Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop: Feat. The Other Side, Book1 of the IslandGirls trilogy by @ZeeMonodee with @Decadentpub

Hey beautiful people!

I got tagged by two lovely ladies I'm honoured to call friends - Rae Rivers & Kathy Bosman - onto this blog hop.

What is it about? Well, all about a recipe revolving around an upcoming release or a WIP that you have this summer.

It's smack dab the middle of winter here in the southern hemisphere, but luckily, a tropical place like Mauritius still gets some decent sunsine on the coasts, where this recipe can still be downed without causing you to get penumonia (like it could be the case where I live, on the higher plateaus, with our 12-14C temps right now).

So which recipe am I sharing, and how does it tie to my upcoming release?

The recipe is for an Oreo+HaagenDasz super indulgent milkshake. Loaded with calories, definitely a once-every-often treat, but at the end of a long, hard, and hot day (and especially when you've had your mother breathing down your neck all day, like my heroine, Lara, often has to put up with), something decadent and sinful is always welcome. And sadly, when there is no hunk who can play out the cabana boy theme to you (sadly, too, Lara's case. She's a workaholic, btw), this milkshake is the next best thing.

What is this story really about? Well, titled The Other Side, it is the story of divorcee Lara Reddy who comes back to the land of her parents, the island of Mauritius, to take up a prestigious job after the demise of her decade-long marriage to a 'proper' Indian-origin boy in London. Lara knew Mauritius wouldn't be easy - after all, her mother is there (the woman makes shark-infested waters look like a midsummer pond!), but she hadn't counted on the traditional, almost-backwards society that casts her away, because she has the dirty tag of 'divorcee' on her back now.
Amid all this Bollywood-style drama, Lara comes across the first -and only- boy she ever loved, Eric Marivaux. The problem? He is white, and from a totally different culture as her own. As teenagers, they had no hope of a future in Mauritius. But maybe as adults, they can make this work again...

So the hop also has a few questions I should answer *rubs hands with glee!* Let's roll!

1. When writing, are you a snacker? If yes, sweet or salty?
Not a snacker per se. I'll only get crumbs into my keyboard, and that's not really pleasant (or hygienic...) I do have this huge, 1-pint+ cup of green tea next to me, that I'll sip from time to time to keep me from getting parched.

2. Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants or jammies?
Outliner, definitely. I have to know everything that'll happen from start to finish and only then can I write. It helps my compulsive nature, but it also works in giving me a timeframe for writing, because I often deal with deadlines. Knowing where I'm going takes the stress out of wondering whether I'll be able to make my deadlines or not.
But still, my outline is very loose, a scene put down in 1 sentence or 2. The actual writing is totally off the seat of my trousers.
And they're rarely jammies (must be during school vacation, when I don't have to go out). They'll usually be shorts in summer, thick yoga-pants style in winter, or if I'm feeling glam, MANGO skinny jeans. *grin*

3. When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe or wing it?
I used to be an awful cook, so I always followed recipes to the dot. Then I started learning how to cook properly, and found out I loved it. So now, the first time I make something, I'll follow the recipe. The second time, I'll adjust it most probably (like too much butter in the recipe for the cake, so I cut back until I'm satisfied with the end result. A lot of trial and error. I also cut down like one third of the sugar in any recipe.)

4. What is next for you after this book?
My next release will be Book2 in the Island Girls trilogy - it follows Lara's youngest sister, Diya, in her quest to find a modern Prince Charming in the sea of frogs that is contemporary Mauritian society. Unfortunately for Diya, though, she ogre! The title is Light My World, coming in September 2013.
WIP-wise, I am on the second book of the collaborative indie PNR/UF series started with my bestie, Natalie G Owens, titled Eternelles.

5. Last question...On a level of 1 being slightly naughty and 10 being whoo hoo steamy, where does your book land?
Hmmm... I'd say somewhere around a 2 or 3. The Other Side is more a romantic comedy with Bollywood drama than a hot and heavy romance. To me, the love scenes are more sensual than raunchy, though the chemistry and tension between Lara and Eric are (I hope!) scorching. *grin*


Oreo+HaagenDasz Decadent Milkshake

A handful of Oreo cookies (the original, dark choc one with vanilla cream)
HaagenDasz Cookies&Cream ice cream - about 2 scoops
1 pint cold milk
Whipped cream (Optional)

Place cold milk in your blender. Add ice cream and crushed cookies. Pulse.
Pour into tall glasses. Top with whipped cream and a glace cherry.
(Optional - if you want this less buttery, scrape off the cream from the Oreos before adding the cookies to the blender)

A little more about the book, releasing July 23, 2013:

Divorce paints a scarlet letter on her back when she returns to the culture-driven society of Mauritius. This same spotlight shines as a beacon of hope for the man who never stopped loving her. Can the second time around be the right one for these former teenage sweethearts?

Lara Reddy left London after her husband dumps her for a more accommodating uterus—at least, that’s what his desertion feels like. Bumping into him and his pregnant new missus doesn’t help matters any, and she thus jumps on a prestigious job offer. The kicker? The job is in Mauritius, her homeland, and a society she ran away from over a decade earlier.

But once here, Lara has no escape. Not from the gossip, the contempt, the harassing matchmaking...and certainly not from the man she hoped never to meet again. The boy she’d loved and lost—white Mauritian native, Eric Marivaux.

Back when they were teens, Eric left her, and Lara vowed she’d never let herself be hurt again.
Today, they are both adults, and facing the same crossroads they’d stood at so many years earlier.

Lara now stands on the other side of Mauritian society. Will this be the impetus she needs to take a chance on Eric and love again?

Excerpt (from the start of the book):

Don’t give in, Lara Reddy repeated like a mantra. Whatever you do, don’t give in.

But who was she kidding? She blew out a deep breath, warm air that feathered through her long fringe and settled the straight black locks in disarray over her eyes, obliterating her vision. Damn, she didn’t need this. She had to see her surroundings, so she could blank out the image burned inside her mind.

As she closed her hand on the smooth, glossy cardboard of the cigarette box in the deepest corner of her Herm├Ęs Birkin, she shuddered.

 You have to fight, Lara.

Fight the urge to have a smoke when she’d been off fags for over a year. Fight the memory of that indelible sight, of Roy, formerly her husband, with another woman. A very pregnant woman. He hadn’t lost any time, the pig. Barely eleven months since he served the divorce papers, and he had remarried and the missus was expecting.

Everything Lara had failed to be as his wife.... You are not at fault. She hadn’t been ready for children. Right?

Her hand trembled, and she bit back the sob that threatened to fall from her lips. The cardboard box still in her grip, she pulled her hand out, to stare at the pale gold, sealed Benson & Hedges packet.

The plastic wrapper on the box screamed at her to open it, to peel away the layers until she reached the salvation inside.

Perdition, you are. Was she crazy to imagine an evil snicker in her head?

***end of excerpt***

From Mauritius with love,



Rae Rivers said...

A milkshake recipe, yummy! Great post, Zee. Thanks for joining in!

Kathleen Bosman said...

Ooh, I can't wait to read "The Other Side." The milkshake sounds so yummy but I can't eat gluten. Sigh. My son will love it though as he always chooses the Oreo McFlurry.

Zee Monodee said...

Glad you liked it, Rae. And thanks for thinking of me here :) xoxo

Zee Monodee said...

Oh, Kathy - I can't wait for you to read the book, too. Getting terribly excited with release date getting so close. :)

And that's a shame about the gluten. Do you make gluten-free cookies? I have a cookbook for them and there's a recipe for Oreos in there. I'll send it to you.


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