Monday, February 27, 2017

Interview + Giveaway: Rescued by the Wolf by Kristal Hollis

UFI welcomes Author Kristal Hollis. 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?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m fairly candid about myself in my bio, which I had to re-read when trying to answer this question. One thing missing is that I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland. I struggled for years before a proper diagnosis was made and I started treatment, which I’ve found is only partially beneficial. I continue to struggle with chronic fatigue and because of a sluggish metabolism, keeping a healthy weight has become a battle I’m too tired to fight at times. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is the sheer force of will. Thankfully, I have grit and determination in spades.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
In addition to writing, I work a full-time “day” job so my down time is very limited. But,
whenever possible, I involve family and friends in interesting or unusual outings. I’m curious by nature and enjoy experiencing new things.

One of the most memorable nights I had with a friend was at Halloween one year. Online, I found a group hosting a ghost-story-telling event in a nearby town. But, we arrived to discover that I had misread the event description. Instead of the group telling ghost-stories about the haunted district, they were ghost hunters armed with EMF readers, EVP recorders and all that jazz.

What is your favorite part of writing?
This question makes me think of Dorothy Parker, who was credited to have said, “I hate writing, I love having written.”

While I don’t “hate” writing, it can be a hair-pulling in frustration task for many reasons. Too little time, sagging middles, storylines that take off in a direction you hadn’t intended only to totally undermine weeks of careful plotting, characters who refuse to adhere to the attributes noted on the development sheets created for them. It’s a bit like herding cats.

But, I love the first inklings of new characters and their story. It’s like taking that first breath of life again—a soul awakening to fulfill its purpose. And, I’m awe-struck by the moments of unexpected discovery, such as finding out something about a character I didn’t previously know or a sudden solution to a plot issue I’ve been wrestling to fix.

Probably, the best part of the process is, just like Dorothy said, to have written it at all.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
If I did, I might get a lot more writing done. But, I write in snatches so it’s difficult to keep to a routine. I do, however, need to be comfortable so I migrate around the house. I might start in the home office, move to the recliner in the family room, then on to the dining room before finding my way to the chaise in the sitting room, only to end up in the bedroom with the pillows fluffed all around me. Wherever I am, I do need for the environment to be quiet with minimal distractions. Although I meet up with friends at the coffee shop or library, I rarely get any writing done. I’m a people watcher so I’m not focused on writing when in public.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
The first paranormal romance author I remembering reading was Kinley MacGregor aka Sherrilyn Kenyon. I picked up the first book in the Lords of Avalon series, at the grocery store of all places. Immediately fell in love with the genre and eventually discovered the Dark Hunter series.

I also love Debbie Herbert’s Bayou Magic series, featuring Native American characters and folklore.

How would you pitch RESCUED BY THE WOLF to someone who has not heard of it before?
Here’s an “elevator” pitch:
RESCUED BY THE WOLF is about a widowed werewolf who collides with a spirited woman whose zeal for life just might be his saving grace—except someone wants him dead.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that RESCUED BY THE WOLF is set in?
RESCUED BY THE WOLF is set in our contemporary world. The wolf shifters, called Wahyas, keep their nature secret from the human public. They could be your neighbors, co-workers, doctors, anyone really.

The location, or setting, is a fictional Appalachian town in Northeast Georgia, somewhere between Helen and Hiawassee. The characters are down-home people living ordinary lives who find themselves in extra-ordinary situations while falling in love.

Do you have a favorite scene in RESCUED BY THE WOLF?
I absolutely love the scene where the widowed hero, RAFE WYATT, loses his home in a devastating fire. Everything in his past is being stripped away, leaving his emotions raw as he deals with reconciling who he was with who he wants to become. He feels utterly alone in this endeavor until the heroine, GRACE OLSEN, shows up at the scene of the fire. She becomes his strength, his solace and his sanctuary. This scene is a definite roll reversal, with the heroine becoming the knight in shining armor for the hero.

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
I’ll start with the hardest, GRACE OLSEN.
Grace’s character underwent dramatic changes through-out the story development. It was a difficult process to get a good bead on her which eventually led me to understand that she was a woman without roots. Once that realization occurred, the struggle to get her on the page became easier.

My favorite character to write---actually hasn’t been written yet, or rather his story has been written. Nineteen-year-old Shane MacQuarrie, is a first year college student when he is introduced in AWAKENED BY THE WOLF, the first book in the Wahyas of Walker’s Run series. There are only hints given to his past in that book since the story isn’t about him. He does make a casual appearance in RESCUED BY THE WOLF, but it will be several stories down the line before Shane gets his HEA. He needs to season and his heroine needs to come of age. When they, I expect their story to be explosive.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
Last month turned in CHARMED BY THE WOLF, book three in the Wahyas of Walker’s Run series. It features Tristan Durrance, a wolfan sheriff deputy, who has made appearances in the two previous books. Here’s a brief blurb:

Tristan Durrance is an avowed bachelor. But, when Penelope Buchanan’s elicits his help to accomplish her bucket list, he discovers a fine line between lust and love. And, once his heart crosses it, there will be no escaping the deadly rival determined to end their affair, permanently.

And, with Tristan’s story off to the publisher, I’m rolling right into book four. It’s still in development, but I hope to introduce the Wahyas of Walker’s Run to a new shifter species. Keeping my fingers crossed that my editor will embrace the new idea.

Thank you for inviting me to visit the Urban Fantasy Investigations blog. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our chat, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my new release, RESCUED BY THE WOLF, with you and your readers.

Raised in a small Southern town, Kristal Hollis has spent most of her life helping people and animals. When a family medical situation resulted in a work sabbatical, she began penning deliciously dark paranormal romances to escape the real-life drama. After the crisis passed, her passion for writing love stories continued. An RWA 2015 Golden Heart® Finalist, Kristal lives with her husband and two rescued dogs at the edge of the enchanted forest that inspires her stories.

Find Kristal and her books

Rescued by the Wolf
Wahyas of Walker’s Run #2
Amazon        BN       Kobo        iTunes
She's not afraid to run with his wolf.

When a poacher killed his mate, Rafe Wyatt lost his future. While the Wahyas of Walker's Run have been pulling him back from the brink, he's certain he won't have another chance at love. That is, until Grace comes to town.

Grace Olsen is a woman without roots. That's exactly how she likes it, until a sojourn in a small, close-knit Appalachian community gives her a new vision of what home could be—and so does Rafe. He was supposed to be nothing more than a casual lover, just as wary of commitment as she is. When their raw attraction becomes something deeper, more complex, they could be looking at a new future together. But someone close to them both would rather see Grace dead than let her be with the man—and the wolf—she's grown to love.

“Rafe, wake up!”
He didn’t move, snort, or otherwise acknowledge her presence.
Grace eased off the Murphy bed, slid her feet into pink slippers, maneuvered between the coffee table and couch, and reached over Rafe to the alarm clock balanced on the top frame of the couch, the LED face flipped so that the time flashed into the cushion instead of into the room.
In a sudden whirl, she slammed onto the couch seat cushions. Rafe’s steely fingers clamped around her wrists, pinning them over her head. She stared into icy, cobalt blue eyes that would’ve stolen her breath if she hadn’t lost all air when he plastered his hard, hot body onto hers.
    The short crop of his auburn hair stuck out in different directions. A pillow crease cut across one high cheekbone and dipped into the reddish stubble dusting his strong jaw. His firm, full lips would look much more kissable if he smiled.
    Squared shoulders rose above a sculpted chest swirled with soft tufts of hair, and a quarter-sized scar marred the taut, tan skin over his right ribs.
    Her gaze slid over the ripples of his abs and the sharp indents of his hips. She couldn’t follow the treasure line that arrowed down from his belly button because he was lodged intimately against her pelvis.
    A giddy heat rushed her body and struck her with the acute awareness of a virile man in his prime.
    “Never sneak up on me, Grace.” Rafe’s laser-intense eyes burned holes straight through her body. “It’s dangerous.”
    No doubt.
    From his deeply etched scowl to his silent, panther-like movements, she needed no further warnings. He was dangerous on all levels.


    Rafe sat on the couch in the living area of the suite, opened the fast food bag and methodically set three wrapped sandwiches, an extra-large order of fries, napkins and a plastic spoon on the small round table.
    “How you can eat like that and not have an ounce of fat?” She knew he didn’t because she’d seen every inch of him.
    “I run almost every night.” Rafe unwrapped the first sandwich, wadded the paper and dropped it in the bag.
    “You don’t look like a runner. They’re usually lean and lanky.” Grace pulled a bottle of water from the small in-room refrigerator and placed it on the table for Rafe. “You’re thicker, more solid.”
    Elbows on his knees, holding the sandwich in front of his face, he took a giant bite, chewed slowly and swallowed. “You think I’m dense and slow?” His gaze lifted to her with a challenge in his eyes.
    “No.” She joined him on the couch. “Think of greyhounds and rottweilers. Greyhounds are sleek, elegant and fast. Rottweilers are—”
    “Blocky and stout?”
    Neither of which described Rafe.
    “I was going for strong and durable.” She picked up the spoon and shoveled a big scoop of delicious, soft, vanilla ice cream drowning in hot fudge into her mouth.
    Her entire body cheered.
    “I could give a greyhound a run for its life.”
    “Keep eating junk and you won’t.”
    Eying the sundae in her hand, he halted before taking another bite of his sandwich.     “Who’s the pot and who’s the kettle in this conversation?”
    “Hey. This is my only vice.” She savored another bite. “Ummmm.”
    “What about coffee?”
    “Isn’t a vice. Coffee is as essential as oxygen.”
    “If you stopped breathing, which would you rather have, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or a cup of coffee poured down your throat?” Rafe’s gaze lingered on her mouth.
    Her lips tingled. She gave her spoon a slow, sensual lick. “Depends on who’s providing the rescue breathing.”


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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week in Review: 2/19-2/25

Books Received for Review

Nothing this week!

Books I've Read

The Bite that Binds by Suzanne Wright
Taste of Torment by Suzanne Wright
Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein

Reviews Posted

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Gilded Cage by Vic James


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

* Monday- Promo Seraphina’s Initiation by Sheena Hutchinson

* Wednesday- Cover Reveal for Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio


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

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage
Author: Vic James
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Dark Gifts Book #1
ISBN:   0425284158
ISBN13: 9780425284155
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

GILDED CAGE took me a little bit to get into, but once I did, it was easy to keep reading.

There really is a lot going on in GILDED CAGE. Not only with the characters, but the world and events that take place too. The world itself is run by the equals—they have magical gifts. The commoners—no magical gifts—are forced to serve the equals for 10 years of their life. They are slaves for that entire time with no rights and are not treated very well. As with any situation like this, there are those that don't agree with the system and throughout GILDED CAGE a revolution erupts and lines are blurred.

I think my biggest issue with GILDED CAGE was that there were a lot of different POV's. I'm not a big fan of jumping around in different brains and it was a little hard for me to have so many to jump around in. Having said that, I did enjoy the characters of GILDED CAGE. They were all well developed and brought different things to the story. I was really surprised by most of them at one point or another while reading.

I was less than thrilled with the ending of GILDED CAGE, but can't really explain why due to spoilers. I was left with a lot of questions and very little answers, but I am interested in seeing what will happen next and what will become of a certain character that pretty much lost what they were at the end.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Long May She Reign
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN:   0062418688
ISBN13: 9780062418685
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

LONG MAY SHE REIGN is a standalone, but I would happily read more in this world.

Freya never expected to be queen and she never wanted to be queen, but after the banquet that she snuck out of early turns deadly that is exactly what she finds herself being. I found that I liked Freya from the very beginning. She has dreams and does everything possible to pursue them, but she also takes on her position head on and tries really hard to be the best queen possible even though those around her try everything to make her fail—or just try to use her to their advantage.

LONG MAY SHE REIGN was full of mystery and it was really well done in my opinion. Although the ending was a bit anti-climatic, I still really enjoyed the way that everything leading up to the reveal played out. There is a bit of a romance, but it isn't a main part of the storyline. I really enjoyed the friendship between Freya and Naomi. She both really shine when they are in each others presence and the way she treats Naomi throughout the story makes it clear that just because she's now queen, she will never think herself higher than those that deserve her friendship.

As I stated when I started this review, LONG MAY SHE REIGN is a standalone and I would love to read more, but it was still completely satisfied with the story when it ended.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cover Reveal: Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio

The Gemeta Stone #1
 Fiery Seas

Kristan Gemeta has lost everything:  his crown, his kingdom, his courage – even his name.

In the vast wilderness of the Exilwald, he's known to the other outcasts as Kinglet.  As long as Kristan stays hidden, he can elude the bounty hunters, brutal soldiers and terrifying spells of Daazna, the Wichelord who killed his father and destroyed his life.

But when a new band of pursuers comes looking for him, Kristan's wariness gives way to intrigue. For bounty hunters they're oddly inept, and a young woman in their company is leaving enigmatic drawings wherever they go.  As they plunge deeper into the Exilwald, Kristan follows. He discovers the drawings symbolize the Gemeta Stone, an ancient family talisman seized by Daazna but now in the little band's possession.

With the Stone's protection, Kristan might stand a chance against Daazna.  He could regain his birthright and his honor.  But to obtain the Stone, he must reveal his true identity and risk the one thing he has left...his life.

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, "Yaa and The Coffins," was featured in Thinkerbeat's 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

Find Donna and her books

Monday, February 20, 2017

Promo: Seraphina’s Initiation by Sheena Hutchinson

Seraphina's Initiation 
Seraphina #2
 Amazon         Goodreads

Seraphina Cross is unexpectedly thrown into this crazy, spiritual world of Angels versus Demons.Never did she expect to meet Nate who was just a figment of her imagination. Now she finds herself moving in with him because of her innate responsibility to protect her loved ones from harm.

Finally beginning to feel at home in her new house and with her new relationship. Nate begins training Sera in all that she can do, surprising even himself at times. Just when she is starting to feel safe and powerful, Lucifer finds a new way to attack her at her most vulnerable.

When her dreams are no longer a gift, can Sera control the powers needed to defeat what's coming before Lucifer fulfills his promise to her?

Sheena is a born and raised New Yorker, even her writing can't seem to hide her hard sarcasm. She claims destiny has lead her back to her true passion for writing. 
She constantly strives to be a positive role model and writes stories that empower and inspire. Sheena always roots for the underdog, believes in love at first sight, and that everyone should have their happily ever after.

While God is currently still writing her love story, she continues to put all her effort into her writing as she is constantly getting new inspiration.

For more info, updates, and fun facts visit her online:

Find Sheena and her books
Goodreads Giveaway

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week in Review: 2/12-2/18

Books Received for Review

Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein
Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

Books I've Read

Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller
Burn by Suzanne Wright
Blaze by Suzanne Wright
Here Be Sexist Vampires by Suzanne Wright

Reviews Posted

Midnight Cursed by Melissa F. Olson


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

* Monday- Cover Reveal + Giveaway for Exiled by Amanda Carlson

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for His Fake Alien Fiancee by Patricia Eimer

* Thursday- Interview + Giveaway for Poison My Pretty by Amity Allen


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

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review: Midnight Curse by Melissa F. Olson

Midnight Curse
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: 47North
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Scarlett Bernard is used to cleaning up messes. As a human who cancels out any magic around her, Scarlett’s job is to keep the supernatural world hidden—at any cost.

On the eve of the Vampire Trials, a two-day tribunal that allows the otherworldly community to air their grievances, Scarlett receives a blood-soaked message from Molly, her estranged former roommate. Molly, a vampire, had been living with twelve human college students…and in one terrible night, she slaughtered them all.

Scarlett believes Molly’s been set up, but no one else in the Old World agrees with her. And the true perpetrator is determined to make sure Molly goes on trial for the massacre—the penalty for which is death.

With less than two days to prove her friend’s innocence, Scarlett calls on former LAPD detective Jesse Cruz to help her dig into Molly’s past. But no one—Molly included—wants Scarlett and Jesse to bring the terrible truth to light.

I don't know if I'm the only one, but I was so confused when I read the blurb for Olson's new Disrupted Magic series. The main heroine, Scarlett Bernard, already has a series, but now she's the voice in MIDNIGHT CURSE, book one, of the Disrupted Magic series? It felt more like it should be Scarlett Bernard #4.  You can read this series without reading the 3 books in the Scarlett Bernard series, but why would you want to? There is so much backstory, you won't know you're missing, but it makes the book so much better. While you are at it, you might as well read the Boundary Magic series before diving into MIDNIGHT CURSE too. Both worlds intersect and the characters have history.

I was so excited dive back into Scarlett's world. MIDNIGHT CURSE takes place 3 years after the end of HUNTERS TRAIL and it was crazy to see how much the characters have changed. Scarlett is living with her werewolf boyfriend, her ex-vampire roommate isn't in her life and is in fact living as a coed—although not anymore as we soon find out—, and Jesse—the man I wanted Scarlett to end up with—got married, and divorced, has even written a book, and is now a depressed shadow of his bad-ass self. There are more characters, but these three have always been my favorites.

I don't want to get into the plot, but MIDNIGHT CURSE is a fast paced, easy flowing story with lot's of mystery, action and suspense. Characters and their relationships are tested quite a bit, some in more ways than others and getting to see Lex, from the Boundary Magic series, was an added bonus.

The ending kind of throws things on it's head again after a book that works to smooth things out, but it did it's job of getting me to want to read more. Book two, BLOOD GAMBLE, has a release date of July 25, 2017, so at least we don't have to wait to long to find out what happens next.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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