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Friday, 10 February 2017

REVIEW & INTERVIEW - Marked by Obsession (PSY-IV Teams #3) by Jami Gray

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Some betrayals hide behind love, others obsession…

Asking for his help will expose more than heart…

Meli Dwyer’s ordered life followed a clear-cut path, just the way she preferred it until the death of her beloved brother. Rocked by her loss and grappling with the emotional fallout, a series of unexplained events marked by an escalating violence send her world into chaos. Alone and floundering in her harsh new reality, she reaches out for help from the sexy and mysterious warrior who managed to sneak under her guard, Wolf.

But some risks are worth taking…

When Wolf receives an unexpected call from the illusively alluring Meli, the PSY-IV Team’s skilled and lethal telepath doesn’t waste time racing to her side. Months earlier she ignited his protective instincts and her call gives him the perfect opportunity to set siege to her wary heart. Before he can breech the scars of her past, he’s engaged in a dangerous game beside the one woman he can’t read, facing an enemy whose motives and obsessions blur his lines between justice and revenge.

As the stakes rise, Meli must decide if the answers to her personal nightmare are worth uncovering if it costs her the man who captured her battered heart.

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5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Jumping straight in, because I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED to tell you about these books!!

This is book three in the Psy-IV Teams series, and I have read books one to three back to back.  Literally. Finished one, jumped straight into two; finished two (at stoopid o'clock in the morning, I might add!) and jumped straight into book three. Good job I wasn't at work that day, I tell ya!

We meet Wolf in book one, and Meli in book two. Meli's reaction to Wolf in that book is noted, marked, instant and powerful. When things start to go the pan at home, she calls Wolf, who thought she never would. 

Wolf can read minds, feelings, emotions with touch, and without. But he cannot read Meli. Her walls are rock solid and she grounds him. Just by being near, by touch. And she baffles him. He knows she has secrets, knows he could push at those walls if he really wanted, but he won't. He'll let her tell him all in good time.

Only time isn't something they have, those things going down the pan are getting far more deadly than a phone call. When Meli's brother's past is bought into play, things get complicated. And for a time, I had no idea where this was going! Loved being kept on my toes!! And usually, I love being made to wait for the main event but every time Meli and Wolf try to give in to their feelings, they get interrupted! I felt for them, I really did.

It is again, told in the first person, with both Wolf and Meli having a say. I swear to God, If this author switched to present tense, I think I'd still love them, and you KNOW how much I hate first person present tense!!

It is always a much darker read. Meli's secrets make for painful reading, especially when those secrets catch up with her. Extremely well written, just a little close to home. And because its first person...even more so. 

Because I read them back to back and because its written in the first person, I noticed the marked differences between Cyn, Risia and Meli, and between Tag and Wolf (but not Kayden from book one, he doesn't get a say) Differences in their personalities, the way they think, how they are. You don't always notice things like that in the third person, or if you have gaps between books in a series and I really REALLY loved being able to notice that. 

There is an on-going story line between all three books that is still unresolved, indeed, someone is still missing. But you don't need to read them all. I don't think you do, but if I were you, you should. Because these books are freaking awesome and I really can't wait to get my hands on the next one!! 

I'd like to read more by this author. Its the first I've read of her work and I really liked how she spins a tale, making you think, and think, and think again. 

Which leads me to my question...When?? I know Bishop is involved from that little snippet at the end, but WHEN??? How long do I gotta wait, Ms Gray?? How LONG?!?!?!?

5 stars (would give it so many more if I could!!!)

**same worded review will appear on: Goodreads, Booklikes,,, Kobo and Barnes and Noble**

(can you tell I LOVED htese!!!)

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Let me see if I can expand beyond the ‘I was born, grew up, and here I am’ status. My little OCD self hit the world on an Air force base on the US’s southeast coast at promptly 11 am one winter Thursday morning. Within twelve months, we moved to the Northwest, where until age six I really believed the sun was just a myth.  Then it was southward bound to drier climes where a big orange ball of heat dominated.  I bounced around the Southwest until age twelve until I tumbled into being the fifth eldest in a very, very large family (think double digits for kid amount).  After completing high school in rather dramatic fashion and many a declaration of being theater bound, I fell into the college maze for so long friends and family thought I’d be a professional student. When I finally emerged in my late twenties, instead of heading for the mountains to write the next, great piece of literature, I was waylaid by my best bud from high school and found myself saying “I do”.  We tried living back in the Northwest but I started to grow mold, so we ended back down in the desert where we currently live with our two boys, the Prankster Duo, and our female lab duo, the Fur Minxes. 
What do you do when you’re not writing?

If I’m not writing, I’m reading. As an avid reader, I find that slipping into other worlds gives me a nice break from mine. Not only do I enjoy everything from fantasy, to sci-fi, to thrillers to all types of romance, to non-fiction pieces, it helps me identify the areas of my own writing that I need to hone. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m hanging with my boys. Sometimes we get lost in a really good table-top game (mainly strategy based) or I’ll actually emerge into the world and draw down with my youngest for some target practice at the local range (he’s much better than I am). Then there’s those truly glamorous evenings of film, where the Knight and I sashay off to the red carpet for popcorn and big screen adventures. Occasionally the Prankster Duo tags along. Afterward, it’s not unusual for the celluloid aftermath to resemble an episode of Mystery Science Theatre.

Do you have a day job as well?

Fortunately, yes. I work for one my local universities in their executive education programs (fancy way of saying I work with public service employees—city government and public programs—and their training.) Here’s the real deal with writing: I don’t do it for the money, I write because I have these great stories I’m hoping others will enjoy. If I’m really lucky, it’s those stories that readers will turn to and get lost in for just a little bit. I’ve been blessed to be able to hold a day job that still allows me time to indulge in my writing addiction. Between the two I can feed my creative soul and my family.

What was your favourite book as a child?

THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. It’s a short story about two dogs and a cat who wander across the country. It’s been eons and eons since I’ve read it, but it sticks with me still. But it wasn’t the only one. When I was young, I was gifted with a hardbound set of books (that were half the size of me at the time) of all the best fables (Snow White, Cinderella, Jack in the Bean Stalk, etc.) I want to say they were Disney-esque, because I know the really Grimms Fairy Tales are darker than dark. (Yep, read those too.) I also read everything I could get my hands on, so I read all of James Herriot’s books (All Creatures Great and Small, etc.), and from there moved on to, of all things, Star Trek novels. Strange, because I ended up marrying the biggest Star Wars geek ever, and I really do like those films too.

When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?

I’ve been writing since my early teens, and it wasn’t until I was a mom of two toddlers who were eighteen months apart, that I realized I needed to reclaim something that was just mine. Writing was mine. I started making time for it, and by doing that, I made it important again. Once I published my first book, I was hooked. I’m a series writer for a reason. I love my worlds and they’re a blast to play in. Who wants to stop playing when it’s fun?

I don’t think that it hit me that writing had become a career until rather recently. It was when one of my writing partners pointed out that I just created a legitimate business plan for all my writing, which includes a writing schedule. It wasn’t on purpose, but the plan came about because I wanted to make sure I got books out every year and didn’t leave readers of one series alone too long. Writing two series is one thing, but I decided to add a third, which is currently in the querying process.

Now, I can’t imagine not writing, it’s that integral to my life.

What book do you wish you had written?

So not a fair question. How about I answer it this way, the book I wish my books could stand next to would be: In the long reaching shadow of Stephen King’s THE STAND, while wielding the sharpen sword of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, and out-witting those forces of evil like Julie Ann Walker and Christy Reece.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Wow, let me peer into my foggy crystal ball…hmmm…looks like I’m still hunched over my desk, madly typing away, my coffee mug half empty, a blizzard of Hershey Kisses wrappers strewn in all their gory glory, muttering to myself.  I’m going to guess I’ll still be writing. I’ll also still need that roof overhead, so still being force to emerge from my den of wordage to earn that paycheck, just hopefully not quite as much. I can see that perched on the horizon is that lovely stage of life where I can downsize the house since the Prankster Duo should be out discovering their own adventures, and Knight and I can head out to do some exploring on our own as well.

Mix Interview Questions:

When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?

My first published book was SHADOW’S EDGE. I started writing it around 2008. After I joined a critique group, I re-wrote it three times in three different points of views, trying to decide what worked. It was completed in 2010, and then I began the arduous query process. It was brutal. First, it was Urban Fantasy, so romance was super light (no sexy, heavy breathing scenes) because the couple had just met and were the highly self-controlled type, not prone to falling into bed. (Of course, they tumble right in on book 2, but…). I went through hundreds of rejections before I got my “Yes” from Black Opal. Most of those rejections tended to be along, “You have a great voice, good story, but there’s not enough sex, sorry.” As a newbie writer, it’s difficult to ignore the little voice in your head saying, “just put a scene in there, c’mon, you can do it”, especially when you, the writer, know it doesn’t serve the story. Being the stubborn woman I am, I didn’t back down, and I’m very glad I held true to that.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

Who said I’ve choosen? *wink* I currently have two published series out, one is Urban Fantasy (UF) with romantic elements, the Kyn Kronicles, and this one, PSY-IV Teams, which is my Paranormal Romantic Suspense. UF has always been my first love, but Romantic Suspense keeps it on its toes. I enjoy the PSY-IV Teams because it allows me to combine the two, but I will admit, I have a third series under construction that is Romantic Suspense, no magic, no paranormal, but it is set against a post-apocalyptic stage. I find I’m not good at wandering too far from the unusual when I write.

I grew up on stories of magic in everyday life. For the longest time I really believed my freckles were directly related to the brownies who were sneaking in kisses while I slept.  I grew up on Disney stories, then moved on to Star Trek and other sci-fi books.  I hit high school and started sneaking my mom’s romance novels out of the house (sorry, mom!) to help supplement my book habit in-between the fantasy and murder-mysteries I was able to snag from the school library.  I headed out into the big bad world at 18, and as I stumbled through the maze of life, I discovered my characters were suddenly becoming harder to hurt (emotionally and physically).  I’m sure a therapist would have a field day with this, but needless to say my reading needs changed as well.  I started hunting down books where the heroine didn’t always need the hero to ride to her rescue.  Sometimes it was more satisfying if she rumbled up to his rescue on her Harley.

Where do you get your ideas?

I was adopted at 14, so I find my main characters tend to come with some baggage and my characters aren’t any different.  Since I firmly believe that you have two choices when life starts putting you through the wringer, stand up or fall down, my women (and men) tend to stand up, even if they’re weaving on their feet, faces bruised and battered.
I wanted to combine my love of the paranormal with my love for romantic suspense. MARKED BY OBSESSION is the third book in my Paranormal Romantic Suspense series. The PSY-IV Teams was unlike my Urban Fantasy series (The Kyn Kronicles) and proved a bit more of a challenge when I first started it. Although the series centers around ex-military psychics, no demons (real, physical ones), werewolves or other creatures who go bump in the night, exist in this world.  Instead, my characters have to face the demons of their past, the nightmares they’ve survived, and navigate the ravages of life.

For the concept of the PSY-IV Teams, I’ve always been fascinated by the arena of psychic abilities, plus I may have a teeny-tiny bit of a conspiracy theorist residing in a small dark corner. I read a great deal outside of fiction, and one particular book, THE SEARCH FOR THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE by John D. Marks, which follows the history of behavioral science and the CIA, helped sparked the idea. After finishing that book, I moved on to THE PSYCHOPATH NEXT DOOR and a few others (which now that I’m reading this I’ll refrain from listing since…um, yeah, my research library of non-fiction titles would be scary to an outsider).

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I always hit a block when writing. Doesn’t matter if I write by the seat of my pants or plot the bugger out, sooner or later (probably sooner) I hit a point where I think, “For crimney’s sake, can’t we just get along!”.  Normally it hits in the first third of the story, probably because the characters and I are trying to get to know each other. Plus, as an avid reader, the stories I enjoy most are the ones I’m  unable to set down, because turning the next page is vitally necessary to find out what’s going on.  To achieve that result sometimes requires rewriting certain scenes until it clicks. Unfortunately it means what you thought would happen, doesn’t. But that’s part and parcel of being a writer.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

A combination of both, actually. For the planner aspect, I tend to have a general roadmap of where my story is going. Think of it like major road signs: Next Left-Heroine gets attacked, Hero and Heroine find themselves in dire straits for next 5 miles, Warning- Manic Villain ahead. What happens between those points, I’m driving with my eyes closed and using my knee to steer as I throw my hands up and go “WHEEE!”  I used to answer this straight out as pantser, but as I continue writing I find I need that initial road map to help keep my story from getting lost in the woods.
Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?

Some of the more emotional scenes are difficult, only because to do justice to why a character reacts they way they do, without providing an easy emotional out, is tricky business. Anger’s a great emotion, but can be overused. Fear, even in the strongest person, can be the most corrosive. Love can cut both ways on the good/evil spectrum. But emotions are the core of who we are, and why we choose to act the way we do to any given situation. They are the core of my characters and scraping through those emotions aren’t just painful for my character, they’re painful to write.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Write. Don’t talk about, don’t just imagine it, sit down and do it. Ignore the latest “trends”, or those that tell you it’s silly, just write the story that is burning a hole through your soul. That’s the one we’re going to want to read.

Adopted at the age of 14, I became the fifth eldest of 37 children while growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border. Heading off to college, I finally graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater. Shortly after marrying my techie geek hubby (who moonlighted as my best friend in high school) I completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon as bills needed to be paid. Now, years later, I’m back in the Southwest where I’m out numbered in my own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly friendly 105 pound male lab. Writing is what saves my sanity.

From the author's website

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