Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Giveaway ~ Interview & Review Vlkolak King (The Gothic Memoirs Series #4) by Rebekah Armunsik

My Review:

Wow, where to start? This book was soooooo good, I have trouble putting it into words. It had my emotions on a roller-coaster along with Nadija. I actually cried at one very traumatic scene about ¾ in, wont say what, but man, this book sucks you into Nadija’s world right with her. I will say, it’s the best book so far. But then again, its hard to compare them, as its an ongoing story,  you have to read them all to understand it. They are memoirs in fact, written that way, and I love it.

This book continues right where we left off in book 3, Lucifer Rising. I won’t get into any spoilers for any of the books, as I want people who had not read any, to be able to read this, and see what a great series it really is, and give it a shot. This series is one that had me even more passionate about them than any other books out there, and there are many I really, really like, but this I love in a way I can’t explain.

Rebekah’s writing is top notch, it really is. It’s flawless, exceptional in a way that leaves me speechless. The way you get sucked in, and nothing else around you matters anymore.
I think the thing I love the most about this series, is that it is different than the usual vampire story, as I do not really call it that, as you can just as easily call it a fallen angel story. 

Basically, I will say one thing, this series of vampires are actually fallen angels, from long ago. When exiled to earth, they found surviving on earth extremely difficult, no food would sustain them, until they found only human blood would. This is where it starts. And they are able to give the “gift” to selected loved ones; they have their own society, and rules to follow. Which leads up to Nadija, who is an “old soul” lets say. She is a Guardian and Guardians are also as old as the Fallen, I won’t get into explaining the Guardians, but lets say it’s a line of female magical users, who are in touch with nature. I guess that’s the best way to sum it up. These Guardians are part of a council that governs the fallen and their offsprings and the transfers (people that have been made immortal) 

So, I believe anyone who enjoys fallen angels and or vampires, will really be able to get into this series. You start with The Memoirs of a Gothic Soul, which starts with Nadija’s life before she discovers this life, and follow her on the journey to discover who she is. (and that’s a great surprise, remember I said she is an old soul, well, you find out in 3rd book, Lucifer Rising) Then you read Mariposa, the journey of Nadija’s learning of the ways of the Guardians and more, then Lucifer Rising. Where big things are discovered.

This book goes deeper into her past, and what she must do. She will loose people she loves, and the pain she feels you will feel.
I love the deep romance and love that continues with Nadija and Alexei who finally get married.

I continue to LOVE Nadija’s funny antics, lol, I can see what she means on some stuff, like the whole wedding deal, she is not into it, the crowds and all the stuff that goes with it. I am with her on that, me, can’t stand crowds and all that. Here is a funny quote about the whole wedding deal, lol:

Alexei caressed my back. “Are you all right?”“I’m fine … but you know I hate crowds—and people in general, for that matter. That was absolutely awful, and I’m certain I will never put myself through again. Why on Earth would people feel the need to go up to a complete stranger and kiss them? It’s weird, right?” I waited for him to confirm and approve my neurotic issues.All I got was a look of disbelief. “My darling, you are a social nightmare.”“What—you want a divorce now because I’m not fond of embracing strangers?” I asked sarcastically.He pulled me close and kissed my forehead. “Never!” 
That would be me, lol. Her whit and quick tongue had me laughing at times. She has a bit of a potty mouth, but its her, and find it hilarious. She seems harsh at times, but we get to see how passionate and caring she really is. She is very empathetic and I love her for it. She feels deeply for so many, and my heart hurt for her pain at some dramatic events she has to endure.
Here is another quote that I absolutely just love. It’s a thought that Diji (Nadija) is having at her wedding.

He had loved me for centuries;he’d loved me before it was necessary to mark time. We were two spirits forbidden to love, yet we abandoned all reason and allowed ourselves to be swept away. That, in my opinion, was true love— the kind of love you risk dying for. 
I can’t get into the story much more without spoiling things. I kept this as spoiler free as I could for all the books. But some things are mentioned, and impossible to keep the first 3 out of it. It’s all an ongoing story as I mentioned. So start with the first book, and don’t stop, as it just gets better and better. Book one is just a stepping stone to more.
Again, Rebekah has brought us an epic tale of fallen angels/vampires and the most epic love of all. You need to check it out.
5 out of 5 stars, but would give a 10 if I could!

Interview with Rebekah Armusik!

Question 1:
I would like to help readers get to know you, so what would you like to share that we may not know about you?
I was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in an area that was predominately Slovak. Growing up in this environment, surrounded by the rich culture, supernatural fascination, and folklore, truly molded me into who I am today and had a huge impact on my series. My grandmother, who lived one house down from me growing up, is a gifted story teller and her legends and tales became the very inspiration for my novels.As a child, she would gather the neighborhood children on her front steps and tell us stories of the “old country”.  Often, they were dark, morbid, and deeply romantic – I was enthralled. I was so enraptured by the darkness and beauty – the conflict and desire for redemption, that even as a young child, I knew I wanted to write and began dreaming of the world I have created. In many ways, my childhood was strange but very ideal in certain ways – I feel very fortunate.

Question 2:
Can you tell new readers or hopeful readers about the series? And how its not the “Usual” vampire story? Explain the best you can without major spoilers.
The series is difficult to summarize even under the most ideal circumstances - I always find this question to be terribly daunting. How do you simply describe an epic adventure, and without ruining the surprises and allure of the story?  I never feeling comfortable describing it as a vampire series because my vampires are fallen angels and not the stereotypical vampires that most expect. Though it’s deeply romantic, that is not the primary focus either. The novels are so layered it’s difficult to give it one clear explanation.

I have always been fascinated by Jewish mysticism, Catholicism, and witchcraft – and not necessarily in that order.  All of these passions shaped the novels and somehow, I was able to make it all work.My tale begins before time was recorded, during the first celestial war when God threw Lucifer into hell and separated his army. Some remained neutral and God felt that He could not trust these angels to remain in heaven and serve Him well, so He banished them to Earth as punishment.  The fallen had to adapt and because they were not born, but created, their bodies adjusted and mutated – hence the need for blood.

Without ruing the story, I also have incorporated the legends of Lilith, the first wife of Adam. Throughout history, Lilith has been demonized; she has been called the first vampire, a succubus, and sadly, the cause of stillborn deaths. But, I never liked or bought that idea. She simply didn’t dig Adam and in my opinion, that’s not a sufficient reason to make her the origin all things rancid and foul. So, taking some artistic license, I made her an ethereal goddess who catches the eye of Samuel- the Arch Angel of the elements and master of the wind. They fall in love and have 7 daughters with angelic blood and gifts.  Thus, the Guardian race is born and is, eventually, critical in helping the fallen adapt to their life on Earth.

However, the story is told in present day through the voice of Nadija, a young woman from the line of Lilith. She is not aware of her linage because her grandmother has kept it a secret for own selfish reasons.  Though it’s rooted in the past, it’s relatable because it’s told in a present and modern voice. I want to engage the audience, not distance them, and I achieve this by welcoming them to be part of the story, to be present on the journey.  Consequently, the reader learns most of the dramatic back stories from the characters that assist Nadija on her adventure to becoming the active Guardian Queen.

Question 3:
Have you traveled to the places Nadija does in the books?
 Yes, I have family in Bratislava.

Question 4:
Who is your favorite character, 2nd and 3rd favorites too, and why? I love Alexei, and Nadija too of course, and then James.
My favorite character will always be Nadija – I know her the best, we are inseparable. But I love writing each character for different reasons. Most are based off of real people so when writing them, I imagine their mannerisms, what they would say, or how they would say it. Writing Alexei is easy because I live with him – he is based on my husband. My husband is very nurturing and protective and has a very quick and dry sense of humor. So most of the conversations between Alexei and Nadija are actual conversations we’ve had. And yes, I wake up Eric in the middle of the night often worrying about things I cannot fix.Lastly, I love James and from my fan mail, so does everyone else! James is a mixture of my close guy friends – he embodies all their quirks, depth and insecurities. I have a few male friends that I have been close with since childhood and they tell me everything and are continually asking for my advice concerning women and everything else. I hate when they continue to complain about the same issues that I thought we already ironed out! I am not known for my patience or subtlety so it seems that I spend a lot of time yelling at them the way Nadija yells at James for continually repeating mistakes concerning women and life. It’s terribly mind-numbing.

Question 5:
I love to get into the authors head, and get a visual of the characters. If this was to become a movie, who would you see as Nadija, Alexei, Nickolas, James , Jozeph and Michael? (I agree with these choices by the way)
For Nadija, I would choose Jessica Brown Findlay – I love her work on Downton Abbey and knew immediately that she was perfect to play Nadija. Dija is complex; she is strong, elegant, well-spoken, sarcastic, and terribly self-deprecating and it would take an actress who is multi-faceted to do her justice. Nadija is not an average 23 year old woman; she is mature beyond her years and is a talented social chameleon – something that would need to be conveyed on film. She is different with Crash then with council members – she knows how to rise to the occasion with a certain amount of grace and poise.

For Alexei, I would choose Henry Cavill. Primarily because Alexei has such a sophisticated charm and a sense of humor that needs to be interpreted properly and I think Henry Cavill could easily translate that.

I believe that Chris Pine would make a great Nikolas - he has a certain amount of natural sophistication about him and an excellent sense of comedic timing.

James, Jozef and Michael are difficult to cast! I have yet to find someone that could do them justice. I’ll keep looking!

Question 6:
Which scene in any of the books, either made you cry the most or laugh the hardest?
Honestly, I cry and laugh a lot when writing. When I write, the movie is playing in my head - I am there with my characters. I can literally feel, smell and see everything so when something funny or tragic happens, I respond accordingly. Most times, I wonder if my readers “get” the humor of certain situations because I have a very dark and morbid sense of humor - I often wonder if they are experiencing the scenes the way I intend. For instance, I love writing the countess – I cannot think of a more alluring sociopath. To me, everything she does is hilarious in a disturbing way and I love the way Nadija responds to the absurdity with sarcasm and frustration. In my opinion, some of the funniest scenes were in Mariposa at the countess’s home.The book that made me cry the most was Vlkolak King. I had just finished the last chapter when my husband walked into the room because my editor needed to speak with me. Instantly, he thought something terrible happened because I was crying so hard – he was relieved to hear it was only because one of my characters died. I become so involved, so entangled in their lives that I mourn them when they pass as I would any friend I loved dearly. For days I was not myself because in a way, I missed this character and was so upset that she and I would never again spend time together - that she would never whisper to me anymore. It’s utterly tragic and strange.

Question 7:
Where do you like to write the most?
This is where I can lie and tell you I make a pot of tea and put on some old magick sweater but I’ll tell you the truth.  I always write in full make-up – I can’t have my character’s see me looking awful and I always write in bed. This is the sad and crazy truth – I swear. I’ve tried to write in my husband’s office, at the dining room table, and the kitchen table and it just doesn’t happen. I end up re-arranging the furniture, dusting the fireplaces, and picking up Barbie shoes, or half eaten candy. But, in my bed, I’m a writing wizard. It’s just nuts.

Question 8:
Tell us about the amazing covers, I am sure not everyone knows they are oil paintings done by your husband. (you wont find duplicates of models on other covers like we do so much now, lucky you)
 I am very fortunate to be married to a well-known traditional painter. My husband’s work is terribly romantic and captivating – I often marvel at how well he paints emotion - a slice of time that would otherwise, be forgotten. I remember the night we first met, he had just returned to the states from studying in Italy and I was instantly enamored with him. We spent the night talking about art and poetry and we both agree that we fell in love that night. To me, it was evident that he had something special - a talent for conveying deep emotion and narrative in one single expression. It was this beauty that made me fall so hard and fast – it was as if I finally found someone who understood all the passion inside me – it was amazing!What I do with words, he does with paint so the artistic marriage of our art forms only seemed natural. Plus, I can yell at him and complain until I get my way – this is extremely important! Honestly, after 16 years, we know each other so well that I just give him a few thoughts and he knows exactly what I want – it’s wonderful. I could never have my hard work covered by something that did not represent it properly – I am far too attached to my world and its representation.

Question 9:
I am a HUGE fan of the Gothic Memoir series, and wanted to ask, what is the inspiration behind the story?
The title and concept first came to me when I was 16. At that time, it was more of an autobiographical novel about my life growing up in a Slovak area and my grandmother’s fantastic tales. However, slowly, it began to change. By the time I was finishing college, I decided to change the concept of the series to a fictional novel with an autobiographical tone. In other words, I would put myself in the tales that I dreamt about and bridge the gap between reality and fantasy. I believe this is what is so different about my work from other paranormal fantasy because there is a deep level of believability – nothing is manufactured and I never follow a template or formula.  In my opinion, the work is organic and sincere because it reflects my life experiences, rather than distancing my readers by creating a wall of fantastic fiction. When writing, I chose to engage my fans on a personal level and do that easily and effortlessly through Nadija – she experiences life as a real person, not a work of fiction which is so appealing and refreshing to my audience. I meant for the series to read as a journal, a memoir that allows the reader to engage with Nadija on a very intimate level. You are privy to her thoughts, fears, and doubts enabling the reader to know her so personally; she becomes a close and cherished friend.

I believe when we are stripped naked of all our inhibitions, we are the most honest and beautiful. That is why I chose to write the series in first person. We never have to surmise or assume what Nadija is feeling because we are always inside her head – eager witnesses to her raw and uncensored emotions and thoughts.
Question 10:
What are you working on now?
I am currently writing the 5th book in the series titled, In the Shadows of Eden. This novel goes even deeper into the past as Nadija and Alexei are given their memories back by the Arch Angel Michael. The readers will get to know the main characters in a completely new and more intimate way – if that is even possible to fathom. And again, without spoiling it for future readers, this book really begins to turn the story around because now, we can understand the past, through Nadija and Alexei first hand.  In my opinion, this is the novel that will change and shape the series – it is truly beautiful and utterly romantic.

Question 11:
Rebekah, Thank you so much for stopping by Michelle’s Paranormal Vault of Books today to share your thoughts with us, and answer these questions. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Thank you for having me, Michelle.  Today is the last day of my $.99 special on Memoirs of a Gothic Soul on Kindle.  I hope everyone will take advantage of this offer to start the series!  Thank you for all of your support!

My Reviews for the previous books are as follows:

Memoirs of a Gothic Soul  My Review | Goodreads
Mariposa My Review Goodreads
Lucifer RisingMy Review |  Goodreads

Find Rebekah at these places:
Sources for Photos Henry Cavil Here, Chris Pine Here, and Jessica Here


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