Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: Demon Cursed by Karilyn Bentley

Demon Cursed
Release Date: March 29, 2017
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
ASIN:  B01N4RTO97
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author via Netgalley
Gin Crawford, the world's newest demon huntress, just wants to enjoy a football game, but finds herself hunting a serial killer minion instead. When his victims turn out to be the local football star’s female fans, she must determine if the player has joined forces with the minion, but her efforts lead her deeper into danger. When her mentor, Aidan Smythe, is attacked, Gin resolves to go to any lengths to save him, even if it exposes her most tightly held secret. Minions and demons, however, aren't the only terrors she faces. Will she realize the greatest danger lies within—before it's too late?

When Karilyn Bentley emailed me to request a review for the first book in her Demon Huntress series I agreed, but wasn't really expecting much out of it. I know, I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I always do. The cover for DEMON LORE isn't bad, it just didn't grab me and say "read me now". Thankfully the story snuck up on me and I found myself enjoying it enough to read book two, DEMON KISSED. When Karilyn once again reached out asking for a review of book three I had no hesitation about agreeing as I was still interested in following Gin's story to see what would happen next.

DEMON CURSED has quite a bit going on. There is an attack on the agency and Gin reveals abilities that put her in danger. Gin is still wrestling with feelings for her partner Aidan—and I am SO happy to say there is some movement here I think most will love, but by the end some will hate. On top of that women are turning up dead and they are all connected to football star that is putting the moves on Gin and Zagan continues to confuse Gin —and me, cause I still can't read the situation. Lastly, Gin and her brother T's close relationship is put to the test when he blames her for an event that happens.

DEMON CURSED ends with some major stuff happening. I don't want to spoil anything by telling too much, but it's so hard not to vent a little soooo........ *Spoil Alert*. Aidan and Gin have a fight where Aidan storms off without letting Gin explain things and then she is attacked while Aidan is blocking his mind from her and she can't get his help. This made me SO mad!! He knew things were happening and she could have died! He had a right to be angry, but I am still so mad that he wasn't there for her when she needed him the most because his feelings were hurt. *End Spoiler*...... I can't even begin to imagine where things will go from there, but Aidan is on my shit list.

I found DEMON CURSED as enjoyable as the first two books and look forward to the time when Karilyn Bentley reaches out for a review of book four!

I gave it 4/5 stars

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Promo + Giveaway: Alpha Squad: Infiltrator by Lorelei Moone


Alpha Squad: Infiltrator
Alpha Squad #3 

For love or for honor? Sometimes being fated to each other just isn’t enough.

For the past six months, wolf shifter Thomas Blackwood has been serving two masters. He believes in Alpha Squad’s mission to help the newly outed shifter population integrate into human society, and has done his best to contribute to its success. At the same time, he’s been reporting on the squad’s activities to his alpha back home. But everything changes when the squad is sent in to investigate a string of crimes with a pack of renegade wolves right at the center of the case. Suddenly Thomas must choose: follow his alpha’s orders and kill the investigation before it even starts, or remain true to Alpha Squad’s calling and uncover the truth; whether it implicates members of his own species or not.

And that’s not even the worst part: the woman he’s been admiring from afar since joining the squad already doesn’t give him the time of day. What would Private Callahan think of him if she knew he was a traitor?

Private Jill Callahan has been doing her utmost to ignore the one Alpha Squad member who could turn her world upside-down: Thomas Blackwood. From the moment the handsome wolf shifter arrived on base, her emotions have been trying to get the better of her. So in the interest of maintaining her professionalism, she has been avoiding him completely.
When Blackwood starts acting suspiciously, and nobody seems to notice it but her, Jill no longer has that luxury. She feels compelled to investigate what’s really going on and if it ends in heartbreak, then so be it.

Jill and Thomas’s loyalties are tested when they realize why they haven’t been able to shake their attraction to each other. They’re meant for each other, but sometimes things just aren’t so simple. The mission - and the squad - must come first.

Join Alpha Squad in this steamy paranormal romance you won’t want to put down. If you like Alpha City by Bryce Evans or Bear Patrol by Scarlett Grove, then you will love the Alpha Squad Series by Lorelei Moone!

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Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/2q2bIMv
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2pUoaBQ

Excerpt #3:


"You're beautiful," he whispered.
The rawness in his voice made her knees weak again. It was like a dream.
She wanted to respond, but she couldn't find the words.
Instead, she tiptoed toward him as he leaned down further, allowing their lips to touch. If the way he'd looked at her just now was the most glorious experience of her life so far, this was a million times better.
Her heart skipped a few beats. The softness of his lips, the tenderness of his touch. Everything about him was beautiful. His kisses promised a surprising gentleness along with a searing passion Jill had never found in another lover.
Like they were made for one another.
She could be shy, nervous even. But with the right man… There was a whirlwind of emotions hidden beneath the surface, yet to be uncovered.
As their tongues touched just slightly, darting around each other in a dance of discovery and wonder, everything changed yet again. Something else happened that Jill had never experienced before.
It was as though she was no longer alone in her head.
Sure, she still had that critical voice telling her to stop what she was doing and run, but it was getting weaker. There was another presence in her mind also. Thomas Blackwood.
Wolf. Warrior. Lover.
Jill opened her eyes and gazed deeply into his. So much to see.
When she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him again, a flood of images entered her mind. His thoughts and emotions.
His memories.
There were glimpses of how he'd watched her. On base as well as on previous missions. He'd been pining for her as she had done for him.
She also saw visions of his home town. Moors and forests that spanned as far as the eye could see.
But along with all these beautiful memories, there was something darker lurking underneath it all. Conversations with his uncle, Eric Blackwood. Secret outings that did not fit into Alpha Squad's mission.
Jill pulled back, her heart beating frantically now, not due to the increasing passion she'd felt for him—though the attraction was even stronger now. No, this was something else. Fear. Hurt.
Betrayal.



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 Lorelei Moone is an up-and-coming author of paranormal romance based in London. A lover of all things sweet, and caffeinated, when she’s not writing about sexy bear shifters and their strong-willed curvaceous love interests, Lorelei can be found baking cookies or cakes for her family.



Find Lorelei and her books

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: The Sin Eater by Jennifer Harlow

The Sin Eater
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Devil on the Left Books
ASIN:   B071V5JNQ1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Author
The long anticipated installment of the best-selling and critically acclaimed F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series is finally here…

CLASSIFIED: The Exiled F.R.E.A.K.

What’s a F.R.E.A.K. to do after all her hopes and dreams literally died in front of her? Telekinetic Beatrice Alexander went from flying around the country in a private jet, saving innocent lives from monstrous threats to living in her grandmother’s house, playing video games and drinking too much. Directionless, hiding from her problems and trauma, she will do anything not to confront her deadly actions that fateful night in North Carolina three months before. Any distraction will do.

Enter Lord Connor McInnis.

Drawn to the sexy, powerful ruler of San Diego, Beatrice soon loses herself in the passion and luxury of the vampire’s world. But when she finds herself caught in the middle of a centuries old vampire rivalry, Beatrice must decide: how far is she willing to go for those she loves…and for herself?

It has been a while since I visited the world of F.R.E.A.K.S Squad Investigations. Almost 3 years to be exact, so I was a little worried that I would be lost jumping into THE SIN EATER. If you're worried about the same thing, don't be, things came back to me as I started reading and Jennifer Harlow was good about rehashing what happened in the past.

I have to admit that I'm  a cover whore and I totally hate the cover of THE SIN EATER. Thankfully it's the 5th book in the series and I have enjoyed it in the past or it would have totally turned me off to reading the book. Since I am already talking about things I dislike, I will mention my other big issue with THE SIN EATER. Beatrice annoyed the hell out of me with her selfishness and lack of common sense. Yes, she is grieving, but it was extremely hard to sit back and watch her treat her family and friends like crap. I wanted to reach into the book and slap her around. It was just bad decision upon bad decision until Oliver came and reminded her who she was.

Now onto the things I enjoyed about THE SIN EATER. I enjoyed seeing Beatrice—after she was herself again—see Oliver in a different light now that Will is no longer in the picture. It was nice to see her realize things I knew from reading past books. She was also willing to sacrifice quite a bit after all was said and done when it came to the major conflict of the storyline to save those she loved. Her previous actions still annoyed me, but her new actions definitely helped to put the issues on the back burner.

As you can see, THE SIN EATER was a mixed bag for me. If there will be more books in this series—and I hope there will be—, I hope it focuses once again on Beatrice and the F.R.E.A.K.S together again and I hope that Oliver and Beatrice are able to advance from where the story left off. 

I gave it 3/5 stars

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Writing the Wolf by Steffanie Holmes

UFI welcomes Author Steffanie Holmes. Thanks for Joining us!!

“Write what you know,” says decades of well-meaning writing advice. Unfortunately, where this has landed us is an industry that continues to perpetuate the myth of fantastical worlds where the only people who have agency are straight white dudes.

There are so many reasons for this, and I don’t want to go into them all here (many others have said it much better than I), but one of the reasons is a fear among writers that if we try to tell stories outside our own cultural experience, we’ll get it wrong. That we’re somehow not allowed to play in the sandbox of diversity unless it’s our own special brand of diverse.

That’s a legitimate fear. Getting the details wrong is worse than not doing diversity at all. But we’re writers – we should know how to research. There are plenty of books we can read, essays to explore, and real live people living these stories every day we can talk to.

It’s vital that writers from diverse backgrounds have their stories heard. As the first step toward true, diverse literature, it’s absolutely essential. But that’s only part of the issue. All writers can create characters that tell the stories of a real, diverse world. We’re all responsible for this representation.

Hell, we’re writing about shapeshifting werewolves and blood-sucking vampires and talking cats. Why can we do that, but can’t write a disabled main character? Why don’t we step up?

A character can resonate with anyone, no matter their background. Harry Potter appealed to countless people across the world, and not a single one of us share his wizarding abilities. Likewise, you don’t have to be a person of colour to get alongside a POC protagonist, and you don’t have to be gay to root for the gay hero.

When I was researching for Writing the Wolf, which has a POC heroine who experiences some awful racism that leaves her having panic attacks, I spoke to friends and other writers about their own experiences of racism and microaggressions. “You don’t know what it’s like, walking into a room and knowing you’re different,” a POC friend of mine said.

But I do. I am legally blind. I know exactly what it’s like to be in a room and know no one else there sees the world the same way you do, and that they’re all judging you for it. As soon as she said that to me, the whole story made sense, and the whole character of Rosa clicked into place.

My point is that racism, bigotry, sexism, ableism, homophonia … they’re all different experiences that at their root, result in the same feelings of hopelessness, of discarding the “other, of worthlessness and wrongness in the targeted person. These are universal human experiences writers can tap into. By finding that emotional link to your own personal story, you can, I believe, write diverse characters with greater depth and substance. And the world is better off for it.
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Steffanie Holmes is a USA Today bestselling author of dark and steamy paranormal romance. Her books feature clever, witty heroines, wild shifters, cunning witches and alpha males who get what they want. 
Before becoming a writer, Steffanie worked as an archaeologist and museum curator. She loves to explore historical settings and ancient conceptions of love and possession. From Dark Age Europe to crumbling gothic estates, Steffanie is fascinated with how love can blossom between the most unlikely characters.

Steffanie lives in New Zealand with her husband and a horde of cantankerous cats. Learn more about Steffanie at her website: www.steffanieholmes.com. She also writes dark science fiction under the name S C Green.

Want to be informed when the next Steffanie Holmes paranormal romance story goes live?
Sign up for the mailing list! http://steffmetal.com/subscribe

Find Steffanie and her books
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Writing the Wolf
Wolves of Crookshollow #2
Amazon BN iBooks Kobo Google Play
Sink your teeth into the hot new werewolf paranormal romance from USA Today bestselling author, Steffanie Holmes!

Rosa:
I need to escape.
After those racist bastards destroyed my home, I can’t face the world again.
I’ve rented a cabin in the heart of the Crookshollow forest. I’m going to lock myself away and work on my book. I’m going to write my story.
And I absolutely, positively WILL NOT think about Caleb, the hunky labourer who’s fixing up my cabin.
No way.
I won’t think about the way his eyes melt my heart, and his smile melts my panties.
I’m too emotionally raw right now. I can’t handle a fling, especially not with a white guy.
Especially not a guy like him. A guy who shags and leaves. I can’t handle any more heartache.

Caleb
Rosa Parker – clever writer, black woman, total hottie.
The connection between us sizzles – there’s no denying it: this woman is my mate.
When I’m near her, all I want to do is claim her.
If only I wasn’t the biggest threat to her life right now.
With a rogue wolf pack after my hide, I can’t afford a distraction. Even a distraction as alluring as her.
I need to keep my wolfish instincts in check.

But I can’t help myself.
Rosa Parker has got under my skin.
And I won’t stop until I’ve made her mine.

Writing the Wolf is a standalone novel with an HEA. It’s the second book in the hot new paranormal romance series by USA Today bestselling author Steffanie Holmes. Read on if you love spunky heroines, pack politics, and a hero so hot he’ll have you howling for more.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week in Review: 5/14-5/20



Books Received for Review

No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

Books I've Read

Fierce Obsession by Suzanne Wright
The Red Lily by Juliette Cross
Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price
Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Reviews Posted


Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller

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

* Monday- Guest Blog for Wicked by L.M. Pruitt

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for When Danger Bites by Heather Long

* Thursday- Interview for Shifted by Fate by S.R. Mitchell

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* 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, May 19, 2017

Review: Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller

Borrowed Souls
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Talos
Soul Charmer Book #1
ISBN:   1940456827
ISBN13: 9781940456829
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss
Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.

The whole premise of BORROWED SOULS quickly drew my attention and when I had the chance to review it, I jumped into it pretty quickly.

Callie is a huge believer of being there for family, but in my—and every other normal person's mind—they don't deserve her at all. Her brother is a drug addict that uses her to bail him out of trouble and I can't even begin to explain how I feel about her mother. BORROWED SOULS finds Callie trying to save her brother once again, at the expense of herself.

Callie was an easy character to connect with. I found her to be both brave and determined. She really needed to work on making it harder for her family to manipulate her into doing everything for them, but I think it will come. There is a bit of a romantic connection between Callie and Derek, but it is far from the focus of the story. I did however really enjoy watching them work together.

I really enjoyed the world-building aspect of BORROWED SOULS. It was well explained without it being overly done. We got a lot of little tidbits scattered throughout the story, but I didn't feel like I was waiting to know about it, it was smooth learning. There is of course a lot more that needs to be known and explained, but for the first book in a series, I thought it did a good job. I look forward to reading more!

I gave it 4/5 stars

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