Book Review: Into The Light, by HK Savage
Into The Light - book 2 in The Admiral's Elite series. (Adult Paranormal)
Read book one first - you can find it for your Kindle here, and you'll also get to see the new GORGEOUS cover!
|EDITED TO NOTE: This cover has since|
been SERIOUSLY upgraded. (March 2018)
About The Book:
A vicious serial killer is on the loose in Wisconsin and it's up to the Admiral's Elite to stop him. Admiral Black's second in command, Captain Michael Rossi, has been tasked with finding out who or what the killer is and put an end to his reign of bloodshed while avoiding some pitfalls of his own. Like hiding the fact that he's falling in love with Becca from the admiral who would be sure to use it against them. Ghosts from Gabrielle's past threaten her place with her unit and Ryan's bed.
Local police are puzzled and the town is terrified. The Admiral's Elite must find a killer, stop him without anyone finding out their true identities, and not be torn apart in the process.
My Review of the Book:
I read Second Sight in just over two days, breezing through it effortlessly. I loved the characters, I loved the plot, I loved the story. Have I mentioned love? Because I loved it.
So of course, I was really looking forward to reading Into the Light, and I'll confess I was terribly disappointed in one thing. As soon as I opened the file to read it, I discovered that it's a bit shorter than the first book, which saddened me because I'd been looking forward to more of the characters. Still, that initial sadness was quickly forgotten as I dug into the plot and remembered my love for the characters. The vulnerability of both Michael and Becca was endearing, especially in light of Michael's impeccable strength. I loved watching him lose himself in Becca, and I loved the side story with Gabrielle and Ryan also.
Another confession: I hate the Admiral. He's really coming off as a giant ass, and is definitely not my favorite character. I think I may even have like the wendigo better than the Admiral, if that says anything.
Which it will, once you've read the book. And you have to, because it's A+ awesome. I loved it, and I love the obvious effort the author put into crafting the storyline. It's an amazing job, and now I'll be watching for the third book in the serious to come out. I can't wait to see what happens next with Ryan and Gabrielle, Michael and Becca, and yes, even the wretched Admiral.
I'm giving the book four stars, and you need to know that this is a very high four stars! Paranormal isn't usually my reading genre, but the brilliance of HK Savage is a part of my conversion, for sure. There's a certain unique special-ness that never fades from relationships like the ones in this book, no matter how many other books are doing it, because there's an entirely new level of effort required to relate to each other. And whether you read paranormal or not, I promise this series is well worth your time.
And there's my two cents.
And as if that weren't enough, how about this interview with the author herself!
Brandi: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with me!! But I have to ask, what made you want to write? Is there a specific moment or memory you want to tell us about?
HK: I've always loved making up stories. I'm not really sure why. When I was a kid we moved a lot and it left me to my own devices often. I guess that's why I got tight with my local librarians and when Mom couldn't get me to someone else's stories I made up my own.
Brandi: I know that feeling well! What inspired you to write your first book?
HK: Ah the recession. I worked in print advertising and our clients were banks. Yep, you guessed it. In 2008 I was laid off and I don't like to sit around so I thought I'd try to get a story out. I wrote 5 books that year, three were my Empath Trilogy, then Life Blood, and The Path. In 2011 I decided to open the doors to my own small publishing company to combine what I knew of the writing world with the advertising jungle I'd been in for 10 years.
Brandi: That must have been quite an experience for you. In your writing, do you have a specific writing style?
HK: Do you mean how do I come up with this stuff? I go for a walk, listen to music, then sit down to write. That's how I write for a few hours in the morning. At night, after everyone else is in bed, I hit it for a few more hours. Oddly I do my best dark scenes at night.
Brandi: Not so odd, maybe. Dark hours, dark writing. It fits. Do you use an outline when you're working, or do you just sort of go with the flow? And if you do use an outline, how strictly do you follow it?
HK: I've tried doing outlines but my characters don't listen to me any better than anyone else around here. At first I tried to map things out but I quickly learned that when you develop characters (I write up backstories for each main character to get to know them) then put them in a situation, they tend to take over. I've now gotten to where I write until the thought runs its course then I wait, mull over where everyone is, and come back the next day and they're off to the races again. Of course the first draft is always a little rough and when I go back through I layer in more detail, foreshadowing, etc. I'm always surprised when I think "oh, I should put something in there about this" and I look back and I did. It makes me feel brilliant (for a few minutes anyway until I see that I misspelled something basic like apple).
Brandi: I've had that happen myself! Tell me this: what books/authors have influenced your writing?
HK: I love Edgar Allen Poe. He was so dark and disturbed, I think it speaks to everyone's dark side. Also, as a Psychology and Religion major I am always interested in what motivates people so John Douglas (FBI's premiere profiler) has some amazing books that explain a lot about the human condition. Also Jack London because he was my favorite as a kid. Really I read almost anything you put in front of me except chick lit and even that my friend (a devoted chick lit fan) continues to expose me to once in a while if it's really good.
Brandi: What books/authors have most influenced you, not as a writer, but as a person?
HK: As a person? I think it's hard to separate these two questions because what we write is a lot of who we are. Sure, not that paranormal writers are or want to be fanged or furry, but the things we wonder about, talk about, and see every day do come out in our writing. The monsters I write about are characterizations of stories in the news outlining the cruelty we are capable of doing to one another. Also, the heroes I write about are the plain people who do great things because they have to and also those who modestly go on saving us but stay in the background while glory hounds jump in and point out how fabulous they are. That said, Dumas' The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Tale of Two Cities speak to my love of political intrigue (I don't like politics but intrigue and deception are wonderful to untangle), Don Quixote was lovely for finding humor in the every day and making adventure of nothing, and The Scarlet Pimpernel I fell in love with in the 7th grade when I met a hero who hid behind a mask even from from his wife allowing her to think him a fool to keep safe the secrets of others. Those concepts fascinate me as a person so I guess they come out in my writing as well.
Brandi: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
HK: I have some writers who I am finding myself going back to in my spare time and rereading their series' two and three times. Those would be Julie Ann Walker and Kristen Ashley. They're both contemporary romance and very adult. I guess what I love about them is the flow of their writing, I feel like I'm talking to a friend and having a laugh out loud good time. For me and where I'm at in my busy life I think that's essential. If I don't get some good laughs in, I'm a cranky bear so I love these two for what they give me.
Brandi: What book are you reading now, and what do you like or dislike about it so far?
HK: I am in the series by Camilla Chafer, the Lexi Graves Mysteries. They're hilarious, her observations and views on life as she goes along are phrased in such a way I'm having a fun time reading them. They're light, they're easy, and I find hours disappear for me when I'm reading them. I don't like how superficial the characters are. Even when the main character has something big happening for her she doesn't really feel it like most people would. In that way I find it hard to relate to her. Then again, some people are shallow so maybe that's how she is (character, not the writer. I'm sure the author is a hoot). I don't know.
Brandi: It's funny how characters differ in depth the same way actual people do. Can you name one person from your life that you feel has really supported you?
HK: My husband. I know that's cliche but when I got laid off he was in a position to tell me to take my time finding what I wanted to do and he's been willing to sacrifice things so that I could take this little adventure. He also likes for us to be together a lot and go to bed at the same time. After a few nights of my noisy typing in bed he was more than willing to give up bedtime together in favor of me staying up and coming to bed when I'm ready. Weekends are his though and we've been able to strike a pretty decent balance.
Brandi: Ah, the elusive "balance." I find that to be challenging sometimes as well. As an author myself, I can testify to how scary the review process can be, putting your work out there for others to critique. How you do deal with it, and have there been any reviews (good or bad) that still stick with you today?
HK: I'm actually a very shy person and don't like putting myself out there. Writing is great for an introvert like me. Signings? Marketing (other people are easy, my own work is very hard to talk about)? Opening up my guts enough to let my characters really explore the depths of their experience? That is very hard. I have to write thinking "no one will see this but me" or I find myself censoring my work. For example, when I wrote my new series, The Admiral's Elite, I'd decided to go adult. Now it's not erotica like every 5 pages they're getting down and dirty, but there are some graphic scenes in there and I've been told the sexual tension is "wow". When I wrote them I deleted them several times thinking I couldn't put that out there. It wasn't until a reviewer turned friend, Tif Olson from Paranormal Book Club, read the two books and laughingly helped me to type "those words" into my book I got the courage to do it. And if the feedback and sales are to be believed, I've done the right thing. These are my best sellers yet, but more importantly, I'm hearing it's my best work. Me, I don't know I love all of my characters like children. Even the bad guys I kind of feel bad for. Reviews that stick with me? Yes, I had someone say I was fabulous once and my husband called me "brilliant". Yes, brilliant. I've been known to use this in an argument a time or two with him as to why I should prevail. Oddly it doesn't carry much weight when I do. Oh well.
Brandi: I can relate to having issues with "those words" in writing. I seem to write everything under the knowledge that "my GRANDMOTHER is going to see this!" Can you tell me anything about your current project?
HK: I'm working on a follow up to The Path (adult PNR due out late 2014), book 3 of The Admiral's Elite (due out 2014), and Blood Bound (contemporary romance due out August 2013)
HK was also kind enough to give us an excerpt from the text of Blood Bound, which you can find here.
Brandi: Do you have any advice for other writers?
HK: Keep writing. Yep, we all say the same thing but it's true. You can't help but get better if you keep doing it. Also, listen to what people say (provided it's constructive criticism we can all learn from what others see in our work). And get a good editor. We get submissions all the time that are so hard to read we end up getting hired to edit the job, even when it's going to be sent off to another publisher or perspective agent after us. No one is perfect, even an editor, but trust me when I say you can't edit your own work. My early stuff was not edited nearly to the level my new stuff is and I credit that directly to my current staff of fantastic editors. Oh, and covers. Nothing says "I did this myself" like a photoshopped cover. Get a good cover designer. And not all of them are hundreds of dollars. We have some at Staccato and that I know personally who we freelance with when our staff is busy who are less than $100!
Brandi: Thanks for the advice. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
HK: I love you. Really, I do. Because I love to write and talk about books and when I get fan mail or meet someone at a convention or signing and we get to talk about books (even if they're not mine which I kind of prefer) I love to do it. Readers love other readers and when we get together it's always fun. It doesn't hurt that when they buy my books I get to buy more tea which fuels my next book and I love that too.
There you have it folks, the awesome HK Savage!!!!
Thanks, HK for sitting in with me and taking the time to answer my questions.
More About HK Savage:
HK Savage has been a voracious reader of anything she could get her hands on going back to the second grade when she would set her alarm two hours early to read before school. Her passion for the written word has continued and flowed into writing going back nearly as far. Her books have fans in twenty countries on six continents with hopes of attracting attention on Antarctica if for no other reason than to check a box.
Currently, HK is a mother, wife and black belt in Karate as well as an avid dressage rider. Her three dogs: a Doberman puppy and two ancient Doxies keep her busy when she is not writing or working.
HK has been an editor for several newsletters over the years, her favorite being for Heifer International where her ideas were put into effect and complimented by those on high. Currently her editing skills, honed for nearly a decade in advertising media, have been focused on her peers and clients in the writing world as Founder and Editor in Chief of Staccato Publishing and new digital imprint, Darkest Night Publishing.
Paranormal is a favorite genre as well as science fiction and the possibilities we have not yet realized. Her favorite premise: "what if?"
Wanna follow her around the web?
HK was also cool enough to offer a giveaway for all of you to enter! So go on, enter!