Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Review and Author Interview: The Guardian, a sword, and stilettos by Kristin Van Risseghem

Zoe Jabril could be just another 17-year-old girl attending parties with her friends and checking out cute guys—except her best friend is a Guardian Angel, and the boy she crushes on is a Nephilim, half-angel, both sent to Earth to protect her. A high school classmate happens to be a trendsetting shopaholic fairy. And now there’s a new werewolf in town. 

Zoe has to deal with her feelings toward Shay, who spreads a strange electrical current through her body every time he touches her. Now Zoe is under constant attack from demons, trying to kill and stop her from fulfilling the Prophecy: a girl will be born who will unite the Enlightens to battle evil. Then on top of that, between boring homework and drama with girls at school, she has to control new found talents if she’s to prevent the devil from escaping Hell.

In order to do so, Zoe must devise a kick-ass plan ASAP or watch everyone die, because she’s running out of time. She turns eighteen in two months—the date Armageddon kicks off.

Kristin D. Van Risseghem grew up in a small river town in Minnesota with her parents and older sister. And after receiving a double Bachelor of Science degree from Winona State University in Paralegal and Corrections, she worked as a Paralegal for various law firms around the Twin Cities for 14 years. Then she left the legal field and is now a Senior Buyer for a technology company.

Currently, Kristin lives in Eagan with her husband and two Calico cats. She also loves attending book clubs, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. She has come to realize that she absolutely has an addiction to purses and shoes. They are her weakness and probably has way too many of both.

In the summer months, Kristin can usually be found lounging on her boat, drinking an ice cold something. Being an avid reader of YA and Women's Literature stories, she still finds time to read a ton of books in-between writing. And in the winter months, her main goal is to stay warm from the Minnesota cold!

Kristin's books are published by Kasian Publishing.

How to reach Kristin:

The Interview

1. What made you choose to write in this genre?
A: The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos just seemed to flow out of me. I didn't pick the story, it picked me.
2. When did you know you were a writer?

A: January 2013 I dreamed of the warehouse scene in Book 1. Didn't think anything of it until the next night I had the same dream in the warehouse. Woke my husband up and told him about it. He said I should write it down. Of course I didn't. The 3rd night, I dreamed of the tattoo and knew I had to start getting it down on paper so to speak. I started writing when I got home from work and wrote until the wee hours of the morning, so 7-8 hours at a time. Go to sleep a few hours and get up for work. Did that for 3 weeks. When I saw the final product, I knew I was a writer.

3. What inspires you?
A: I took a lit course in high school and a reading one in college. Didn't think anything of it but enjoyed writing and reading back then. I started reading as something to do before I met my husband. Then when Twilight came out, a group of friends created a book club and it’s been downhill ever since. I read a ton. A few years back, my cousin started writing and she asked me to (beta) read for her. I did, but didn't really know what I was doing. One of her friends asked me to read one of hers too so I did b/c my cousin said that my comments were spot on.

4. What are you currently working on?
A: I planned The Enlighten Series to be a trilogy with two novellas. I have the first novella, The Masquerade, an Altar, & a Fairy, scheduled to release in August 2015. But after this series? I’m not sure. I guess where ever the pen (or in my case, the keyboard) takes me.

5. Do you have any advice for other writers?
A: This might be a very common answer, but social media is a must these days. You as an author need to be found by your readers. So I have a website, FB-Author page, Twitter and Goodreads accounts. I do keep a personal FB page separately though as I try to keep my professional/personal life separate from my writing life. Brand yourself! You need to sell yourself and be a believable and legit author before readers will take you seriously. There are many free websites and places to help you, just make sure that it looks professional. And when in doubt? Ask other writers. At some point we’ve all been there.

My Review:
You should read this book. If you think Twilight had potential but focused too much on the love triangle, read this book. If you like YA fantasy but feel like "the chosen one" is too stereotypical for you to really love a book, then read this book. If you like well developed and interesting characters, guess what? Read this book.

This book first caught my attention when the author asked me if I'd like to review it. I was expecting more of the usual fantasy romance--chosen one who's automatically ready and willing to be chosen, a love triangle, a focus solely on the Chosen One with no development for anyone else, then Wham-bam-thank you ma'am the day is saved and everyone goes back to their normal lives.

I was pleasantly surprised. Kristin writes a well formed, real teenage girl (with hormones) who suddenly finds out that she's supposed to save the world and No One thought to tell her until demons started trying to cut her head off. Like any teenager, Zoe appreciates a fine body, but made me give a sigh of relief when she quickly shut down a would-be love triangle with telling one of the boys that she likes him, but not that way, and he should grow a pair and act adult about it.

What I also love: that feeling when you get when not everything is resolved and you look down and there's only 10% of the book left. I got that feeling. I ached for more to read. I need to find out what happens next and I'm excited for the next book.

That is the mark of a good author. This book stuck in my mind and had me jumping off the bed to tell my husband how good that book was and how glad I was to read it.

So read this book. And then read the next one. And then keep an eye out for more because I get the feeling Risseghem is going places.

My rating: 4.5/5

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