Friday, August 31, 2018

Review: Claimed by her Cougar by Felicity Heaton (@felicityheaton)

Claimed by her Cougar
Release Date: July 28, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Author

Having lost his parents and mate in a brutal attack on his cougar shifter pride by a hunter organisation, Rath burns with a need to keep humans off his land and out of his life. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect his pride from them, but when a lone female wanders into his territory, it isn’t a burning need to drive her away he’s feeling and it isn’t his pride that needs protecting—it’s his heart.

Down on her luck, Ivy follows a lead to a spot where she hopes to photograph black bears, but what she discovers there is a mountain of a man who lacks manners and seems determined to drive her off his property—a man who stirs unbidden fire in her veins and a strange sense of home.

With a pride gathering on the verge of happening at Cougar Creek and the air charged with a mating heat, the last thing Rath needs is a human on his land, especially one as beautiful and alluring as Ivy, one who rouses a fierce need to fight for her, but he can’t convince himself to let her go… and that proves dangerous for them both.

CLAIMED BY HER COUGAR MATE is the first book in the new Cougar Creek Mates series by Felicity Heaton.

With only 150 pages in CLAIMED BY HER COUGAR there wasn't a whole lot of deep connection moments or in-depth discussions happening. The sex scenes are suitably hot and I definitely felt the relationship vibes, but I would have liked to see more to their relationship development.

It's books like CLAIMED BY HER COUGAR that make me glad I am able to picture in my head the scenery of everything. Heaton did a really great job describing the surroundings and I had no problem losing myself in the world and wishing I was there.

I enjoyed CLAIMED BY HER COUGAR enough to want to read more, I do hope that the books get a tad bit longer so the relationships have a little more substance to them.

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller (@LinseyMiller, @SourcebooksFire)

Ruin of Stars
Mask of Shadows #2
Amazon  BN  BooksAMillion  !ndigo  Indiebound
The thrilling conclusion to the Mask of Shadows duology that weaves a tale of magic, shadows, and most importantly, revenge.

As one of the Queen’s elite assassins, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and permission to hunt down the lords who killed their family. But Sal still has to figure out who the culprits are. They must enlist the help of some old friends and enemies while ignoring a growing distaste for the queen and that the charming Elise is being held prisoner by her father.

But there’s something terribly wrong in the north. Talk of the return of shadows, missing children, and magic abounds. As Sal takes out the people responsible for their ruined homeland, Sal learns secrets and truths that can’t be forgotten.

Chapter One
hand snuffed out the light. I leaned over the edge of the greenhouse trellis, wooden beams creaking beneath me. The guards, as they had done every night I’d been spying, left soon as Lord del Aer tucked his daughter in, and they followed him through the halls of his estate. His daughter’s room was left unguarded except for the ones patrolling the grounds. He couldn’t comprehend someone killing his child to get at him.
I could.
I could because of him.
Lord Mattin del Aer was a good father and a terrible leader.
North Star. Deadfall. Riparian. Caldera. Winter.
The five secret names of the Erlend nobles who allowed Nacea to be destroyed by shadows. I knew only North Star, Caldera, and Winter by their real names—Gaspar del Weylin, Mattin del Aer, and Nevierno del Farone. I heard his name in my nightmares of the massacre he’d caused. I felt it on my skin every time I wore my Opal mask. I tasted it every time I muttered the last words my targets would ever hear.
Caldera. Caldera. Caldera.
The fourth Erlend lord on my list to kill and only the second one to die.
I had carved their names into the inside of my mask. Our Queen had named me Opal, her assassin and protector, and given me leave to kill my list. I’d the whole of the Igna court to help me hunt them down.
And the hunt was on.
He was predictable as an Erlend. He rose at dawn, flipped through reports sent to him from the other traitor Erlend lords who’d seceded from Igna barely two months ago, woke his daughter for breakfast, and spent the day with a series of advisers, guards, and tutors, each more boring than the last. He did not hear his citizens’ concerns or worries.
He didn’t talk to them at all, just told them war was upon us and the time to take up arms and reclaim Erlend was now. Didn’t even speak to them in person to draft them. The flyers went up overnight, and the rangers from North Star’s stronghold up north went out hunting for dodgers the next day.
War. Again. Always. Never ending so long as North Star and his Erlend lords still clung to power and greed. There’d been no attacks yet. Only the dead, stripped of clothes and skin and life, strung up across the trees near the border.
We figured they were folks speaking out against the war. Wasn’t much left of them to identify.
Wouldn’t be much of Caldera left either after I was done with him.
Caldera’s daughter snored. I slid a knife from its sheath, slipping the point beneath the glass pane of her window. She slept on, and I pushed the window up, the oil I’d squeezed into the tracks last night keeping it quiet. A paper shade or shutters would’ve been easier, but this worked just as well. They’d wonder how I entered with no shades cut or shutters broken. They’d think the killer a shadow.
I looked like one at least. The Left Hand of Our Queen—Emerald, Amethyst, Opal, and Ruby—were her royal assassins and named for the rings she wore. And I, the new Opal, had been gifted six masks. Three of bone white and three of pure midnight blue, the sort of purplish black that made you think of deep caves and missing stars. I’d carved my list into each one.
North Star. Deadfall. Riparian. Caldera. Winter.
The Erlend nobles who’d let the shadows tear my family to shreds, who’d ten years to atone for hundreds of thousands of deaths and done nothing, would know me as I knew them.
Bitterly. Painfully. A wound so raw it still ached in the night when the dark twisted like mage shadows. They’d made my whole world a nightmare.
And I would be theirs.
Caldera’s daughter shifted, blankets tumbling to the floor, and I crawled into her room, knife slicing through the leftover smoke of her reading candle. The key to her father’s study, one of only two, hung from the chain round her neck. I unhooked the chain from her head and took the key. I had to return it.
It would be better, Our Queen had said to me, one hand clutching my chin, if Caldera’s fellows thought no doors or locks or guards could keep them safe.
“Let Erlend think we have made shadows anew and sent them after the nobles who betrayed us,” she’d said. “After all, they made you the same way they made the shadows—through violence and fear.”
I’d not given her an answer, didn’t think she’d deserved one yet, not with so many deaths staining her soul, but she was right.
I was Our Queen’s Honorable Opal, and I would kill Caldera as she saw fit.
If I did, she’d let me have the other lords on my list, and I wasn’t passing that up.
North Star. Winter.
They would be mine and mine alone.
I tucked the blanket back around Caldera’s daughter and left. I could comprehend killing his kid to get at him, but I wasn’t him. Caldera’s daughter was no more at fault for her father’s deeds than Elise was for hers, and only Caldera was dying tonight.
The hallway outside her room was empty. I pressed my ear to the door of his study, the only room with a lock on the outside and inside. Nothing. Too thick for me to hear through and too thick for folks to hear Caldera scream. I unlocked it, muffling the click with my hand, and darted inside. The mechanisms reset behind me.
Caldera was talking to himself. He gestured to the windowless walls, hands flying through the air and back to me. A map twice as tall as me and even longer detailed the continent in deep forest greens, wheat yellow, and spring-water blue. The sliver of coastal land to the east of Erlend was labeled as Erlend too, but instead of rolling green hills, the cartographer had scratched it out in black and labeled it Fallow. Only the northernmost tip of Nacea, the little snaggletooth of land embedded in North Star’s mountain range home, was green. It was labeled as Erlend.
“Absurd!” Caldera flung the letter he’d been reading aside and ran his fingers through his long, light hair. “That woman is absurd.”
I walked up behind him till I was close enough to taste the gold-cold scent of his gilded form and the lantern behind me cast three flickering shadows against the wall. He froze.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “You won’t have to deal with her much longer.”
He shrieked and tried run. I grabbed the back of his shirt and yanked him down, sending him flailing to the floor.
“No one can hear you, Caldera.” No windows. No guards. No threat of being interrupted since the only two keys to the door were in this locked room. “No one is coming to help.”
He crawled to his knees and pulled a chair between us. “How did you get—”
I pulled out his daughter’s key.
“How well do you know your daughter?” I dropped it, let it clatter between us, and pulled out a second knife. “I watched the shadows you let loose in Nacea flay my family. I know every bloody part of them. Do you know what your daughter’s bones look like?”
He whimpered and I lived, furious and alive, Sallot Leon, auditioner Twenty-Three, and Opal all crushed together by his hands. He didn’t know fear like me. He didn’t know anything.
“Please,” he said. “Please, I don’t know anything. Don’t kill me.”
I leapt over the chair and grabbed him, dragging him to the center of the floor. He was tall and broad, healthier and heavier than most folks I’d fought, and he ripped from my grasp once. I let him know freedom for a breath.
“Help!” He stumbled into the wall, knocking over a lamp and leaving the room at the mercy of one single candle. “Help me!” He pounded against the door.
I laughed, and it echoed between my mouth and mask. The sound died too quick to be natural.
“You’re Caldera. Your old flame Lena told me. No one likes you.” I leaned over him, and my two shadows flickering at my feet followed. “She only nodded when I said you’d been responsible for killing a whole country. Said it sounded like you. Was it you?”
Lena was one of the only Erlend nobles to stand with Igna and pledge her loyalty to Our Queen again, and she’d given me Caldera’s name. He’d tried to marry her once, to get ownership of her land back when they’d both been Erlend and Erlend land could only be inherited by Erlend lords, and he’d told her his secrets to make her fall in love.
“It wasn’t my idea.” He choked on the words.
I stepped on his ankle. “But you agreed to it.”
“I’m sorry.” He flinched. “I’m sorry. I am. I have been since it happened, all those people. I didn’t want to, but they made me.”
“Who?” I asked, and when he shook his head, no names ready, I pulled out my knife. “Who went by the names Riparian and Deadfall?”
“I don’t know.” He raised his arms like a shield. “I don’t know. Other than North Star, we never shared.”
He took my silence for consideration. “I’ve regretted it since. What do you want? Whatever you want, it’s yours.”
“You’ve nothing I want.” I took his tear-streaked face in my hands. “Apologies won’t bring my family back. They won’t clear the shadows from my mind. They won’t change anything at all except the weight of your guilt.”
I pulled him up.
“And it’s not heavy enough for what you did.”
I jammed my knife into his chest, watched his last breath leave his lips, and dropped him.
“If you were sorry,” I said to his corpse, “you’d not be doing it again.”
The gaping wound in my soul that never healed and ached with each breath only grew deeper at the sight of him. Each breath was cold and empty, a sharp pain between my heart and ribs. I was split—the Sallot Leon that could’ve been if Nacea stood whole, one that knew all of their nation’s rituals and words, and the Sallot Leon that was, one that knew only the press of five names against their face and the fractured bones that came from offering mercy. I’d let Winter live at Elise’s request, and he’d thrown me from a window. Folks devoted so deeply to themselves never changed.
They stole and stole and stole.
“Nothing can fix this.” I rifled through his desk and shelves, turning over every scrap of paper for anything Our Queen would find useful. “Nothing can help me, but I can help the world.”
Erlend had reduced us to nothing, to casualties in a ledger. They would do it again. I couldn’t let that happen.
A fake wall shifted under my fingers. I pried the thin wood away from the bottom of his desk drawer and shoved my hand into the space. Papers crinkled. I grabbed them all.
Scraps and envelopes heavy with broken seals tumbled to the floor. I bent to pick them up.
Not seals. Not wax. An ear.
A tattered, runed human ear.


​​A wayward biologist from Arkansas, Linsey previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there’s coffee. Visit her online at

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (@ ilona_andrews, @AceRocBooks)

Magic Triumphs
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: ACE Books
Kate Daniels Book #10
ISBN: 0425270718
ISBN13: 9780425270714
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

MAGIC TRIUMPHS was a bittersweet ending to a much loves series.

Not only is there the showdown between Kate and her father in the last book of the Kate Daniel series, but there is another conflict throughout MAGIC TRIUMPHS that makes the situation even more dicey. We got plenty of action, suspense, and danger throughout the whole story.

It's so hard to say goodbye to all the characters we have seen grow over the years. We have liked some more that others, but MAGIC TRIUMPHS seemed to bring them all together to fight for their world. Kate has had her fair share of battles, but fighting for her child really brought out another side to her. She is willing to do anything to keep her family and friends safe and she does.

I really enjoyed meeting and getting to see Conlan grow a little. There were a few things that make me think there is at least two characters that might be given a spin-off and I look forward to seeing what happens with them. For all the other loves characters of this series, I felt like they all added something to the storyline in MAGIC TRIUMPH and I was glad to see them all involved in some way to the send off of the series.

I'm happy with how the Kate Daniels series ended, yet sad that Kate and Curran will no longer be the focus of future stories. I will miss their voices, but happy that they got there HEA.

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

Monday, August 27, 2018

Review: How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey Edwards (@HaileyEdwards)

How to Dance an Undead Waltz
Release Date: August 22, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author

Keep a spot open on your dance card. This is one ball you don't want to miss.

Grier is nursing a broken heart after Boaz announced his engagement to another woman, but life goes on. Or it would if vampire assassins would stop taking pot shots at her every time she leaves Woolworth House. Seriously, who sends archers to deliver murdergrams these days?

To protect herself, Grier must pull out all the stops, even if it means revealing her darkest secret. All eyes are on her, and—for the first time—she begins to understand why Linus wears so many masks. But the target isn’t Grier, and when the archers single him out, it feels like one of their arrows might have struck what remains of her heart.

Grier quickly stole my heart in HOW TO SAVE AN UNDEAD LIFE and with each installment in the Beginners Guide to Necromancy her place has been cemented and additional characters have joined her —and some have been banned.

I'm going to start with the characters. We learn SO much about the gwyllgi in UNDEAD WALTZ and I really love them. Lethe especially surprised me and I loved the development of her and Grier's friendship. When Linus was first introduced, I could have done without him, but he has really grown on me and the more I learn about him, the more I see him needing to be in Grier's life. Speaking of characters I could do without, Amelie and Boaz just don't do anything for me anymore. Amelie I think can work her way back into my heart, but Boaz has turned into one of those characters that I am fine with being in the background. I do however think he will continue to push his way into the story.

The romance is on par. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that the tempo of everything that happened was nice and the introductions of a new character was well executed

As usual, I was left wanting more. More Grier, more action, more suspense, more relationship development. The whole nine yards!

I gave it 5/5 stars

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Week in Review: 8/19-8/25

Books Received for Review

The Boss by Abigail Owen

Books I've Read

Blood Solstice by Samantha Young
How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey Edwards
City of the Lost by Debbie Cassidy
The Boss by Abigail Owen

Reviews Posted

Nothing this week!


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

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Captured by Her Cougar by Felicity Heaton (@felicityheaton)

* Tuesday- Promo + Giveaway for Natasha's Quest by Blair Drake (@BlairDrakeBooks, @RoxanneRhoads)

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for Viking King’s Vendetta by Sky Purington (@SkyPurington, @RoxanneRhoads)

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway for Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews Countdown Tour (@ilona_andrews, @AceRocBooks)

* Friday- Promo for Vox by Christina Dalcher (@CVDalcher, @BerkleyPub)


* 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.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Promo: Vox by Christina Dalcher (@CVDalcher, @BerkleyPub)

Amazon  BN  Kobo  
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.


Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specializes in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and has taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates.

Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognitions include the Bath Flash Award’s Short List; nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions; and multiple other awards. She teaches flash fiction as a member of the faculty at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents Dalcher’s novels.

After spending several years abroad, most recently in Sri Lanka, Dalcher and her husband now split their time between the American South and Naples, Italy.

Her debut novel, VOX, will be published in August 2018 by Berkley (an imprint of Penguin Random House).

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews Countdown Tour (@ilona_andrews, @AceRocBooks)

Magic Triumphs is almost here! To celebrate, Ace Books and participating blogs will be giving away three copies of each Kate Daniels book every weekday leading up to highly anticipated release on August 28th. Each giveaway will run for three days.

Follow the tour and enter to win them all!

Magic Triumphs
Kate Daniels #10
Amazon  BN  Kobo
Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.


Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Together they are the coauthors of the #1 New York Times bestselling Kate Daniels urban fantasy series and the romantic urban fantasy novels of the Edge.

Find out more about Ilona Andrews online at

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Viking King’s Vendetta by Sky Purington (@SkyPurington, @RoxanneRhoads)

Sky Purington
Viking Ancestors
Rise of the Dragon #1
Taking a few months to reflect on what she truly wants from life, Emily returns to her family home in Winter Harbor, Maine. Yet she should have known her ties with ancient Scandinavia and those with dragon blood would catch up with her. Moreover, that her connection with the man she loves would be impossible to ignore. Something soon proved when he pulls her back in time to tenth century Norway.

Determined to help his people defeat a dark prophecy, Viking Sven Sigdir returns to his homeland to find two regions minus their beloved kings. Leaderless, both clans look to Sven to rule. Though willing to rise up, he must first uncover the root of the prophecy. That means reuniting with the woman who holds his heart and setting forth on a perilous journey.

Sven and Emily navigate not only their feelings for one another but the burgeoning prophecy that might take it all away. Will they be able to conquer their new adversary before it’s too late? Or is this just the beginning of something that will change life as they know it? Join them as they embark on their adventure in a new action-packed series ripe with sizzling passion, epic battles, and unforgettable characters.
Excerpt 2 Spicy/Dragon:

Arms crossed over her chest, Emily turned on Sven. “So what’s going on? What am I missing?”
He started to talk then stopped. Then he started again before stopping again. She was about to coax him along with some select words, but he finally came out with the last thing she expected. And when he did, his voice wasn’t quite right.
“Did your mother ever talk to you about going into heat?”
Oh. Odin. Help. Her.
“Enough said,” she managed before she strode after the others, her cheeks on fire. Of course, her mother had talked to her about that. It meant her inner dragon was ovulating for the first time. Something that happened long after her human half did.
Damn it, what crappy timing.
This meant not only would she attract non-related dragons from miles away but be in full-fledge lust herself anytime now. When that happened, her inner beast would seek out the male dragon that appealed to her most and have sex with him. And she had no doubt whatsoever who that would be.
Meanwhile, she was getting ready to walk into a lair full of non-related male dragons.
As if they didn’t have enough problems already.
“Gods, why now?” she muttered, shaking her head. She could already hear Bodhrán drums pounding in the Ancient’s Lair they were so close. She could smell the unique smoky scent of far too many virile male dragons in one place.
“It will be all right,” Sven assured, catching up with her. “If you have any questions—”
“Sven!” she interrupted him. “I don’t have any questions, and if I did, you’d be the last one I’d ask.”
“Because…I don’t know.” She shook her head, not looking at him. “It’s not something I want to talk to you about at all.”
In some ways, a dragon going into heat for the first time was as daunting as a girl getting her menstrual cycle for the first time. You were told what to expect, but it was still all so strange and life-changing. In that female dragons typically did it in their twenties made it that much more bizarre.
“I’ll stay by your side when we arrive at the Ancient’s Lair,” he assured, clearly bracing himself for impact based on his furrowed brows and downturned lips. “You’re already alluring but this…” He shook his head, obviously set to go to battle if need be. “No one will touch you that you don’t want touching you.”
She stopped short at that, surprised. “You mean to say you’d let another male dragon lay with me if that’s what I wished?”
If his jaw got any tighter, it might just snap off. Yet, he said what she needed to hear.
“Yes.” He managed a jerky nod even as his dragon eyes flared in defiance. “We are friends, and I support you in all things. Even this.” His voice grew more strained. “You are a grown woman and a mature dragon. You should be able to make your own decisions. Especially about something so important.”
Funny, she knew he was saying what she wanted to hear, but hell if it didn’t irk her. “You do realize male dragons can’t control pregnancy when female dragons are in heat?”
“I am aware,” he said, his voice low and gravelly now. He was deeply distressed by the conversation but hanging in there. “I’m also aware that your behavior will change while in heat. You will grow more…aggressive.”
“I’m aware.” She arched a brow. “Are you ready for that?”
“I have little choice.” He went to take her hand but stopped, likely fearing a repeat of before. “Like it has always been between us, I will stand by your side and keep you safe. Not as a controlling friend but as one who understands this might be a difficult period of adjustment for you and you may need advice.”
Appreciative, she eyed him for another moment before she nodded thanks and they kept moving along. The truth was she was in uncharted waters and couldn’t be more grateful he was here. Sure, it could get a bit tricky when she got all super lusty, but she knew Sven would keep her at arm’s length. He understood the boundaries she had set until she was ready.
Yet as they continued on and she kept a discreet eye on his tattoo, she found herself more often looking at the muscular definition of his strong arms. At the width of his broad shoulders. Then her eyes would wander down his cut body, and she’d find herself wishing he wasn’t wearing that sleeveless tunic. Then they’d go lower, and she realized she could do without the leather pants too.
Then her thoughts would go even further.
How strong a dragon he was. How big and beautiful he became.
She bit her lower lip hard and kept forcing herself to look ahead, well aware that it was beginning. That her thoughts were becoming far more erotic and at an alarming rate. More so, she realized that this all might be more than she was ready for when they arrived at the entrance to the massive tavern at the heart of the Ancient’s Lair. When far more male dragons than she anticipated looked her way.


Sky Purington is the bestselling author of forty novels and novellas. A New Englander born and bred who recently moved to Virginia, Sky was raised hearing stories of folklore, myth, and legend. When combined with a love for history, romance, and time-travel, elements from the stories of her youth found release in her books.

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington. Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases? Either visit Sky’s website,, subscribe to her quarterly newsletter or sign up for personalized text message alerts. Simply text 'skypurington' (no quotes, one word, all lowercase) to 74121 or visit Sky’s Sign-up Page. Texts will ONLY be sent when there is a new book release. Readers can easily opt out at any time.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Natasha's Quest by Blair Drake (@BlairDrakeBooks, @RoxanneRhoads)

Natasha's Quest
Finding Magic #6
Tash Pruitt lands in 17th century Massachusetts with a mission which soon becomes clear to her: she has to save Goody Cooke from a charge of witchcraft and escape back to the present before she herself is charged as a witch.

Seventeenth-century Massachusetts, and charges of witchcraft fill the air. When Tash Pruitt is catapulted from the Grey Cliffs Academy into this strange colonial environment, she has no idea that she herself is a witch. All she knows is that she has to save the woman who has taken her in—an unmarried healer—from charges of witchcraft, and keep the woman’s ward safe. Soon enough, Tash realizes that another life she has to save is her own.

Tash lifted her head and gazed around. She was propped up on her hands and knees like a baby learning to crawl, planted in the middle of a dirt road. She had landed hard. Her knee throbbed.
Where was she?
More dirt road stretched ahead of her, rutted gray and brown. On one side of the road was a field filled with weeds and wildflowers, bordered by dense forest. On the other side was more forest—thick, towering pines, streaks of white birch, a crazy tangle of undergrowth lining the road. She recognized ferns, ragged daisies, and poison ivy sprouting through a carpet of rust-colored pine needles. She might have the wind knocked out of her, but she knew enough not to mess with poison ivy. A painful rash would spoil the soccer season, plus she wouldn’t be able to get close to Kyle. Poison ivy was contagious, wasn’t it?
Why was she wasting time worrying about poison ivy when she had no idea where she was or how she got here? One minute she was standing in her dorm room, her backpack slung over one shoulder and her phone in her other hand while she texted Kyle about their plan to study for the calculus final together. The next minute Headmistress Lalane was ordering Tash to put her phone away and herding her, along with a bunch of other kids, first to Headmaster Auster’s office, where they’d stood around, confused, while the office got darker and colder, and then they’d been taken up to the roof. And the minute after that…
The minute after that, Tash opened her eyes to find herself crawling down a dirt road, with pebbles embedded in the palms of her hands and her right knee bruised and bleeding.
This was really weird.
She shifted to sit, swinging her leg around carefully because it hurt. After plucking the grit out of her hands, she flexed her fingers to make sure they still worked, then checked her knee. The skirt of her uniform was dirty. The flesh around her kneecap—her patella; she’d knocked herself memorizing the proper names of the bones in the human skeleton in honors biology last year—looked like a puffy pink sponge. The skin was scraped raw. Trickles of blood skittered down her shin.
She groped for her backpack and discovered it missing. Great. No tissues. More important, no phone. No wallet. No money. No anything.
Where the hell was she?
What the hell happened?

She was in major trouble. Leaving campus without permission was a serious breach. She’d probably be dragged before the disciplinary board, and they’d contact her parents, and God knew what would happen next. Loss of senior privileges? Expulsion just weeks before graduation? Serious shit from Mom and Dad?
Would they go light on the punishment if she explained she hadn’t done anything wrong? She was minding her own business, texting back and forth with Kyle about studying for the calc final, when Lalane poked her head through the open door to Tash’s dorm room and ordered her to come. Tash obeyed. Surely the school would cut her a little slack.
Especially since she had no idea how she’d even gotten here—wherever here was.
Her dorm. Auster’s office. The roof. She recalled the other kids—nine of them—murmuring among themselves as Lalane hustled them up the stairs to the roof. She recalled Lalane dropping something into the pocket of her blazer. She recalled the roof. The air was chilly, the sky surprisingly dark, clouds as dark as soot obliterating the morning sunlight.
She reached into the pocket of her blazer and pulled out a pin. Round, sort of gold, it didn’t look like much. Why had the headmistress stuck it in Tash’s pocket? Was Tash supposed to pin it to her blazer?
She did now, fastening it to a lapel. Who knew why Lalane gave her the pin? Some of the students were kind of pals with the headmistress, but Tash always maintained her distance from the administrators. She was a scholarship student. She didn’t want to run the risk of antagonizing the folks in charge—or to seem like she was kissing up to them.
She returned her attention to her knee, using her thumb to wipe the rivulets of blood leaking out of her torn skin. Now her thumb was bloody, too. Wonderful. She supposed she could use the tail of her shirt to mop up the mess, but then her shirt would be stained, and she’d get in trouble for that.
Above her, the sky was a crisp, vivid blue marbled with rippling white clouds. One minute she was breathing the aroma of the travel-mug of coffee she filled in the dining hall during breakfast and brought back to her room, and the next she was breathing a dry, piney fragrance. No hint of the musty scent hanging in the corridors of the old school buildings, or the stale smell of the locker room adjacent to the soccer field, or the ocean-tinged breezes drifting across campus. Was she even still on the island? She’d never seen this field before, or these woods.
She forced herself to stand. Her knee ached, but her leg didn’t buckle. No broken bones, she decided. Correction: no broken patella, femur, tibia, or fibula. If she was going to do pre-med next year, a notion she was considering at the moment, she ought to practice using the correct terminology.
She bent over and tried to rub the blood from her sticky thumb on a patch of grass. That didn’t work too well, but a little saliva helped, and she got most of the blood off. Then she straightened up and started down the road. Maybe her backpack dropped somewhere along the way. She’d be royally screwed if she couldn’t find it. It contained not only her phone and wallet but a few textbooks. If she lost them, she’d have to pay to replace them, and she wasn’t exactly rolling in money.
Replacing her textbooks would be cheap compared to replacing her phone. When her parents gave it to her last Christmas, they went on and on about how much it cost, which kind of spoiled the whole Christmas thing. You weren’t supposed to mention the price of presents at Christmas. You weren’t supposed to make a person feel guilty about the gift you were giving them. You were just supposed to give it and say, “Merry Christmas.”
She hobbled along, scanning left and right in search of her backpack. If it slid off her shoulder somewhere in the field, she would spot it easily, but it could have landed in the woods. She hoped she wouldn’t have to traipse through poison ivy to retrieve it.
Like that was going to happen. How could she think logically when this was so illogical? She didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know how she’d gotten here. She didn’t know why she was here.
She ought to be scared—except she didn’t do scared. Scared was for wusses. Tash was the girl who killed the spiders venturing into the third-floor bathroom in her dorm. She was the girl who argued with Mr. Pritchard, the meanest history teacher in the school, when he insisted on popping surprise quizzes or grading essays on a curve. She was the girl who stood up to that bitch Susie Martland two years ago, when she was picking on Mary Ann Leominster, who obviously had Asperger’s, even if she wasn’t officially diagnosed. Mary Ann was hard-wired and weird, everyone knew it, but that was no reason for Susie to give her a hard time.
Tash noticed a movement in the woods. Not her backpack, which didn’t  move, at least not on its own. A shadow weaving through the trees, meandering toward the clearing. An animal? A dangerous beast? Not that Tash was afraid, but were there wolves on the island?
The shadow drew closer, and Tash noticed a flutter of pale gray, and then a crescent of white. She halted, which actually made her knee hurt a little more, and watched as the figure moved through the forest toward the clearing.
It was a girl, dressed in a shapeless gray dress with long sleeves and a full skirt falling to her feet, which were shod in dusty black flat-heeled shoes. A sagging drawstring bag hung from a belt around her waist, and a strange white cap fit snugly over her head. Her hair was tucked up under it, but a few pale strands leaked out and drizzled down around her round, open face. Freckles dappled her tiny nose. Her mouth shaped a perfect O as she gaped at Tash.
Tash gaped back. If this girl was a student at Gray Cliffs Academy, Tash had never seen her before. It wasn’t as if she knew all the younger students, but the school wasn’t that big. And if she ever heard about some eccentric freshman who dressed like a stowaway on the Mayflower, she would remember.
To her surprise, the girl broke into a smile as she stepped into the clearing. “Greetings, wayfarer!” she called to Tash.


Blair Drake believes in magic, especially the magic of stories with fantasy, adventures, romance, action, and surprises. She has loved writing and living in the stories of the Finding Magic series and is so excited to share the quests of the Gray Cliffs Academy students with her readers.

When she’s not writing about magic, she’s reading about it. Her influences are Cassandra Claire, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Garth Nix, and many more.

In the mortal plane, following the lure of magic has drawn Blair into strange and wonderful adventures from Australia to New York City, with many stops in between. She currently lives near Denver. Her very favorite spot is a red loveseat in her office, frequently shared with two cats, an outnumbered Dalmation, and occasionally her bewitched husband.

She might have gone to a school similar to Gray Cliffs Academy and would love to go through a magic portal. In the meantime, she’s creating her own in more books of magic.

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