3 reviews for Rebecca Hunter’s Stockholm Diaries series

Stockholm Diaries, Caroline (Stockholm Diaries #1)Stockholm Diaries, Caroline by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I stumbled upon the Stockholm Diaries–Amazon recommended it to me since I’ve written two novels and a novella set in Scandinavia–and am I glad I listened to them. The Stockholm Diaries: Caroline is a great love story about a young American expat trying to figure out what she wants in life and a Swedish former NHL hockey player trying to keep his personal and public lived separate. Fate pushes the two of them together early one morning during the magical days of Swedish summer–when the sun never properly sets and you feel like almost anything could happen.

Rebecca Hunter does a great job of capturing the attraction and passion between Caroline and Niklas. I especially loved how she wrote about Caroline’s friendship with fellow expat Veronica, with whom Caroline shares all of her secrets and fears. Hunter excels at describing Stockholm and the city becomes more than just a setting. It becomes a character as well.

I loved reading the Stockholm Diaries and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2 by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading the first book in the Stockholm Diaries series, I absolutely had to read Book 2. Now we catch up with Caroline and Niklas at the tail end of their travels and real life is looming before them. For Caroline, it means finally deciding if she’ll go back to Stockholm with Niklas or stay in Detroit for a while and try to make a name for herself as a travel photographer. For Niklas, it’s about either staying in Detroit to play for the Red Wings (even though he’s not really so keen on the idea of returning to the team after allegation that he’d abused a woman when in reality it was one of his teammates who was the culprit, but it would mean he and Caroline could be together) or returning to Sweden to play for Djurgården, his former hockey team who’ve offered him a one-year contract.

Throughout the book, we see the struggle both Caroline and Niklas are having with trying to have a life together in Detroit. Her ex- is there and he’s a nasty piece of work. And being back in Detroit suddenly has Caroline feeling like she cannot be the person she wants to be. But she is afraid to take the plunge and leave the security of what she knows. Niklas, on the other hand, is willing to do whatever it takes for them to be together, but he wants to know that Caroline is all-in. And sometimes it feels like she isn’t, which plays into his insecurities.

I really like how this series shows the pitfalls of being in a multicultural relationship as well as what’s so wonderful about it. I also like how Rebecca has created an alpha male in Niklas without turning him into an asshole. I *really* hate this alpha male as jerk trend. I don’t care how good they are in bed, a jerk is a jerk. And Niklas is NOT a jerk. I also found Caroline’s fear of giving herself to Niklas completely to be believable. She has had such a sheltered life–with her parents trying to make decisions for her, then Brad taking over her life and making her set aside her dreams, so it’s understandable that she is afraid of the same thing happening with Niklas.

I missed more of Stockholm in this story, but I knew it would mostly take place in Michigan. Really enjoyed this story and it was wonderful to see Caroline and Niklas come full circle. Now I wonder if they’ll go to Mexico together, to meet her family there. 🙂

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Stockholm Diaries, Melanie (Stockholm Diaries, #3)Stockholm Diaries, Melanie by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rebecca Hunter has succeeded again in capturing Stockholm summers, this time focusing her attention on the archipelago, the group of islands in the Baltic Sea to which Stockholmers love to escape from the city. This time, we focus on American Melanie, who is writing a biography of her father–a famous Swedish poet who has been a mystery to her since he left her life when she as a child–and Henrik, a very handsome Swede who happens to have his own connection to her father and an aversion to relationships.

I really loved how, despite the attraction Melanie and Henrik feel for one another almost from the very beginning of the story, they try to maintain a professional relationship (since he’s helping her with translating her father’s journals from Swedish to English). But the pull between them is just too much for either to ignore and the island isn’t really big enough to justify keeping their distance. Melanie and Henrik’s story is intriguing and very sexy–very hot scenes between the two of them and my favourite takes place in the tiny cabin of his boat. I also loved how Melanie was determined to find out why her father left her life when she was so young, even if she knew that she might not like the answers she’d find.

Another winner! So happy to have found another writer writing about Americans finding love in Scandinavia! 😀

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On Pinterest, writing Maybe Baby and inspiration…

I think I’ve become addicted to Pinterest. I’ve been using it to make inspiration boards for my writing and it really helps me–especially when I am trying to imagine setting and what my characters look like. Before Pinterest, I had scrapbooks full of pictures, piles of magazines that littered my desk…it was wonderful chaos that could sometimes be distracting and become a bit of a nightmare. I am trying to bring a sense of order to my life and Pinterest, in its own little way, is helping. Well, at least it’s helping keep my desk While I’ve been working on Maybe Baby, my inspiration board just seems to get bigger and bigger. I’ve got 88 pictures pinned depicting the people who inspired my characters and the places in Copenhagen and Stockholm that feature in the novel. When I first started writing Maybe Baby back in November, I knew I wanted to play with the idea of a Dane as the love interest for my expat American heroine. I was in the middle of a dreary Swedish winter and Nanowrimo was the only thing keeping me from focusing too much on the gray winter skies. I wanted my Swedish main character, Niklas, to be like the Swedish seasons–beautiful and warm in summer, but in turns distant and emotionally unavailable.

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Rudi Køhnke

When I first began writing Maybe Baby, I initially had a Danish actor, Rudi Køhnke, in mind as  Mads. He had the same intensity that I thought Mads should have. But the more I thought about it, the less he felt…right. I’m not sure why he didn’t feel right but he never really became Mads in my head. Maybe he was a little too boyish-looking? Maybe he was too young? Mads is in his mid to late thirties and Rudi Køhnke looks a little too long. I started searching again for the right Mads and it took a couple of days until I realized I needed someone who looked more experienced and had a laid-back vibe. I didn’t want him to be too perfect. I wanted him to be flawed in a good way.

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Eventually, I realized the person I’d been thinking about as I wrote about Mads was actually another Danish actor, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Images of him pepper My Maybe Baby board. Once I switched to thinking about him as Mads, the scenes he was in were easier to write. I guess it helps that I was seeing him everywhere–on Swedish TV, in Game of Thrones, in old episodes of New Amsterdam. I showed my Maybe Baby board to some friends who’d been reading the unedited chapters of Maybe Baby as I posted my Nanowrimo progress here on the blog. They all agreed–he was Mads. So when I finally publish this and, if some lovely day, someone wants the film rights…it’s on one condition–Nikolaj plays Mads. I can’t really picture any American or British actor playing him.

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Kerry Washington

American actress Kerry Washington became the inspiration for Laney. I liked her vibe. I’d seen her in a few films and liked how she could exude vulnerability and sexiness at the same time. Just before I began working on Maybe Baby, I watched Lakeview Terrace. Kerry plays Lisa Mattson, one of the main characters in the film, and she is gutsy, sometimes frustrating and not afraid to show her fear, confusion and anger. She was the perfect Laney and every picture I found of her confirmed it for me. So maybe I need another clause for the day I sell the film rights…Kerry should play Laney to Nikolaj’s Mads. Writing the first draft of Maybe Baby took a month. Revising it has so far taken me four months. I keep finding small things that could be better. I had three months of author mentorship with author Misa Ramirez via Savvy Authors, and she helped me see when I wasn’t going deep enough with my POV, when my pacing was off with too much telling instead of showing and when the backstory was taking over. (Thanks, Misa!) 🙂 I’ve got a plan, and I am trying to stick to it. I’m a bit behind schedule but I think I can catch up. 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and, when my brain stalls, I’ll search for pictures that inspire me and pin them on my Pinterest board. And I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 🙂

Post-Nanowrimo Update: Last three chapters online

That's me! :)

That’s me! 🙂

Now that Nanowrimo is over, I can do useless things like watch TV and do laundry (actually, I managed to do both of these things while I was doing my Nanowriting). It also means I can start my Christmas Movie Bonanza–the annual event when Tord and I overload on our favorite Christmas movies like Elf, the Holiday, Surviving Christmas, the Preacher’s Wife and Love, Actually. And we drink glögg (Swedish for mulled wine).

Now, for those of you who’ve been following Laney, Mads & Niklas’s story, you can now read the last three chapters of Maybe Baby. Please remember it’s still really, really rough. And there are still plot holes–already thinking of ways to correct them. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story. It’ll  be online until the end of the month. After that, I’ll start a new page to keep you updated on the revision status of Maybe Baby and when I hope to make it available.

Also, this month, I’m trying to raise money to donate to Stockholms Stadsmision, an organization here in Stockholm that helps women and children in need, the homeless, and substance abusers who are trying to recover. If you buy a copy of  The Melanie Chronicles (ebook or print version) or Linger: a short story (Kindle-only), all the profits for the month of December will be donated to the mission.

Happy First Advent! 🙂

Nanowrimo Update Day 20 & Chapter 6 is online

Yesterday, I crossed the 35,000-word threshold! I can hardly believe it myself. When I first began writing Maybe Baby, there were days when I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to cross the 10,000 or 15,000-word mark because I was exhausted from putting in a full day at work and my brain just felt mushy. Yes, there were days when my brain was more akin to a bowl of polenta. And it wasn’t pretty.

This is when I should coast into the final 15,000 words. Technically, I could take it easy and not really care about tying up loose ends. I could leave Laney in limbo and just shelve this until the spring or summer, but I won’t do that at all. I want resolution for Laney. I want her to make her decision. I also want Eddy to figure out how to solve her romantic problems. Besides, you’re probably wondering if Niklas is going to be a little more proactive about trying to get Laney to choose him. Or if Mads will do or say something that makes Laney decide he really is the one. Or maybe she chooses neither,  suddenly decides to alter her plan and  get artificially inseminated and be a single mother? Well, how would we ever find out if I coasted? So no coasting and no shelving. I will write this to completion and then revise.

By the way, Chapter Six is online now. Chapters 1-5 are also still available.

Happy reading (and writing)!

Nanowrimo Update: Chapter Three online

So here I am, chugging towards the halfway point of Nanowrimo (I’m closing in on 21k and halfway point if 25k). I’m also halfway through Chapter Six. Things are heating up! Laney is in Skåne with Niklas, and she’s already promised Mads she’s going to come to Copenhagen ASAP.

For those of you who are interested, Chapter Three (unedited/unrevised/very rough) is online. Go to the Nanowrimo 2012 page to read it.

And now it’s time for me to get back to writing.

Happy reading (and writing)!