Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Honor Among Thieves
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
The Honors Book #1
ASIN:   B0722MH4X8
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead of moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

HONOR AMONG THIEVES started out strong, but then it took a turn towards weird.

I honestly don't even know where to start with this one. Zara seemed to be a strong yet flawed character. I enjoyed the settings that were introduced and the situations that happened. Then about 1/3rd of the way in Zara went to space and the story totally lost me.

I'm actually surprised that I didn't mark this as DNF. I guess I just hoped that things would turn around and unfortunately it didn't. I didn't get the connection between Zara and Nadim—the sentient ship. It's romantic in a way and I just couldn't get over the weirdness of that. There are a ton of questions that don't get answered and I honestly was just really bored. Did I mention that there is sexual tension between Zara and the sentient ship? Yeah I just couldn't.

I don't plan to continue the series.

I gave it 1.5/5 stars

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: X-Ops Exposed by Paige Tyler

X-Ops Exposed
X-Ops #8
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
Believing he’s too dangerous to be among people, feline hybrid Tanner Howland retreats deep into the forests of Washington State—with no choice but to leave behind the woman who’s captured his heart. What he doesn’t know is that she followed him…

Heartbroken and determined, Dr. Zarina Sokolov tracks Tanner into the wild. Her presence unleashes Tanner’s protective instinct—big time. Locals have been disappearing and he is desperate for Zarina to leave. As the kidnappings escalate, Tanner must embrace the dangerous instincts he fears so much. But with Zarina at his side, he’ll have to learn to control his animal impulses, or lose himself—and the woman he loves—to the beast within.

Excerpt #1:

Knowing she wasn’t going to get away, Zarina slid to a stop and spun around, ready to shout at the beast that wanted to kill her. She’d seen Tanner let out a roar that could paralyze almost anything crazy enough to attack him, so perhaps she could do the same thing.
But her cry of defiance died in her throat as she came face-to-face with a gigantic grizzly bear. The beast reared up on its hind legs, towering over her for one heart-stopping moment before dropping to all fours and roaring at her so loud, her bones felt turned to jelly.
She vaguely remembered the store clerk in town trying to sell her a can of bear repellent. If she wasn’t so terrified, she’d laugh at the idea. What the heck would a can of pepper spray do to something this big?
The bear took a step in her direction with another roar, showing off fangs large enough to bite right through her.
For a split second, Zarina considered running again, but it would be pointless. She’d never outrun a bear.
Rabbits get eaten.
So instead, she screamed as long and loud as she could.
The grizzly looked shocked for a moment, but instead of scaring the animal off like she’d hoped, all it did was seem to make him mad. Head low, the bear started toward her.
She was going to die.
But suddenly, the bear stopped, a look of what could only be confusion on its face as it focused on something behind her. A second later, a roar ripped through the night that shook the ground. She jerked her head around, almost collapsing in relief when she saw Tanner standing there in the dark, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, his eyes glowing vivid red, fangs bared as he let out a roar that sounded exactly like that of a lion. Which made sense, because those were the DNA strands blended with his own.
Zarina stood transfixed. Tanner’s fangs were longer and looked more terrifying than the bear’s.
The rage and anger on his face must have been enough to scare the grizzly, because the huge animal gave one more halfhearted chuff in Tanner’s direction, then turned and scurried back into the pitch-dark forest.
To her right, she caught movement. Crap, Tanner was going after the bear. Not because he wanted to hurt the animal, but because by running, the grizzly had become the prey, and Tanner’s lion half simply couldn’t stop itself from hunting the animal down now that the rage had taken over.
“Tanner,” she said softly. “Let the bear go.”
He stopped like he’d hit a brick wall, then stood there, unmoving, for what felt like forever, facing away from her and staring off into the darkness in the direction the bear had run. Not that it was probably all that dark for Tanner. With his animal-enhanced eyesight, he could probably see the grizzly’s big, fuzzy rump bouncing off into the woods. And if his eyes lost the creature, then his keen sense of smell would fill in the details. Which was a good thing, since she’d have probably been a bear treat if it hadn’t been for that nose of his.
After what seemed like an eternity, Tanner turned and looked at her. His fangs and glowing red eyes were gone now, replaced by a mesmerizing blue gaze and a ruggedly handsome face that had made her heart almost stop beating the first time she’d seen it. He had a bit more dark-blond scruff along his jaw and chin now. Actually, a lot more. Maybe it was because she’d grown up in a cold-weather environment where the opposite sex went all caveman in an attempt to stay warm, but she wasn’t usually a fan of facial hair. On Tanner, though, it looked incredibly scrumptious.
His T-shirt clung tightly to his chest and shoulders, showing off all the muscles he had upstairs, while his jeans fought to contain thighs that looked poised to tear their way out at any moment. Had he actually gotten more muscular since he’d been out there?
Zarina almost ran to him right then so she could throw her arms around him and hold him tight for the rest of the night. But she didn’t, because she knew he wouldn’t be ready for that. Not after she’d showed up in the forest out of the blue and almost gotten eaten by a bear.
But damn, it was hard.
Tanner looked better now than when he’d been living in the dorms at the DCO complex. He had been put up there since the agency’s covert agents had found him out here all that time ago. Even the stress lines that had been etched into his features had completely faded. It almost made her sorry she’d come out here to disturb the serenity he seemed to have found. But she couldn’t stay away, not with the way she felt about him. And especially not when she could finally help him.
“What are you doing here, Zarina?” he asked bluntly.
So much for him sweeping her into his arms and saying he was happy to see her. Clearly, he wasn’t. She tried not to let that hurt too much.
“I’m here to help you,” she said, equally blunt.
She’d learned a long time ago that dancing around a subject wasn’t the way Tanner did things. It wasn’t the way she did, either, so that was okay. She didn’t bother mentioning that his disappearance had caused her more sleepless nights than she could count and had nearly driven her insane with worry. That would have been emotional blackmail, and she wasn’t going to do that to him.
His jaw flexed. “I don’t need any help. I’m doing a good job of controlling my hybrid impulses all on my own.”
She looked pointedly in the direction the grizzly had run. “It doesn’t seem like it to me.”
Tanner flinched, and she immediately regretted her choice of words. Dammit, she was out here to help him, not push him further away.
“I haven’t lost control in the two months I’ve been out here,” he said through clenched teeth. “Not until you decided to do something stupid like wander through the middle of a grizzly’s territory by yourself.”
Zarina wanted to point out that she hadn’t planned to be out here this late and that there was no way she could have known she was in a bear’s territory. But she bit her tongue and focused on trying to defuse the situation.
“I’m sorry I made you lose control again,” she said. “But I’m here to make sure it doesn’t happen again…ever.”
She waited, expecting Tanner to ask her what she meant by that, but he didn’t. Instead, he stood there regarding her and looking way better than any man should considering he’d been camping in the woods for two months. She had met plenty of guys who couldn’t pull off his level of masculine perfection after primping in front of a mirror for an hour. That was one of the other things she’d learned about Tanner. He didn’t have to work hard at being so amazing. It came naturally to him.
After another minute of silence, Zarina accepted that if they were going to talk, she was the one who would have to get the conversation started. “I finished the hybrid drug antiserum that will return your DNA back to what it was before Stutmeir’s doctors experimented on you. You can be a normal human again.”
She waited for some reaction—relief, doubt, elation. Something. But Tanner looked as interested as if she’d told him it might rain tomorrow.
“I’ll never be normal again,” he finally said quietly.
“Yes, you will.” She stepped closer, anguish coursing through her when he immediately took a step back. “I worked on the antidote every minute since you left. It will work. It will keep the beast from ever slipping out again.”
“I don’t want it, dammit!” he shouted, making her jump. He cursed and ran his hand through his hair. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice softer. “For yelling at you. And for making you come all the way out here and hiking halfway across the Wenatchee Forest to find me. But I don’t want the antidote. Just go home, okay? Leave me out here where I can’t hurt anyone.”
Zarina’s heart tore in two at the pain in his eyes. She had no idea why he was turning down her offer, but she wasn’t leaving without him.
“I’m not going home,” she said, standing her ground and leveling her gaze at him.
Having this conversation would have been a lot easier without holding a flashlight. Then she could have folded her arms to emphasize her point.
“Then you’d better have a lot of books on that e-reader of yours, because you’re going to get bored damn fast waiting for me at whatever hotel you’re staying in.”
“I’m not going to a hotel,” she told him. “I’m staying out here.”
Red flared in his eyes but faded just as quickly. “Like hell you are.”
“I’m not leaving,” she said firmly. “You can run off into the woods—we both know I can’t keep up with you—but I still won’t leave. I’ll keep walking all over the forest looking for you.”
His eyes flickered red again, and he muttered something under his breath she couldn’t catch. “You irritate me like no one else on the planet, do you know that?”
“Yes,” she replied, even though it was a probably a rhetorical question. “So, which way to your camp?”


Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review: Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

Judgement Road
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Torpedo Ink Book #1
ISBN:  0349416729
ISBN13: 9780349416724
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

An outlaw motorcycle club sets up shop next door to Sea Haven in the dangerously sexy new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

As the enforcer of the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club, Reaper lives for riding and fighting. He's a stone-cold killer who turns his wrath on those who deserve it. Feelings are a weakness he can't afford--until a gorgeous bartender gets under his skin...

Near Sea Haven, the small town of Caspar has given Anya Rafferty a new lease on life. And she's desperate to hold on to her job at the biker bar, even if the scariest member of the club seems to have it out for her. But Reaper's imposing presence and smoldering looks just ratchet up the heat.

Anya's touch is everything Reaper doesn't want--and it brands him to the bone. But when her secrets catch up to her, Reaper will have to choose between Anya and his club--his heart and his soul.

I did enjoy JUDGMENT ROAD, but I wouldn't really call it paranormal romance. 

I'm going to jump right into the characters. It takes a bit to really get to know Reaper, but I liked him. He has a really tough past that wasn't easy to read about. He is pretty deadly and comes across as heartless, but I felt for him and was really rooting for his HEA. Anya is on the run, but we don't really find out from what until way into the story. She is alone in the world and it was easy to connect to her feelings. She didn't trust easily and there were a few times that I wanted to shake her and say OPEN UP a little, but I totally got where she was coming from.

I enjoyed getting to know the secondary characters. They are ALL flawed and it will be interesting to watch them in future books. Having said that, I wasn't totally sold on the back stories of the motorcycle club. It is pretty out there and the facts are a little few and far between. I think maybe this might change as we get to know each member better.

The only paranormal thing happening in JUDGMENT ROAD is the fact that it's mentioned a few times that the members of Torpedo Ink motorcycle club have some talents. There isn't much use of these talents and their talents are an afterthought in the grand scheme of things. Maybe this will change in future  books, but as of right now, I don't really feel the paranormal coming through.

Now the romance definitely shines through and the sexy times can get pretty steamy. The relationship between Anya and Reaper is slow to form and has it's issues, but they fit together. When they both let the romance happen it is pure magic.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Monday, March 26, 2018

Promo: Coming Darkness by Susan-Alia Terry

Coming Darkness
An archangel in exile. A powerful race of vengeful creatures. A conflict of world-ending proportions.

Archangel Lucifer's spoiled life comes to a halt as he learns that Heaven is empty, and his Father missing. Seeking answers, he’s brought face to face with a race of Creator-Gods unhappy with his Father and the world He created. Planning to wipe out this heresy and letting Darkness reclaim the earth, they imprison Lucifer in Hell.

Meanwhile, the Archangel's lover sets out to prove his opponents wrong. But Lucifer’s influence runs deeper in Kai than he suspected, and the fear that he’s merely Lucifer’s pet becomes all too real.


Stepping in the doorway, Roberta stopped cold. Standing in the middle of the spacious office were two men. The one dressed in black had a dark, olive complexion, long, black hair, and tattoos on his face that trailed down his neck and under his collar. The other had brilliant red hair and looked like he stepped out of a fairy tale and… Was that a bow and quiver on his back?
The most astonishing part of this scene though, was not the oddity of the men, which was par for the course around here, but that the tattooed man had The Asshole pinned under his boot.
She didn’t know what to do. A small voice somewhere in the back of her mind told her to run before any of them noticed her.
Too late. The tattooed man stopped what he was doing and looked at her. The other one, following his gaze, turned to look at her as well. Both gazes fixed her to the spot, and she trembled.
“His wife?” Tattooed man asked, taking a step toward her. “Where is his wife?”
“Don’t you tell this bloodsucking son-of-a-bitch, you fat fucking cow. Don’t you say a fucking word.” The Asshole raised himself onto his knees and shouted at her.
Even on his knees and blubbering, he insults me. She felt a tickle of satisfaction when the tattooed man cuffed him on the side of his head.
“That’s no way to speak to a lady,” he told The Asshole, who started another bout of crying.
“Please, you can’t take my wife. Let me… let me call Lord Te. I’m sure we can work something out.” He was alternately trying to grab the man’s pant leg and shying away from touching him. Roberta watched, fascinated, as he did this a few times while making his pleas.
She pitied him, which surprised her, since the only thing she felt for him since the day they’d met had been intense hatred. The tattooed man drew a metal band attached to a length of chain out of his coat pocket and, grabbing The Asshole by the hair, fastened the metal band—a collar?—around his neck.
That’s it—I’m asleep at my desk. There is no way something this crazy could be real.
“You were asked a question.” The man out of a fairy tale addressed her, immediately dispelling her illusion. “You would do well to answer it.”
He came toward her. Finally able to move, she threw the tray at him and turned to run. Vaguely she thought it odd that she didn’t hear the tray hit him or crash to the floor. That thought drowned in the realization that she wasn’t moving.
“Turn around.”
Her body was not her own as it obeyed without her consent. Absently she noted the tray positioned neatly on the floor by the door, as if she’d carefully placed it there. The man was moving toward her now. Too late she realized don’t look into his eyes. Her will to do anything but what he wanted dissolved the instant she did. Something from him squashed any sense of self-preservation. He burned through her, and she would gladly smolder to a cinder and not lift a finger to save herself.
“Knock it off, Uriel.” She heard an exasperated voice say. Uriel? What a beautiful name. The tattooed man brushed past the one named Uriel to come toward her, leading The Asshole by the leash.
“Do you want the information or not?” Uriel replied, never breaking eye contact with her.
The conversation flowed around her as she floated on white puffy clouds of adoration.
“Not if you make a drooling idiot out of her, I don’t.”
Uriel’s hair is so red. It can only be what true red looks like.
“Do you actually care?”
This was the red that nature and man alike strove to capture. Vibrant fire! The truth of it will always elude them, but I see it. I know. She did and was warmed from the inside by the knowledge, knowing it was special and only for her.
“Yes, I do actually—and you should too.”
Kai looked at the blank look on the woman’s face and shook his head, disgusted. He’d warmed to Uriel but now could feel a rush of disappointment as he was reminded how ruthless the angels were in the pursuit of their goals—innocents be damned. It galled him how they were so unnecessarily cruel.
The woman smiled in delight when Uriel raised his hand toward her. “Take my hand, child,” he said. The oozing sweetness of his voice was nauseating. He watched as the woman took Uriel’s hand. “Now, this one’s wife is hiding from me. Do you know where she is?”
“Most likely she’s in their house on the grounds,” the woman replied, breathless.
“Good girl,” praised Uriel. “Picture it in your mind… that’s it.”
They were all instantly transported to the foyer of the main house. Gregory moaned. The woman swooned and would have fallen if Kai hadn’t caught her. He gently lowered her limp body to the ground, throwing a murderous glare at Uriel in the process. Once he’d released the woman, Kai turned to Gregory.
“Now, call your wife. If you try to warn her, I swear to you I will request that you be given to me and your fate will be ten times worse than the worst Lord Te could ever do. Do you understand?”
Gregory nodded shakily. True, Kai could search the house for her, but that was tedious. He’d spent more time on this job than he’d planned and was eager to be done and gone.
“Catherine...” Gregory began, the sound little more than a croak. Kai hardened his gaze.
“Do you want me to rip your heart out? I will, and Lord Te will heal you and bring you back to life so I can do it again,” he hissed. Gregory paled; his eyes rolled back in his head. Kai slapped him again. “Don’t you dare. Call her again.”
Gregory took a deep breath, “Catherine, come here, darling. I’ve something to show you.” He called up the wide staircase that curved up the right side of the foyer.
The woman came screaming out of a door on the lower floor, firing a cross bolt into Kai. The bolt hit with a thump and, taking him off guard, knocked him back a step. She reloaded and leveled the crossbow at Uriel.


As a child, Susan was a voracious reader of all things not sanctioned by the educational system. Comics, along with tales of ghosts, vampires, witches, and monsters, fascinated and delighted - even as they fueled her need to sleep with the light on.

As the years passed, while still content to read what was offered, she noticed a growing desire to read something a little…different. The desire continued to grow until it became apparent that the easiest way to read what she wanted was to write it first.

And so, Coming Darkness was born.

She resides in Charleston, SC with her family, and her “earthly angel” Charlie.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Week in Review: 3/18-3/24

Books Received for Review

Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase

Books I've Read

ISAN by Mary Ting
Immortal by Kristin Ping
Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase
Dimension Drift by Christina Bauer

Reviews Posted

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Veiled Enchantments by Deborah Blake


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

* Monday- Interview + Giveaway for Awakened by D.C. Gambel

* Friday- Promo + Giveaway for The Heart Forger By Rin Chupeco


* 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, March 23, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: The Heart Forger By Rin Chupeco

The Heart Forger
The Bone Witch #2
Amazon  BN  BooksAMillion  Indigo  IndieBound
In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection―now she's after revenge...

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life...and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea's dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can't kill someone who can never die...

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.


He does not look so formidable, I lied to myself, staring at the warped, decaying body before me. I can defeat his will. I will break him. It is a wonder what Mykkie had ever seen in him.
It was not the first time I had deceived myself in this manner. Neither was this the first time I had raised King Vanor from the grave. But if I repeated that mantra enough times, I thought I could finally believe my words.
The dead king refused to look at me, his eyes distant. The royal crypts were built to strike both fear and awe in those who visited, but I had grown accustomed to the stone faces looking down at me with quiet scrutiny from their high precipices. But King Vanor’s continued silence unnerved me every time—more than I cared to admit.
“A wise philosopher once said,” Fox drawled from the shadows, “that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the mark of a fool.”
“Why do I bring you along?”
“Well, a wise philosopher once said—”
“Shut up.” My brother had no need to tell me my quest was hopeless. Numerous Dark asha, all more experienced than me, had made the attempt. But I had to do something.
“You’re in a worse mood than usual. Did Kalen chew you out at practice again?”
“If you don’t like it here, why not find some women in the city to flirt with instead?”
“Not in Oda—” He caught himself. “None of your business. Can we get this over with?”
I turned back to the corpse. “Where are you keeping Mykaela’s heartsglass?”
No answer. The colossi statues guarding the catacombs were likelier to respond than this infernal sod of a king.
“Answer me! What have you done to her heartsglass? Where did you keep it? Why do you hate her so much?” My headache worsened. Somewhere in the back of my head, I was aware of a shadow thrashing about, sensing my anger. I saw a vision of water, green and murky, before it faded out of view.
I took a deep breath and let it out carefully. The ache lightened and the shadow retreated as I recovered my calm.
“This is a waste of time.” Fox folded his arms across his chest. My brother looked to be in peak physical health, though he was no more alive than the royal noble standing before us.
Their similarities ended there; there was barely enough skin and sinew clinging to Vanor to pass for human. That was my doing. The first few times I resurrected him, I had been respectful, taking great pains to restore his body to how it appeared when he was alive.
Now I allowed him only enough muscle and flesh to move his jaw.
“He’s not going to talk, Tea. You know that, I know that, and he definitely knows that.”
“I will make him talk.” Many years ago, my sister-asha had fallen in love with this wretched excuse of a ruler. In exchange for her unwavering devotion, he had taken her heartsglass and hidden it so well that no one had been able to find it.
And now, more than a decade later, Mykaela was dying. She could no longer return to Kion. Her health had deteriorated to the point where she had to remain near her heartsglass, still hidden somewhere within Odalia, here in the city of Kneave. It was hard enough to be a bone witch; that she’d survived for this long was a miracle in itself.
I grabbed what was left of the king’s shoulders, pulling him toward me. He reeked of death and obstinacy. “Answer me!” My voice echoed off the columns. “Didn’t you love her even a little? Or are you so petty that you’d allow her to suffer for the rest of her years? She’s dying. What grudge do you harbor to hate her this much?”
I froze. So did Fox.
I had told no one else about my weekly excursions to the royal crypts. Not my friend Polaire, who would have boxed my ears if she’d known, nor Mistress Parmina, who would doom me to a life cleaning outhouses. Only Fox was privy to my secret, which he had agreed to keep despite his own misgivings. And Mykaela was the last person I wanted to find out.
She had aged more rapidly during the last few years since she had taken me under her wing. There was more gray in her golden hair, more lines on her face. Her back stooped slightly, like she struggled under a heavy burden. She had taken to using a cane everywhere she went, unsure of her own feet.
“Mykaela,” I stammered, “you’re not supposed to be here.”
“I could say the same for you,” she answered, but her eyes were fixed on King Vanor, her pain obvious. He watched her gravely, without shame or guilt, and my anger rose again. How many raisings had my sister-asha endured, forced to watch while this king refused to speak?
I raised my finger to sketch out the rune that would send Vanor back to the world of the dead, but Mykaela lifted a hand. “Vanor,” she said quietly, “it’s been a while.”
The decaying figure said nothing. His eyes studied her, savage and hungry and ill suited for such an impassive face.
“I apologize for my wayward apprentice. She has been willful and intractable since her admission to my asha-ka and has shown little improvement since. Please return to your rest. Tea, let him go.”
Mykaela’s words were a steel knife through my heart. Stuttering apologies, I completed the spell and watched as King Vanor’s body crumbled back into dust in his open coffin. Even as his features dissolved, King Vanor never once looked away from Mykaela’s face.
“Close the lid and move the stone back in place,” she said. I could detect the anger behind her calm. “I would tell King Telemaine to seal his coffin, but even that might not stop you. Whatever possessed you to let her do this, Fox?”
Fox shrugged, grinning like an abashed schoolboy. “I’m her familiar. It comes with the territory.”
“Being her familiar is no excuse for being an imbecile! And you! What possessed you to summon dead royalty in the middle of the night?”
“I wanted to help.” The excuse sounded weaker when made to Mykaela than to Fox. “I thought that I could control daeva now! You said no Dark asha’s ever done that before! That’s why…why I…”
Mykaela sighed. “And so by that logic, you think you are different from Dark asha of the past? What you have in ability, Tea, you lack in wisdom. You cannot compel the dead if they are not willing. Wasn’t that the first lesson I taught you after you raised Fox from his grave? Arrogance is not a virtue, sister.”
I looked down, blinking back tears. Was I arrogant to want to save her? Unlike Fox, Dark asha and all those with a silver heartsglass cannot be raised from the dead, and that permanence frightened me. “I’m sorry. I want to help. But I feel so powerless.”
I heard her move closer, felt her hand on my head, stroking my hair.
“It’s not such a bad thing, to feel powerless sometimes. It teaches us that some situations are inevitable and that we should spend what little time we have in the company of the people that matter most. Do you understand me, Tea?”
“Yes.” I wept.
“Tea, I’m not dead yet.” A finger nudged at my chin. “I would appreciate it if you stopped acting like I was. I do not give up so easily, but we must adopt other means.”
“I’m sorry.”
“It is only an apology if you mean it. This is the last time you will be summoning anyone in the royal crypts, no matter how noble you think your actions are. Promise me.”
“I promise,” I mumbled.
“The same is true for you too, Fox.”
“I promise, milady.”
“Good. Now help me up the stairs. My legs aren’t what they used to be.”
Fox reached down and scooped Mykaela into his arms. “It’s the fastest way,” he explained. “You’ve expended enough energy yelling at us.”
The older asha chuckled. “Yes, that’s always been rather tiresome now that I think about it. Perhaps you should direct your energies toward more productive tasks so I can tire less.”
“How did you know we were here?” I asked.
“I’ve taken to wandering at night. I looked in on Tea, but her room was empty. I detected a shifting of runes nearby and merely followed it to its source.”
“I didn’t mean to make you worry.” The staircase led back to the Odalian palace gardens. For the past two months, Fox and I had been King Telemaine’s guests, traveling the kingdom and tending to the sickly. Most of the people here fear and dislike bone witches, though with lesser fervor than before. It is not easy to hold a grudge against someone who has nursed you back to health.
At the king’s invitation, Mykaela had taken up residence in the castle indefinitely. But every day finds her weaker, and I feared the palace would serve as her hospice.
“There are many other concerns, Tea. Likh has a new case pending, hasn’t he?”
The asha association had rejected Likh’s appeal to join, but Polaire had dredged up an obscure law that permitted Deathseekers to train in the Willows until they turned fifteen, which was Likh’s current age.
Mykaela glanced over Fox’s shoulder, back at the catacombs, then turned away.
She still loves him, I thought, and fury burned through me like a fever. “I’m really sorry, Mykkie.”
She smiled. “As I said, only if you mean it, Tea. Get some rest. We’ve got a busy day ahead.”
* * *
I listened until my brother’s footsteps faded before sneaking out of my room a second time. I opened the doors of my mind to welcome the hidden shadows; they wrapped around my core, creating a barrier that had for many months prevented Fox from discovering the other sentience I hoarded away, like a sweet vintage I had no intentions of sharing. I couldn’t. Not yet.
Chief waited for me at the stables. A lone woman on a horse caused no outcry, and we rode undisturbed out of the city, into a copse of trees that hid us further from view. I climbed off my stallion, told him to await my return, and moved deeper into the forest, into a small clearing that served as a rendezvous point.
I reached out once more to the moving darkness. The scar on my right thigh was hot to the touch. It burned in the cold air, but I felt no pain.
Despite its size, the beast was made of stealth and shadows. Where there was once nothing, it now stood beside me, as if summoned from the air. Three pairs of hooded eyes gazed down at me, forked tongues dancing. Its wings extended, and twilight rolled over me, soothing and pleasant.
Master? It was a voice but not in the manner we think of voices. Our bond gave us an understanding that went beyond language.
I reached out. Its scaly hide was a combination of coarse bark and rough sandpaper.
Play? It sat, unmoving, as I climbed up its back.
In the blink of an eye, we were soaring across the sky, rolling meadows and fields of green passing below us. Turn, I thought, testing the limits of my control, as I have over the last several months. The azi complied, wings curving toward the horizon. I laughed, the sound joyous and free against the wind, and one head dipped briefly to nuzzle at my cheek, purring.
This is not selfishness, I told myself, but a responsibility. Mykaela was partly right; I was arrogant and overconfident, but I was not like other Dark asha. No other Dark asha had been able to tame the azi. And riding with it on quiet nights meant it was not rampaging through cities.
But I also knew I had to keep my companion a secret. Raising a dead king was a far lesser sin than taking a daeva as a familiar. I shall conquer this, I thought and, in doing so, sealed my fate.
Why are we at Daanoris?” I asked again when she paused. “Why won’t you tell me?”
“Because I need you as a witness as well as a storyteller, Bard. You will not remain unbiased for long if I supply you with foresight.”
“You summoned me. I travel with you. My opinions will make little difference.”
“You have a reputation for impartiality, Bard. I trust your judgment and my prudence. And here in Santiang, there is someone I would like you to meet.”
“They call him the Heartforger.” She flashed me a quick mischievous grin. “I find it difficult to believe you will be so eager to rule in my favor after the endless stretch of corpses I summoned in my wake. Or after informing you of my intentions to take Daanoris. It is not easy to mask your repugnance. Why have I come to Daanoris? Perhaps simply because I can. Has that not crossed your mind?”
“Tea,” Kalen admonished, his voice low and amused.
She laughed. “Let me continue my story while we still have the luxury.”
The shadows grew across the trees. The daeva melted slowly into the forest, moving silently despite their sizes. No other sound passed through the woods—no chirping of birds nor chatter of squirrels. There was only the wind whispering through the leaves, the crackling of fire, and the sound of the asha’s voice.


Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She's been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
ISBN:   1250112680
ISBN13: 9781250112682
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

I wasn't really sure about TO KILL A KINGDOM after reading the blurb, but it didn't take me long after starting to get into the story.

I didn't think I was going to like Lira, but once her story started unfolding and we really started getting to know her it was easy to like her. Elian I liked right away. He was honorable, determined and is a prince to boot so what wasn't there to like? There wasn't an instant love between the two—which was fantastic—in fact, they tried to kill each other at first sight. The romantic feelings between the two were slow to form—REALLY slow—and they both tried to fight the feelings. When it mattered, they were both on the same page.

I enjoyed the world of TO KILL A KINGDOM. I like the way the story unfolded and the pace was easy and smooth. The secondary characters were lovable and brought a lot to the story.

My only real complaint after reading TO KILL A KINGDOM was that I wish we would have gotten more at the end. We get a glimpse of the aftermath, but I wouldn't have minded seeing more of it. I love a great epilogue. That didn't distract from the great story though.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Review: Veiled Enchantments by Deborah Blake

Veiled Enchantments
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: InterMix
Veiled Magic Book #3
ASIN:   B0738MHYH8
Genre: Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

In this exciting novel in the Veiled Magic series, Witch and police officer Donata Santori travels to Maine to help solve a deadly mystery, where her magical abilities are tested like never before.

Still reeling from her unwitting involvement in murder and subsequent break up with a half-Dragon art forger, Witch-cop Donata Santori is grateful for the distraction when her ex-lover requests her help. Not only are Magnus's beloved dead suddenly haunting the Ulfhednar shapechangers in his tiny rural hometown in Maine, their patron god Odin has turned his back on them, and the members of their once tight-knit enclave are at each other's throats. Literally.

Magnus is relying on Donata's experience in dealing with the gods, along with her magical ability to summon the dead, to help him unravel this mystery in time to save his clan. Donata only hopes to survive the ordeal so she can return home to the city and her quiet job at the precinct.

But first, she must discover who or what is behind the terrible attacks on the Ulfhednar. And the clock is ticking, in more ways than one...

Magnus shows up on Donata's door asking for help and although she is apprehensive she accompanies him to Maine. 

I honestly don't have a whole lot of feedback when it comes to VEILED ENCHANTMENTS. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but most of what I have to say would spoil things for someone and nobody wants that. I thought Donata was appropriately apprehensive when it came to Magnus after everything she has already been through. I felt the storyline really highlighted the mysteries while also focusing on what Donata wanted in a relationship. There was a good balance. 

Wow Donata and Magnus' connection really flourished in VEILED ENCHANTMENTS. I felt like I really got to know Magnus more in the environment of the book. I liked him before, but I loved him after VEILED ENCHANTMENTS.

We meet a lot of new characters in VEILED ENCHANTMENT and most take a while to really grow on you, but I really enjoyed Magnus' mother. She was so warm and loving in moments where everyone else was anything but to Donata.

I really want more Donata! I hope that this series isn't over, but if it is, it ended well.

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

Interview + Giveaway: Awakened by D.C. Gambel

UFI welcomes Author D.C. Gambel. 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’m a dog lover. I can quote to you every line of the Trolls movie.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 

Reading. Spending time with my daughter. Finding other creative outlets such as crafting.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Quieting the voices. At any given time I have about five ideas floating around in my head. Emptying my mind and then reading what came from it is the best part.

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

Not really. Every book is done differently. The one thing that is a must have though is coffee. It’s the true inspiration.

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

I really enjoyed the Black Rose series by K.L. Bone and the Vampire Mage series by C.N. Crawford. I’ve read most of what both these authors have written.

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

Awakened is about a girl, Evie, who discovers she’s one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Instead of being sent to end the world, the horsemen are a safety feature in the seals to stop the apocalypse. Evie has gone her whole life not being able to be touched until she meets the horsemen who are the first people she’s met that her particular gift doesn’t affect.

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

The world for the Horsemen Chronicles is set where supernaturals are still hidden but are not quite in the dark as we might think. They’ve infiltrated our world and are blended into society.

Do you have a favorite scene in Awakened

I have a few. I think my favorite is when Evie get’s her first kiss.

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

Out of all my books? My favorite was Shawn from The Edge of Forever series. He was fun and made me laugh. The hardest was Cam from Awakened. I needed the right balance of jerk and caring.

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

Well, I’m finishing up with my Edge of Forever series. The final book, The Prophecy, is due out April 17th. I’m in the process of writing book two for The Horsemen Chronicles, Obsidian. I don’t yet have a release date. After that, I’m not sure. I have dozens of ideas floating around. I have been considering taking another dip into the Edge of Forever world again. Until I’m closer to completing the Horsemen Chronicles, I just don’t know. Although the idea of playing around with the Fae has been something I’ve been considering.

D.C. Gambel is a mother, army wife, and a hopeless romantic. Romance has always been her genre of choice whether it’s contemporary, historical, paranormal, or even pushing towards erotica in both reading and writing. When she first decided to try her hand at writing, romance was the obvious choice. Getting lost in a different world, living unimaginable lives is something she strives for, even if it’s just a temporary enjoyment.

Find D.C. and her books

Horsemen Chronicles #1

Evie has lived most of her life as a recluse, terrified that she might hurt someone. On her twenty-first birthday she meets Derek who informs her there’s a reason behind her gifts.

As someone that had to spend her entire life avoiding human contact, learning the truth about her origins as one of the Four Horsemen was a hard pill to swallow. Especially once she realizes that her fellow Horsemen are the only people she’d ever met that can withstand her touch.

The struggle to overcome her seclusion becomes very real when Evie discovers an attraction has sprung up between herself and one of her fellow Horsemen. Nothing good can come from pursuing the allure, especially when she knows that it not only would jeopardize her team, but her heart as well.


“Break it down for us, Cam.”
“I met my informant last night,” he said, leaning between the opening of the front seats. I angled myself to face him so I could hear him better. “He claims that Axel Reese, pack alpha of Summery, was contacted by Asmodeus.”
There was a swirl of profanities, but I was clueless to why. So I asked.
“Asmodeus is one of the seven princes of hell. He’s also the prince of lust. Apparently they were rumored to have met the night the succubus attacked the fraternity party,” Cam went on to explain.
“I’m sure that was no coincidence,” Tyler muttered. “I thought the succubi broke off from Asmodeus decades ago when he started demanding that they worship him as a god.”
“They did, but with the seals being broken the demons of lust are returning to their master in hopes he can protect them from the apocalypse. They don’t even realize that he’ll use them a cannon fodder to save his ass. If Axel really did meet with Asmodeus we need to be prepared for a shift in the packs loyalty.”
“Why not just go to Asmodeus first?” Derek asked keeping his eyes forward.
“Axel would be a lot easier to handle then walking in to Phoenix.”
“Phoenix?” I asked.
“It’s a demon club,” Tyler answered. “We don’t get the warmest reception. Asmodeus owns it.”
“Stole it is more like it,” Derek chimed in. He glanced at me. Seeing the quizzical look he elaborated. “It used to be a safe haven for the powers of good. Demons attacked it as a distraction for whoever is breaking the seals. The club has been in demon hands for almost three decades after two centuries of it being in the hands of good. Only positive thing is the demons can’t put up their wards to keep us out.”
“They’ve tried,” Tyler announced.
“Yes they have,” Cam agreed. All three men chuckled and I felt like I was being left out of the joke.
“Hair of the dog?” I asked when we pulled up outside the dive bar. “I thought you were joking.”
Cam chuckled. “They’re not the most creative bunch.” His hand found the small of my back as we headed to the door. I could feel its warmth seeping though the fabric of my shirt almost like it was melting it away until his skin touched mine. I shook my head subtly clearing those thoughts. “You stay near one of us and we’ll make sure no one touches you. What skin is exposed no one should be touching anyways unless they’re looking for trouble.” The other two nodded in agreement.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Week in Review: 3/11-3/17

Books Received for Review

Secrets of Midnight by Debbie Cassidy
Immortal by Kristin Ping
ISAN by Mary Ting
True Storm by L.E. Sterling

Books I've Read

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
Everlife by Gena Showalter
Champion of Midnight by Debbie Cassidy
Secrets of Midnight by Debbie Cassidy

Reviews Posted

Guardian's Bond by Rhenna Morgan
Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
Lake Silence by Anne Bishop


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

* Wednesday- Guest Blog for Shadow of the Moon by Kwen D. Griffeth


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