The blurbage: "Once upon a time, a spell went awry and Make Believe characters were cast into the ordinary world. And the results aren’t always happily ever after…
Everyone thinks fairy godmothers can do no wrong. But if not for a certain spell mis-cast by Lavender Seelie, Cinderella’s former fairy godmother, the Tales would not be stuck in the Here and Now. Fortunately for Lavender, she’s about to get a second chance at a happy ending…
The Refuge, a sanctuary for wayward Tales, seems like the perfect place for Lavender to start a new life—especially when she discovers an unexpected ally in Seth, the brooding werewolf who’s been typecast as a villain ever since his run in with Little Red Riding Hood. But when humans from nearby towns start turning up dead, their bodies mutilated with archaic Tale symbols, Lavender wonders if Seth’s deep sensuality has blinded her to the truth. And that distraction could put innocent lives in danger. Including her own…"
My take: I really liked SeRine's Red (see my review here). Where that one felt more UF with a heavy dose of romance, this second installment had the romance aspect front and center. It is still first person, as we see everything from Lavender's POV. We just get into the romance faster than in book 1. It surprised me at first, until we find out why everything happened so fast. I liked Lavender's dilemma, and it showed how far her character has progressed.
When I first heard about book 2, I wasn't surprised that Seth was going to be the male lead. However, the choice of Lavender as the heroine did surprise me at first. Lavender is one half of the reason that the Tales are stuck in the Ordinary World. She made a lot of mistakes in the past, and in book 1 we see her as an alcoholic mess. At the start of book 2, a year has passed, Lavender is now friends with Tess, and she is trying to turn her life around. She also pisses off some powerful people and so Tess sends her to the Refuge to get away from the heat.
Being the reason the Tales are stuck in the real world doesn't endear her to many, but I like how she sticks it out and owns her part.
Lavender is not a grandmotherly "bippity boppity boo" type. She's a little hottie and in the end I was very happy with how the romance came together. Both she and Seth have a lot of skeletons in their respective closets. They need someone who will accept them for who they are.
Having a hell of a lot of chemistry doesn't hurt, either.
And Seth? Seth was really endearing once we got to meet him in book 1. His life has been so tragic. I just wanted him to be happy. He can cook too. If you really dig romantic heroes, I think you will be quite satisfied with Mr. Wolf.
The overall conspiracy first unearthed in book 1 is still a big part of the problem in book 2. I was glad to see some parts solved, although there is still plenty left to explore. We also get to see a bit more of Trish Muffet, the heroine of book 3. That one involves Nicky Blue and I cannot wait to read it.
For those who really loved the world of the Transplanted Tales, this book fleshes it out more and gives us a peek into how the Tales who don't get along so well with the Ordinary World live. We also get to see one of my favorite literary characters: Puck.
KA: I admit, given her past, I was a little surprised to see Lavender as the heroine of what I had thought of as Seth's book (even though L is the narrator, I know....). What made you decide to give the Fairy Godmother the starring role?
KS: When I wrote her scene with Tess in RED, Lavender broke my heart, and I realized she had a story that needed to be told. As she was partly responsible for the Tales being transplanted in the first place, she had a lot of explaining to do. And Lavender and Seth are both characters whose reputations are largely undeserved and who both desperately want to be seen (and loved) for who they really are. So, although the title of the book is obviously drawn from Seth's fairytale, it really applies to both him and Lavender. I had a great time writing their love story and giving them a happy ending!
KA: I do really like the idea of the fairytales transplanted in the "Real" world, but was most happy that you also included other literary characters as well. If you could hang out with any character from your Tale Universe, who would you choose?
KS: I'd love to have a girls' night out with Tess, Lavender, and Trish. But, I'll admit, I'm crushing pretty hard on a character named Gideon who I introduce in THE BETTER TO SEE YOU and who plays a major role in the third book. I definitely wouldn't mind spending more time with him! ;)
KA: Favorite heroine (book, movie or TV)?
KS: Tough one! There are so many awesome heroines out there, especially in the UF/PNR world! When I think about movies, though, one that immediately comes to mind is Selene from the UNDERWORLD movie franchise. She's beautiful, conflicted, complex, and she totally kicks ass! Not to mention she looks waaaaay better in leather than I could ever hope to! (LOL)
KA: What books inspire you?
KS: For this series, I was inspired by the works of the Brothers Grimm, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and the folklore and mythology of various cultures. And there are certain stories my mom told me as a child that figure prominently. But as far as voice goes, Jim Butcher's DRESDEN FILES books inspired me to try writing in first-person, and it turned out to be a great fit for my characters.
KA: What is the next book on your shelf to read?
KS: I'm so far behind on my TBR list! I'm currently reading IN RIDES TROUBLE (Black Knights Inc #2) by Julie Ann Walker and have HEART OF THE FLAME (Dragon Chalice #2) by Lara Adrian up after that.
KA: You've had a rough day - what show do you turn to: Buffy, Firefly, or Sherlock?
KS: As much as I enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch's amazing cheekbones and flawless snark delivery, it'd probably be Firefly. Really, can anyone ever get enough Nathan Fillion? LOVE him! :)
KA: What are you planning next? I know that Little Miss Muffet headlines book 3.
KS: ALONG CAME A SPIDER is Trish Muffet's story with Nicky Blue and is scheduled for release in August 2013. It's definitely the darkest of the three novels and was great fun to write. I'm also working on a couple of other paranormal romance projects that I hope to share with readers someday, so we'll see what happens! :)
Thanks so much for letting me come by to chat! :)
Thank you, Kate!
[received an ARC to review]