Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blog Tour - Mika Jolie's NEED YOU NOW (Martha's Way, #2), Review and Interview!

Cover Reveal Blast


Need You Now

Martha’s Way Book 2
 By Mika Jolie
Release Date: November 19, 2014
Publisher Secret Cravings Publishing


Elementary school teacher Liliana Serrano has never been one to let others determine her future. Whether it’s her pack of three overly protective brothers or her Puerto-Rican, American heritage, she stands on her own. Which is exactly how she entered her arrangement with Adam Aquilani. The hot formula one driver is aloof, detached and not interested in relationship. After a cheating fiancé, no strings attached sex was just what she needed. Except one year later, they’re still hooking up and things aren’t so clear cut anymore. Especially when a surprise pregnancy enters the picture. Adam is determined to marry Lily and raise their child as a family. But Lily refuses to settle for anything less than love. As the two go on a journey of discovering, secrets are revealed, testing the strength of their connection. Can they learn not to give the past the power to define their future? Need You Now is book two of the Martha’s Way Series. This book is a stand-alone story and you do not need to read book one to read this installment.


Amazon/Goodreads rating: 5/5
In Patti's Imagination rating: 9.5/10

While I was reading The Scale, I was asked if I wanted to read Need You Now for an honest review, since I was participating in the tour already. By that point in The Scale, I was in love with these characters and probably couldn't have said YES fast enough! Not only did Mika live up to my expectations, she exceeded them.

Jason and Minka made a great, interesting and sexy couple, but Adam and Lily scorched the page. Strong female characters win with me every time, and I liked how Mika balanced Lily's desire to stand on her own with the undeniable pull Adam had on her. Lest we think this was one-sided, Mika gives us Adam's point of view and lets the reader know, Lily's ideas in her head don't mesh with Adam's true feelings, even if he's hesitant to admit that. See, Adam holds a lot of pain inside, and he's not used to letting people in the way that he wants Lily to be a part of his soul. They both have to work past their personal hang-ups and move forward together. Each character grew in their own way over the course of the story, and in the end, that's what I need to see.

For me, stories are all about the characters. A story with characters who move me can make a contrived plot and bland settings seem reasonable, and they almost always get at least 3 stars from me. But this story, it was one which excelled all around. The plot had some interesting developments (which I won't divulge to avoid spoilers) and made me love Adam and Lily even more. While I read, it seemed as if I was there with the characters on Martha's Vineyard. Yet, it didn't appear that I was reading about a bunch of spoiled rich people in the way it could have if the story was written by a less-talented author. And the secondary characters, well, they're fabulous. We learned a little more about Minka and Jason, glimpsed some additional Claire and Forrest, and peeked at Blake and Keely. Then there were Lily's brothers...oh, I cannot wait to have more of them!

It all adds up to a story I did not want to put down. Was it perfect? No. But when I'm wishing the next book was ready, I know it's a stellar read. Thanks for letting me go on this adventure with you, Mika!

Buy Links


Her phone beeped again. Damn it! It wasn’t like her brothers to bother her that much…unless something was actually wrong. “I’m sorry, but I need to check my messages. Something may be wrong.” She offered the apology while reaching for her phone.
The text read—


Her heart hitched. Oh Lord, only one man ever called her by her full name.
The second text read—
Where are you? I’ve been trying to reach you for two days.

Her breath caught. She had been ignoring his calls and text messages the last two days. She needed to focus and figure out how to dump his ass. Even the fact that her best friend, Minka, had defended him and advised her to give him a chance to explain had set her off. She couldn’t blame her friend, though. Her mind was clouded and she was high on love. In about eight weeks, Minka was going to marry one of Adam’s best friends. Except Jason had been a model fiancé and never felt the need to kiss any other but his lovely soon-to-be wife. She couldn’t say that about Adam Aquilani.

I’m imagining you naked in my bed.

Oh, God. The room became sweltering hot. She sat in the broiling heat Adam generated even miles away.

I’m horny and I want to make you come. Phone sex?

Her breath rose to her chest and that little spot between her thighs throbbed with need. She didn’t need to read further. She knew the messages would get more explicit. That was Adam’s way and somehow he had managed to entangle her in his dirty little games, including phone sex.

Interview with Mika Jolie

I'm so excited to do this interview! This will be a fun discussion, talking about writing and the books as opposed to the generic questions. Thanks for joining us, Mika!

First, let's talk about writing in general, to help put us in your shoes.

In Patti's Imagination: Where do your ideas tend to generate? Are you a people watcher? All writers leave a bit of themselves in their work, but do you tend to draw from your own life and the people around you to a greater or lesser degree?

Mika Jolie: Wow, that’s a mouthful. (Chuckles). Where do I start? I get my ideas from everything around me. For example, The Scale came to me from a conversation I heard between two ladies at the gym. It was maybe a two-seconds conversation between them. It went something like this:
Woman 1: “Wow, you’re so skinny. You look great!”
Woman 2: (Pinched the flesh by her waist and grimaced) I’m so fat

I remember sitting there thinking, wow, this woman is skin and bones, but when she sees herself in the mirror, she sees an overweight person. So, I decided to explore our ongoing battle with the scale.

I’m definitely a people-watcher. One day I was at WholeFoods with my husband, I leaned to him and told him I was going to write this woman (she was standing in front of me) in my book. (Laughs). I think it helps to draw ideas from your own life and people or things around you. It makes the stories more realistic. I don’t write fantasies. I’m not saying I would never, but right now, I try to stay true to what is happening around me.

In Patti's Imagination: When writing a series, do you find that the secondary characters are screaming at you for their own story? Did the concept of a series spring forth before or during the first book?

Mika Jolie: Oh My God! You have no idea. When I was writing The Scale, I started cheating on Jason with Adam. While writing Need You Now, I found myself cheating on Adam (as hot as he is) with Forrest and so forth. It’s insane

I always knew it was going to be a series. It started with just two books - Jason and Adam. Then, during my fourth re-write of The Scale, I introduced Claire and Forrest, and I knew I had three books in my hands. I didn’t realize I had to tell Blake and Keely’s story until after I had finished writing The Scale. There’s so much between the sisters that needs to be explored.

In Patti's Imagination: How important is research and storyboarding to you in the writing process? Is there a specific way you like to keep track of ideas if you storyboard?

Mika Jolie: I love my characters. The more I know about them, the more I connect with them and bring them to life. I actually wrote a blog post about how important research is when writing. Here’s the link to the blog if anyone would like to check it out.

As for storyboarding, I can get a little crazy there. I have boards for everything, from their house, cars, the way they dress, my writing muse, etc. If anyone would like to get a little crazy with me, please connect with me on Pinterest.

On my personal blog, I have a page for each book of the series. I even have a Meet the Characters post where I have their bio posted. (Shakes head and smiles) It gets a little crazy. But I love it. Here’s the link to the Martha’s Way Series page on my blog

In Patti's Imagination: Are you a linear writer? Or do you compose scenes as they come to you? Do you outline? Are you a plotter or a pantser or a little of both?

Mika Jolie: In general, I’m a linear writer, but at times, I do write scenes as they come, put them to the side, and return to them later. Ah, the dreaded outline question. (Grimaces). I admit I do, but really very little. I did outline the first three chapters of the third book of the series, only because the first three chapters are so crucial to the rest of the story and I don’t want to lose sight of any details. Other than that, my outline consists of three things: what should happen, what must happen and what could happen. While writing The Scale, I deviated from those and I had to go back and rewrite a good part of the story because I wasn’t happy with the way the story ended.

Now that we're more familiar with your writing process, let's talk about the books in the Martha's Way Series.

In Patti's Imagination: The series is set primarily in Martha's Vineyard. Martha's Way is an inn owned by Jason Montgomery, the male lead in book 1, The Scale. What made you decide to set the story in the Vineyard?

Mika Jolie: Oh I love it there. My family and I go there every year. Once I’m there, I forget about the rest of the world. I love the quaintness of the island, the warmth.

In Patti's Imagination: Let's start with The Scale (Martha's Way, #1). There are several interesting themes in this story, including an interracial relationship, sibling rivalry, infidelity and self-image issues. One thing I enjoyed the most about how you handled these themes was the fact that they weren't typical tropes. Blake is a man of color, but there is never a question as to whether or not it's more appropriate for Minka, as a woman of color, to want him as opposed to Jason, who is white. Likewise, there is a financial disparity between Minka and Jason, but that's never an issue between them, either. I liked the story more because I was meeting amazing characters whose lives had been shaped by their upbringing, but who were not defined solely by them. What drew you to each one of those themes? Was it a conscious decision to steer clear of stereotypes?

Mika Jolie: Most definitely. I didn’t want to make my books about race. I’ve read many Multicultural/Interracial books where the difference between the two characters is so stressed upon. I didn’t want to go there. That’s not my style. I’ve also read other mainstream romance novels where there is not even one ethnic character and I find myself thinking, really? How unrealistic is that?

I wanted to explore love in a diverse world. You see, my world is a mixed bag, I have in-laws who are Asian, German, African-American, and my husband is white. Yes, racism exists, but to me, love transcends hate, discrimination, etc.

There is a financial disparity between Minka and Jason, but don’t forget she drives an Audi and her parents are very prominent in their own way. There is a greater financial gap between Lily and Adam. But even there, I didn’t focus on it. It’s mentioned, but race and financial status do not drive either story. I prefer to explore the human psyche and what drives us.

I came from a multi-racial background, my grandmother was French. A blonde hair, blue eyes woman. In my family, we have it all. We joke we are the United Nations. You should see our house during a get together. It’s pretty funny and filled with love.

In Patti's Imagination: Was it more challenging to write The Scale because you were world-building?

Mika Jolie: The Scale was definitely a challenge. The published version is like the fourth. Initially, it was set in New Jersey where I live and Jason was not who he is now. Then I made him a musician. He became too whiny and waaay too in touch with his emotional side (Laughs). He wasn’t happy with me and let me have it. At one time I walked away from the book, but both Jason and Minka were pretty stubborn. They wouldn’t let me walk away from them.

In Patti's Imagination: When we get to Need You Now (Martha's Way, #2), our characters are well-established for a series reader. How important is it to you that each series book can be read as a standalone? Did you find it easier to write for Adam and Lily because their story began in the first book, or was it equally as difficult as when you had more world-building to do?

Mika Jolie: It was difficult in the sense that I had to make the book a standalone, and at the same time, pique readers curiosity to go back to The Scale, discover Minka and Jason, and find out how Lily and Adam first met. For example, the scene at the beach, when Adam first went to Lily, was written from Jason’s POV in The Scale, so we didn’t know what exactly happened between them until Need You Now.

In Patti's Imagination: As you wrote for Adam Aquilani, did you already know about his tragic past, or did he reveal it to you as the story progressed? I appreciated, as a reader, that Adam's wealth was less of a character in the story. It could easily have become another 'rich guy' story, but it never felt like that with Adam. Do you think that was about Adam as a character, or was it also intentional on your part to ignore the trend in rich guy romances?

Mika Jolie: Adam’s tragic past was one of my MUST. I toyed with the idea of how far I should take it - whether or not I needed to save him and not have him commit the actual act - but in the end, I decided to go there and strip him completely naked. After I wrote that scene, as heavy as it was, I was proud. I cried. My husband read it and told me I beat the shit out of Adam. At the same time, it helped make him human. He’s this incredible force, and as readers, we need to understand why he is that way.

I didn’t purposely downplay his wealth; it’s really all part of living on the Vineyard. For example, one time while we were there, my family was sitting right next to the Kennedy’s. No big deal. Another time, we were shopping right next to Ted Danson, again no big deal. When Ted left, he drove away in this old pick-up truck. That’s the life on the island. I wanted to capture that. There is definitely a class issue on the island though, which I’m going to explore in book three.

In Patti's Imagination: With Lily, we're presented with a very strong female lead in Need You Now. Do you prefer to write an empowered female lead? Do you find it challenging, as a writer, to help a character with a firm sense of self grow through the story?

Mika Jolie: I love to portray the different layers of people, especially women. Lily and Minka are best friends and complete opposite of each other, yet, there’s a piece of me in each one of them. You are so right, there was definitely a bit of a challenge there with Lily because she’s so centered. After I completed Need You Now, I went back and changed her character a bit. I needed to add some vulnerability to her character.

In Patti's Imagination: Last question. What's coming down the line for fans of the Martha's Way Series?

Mika Jolie: Well, book 3 and 4 will be published in 2015. Away We Stay is next. That’s Forrest and Claire’s story. I do intend to write Novellas here and there as a way to provide an update on the characters. I can practically write a novel about Jason and Minka and Lily and Adam again. (Laughs) But I don’t think I will go there, I want to keep it short. After that, I might take a bit of a break before writing my next series.

Thank you so much for joining us! We can't wait to have you back when Away We Stay (Martha's Way, #3) is published! Bring on Forrest and Claire!

Mika Jolie: (Smiles) Thank you for having me. This was so much fun. Great questions. I’m looking forward to our next chat.

Author Bio and Links


Author of contemporary sensual, empowered romance, with fun relatable characters. Member of Secret Cravings Publishing. I live in New Jersey with what I often refer to as my Happy Chaos or my three men, which comprise of my husband and our two energizer bunnies. When I do have time to breathe, I like to run, hike with my camera at hand, and work on my gardening and knitting skills.
For latest news on my current WIP, interviews with fellow authors, or just to see what I’m up to, check out my blog: http://mikajolie.com/ While there, sign up for my newsletter for the latest news and giveaways. No spamming. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Join me on my journey.

Books I’ve written

Martha’s Way Series
The Scale – Book One
Need You Now – Book Two

Author Contact Info

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