Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A World Apart by LJK Oliva!

A World Apart (Shades Below, #1)
A World Apart
Shades Below
Book One
L.J.K Oliva

Genre: Urban fantasy

 Book Description:

"There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian.  It's my job to bump back."

Private investigator Jesper MacMillian was sure he'd seen it all.  After all, in a city like San Francisco, strange is what's for breakfast.  Following a long  recovery after a horrific accident, his life is finally the way he wants it- or at least, close enough.  The only monsters on his radar are the ones that keep him awake at night.
All that changes the day he meets Lena Alan.

Before MacMillian has a chance to brace for impact, Lena drags him into a world where monsters aren't just real, they're hiding in plain sight.  Suddenly, everything he knows is suspect, starting with his current case.  For Lena, a medium since childhood, it's just another day at the office. 

For MacMillian, it's the beginning of the end of everything he thinks he knows.


The elevator came to a stop.  The doors started to open.  MacMillian backed away and shook his head.  "Do me a favor.  Leave now.  Don't come here again."
He stepped into the hallway, then froze.  Clustered outside the door to the office was a horde of people, the widest slice of humanity he'd ever seen crammed into one place.  There were cowboys, businessmen, soldiers.  Native Americans, what looked to be early Chinese, and more than a few women resembling the one from the side street.
The woman stepped out of the elevator behind him.  She hissed.  "Jesus.  Is it always like this here?"
MacMillian stared down at her.  "What are you- you can see them?"
She rolled her eyes.  "Well, obviously.  I'm a medium, remember?" She started down the hallway, paused, and glanced over her shoulder.  "Are you coming?"
MacMillian hung back.  She shrugged.  "Suit yourself."
She walked up to the edge of the crowd and cleared her throat.  "Okay, someone want to tell me what you're all doing here?"
Multiple heads swung towards her.  An elderly man in a suit that would have been the height of fashion in the late eighteen-hundreds stepped forward.  MacMillian strained his ears, but he couldn't hear what the man said.  The woman listened closely, made a curious sound in the back of her throat and turned back to him.  "He says there's a medium here.  Are you sure you're not sensitive?"
He was feeling rather sensitive, but he shook his head.  "I don't even know what that means."
The woman humphed.  "That's what I thought."  She turned back to the man.  "So you're all here to be moved on?"
The man nodded.
Her shoulders relaxed.  She reached out and took the man's hand in hers.  His eyes widened, then a peaceful look came over his face.  His lips turned up.  White light appeared in the center of his chest, expanded outward until his entire body glowed.  With what looked like a sigh of relief, he evaporated.
MacMillian's jaw dropped.
The woman moved slowly through the crowd.  Hand after hand reached out for her.  She took each one, held on until its owner flashed white and disappeared.  By the time she reached the office door, the hallway was empty.  She leaned back hard against the wall and closed her eyes.
MacMillian didn't remember moving, but somehow he was standing in front of her.  He closed his free hand around her arm and towed her inside, not stopping until they reached his office.
He slammed the door.  "What the... what was..." He dragged a sleeve across his brow.  It was drenched in sweat, but his skin felt freezing.
The woman watched him, her eyes sympathetic.  "Rough day, Magnum?"
He glared.
She sighed and rubbed her forehead.  "That, my dear detective, was the other San Francisco.  You've probably seen it before, just out of the corner of your eye.  You've probably dismissed it all your life.  Maybe you always told yourself you'd just had too much to drink."  She paused, her gaze heavy on his face.  MacMillian squirmed.  "But I'm guessing you always knew better."
His head was throbbing.  He shook it once, twice, but it didn't clear.  "I don't get it, Miss..."
"Alan," she supplied.
He nodded.  "Ms. Alan.  Why are you here?"
Her eyes darkened.  "Because there are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian.  It's my job to bump back."

My Review

Well I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, but I loved it! The paranormal world of ghosts in a whole new light! A unique take on how spirits remain around us and what it could mean if you can see them. A lot of this book is based on getting MacMillian to learn and believe in the paranormal and the rest is getting Lena to save the day, as well as herself. Because spirits are needing help, but it could also harm a lot of live people in the process. :) 

Lene is freaking hilarious! Her comments, out loud, about testosterone, and crazy snarky things she says made me absolutely love this book. She is this tiny little thing of a girl is a bad ass. She knows her way around the spirit world, and she also knows her way around the tea world as well. She's got a little magic up her sleeve and she's one of the coolest heroines I've ever read. 

Jesper MacMillian is a gypsy, who is also a private investigator. He doesn't want his Romany King status, so he his trying to keep busy with his investigation business, which leads him to Lena. Who blows his ever loving mind. I LOVED IT. He was constantly surprised and then who have to rethink his whole thought process. And I also think he has a crush on Lena, but he's too prideful or stubborn or whatever to tell her. I seriously hope book two gives me something between them! And he's got his own trouble, with an accident, and a loss, so maybe that has a little to do with his holding back. 

There's some great side characters. A priest, a knight, Lena's brother, the cop Durbin. I really enjoyed the plot. A little mystery, with some paranormal aspects. Some great run arounds and scary ghostly possessions. With a side of zombie! I can't wait for book two. The writing was great and this is a wonderful start to a new series! 5 Ghostly PAWS!! 

Author Interview

First, tell me a little about your book :)….
Sure, and thank you for having me on your blog today!
A World Apart is the first book in my new urban fantasy series, Shades Below.  It introduces Jesper MacMillian, private detective, and Lena Alan, psychic medium and paranormal investigator.  By a twist of fate, Lena and MacMillian find themselves working the same case.  Chaos, a clash of worlds—and wills—and whirlwind adventure are just part of what ensues.

What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
My first book was a contemporary romantic suspense called All That Glitters, written under the name Laura Oliva.  It's set on the shores of the Bering Sea in Nome, Alaska, and tells the story of chronic loner Ava Faraday and gold dredger Ethan Calhoun.  Don't tell anyone, but I still have a bit of a crush on Ethan...

How do you choose when/which characters die in your books?
Interesting you should ask that.  As it happens, there are some characters I am quite fond of who I already know will not survive the Shades Below series.
Any answer I come up with makes me sound like a fickle bitch ("They just need to"; "It just feels right") so I'll simply say this: sometimes you have to sacrifice a character for the good of the story.  It's cold and it's painful, but to stay your hand at the last minute would feel dishonest.

Who do you look up to as a writer?
Karen Marie Moning is my unicorn.  Her writing gives me heart palpitations.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Not a thing.  This is the first time I've ever been able to say that, and I am currently five books into my career.
Wow.  I'm having a bit of a moment now...

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Conveying everything I want to convey without lapsing into exposition or purple prose.  I have a constant fear of sounding ridiculous.

Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
The cover was designed by the brilliant and beautiful Amy Mateyka.  We have a great working relationship (by which I mean she graciously tolerates my vague ideas and weird requests).

Going into a project, the most important thing for me is that the cover accurately reflects the feel of the book. In the case of A World Apart, we ended up trying a few different "skins" before finding the right fit.  Amy was incredibly patient, and consistently went above-and-beyond for me.  I am extraordinarily lucky to have her as both my designer and my friend.

Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
I've learned that my writing is never as bad as I think it is.  I've learned that it takes a few tries (sometimes more) before you really start producing work you're proud of.  I've learned not to give up before magic happens.

If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
Tough call.  Probably Georgia Clare, Lena's bestie and the heroine of my current work-in-progress.  She's a witch, rides a motorcycle, and can do math.

Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
Redwall, by Brian Jacques (because it was my first love as a child).
The Downside Ghosts series, by Stacia Kane (because Chess and Terrible make me hungry).
And of course The Fever Series, by Karen Marie Moning (because Jericho Barrons).

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Seriously, you guys keep me going.  Writing a book is equal parts blood and pixie dust, and knowing you're out there waiting to read what happens next is the most powerful magic there is.

About the Author:
L.J.K Oliva is the devil-may-care alter-ego of noir romance novelist Laura Oliva.  She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody.  L.J.K. likes monsters... and knows the darkest ones don't live in closets.

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