Friday, July 31, 2015

Interview + Giveaway: Baby’s Got Bite by Candace Havens

UFI welcomes Author Candace Havens. 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 have three dogs who rule my life, and sometimes make it a living hell. LOL. My little Shih Tzu, Elvis, a Great Dane named Harley, and a mixed breed, Gizmo. They’re awesome, and I love them like my kids (don’t tell my kids that) but they keep me on my toes.  

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

I don’t have down time. Really. Ever. I have so many parts of my life from the TV/Movie critic thing, to being an editor, to owning my own editing company, radio personality, being an author…there is no free time. I travel a great deal, which is fun. But I’m just as happy staying home. At least once a week, my Hub and I try to go on some kind of date.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Creating stories and living in those worlds for however long it takes.

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

I have little rituals. I light a candle. Try to make sure my desk is cleaned off, and I have to have my tunes. Sometimes it takes me longer to find the right music, than it does to write the first 100 pages. Truth.

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

Nora Roberts, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jaye Wells…It’s late on a Friday night and I love so many PNR and UF authors, but those come to mind.

How would you pitch Baby’s Got Bite to someone who has not heard of it before? 

Hot Alpha werewolf, accidentally knocks up a one-night stand and falls in love.  Linc finds Bennett extraordinarily sexy, she thinks he’s pretty hot as well. They’re sort of forced together by circumstances and it’s fun to watch out that relationship, which is pretty cantankerous in the beginning, becomes a loving one.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Baby’s Got Bite is set in? 

 It’s a contemporary world, much like ours, but there are supernatural creatures, who are governed by a council. But I try to keep the stories very personal. We like to say that Covets are contemporary romances with a dash of paranormal. So there is world building, but it’s a smaller part of the story than most PNR or UF books.

Do you have a favorite scene in Baby’s Got Bite

I think I’m supposed to like them all, but…the one I like the best it toward the end and would ruin everything if I tell you. There’s something really lovely my hero does for heroine at the beginning of the book, that makes my heart tug every time. If you don’t fall in love with Linc in that moment, you have no soul. (SMILE)

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

What about the hardest to write about?  I love all my children. All of them. But Bronwyn, from my first series, Charmed and Dangerous, has always been the easiest voice for me. I wrote a spy once, that one was hard just because I had to do so much research.

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

I have a paranormal Young Adult that just came out last month under the name Mackenzie McGuire. I write that series with my friend Gwen Reyes. We wanted to write something kind of fun and light that reminded us of the books we loved. I have several contemporaries coming out with Entangled and Harlequin, most of which I don’t have titles for yet. And I’m going back into Bronwyn’s world for a little Christmas story in December.

Bestselling author Candace Havens has written multiple novels for Berkley, Entangled and Harlequin. Her books have received nominations for the RITA's, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. She is the author of the biography Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy and a contributor to several anthologies.

She is also one of the nation's leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities including Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and many more. Her entertainment columns can be read in more than 600 newspapers across the country. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2200 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing class. She does film reviews with the Hawkeye & Dorsey on 96.3, and is a former President of the Television Critics Association.

Find Candace and her books

Bay's Got Bite
Take It Like A Vamp #2
Goodreads Amazon BN Entangled Page
Some consequences bite . . . big time.

Bennett Langdon has a firm no-relationships policy. Still, it doesn't stop her from hooking up with a super-sexy bad boy at her best friend's wedding. After all, it's only one night—what harm could it do? Ten weeks later, a pregnant Bennett has her answer...

Linc Monahan can't believe it. This wasn't supposed to happen. He's a werewolf, and shouldn't be able to father a child with a human. Now Linc has to find some way to tell Bennett that not only do werewolves exist, but she's about to have a baby with one.

But when word of their surprise conception gets out, the fur hits the fan. There are people who don't want this baby to be born—even if it means killing. Now Bennett and Linc aren't just fighting each other . . . they're fighting for their lives.
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Early Review: Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler

Wolf Trouble
Author: Paige Tyler
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebook Casablanca
SWAT Book #2
ISBN:  1492608505
ISBN13: 9781492608509
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
He's in trouble with a capital T...

There's never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way. The elite pack of alpha male wolfshifters is no place for a woman. But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.

When Khaki walks through the door attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn't know what the heck to do. Worse, she's put under his command and Xander's protective instincts go on high alert. When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it's almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other...

I really liked Khaki, she has a great head on her shoulders and she has no problem jumping into the line of fire to help someone out. She comes to Dallas SWAT as the only female team member and she holds her own against all of our favorite alpha wolfshifters. As for Xander, why are alpha males so darn stubborn? Uggh they drive me nuts, but they are so yummy in the long run. He, just like Mac in book 1, fights the pheromones and takes forever to realize that Khaki is "the one". Of course, they both fight the attraction until they have no choice but to jump each others bones.

You can't help but love the build up to and the romance of the main characters Khaki and Xander, but I have to say that reading about ALL the wolfshifters on the SWAT team is my favorite part of this series. I love getting to know them and reading their interactions. I absolutely loved the way they all treated Khaki and made her feel at home as well as them having each other's backs no matter the circumstances. 

I had a great time reading WOLF TROUBLE. It had plenty of action, lots of yummy guys to think about, a great love match and plenty of danger to go around. Book 3, In the Company of Wolves, is set to release December 1, 2015 and will feature Eric and new comer Jayna.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Interview + Giveaway: Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr

UFI welcomes Author David Hofmeyr. 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 split my life between two cities, London and Paris. It sounds exotic and it can be. But sometimes it makes me feel like an outsider in both places. C’est la vie!

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

Travel. I’ve been all over the world and love experiencing new cultures and places and cities. I’ve lived in Cape Town, Hong Kong, London, Paris and San Francisco.

Film. I’m a fan. I watch movies all the time. I even watch trailers to get into the mood for writing. The sound and the imagery always offer inspiration for me.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

I get to play God. I choose what happens. It’s a responsibility to care for the characters in the right way. To give them depth and also to allow them to tell me what they would say and wouldn’t say. I love the creative process. Starting with a blank page … ending up somehow with a fully realized story world. It’s an incredible process. It’s magic.

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

No. I’m a little haphazard. I’m not particularly disciplined. I write when the mood fires and I approach the page in different ways each time.

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

I thought The Hunger Games was terrific. Divergent is great too. Excellent world building. I also loved the Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I was a sucker for The Lord of the Rings when I was a kid and devoured all the Stephen King books.

How would you pitch STONE RIDER to someone who has not heard of it before? 

Think the Hunger Games meets Mad Max. An adrenalin-fuelled race across an epic desert. A battle for survival and humanity in a world where hope is all people have.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that STONE RIDER is set in? 

This is a post-apocalyptic future earth. Some unknown cataclysm has blasted the world and left people divided. The uber-wealthy and the privileged leave the planet for an ark in space called Sky-Base and the those left-behind are forced to eke out a brutal existence in a world that seesaws from extreme heat in the summer to freezing winters.

Do you have a favorite scene in STONE RIDER

I love the scene where the protagonist, and mostly ordinary, Adam meets the extraordinary Kane. I love the ways two characters come together from different worlds and I enjoy imagining how they would meet and what they would say to each other.

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

My character, Kane is the most interesting to write. He’s an outsider and a rebel. A Christ-figure. Mysterious and dangerous. He’s a huge amount of fun to write. The hardest to write is probably the villain, because the villain has to be the most complex character. A book lives and dies but the nature of the villain. I wanted him to lie at the periphery, like a constant threat, but also bring him in close enough to thrill the reader.

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

I am working on the sequel to Stone Rider, called Blood Rider. It takes on a more feminist shift. I wanted to see the world from a different perspective. And it’s set in winter so I up the ante on survival in a brutal world.

David Hofmeyr is the author of STONE RIDER. He works as a Planner for Ogilvy & Mather. David was born in South Africa and lives in London.

Find David and his books

Stone Rider
In the vein of The Outsiders and the early Western novels of Elmore Leonard, this inventive debut novel, a cross between the cult classic Mad Max movie series and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, blends adrenaline-fueled action with an improbable yet tender romance to offer a rich and vivid portrayal of misfits and loners forced together in their struggle for a better life.

Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive.

The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury.

And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything.
“The gritty, nonstop action and violence will appeal especially to reluctant readers.”—School Library Journal 
“Filled with action and suspense and cool character reveals…an exciting, action-packed romp.”—Kirkus Reviews

US/Canada Only

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Interview + Giveaway: Traitor by Jody Wallace

UFI welcomes Author Jody Wallace. 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 never paint my toenails all one color. My preference, in fact, is to use at least 2 colors, preferably 10, on my toenails. Sometimes I kind of paint the toe part of my toes, too, since toes just sometimes aren’t enough. Also, because of certain visual inconveniences of middle age, my 9 year old daughter is my toenail artist. Whether or not these two things are connected is anyone’s guess.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

I like to crochet earrings and amigurumi. The earrings are useful. The amigurumi are mostly just funny. I maybe possibly am working on a set of Avengers-themed...male organs...that maybe possibly are going to go on a series of photographic adventures. You can check them out at (somewhat NSFW)
What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Writing the beginning and the end. That middle part is killer, though.

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

I can’t write when the kids are galloping around my recliner.

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

Patricia Briggs, Linnea Sinclair, Natalie Damschroder, Jennifer Estep, Lindsay Buroker, Ilona Andrews

How would you pitch THE MAELSTROM SERIES to someone who has not heard of it before?

It’s like Defiance crossed with Falling Skies crossed with Dominion.

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

Once upon a time, Earth was invaded by these horrible black blobs that ate people and couldn’t be destroyed by conventional science. They were accompanied by flying bat daemons that could sort of be destroyed by a lot of missiles. Luckily some very powerful angels turned up to save Earth, and they trained a native Chosen One to confront the evil in a final battle.

Except the Chosen One turned out to be a loser, the angels turned out to be aliens pretending to be angels so the Terrans would cooperate better (they hoped), and the Earth didn’t quite get saved.

Do you have a favorite scene in TRAITOR

There’s a scene near the end of the book that I don’t want to spoil, but it’s a car chase that reveals what a badass the heroine is, how much the hero loves her, and how those two crazy lovebirds would do anything to save the world. Plus, there’s lots of blood and gore and the hero gets a fang stuck in his head.

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

Right now I’m completely enamored of the sentient Ship in the Maelstrom series. Ships in this world evolve into sentience through a certain process involving SCIENCE and other gobbledygook, developing their own very distinct personalities. As far as the hardest character to write, Sarah, the doctor in TRAITOR, was a challenge for me, because she has to know enough about DOCTOR stuff and other gobbledygook so that she sounded both realistic, brilliant and relatable. I relied on a scientist writer friend of mine named DB Sieders to help with that!

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

I’m told I need to complete the next book in the Maelstrom series this year. So there’s that, for starters! The working title is PRODIGAL, and the world may or may not get saved in it. Yet again ☺.

Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a very rural area. She went to school a long time and ended up with a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and general all around pain in the butt. She currently lives in Tennessee with her family: one husband, two kids, two cats. One of her many alter egos is “The Grammar Wench,” which should give you an indication of her character. She is a terrible packrat and likes to amass vintage clothing, books, Asian-inspired kitchenware, gnomes, yarn, and other items that threaten to force her family out of the house. She also likes cats. A lot.

Jody publishes the Maelstrom Chronicles with Entangled Publishing, an Earth-based science fiction romance series. You can find other science fiction, paranormal, and contemporary romances by Jody at, including her horrible science fiction romance spoofs, The Adventures of Mari Shu, which make fun of the Maelstrom Chronicles, among other science fiction concepts and stories.

Find Jody and her books

Captain Nikolas EstherVorn is a traitor. Or so it was decreed after Niko disobeyed protocol while trying to save Earth from other-dimensional creatures. Stuck in a prison cell, the last thing he needs is to be in close proximity to sexy-as-sin Dr. Sarah CallenJoseph. Not with him damn near ready break out just to get to her.

Niko's desire isn't quite his own…and Sarah can prove it. He—along with the other soldiers on the disastrous mission—were drugged with some kind of toxin. Niko has no clue how the drug got into his body or why, but Sarah suspects there’s a link between the toxin and the fertility crisis of Shipborn humans.

To investigate is forbidden. But as lust becomes something deeper, binding them together in a way neither expected, Niko and Sarah must battle time—and their superiors—to uncover the secret that could save humanity...or destroy it.
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New Releases: 7/26-8/1

Tue. July 28th

The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key #3) by Clay Griffith, Susan Griffith
Dragon Fall (Black Dragons #1) by Katie MacAlister 
The Drowning God by James Kendley
Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Oblivion (Nevermore #3) by Kelly Creagh
Redzone (Mutant Files #2) by William C. Dietz

As always, happy reading!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Promo + Giveaway: Bound in Black by Juliette Cross

Bound in Black 
The Vessel Trilogy #3
Amazon BN Kobo Samhain
In the belly of the beast, strategy is useless.

Genevieve Drake is on a dangerous mission to find the soul collector, Lethe, and enter the deepest, darkest level of the underworld. No one has ever returned alive from the belly of a soul collector, but she will let nothing stop her from going after the precious treasure Lethe stole from her.

As she is tested against demon spawn and foul creatures of the underworld, each triumph strengthens her Vessel power—and drags her closer to a breaking point that could forever doom her to the abyss.

Meanwhile, with the full prophecy hurtling toward completion, the Dominus Daemonum strategize for the day Gen will battle Prince Bamal’s Vessel to the death, when the Great War between heaven and hell will begin.

But Bamal has a secret weapon. When he reveals it—and Thomas reveals his own hidden agenda—Gen may not have the strength to resist the temptation to fall into darkness, forsaking the fate of the world for her broken heart.

Warning: Contains malicious demons, sinister spawn, and a vengeful heroine with plans to send them all back to burning hell.
Among a throng of dancers grinding to some death-metal tune was Bleed and one of the guys from his band, Gallow’s End. Bleed. What an asinine name. Perfectly fit the owner. Last time Kat and I had seen him in that demon club on Bayou Sauvage, his long, sleek hair was dyed midnight blue. He’d changed it to deep purple. Two stumbling-drunk girls were clinging to him and the tall, lanky guy I recognized as his drummer. Their eyes shimmered red in the smoky dark of the club.
That was one thing lower demons didn’t have to worry about in New Orleans. With so many freaks in the city joining artificial vampire covens, there was no need to disguise red eyes or sharpened fangs. Both of which were the distinct outward features of a lower demon inhabiting a human.
The young brunette who looked barely eighteen hung on to Bleed’s arm. He made a signal to Drummer Boy, who escorted another girl wearing a miniskirt so short I could see her ass cheek. They veered toward a back entrance, taking their fully intoxicated dates with them. Knowing Bleed was into kink and violence and certainly not above forcing his will on the weak and vulnerable, I nudged Kat.
Without a word, we were off the stools and following the four through the storage room, which indeed had a back entrance for deliveries. The door to the alley creaked closed. Bleed said something, obviously witty and wonderful because the girls giggled in unison. I reached into my boot and pulled out my sharpened stiletto. Kat pulled out a similar but thicker blade, sheathed on a vest harness covered by her jacket.
Kat cracked the door, peering outside. We heard the distant shuffling as the four moved farther off.
“Hurry,” I whispered.
We slipped through the exit and stalked after them. They rounded the corner of a darkened building. Although we were walking in the open, this part of the business district was deserted after hours. In the French Quarter, you could find crowds on every street well into the wee hours of the morning. But this area was only busy during the daytime. Perfect place to commit some heinous crime on unsuspecting, underage and intoxicated girls.
By the time we reached the next block, Bleed and Drummer Boy had lured the girls down a dark alley. Talk about cliché.
“Where issit?” slurred the brunette. The other girl’s giggle echoed off the alley walls.
“Right over here,” said Bleed. “I’m going to show you.”
I could hear the sneer in his voice. I grabbed Kat’s arm, and she looked back at me as we edged closer to the corner of the alley. Sift, I mouthed. She nodded.
Holding up my left hand, I put up one finger, then two, then three.
We sifted into the alley a yard away from them. There was no telling what Bleed had in mind, because we interrupted whatever it was he had planned. Somehow, he didn’t look surprised to see us, which put me on edge. My VS zinged to life, igniting my underlight to full throttle.
The brunette pointed at me, her hair a mess, her lipstick smeared. “Hey. You look like a fairy.”
She and her friend burst into laughter, one of them bending her knees with the weight of drunken hilarity. They’d definitely put more than alcohol in their systems. Or they’d had four too many of whatever they were drinking.
“Go,” I told the girls. “Get out of here.”
“Whu…why?” hiccupped Miniskirt.
Whispering the words to break through a cast of illusion, I slashed my dagger in the air toward Bleed, who’d not said a word. For the briefest of seconds, the outer shell of the beautiful human he hid inside vanished, revealing the fanged, bony, pasty-gray demon he truly was. Three seconds later, the veil that cloaked the demon in dark beauty hid the beast within once more.
The girls—slack-jawed and wide-eyed—simply stared in horror until Bleed hissed at them. They squealed and stumbled away toward the street, the brunette breaking a heel but not stopping.
“There now, Domina,” said Bleed, speaking to Kat, whom he favored over me. My feelings weren’t hurt, trust me. “Now that you have us all to yourself, what shall we do?”
“I think it’s time to send you back to your playpen, once and for all,” she answered with stoic grace.
The gangly one was already backing away, but not Bleed. “I would like nothing more than to bask in the tortures you have planned for me,” he said in a sultry tone, inching closer to her.
“Not this shit again,” I said, remembering how last time he’d begged her for a little S&M treatment.
He ignored me. “Word has spread, Domina, that you have certain tastes. Delicacies that align with my own desires.”
“I’m riveted,” said Kat. “Please. Do tell what demons are saying about me.”
The salacious grin that spread across Bleed’s face as his hand slipped down and cupped his crotch sent a grotesque chill over my body. “That you prefer…chains in the bedroom. I too enjoy bondage, Domina.” The asshole hadn’t noticed that Kat had gone rigid with rage, just as she always did two seconds before she was going to strike. “Perhaps we could enjoy each other—”
She sliced out with a leap, but he moved like lightning, prepared for her attack. He ended up behind her with one arm wrapped around her waist. The other hand whipped out and grabbed her wrist holding the dagger. He whispered something I couldn’t hear. Before I could even react to help her, she doubled over and flipped him on the pavement.
Drummer Boy took off running. “Kat!” I screamed, taking two steps after him.
She hovered over Bleed, who lay there, grinning like a fiend, on the ground. “Go.” She waved me off. “Get him!”
I took off. The dude didn’t look like much, but he sure as hell could run with those long-ass legs. I sprinted after him down the alley, coming out onto another well-lit but abandoned street in the business district. The frosty air filled my lungs, stinging as I sucked in each breath. His cackling laughter echoed to the right. I caught his lanky figure rounding a corner. Another alley.
As soon as I ran into the lane, a familiar signature wafted over me. Winter wind and new-fallen snow, ice castles and midnight blue—a potent seduction of ice and heat. The sight, sound, smell, color of winter emanated not from the atmosphere but from the man—the angel—standing five feet from me.
Drummer Boy was gone. In his place stood Thomas, the one I’d longed to find, to exact vengeance upon him for his betrayal, for what he’d done to Jude. For what he’d done to me. But for several seconds, all I could do was stand there and stare at him, convincing myself he was real and not another mirage.
Black hair curling at his nape like Michelangelo’s David. Sea-green eyes deeper than any ocean. Fair, flawless skin that rivaled that of Raphael’s most perfect painting. And a physique that had indeed been born of heaven. He was the embodiment of breathtaking beauty, and yet all I could do was imagine how quickly I could plunge my dagger into his heart.

Juliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. She has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

Juliette is a multi-published author, including her Nightwing series with Kensington Publishing and The Vessel Trilogy with Samhain Publishing.

Find Juliette and her books
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week in Review: 7/19-7/25

Books Received for Review

Alice by Christina Henry- eARC- Publisher via NetGalley

Beauty and the Werewolf by Kristen Miller- eARC- Publisher via NetGalley

Taming Her Wolf by Dee Carney- eARC - NetGalley

Torn Sky by Tracy Banghart- eARC- NetGalley

Dance with the Devil by Angela Dennis- eARC- Author via Publisher

Books I've Read

Rout of the Dem-Shyr by Raine Thomas
Rise of the Faire-Amanti by Raine Thomas
Alice by Christina Henry
Taming Her Wolf by Dee Carney
Dancing with the Devil by Angela Dennis

Reviews Posted

Spider's Trap by Jennifer Estep
Bound in Black by Juliette Cross
Crazy Over You by Wendy Sparrow
Old Dog, New Tricks by Hailey Edwards


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

* Monday- Cover Reveal + Giveaway for The Bleeding Dark by Janice Pia

* Tuesday- Guest Blog for The Maurin Kincaide Series by Rachel Rawlings

* Thursday- Guest Blog for Ecoterrorism by C.T. Phipps


* 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 25, 2015

Early Review: Old Dog, New Tricks by Hailey Edwards

Old Dog, New Tricks
Release Date: July 30, 2015
Publisher: CrushStar Multimedia LLC
Black Dog Book #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
While Thierry is away, the Morrigan will play. Snatching the crown from her daughter-in-law’s head wasn’t the motherly thing to do, but Thierry doesn’t mind trading the throne in Faerie for the ratty couch in her Texas apartment. The old crow is welcome to it. But ruling one world is not enough. The Morrigan wants an all-access pass to the mortal realm too.

An attack on the marshal’s office leaves Thierry shaken…and Shaw missing. Now the fight brewing since Thierry took up the Black Dog’s mantle has landed on her doorstep, and the only way to save the man she loves is to defend the title she never wanted.

In OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS Thierry once again proves that she can handle just about anything. Shaw is missing and she has to travel into Faerie to get him back and beat the Morrigan once and for all. The danger is just as high, but she has her father by her side and she is determined to complete the tasks she is there for and save the man she loves.

There is some secondary character growth that I enjoyed in book 4. We get a new peek at Thierry's mother.. I saw her as a bit of a weak woman before, but she proves she is strong a few times in OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS and her relationship with Thierry grows much stronger. Thierry's father is able to prove how much he really loves her and her mom. I enjoyed seeing their bond grow after all the tension at the end of LIE DOWN WITH DOGS. One thing I didn't love, we didn't get a lot of Shaw/Thierry time due to the fact that he is taken pretty quickly in the beginning of the book.

I didn't know this before jumping into it, but apparently OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS is the last book in the series? Say WHAT? It honestly didn't feel like the series was done at the end of OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS and was looking forward to the next book. I still need to know more about Thierry, her dad and even Shaw. THAT is why OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS is getting a 3 stars from me. It just doesn't feel complete to me and that is a bummer.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

Early Review: Crazy Over You by Wendy Sparrow

Crazy Over You
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Select Otherworld
ISBN:   1633753468
ISBN13: 99781633753464
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Publisher via NetGalley
She's on the sheriff's most wanted list.

Waking up with a naked woman holding a knife at his throat is just about the last thing Sheriff Travis Flynn expected. And the brother she's looking for? A murderer. And dead. Probably. But the real shock comes when she insists she's not a Lycan.

LeAnn Wilcox isn't looking for love...especially not from some wolf in sheriff's clothing. She operates on the other side of the law. Once she finds her brother-alive-she'll get out of the pack's territory and go back to her regular, normal, non-furry life of changing jobs and her name whenever her past closes in.

The cool, logical Sheriff has finally met his match, but LeAnn's life is at stake if she won't claim her place in the pack, especially once his control over the pack is challenged and her brother's fate is questioned.

CRAZY OVER YOU is the third book in Sparrow's Taming the Pack series and you CAN read it as a standalone, but you will miss out on the information for previous events that are mentioned multiple times throughout the book. There are also characters involved you wont know anything about without first having read the first two books in the series. So my suggestion would be to read the books in order.

LeAnn is a fiercely independent woman with a fiery personality. She comes into Travis's home looking for information on her brother and she refuses to leave until she finds him. She knows nothing of pack life and isn't a wolf, but others don't believe her as she has their abilities and smell to her. Travis is the pack alpha. He is calm and likes things to be done a certain way. He doesn't want to hurt LeAnn, but he must tell her that her brother is dead and was a traitor to his pack. Only problem is she doesn't believe him and soon he doubts that her brother is dead himself.

I really enjoyed LeAnn and Travis as a couple. There were a lot of pushing and shoving aside of feelings, but the constant pull towards each other wore them down in the end. The pack isn't exactly welcoming of LeAnn at first, but I enjoyed watching attitudes change and certain people be put in their place.

With a pack of wolfs the story is never lacking action, drama and danger. Sparrow's writing always flows nice and the story is complimented by the storyline continuation from previous books. I like that characters are brought over from earlier books, but I was missing some of my other favorite characters. I can't help but wonder who will be featured next.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Guest Blog: Ecoterrorism by C.T. Phipps

UFI welcomes Author C.T. Phipps. Thanks for Joining us!!

Dark Urban Fantasy - is it a genre?
By. C.T. Phipps 

Yesterday, while working on my upcoming book Wraith Knight, I was contacted by a friend of mine who'd just finished my newly-released novel, Esoterrorism. The conversation went more or less like this:

"Hey Charles, I loved the book! Really dark and plenty of black humor. Good action, too."
"Thanks, glad you enjoyed it."

"What genre do you call this?" 

"Uh...urban fantasy?" 


"Is something wrong?" 

"I dunno, I just kind of thought that was full of girls like Buffy and their vampire boyfriends." 

"You need to

My friend, of course, was confusing the genre of Paranormal Romance with Urban Fantasy due to the considerable overlap between the two readerships. I'm a fan of both genres, having met my wife on the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter forums in the years before the, uh, genre shift of the series from monster-hunting mysteries to porn.

Some Paranormal Romance has incredible world-building, plots, mythology, AND manages to tell a convincing romantic story arc in the process. I, particularly, recommend Lindsay J. Pryor's Blackthorn series. Some urban fantasy manages to have incredibly fun female protagonists with supernatural boyfriends who, in fact, have romances.

I love Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson books, for example, and they're about the plots first and foremost. As my wife mentioned, you could easily also dismiss Esoterrorism as about a sarcastic assassin and his succubus partner.

Still, the question weighed on me for a while and I decided it would be a good idea to go over my collection of urban fantasy and see if there were any themes which stood out amongst them. Also, questioning whether or not my friend was perhaps not entirely over the "girls are icky" stage of his development given his seeming aversion to seeing them kiss men alongside stabbing people with swords.

What was urban fantasy, after all? It was in the name, fantasy in a city-like environment. I've always loved urban fantasy whether it was light and fluffy like the Dark Swan series by Richelle Meade or serious bleak works like just about everything I've ever written. It's a genre that transcends easy classification now because it covers everything from the trials and tribulations of a certain lightning scarred wizard to the cigarette-smoke filled ruminations of a sleazy magician who pronounces his name "Constan-Tine."

Urban fantasy is a genre which has exploded in recent years, as well, moving beyond the easy classifications of yesteryear. Much like the greater genre of fantasy, it has split into various subgenres. In fantasy, you can get a vague idea of what the book is going to be about by looking at what sort of fantasy it used to be. There's high fantasy, low fantasy, sword and sorcery, grimdark, and, of course, urban fantasy.

But what are the genres of urban fantasy? Urban Fantasy tells you a place but it doesn't tell you a mood or a theme. As mentioned, you could consider Paranormal Romance to be a genre of urban fantasy but this is stretching the definitions as there's plenty of both groups which fit both as well as books which fit one or the other exclusively. What about the funny, snarky lighthearted works? What about the dark and heavy stories of personal horror with a bit of wonder tied in?
Where did my book fit, basically?

In the end, I determined that it would be good to create a new subgenre of urban fantasy for it. Because that's not arrogant or anything. I decided, for lack of a better term, to call it the dark urban fantasy subgenre. I'm a little iffy on the title because it sounds like something a fourteen-year-old would come up with but nobody's perfect.

Besides, one of my favorite fantasy/sci-fi subgenres is grimdark.

So what do I know?

But what is dark urban Fantasy? What do the words mean?

And how do I put it on a backcover to appeal to the sophisticated amongst us?

Dark Urban Fantasy should walk the line between horror and action as well as other genres. It should be the place between terror and triumph for its protagonists. When Jim Butcher created the Dresden Files, he drew very strongly from the early Anita Blakes (Guilty Pleasures to Obsidian Butterfly) which strikes me as still a gold standard to stand by.

There are terrible things which go bump in the night which only our hero or heroine (or both) can stand against. A place where there are no moral certainties, only an acknowledgement that if you don't gaze into the abyss, it will probably rip your throat out. Be a monster lest a monster eat you, but not too much of a monster lest death be better.

I think for a lot of us, this is a genre we're all familiar with as it's been around a long time. As long as there have been terrifying, spooky, and horrible things that go bump in the night, there have been equally dark and spooky heroes who hit back just as hard. These champions aren't of the light, bringing its brilliance into the shadows, but of the shadows themselves who punch back just as hard.
In short, it's a well-traveled road full of anti-heroes, half-demons, half-vampires, bastards, conmen, assassins, and killers. I'm just erecting a signpost and naming the street. Maybe building a house alongside the road with a tavern to the side for travelers. There's a need for us to believe the monsters can be people too. Whether these monsters are government sponsored assassins and wizards like in Esoterrorism or folk like Wesley Snipes' Blade.

And strangely, their chief opponent will usually be other monsters with less human qualities.
Because we all secretly know good is hard rather than easy.

And maybe, sometimes, the heroes aren't good at all.

Just very good at getting rid of those who are worse.

It's a genre I'm proud to consider Esoterrorism part of.

C.T. Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger, reviewer for The Bookie Monster, and recently signed a deal with Ragnarok Publications to produce the urban fantasy series, The Red Room.

C.T. Phipps is also the author of The Supervillainy Saga, the first book of which, The Rules of Supervillainy, was released this June.

Find C.T. Phipps and his books

There are no good guys in the world of shadows…but maybe some bad men are better than others.

Derek Hawthorne was born to be an agent of the Red Room. Literally. Raised in a conspiracy which has protected the world from the supernatural for centuries, he’s never been anything other than a servant of their agenda. Times are changing, though, and it may not be long before their existence is exposed.

When a routine mission uncovers the latest plan of the magical terrorist, the Wazir, Derek finds himself saddled with a new partner. Who is the mysterious but deadly Shannon O’Reilly? What is her agenda? Couple this with the discovery the Red Room has a mole seeking to frame Derek for treason and you have a plot which might bring down a millennium-old organization. Can he stop the Wazir’s mission to expose the supernatural? And should he?

“Phipps blends a menagerie of 007, Hellboy, and Dresden Files into a high-octane mix of intrigue, action, and brash characterization, all topped off with a dose of good old-fashioned monster hunting. Can’t go wrong with that!”
—Tim Marquitz, Demon Squad author


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Early Review: Spider's Trap by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Trap
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN:   1501105175
ISBN13: 9781501105173
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss/NetGalley
Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

It was interesting to see Gin navigate her new position as the default queen of Ashland's underworld. It is a position she does not want and you can tell, but she still does a great job. Of course there is someone that wants her position and thinks they can take her out easily, so we get to watch that play out.

I love hearing more about Gin's past. We have gotten a lot of flashbacks in the last couple books and the accompanying storyline helps develop her character more and more. There are some pretty scary and heart wrenching moments in SPIDER'S TRAP and it isn't Gin who's on the brink of death this time.

The ending as always was great. The main issue of the book was solved, but we find out some shocking information that will have Finn featured in the next book. I don't know how things will work itself out and it's hard to think of Finn as anything but Gin's loyal sidekick, so I am a bit scared of what BITTER BITE will bring us. 

I gave it 4/5 stars

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