A friend asked me once how I chose my pen name. I told her the following: "Melissa, because when people mix up my first name, it's the most common goof up. Snark, because it amuses me. A) I love the word 'snarky' and B) I love Lewis Carroll."
As an individual, I'm sarcastic, stubborn and blunt to a fault. I have a strange sense of humor and I like to laugh (usually at my husband or children), but also at myself. I'm not particularly extroverted, although I do enjoy time with my family and close friends a great deal.
At the moment, I'm a stay at home mom who writes in my spare time. I've got a B.S. from Arizona State University in Business, and I've worked a variety of different jobs, including as a medical device documentation specialist, a technical writer, and an auto liability adjuster.
I live in the San Francisco East Bay of Northern California with my husband, three kids, and three cats. My hobbies include roleplaying, cooking and reading.
I maintain a blog, which I update regularly at http://melissasnark.blogspot.com/
I enjoy hearing from my readers, so please drop me a line at MelissaSnark at gmail dot com.
Where to find Melissa Snark online
The Child Thief
"Help me! Please. The child thief has stolen my son."
Valkyrie Victoria Storm has werewolf hunters hell bent on revenge trying to kill her. She can barely keep her own downtrodden pack alive, let alone respond to the pleas of a murdered mother.
Can she set aside her differences and work with her sworn enemy to save a little boy from a Christmas nightmare?
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Smashwords book reviews by Melissa Snark
- Once Upon A Zombie Apocalypse - Jade
on April 25, 2013
I had the pleasure of reading Once Upon a Zombie Apocalypse (OUAZA from this point forward) as a beta reader just prior to its release. The story begins in an airport with authors Kylee and Jade traveling home following a convention.
Things start out a tad slow (for this genre anyway) but swiftly pick up steam as the zombie apocalypse strikes while our intrepid heroines are trapped on board an flight full of brave flight attendants and first-stage zombies. The scenario and horror factor were reminiscent of Snakes on a Plane but without quite as much cheese. (If SoaP is Velveeta, then OUAZA is at least nice sharp cheddar.)
Jennifer Malone Wright is the indie author of popular series, The Vampire Hunter's Daughter, and so she knows how to weave a great tale full of action and suspense. Her portrayal of Jade Warwick is in the first-person perspective, handled right so the reader can enjoy the story without the jarring mishaps of so many authors who attempt and fail with this difficult point of view.
Now, I'm a huge zombie fan and I have been since Romero trotted out his original Night of the Living Dead, which I watched faithfully as a kid, every Halloween. My knowledge of the restless dead is fairly comprehensive, spanning Serpent and the Rainbow, Night of the Comet, 30 Days After (and sequel), Zombieland, Resident Evil (et al), and, of course, The Walking Dead.
Am I a zombie expert? No. But a zombie enthusiastic? Yes, definitely.
Wright hits the right notes for a successful zombie series, bringing credible action sequences and plenty of gore to the table. Her descriptions of carnage were not over the top disgusting, but her series does carry a stern warning that it is intended for than over eighteen-years-old audience. The fight scenes are good--detailed and well executed.
OUZAZ is likewise really well edited with lots of attention given to good grammar and story flow. The story has the sort of professionalism you expect to see from traditional publishing, not always present in Indie works. Overall, the story tone struck me as younger than the apparent age of the protagonists, by perhaps as much as ten years. The language use was hip and modern.
In terms of characterization, I really liked Jade. She was an empathetic character, very likeable, who was easy to relate to while still retaining the whimsical nature of zombie fiction. Wright is by no means unaware of the humor of the genre, and incorporates funny moments seamlessly into the story. As it happened, I found the character of Kylee, Jade's companion, to be an irritant; however, the character did bring a lot to the table as an effective foil for the more serious Jade. Supporting character Cheryl, an orphaned teenager, appealed to me much more. She shared an interesting dynamic with Jade that seemed to have a great deal of potential. I'm curious to see whether the two develop a mother/daughter dynamic as the story progresses and I'd love to see a story part from Cheryl's POV.
If you enjoy fast-paced zombie tales, then this is a five star read all the way! Future episodes will definitely be on my To-Read list.
- THREE: A Family Affair
on June 18, 2013
Three: A Family Affair by Michelle Devon is the start of a series exploring a poly-amorous relationship between a woman and two brothers. The novella is a contemporary romance with erotic content, but the relationship between the three main characters remains the center of the story. Sex accentuates rather than overtakes the central themes of jealousy and insecurity, love and trust.
The cover is tasteful and restrained, suggestive of sensuality, and an excellent representation of the story's contents. As always, Farah Evers has done a beautiful job in creating attractive imagery that accurately ties into the themes of the story. All of the THREE books have covers with a congruent appearance, which unites the entire series on a visual level.
There are three key relationships—
Joli and Brad are a happily married couple with an active and imaginative sex life. There's a fantastic bathtub mutual masturbation scene near the start of the story, which helps set the playful tone. Of course, as with any marriage, there is real life stress, some of it associated with the demands of Brad's job.
Brad and Paul are brothers. The interaction between the brothers is close without being incestuous, and it is easy to see that the two depend on each other. Their strong bond is tested when it is revealed that Paul is in love with Joli, Brad's wife. The fallout causes a lot of angst and some funny moments, but eventually allows for growth within their relationship.
Joli dated Paul prior to her marriage to Brad. The pair shared intimacy but for the last several years have been friends. Both are extremely loyal to Brad and wouldn't do anything to hurt him. It isn't until Paul reveals his secret feelings for Joli to his brother that the door is opened to change.
The story contains light erotica scenes but as much or more attention is paid to the dynamic between the primary characters. Where another author might have reduced the complicated situation to a simple orgy, Michelle creates a highly charged and complicated emotional interaction between Brad, Paul and Joli. She provides intellectual insight into the main characters as human beings, creating gut wrenching angst, and leaving the reader caring about what will happen to them next.
I'd definitely recommend Three: A family Affair for a reader seeking an interesting and emotionally intelligent erotica story about two men and one woman who are genuine individuals.
I downloaded Three: A Family Affair from Amazon where it is available for free.
- The Artist's Inheritance (Antique Magic, Book #1)
on July 24, 2013
If I had to define this novel in one word: SPOOKY. The dream sequences within the story are particularly effective at setting the mood. I'm a horror film/book aficionado, so the story did not leave me overly disturbed. However, I noticed my jumpiness levels increased as the story progressed. In my mind, that's the mark of a successful storyteller.
The Artist's Inheritance is a contemporary supernatural suspense novel with a strong romantic subplot. The story is set in Gulf Breeze, Florida, near a Civil War fort. Juli D. Revezzo weaves an intricate tale embodying many elements of the supernatural, including ghosts, witches and demons. Yet, I'm unable to fit the story neatly into any one particular subgenre. Much of the story's strength resides within the uniqueness of the plot elements and the way the story unfolds.
The story starts off a bit slow, but it really gets rolling by the third chapter. The first chapter really serves as an introduction to the three primary characters in the novel—Caitlin, Trevor, and The Chair. Caitlin and Trevor are a young married couple who's love is about to be tested by supernatural forces. Trevor is the artist of the novel's title, and The Chair is his monstrous creation.
Caitlin is Trevor's loving wife and the central protagonist. She's smart and loyal to her husband, but initially clueless regarding the spiritual disease afflicting her husband with bad dreams and obsessive behavior. Then, his nightmares affect her and she begins to pick up on other clues that things are very wrong with both him and his acquaintances.
Of the pair, Caitlin is the more sympathetic. I understood Trevor was not entirely responsible for his own actions but his behavior made him far less likeable than his courageous wife. He'd suffered the traumatic loss of siblings, including his twin, and the reader receives glimpses of the man he was before the downhill slide began. However, there were points when I just plain did not like him. As the story progresses, you really have to applaud Caitlin's loyalty to her husband and her determined efforts to save him.
Once it gets going, the story's pacing is swift, the makings of a real page-turner. Secondary characters are well developed and interesting. I enjoyed Caitlin's interactions with the coven of witches who assist her and also appreciated the creepy evility of the primary villain. Love scenes are closed doors and I would have liked to have seen the more sensual side of the couple's relationship.
The Artist's Inheritance is a recommended read for any reader seeking a creepy and compelling story of the supernatural.
- The Alkano Letters
on Sep. 14, 2013
THE ALKANO LETTERS by Kenneth Joel Teicher proved to be quite different from my usual reviewing fare of romance, paranormal and YA fiction. I'm going out on a limb here in assigning a genre to this archeological action/suspense novel, which was set in the present day but contained notes of the ancient world. I want to compare it to a Dan Brown novel (which I confess to having read), but at the same time I don't want to insult the author by suggesting his careful and detailed prose belongs in the same category with drivel.
Am I qualified to judge the accuracy of the archeological information and theories advanced in THE ALKANO LETTERS? No, not by a long shot. But I will say that the story demands the reader's full focus because so much information is imparted in just the first few chapters. This is not a story to read with the television going in the background. Proper processing of all the plot elements really requires the reader to devote his undivided attention
Craig Johnson is a solider with a degree in ancient history who hires out as a mercenary. As a hero, he is smart, competent and likeable. I had no difficulty in developing an empathetic bond with Craig and I very much enjoyed his romantic relationship with archeologist/anthropologist Erin Mathews. It's always refreshing to see a woman over thirty portrayed in such a positive and attractive manner.
While the story tends to require a high level of intellectual commitment on the part of the reader, Teicher keeps the plot moving, interspersing the info-heavy chapters with action and romance. The Grecian setting fits perfectly with the themes of ancient unknowns and intrigue. The familiar trope of The Church Conspiracy is adapted to fit with the mystery surrounding the Alkano letters and then given a fresh twist that helps it avoid the cliché of paranoid priests everywhere. Throw in a few good chases, guns, and an employer known only by his initials (CV). It's a recipe for fun.
Secondary characters were well-developed and interesting. I especially liked Craig's mercenary buddy, Thaddeus, and Erin's grandfather, Professor Bannington. The prose is solid. The story is well written and well edited but the cover really doesn't begin to do the book justice. All in all, I'd definitely recommend THE ALKANO LETTERS for anyone interested in an exciting "what if" archeological thriller.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.