Review: Armored Hearts

Armored Hearts

It is the story of an orphaned boy who cannot walk, but discovers he can fly, and a whole new world is opened up before his eyes complete with a love he never thought possible and a danger he never saw coming.

Gareth Smyth is a cripple living with his grandfather in a world on the verge of steam powered automatons but many still cling to their traditions, superstitions, and prejudices, thus they look down upon someone like Gareth, so to protect himself, he despises everything but his little aunt who sees past his wheelchair and loves him for who he is. Then he discovers he can fly by saving a girl’s life.

The story world felt like it was set in an alternative history flavored with steampunk and fairies who sound a bit Scottish. The slight use of the Scottish dialect was done well enough to flavor the language, but not make it difficult to understand what is being said.

Gareth’s sour attitude could be somewhat off putting but I was so intrigued with the story that I had to find out what happens and how he would change. If you’ve read Winter Fae, a short story about his mom and him when he was two years old, it really helps to set the stage of the possibilities to come. Which, I loved Winter Fae so much and wanted to know more about his mother’s story, so I wasn’t sure how I would like his story, but I was not disappointed.

But I have two complaints. One, the story felt rushed and in that some things felt too easy to me, but that’s coming from someone who loves long, epic stories, ha! The second complaint, it was too short! I can’t wait to see how the rest of the story will unfold.

By the way, for those of you who are waiting for the paperback book, its coming soon! The ebook is on sale at Amazon for $.99 for the month of May. It’s also available for Nook for $2.99 at Barnes and Noble. Check it out and enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card at AltWit Press.

Advertisements

Interview: Creeden & Lee

Armored Hearts

What do you get when you cross a paranormal romance author with horror? Armored Hearts. Melissa Turner Lee, author of Difference Between Night and Day, The Earth Painter, & The Man Painter, teamed up with Pauline Creeden, whose short stories have been called creepy, mysterious, and suspenseful, labeled as horror, gothic, steampunk, just to name a few.

Well, I invited them here today to share a little bit about themselves, their writing process, and their new release, Armored Hearts.

Welcome Melissa and Pauline! Please tell us a little about yourselves. What makes you tick? Favorite hobbies, T.V. shows, foods, drinks? Do you have any pets? Kids?

Pauline: Thanks for bringing us on, Jennette. I think that our combination keeps us both in balance. She’s the yin, and I’m the yang. Together, we have a better chance of keeping things moderated. In life we’re quite opposite, too. My house is quieter as far as kids are concerned, since I have only one 12 year old son, but we also have a menagerie – 16 horses, 4 cats, 2 dogs, 2 chickens, 3 goldfish, and a lizard, so I guess the pets are my hobby. And TV wise, I don’t watch much, but I Netflix shows that I like – Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, and the Walking Dead, for example.

Melissa: Yes, we are different. She’s a dog person. I would be a cat person if I wanted to have a pet. But there is no room at my house for one more living thing with 3 boys and a husband and a tiny house. I think more fairy tale and Pauline thinks more creepy horror and somehow it works. I watch a little TV. Doctor Who, Beauty and the Beast, Orphan Black. That’s about it for spare time here.

Who are your favorite authors, books, style, genre?

M: I’m a fan of Paranormal Romance. Stephenie Meyer got me started but I don’t think I write like her. She’s a lot more wordy. I really enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.

P: I read a lot of fantasy/suspense/thrillers – I love CS Lewis, and anyone who visits my fan page on Facebook will know my favorite modern author is Neil Gaiman.

How did the two of you get together and decide to write a steampunk fantasy?

P: I’ll let Melissa answer this one as it was her idea.

M: I had a character come to visit me in my head. He was in a wheelchair and was from Edwardian England. Then I got to know the woman in his life. She was American and gadgety. It was steampunk so I knew I needed help and Pauline happens to be a very talented steampunk writer. I asked her and she agreed.

So, who had the idea? Where did Armored Hearts come from? Tell us a bit about this story.

M: My stories always start with characters. They show up uninvited and I ask them who they are and what is going on. I’m nosy when it comes to people taking up residence in my head. There was this Englishman in a wheelchair who had abilities that could not be explained and a girl who made gadgets and an assassin.

Can you share with us a little bit about the writing process and how the two of you worked together?

P: We had a lot of brainstorming sessions, and then Melissa wrote the first draft. Then we brainstormed some more, and then I took it and added a bit. Then we discussed what needed fixing, and Melissa did the third draft. We went back and forth on this project. But Melissa did the most work, as it was her idea. I have a Contemporary Romantic/Suspense novel I’ll be taking the reins on that we’ve done some brainstorming sessions with and will be working on it later this year as well as AH2.

M: We also made a board on Pinterest so we had the same faces, places and such in mind as we wrote.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing Armored Hearts? What was the best part of writing it?

M: Opening up to new ideas is hard but Pauline came up with great stuff. Places we needed to go back and add action or a death that I would never think of doing on my own. I think it made it stronger and not too frilly nor too dark.

P: The challenge of collaboration is that there is compromise. Sometimes I had an idea that Melissa would shoot down, and I’m sure that I shot down one or two of hers as well. But I think the end result was better than either of us would have had happen on our own and with only our own ideas involved. The best part was the research. I started watching Downton Abbey in order to immerse myself in the sort of culture that surrounds Armored Hearts (at Melissa’s suggestion). And the period is beautiful and romantic.

Who is your favorite character and why?

P: Jessamine – she’s so strong, confident, and clever. I wanna be her when I grow up.

M: Tabitha—I wish I were sweet like her and liked math.

What do you hope people walk away with after they finish reading the book?

M: This may not fit the tastes of those who are already into steampunk, but I think it will answer the question, ‘”What is steampunk?” for those who read more mainstream.

P: So much of steampunk is all about the mechanizations and political atmosphere. I know that our goal in this book is to introduce the ultra cool world to the romance and fantasy crowd in a way that is much more palatable than I’ve ever seen it done.  

And just for fun, if you could go back to experience any place in history, where and when would it be, and why?

P: Much of my writing is to my former self. If I could go back in time and smack the 18 year old me and tell her to grow up and get serious, I think I would. Just like horseback riding for me is not “for fun” but I want to get something done in the process, I’d choose to visit myself and see if I could get her more serious about God…and seeing my Daddy again would just be a bonus.

M: Maybe the 90s. It’s when I grew up, fell in love, got married. It was a time of lots of firsts. Life wasn’t so foreign to me then. Maybe that’s why I’m writing a book set in the 90s called Forever Layla. It will be for those more into romance than who read for adventure. Fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife might like it. Nicholas Sparks meets Sci-Fi minus the depressing ending.

Thank you Melissa and Pauline for joining us today!  

Would you like to connect?

Melissa Turner Lee

Like her on Facebook

Follow her on Twitter

Follow her on Pinterest

Goodreads

Website/Blog

Pauline Creeden

Like her on Facebook

Follow her on Twitter

Follow her on Pinterest

Goodreads

Website/blog 

Have a great week everyone!

Release: Armored Hearts

Today, we’re celebrating the release of Armored Hearts by Melissa Turner Lee and Pauline Creeden. AltWit Press is celebrating with a giveaway, check it out for some cool prizes like a $100 gift card to Amazon!

Armored Hearts

When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairytales.

Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair.

Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.

Cover art by Marcy Rachel Designs

Model Photographer: WinterWolf Studios

Review: The Earth Painter

 

The Earth Painter

The Earth Painter by Melissa Turner Lee. The premise is awesome. You have Painters that painted the world into being, which of course the Sciences had to “tweak”, and a Sculpture who molded humans and gave life to everything. But that was way back in the beginning, now all the Painters and Sciences do, is sit around playing cards. Then a teenager notices a Painter and falls in love.

This is the story of Holly Scruggs. Just before her senior year of high school, her dad loses his job, and they return to her family’s hometown to start over. But this new lifestyle doesn’t fit his wife’s idea of how her life should have turned out, but Holly is just beginning to discover her own life and learns to find her own voice.

This is a sweet romance with a twist in the end that leaves us wanting to read the next book. I read The Earth Painter a little over a year ago, and the characters and their plight stayed with me. I thought I would just skim through and write a review, but no. The characters wouldn’t let me just skim.

This month AltWit Press is doing a Painter Series Book Launch with a giveaway of a Kindle or a signed copy. Check it out! The Earth Painter is on sale at Amazon until the end of March for $.99 in celebration of it’s re-release. You can also find it at Barnes and Noble for the Nook or in Paperback. But stay tuned! The Man Painter is coming soon. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Melissa Turner Lee is the author of The Difference Between Night and Day, The Earth Painter, The Man Painter and is currently working on a joint project with author Pauline Creeden.

Review Night and Day

The Difference Between Night and Day by Melissa Turner Lee

Nathaniel is a monster. Just like us. Except we can hide it better. Unfortunately for him, he’s a vampire which makes it a whole lot harder to exercise self-control. He’s also a Christian with a skewed view of God until he meets Lilly who has her own monsters and is a little different than most young women he knows.

The characters. They live on. I really liked Nathaniel, but who wouldn’t? He wears leather, drives a Harley, has super powers of sorts, and he’s a gentleman. When we first go into Lilly’s point of view, I wanted to go back to his, but she won me over as well.

The story. It’s slower than the ones I usually read, but then I tend to go for more action. A few times, I wondered when what the story has been building to would come about, but in no way was I bored, and it did come together beautifully. I thought it was cool how the author didn’t avoid the tough questions in regards to the faith of the characters as well as how she handled the vampire lore. There’s a lot of Bible stuff but it fits the characters, because Nathaniel used to be a minister who thought believers were exempt from dark times as the blurb says. It’s his story. One of redemption and love.

Overall, I enjoyed the read. I was definitely caught up in the story. If you like sweet romance, with a touch of the fantastic, you might like this.

The Valentine’s book launch party is still going on until the end of February. You can win some cool stuff like a Kindle or gift card to Amazon, or some swag and a signed copy of her book. So check it out! You can enter the giveaway and get more information at AltWit Press.

A Valentine’s Release

Today we’re celebrating the release of my friend Melissa Turner Lee’s book, The Difference Between Night and Day. 

Picture

~ A Christian Paranormal Romance ~

Nathaniel Taylor was a Christian who thought believers were exempted from “dark times.” That was until he entered his own long time in the dark. When he meets Lilly, a young woman in danger, it sends him on a journey to discover the difference between night and day and that during dark times, the Light is hidden, not gone?

There’s a Valentine’s Book launch party going on where you can win some cool stuff like a Kindle or gift card to Amazon, or some swag and a signed copy of her book. So check it out! You can enter the giveaway and get more information at AltWit Press.

Hope y’all have a great rest of the week!