Author Interview: Kate SeRine

Hints and Insight from Kate SeRine

Here there might be spoilers – Beware! Or read all the books in the Transplanted Tales series first – that’s cool.

Red

The Better to See You

Along Came a Spider

Kate SeRine Our first question should be about world building. There’s something…Harry Potter about the Transplanted Tales, in that their world exists in our current world. You don’t ask us to imagine another planet or a Narnia. You don’t ask us to believe that these characters simply exist in our world, like vampires. You ask us to consider two separate worlds residing in one and then make us believe. Amazing. How did you come up with the Transplanted Tales universe?

The idea for the Transplanted Tales came to me during a conversation with my eldest son, who was 8 or 9 years old at the time. We like to have what we call “What if” conversations where he’ll ask me a question that’s totally out there and then we chat about it. The question that day: “What if fairytale characters were living next door to us?” We went on to discuss who it would be, what that Tale would do for a living, and so on. And as we chatted, I started to get a very clear picture in my head of a tough, hard-hitting version of Little Red Riding Hood — all grown up and ready to knock some heads. I practically ran to my computer to get it all down. All the other details just fell into place as I began writing.

In creating your characters and interactions, you’ve used readers’ general feelings and preconceptions of fairy tale and literary characters and both built on that and tore those associations apart. Was that intentional, or just character and story flow? Did you sit down and plan, or are you more organic, like “wouldn’t it be cool if…”? A little of both?

Oh, it was totally intentional! I have a very wicked, twisted sense of humor and have a great time turning all these stories on their heads to come up with something unexpected. Some of the characters were planned—working with Little Red Riding Hood meant I’d need to bring in the Big Bad Wolf in some way, and I figured the “biggies” would have to make an appearance (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.), but the actual twists on those characters often came to me as I was writing or doing research. If I was stuck on what to do with one of the characters, I would do some reading to see if anything about the origin of the story or the story itself would trigger something crazy.

Believe it or not, one of the characters I spent the most time researching was Lavender Seelie’s brother, Puck. Obviously, most people know him from Shakespeare, but Puck has a very long traditional in folklore that predates the Bard.

Red by Kate SeRineSeriously, how did you come up with Snow White as a madam? Jim “Prince” Charming as such a skeeze? And the “Willies” for the Shakespeare characters. Pure genius in a name.

LOL – You know, I don’t know if I’ve shared this with anyone yet, but Snow White’s character in the Tales was inspired by Mae West’s quote, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” And with Snow White being such a pristine, innocent character in name and deed, I couldn’t resist. Same kind of thing happened with Prince Charming. I had a lot of fun turning him into a philandering, unethical a**hole. One of my very favorite scenes in THE BETTER TO SEE YOU was in the beginning when he and Lavender square off. I still chuckle when I read it.

The Willies just sounded funny to me. Shakespeare’s plays can be rather bawdy and the double-entendre made me grin.

So, I guess, basically, I do all this just to amuse myself and hope it entertains other folks as well. 😉

How do you mix all that with such sexy romance, thrilling mystery, and suspense?

It’s funny — I didn’t start off intending to write mystery or suspense, but it kind of morphed into that as I went. I really enjoy reading plot-heavy novels and so that’s what I tend to write. As Red’s voice took on that noir feel, the mystery/suspense elements all fell into place. And, for me, romance is a must in every project. I gotta have a happily ever after.

As for weaving all those elements together? Part of it is practice. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, but I guarantee you my writing is way better now after writing numerous other novels and partial novels in the twenty-*mumble* years since then. Part of it is study. I’ve read a little bit of everything from all genres and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t and try to figure out how to incorporate certain techniques into my own work. And then part of it is just instinct. I go with my gut.

The Better To See You by Kate SeRineYou announced last week that you contracted with Kensington to write a novella continuing Tess and Nate’s story, giving us a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of their relationship hinted at in the second and third books. How did the addition to their story come about?

I’d always intended to tell this story. Nate does something rather drastic at the end of RED that I knew he’d have to pay for in some way, even though his intentions were noble and just. The Fairytale Management Authority was pretty understanding, of course, considering he took out a murderer and ultimately saved lives, but those who’ve read RED and already know Nate’s secret, realize that the FMA isn’t the only authority to which Nate has to answer. And they’re less forgiving.

And a contract for the fourth book in the series – congrats! Gideon! Okay, so, bribe, blackmail, pester, chocolate, champagne, whatever it takes. We gotta know. Who is his heroine?

Hehe. Her name is Arabella Locksley, but you wouldn’t know her by that name because the storytellers got her story all wrong… 😉

Any plans for more? Puck, Mary, Snow, Cindy, what’s going on with Lavender’s parents, and the Pigg brothers? Or have different characters and stories been invading that clever mind of yours?

We’ll have to see where the series goes and if it continues. I’d certainly be open to writing more Tales under the right circumstances. I’ve planned books 5 and 6 in which Al Addin and Mary Contrary would both get their page time. And there are certainly other characters who would be coming back to visit. I don’t know that I’d do much with Snow or Cindy—they’re too much fun to use as foils for my heroines.

If I write another novella, it might be fun to do a story with Puck. He’s such an irresponsible, egotistical jerk it has really surprised me how much people like him. But he shows signs of finally growing up and being “tamed” at the end of book 2, so maybe there’s hope for him yet… 😉

All that being said, I do have other projects I’m working on, so I’d be okay with bringing out something new as well.

Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRineGive us some inside info on any (or all) of the main characters–stuff that didn’t make it into the book. Thoughts, feelings, background, anything you know about them that we don’t. We love hints and insights!

Oh, wow. There’s all kinds of stuff that didn’t make it into the books. Let’s see…

Tess “Red” Little – Her father was mayor of the village where she lived in Make Believe, which made her affair with Seth even more scandalous. When Nate calls her cell phone, the ringtone is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult.

Nate Grimm – I reveal a lot of his backstory finally in GRIMM CONSEQUENCES, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr he drives was won in a poker game with Nicky Blue—one of the few times he’s actually beat his closest friend at the game.

Seth Wolf – He’s a big fan of BAND OF SKULLS (he’s wearing one of their concert T-shirts in book 2) and THE BLACK KEYS. His favorite poets are John Keats and Robert Browning.

Lavender Seelie –She likes to make chocolate chip pancakes for Seth on Saturday mornings. And she’s grown very fond of washing dishes (those of you who’ve read THE BETTER TO SEE YOU will know why *wink, wink*).

Trish Muffet – She has several degrees, including an MD, from various colleges and universities, but she never uses the title “Doctor”. Once tried to dye her trademark blonde ringlets brown, but turned them green instead. It was a reeeeeeally long few hours before they reverted to their natural color.

Nicky Blue – Made his initial fortune during Prohibition and expanded his business interests from there. Owns the Tale pub, Ever Afters, but pays Bob “Old King” Cole to run it and be the “face” of the business.

And, oh, all right… I’ll give you something on Gideon. When I write about him, I’m kind of picturing Chris Hemsworth (Thor) with the longish red curly hair of Josh Knowles from the History Channel’s FULL METAL JOUSTING (might have to look this one up if you’re not a nerd like me). Yummy, right? This is such a tough gig. 😉

Thanks, Kate, for being such a good sport and for the great answers!

Evereyone else, go. Purchase and read. Go now.

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J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Too Much (or Not Enough) of a Good Thing?

medium_5795161232J:  I’m trying to think of the stuff I’ve read lately

My nerd kick led me to Nerd in Shining Armor

ehhhhh

and Love Kinection

better than ehhhh but still not everything I ever dreamed of

I should actually say Shining Armor was cute

but not what I expected

and the author of Love Kinection took too much pride in the nerdiness, but the story was pretty cute

M:  Oh yeah? I like the titles

J:  It was just a big dump of the geekiest things the author could think of

like she polled people for ideas and then threw them all in there

pop culture references galore

you know how I feel about those

besides dating a book…

I mean, there was Buffy, Star Wars, Star Trek,

stuff I’ve never heard of, comic books, nintendo, nerdy references that only nerds get, joss whedon, conventions. it never ended

that was Love Kinection

cute story. cute hero

too much nerd

M:  it’s a fine balance, like the alpha bad boy/alphahole. Too much is sometimes…too much.

J:  yeah. I would have loved the story otherwise

and the Nerd in Shining Armor was like “what else can we get these guys into?”

psychic brother, psychotic boss, heroine from the hills of Tennessee (little offensive there, too, though I know there are people like that here), color blind hero, set in Hawaii, plane crash, overprotective mother

the hero was adorable, just as I’d hoped

and adoring, like the shy guys are

but I sighed a lot

M:  I finished the Alpha Bad Boys 7 book pack – 99 cents when I bought

I liked the Olivia Cunning stories, I’d read her again

and Shayla Black’s story was good. Worth buying for those three stories alone

Started out good with those, but the rest I pretty much skimmed through

like, major skim

J:  assholes instead of alphas?

M:  snoozeholes

J:  hahahahaha

M:  the stories from the third one on did not hold my interest

not so much alpha or enticing

I mean, I was expecting some serious, bordering-on-alphahole heroes, and none of them really were

I was a bit disappointed. Maybe my idea of alpha bad boys differs, though, so…

J:  I can’t handle alphaholes

M:  I like a certain amount of arrogant alpha

as long as they have a good heart

these weren’t heroes I’d pull together specifically for a collection of that title, but that’s me

and there is a difference between an alpha bad boy and an alphahole

so there’s that

but these were just…romance heroes

and not that they weren’t good heroes, but just not what I get excited about when I think of alpha bad boys

J:  I feel like I’ve read more than just the geek ones lately…hmmm

M:  I read a couple of Entangled Brazen that were/are on sale to celebrate their birthday

all were pretty good

Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson – football player hero marriage for convenience/bolster his reputation. I’ve read a few by her lately and they’ve all been pretty good

Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey – hostage negotiator hero who falls for his boss’s daughter, forbidden romance angle. I’d read more of her stuff

I started One Night with a Hero by Laura Kaye, military hero one night stand turns into next door neighbor and related complications

only a little ways in, but so far so good. I’ve read a few of hers before, too, and they’re all  solid good-old sexy romance.

J:  Ooh, an Entangled one comes out today about a geek

must go buy

M:  read a couple m/m that were free and pleasant surprises

Reaching the Edge by LM Somerton. On sale for 80 cents

and Yes, Sir – a free short erotic novella that was pretty steamy and decent. I’d read more from both of them.

I read a couple of Skye Warren books, too

they were solid, but very different subject material. dubious consent, non-consent, that very dark side of erotica. Definitely not for everybody.

J:  holy crap. when do you read?

has it been that long since we chatted about books?

M:  I’ve read a ton. the past couple of weeks have been hella stressful and distracting

so I read if I can’t write

the one click ordering is so dangerous

J:  I agree with that. I ration myself

hahaha

not myself. my books. my money

or I’d never do anything

M:  I tried, but fell into the purposeful delusion of “oh, it’s on sale. That doesn’t count.”

and wheee

I can find lots of good books on sale

but I do have a new house and lots of fun remodeling to pay for soon, so…

budgeting sucks

but then, “it’s only 99 cents. What’s 99 cents?”

times fifty

J:  it’s a lot if you buy one a day

exactly

M:  I figure I’m doing good with one a day

I mean, I don’t buy coffees or anything. No Starbucks on the island.

right? heh

J:  that’s how I justify my pedicures

lol

I don’t buy handbags or shoes, so….

M:  yeah, those aren’t my crack

Buying books? Oh, yeah.

Speaking of which…

brb

photo credit: Domiriel via photopin cc

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

We Want YOUR Recs!

book recommendations from ruthie knox

© Makarand | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J:  I put out a request for geek heroes on twitter

and got responses from Ruthie Knox, Delphine Dryden, and Charlotte Stein

A little surreal

M:  I love recs, and getting some from those ladies has to be great.

J:  reading a Charlotte Stein now

I think you’d like

M:  someone rec’d her to me a while back

I looked at her Amazon author page

she has a bunch that sound good

J:  reading Power Play

geek sub

M:  Right up your alley

J:  only I’m getting the feeling the geek part is an act to draw out the Domme nature of the heroine

there is some suspension of disbelief necessary

M:  I can deal with suspension of disbelief if the story is done right

J:  everything takes place in the workplace so far

which twangs my HR strings pretty hard

M:  see, that would twang my OCD. I sure hope they clean that desk

J:  I can’t watch The Office without stressing out

so you can imagine how tough I find BDSM in the office

M:  heh

J:  But we have to discuss – at least a little – the ARC of Kate SeRine‘s Along Came a Spider. Due out Aug 1?

M: August 1, yes

J:  I mean, Nicky Blue…

M:  I loved him. Loved.

She writes a really great hero

J:  and I got this weird feeling this is the last

which makes me a little sad if true

because I want to see Gideon’s story

M:  I don’t know. I think she left Gideon pretty open for his own story

I’d like to see more about Lavender’s brother Puck, too

And Cindy needs a real Prince Charming. And Al needs a good romance. And…

J:  I hope she keeps going

M:  Oh, yes. Me, too

J:  she did mention she’s got a WIP, so at least we’ll see more from her, whatever it may be

M:  I’ve read a couple interesting ones

I did finish Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha and was caught up so I bought the second in the series, Beyond Control

I really liked that one

I’d highly recommend for those who like erotica that’s a little different and really sexy

and wowsa hot

J:  I’m about half through Beyond Shame

I kinda stopped when I got the chance to read SeRine’s ARC

:-/

M:  I know some readers are looking for erotic tales a little beyond the usual after That Book

and this is a series and writer(s) I’d definitely rec

I liked Beyond Shame, but I really liked Beyond Control

got into the characters a lot more

Looking forward to the third in the series

J:  Well, you know I loved Delphine Dryden’s books and rec Theory of Attraction

and Ruthie Knox’s Flirting with Disaster. Hero with a stutter. Be still my heart

even quiet and stuttering, she made him so sexy

unf

there’s something about her technique, too

M:  I’ll try it. I read Big Boy – Strangers on a Train from your rec, and it was good

J:  short and different

M:  I like different

J:  but the technique got me with that one. a kind of ebb and flow to the sentences

M:  got you in a good or not so much way?

J:  mostly good. sometimes I just wanted her to come right out and SAY what was going on

it was hard to imagine that kind of arrangement, for one thing

I mean, for me

M:  I enjoyed the story, but for some reason, it was more like reading, not living the characters and scenes

if that makes sense

J:  yes, it does

like, you’re in the scene, you see it happening, but you have no effing clue why

M:  I felt the connection to the characters and story, but not as deep as I thought I should

J:  because it was like watching two strangers do something a little strange

rather than BEING one of the strangers doing something a little strange

M:  well, I like strange. I’m on board with strange

J:  what did get me, though, was the hero’s attempt to fix things at the end

I like a guy that won’t give up without making it right

even if he knows he may not get his desired result

M:  I like that, too

He was really kind of odd and dislikable in his reaction to her wanting more at first

and maybe the reason came a little too late?

or maybe there should have been more hints of vulnerability? I just don’t know

J:  maybe. but I saw it as wanting to desperately cling to that double life. to avoid showing her anything that might scare her off, even if it meant letting her go. at least it was on his own terms

but then he did show that vulnerability. he did decide to let her in

to take a chance

even if it might have been too late

M:  he did. I guess I would have liked to see a little more a little earlier, been given little hints through her eyes kind of thing

but it was a very fun read. I’d definitely read more by her.

J:  all these things I’ve read lately have helped so much with my writing

**dances**

M:  I’m dancing with you – yay!

reading is good

I read a book by Tracey Garvis GravesOn the Island

I’d seen her name here and there, and the ebook went on sale

I’m not a fan of survivor island books, but I liked

J:  oohhh

is this the one where she’s with her student?

I’ve seen such mixed reviews

M:  I liked. I recommend

I thought the whole story was well done

He’s in remission from leukemia, and his parents hire her to tutor him to catch up over the summer

they rent a vacation place in the Maldives, and she and TJ fly out a few days later than the family

the plane goes down, and they’re stranded on the island

Nothing happens between them until he’s almost nineteen

I had my skeptic hat on until I read, but I thought she did a good job of handling the whole situation. I believed, and you know I can be picky

J:  fair enough

M:  She actually took a bunch of my not-favorite tropes and really made them work

well written both in editing and story

very layered

what I really liked is that the story didn’t end when they got off the island (hope I’m not spoiling)

there was still a lot of developing in the characters and plot, which made the second part as interesting as the first. Maybe more

And – ugh. He makes a gesture that just about broke my heart

J:  you’re not spoiling. I need urging to read it. otherwise, it would stay on the shelf

M: read it

J:  heh. Okay.

M:  honestly, the whole book is worth the one line

she nails it

She had the first chapter of her next book at the end. She’s tackling some really difficult and different subjects, and after seeing how she handles this, her next book is going on my buy list

difficult subjects, but handled realistically in my opinion, without the overwrought drama

And speaking of which, pretty much my entire family is coming to visit this week (Stop reading this, Mom. I’m just kidding.)

J:  So you may not brb

M:  probably not

and I can’t say “laters” or you’ll slap me

so…smell ya later?

J: Just go

Book Review: Lawless Love by Andrea Downing

Guest Review by Heidi LaVista

book review Lawless Love by Andrea DowningWhile tracking a suspect in the murder of a local ranch owner, US Marshal Dylan Kane encounters Lacey Everhart twice in the course of one afternoon. First bathing in the river, and then as the proprietress of the town’s only lodging house. When her younger brother, who matches the description of his suspect, returns home, Marshal Kane’s long-held beliefs of right and wrong, black and white, are challenged in the interactions that follow.

Lawless Love is an enjoyable historical short story. Andrea Downing’s imagery is great, as are the historical aspects. I did have some trouble with the phonetic use of dialog, which was abundant and somewhat inconsistent. The words and pronunciations are most likely accurate for the time and setting, but spelling them out distracted me nonetheless.

Also distracting are a couple of my personal pet peeves, which won’t bother most readers, but I have to mention. I. Don’t. Like. This. Effect. At. All. Yeah, that. The story does require some suspension of disbelief, suffering from the insta-lust and love often seen in novellas. I had a hard time believing Lacey would think about kissing a man she was rightly furious with for spying while she bathed in the nude. I also didn’t get much of a chance to experience what the hero and heroine saw in each other to make them fall so hard into love—or even lust—so quickly despite their beliefs and values of the time period.

I do have a couple of sentences that show the great potential for Ms. Downing’s imagery, but mix with passive phrasing:

“As night whispered about him and he watched the curtains billow before they were sucked out into the silver light of the moon, Dylan lay imagining what it would be like to hold Lacey in that nocturnal quiet.”

Loved the imagery, but the passive phrases and words not so much.

“Outside, a ball of tumbleweed spun by as branches tried to meet the earth and the gate crashed open and shut.”

Same thing. Loved the imagery, would have liked to see it more active, but that’s just me being picky. And then the repeated line a few pages later:

“Out the window, the front gate crashed and slammed on its hinges as tumbleweed bowled by.”

Essentially the same thing, but with active rephrasing. Blend the two sentences together, and I think we’d have something very nice indeed.

Overall, Lawless Love entertained, and I’m interested to read the author’s other works. I love the potential of her talent and would like to see the results of a little stronger editing in the more technical areas.

book review lawless love by andrea downing

About the Book

Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.

Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong.  He’s never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he’s followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers…but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless?

About the Author

Andrea Downing likes to say that, when she decided to leave New York, the city of her birth, she made a wrong turn and went east instead of west.   She ended up spending most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire.  She married and raised a beautiful daughter and  stayed on to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District, Wales and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, was her first book and is a finalist for the RONE Award of Best American Historical.  Lawless Love, a story, comes out as part of The Wild Rose Press Lawmen and Outlaws’ series on Sept. 4.  Andrea is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

Follow Andrea on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and purchase Lawless Love on Amazon

About the Reviewer

Heidi LaVista loves to combine words and song, reads more than a lot, and dabbles in writing stuff sometimes. Loves editing, stuffed animals (not clowns), cute guys, cats and dogs, and chocolate-covered pretzels.

Book Review: Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

Guest Review by Lisa Lester

book review hunger moon by melissa snarkWerewolf Victoria Storm knows all about duty.  Alpha to a dwindling pack decimated by war with the Barrett family, and with new pups on the way, she must find safe harbor away from the pursuing human hunters that have sworn to wipe her pack from the face of the Earth. After praying to her goddess Freya for guidance, Victoria is led to Sierra Pines, California to find an Alpha to protect and shelter her pack.  Arik Koenig, a powerful alpha male with a murky past, promises to be the protector her pack so desperately needs, and agrees to be Victoria’s mate.  Yet nothing is ever easy, and Victoria soon finds that the wickedly handsome Arik comes with his own baggage; his murdered wife’s spirit cries out to Victoria to protect her son, Logan, who has been rumored to be his mother’s killer.  Can she trust the attraction she feels with Arik, despite the rising contention between father and son?  Or will the mystery of his wife’s death lead to the destruction of her pack?  She has to find the answers, and fast, to keep herself and her pack safe.

This book was literally a page turner for me.  This was one of those books where I would look at the clock, groan aloud at how late it was, and move on to the next chapter, until I finished it in one sitting.  Melissa’s concise writing style keeps up a good pace without slowing down, and the characters are alive and seem to leap off the page.  I also loved the inclusion of Norse mythology into the story; the world and mythos building here is just enough to be immersive without bogging down in the details.  Another aspect of the book I liked was that even in their human forms, the shifters in this world still have characteristics of their animal counterparts, such as showing submissiveness to a dominant pack leader.  I particularly enjoyed the snappy dialogue between Victoria and Logan, as well as the sparks that fly between her and Arik.  Let me tell you, parts of those interactions were definitely hot! While I missed the first book in the series, that is definitely a mistake I will have to rectify.  I’m intrigued to see where Melissa takes Victoria and her pack, and to learn more about the role she plays as a Valkyrie and the dynamic between her and her goddess Freya.  A definite must read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.

Book Review Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

 

About the Book

Valkyrie Victoria Storm desires nothing more than to provide her wolf pack with a safe haven, but her position as priestess to the Goddess Freya also brings with it certain… obligations. Not to mention complications.

War with the Barrett family resulted in the deaths of her parents and most of her pack. Now, hunters are hot on the trail of the remaining pack members. Sawyer Barrett, a human hunter hell bent on revenge, is convinced that Victoria murdered his brother. He will stop at nothing to see her dead.

Victoria must defend the survivors and somehow lead them to safety.  Months on the run has weakened the pack, and there are newborn pups to protect, making swift travel impossible.  Ahead, the promise of refuge beckons.

Their best chance for survival lies in Sierra Pines, California: Arik Koenig, a powerful, dominant male wolf. He promises to protect and provide for the pack, something Victoria knows the pack needs for survival. His mysterious past is riddled with violence and death, including the slaughter of his entire family twenty years before. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and his son, Logan, is rumored to be her killer.

What is truth? Who can she trust? The desperate spirit of Arik’s murdered wife calls out for help, and Logan begs for assistance in clearing his name. Victoria must solve a murder that has pitted father against son, rooted in a mystery reaching back two decades. Her quest starts her on a journey from the human world to Odin’s Valhalla and back again.

Victoria will find salvation or face destruction beneath the Hunger Moon…

About the Author

A friend asked me once how I chose my pen name. I told her the following: “Melissa, because when people mix up my first name, it’s the most common goof up. Snark, because it amuses me. A) I love the word ‘snarky’ and B) I love Lewis Carroll.”

As an individual, I’m sarcastic, stubborn and blunt to a fault. I have a strange sense of humor and I like to laugh (usually at my husband or children), but also at myself. I’m not particularly extroverted, although I do enjoy time with my family and close friends a great deal.

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mom who writes in my spare time. I’ve got a B.S. from Arizona State University in Business, and I’ve worked a variety of different jobs, including as a medical device documentation specialist, a technical writer, and an auto liability adjuster.

I live in the San Francisco East Bay of Northern California with my husband, three kids, and three cats. My hobbies include roleplaying, cooking and reading.

Follow Melissa on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and her website. She also invites readers to email.

About the Reviewer

Lisa Lester lives in a humongous house with three cats, three dogs, two dudes (one of which she’s married to, the other one is a refugee from New Jersey) and a partridge in a pear tree…okay, just kidding about the pear tree.  And the partridge too. When she’s not working for the Man. she’s reading or killing stuff on World of Warcraft. She also enjoys nerdy things like Star Wars, crocheting, and pretty much any kind of music.

 

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Holding Out for a (Geeky) Hero

geek romance heroes

stock.xchng/Morrhigan

J:  I have a new book to send you

I adored

M:  ooh, what was it?

J:  I think it’s called The Theory of Attraction

looking to see if it’s lendable

Geek dom

you know I love the geek heroes

it is not lendable

but I recommend

I’m about to buy the second in the series

the author is Delphine Dryden

and the series is called The Science of Temptation

M:  I shall check it out

geek doms are fun

J:  pygmalion trope

I know you love that one

M:  mmm, yes.

J:  I’m definitely on a geek hero kick

more than usual, I mean

M:  nothing wrong with that

J:  did you have a free moment to read this week? anything interesting for me?

M:  nothing I think you’d like. I’ve been more on an edgy kick

I read a couple decent ones, but they ended in that damn cliffhangery thing that isn’t really a cliffhanger, more like stopping right in the middle of the damn story so you have to move onto the next book to continue. I find that irritates me more than tantalizes

I’m more excited and liable to by the next if there’s a satisfying ending to the arc but the possibility of more

J:  oh yeah

*grumble*

i haven’t read any of those lately

but reviews sometimes give me the heads up

M:  ugh. me no like

I’m still a little starry eyed over Captive Prince – the writing was only okay, but the twisty turny characters, the manipulation within the story, the perception-mangling interactions…

I love that stuff

J:  you said it was picked up by a publisher?

or is that the version you read?

M:  No, I read the pre-publisher version. I’m not sure when that will come out.

I did really enjoy The Mistress Matchmaker series by Jess Michaels, erotic historical

J:  I’ve been looking at those

the moment I get a craving for historical, I’ll go for it

M:  Well, I liked the first two a lot. The third was a little disappointing

Not the story or characters so much, but more the writing, I think. Or editing. Or something

J:  complacency?

M:  Honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe.

A lot more repeated words, passive, just not as tight

J:  sad.

and jarring when you’ve come to expect so much better

M:  Not horrible, by any means, but noticeably different in my opinion than the first two

But I do recommend the series. I really did enjoy

J:  maybe she just had a different editor

M:  could be. kind of felt that way.

I’m in the middle of a more erotica type one by Kit Rocha. I think it was free.

It’s actually pretty interesting and well written

I saw someone mentioned it was edgy and a bit subversive, so I was all “sign me up”

and I’m into it so far

Now, if it ends in a damn cliffhanger thing…argh

J:  what’s the name? I’m looking it up

M:  Beyond Shame

but it’s so much more than the title so far

J:  it’s 99 cents now

M:  it is the first in a series, I see

J:  huh. it actually looks interesting

M:  I saw “subversive” and “dystopian porn” mentioned in the reviews, and I was “huh”

sounds interesting

and it’s pretty solid so far

I’m a little confused about the hero’s attitude, but I think at the point I’m at in the story, that might be the intent

J:  think he’s pretending to be something he’s not?

M:  No, not like that. More either the author is going for more of a reveal – like he’s waiting for the heroine to discover her true self by herself and is just leading her along slowly to help, or his character isn’t as developed as it should be

could go either way right now. Hoping for the former

he’s giving me and the heroine mixed signals

so it’s either going to be an eye-roller or awesome

J:  well, I’ll give this one a shot if you end up liking it

I’m interested enough in the premise

When’s Kate SeRine’s next one come out again?

M:  August 1, I think

J:  that’s not soon enough

M: You could buy it now, and it will show up as soon as it’s released.

J: Ooh, good idea!

brb

Book Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover

Guest Review by Michelle Schaffer

Book Review This Girl by Colleen HooverFirst, let me say that the Slammed series is what made me love self-published authors. I came across Slammed when it popped up on my recommended reading list. I read it in one sitting and bought the second book before finishing the first. When I found out that This Girl was coming out, and it was a look back on the first book from Will’s point of view, I was counting the days and pre-ordered it the first day it was available. To say I had high expectations is an understatement, and I was a little anxious it wouldn’t live up to them. This Girl not only lived up to those expectations, it went beyond anything I could imagine.

This Girl is a look back on the beginning of Will and Layken’s (Lake) story and other parts in Will’s life that impacted them, all from Will’s perspective. It picks up immediately where Point of Retreat leaves off. Lake wants to understand what was in Will’s head when they met and everything that happened before today. “I have your future, now I want to know your past” as Lake says it. Will is hesitant to relive some very painful memories and open up on some things that Lake is unaware, but he concedes and begins to tell his side of the story. It flashes back to different stories of the past and brings you to the present to see the consequences.  As he explains his POV, it gives you the complete picture. It allows you to crawl in the mind of Will, to understand the what, when, why and how. When you read a book from one point of view, you make many assumptions as to why a story goes in one direction versus another; you wonder what is happening to the other side of the story. This Girl answers all those questions and in some of the most unexpected ways. It is written beautifully & executed perfectly. I had my doubts that it could work so well, I should know better to doubt Colleen, she is brilliant. I wanted so much to read Slammed and Point of Retreat again before reading This Girl, but I was impatient. Yet reading this took me back to some of my most favorite parts of their story, and some of the more painful parts. This book made me love Lake and Will even more. The book ends with a beautiful epilogue that made me laugh and cry.

Reading This Girl is bittersweet for me. I loved reading it, couldn’t put it down, and yet never wanted it to end. I am sad to see this brilliant series come to an end. I adored each character, each story line, and each butterflying word. (Yes, I meant to put butterflying and when you read the first book you will understand why)  If you have not read this series, you need to. This is not a standalone book, to understand the story you need to start from the beginning. The story is beautiful, heartbreaking, sad, joyous, and every emotion in between. And this book…THIS book, completed the story. I look forward to reading these books again & again for many years to come.

Book Review This Girl by Colleen Hoover

About the Book

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache. Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

About the Author

I love music. LOVE music. Namely The Avett Brothers, Lumineers, Pink, Eminem. I have eclectic taste? If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

I’m addicted to diet pepsi and could tell you in a taste-test which restaurant it came from. It’s a serious addiction, I tell you.

I get stoked whenever I get a message from goodreads saying I have a new friend request…so request me, dangit!

If you want to know when I have new books out or just want to be inundated by random, pointless blog posts, follow me at www.colleenhoover.com

Avoid my Twitter at all cost. It’s propaganda.

About the Reviewer

Michelle is a lover of books, all shapes and sizes, but a big sucker for a great romance and the search for a new fictional boyfriend! When not taking care of three demanding persons in her home, one being the man she married and the other two co-created with her husband, she works full time in a job that pays the bills. She dreams of down time to lose herself in another book since she has more books on her TBR list than she does food in her refrigerator.