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.

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: She also writes dark science fiction under the name S C Green.

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Find Steffanie and her books

Writing the Wolf
Wolves of Crookshollow #2
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Sink your teeth into the hot new werewolf paranormal romance from USA Today bestselling author, Steffanie Holmes!

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.

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


* 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


* 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.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Interview: Shifted by Fate by S.R. Mitchell

UFI welcomes Author S.R. Mitchell. 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? 
Hmmm… I love to crochet and I have a sushi problem lol I could eat sushi everyday if able.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time? 
I have a very busy life lol! I am married to a wonderful man and we have three children. My down time is spent reading and relaxing. I especially love the beach with the sound of the waves crashing.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 
I block out everything around me when I writing and get immersed in the story. It is an escape that I create with full creative freedom.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write? 
I usually start with a general outline and character info, but after that I let it flow.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres? 
I love reading Norah Roberts and Lynsay Sands!

How would you pitch Shifted by Fate to someone who has not heard of it before? 
This book is unique! It a wonderful romance between a werewolf and witch. Who doesn’t like a hot alpha that know what he wants and would do anything to protect the one he loves?

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you? 
I am currently working on completing book 3, A Chance to Love a Highlander, of my Highland Chance Series! It is a Historical Paranormal Romance series full of twist, excitement, and some time travel.

I am a Texas born wife, mother, and writer! I write words to enchant your soul and fill your heart with love.  I write Historical Romance, Historical Paranormal Romance, and Contemporary Paranormal Romance.

Find S.R. Mitchell and her books

Shifted by Fate
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Kelly had a history of picking the wrong guy, but destiny had its own twisted plan for her. She could not change what destiny had in store for her, but she could learn to accept it. With change came Eric and he was one-hundred percent Alpha bad boy.  Kelly knew one thing when it came to Eric...  
He drove her absolutely crazy.

Eric knew as soon as he scented her, and her smell invaded his senses, that she was his mate.  An alpha did not let go of his mate for anything.... she was his. He would fight for her.  He would guide her.  He would love her.

And with other wolves now after her… he would protect her at all cost.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Promo+ Giveaway: When Danger Bites by Heather Long

When Danger Bites
Bravo Team Wolf #1
Buttoned-up Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is dangerous on every level. As a human, she poses a threat to Marine Captain Jax Raymond’s special Force Recon unit. Though the team has a reputation among the other recon units, only their commanding officer knows their secret. As a woman, the danger posed is entirely different. Jax can survive the temptation for only so long before his wolf takes over and pursues what it wants.

Military intelligence specialist Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is the first woman in the Marines to be assigned to a recon team. And everyone’s watching her. Her mission? Not only prove herself worthy of her place in the group, but uncover the mystery of why Bravo Team is so successful. A mission that gets more difficult every time she’s near Jax…


“That’s a long drive.” A hint of reproach toughened his tone, but he didn’t chastise her about the tires.
“Not too bad, but it’s nice to be out of the car.” In more ways than one. She’d changed into her blues at the last rest stop. Prior to that, she’d been in jeans. She kind of missed those jeans right now. It would be nice to just hang out with him, two random strangers…
“I bet.”
“How about you?”
“On my way back from leave.” He didn’t sound like he wanted to talk about work, assignments, or deployments. “Tell you what, let’s table the work convo.”
Kat chuckled. A man after her own heart. “Kind of hard to ignore the work aspect, considering I’m wearing a uniform.”
“I’m really good at pretend.” The promise of something wicked danced in his eyes.
“Are you, now?”
“Hell, yeah, and I’ve decided we’re going to have a good time over lunch. We’ll laugh, we’ll talk, and we’ll get to know each other.” God help her, he was temptation on a stick. Why couldn’t she have met him back at Quantico?
Where was the harm? I’m on my way to a secret assignment to investigate a classified force recon team. I can see lots of harm. Still, they were only having lunch.
Lunch and pie. “So you have a plan?”
“Absolutely. The only question I have is, are you onboard?”
Their food arrived, and the burgers smelled mouthwateringly good. Kat’s stomach rumbled audibly. With food in front of her, she could pour all her pent-up interest into eating.
Licking her lips, she unfolded a napkin then met his gaze. “I’m totally onboard,” she told him, especially since she could use a break before she immersed herself in Bravo Team culture. “But only for the burger.”
“Hard to compete with Martha’s burgers,” he agreed as he pulled his burger to him. The first bite she took was so good, she damn near groaned. The meat was hot, the onions crisp, and the tomato sweet. Damn. Then her gaze locked with Jax’s as he raised his burger. She found herself mirroring the action, and they both bit into their burgers at the same time and sighed. It went beyond intimacy, the way his eyes seemed to caress her and the warmth invaded her veins.
Trying to laugh off the crazy sensation, she lowered her burger. “Okay, that was a little more food porn than I’m used to with my meals.”
“We need to feed you more, then.”
“Sounds—meaty.” And I sound like an idiot. She grimaced. “I’m terrible at the flirting thing.”
“No, you’re not. Flirting is just play, and I think you’re playing fine. Besides, porn isn’t playing. Porn is good.” To illustrate his point, he took another big bite and lifted his eyebrows as though to invite her to join him. Lifting her burger, she repeated their earlier move and held his gaze as they took another bite. It was so ridiculous and fun in the same breath, she almost laughed.


USA Today best-selling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.

Find Heather and her books
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