Please welcome author, Christine Zoldenz to my blog.
I first heard of Christine when I was updating my Goodreads book list and browsed around for a new-to-me-book. Christine’s book, BRUTALLY BEAUTIFUL caught my attention.
I don’t like to read reviews before I consider a book, so I read the synopsis (which drew me in right away) not to mention the cover and title were intriguing. Hopped on over to Amazon, read the sample and one-clicked it. When the sequel came out, COLD-BLOODED BEAUTIFUL I one-clicked it quickly and immersed myself into the suspense.
Both books have all the elements I thoroughly enjoy in a suspenseful romance:
Samantha – Strong, intelligent, quick-witted heroine who does not let her past define her.
Great dialogue, both external and internal.
Kade – A tortured hero who admits he is royally screwed up. Arrogant. Bad tempered, but also vulnerable, quirky and totally sucks you into loving him, and once you read his story in both (Brutally Beautiful and Cold-Blooded Beautiful) you’ll tend to agree with his view of some people.
I am pleased to interview Christine so she can talk about the books from her point of view.
Selena: Christine, welcome and thanks for taking time to answer a few questions.
Christine: Hi, Selena. Thank you so much for having me!
Selena: In three words describe Kade.
Christine: Dark, gorgeous and savage.
Selena: Agree, he’s all that and more. When you were writing Brutally Beautiful and Cold Blooded Beautiful, which part was the most enjoyable to write and which was the hardest?
Christine: That’s a really awesome question.
The most enjoyable part with that whole series for me was watching the characters grow, especially Kade. I loved seeing him in my head go from this tortured man to someone who found love and could not deny himself it, and didn’t want to hide in the shadows any longer.
The hardest part was putting my characters through their ordeals. When I first started writing Kade’s thoughts, I knew I wanted something harsh and unexpected to happen and when the character led me to find out what it was, I simply cried for him. It killed me to write that part, because he was an innocent child, and it was so real, and it happens more often than we see on the news.
Selena: Kade’s growth from the first book to the next was very well done and the reader does feel the emotion, torture and immense pain he went through. His sense of humor and intelligence served him well, and even when he was being arrogant, I couldn’t help but smile. I also appreciated his self-deprecating humor. The way you portrayed his childhood trauma felt real, because unfortunately, we do read about it in the news, but what you did was bring the issue of what happens to the kids when the news story is over and they are older. Again, well done.
If you could appear in a walk on role in either books, what would you like to be and why?
Christine: I would always be my lead female. Always. As I write, she’s who and what is inside me, her strengths are my strengths, her wit is mine, and her scars are mine.
Selena: I think we can’t help but a some of our traits onto our heroines. Not always, but I do think they pop up here and there. What soundtrack would you assign to your life as a writer?
Christine: I actually have a soundtrack for every book I’ve written. Music is a huge inspiration for my writing, and I usually name songs and bands in each book that have something to do with the creation of the book. But I think if I were to have one song to assign to my writing life it would be Seize the Day by Avenged Sevenfold. Mostly because in your life you really don’t have time to hold back, or hide- not if you want your dreams to come true. You have to live life to the fullest and regret nothing.
Selena: Total agree! One of my favorite quotes is: A goal without a plan is just a wish. As a writer you are turning your goals into more than just a dream, and readers reap the rewards. That is one of the things I love about our writing community, that we follow something we are passionate about.
What are three things you are really good at?
Christine: I can draw. Like, really well. I could also take myself out of any situation with just my imagination. And I like to think I’m good at being a mom (but my girls may disagree, lol.)
Selena: LOL! Well, in my opinion, if your kids think you’re not a good mom, means you’re doing a helluva great job. They’re not supposed to like our methods. What three things are you not good at?
Christine: Cooking (everything always lacks taste.) Drinking (I’m either dancing on a table or puking, there’s no medium for me.) And, social situations (I’m probably the shyest person you will ever meet.)
Selena: I can relate to two out of three. I love cooking, and people don’t believe when I say I’m shy, so I do believe you are. We are extroverts on line and even on the telephone, but face to face, most of us are not that out going. Which is kind of fun to give the opposite those traits to our characters, as you did with Samantha in both books.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Christine: Gah, I have so many it’s disgusting, but the one that comes to mind right now is when people are talking to me and I have my earphones on or I’m reading. Hate that.
Selena: Interrupting our reading is punishable by dirty looks! Please tell our readers about BRUTALLY BEAUTIFUL and COLD-BLOODED BEAUTIFUL.
Christine: BRUTALLY BEAUTIFUL is a story about a woman, Samantha Matthews, who finds herself bloodied and beaten driving away from some horror with her best friend next to her. She’s hiding from something, but she’s so shocked by having to go through it that she honestly can’t put words to it. She thinks it’s better to not think about the evil of it so it has no power over her. She then finds herself in the remote forests of the Adirondacks working as a waitress when she meets her boss’s brother, Kade. Kade and Sam just change each other, it’s a dark beautiful love story. Sam saves Kade from himself.
COLD-BLOODED BEAUTIFUL is the continuation of their love story, but more of Samantha’s side, because her past literally comes back to haunt her. And now it’s Kade’s turn to save Sam, if it’s not too late.
Heidi Wiley’s Review
First of all, there is nothing about this story I didn’t like. From the first page, Christine Zolendz drops you right in the middle of a fast paced mystery that leaves you with just as many questions as answers. Samantha is a strong beautiful woman who will do anything to stay alive and protect the people she cares about and although she has been through hell, her life hasn’t broken her and she sees worth in Kade who doesn’t see it in himself. Kade Grayson can never mask what his past has done to him and never apologizes for his abrasive personality but this author has written this character in a way that his pain is justified and not just seen as self-loathing. This story is well-written, sexy and pulls you so deep into these characters that you don’t want the story to end. One of the best reads of this year and I highly recommend.
Samantha and Kade’s journey to find love wasn’t an easy one in both books and, in Cold-Blooded Beautiful it was heart-wrenching to read what these two went through (especially Samantha) both physically and mentally.
The book is more than a suspense with strong romantic elements, as it deals with issues that unfortunately affect many woman, men and sadly realistic in the sense that what Kade went through as a teenager, is something we have read in the news all to often of the tragedies some young children endure.
I don’t want to go into what happened to Samantha and Kade, as I feel it would spoil the book, which is why I am being vague as to the horrors that plague them.
There is a lot of evil in the world as we know from watching the news, but sometimes the monsters are dressed so well, educated, articulate and can fly even under a well educated and extremely intelligent woman’s radar. Anybody can be fooled. The author makes a great statement with the way this particular plot point unfolds. Sometimes the evil exists where a person least expects it, in their own circle of family and friends.
Both books will make you smile (laugh at times, especially Kade and Samantha’s internal thoughts and dialogue), it will also tug at your heartstrings real hard and you may shed a few tears. You’ll also have a lump in your throat as you read how deep, soulful and connected these two become, especially when they (as well as the reader) thinks all is lost.
A page turner that has all the elements that rounds out a great read, with the bonus of a realistic ending that will stay with you long after you finished the book.
About Christine Zolendz
Christine Zolendz is a writer who resides in New York City, with her husband and two daughters. You could always find her reading, writing, or fishing her keys out of the toilet. She’s also been seen trying to set the world on fire, but that’s a whole other story. 🙂