Relationships in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

Relationships in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

So this is a guest post, but not…

Hi! You know me. I’m Keira Gillett and I own and run Love Romance Passion. Today, I’m talking about something you might have noticed if you’ve visited the site recently or been hanging out on Facebook and Twitter. My book! That’s right, I took the plunge and wrote a story. Queue *oooo* and *ahhh* sounds. :)

Oooo

Ahhh

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest is about an American girl who moves to Norway and meets a troll, who kidnaps her friend… a friend she must rescue. See the book trailer below:

My book is middle grade/young adult and does not include the typical romantic relationships we love to read and discuss on this blog, but my book does include some very special relationships. These are the familial bonds between parents and their kids.

So Zaria is adopted, an only child, has lovely parents, and is well adjusted. Queue the *horror.*

What will you write about without all that teen drama?!?!?

Wait! Adopted?

Adoptive parents can be absolutely wonderful people. They’re not all mean. Just like step-parents aren’t all nasty. Or aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other guardians… take your pick. Fictional kids can be like real kids and come from happy homes and not from neglected environments (an oft-used literary tool.) I wanted my heroine to experience the same happy home environment.

As for the relationships, I modeled Merry Fierce and Zaria Fierce’s relationship off of my relationship with my mom. Mom Gillett is a cool mom if I do say so myself. If I wanted to play hooky growing up, she’d play hooky with me. If I wanted to be checked out for a lunch date, we’d do that and head over to the fancy establishment by the school (Taco Bell.) If I wanted to desperately attend a midnight premiere for Harry Potter while on a family road trip she somehow made it work. In high school, she let my best friend stay with us while her dad was out of the country. We traveled the world together and are the best of friends. So I poured that loving relationship into Merry’s and Zaria’s relationship.

And I don’t stop there.

  • Colonel Fierce is hard-working, attentive, loving, strict, and obliging.
  • Emma Johansen (Christoffer’s mum) is kind, concerned, intelligent, and loving.
  • Mr Mickelsen (Aleks’ dad) is attentive, supportive, and kind.
  • Aleks has a good relationship with his gran.
  • Mrs Storstrand (Filip’s mom) is strict, fair, and loving.

The adults are all good people and yet the kids still get to go on adventures all over Norway to reach Gloomwood Forest. See parents don’t ruin all the fun! So how do the kids do it? Aha! Good question. Discover the answer in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest.

What other books have you read where the adults are good people and have good relationships with their kids or wards?

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood ForestBook Blurb: On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Early Reviews:

“With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian

Excerpt:

Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Listen to an Audio Book sample:

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (keiragillett)

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Review: The Vampire Hunter (In the Company of Vampires, Book 2) by Michelle Hauf

vampire hunterReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: It’s Kasper’s (Kaz) sixteenth birthday and his only present is a wild, fanged beast trying to kill him – in his panic, he stakes him, killing him outright, though it takes another man, Tor to tell him that the beast he just took out was a vampire and even though he bit him, as he killed it – he would not become like him. He got lucky and, though Tor can’t offer him a place to stay as he’s also homeless, he tells him he can become one of the Knights of the Stake who live to protect the humans who walk the streets of gay Paris.

Review: Kaz has changed from what we saw in the prologue. In chapter one and onward he is a grown man who has developed martial arts skills to be able to look after himself, but the ability to be fast still evades him. Meeting Zoe in the cemetery was a chance he never thought possible, but she needed help and he as after three more vampires, longtooth they are known as, and they could have done a lot of damage to a woman like her if they had caught her. The difference is Zoe isn’t like other women he’s met she’s a witch and being with her would go against his code of ethics.

After kissing Zoe once, he wishes he could kiss her again. Strange thing is he feels drawn to her, like they are meant to be together even though he has never met her before. Kaz, like most heroes in romantic fiction is a man on a quest – to find the single-toothed vampire who killed his friends Robert and Ellen Horst. They had been on their honeymoon when the crazed vamp had a burning desire for the diamonds his wife wore that night. Rumour has it there is a new drug going around called Magic Dust and if vampires take it, it makes them crave shiny things. Other than Kaz’s need to find the killer, he wants to find the one who is creating and distributing the drug – but it he does, he might not like who it is.

Good Bits:

  • The fight Kaz has in the cemetery at the beginning.
  • The ever mysterious Vaillant.
  • The naughty things Faeries can do during sex with vampires!

Summary: Michelle tackles the subject of Faerie and other supernatural creatures living in a sort of harmony in this novel. Vampires have the sort of needs we never pondered before and are far from the Gothic, fanged predators we took them for. They have weaknesses and the Faerie tend to exploit them for their own gain. Kaz is a strong character and Zoe is equally as strong but in different ways. I liked that this story was based in Paris and had a lot of fast-paced moments, emotions and humorous moments too.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Vampire Hunter (In the Company of Vampires Book 2)

Review: An Affair Downstairs by (Thornbrook Park, Book 2) by Sherri Browning

an affair downstairsHero: Logan Winthrop is an estate manager with a past. He was once gentry but was linked with the murder of his lover’s husband. To keep his brother’s family free of gossip he hid from polite society. But he can’t keep hiding around Alice.

Heroine: Lady Alice Emerson has no intention of ever marrying. She has a bucket list and she plans to pursue the completion of every adventure on it and a husband would get in the way. Alice wants to see India, shoot a pistol, and have an affair to name a few things on her list.

Review: Logan is a hero who will do what it takes to protect those around him, even if it is from himself. He has desired Alice for a while but saw the differences in their circumstances as insurmountable. He’s relatively easy to seduce when Alice chooses him as her first sexual experience. Don’t let Alice fool you, she thinks he’s a good choice for all the wrong reasons. Another man enters the picture and he says all the right things, pays all the right attention to Alice, and yet there’s something off about him. Will Logan step aside to give Alice a chance at the perfect match or will he claim her as his own? One nice thing about this book is that the sister isn’t evil (and there will be a time when you wonder, but she’s mostly shallow and clueless which are forgivable because she loves Alice).

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: An Affair Downstairs (A Thornbrook Park Romance Book 2)

Audio Review: How to Marry a Duke (How To, Book 1) by Vicky Dreiling

how to marry a dukeHero: Some think the Duke of Shelbourne is too picky. He wants to find the perfect wife – someone who is a darling in the ballroom and a temptress in bed. He’s perfectly bored with the ladies he’s met so far and is sure he doesn’t want to court a girl just out of the schoolroom. When he stumbles into a matchmaker he believes he’s found the perfect solution. Have her find him a bride and then he’ll court for a day or two, maybe a week, propose, marry, and that will be it. Back to life as normal.

Heroine: Normal? What man could marry without knowing his bride first? Tessa Mansfield can not believe what she’s hearing from the Duke. She knows his plan is abysmal so she goes ahead with her own. He doesn’t want word to get out? She ensures two dozen ladies and their mamas attend the first round of his courtship. He wants each candidate to have the full list of charms he says are important to him? She’s positive each girl lacks one or two. She and the duke bicker and flirt the whole time and somewhere along the way she wishes she’d placed herself on his candidate list.

Review: It’s like a dating reality TV show! I liked that aspect immensely. I wish some of the dating schemes in the beginning were longer, but understand that going into detail on two dozen candidates would be a bit heavy handed. I might be one of the few who really liked the play of a contemporary theme in a historical setting. So, if you don’t think a dating contest is even remotely legit in a Regency historical setting don’t pick up the book. Otherwise if you’re looking for something light, sweet, and sexy go right on ahead.

“We must talk.”

An arrested expression crossed her face. “I do not think that is a good idea.”

“Tess, we’ve no time to argue now.”

She inhaled sharply. “I am deeply sorry for seducing you. It did not occur to me that you would become so distraught.”

“What?” Had she forgotten to pack her brains?

“You must not worry, for I will still respect you tomorrow.” She paused. “But…”

Tristan gaped at her.He must have pleasured her senseless. A knock sounded at the door. They both turned to stare at it.

Then she glanced at him and said in a rush, “I hope you will forgive me, but I cannot make an honest man out of you.”

Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki has a nice voice. She narrates convincingly for both sexes. I chose to listen to her at a slightly faster than normal rate of reading. Overall I would listen to her again. She did a good job!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: How to Marry a Duke, How to Marry a Duke (Audio Book)

Audio Review: Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

sylvesterHeroine: Phoebe Marlow has a good head on her shoulders and sees the ton’s foibles for what they are. She’s also an aspiring writer who just finished penning a marvelous Gothic romance with cameos of different persons in the ton. She makes her bad guy the insufferable Duke of Salford and unwittingly creates his fictional character with a background very close to the real Sylvester. When Sylvester makes a good impression on her after the book is sent to the publishers, she’s desperate to change it but it’s too late!

Hero: Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, doesn’t remember meeting Phoebe the first time. He’s always prided himself on upholding the title with pride and dignity. To treat anyone ill is beneath him and his station. He decides the best way to get back at Phoebe for her slander is to marry the girl, but he goes about it all wrong and botches everything.

Review: In some respects you could say Sylvester is like Mr. Darcy, but they are not exact copies. Loved Sylvester’s nickname for Phoebe, “sparrow.” Super cute. I love a great nickname. I also liked the dynamics of the story. You have several side characters who add to the story’s tapestry and orchestrate all kinds of shenanigans from an ill-behaved nephew, a spoiled woman who wants the attention from being a pitiable mother without having to mother, a man as pompous as he is wealthy, and a platonic male friend who tries to do right but ends up making a mess of things because he lacks the savvy Sylvester was born with. Overall very enjoyable.

Narrator: Nicholas Rowe has a nice smooth voice. The recording is a little soft and I had to listen to it at higher volume than I normally would, but Rowe himself was great. He had a good cadence with the book and made Heyer’s novel entertaining and engaging.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle, Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle (audio book)

Review: An Unsuitable Match (The Duke of Strathmore, Book 2) by Sasha Cottman

cover52980-mediumHeroine: Lady Clarice Langham is in the unenviable position of watching the future Duke of Strathmore wed another woman. (She used to be engaged to the the man). Even being an heiress and a previous ton favorite doesn’t shelter her from vicious gossip and a waning society crown.

Hero: David Radley is the eldest son of the current Duke of Strathmore, but is alas illegitimate even if he is recognized by the duke. He’s loved Clarice for years and sees now as the perfect time to pledge his case.

Review: I think this book is better after having read the first in the series. Readers will have more background on Clarice and David. Clarice did not come across as a strong heroine, although I think she was meant to be because of her inner strength holding onto a secret. She felt drab and plain (she binds her body.) I could not connect with her. David was a good sort. He didn’t envy his younger brother the status of heir to the dukedom and he had a good relationship with his siblings.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: An Unsuitable Match: Destiny Romance

Dominated by the Earl?

DominatedByTheEarl-200x300Guest blog by Raven McAllen, author of Dominated By The Earl

Well, who wouldn’t want to be?

Especially, when in Regency times, you could be a boring wife, or well wink turn the tables a bit…

Hi, I’m Raven, and I freely admit, I find it really hard to talk about myself, or how I write. I’d love to be able to say, oh I have a formula for writing, I do x, y, or x, but in reality I don’t.

In all honesty, I can’t even say where my ideas form, they just pop into my head, and the characters shout until I listen. It gets confusing when it’s more than one book’s worth at once, but somehow I seem to sort them out, and work out who takes priority.

However, I do know I must listen to them, and if I don’t ohh dear. That’s several k’s worth of words deleted then.

I guess that means I’m a pantster character-driven writer. Strangely, of late I have been roughing out things I know I have to add into my story at sometime, but generally I have a start and a finish, and no clue how I’m going to get there, and how many words it will take for me to do so.

It doesn’t always go according to plan, but ah well, I write as I can, not as I think I aught and it works for me. Well, I think it does, you might beg to differ.

So, what can I say?

I’m growing old disgracefully and loving it.

Dh and I live on the edge of a Scottish forest, and rattle around in a house much too big for us.

Our kids have grown up and flown the nest, but roll back up when they want to take a deep breath and smell the daisies so to speak.

I write in my study, which overlooks the garden and the lane. I’m often seen procrastinating, by checking out the wild life, looking—only looking—at the ironing basket and assuring tourists that indeed, I’m not the bed and breakfast. That would mean cooking fried eggs without breaking the yolks, and disturbing the dust bunnies as they procreate under the beds. Not to be thought of.

Being able to do what I love, and knowing people get pleasure from my writing is fantastic. Long may it last.

Blurb…

Leonora knew she’d wait for Justin to come home.

She hadn’t expected it to be so long or so fraught.

When Justin joined his regiment, and was sent to the continent, Leonora promised to wait for him to return.

She didn’t think it would take so long, or she’d have so many difficulties to face. Her life changes as she struggles to cope without Justin and keep his estate running.

With someone out to destroy all she holds dear, Leonora has to fight for her beliefs and her family, and hope they get the happy ever after they deserve.

Buy: Dominated By The Earl

A wee tease…

“Have you finished?” Justin gestured at the chicken bone in her hand.

“What? Oh, yes.” The bone had no meat on it. She had finished it without any thought. “Thank you, I’ll be fine now.”

“I won’t.” Justin put the bone back into the bag and rested it on the ground by his feet. With a grin that Nora could only think of as wicked, he pushed her back up against a tree trunk. The bark was rough to her touch as she put her

“I won’t be fine until I’m deep inside you,” he whispered. “Pushing you to the edge. Taking you further than you’ve ever gone before. Listening to you scream…for everything.”

Nora felt the warmth of his breath on her ear. That, combined with his words, sent a gush of arousal through her that she had thought she would never find again. Her juices gathered and their warmth coated her mound and the apex of her thighs. Before she had a chance to rub her legs together—she wasn’t sure if it was to increase or reduce that delicious ache—Justin thrust his knee between them, and pressed against her quim. Sharp daggers of excitement bombarded her and she moaned. He put a hand over her mouth and Nora slipped her tongue between her lips to circle his palm. She tasted warmth and sweat.

“Shh, and do not do that, minx. I want you, oh, how I want you. If we were alone, and had more time, I would take you here. Strip you, and bare our souls, as I plunge into you in every way possible. Drink your juices and your cries, and let you milk me, as I will do you. That thought has kept me going many a long month. To stroke your breasts, feel your nipples come alive by my touch. To suckle as our child did, and then to watch you splinter as I fill your cunt. And there’s more,” he continued in a compelling undertone as Nora tingled at the erotic pictures his words created. “I have a need to introduce you to new delights such as we had no chance to experience before I left. But we can’t do anything here, and I need to explain so much to you. In truth, Nora, I can only but hope you give me leave to do all this and more once we’ve talked.” He rubbed his knee across her quim. The pressure was enough to make her squirm in ecstasy.

“I need…” she moaned. “I want…” What did she want? Coherent thought was impossible as he slipped his hand under the cloak and nipped one of her nipples through the thin material of her day gown.

“So do I, but sadly we will have to hold those thoughts. We need to move on.”

He moved backward an inch or two, and Nora felt his withdrawal as acutely as if he had left her alone again. His smile lit his face. “I know, love. I feel it as well. Soon I hope we can sate ourselves. Now let’s move.” He took her hand and led her toward the horses. As he threw her up into the saddle, her hands moved to the neck of the cloak. Justin stayed her hands. “Keep it on. It will not upset Moonlight, and it will hopefully warm you until I can.”

Buy: Dominated By The Earl

Raven McAllan Author PicBio: Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge.

A lover of reading, she appreciates the history inside a book, and the chance to peek into the lives of those from years ago. Raven admits that she enjoys the research for her books almost as much as the writing; so much so, that sometimes she realizes she’s strayed way past the information she needs to know, and not a paragraph has been added to her WIP.

http://www.ravenmcallan.com

http:/ /www.ravenmcallan.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/ravenmcallan

https://twitter.com/RavenMcAllan

Review: How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare

how to catch a wild viscountPreviously titled The Legend of the Werestag. Not a paranormal.

Hero: Luke Trenton, Viscount Merritt, is beastly in appearance and temperament. War stripped him of his civility and hardened his heart. He feels like he has nothing to offer the girl who looks at him with stars in her eyes. He wants her to get over him as he knows she will and move on so he can too.

Heroine: Cecily Hale has loved Luke for a while and treasures the kiss they shared before he left for war. When he came home from war and didn’t seek her out she was hurt. She hopes the house party they are both at will be just the setting to win his heart. A local legend of a werestag catches her attention and she convinces the party to go in search of it… but her real hunt is not a wild deer but a wild viscount!

Review: An exceptional novella. I loved the hero and heroine so much I could have read an expanded version of this story. Luke is a deliciously aloof stubborn cad. He rejects her after she pledges her love to him which humiliates and wounds Cecily. Our heroine doesn’t take this too kindly and focuses her attention on the stag hunt instead of the man. At one point she needs rescuing because of a wild boar attack and the mysterious stranger who protects her and things start to develop and get steamy from there on out. Very enjoyable.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: How to Catch a Wild Viscount