#RomancingSeptember Day 16 Whisk Me Up by @ZeeMonodee

Welcome to Day 16 of #RomancingSeptember

2015 cover

Our guest today is Zee Monodee and her book Whisk Me Up

Whisk Me Up

Where is your home town? 

I am from a small island called Mauritius in the Southern Indian Ocean, and my hometown is the second largest city on the island and named Curepipe. The city is located almost in the middle of the land, on the higher upper plateaus – it used to be a stop on the road from the port in the south east, Mahebourg, to the port in the north west, Port Louis (also the capital of Mauritius). Travellers would stop in Curepipe to ‘cure la pipe’ – in French, this means to refill and smoke from the pipe again, and hence, the name Curepipe stuck because that was the main purpose of the city in olden days J And it being at the highest altitude on the island, we ‘suffer’ from very rainy, dark, and windy weather almost throughout the year – very much like England weather, in fact. We break out in song and dance when the sun shines out on us, lol. Was born here, in a suburb named Forest-Side, and couldn’t contemplate living anywhere else on the island (yes, even the beach!).

How long have you been writing romance?

My writing career is going on eleven years now. Around the time I started writing (it was going to be literary writing!), I was diagnosed with aggressive malignant breast cancer. Death was literally at my doorstep and I thought to myself, “Well, sod it all! I’m going in for a happy ending everywhere!” So my writing veered to romance – it’s what kept me going during those weeks of gruelling chemotherapy and radiation therapy and then the physical therapy to get the use of my left arm back. I haven’t looked back since then, and cannot contemplate writing anything that doesn’t have a happy ending.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance? 

I’ll have to admit I love rom-coms. Anything light, sassy, funny, totally fluffy even – you’ve got me hooked. Life is hard and the daily toll dreadful enough that it all warrants a little bit of lightness to balance it all. So it’s rom-coms for me. And also, yes, I love chick-lit. J

Where is your book set? 

It’s in Yorkshire, actually. Northern parts, near the dales. I created 3 fictional villages that fall under the patronage of the local earldom of Havisham. The series title, Havisham Park, is also the name of this region englobing these villages. If you ask me why Yorkshire, I cannot tell you exactly why I chose this place. It’s just so beautiful and the ‘perfect’ countryside that we all picture when we close our eyes and imagine the English country. I also love the accent and the strong feeling of identity of the Yorkshire people – I thought this would be rather novel and refreshing for a story setting, so Yorkshire it became.

Who is Mary Beth? 

Mary Beth is a supermodel. Think Giselle Bundchen today and that’s who she is in the fashion and modelling world. A huge celebrity, a face recognised the world over. In her personal life, she’s also the last of 3 sisters, the daughters of Lord Robert Beresford, the late Earl of Havisham – which, incidentally, makes her a lady of the British aristocracy. Her mother is a well-known socialite in the US, which doubles up on the exclusive family aspect. But with this set-up also comes a lot of drama and dysfunctionality, so Mary Beth has not had it easy her whole life. She became a model at thirteen and now, at twenty-eight, it’s the only life she has known but even this is slipping through her fingers. Her career seems to be on the decline and she is doing everything to be on top of the modelling game…but at the same time not realizing that she has fallen into the arms of anorexia to achieve this goal. When she faints backstage during Fashion Week in India, push comes to shove and her sisters step in to make her come to grips with this notion…and hence the start of the whole series itself – Gracie Lou and Carol Ann, the two eldest Beresfords, ‘kidnap’ her from India and bring her to Yorkshire, the family stronghold, to make her face the truth of her affliction and get healthy again. But Mary Beth having known only modelling as a validation her whole life, she is not ready to give it all up just like that!

Introduce us to Niall 

Niall is that one hunk who ‘hides’ in every English village (and it seems to me, from observation and many concurring opinions, that the farther up north you go on the British isle, the more these blokes seem to pop out of the woodwork, lol). He’s a very private person and looks like a Viking giant with his Nordic build and long blond hair. Niall has known tragedy in his life, from a very young age (his mother died while giving birth to him) and the only place he’s ever felt at ease is in a kitchen, making food (and creating magic, as his customers describe it). There’s nothing more he loves than being left alone in his little world. Celebrity knocked on his door once and he didn’t cope well with it at all, so he knows what’s best for him – a quiet life in a quiet village managing his father’s pub. He is seen as a pillar of strength in the area, known as ‘The Shepherd’ of Sheep’s Flock, his pub.

Why would he shy away from someone like Mary Beth? 

Well, he tasted celebrity once before, and it did not agree with him at all. The spotlight is not at all where he wants to belong…but lo and behold, Mary Beth is one of the most famous celebrities in the world, one of the most recognized faces on Earth. Wherever she goes, cameras and the spotlight go. Needless to say, these will shine on him, too, if he gets near her. So no, celebrity and its trappings are not for him. Furthermore, Niall is a working class lad whose family has always been the inn, in earlier times, and then later the pub’s owners. Mary Beth is the peerage of the area. Aristocratic codes are no longer as stringent as in past times, but even so – what does a commoner have in common with a lady whose godparents are regulars at Buckingham Palace and Sandringham?

What was the best bit about writing this book?

I’ll have to say the research! It opened up whole new worlds for me. I immersed myself for months on end to render both Niall’s and Mary Beth’s worlds as believable. I learned to cook – like, really learned to cook – when I had to study cooking techniques that Niall as a chef would use. I plunged head-first into the world of fashion and modelling to figure out its intricacies. I read books, articles, fashion magazines, watched Project Runway – lots of fun. Then the sobering part came when I had to research anorexia. It really put everything in perspective for me and I hope I managed to convey that distress and the effects of this condition in the book, and also show that, like the former victims say, there is hope to come out victorious from this battle.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment. 

Well, I just finished outlining Book2 of the Havisham Park series. Batten Me Down is the story of the middle Beresford sister, Carol Ann. She used to be a hotshot defence attorney in the US and was in a relationship with a high-profile politician…and then suddenly, she dropped out of it all to come to Yorkshire. The official reason is that she came for Mary Beth, but her actions hide a lot more and she isn’t letting anyone on where that’s concerned. Local police Chief, Colin Hargreaves, can feel there’s something fishy about Carol Ann’s behaviour, and then there’s the fact that these two cannot be in the same room without a tornado and a volcano meeting. The two of them spell out chaos…but is there more than meets the eye everywhere Carol Ann is concerned, and will Colin be the man who can crack that seemingly seamless façade?

Where can readers find out more about you?

Zee Monodee

At my website/blog (http://zeemonodee.blogspot.com/) Life has been rather hectic lately so I’m not posting as often as I wish to, but I’m hoping this will change in the near future and I’ll get to be more in touch with everyone there. In the meantime, anyone can catch me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/zee.monodee) – this is where I am most regularly at the moment so please, don’t hesitate to hit me up over there.

Buy Links

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WCT6Y7K

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00WCT6Y7K


Author social media links:

Author website/blog: http://zeemonodee.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/zee.monodee

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ZeeMonodee

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4836171.Zee_Monodee

Catch up with more from Zee in Steph’s post in just a few hours http://stephanie-hurt.com/


Let Mercy Come by @ZeeMonodee #RomanticSuspense #bookreview #wwwblogs

Let Mercy Come (Corpus Brides, #3)Let Mercy Come by Zee Monodee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let Mercy Come is book three of the Corpus Brides Trilogy. They are romantic suspense books set in Europe and I do believe you need to read them all in order to get the most from them.

Anastasiya ran away from the secret agency and is believed to be the head of the failed mutiny. Scott has been sent to track her down and bring her in. However when he finds her his feelings are re-kindled. But it’s the discovery that she left to protect her baby and not because she had any part in the mutiny which helps his decision to help her and not turn her over to the boss.

They make a new life as Vanessa and James Mather, until the head of Corpus finds them and makes a shocking announcement. With a new role to play and a hunt for a murderer there are many twists, turns and revelations. Just who can you trust? Who will go to lengths to betray you? And who will have the strongest desire to live in the end?

I’ve read this series in stages with many books in between and I did struggle to catch up with some of the characters, however it is still a good storyline with strong characters in some lovely settings.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

June #BookReviews for local Magazines @FleetLife @EHDirectory

Here are the books which are featured in the June issues of Fleet Life and EHDirectory.

Fleet Life online version can be found here. http://www.fleetlife.org.uk, click on the online directory, and find my reviews on page 45.

New June FL

James Bone and The Italian Job by Frank Bell

Someone Else’s Conflict by Alison Layland

Imminent Danger: And How To Fly Straight Into It by Michelle Proulx

Before The Morning by Zee Monodee

Pattern of Shadows by Judith Barrow

EHDirectory can be found here http://www.ehd.org.uk, click on the online directory and then find my reviews on page 20

New June EHD

Reality Is In A dream by Lauren Mayhew

The War Before Mine by Caroline Ross

Fallen On Good Times by Rewan Tremethick

Cupid’s Way by Joanne Phillips

Catching Cassidy by Melissa Foster 

Before The Morning by Zee Monodee

Before The Morning (Corpus Brides Trilogy, #2)Before The Morning by Zee Monodee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Before The Morning is a romantic suspense and is #2 in the Corpus Brides series set in Europe. It’s actually a prequel to #1 Walking The Edge giving plenty of background into the Corpus group of secret agents. The first book introduces us to a break away rogue group within the agency and this book gives up the deeper story as to how links to the rogue group are found.

Ash Gilfoy is a paramedic and called to a house in London to attend an assault victim. While he’s there is tries to stop dangerous criminal Nikolai Grigorievskiy from assaulting his wife. Dashing to her rescue he is shocked at how much Irina resembles childhood friend Rayne Cheltenham, yet this woman is Russian. Ash is enraged when the woman won’t ask for help and he is forced to leave the scene by the police who would love to put the criminals behind bars but never have enough evidence.

Shocked by the confrontation with Ash, Irina needs to finish the job and head home. A trained assassin she deals with the Russians where others fear to tread. In Prague at the headquarters of The Corpus group agent Kali wants out. Seventeen years on the job and meeting Ash face to face were too much, he’s all she can think about.

Getting a job in London in the office of the Aid Agency which fronts the Corpus agents, Rayne forces a reunion with Ash. It’s high passion after so many years but the web of lies that Rayne lives by has its affects on their relationship, especially when she’s targeted and threatened by people who have access to top secret details which can only mean there’s a rogue agent on her trail.

Rayne is desperate for a normal life of marriage and a family with Ash, her first and only love. The trouble is he swore he’s never get married and their relationship is based on a sexual relationship at the moment. What does he really know about this woman?

This is an intense read and kept me engaged through-out, it is a romance too so there is plenty for those who like a HEA, but the suspense keeps it edgy and I love the female assassin characters who are The Corpus Brides.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

April Editions Of Magazines Which Feature My Book Reviews

Movers and shakers for April editions of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory the magazines which feature my book reviews.

This month Fleet Life has featured the following books, for the online version go to http://www.fleetlife.org.uk, load the online directory and turn to page 42;

FL blog

The Serenity Stone Murder by Marianne Jones

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

Walking On The Edge by Zee Monodee

Trading Vincent Crow by DJG Wardle

The Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable

Elvetham Heath Directory has featured the following books, for the online version go to http://www.ehd.org.uk, load the online directory

and turn to page 28;

EHD blog April

Chasing The Devil by Tim Butcher

The Devil, The Diva and The Deep Blue Sea by Margaret Langstaff

Yesterday’s News by Sam Cheever

How To Complain by Helen Dewdney

Seventh Mark by W.J. May

Good Deeds Challenge Year 2 Week 49

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

March 22nd – I’m reading an excellent book by Alison Layland called Someone Else’s Conflict. Have put the finishing touches to my April A to Z Challenge theme reveal ready for tomorrow.

March 23rd – My morning volunteering at school. My April A to Z Theme reveal, here is a link if you missed the post http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6B4

March 24th –  A lunchtime walk and picked up litter. I’m reading Kinetics: In Search Of Willow by Arbor Barrow

March 25th – Leant a book to a friend, bought birthday gifts in town and walked home picking up litter.

March 26th – I’ve been Spring cleaning my house and now it feels lovely to live in. A quick walk and litter pick over lunch-time. Am reading Imminent Danger: And How To Fly Straight Into It by Michelle Proulx

March 27th – Approving The proofs of my May book reviews for Fleet life, April issues due out next week. I’m loving this Spring sunshine, picked up more litter on my daily walk. I’m reading Before The Morning by Zee Monodee.

March 28th – Just a walk and litter pick today, really enjoying Zee’s book as mentioned above hoping to finish it later today.

Walking The Edge by Zee Monodee

Walking The Edge (Corpus Brides Trilogy, #1)Walking The Edge by Zee Monodee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Walking On the Edge is a romantic Suspense and the first book in the Corpus Brides series. It’s NOT about weddings, this is hard edgy suspense. Amelia Jamison lives in London with her well to do husband Peter who allows her plenty of money for shopping, with her own bodyguard/ chauffeur. She’s living a privileged life as she recovers from a traumatic accident that left her needing plastic surgery.

Yet something is off kilter, the marriage is cold and Amelia was left with amnesia from the accident, all she knows is what Peter tells her of her former life. Each day she must take drugs to help her recovery which knock her out for hours and Peter is most insistent that she continues with the drugs months after her surgery.

It starts with glimpses of memories whilst she’s asleep, and a feeling of being followed while she’s out shopping. Amelia plans an escape and grabs at an opportunity when she loses her bodyguard one day. Marseilles rings a bell with her and she heads there looking for answers.

Commissaire Gerard Besson is suspicious of the Lady who arrives asking for him. Yet when he is later attacked she’s there saving him. Why does she feel familiar? Instincts and police training pull him in opposite directions as he tries to help Amelia solve the mystery as to just who she is. Yet he’s also pulled in by his feelings for her, which are dangerous to allow when more than one dark character is also drawn to Marseille and the hunt for the truth gets serious.

I liked the fact that there were lots of layers to this story which kept getting peeled away, just when I thought I knew who Amelia was, another layer revealed more. A very good suspense mystery.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Good Deeds Challenge, Year 2, Week 42

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

February 1st – Online versions of the two magazines that I write book reviews for went to 7000 local homes and the online version went live today. Each magazine prints 5 of my book review recommendations for a total of 10 lucky authors. It’s been windy and there was loads of litter to pick up on my daily walk.

February 2nd – My morning at school volunteering my help to children learning to read. Just finished reading Yesterday’s News by Sam Cheever a cosy fun mystery. Picked up litter on my walk.

February 3rd – Am reading Walking the Edge by Zee Monodee a romantic suspense. Really busy day, but managed a late walk and picked up litter.

February 4th – Today I read Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan a short historical fiction and an introduction to a series about man’s genetic descent from the caveman. Each day I try to take a forty minute power walk and I pick up litter on my route.

February 5th – Helping out a new author find her way around the book reviewing scene. Read Baby Girl Book 4 by Elle Klass.

February 6th – Today I’m reading Mrs McKeiver’s Secrets by Margaret Morgan set in rural England in 1799. An icy blast was blowing when I went for today’s walk, but still found litter to pick up.

February 7th – I’ve lent some of my books out today, then whilst I was out for my walk I was astounded to find a think metal cable deliberately tied low across the path in a gloomy alley. It would have caused an accident to any cyclist, jogger, skateboarder or even another walker as I only just saw it in time. I decided to remove it completely and place it in a rubbish bin a little way away, to deter it being retied later. I have no idea why it was put there, kids? Angry residents if kids use it at night as a race track? But I don’t believe deliberately trying to endanger innocents should be allowed.

Reading What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan by Jill Knapp.