Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

a task as elusive as her ancestry - Rare Form (Descended of Dragons #1) by Jen Crane

A Secret Past
A Scorching Chemistry
A Scorching Chemistry
A Battle for the Rest of Her Life


Published: October 6th, 2015 

A Secret Past
Fiery redhead Stella Stonewall can’t decide between a margarita and a manhattan. The rest of her life? Please. Stella has never really fit in, and her pretty world comes crashing down when she learns it was never her world at all.

Rowan Gresham is domineering, brooding, and as sexy as chocolate-dipped sin. When he transports Stella to the magical realm of her parents she recognizes her rightful place immediately. Gresham’s motivations are less clear.

A Scorching Chemistry
The enigmatic Gresham aids in Stella’s metamorphosis and their chemistry ignites, though a long-time girlfriend and a significant age difference stand in the way.

A Battle for the Rest of Her Life
Stella’s life fast-tracks to extraordinary when she enrolls at Radix Citadel for Supernatural Learning, an enchanted college whose students turn furry on the regular. As Stella learns to navigate the magical new world of Thayer she must also find her animal form, a task as elusive as her ancestry. Stella soon faces an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn to manipulate an animal form she never knew she possessed.

The double nature of the characters 

Rare Form is the story of Stella Stonewall, a starry-eyed college girl who, okay, wasn’t fulfilled or challenged at all, but was stress-free. Life was simple. Good. The biggest challenge she faced was deciding between groceries or a new handbag, and more than once she rode out the week on Ramen noodles. 

But Stella’s life fast-tracks to extraordinary when she learns of her connection to a magical world in which people evolved not just from apes, but from all sorts of species. The people of Thayer’s forebearers were lions, deer, birds…and dragons. What’s more, Thayerians boast more than just lineages. They retained the nature of their ancestors—they’re shape shifters. 

Stella embraces this new world and works to find her own animal form, but she’s at a disadvantage. The fellow students she meets at Thayer’s magical graduate school, Radix Citadel for Supernatural Learning, know what form they’ll take. Their parents were lions or bears or birds. Since Stella never knew her father, and her mother refuses to help, Stella doesn’t know which animal form she’ll take once she finds her metamorphosis. (And if you think you’ve got the plotline figured out by the name of the series, think again.) 

In order to close the gap in the advantage her fellow students have, Stella’s life goes from margaritas and manicures to late-night cramming. For the first time in her life, she faces real struggles which soon turn to life or death situations. Faced with such challenges, Stella is forced to mature, to adapt, to live. 

When Stella finally finds her form she learns her nature is not so much changed as it is...expanded. She’s herself, but she’s more. And isn’t that what we’d all like to be—even as simple human beings? More. Better. Our best selves. 

As a writer, it was a lot of fun to add the psychological subtleties that I imagine one would feel as a shape shifter. We hear about visceral responses, but when creating a world with magical shifters, primal responses come into play, too. And that’s when the hamster wheel in my head really spins. 

In her animal form, Stella feels empowered, she feels free, she feels right. She’s not particularly prone to rage, though, which reflects her personality. The alternate forms of several other characters in the book are revealed, some of which are vicious; others beautiful and graceful. So, as far as double natures go, in this Descended of Dragons series a better descriptor might be ‘enhanced natures.’

About the author:
Though she grew up on a working cattle ranch, Jen Crane has been in love with fantasy and science fiction since seeing a bootleg tape of Quantum Leap in the 90’s.

She has a master’s degree, and solid work histories in government and non-profit administration. She’s been published in reputable newspapers and magazines.

One day, though, she said, “Life’s too real for nonfiction. I’m gonna write about love and magic.”

Jen is happily living out her dream in The South with her husband and three children, striking that delicate balance between inspiration and frustration.

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Unknown said...

I love finding new authors to read!!

Giselle said...

Thanks for hosting! :)

Unknown said...

Thank you! This was a fun interview.

Juana said...

I enjoyed both the book description, and the guest post.

Jan Lee said...

I love reading about different schools that characters enroll in. I also like to read about characters transforming into other beings. This would be a great book for me to read :)

Danielle merkle said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!

Stephanie LaPlante said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.

Fee Roberts said...

This book gives me the impression that a couple of different genres are intertwined. Sounds like a good read.

Unknown said...

Looks like a super good read! Very excited to check it out!