Review: Unhidden by Dina Given

March 10, 2015     Danielle Romero     4stars, R2R, reviews

Review: Unhidden by Dina GivenUnhidden on December 29, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
It’s not always easy to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys, especially when your heroine is a trained killer and she may be falling in love with her evil hunter… 

Emma Hayes, a former military Special Forces Operative turned mercenary-for-hire, finds her tightly controlled world turned upside down when she is attacked by horrible monsters. 

Emma must use every skill in her arsenal to stay alive as she tries to solve the mystery of why she has been targeted. Her list of enemies keeps growing - from Zane Shayde, an evil Mage, to a secret branch of the US government - and she doesn't know if there is anyone left she can trust. 

To complicate matters further, Emma is inexplicably drawn to Zane in a way she doesn’t quite understand, even knowing her life is forfeit if captured. Who is he and why does he have this affect on her? How can she fight a being that calls to her, body and soul? 

Emma is left haunted by questions, doubts and fears as to why she has been targeted, when they will come for her next, and how she will possibly be able to survive against an enemy she doesn't understand.

my thoughtsA great introduction in to what appears to be a really exciting series. Unhidden begins with Emma in search of a missing child but things quickly turn from bad to worse when she realizes that her client isn’t so innocent and the child isn’t what she appears to be. Emma happens to be a former military special forces operative but she’s missing her memories from the age of 16 on. The entire time, as a reader we’re kept wondering what she’s missing, what can’t she remember, because we know it’s important. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue within the story that really kept me engaged in the book. I found the story overall to be enjoyable though I’d say for me, I would have preferred more information at the end. Though if I’m being entirely honest, the remaining questions left in the end are a sure fire way to know that I will absolutely be reading book 2 because I need to know more.

Dina was able to create a character driven story with characters who were not only like able, but relatable. I was able to find myself invested in the outcome and eager to see how the events would shape them as individuals. There was fantastic sexual tension between Emma and a love interested, and a fast paced plot that made this book a winner for me. An absolute must read for paranormal fans

4 coffee cups


Authors Interview Questionnaire. I don’t know why my number formatting is so out of order so please ignore the numbers for me, pretty please. My computer is just hating me today LOL
  1. If you could work with any author who would it be?

I am a massive Jim Butcher fan (The Dresden Files) and would love just to meet him, let alone work with him. I also have great respect and admiration for Karen Marie Moning, Denise Grover Swank, JR Ward and Susan Ee. I would be honored for the opportunity to work with any of those amazing women.

  1. Who is your favorite author and is your writing style similar to theirs?

At the time I wrote Unhidden, I was heavily inspired by Jim Butcher. I had just finishing listening to every single Dresden Files novel back to back on Audible. I was a woman obsessed. I love the world and the rich characters he created. I also get a huge kick out of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International series. Those books are literally jam-packed with over the top action. I tried to combine my favorite elements of each series when I wrote Unhidden.

  1. What’s your favorite part of a book?

My favorite parts of books are also my favorite parts of movies – action, action and more action. I love fight scenes, car chases, big explosions, huge special effects. I love being on the edge of my seat, knuckles white, dying to know how the hero/heroine is possibly going to make it out. I also love those scenes where some big secret is being revealed, so I can see how the characters react.

  1. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?

Yes. The concept for Unhidden was loosely based on Sumerian folklore, so some of my characters are named after Sumerian gods and goddesses. At the same time, you need a balance when naming characters – they can’t all have unusual names – so many of my characters have fairly innocuous, common names as well.

  1. Did you always want to write?

My interest in writing began when I was in second grade and won a first place award for writing an essay about fire prevention.

  1. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Raising two children who are somewhat well-adjusted, and somewhat keeping my sanity in the process.

  1. If you could give advice to someone starting out what would you tell them?

Just get out of your own head and do it. So many doubts and fears creep in when you try to do something that you have dreamed about for a lifetime. What finally worked for me was shifting my goal. Instead of holding on to the pressure to quickly become a successful, full-time author, my first step was just to write something for myself to see if I could even do it, and learn more about the process. Then once you start, you just need to finish – plow through and don’t let those doubting voices in your head stop you.

  1. Has social media helped you connect with fans?

It has become more challenging to connect with fans via social media, given new rules on Facebook and the popularity of self-publishing. However, it still remains one of the best ways to reach an audience. I think the key is to find those sites and blogs for readers passionate about your genre. I am also planning to do a few author signing events this year, hoping to meet more readers in person.

  1. When you started writing did you plan to use a pen name or not?

I thought about it, especially considering that I am still working a full-time job in corporate America, but ultimately decided to just put myself out there and not use a pen name.

  1. If a fan would like to turn one of your series into a movie/television series; would you be up for this idea?

Absolutely! When I write, I see the scenes in my mind playing out as a movie. It would be a dream come true if the SyFy channel ever produced Unhidden. Maybe someday it’ll be as popular as Sharknado! J

  1. What do you do in your down time?

I don’t really have any down time. I work a full time job; raise two children (ages 7 and 9); have a husband who travels for business 3-5 days a week, so I do pretty much all of the cooking, housework and homework help; volunteer for an animal rescue group; oh, and I’m training for my fourth triathlon. In between all of that, I try to get some writing done. Needless to say, I don’t sleep much ;).

  1. What research did you have to perform to back up your story? Any research which really opened your eyes or gave you new respect for a topic or profession?

Since this was my first novel, I did a ton of research before ever putting pen to paper. I researched the craft, including how to effectively outline, how to create meaningful characters, how to build a story arc, how to write engaging dialog, etc. Then when I started writing, I did ongoing research on some areas of the story itself – secret spots in New York City, ancient Sumerian creation stories, how to kill a chimera, etc. I think all of that research gave me the confidence I needed to get started, but at some point, you need to put it aside and just write the story you were meant to write.

  1. What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you character/story builder or an outliner or some other method?

Given my unpredictable schedule, I am not able to set a specific writing routine. What worked for me was just grabbing every minute I could – banging out a few sentences while cooking dinner, spending 20 minutes writing after getting the kids to bed and passing out myself, writing in the waiting room while my daughter was in dance class, etc.

  1. How do you get past writers block or distractions like Facebook?

I haven’t really experienced writers block yet, but I have run into times where I’m not sure which direction to take the story. What has worked for me is taking my dog for a hike and talking to myself – asking myself lots of questions about character motivation – and usually the story becomes clear.

Facebook is a tough one. No matter where I go, there is usually the ability to get an internet connection. So it really just takes a concerted effort of will to stay away from those kinds of distractions. I also use it a reward – if I write a certain number of words, I can take a 10 minute break to surf the net.

  1. Favorite book from childhood.

I was always a sucker for a series. It started with Nancy Drew, moved to Sweet Valley High, and then I discovered the fantasy genre through Piers Anthony’s Xanth series.

  1. What’s on your desk? Can you see your desk? Describe what you see when you look around.

I don’t have a desk at home – I write at my kitchen counter, in front of the TV, in bed, or wherever else I happen to be – but my desk at work is covered with pictures and artwork from my kids, and stacks of boring paperwork.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’m still so early in the process that I haven’t heard any tough criticism yet, but I know its coming and it makes me very anxious. I don’t have the thickest skin, so I think it will affect me. So far I have gotten some terrific reviews, and I treasure every one of them. I love that people are enjoying the fast pace and action in my book.

  1. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Action scenes are the easiest for me to write. I see them in my head like a movie, and then just write them down. Erotic scenes are tougher for me. Specifically, trying to find ways and words to depict these scenes that are unique or don’t sound completely corny.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Getting out of my own head. By that I mean, not allowing myself to get sidetracked or delayed by second-guessing myself. I had to constantly push myself to just keep going and finish the first draft, then come back and fix it afterwards.

  1. What did you want to be when you grow up?

I always wanted to be a college English Lit professor and a writer, and at 41 years old, I’m finally making one of those dreams come true.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

That I could really do it!

  1. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I turned 40. UNHIDDEN is my mid-life crisis 😉

  1. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I am definitely an outliner. I typically spend several weeks outlining the story before starting to write. My outlines aren’t heavily detailed, but I like to have a 2-3 sentence description of every chapter.

  1. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I used to be devoted to paper books, and had bookshelves full, but they were taking up too much space (and collecting too much dust). So I switched to ebooks and never looked back – so much more convenient!

  1. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

The Harry Potter series – do I really need to explain why?


about the author

Dina has been an avid fan of fantasy in all of its permutations since childhood. She is convinced that magic lives on in this world, 61eVBgonI3L._UX250_and she is doing her part to bring a piece of it to readers.

Dina lives in rural New Jersey – home of farms, horses and the largest hot air balloon festival in North America – with her husband, two crazy kids, and one rescue dog. She is an exercise enthusiast and avid lover of food and wine (hence the need to exercise). Dina also works full time for one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. She attributes her ability to juggle family, work and writing to her obsessive, hyper-focused, Type A personality.