus after all. Rook was pretty interesting. Thierry and him definitely have a romantic connection and their positions will have them coming together again and I'm rooting for them. Unfortunately I have a feeling Thierry, Shaw and Rook will be a love triangle for a while though.

WHY did it have to end there? I NEED to know what happens next. What a twist in Thierry's life HEIR OF THE DOG's events have thrown at her. Book 3, Lie Down With Dogs, has a release date of April 30, 2015 and there is an excerpt already up on the authors website. I am so ready.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Interview & Giveaway: The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan

UFI welcomes Author J.P. Sloan. Thanks for Joining us!!

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

Well, let's just toss all propriety out the window, shall we, and talk religion? I write a lot about modern occultism, and a considerable portion of the Dark Choir mythos is grounded in both western hermeticism and Gnosticism. So, the question often presents itself: "Is J.P. Sloan an occultist?" Here's the short answer: "Not any more."

Here's the somewhat longer answer… I was once a regular practitioner of a kind of syncretic homespun neo-paganism. Which is to say, our group cobbled together the bits and pieces of Gardnerian Wicca, Seax Wicca, Asatru, Druidism, and whatever the hell else we felt made sense to us at the moment… and met at regular intervals (read: every lunar cycle) for a kind of celebration of Nature, ancestors, gods, whatever we felt like celebrating and/or worshipping. This group was very loose in its construct, and we encouraged individual research into esoteric thought. Here's where I stumbled across Hermes Trismegistus, Aleister Crowley, Anton LaVey, Margot Adler, Frank and Janet Ferrar, and other writers and mythological constructs of the neo-pagan oeuvre. (lookin' at you, Hermes…) I was a dyed-in-the-wool pagan for a quite a while, but later in years I've come to accept the inherent absurdity in all mystical schools of thought, and have embraced a kind of rugged rationalism as my chosen cosmology.

I still take time to observe sabbats, and I still have an altar in my home to the sun and moon… but I recognize that the human experience is one of biochemistry and consequence of actions. Besides… I challenge anyone to spend any considerable time viewing the Hubble Deep Field image without feeling staggeringly small yet invaluable at the same time.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

I spend several nights per week at the local gym with my wife, beating the fear of God into a heavy bag. We've both studied martial arts at separate times in our respective pasts, and nothing spells marital bliss quite like "M-U-A-Y-T-H-A-I."

I'm also a homebrewer and a BJCP National ranked beer judge. I travel to homebrew competitions and evaluate people's beers according to style and off-flavors, giving advice as to how to improve their recipes or processes. It's a thankless job, but someone's got to drink all this damned beer…

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Typing the last sentence of a first draft. Sure… it's fated to endure nigh-endless editing and revision. Sure… any first draft you write will be a handful of ocelot offal. But that moment where a book goes from "am writing" to "written" is magical.

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

I have a day job (for the moment), and my family enjoys ongoing proof that I yet exist… thus my daily writing time tends to fall after bedtime for Homeslice Jr and XBox time with the wife. The good news being that my wife joins me in this insane pursuit of literary distraction… she's another author, recently signed by my publisher. We tend to coordinate writing times, and often abscond on Friday mornings to a local Panera for a slam session of word count hijinks.

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

Though I certainly admire Kim Harrison for her world-building and the sheer amount of time she devotes to her fans, I find that her style doesn't quite reach me. Pound-for-pound, I'd say Richard Kadrey is one of the sharpest minds in Urban Fantasy today. His Sandman Slim series is prime reading for both genders.

How would you pitch The Dark Choir series to someone who has not heard of it before?

The Dark Choir is a series of occult thrillers set in modern Baltimore, which follow the life of Dorian Lake, a socialite and hex-peddler who walks a fine and dangerous line between the daylight of our world and the soul-damning underbelly of the practitioners of ancient and forbidden arts.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Curse Servant is set in? 

It's modern Baltimore as anyone would see it… but with a sinister underworld of old ancient hermetic practices held in basements, and cursed objects sold in stalls down dark alleys. I really strive to play my fantasy close to the chest, the magic as easily dismissed as coincidence or luck as anything else.

Do you have a favorite scene in The Curse Merchant

In The Curse Servant, Dorian is in a race against some nameless entity that physically possesses the bodies of people around him, taunting him about his losing his soul. My favorite scene involves a young girl who is taken over by this entity… a real homage to the old-school demon possession movies of the seventies. My take here is that everything she's going through can be, and is in fact, dismissed as schizophrenia, and Dorian has to fight as hard with her mother to seek unconventional treatment as he does against this being that he can't even identify.

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

I adore writing Edgar Swain. He's based on a real-life acquaintance of mine… one of the brewers in my local homebrewing club. It's easy to slip into his persona, and his entire family is really showcased in The Curse Servant.

The hardest character to write was Ches, Dorian's new love interest. I wanted to take her character a full one-eighty from Carmen in the first book. She's up front, non-manipulative, somewhat naïve, and presents Dorian with a gentler kind of ego-deflation. I wanted to preserve her agency as much as possible, which was difficult as she was filtered through the eyes of a protagonist with immense privilege and entitlement issues.

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

I'm revising and polishing a western/horror titled Yea Though I Walk. It's more of a straight take on classic horror elements… essentially Vampires vs. Wendigo vs. Cowboys. I adored writing it, even though it was my most ambitious novel yet.

J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author ... primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed.

A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing.

In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a certified beer judge.

Find J.P. and his books

The Curse Servant
The Dark Choir #2

The one person standing between Hell… and an innocent girl… is a man without a soul.

A regular life isn’t in the cards for Dorian Lake, but with his charm-crafting business invigorated, and the prospect of a serious relationship within his grasp, life is closer to normal than Dorian could ever expect. In the heat of the Baltimore mayoral campaign, Dorian has managed to balance his arrangements with Deputy Mayor Julian Bright with his search to find his lost soul. Dorian soon learns of a Netherworker, the head of a dangerous West Coast cabal, who might be able to find and return his soul. The price? Just one curse.

Sounds easy… but nothing ever is for Dorian. A dark presence arrives in the city, hell-bent on finding Dorian’s soul first. Innocents are caught in the crossfire, and Dorian finds it harder to keep his commitments to Bright. When the fight gets personal, and the entity hits too close to home, Dorian must rely on those he trusts the least to save the ones he loves. As he tests the limits of his hermetic skills to defeat this new enemy, will Dorian lose his one chance to avoid damnation?

I knew this wasn't going to be the typical meeting with Julian Bright when, instead of the usual political organ-grinders at the campaign headquarters, I found a soccer mom duct taped to a chair, foaming at the mouth. Her grunting and growling echoed off the bare sheetrock walls of Julian's office, vacant except for the three of us.

I peeked through the blinds covering the locked storefront to make sure none of volunteers were back from the morning rounds. Satisfied we were alone, I turned to Julian.

He waved his arm at the woman in a lazy circle. "So, this is why I called."

"Who is she?"

"Her name is Amy Mancuso. You know her?"

I shook my head.

"She's a volunteer. Her team was working Cold Spring by Loyola when she started swearing and spitting at the residents. By the time her team captain called me, she'd kicked someone's dog. Terrier, I think. Or one of those purse dogs."

I winced. "Remind me not to hand out yard signs for you. Jesus."

"It's not like we do background checks on volunteers. I figured she probably missed some meds or something."

"But you called me instead of the paramedics."


"Why?" I asked as I took a step toward her.

Amy's grunting halted as she straightened in her chair. Her head swiveled slowly in my direction, and her eyes sent the creeping chills up my neck.

With a nerve-rattling tone she growled, "Is that Dorian Lake I smell?"

I'd never enjoyed the sound of my own name less.

Julian turned a shoulder to me and whispered, "That's why."


I slowly approached Amy, pulling my pendulum from my jacket pocket in a slow, non-threatening motion. Last thing I needed at that moment was to send a crazy person into a panic. I assumed she was crazy. My pendulum would determine whether she was unnaturally energized or the usual cat-shaving flavor of lunatic.

Her eyes were dilated; her mouth twisted into the most unsettling smile one could imagine on the face of an otherwise average woman.

"Have we met?"

"Poor little Dorian lost his soul."

Okay, this was probably a legitimate problem.

I dangled the pendulum in front of Amy. The little nugget of copper spun from the end of its chain in a perfectly Newtonian fashion. Nothing pulled it contrary to the laws of Nature. I couldn't even feel a tug on the chain.

She continued, "Lost his soul, he lost his soul. Dropped it down a rabbit hole."

"I suppose you think you're being clever?"

"Is he doomed or is he dead? Will he damn your soul instead?"

This conversation had lost all of its charm.

"Who am I talking to?"

She sucked in a huge gulp of air and craned her neck at a painful angle toward the ceiling. A sick squealing noise leaked from her lips as her arms trembled. When she finally released her breath and sank back down into her chair, she simply chuckled.

"We're going to find it, you know. And when we do, we're going to eat it."

I leaned in as close as I dared and whispered, "If you think I'm afraid of you, then you need to know something. I'm not impressed."

"It won't be long now."

"Did someone send you, or is this just a courtesy call?"

She smirked. "We're going to enjoy this."

I was knitting together a clever response when a loud rip of tape crackled through the room. Her hand slammed up underneath my jaw, fingers clamping around my throat. My head filled with blood, and I tried to cough through the gag reflex. The harder I beat on her hand to let go, the wider that creepy smile got.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Promo & Giveaway: Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy

Meet the Elite Teen Fighter Pilots of the United Star Academy

Call Sign: RIOT
Position: RIO (radar intercept officer)
Height: 6’1
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Age: 18
Originally from: St. Paul, Minnesota
Plane name and description: PEGASUS, Streaker Jet Prototype 2
Years in the service: 4
Personality strengths: Good kisser, and that’s about it
Personality weaknesses: Punching mirrors, loudmouth

CORI MCCARTHY studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for teens at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From a military family, Cori was born on Guam and lived a little bit of everywhere before she landed in Michigan. Learn more about her books at

Breaking Sky
Sourcebooks Fire
March 2015 ● ISBN: 9781492601418
Hardcover/$16.99 ● Ages 14+
 In this high-flying, adrenaline-fueled debut thriller, America's best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy

Chase Harcourt, call sign "Nyx," is one of only two pilots chosen to fly the experimental "Streaker" jets at the junior Air Force Academy in the year 2048. She's tough and impulsive with lightning-fast reactions, but few know the pain and loneliness of her past or the dark secret about her father. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky.

But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There's a third Streaker jet, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. Chase doesn't play well with others, but to save her country she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.
Praise for Breaking Sky:
“Strong characterizations, action, adventure, and emotion combine to produce a sci-fi novel that is more than just the sum of its parts.” —School Library Journal STARRED Review
“Smart, exciting, confident—and quite possibly the next Big Thing.” —Kirkus Reviews
“McCarthy deploys breath-stopping depictions of high-stakes piloting with enviable ease, and the in-your-face personal confrontations are nearly as taut.” —Publishers Weekly

Buy Links:
Great Lakes Book & SupplyCori McCarthy’s Local Indie! Pre-order here and receive a personalized signed copy.

Amazon Apple BAM B&N Chapters Indiebound  Kobo

A Teaser:

“Nyx!” Riot bounded through the rec room. He leaped over the rope and wrapped Chase in a crush of a hug.
“I went to your room to catch you. Pippin said you were in Kale’s office.” His face pressed to hers in a way that made her want to pull away, but she gave him a quick squeeze instead.
“We thought you guys were going to die,” he said. “Didn’t we, Sylph?”
Chase let go. “Not even close,” she lied.
Riot was the tallest in their class but on the thin side for flight crew. He had an annoying habit of putting his chin on the top of her head, and yet he was quirky cute with kissable, full lips. “We tried to fly back out to you, but—”
Sylph elbowed him out of the way. “Keep it in your pants, Riot.”
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Review: Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Salt & Stone
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Fire & Flood Book #2
ISBN:   0545537487
ISBN13: 9780545537483
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Review Copy Source: Publisher
What would you do to save someone you love?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win.
Tella has really grown into herself throughout her journey in the Brimstone Bleed. She has made some loyal partners and she is well on her way to winning it all with them by her side. In FIRE & FLOOD she faced and conquered the jungle and desert portions of the race. In SALT & STONE she is faced with the ocean and mountains.

The secondary characters are a pretty big part of the series so I am going to take a moment to talk about them instead of going into the plot. I never really cared for the new boy or the new little girl that joined the group during the ocean portion in book 2. I knew instantly that something was up with the boy, it took a while but the truth came out. The little girl was way to clingy and 'innocent' acting to me. There was no way she would have made it this far, so I knew it had to be an act. HARPER is back like she promised and of course she has changed. It was a bit hard to see the changes, but she had the same goals she left with. I continue to love the Maddox and the other Pandoras. I love the way that they band together in SALT &  STONE and I love the way Tella treats them. There is loss in SALT & STONE, I won't say who it is, but I was heart broken right along with Tella. 

On the romance front, there is a bit of trouble in paradise between Guy and Tella in book 2. I honestly felt Tella was being extremely stubborn most of the time, but I understood where her feelings where coming from. The progress between the two is slow, but it's real.

The danger continues to be real, the characters continue to break down the barriers set in front of them and the world continues to grow. The Brimstone Bleed did NOT end like I expected, but then again, I kinda expected that. Tella and her friends now have an IN with those behind the Brimstone Bleed, book three is going to be crazy.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Promo & Giveaway: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford

Aurora Sky
Vampire Hunter #1
Amazon US Amazon UK BN iBooks
Google Play Kobo Smashwords Audible
If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it's to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn't hurt either.

Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora's life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she's a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job... by hand.

Now Aurora's only friends are groupies of the undead and the only boy she can think about may very well be a vampire.
Book Trailer:


Volleyball had been replaced by badminton while I was in the hospital. Mr. Mooney let me get away with sitting out class the first two days, but by the third he decided to diagnose me as fit for participation.

“Sky, ready to jump back in?”

I paused on my way to the bleachers. “I’m not dressed.”

Besides, everyone was already paired up.

“Fane!” Mr. Mooney called. “Get out here. You can be Aurora’s partner.”

I tried not to flinch or show signs of distress. My last memory of Fane involved his tongue tracing his upper lip in lewd gesture.

Fane stood up and gave Mr. Mooney a glare so dark it sent a shiver down my spine. It was the first real sensation I’d experienced since the accident. When his eyes moved to me I momentarily forgot to breathe.

Fane held my gaze a moment longer then slipped out of his leather jacket. I watched, transfixed. This was history in the making. Fane Donado taking off his coat.

All of his imperfections breezed out the door as soon as I got my first look at the six-pack straining against his cotton tee. My eyes must have been playing tricks on me. For a guy with such a slender build, Fane was surprisingly muscled.

Fane took deliberate steps down the aisle of the bench, straight to the edge. He jumped from the bleachers, causing them to rock in his wake.

I swore I felt a thud inside the pit of my stomach when he landed.

Mr. Mooney nodded at Fane. “You two are playing Clayton and Tyler.”

Fane walked past me and took two rackets off the floor. He handed me one. I took it from his outstretched hand then followed several steps behind.

Part of me was relieved he didn’t say anything. All I could think about was the obscene gesture he’d made right before my world turned up-side-down. I hardly noticed his hair. I was too distracted by his lips. And now his abs. Luckily, I wouldn’t have to look at either while we played side by side.

At the far court, Clayton and Tyler bounced birdies up and down on the strings of their rackets.

Clayton nudged Tyler as we approached. “Oh great. Goth boy and zombie girl. This should be fun.”

I took my place beside Fane. He held his racket loose and lazy. I barely held mine at all. Clayton pelted the birdie at me. I tried to shield my face and ended up dropping my racket.

“Oh, come on!” Clayton shouted.

I picked up the birdie and threw it over the net.

Clayton served the birdie to Fane, who smacked it over the net with the flick of a wrist. Tyler launched the birdie at me. It hit me on the shoulder, but I swung anyway as it bounced to the floor.

“Hello? Earth to Aurora,” Tyler called across the net.

“I think she’s still in a coma,” Clayton said.

“That’s game,” Tyler said. “Your serve.”

I picked up the birdie and handed it to Fane. It’s a good thing it wasn’t a real bird. Fane crushed it in his hand. Only for a moment. Only I saw. He relaxed and looked across the net. I felt that odd shiver return.

Fane smacked the birdie as though it were a fly. He walloped it right between Tyler and Clayton so fast neither boy had time to react. When they did manage a return hit, Fane gracefully flicked away any stray birds that came at me. I watched in fascination, fully engaged for the first time since the accident.

The boys tried to hit the birdie back. Fane had them racing across every corner of their court. By the end of the period they were out of breath. They took off without a backwards glance when Mr. Mooney blew his whistle signaling the end of gym.

As I walked past Fane I felt a twitch. Not my own. I felt the twitch of his hand wanting to stop me.

“Hey, you. Are you okay?”

If I had any emotion left I’d laugh. He didn’t even know my name—that or it wasn’t worth saying.

He studied me carefully. “I’ve seen that look before.”

Now I was curious.

Valerie jumped down from the bleachers. “Fane!”

He didn’t pay attention to her. I held my breath waiting for him to tell me what he saw.

Valerie sashayed her way over to Fane, red hair blazing down her shoulders. She held out his jacket. “I’m ready to blow this joint. Let’s get a bite.”

Her last words grabbed his attention, and he forgot me completely. Valerie looped her arm around Fane’s and they walked toward the double doors. I was right behind them, silent as a ghost. When I reached the hall entrance leading to the locker rooms I stopped. I saw his head start to turn. I knew he was going to look back, but by the time he did I’d be gone.

Nikki Jefford loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. Books, travel, TV series, hiking, writing and motorcycle riding are her favorite escapes. She loves meeting people from all walks of life, from around the globe, and wouldn’t trade her French husband in for anyone – not even Spike!

She’s a third generation Alaskan, born & raised in Anchorage, now living in northern Washington. Crazy about her dog, Cosmo. (Writer’s best friend.) The dark side of humanity fascinates her, so long as it's balanced by humor and romance.

Find Nikki and her books
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New Releases: 2/22-2/28

Mon. Feb. 23rd

 Her Fallen Protector (Entangled Covet) by Nichole Severn
 Locked in Stone (Hearts of Stone #1) by Tory Michaels

Tue. Feb. 24th
 Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto 
 Quake (Pulse #3) by Patrick Carman 
 Soulbound (Darkest London #6) by Kristen Callihan
 Unchanged (Unremembered #3) by Jessica Brody
 Unleashed (Uninvited #2) by Sophie Jordan
 When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling

Happy Reading!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Enchanter’s Echo by Anise Rae

UFI welcomes Author Anise Rae. Thanks for Joining us!!

My Fictional Cure for Pesky Tasks….

I hate drying my hair. I also don’t like raking leaves or doing dishes. So when I created the world of the Mayflower Mages, I addressed those little nuisances of everyday life. In Enchanter’s Echo, as well as the first book, Syphon’s Song, mages can take care of all kinds of task with a flick of their vibes. It’s an envious ability. I’d love to have a few of these spells at my fingertips. Here are my top ten favorites:

10. The Deflection Spell.
It takes a special kind of mage to do this one—specifically, a deflector mage. They can push away most anything…power, air, explosions, water from wet hair. Yes, this is the hair dryer spell. But how useful would this be when you have to clean out a stinky fridge? Just deflect the stink!

9. The All-Purpose Destruction Spell.
Again, the average mage is out of luck here because only a certain type of mage can destroy. But this is the guy you want with you when you take your dog for a walk. If your pup has to…you know…do his thing, no need for a doggie bag. With a quick zap of mage vibes, the poop is annihilated.

8.  The Dirty Dishes Spell
This is a variation on the destruction spell. It needs a little perfecting as is used in Enchanter’s Echo, but it’s got a lot of potential. Edmund Rallis, the hero, can destroy dirty dishes. I’m sure with a little practice he could destroy only the dirt on them instead of destroying the entire dish.

7. Healing Spells—all variations
This should probably go at number one since it’s so essential to life, but I feel like it’s such a given that it’s just taking up space on my list. Curing life-threatening illnesses? But of course! That’s why I’ll put it at lucky number seven.

6. See-Me-Not Charm
Charms are expensive, and this one is more expensive than most. It’s not for everyday use or even for the average mage. Cast its single-use spell and you’ll turn invisible…if you were a mage, that is. Think of the people you could spy on.

5.  The Standard Heating Spell
Almost all mages can cast heating spells to keep themselves warm in the winter. If a mage can’t do this, he/she is considered to be very weak…not how you want to be classified in the Republic of Mage Territories, where mages rule and the powerless obey. But I’m sure if you and I were mages, we’d be super strong. Think of the savings on your heating bill!

4. The Standard Cooling Spell
Naturally, this is the heating spell’s counterpart. Goodbye, sweaty summers! Soak up the sun without worrying about your clothes getting unsightly marks or your hair flattening with perspiration. Have a favorite sweater that you want to wear all year round? Go ahead! Flaunt that mage power!

3. Clothe Charm
Truly one of my favorites. Again, charms are expensive, so it’s much cheaper to buy extra outfits than one of these, but you can’t beat their convenience. For instance, it’s impossible to keep a little black dress, heels, and jewelry in your pocket or, say, in your glove compartment. But you can easily fit multiple charms in either spot. Long day at work and no time to get ready for your hot date? Cast this charm and poof! Sexy and ready…just be sure to spare a few of your vibes to touch up your hair and make-up.

2.  Calling Charms Bracelet…a necessary accessory for every stylish female mage.
Do you have a charm bracelet among your jewelry collection? Imagine if each one of those charms was programmed with mage vibes to “call” an individual. Perhaps you might have a heart-shaped charm programmed to contact your lover or a pizza charm programmed to call up your favorite pizza delivery mage. Calling charms are the mage version of a cell phone. (Male mages use calling cards that they keep in their pockets, which are not nearly as durable as the calling charms.) I confess, I find these calling charm bracelets utterly…yes…charming.

And now…drumroll, please! The number one spell in the Mayflower Mages series is…

1.  The Gravitation Spell
Actually, I don’t think any of the mages in either book has used this spell yet. I guess my characters must not be as lazy as I am. As I type this, I’m sitting on the couch under the warmest blanket in America. I need my cell phone, but it’s on the kitchen counter. As the dog doesn’t fetch and my children aren’t awake, I’m going to have to get up. I’m really dreading this. It’s cold out there. (My heating spells are on the blink.) Maybe if I dig deep and concentrate really haaaarrrrd…. Nope. Nothing.

(Hey, Apple/Samsung/Blackberry, how about a Gravitation Spell app in the next upgrade?)

I’d love to know…if you could choose one spell to rid your life of an onerous task, which would you choose?

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Anise Rae has been reading romance novels since she first discovered her grandmother’s stash of books hidden away in a cabinet. Learning that she wasn’t the only one dreaming about love and magic was a turning point in her life. She started her own stash of books and wrote a few too.

A native of Ohio, Anise long ago moved south, armed with boxes of romance novels and degrees in chemistry and library science. Creating chemistry on the page between two lovers proved to be a lot more fun than working with test tubes in a lab or searching patent databases. She refocused on writing.

Her stories revolve around heroines who dare to stand up to society’s expectations and be true to themselves and heroes with plenty of savvy to fall in love with such brave women.

Anise lives in Atlanta with her two children and a fluffy dog that has an amazing ability to find dirty socks.

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Enchanter's Echo
Mayflower Mages #2
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Aurora Firenze lives a quiet life hiding in a junkyard. Her repair shop is the last hope for gadgets and gizmos before they get tossed onto the trash towers. Fortunately, Aurora can fix almost anything, including mages, though repairing people with metal enchantments is highly illegal.

Edmund Rallis, heir to the Rallis senate seat, has spent months hunting down his errant enchantress. He’ll play every game he knows to win her back and entice her to share the secrets she hides. But he’s inadvertently put her on the frontlines of a new game, one with an opponent who’s determined to destroy Rallis Territory and drive the Republic toward war. If the new enemy isn’t stopped in time, Edmund will lose his enchantress again—and this time there won’t be another chance.

The keep-out spell awoke at her approach. The enchanted mesh of vines and branches that blocked the entrance to Rallis Territory’s forbidden forest vibrated in welcome as its creator returned. Aurora Firenze cast her vibes along the perimeter of her spell, testing and prodding. Its strength resonated back. It was as strong as it had been six months ago when she’d created it and hid her secrets within the forest’s depths. She let go of a relieved breath, but it didn’t cure her tension.

Her nerves were strung tight, as if she’d spent hours placating customers in her repair shop. But the day had been quiet. She’d even made decent progress—fixing a curling iron with a too-hot heating spell and a stapler that had a bad habit of chasing the boss around the conference table. Yet a restlessness itched at her skin with an unpleasant persistence. She’d closed up early and headed out for the short walk to the forest. Within its heart, she’d find the peace to wash away this unease.

She sent another stream of vibes into the keep-out spell. A discreet doorway formed. With a quick glance around the barren field and the junkyard behind her, she stepped beneath her illegal spell.

As she brushed against the branches, a faint thump sounded at her feet—the soft crash of a pinecone or a weak branch falling to the ground. A normal forest noise. She flinched anyway. Her glitter puffed around her in an anxious cloud as her mage energy escaped her control. It was the fifth time today. Enchantresses did not make good criminals. She should probably let the other three in existence know, in case they were considering lives of crime. Those blasted sparkly clouds would blow their covers wide open.

She lifted her foot to continue into the small forest that was tucked inside the territory’s capital city, but stopped. A proper lawbreaker should investigate mysterious noises outside her lair. She turned and scanned the ground for the culprit. A gold coin glinted in the crisp weeds. That wasn’t normal. She reached to pick it up, scanning the field and the junkyard beyond with a twitchy gaze. Empty. She was alone.

Behind her, the forest shuttered closed, nearly catching her in its fortress wall. She jumped forward with a surprised lurch at the swat of vines and twigs. A basic rule of illegal enchantments: get out of the way or risk being incorporated into the spell.

Ignoring the sting of the swat, she stared at the coin. It was tarnished at the edges, a used-up charm. See-me-not was embossed on its golden surface. She jerked her head up. A man stood ten paces away. He was tall, broad...beyond familiar.

“Edmund,” she whispered. A shiver tiptoed across her shoulders like kisses, soft lips that hid a sharp bite. Her nerves stretched thinner yet, trapped in a battle between memories of lovers’ frolics and the promise of a dark fate that had just materialized from thin air.

Behind her, the forest’s trees rustled with the wind, a warning to retreat, one she dare not heed. Not until she knew why he’d finally come searching for her. She hadn’t thought he’d ever come back.

He prowled forward. “Hello, princess.” Though his words might have held some affection, nothing of the lover she’d once known appeared in his countenance. He lifted his left hand to reveal a glowing ball of mage vibes in his palm. His blue eyes reflected the tiny flashes of energy, and his power snapped in the air like a miniature electrical storm. The heir to the most powerful territory in the Republic had quite a steam of anger built up.

Dark hair waved across his forehead, and little curls peeked out at the edges of his neck. Though the wind buffeted and pushed at Aurora, winter’s boldness didn’t dare touch Edmund, not his hair, nor his dark gray suit or scarlet tie.

The hard slope of his nose matched the sharp lines of his jaw and cheekbones. When he smiled, he was deadly handsome. At the moment, he was simply deadly.

“Aurora.” He cast her name through the air and a piece of her soul tumbled away, as if it might dash toward him and cling like a forlorn, discarded lover. But he hadn’t discarded her....

“You stand accused of melding earthen metals to human flesh with an enchantment.”

Her heart thumped once, hard and loud, and then took off with a sprint, drenching her veins from head to toe with lightning sharp fright.

Goddess, he’d found out. How?

Even as she thought it, he revealed the answer. The glow faded from his ball of energy to reveal a small metal sphere. Her racing heart shriveled at the sight, pulling the rest of her organs with it, as if they thought to hide, seeking a chance to slip past this disaster unnoticed and, perhaps, survive. She shifted her feet on the ground, unable to resist the fear pumping through her core. Run, her gut whispered. She couldn’t afford to listen... not with the evidence sitting in his hand.

The sphere was heavier than it looked. She knew that. After all, she’d made it...and thought it long gone. He closed his fingers around it, capturing her fate within his fist.

“How’d you get that?” Her fast words shot out, hustling forward before fear, creeping up her legs with tingles and pricks, stole her voice.

“You ought to be down on your knees thanking me for confiscating it.” His voice was sharp and cutting. He sounded like a stranger, his jokes and teasing wit long gone.

“What did you do? Sneak into the junkyard and pluck his eye from his skull? Has it been hiding under your pillow for six months?” Not at all where she’d thought it was. Betrayal jolted through her. “Hardly actions befitting the heir of the mighty Rallis realm.” Her voice wavered.

“You have no idea what I’ve done.”
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week in Review: 2/15-2/21

Books Received for Review

- Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle-eARC- Edelweiss

- The Exile by C.T. Adams- Publisher

Books I've Read

Shiftless by Aimee Easterling
The Leveller by Julia Durango
The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston
Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
Infinity Bell by Devon Monk

Reviews Posted

Changing Nature by April White
Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett
Black Wolf's Revenge by Tera Shanley


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

* Monday- Promo & Giveaway for The Immortal Who Loved Me by Lynsay Sands

* Wednesday- Release Day Blitz &; Giveaway for The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout; Cover Reveal & Giveaway for Wicked Ride by Rebecca Zanetti

* Friday- Promo & Giveaway for Bitten by a Hellcat by Felicity Heaton

* Saturday- Promo & Giveaway for Fortune's Blight by Evie Manieri


* 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, February 21, 2015

Promo & Giveaway: Fortune's Blight by Evie Manieri

Fortune's Blight
Shattered Kingdoms #2
The second book in a compelling epic fantasy series takes place after the Shadari revolution, as danger beckons across the sea—a stirring adventure in the vein of Karen Miller and Robin Hobb.

Victory for the Shadari rebels has come at a terrible price. Hardship, superstition, and petty feuds poison King Daryan’s young reign, and entire families are vanishing without a trace. Help is nowhere to be found, for their Nomas allies have troubles of their own and the Mongrel, plagued by the sins of her violent past, has disappeared.

While Daryan struggles to maintain the peace, Eofar and Rho are racing to their northern homeland to plead—or fight—for the Shadar’s independence. But Norland has changed, and they soon find themselves embroiled in the court politics of an empire about to implode. Meanwhile, the Mongrel’s path carries her deep into Norland’s frozen wastes to redeem a promise—one that forces her into the heart of the growing conflict.

As the foundations of the two far­flung countries begin to crack, an enigmatic figure watches from a tower room in Ravindal Castle. She is old, and a prisoner, but her reach is long, and her patience is about to be rewarded...
Praise for Evie Manieri
“Manieri’s BLOOD’S PRIDE, the first book in
the new Shattered Kingdoms series, is the perfect mix of romance, family ties, betrayals and agonizing dilemmas…The world created by Manieri is one of love, treachery and intrigue that will keep the audience hanging on until the very last page.”
-- RT Book Reviews
“The setting is what sells me on this book:
quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region. Just as with Indian fantasy, I think this subgenre is a really ignored one, and it’s fantastic that Evie Manieri is going to be exploring it in this novel.”
-- Most Anticipated Releases for 2013

“This hefty fantasy, first in a series from debut author Manieri, presents the tangled dynamics of two cultures at war with each other and within themselves….Plot twists, romantic entanglements, and political rivalries make for lots of melodrama.”
-- Publishers Weekly


Evie Manieri graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Mediaeval History and Theatre, disciplines that continue to influence her work in about equal measure. She is enthralled by intricacy, and when not weaving together the threads of her plots, she can be found knitting airy lace shawls and singing Renaissance polyphony. Evie lives with her family in New York.

Find Evie and her books

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Review: Changing Nature by April White

Changing Nature
Author: April White
Release Date: January 22, 2015
Publisher: Corazon Entertainment
ISBN13: 9780988536852
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author
Immortal Descendants are disappearing and seventeen-year-old Clocker Saira Elian is next on the list…

Saira and Archer’s romantic London summer is shattered by the bold kidnappings of Immortal Descendants. It’s clear Mongers want control of the Descendant Families, and when they target a powerful Shifter, there’s no doubt they will eliminate anyone who stands in their way.

A split in time could be the cause of this new Monger aggression, and Saira, Archer and Ringo suspect their time-traveling nemesis Bishop Wilder. One dangerous world is exchanged for another when Saira and her friends track Wilder to the gloomy streets of Paris in 1429. They find the city besieged by marauding wolves led by a fanatical peasant girl who will be known to history as Joan of Arc.

Crossing the time stream to repair it has dropped them into the heart of the Hundred Years’ War on the eve of an epic battle, where the line between friends and enemies will be drawn in blood. To finally end the deadly game of cat and mouse with Wilder, Saira must confront her greatest challenge yet: the truth about her changing Nature.

The Immortal Descendants Series continues to be enjoyable to me. Not only are the characters interesting, but the setting is always well put together. No matter what situation Saira and her friends are put in, I am always really excited to see how they will pull off their mission.

I don't want to get into the storyline because that is something you really need to experience. I will say that Paris in 1429 is full of danger and Saira, Archer, Ringo, Charlie and Connor had their work cut out for them. I am always surprised at the way the characters are able to work together and navigate a time that they are not used to. Saira has grown a lot and allows others to take the lead when needed. I really enjoyed getting to know Connor and Charlie more in CHANGING NATURE. Connor will be a force to be reckoned with when he is older and Charlie is just a really good person and deserves the best. Her and Ringo together are just too darn cute as well, I really hope they get a HEA no matter what life brings them in the rest of the series.

My only small complaint? The relationship progression between Saira and Archer. It of course progresses in each book, but i want it to progress MORE. I know Archer has known Saira a lot longer than Saira has known Archer, but I can't help but want to push them farther along than where they are. I just love them. So, not really a complaint, just me being impatient lol.

This is definitely a series you want to read. I am not a huge time travel reader, but the Immortal Descendants Series is so much more than time travel and I am so glad I gave book one, MARKING TIME, a chance when I was asked to review it. I am always super quick to jump into each installment when it hits my inbox. Do yourself a favor and start from book 1.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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