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.

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: Wicked Designs (League of Rogues, Book 1) by Lauren Smith

wicked designsHeroine: Miss Emily Parr moved into her uncle’s home when her parents died. Her uncle sold everything she had of value because of his debts. His partner is a lecherous creep. She wants to get married and quickly to escape both men. Someone kind who will leave her alone to her books… but then she’s kidnapped.

Hero: The Duke of Essex, Godric St. Laurent, and his four best friends kidnap Miss Emily Parr in order to ruin her reputation or ransom her for the funds he’s owed (her uncle swindled money from Godric to pay his debts not invest.) To his consternation, Godric finds he likes the dauntless Miss Emily… and so do his friends.

Review:  You’ve got to love a heroine who’s unwilling to remained kidnapped. She lets her captors know that the person they ruined was her not her uncle and the ruination was unjust. She expects one of them to marry her. Several of the gentlemen would be willing to do so, Godric more than any other.

But here lies the problem, there’s too many men interested in pursuing her and it leads to many scenes where the gentlemen argue over hurting her feelings and taking undue advantage of her. She became a “magic hoo hoo” without the sex for these gents, which is a phenomenon only meant to effect the hero.

Her spunk faded and the hero’s bristling broodiness turned into puppy love (which let me be clear would have been fine if the heroine was still acting spunky with escape attempts and fighting back.) The gents can all speak Greek and so can she so the private conversations are not so private (convenient). Overall while this book wasn’t for me I would definitely give the author another go because the good parts were good and the author made me laugh.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Wicked Designs (The League of Rogues)

Audio Review: Conversion (Conversion, Book 1) by S.C. Stephens

conversionHero: Teren Adams is a gorgeous twenty-something year old architect who just so happens to be part vampire. He really wants things to work with Emma and can’t believe she’s still with him after the dropping the news of his vampirism. He’s terrified of her meeting his family – because they’re pushing for babies and are worried he’s going to die soon and not be able to make any. He and Emma aren’t even married yet!

Heroine: Emma can’t believe Teren is a vampire… or part vampire. He has a heartbeat. It’s kind of cool – she thinks -she’s not sure. Meeting his parents seems a little sudden and gulp they’re vampires too. His great-grandma is even a full fledged vampire. Yikes! But then they drop the bomb that the two need to quickly make a baby because Teren will die and reach his vampire maturity. That’s a real kicker. Maybe even a deal-breaker.

Review: This story has a punchy beginning which is especially cute but it skips forward past the romance and starts again after the characters are in love. Teren reveals his half-vampire status and it’s a race in the sack to get pregnant because he’s about to cross over into his more vampiric state. That bugged me. I would have preferred wooing, romancing, sexing, marrying, and eventually babying… but the story went all over the place on that score and sex scenes became very sterile. It drags a bit through the “I’m a vampire” “No way” “Yes. See fangs?” “Oh my gosh! Fangs!” “Fangs.” “You’re a vampire!” stage. There’s also a lot of animal magnetism in the book which I didn’t like. The story picks up when a vampire hunter kidnaps them. Will Emma and Teren live through it or will they both be murdered in vengeance?

Narrator: Piper Goodeve has a nice voice and is the main reason I was able to get through the whole book. She does an excellent job narrating.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Conversion, Conversion (Audio Book)

Excerpt: Feral Escape (Catnip and Cauldrons, Book 3) by Autumn Jones Lake

feral escapeSometimes when I’m writing, the words just flow from my fingertips. It’s a trance-like state where what I envision in my head magically transforms into the story I want to tell. Other times, I sit, poke at the keyboard and nothing comes out right.

It’s those other times that I desperately look for inspiration anywhere I can find it. Movies, music, taking a long drive, cooking, walking the dogs. When I step away from the computer I let my mind think about the little details. Bits of description that will inspire and move the story forward. Redirecting my focus to little details can sometimes help remove a creative block.

Put yourself in your scene and consider the objects that would be around you. Is there something your character should be wearing or carrying? What objects would naturally be in the space your character is in? What kinds of things would your character hear or smell?

In my novel, Feral Escape, my heroine, Molly has been kidnapped. Her abductors left her in a cave and no one has come to check on her in a couple days. I kind of boxed myself into a corner with this one. There’s not a lot exciting about a cave. I had to think about Molly’s mindset – she’s scared. What might be in the cave with her? Rocks, yeah, duh, of course. What else? Empty water bottles. Ah! The kidnappers were bringing her food and water daily. They’ve since stopped and Molly is scared she’s going to die of dehydration. What else? The cave is cold. What’s missing? A blanket. The kidnappers brought her food and water, but no one thought to provide her with a blanket. Now she’s cold and in pain from sitting on the hard stones for so long.

My hero, Ivan has received a clue about Molly’s whereabouts and goes to look for her. What will he take? It’s night time. A flashlight. A backpack. Infrared binoculars. Hmm…interesting detail. I don’t think that’s an item everyone has around the house. What does he find on his search? A soggy, pink sneaker. Molly’s sneaker, letting him know he’s on the right track. Maybe.

Thinking about these little details and their connections to the characters helped the scene grow. Each of the details helped add to the story and move the plot along. Hopefully they gave some insight to my characters as well.

Let your imagination run free!

What tricks do you use to help your story move along? What sort of details do you appreciate when you’re reading a book?

Blurb: Molly has been captured, imprisoned, and is near-death when rescued. Spending time with Ivan has her re-thinking her vow not to take a mate.

Molly finds the mysterious and aloof Ivan deeply irresistible—she has from the moment she met him. But she’s spent the last year dodging her family’s plans to mate her to another shifter with no intention of changing her mind. Will being kidnapped and imprisoned in a cell where food and water stopped coming days ago cause her to lose hope?

Ivan volunteers every waking moment to find Molly since she went missing. His reaction to the sweet little cat shifter surprises him. He’s fiercely determined to never settle down with another shifter, but he can’t escape the draw she has on him.

Rescuing Molly is only the beginning. The danger she and the rest of the runaway cat-shifters have managed to elude is closing in on them fast. Ivan is committed to protecting Molly from any threats, but his past comes back to bite him when his old enforcer friend tells him he’s been hired to bring Molly in. Will his love for Molly turn them both into prey?

Buy: Feral Escape (Catnip and Cauldrons)

Excerpt:

Huddled in the corner of her tiny stone cell, Molly Goldfoot stared into the darkness. Were it not for the small crack between the rocks, she would have no idea if it was night or day. She wrapped her arms around her knees, pulling them tight to her chest. A shiver rippled through her body. She’d lost track of how long she’d been held captive. In the beginning, someone had brought food and water each day, but that had stopped.

She closed her eyes and visualized her friends, Martha, Kipp, Deacon, Oscar, and her new friend, Onyx. Were they searching for her? Why couldn’t Onyx’s wizard boyfriend conjure up some magic to find her? Maybe it wouldn’t matter. Wherever they had imprisoned her must be magically spelled. No matter how many times she tried, she could not shift into her cat form.

The last person she’d been with before she’d been so rudely grabbed and shoved into the back of a dirty, smelly old van. Would Ivan search for her? He was older than her. Sexy. Dangerous. She wanted him bad. Why had she been so damn stupid and refused his offer to walk her home?

Cause she hadn’t wanted the others to know she went to meet him on the sly. For the millionth time, she wanted to kick herself. She and Oscar were friends. Sure, they’d kissed a little, but it wasn’t serious. There shouldn’t have been a problem with Ivan walking her home.

Molly shook her head, and a sad chuckle trickled past her lips. This was her punishment for her trampy behavior. She altered her position on the hard stone floor, wriggling her left foot which had fallen asleep. At some point she’d lost both her sneakers, so only thin, dirty socks protected her feet. Her butt hurt. This captivity thing became old quick.

Had her family orchestrated this? As she did every day, several times a day, she stood up and shuffled the few steps to the front of her prison.

Buy: Feral Escape (Catnip and Cauldrons)

Author Bio: Autumn Jones Lake was born and raised in Upstate, New York. In addition to writing, she runs her own business from home. A big fan of horror movies and spooky books, it wasn’t until recently she realized all the tales she writes need to include a hunky hero and a happily ever after.

When she’s not writing, Autumn spends time listening to music, going to concerts, reading, gardening, acting, and collecting nail polish. While those things are fun, Autumn is happiest sitting in front of her computer into the wee hours of the night, weaving stories the characters in her head whisper to her.

Autumn lives in Upstate New York with her husband and their three rescue dogs. She is actively involved with several dog rescue groups and her local RWA chapter.

Visit Autumn at:

AutumnJonesLake.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AutumnJonesLake

@AutumnJLake

Review: The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs, Book 1) by Paula Quinn

The Seduction of Miss Amelia BellReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Edmund MacGregor will be damned if he allows Scotland to be ruled by the English and kidnaps Lady Amelia Bell as an act of defiance. He knows she is the daughter of a duke and also the chancellor’s beloved, but when he sees her, he is beguiled by her beauty and for a moment, he forgets why he kidnapped her in the first place. Amelia on the other hand is annoyed that her life has been disrupted by a Scotsman who is hellbent on ruining her marriage and her position. Beneath her demeanor, however she is a woman who would like to marry for love rather than duty, but that isn’t for her as she is expected to marry according to her station.

Review: This is the sequel to Conquered by a Highlander where Edmund MacGregor is adamant that the English he has fought for so long will not take over Scotland. If you thought it was too long since we had some sexy, sweaty, muscular-pecs drama and seduction, you were right, but that was before Paula Quinn did the right thing and wrote her sequel. Here Edmund might do something he will later regret – kidnapping the chancellor’s future wife can’t get more desperate than that, but if he can win her over, he might just make things right and his plan work. Once kidnapped, he doesn’t realise that she has the upper hand when he finally falls for her. The setting is just right, the characters are just as they should be; foolish at times and Like her father, demanding, but the real affection comes from Amelia letting down her barriers to Edmund and treating him like a real man, not a savage as she thinks he might be. Highlanders are proud, strong and know what they want, but he won’t hurt her, not when he sees that being heavy handed with her won’t get the best reaction.

Good bits:

  • It’s action packed
  • Well paced
  • The conflict and then make-up of Edmund and Amelia – it’s a delight to read

Summary: I have read Highlander romance before and noticed how steamy and erotic it was. My previous reads were the scintillating Rumors Among the Heather by Amanda Balfour and the seductive Desire in Tartan by Suz De Mello and both encouraged me to read more Highlander romance, hence me here reviewing this one and I’m glad to say I’m not disappointed. Amelia is typically beautiful but considered to be unlucky, but when she is faced with a devilishly handsome Scotsman, she wonders what will happen to her. I can’t give anything away, only that I did thoroughly enjoy this novel and look forward to reading more from Paula Quinn in the future.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs)

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Audio Review: The Husband Hunt (Madison Sisters, Book 3) by Lynsay Sands

husband huntHeroine: Lisa Madison wants to get married and she wants to be married to Robert Langley, her best friend’s older brother. However he’s clueless. He does not see her as a woman. She’s about to get his attention!

Hero: Robert Langley rescues Lisa from near ruination at a madam’s establishment. Somebody wants to compromise her beyond repair – and the madam says the fellow is a gentlemen. This villain is possibly one of the many suitors surrounding Lisa. He’s going to have to keep an eye on her. No telling what trouble she’ll land herself in if he doesn’t.

Review: Lisa is a TSTL heroine. She can be a real featherbrain and does stupid things in the name of stubbornness and naiveté. She needs a lot of people to explain to her how things work and why she shouldn’t do certain things. Was she asleep in the schoolroom the entire time? Seriously. However, as someone who generally doesn’t like to read the unrequited-I’m-in-love-with-my-friend’s-brother (or brother’s friend) it read well to me. Robert is slowly dragged out of his shell and into the full light of his feelings. I liked that aspect a lot.

Narrator: Jaime Birch was a great narrator. I enjoyed listening very much and would listen to another by her.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Husband Hunt

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Review: Handcuffed By Her Hero (W.I.L.D., Book 2) by Angel Payne

handcuffed-by-her-heroReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Please make sure that you read the Dedication – Angel mentions some worthy military causes. I have to say that if you love this series, what better way to honor the author than to make a small donation in her name to one of the causes she mentions.

Sergeant Zeke Hayes hears a scream. He thinks his friend Rayna Chestain is someone special. They met under some pretty rough conditions. To make this series flow, we continue to read about the sad story of human trafficking. The story also shows the effects of those kinds of conditions on the people that are freed. Angel also reminds her readers that PTSD is no longer associated with just the military. You can’t be afraid to ask for help.

Luna Lawrence is an interesting character – I’ll let you experience her for yourself. But Angel leaves me wondering if she will make an appearance in the next book. She is one of those characters that you want her to have things to make her life better. And then she does a one-eighty.

One thing Angel is good about is showing her readers exactly how much of a Dom Zeke actually is. BDSM is an experience and he knows how to do it very well. Are you Vanilla or are you willing to be a voyeur? Or maybe you like to participate? We get to see the “lifestyle” and the scenes can be very graphic – but then you can’t be totally Vanilla your whole life. Live a little and explore your wild side. And if you don’t want anyone else to know what you’re reading, just read in bed.

I found that this book had a serious amount of testosterone going on. It makes me wonder if our author has any plans for Rayna’s brothers. It will be interesting to follow her and see what else she comes out with – if they show up in this series or even one of their own.

She also knows how to build the tension because of the evil that exists but it doesn’t overtake the storyline. The same goes for Garrett and Sage. Their story continues from when we first met them in Saved by His Submissive. We see them just enough to know what happened after their story ended.

Garrett likes to read an author that seems to be a rival of Angel’s. If you want to know more about this author just follow this link http://lexiblake.net/index.html. And if you haven’t read his story yet, make sure to change that.

If you’ve loved reading this series, you’ll be happy to know that Angel’s next book Surrendering To Her Sergeant will be out this November. It will continue the story of Ethan and Ava whom you also meet in this book. Angel is very bad in that she gives the reader a very short teaser to get you ready for the Fall.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Handcuffed By Her Hero (The W.I.L.D. (Warriors Intense in Love & Domination) Boys of Special Forces – Book 2)