Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is filled with friends, family, and really really yummy food. I'm so grateful to have all of you as my friends and for all of your support this past year.


photo credit: Tostie14 via photopin cc

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What I'm Reading Now, Writing Now, & Looking Forward to on Thanksgiving

Last night I met with my critique group and discussed the first three chapters of my new project. I'm so excited to share this with you! Of course it won't be released until sometime next year, but so far it's shaping up really well.  It's fun doing something completely different, although I know I will come back to the Hostage Negotiation Team series eventually.  I still have Jake's story to tell! How did you do with word count this week?

I just got Rachel Nunes new book Blinded and since I've been following her series with Autumn Rain for quite some time, I was thrilled to see a new book out!  I've hardly been able to put it down for a second.  Are you reading anything fun right now?

Of course it's Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Are you getting everything ready for your feast?  Any special dishes you have to have?  I like mashed potatoes and gravy.  Boring, I know.

So . . . *pulls up chair* tell me all about your books, word count, and Thanksgiving.  We've got a bit of time, right?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Esposito is Kidnapped on Castle & Why I'm Not Reviewing H50 Right Now

Last night's Castle was so intense. I loved it, especially since it gave Esposito a chance to shine.  Jon Huertas is a great actor from the emotional to the kick butt.

We start out with a murder in the park.  Just a guy, sitting on a park bench drinking his coffee, when he's shot in the head.  The team starts digging around about the victim and find out he's a GAO investigator, so he investigates fraud with government contracts.  Ryan finds a mysterious phone call made from a pay phone to the victim right before he died and the police tech gets some footage of the man who made the call. Jared Stone.  The boys go to pay him a visit, but see him on the street while they're in traffic.  (And they were talking about marriage and kids while they were driving there.  Will Espo propose to Laney? Or is she truly happy with how things are? When Espo says his biological clock is ticking, I had to laugh.)  Esposito follows Jared into the subway, keeping Ryan on the phone, but all that does is give Ryan a front row listen to Esposito and the rest of the people in the subway car being taken hostage.

Back at the station the captain is yapping about giving her all the info so she can give it to HRT. (They do show an awesome looking HRT team, though.)  The tech girl (I can't remember her name!) finds a feed that Jared doesn't know about, so they can all see that the hostages are okay for now. And no one really seems too freaked out until the hostage taker reveals he has a bomb strapped to his chest with a kill switch. Uh oh.

Beckett has Ryan leave the hostage situation scene to go to Jared's apartment (he's feeling so horribly guilty poor guy) but he goes.  They find a shredder and go back to the precinct to put it all together. (Which would be a nightmare of a job.) The bomber asks for a girl named Erin Wilson to be released from prison.  Everyone looks into her background and find that the fellow hacker is his girlfriend. Then the bomber says he wants her flown to the Maldives, a non-extradition country.  Right around then, Ryan assembles some of the shredded docs and find out that the bomber had a playbook for this little terrorist activity.  And he was headed to some wealth conference and hadn't planned on the subway thing.

It's not adding up for Castle who is wondering how a hacker gets involved in becoming a bomber.  Erin claims she doesn't know anything about this, so the team starts searching for the mastermind.  Meanwhile, the HRT team gets a message to Espo through a pizza box, (so clever!) and it's go time.  They're going to breach the subway car on the second flicker of lights.  Only the bomber hears them on top of the subway car. Oops.  Espo is noticing how much sicker the bomber is getting and that he's sucking on his inhaler like a lollipop.  Espo tells the transit cop next to him (who was young and pretty and former Army!) that on his count, they were going to take the bomber down.  Which they do.  Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief until Espo gets the news that the bomber was infected with a twisted strain of H1 N1 and they were probably all infected. (Thanks to Laney's observations of his illness on the secret feed they were watching.) Dun, dun, dun.

That helps the team put it all together. Their murder victim was investigating a company that made vaccines.  When they examined the company's records, there was an order for ten million vaccines made for this particular strain of flu.  And guess who invested a whole lot of money in that company? Our murder victim's boss.  If they could use Jared to start an epidemic, she would be rich, but our little nosy investigator found out about it so he had to be killed.  Poor Jared was just a patsy.  Caskett go visit him in the hospital and pretty much just tell him he was used.  It was sort of odd, actually.

Thankfully, Espo and the others are all treated and even though there was a cute scene with Espo and the transit cop in the hospital room, she pushes him into Laney's arms.  And Laney looked pretty happy that Espo wasn't dead or had a terrible disease.  The team decides to celebrate and go to the old haunt for drinks. So sweet. This episode had lots of emotion, tenseness, and lots of Espo. A really great episode!

Did you watch? What did you think?

Why I'm Not Reviewing Hawaii Five-O Right Now

This is me watching Hawaii Five-O lately

Now, for a little aside to explain why I haven't been reviewing Hawaii Five-O for the last couple of episodes.  I'm so disappointed in the direction the show is taking that each review ended up being more of a rant than anything else and I thought I should probably take a step back.  Now that Wo Fat is dead (which is a huge mistake in my book.  Why take out the main nemesis on the show?) And add to that that there was no great reveal for WHY Wo Fat hated Steve or wanted to destroy his family.

He says two things, that Doris killed his mother when he was a baby so she took care of him until he was four, and that he thinks his father might still be alive.  I was all, what the what? THAT'S why you hate Steve? Really? Cuz, dude, that's lame.  That's why Steve has been hunted, tortured, nearly killed, his father's death ordered, his life made miserable, because his mommy took care of Wo Fat for four years? Wo Fat wouldn't even remember much of what happened at that young age! *shakes head*

Not to mention the torturing of Steve at Wo Fat's hand was gruesome, but another retread.  (Alex O'Loughlin played the emotion and anger so well, though. He has a great range of acting skills). But Wo Fat tortured Steve before in North Korea when everyone wanted to know what Shelburne was, so it felt like, hey, I've seen this before and I don't want to see it again.  (And yeah, Shelburne was a lame reveal, too.)  Anyway, there's so much retread of former storylines and scenes that I'm truly starting to wonder if the writers realize they've done this stuff before. (Like Chin having the illegal money issue again.)  *deep breath*  I'm getting rant-y again so I'll stop there.

The other reveal was that Catherine has left Steve and instructed him not to wait for her so she can stay in Afghanistan and teach. Are you kidding me right now?  They tell each other they love each other after all those years, after everything they've been through and Catherine just shrugs her shoulders at the end and is all, yeah, whatevs. I'll just stay here in Afghanistan instead of be with the man I love. SO. DUMB and a slap in the face for McRoll fans.

Yeah, yeah, Aunt Deb was on and all, but these two lame reveals have just stuck in my throat.  It's like the writers are trying to reboot the reboot by adding Jerry, dumping Catherine, and killing Wo Fat. It's not working for me and it's even killing the enjoyment I got of the Hawaiian scenery.  Sigh.

So, I'm taking a little break from reviewing Hawaii Five-O so I can not be so rant-y when I talk about it.  It's all for you, my gentle readers, honest.  Maybe after the break, you will get a happier reviewer and there will be some better episodes to talk about!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: Silver Bells Collection

Today's Christmas review book is the Silver Bells Collection in the Timeless Romance Anthology.  I've read all of the other anthologies and really enjoyed them.  This one had some of my favorite authors in it as well as some new ones.

I cuddled up with my hot chocolate and a warm fuzzy blanket, with a fire in my fireplace, and started this book.  I was not disappointed.  There was all kinds of Christmas cheer in every story, with romance around every twist and turn.  I loved so many things about each story, but Sarah Eden's Irish romance really stuck out, especially in how the hero and heroine met.

Of course I had my favorites with authors I know and love, but I was also excited to discover new authors to look for. I think my only disappointment was in how short the stories felt.  I read each one in half an hour or less and a few authors struggled a bit to provide a depth in the story with so short a word count.  Overall, however, it was a sweet way to pass an afternoon with Christmasy romantic fluffiness.  They all left a smile on my face and got me excited for Christmas.

If you're interested, you can click hereto buy your copy for $4.99

Here's the back copy:

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells. Readers will love this collection of six historical romance novellas, all centered around the Christmas season.

In NY Times & USA Today’s bestselling author Lucinda Brant’s delightful novella, FAIRY CHRISTMAS, Kitty Aldershot is orphaned and forced to live on others’ charity. Offered a home under the generous roof of her relatives, the Earl of Salt Hendon and his countess, Kitty wants for nothing, not even the affections of Mr. Tom Allenby. But when Kitty stumbles across a letter written by Lady Caroline that reveals how Mr. Allenby would be ruined should he marry the likes of Kitty, she realizes she has been fooling herself all along. Kitty’s world crumbles around her as she recognizes she will forever be alone with no prospects at all.

Sarah M. Eden’s charming romance novella A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, Sean Kirkpatrick is trying to get to his new place of employment, Kilkenny Castle, in order to start as the new stablehand. His only requirement is to drive a team of high-spirited nags from Dublin to Kilkenny in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately he winds up in a muddy field, stuck, lost, and running out of time. He’s about to lose the job before he can prove himself capable of finishing his first assignment. When Maeve Butler arrives on the scene, Sean isn’t sure if she’s intent on rescuing him or bent on torturing him with her fiery wit and lovely dark eyes.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, TWELVE MONTHS, Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watches over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. But over the course of the next few days, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

In Lu Ann Staheli’s sweet romance novella, A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS, Dick Wilkins and his best friend Ebenezer Scrooge have been looking forward to the annual Fezziwig Christmas dance for weeks. Ebenezer is practically engaged to Annabelle Fezziwig, and Dick hopes to start courting her younger sister, Pricilla. Once the dance starts, and Pricilla arrives, as pretty and charming as ever, Dick discovers that he’s not the only man vying for her attention. His best friend advises Dick that he has to win Pricilla’s heart, as well as her mother’s favor. Losing his heart has suddenly become very complicated.

A TASTE OF HOME, a captivating romance by Annette Lyon, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

Becca Wilhite’s entrancing novella, MY MODERN GIRL, follows Margie, who lands her dream job as a clerk at Macy’s department store in New York City. Margie might be new in town, but she’s determined to succeed and prove to Henry that moving to the city was the right decision. As the Christmas season approaches, Margie realizes that being a “modern girl” might not be all she had dreamed of and Henry might have more to offer than she ever imagined.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Freebie--The Christmas Catch

Today's Friday Freebie is The Christmas Catch by Ginny Baird.  I've never read this author before, but this fun holiday novella looks good! And it's a clean romance, so it's even better!

Here's the back copy:

Sometimes the best gifts are unexpected...

Since the death of her military husband two years ago, single mom Christine White has struggled to get by. By throwing herself into her work as a Chicago copywriter, she's managed to keep food on the table but has gradually lost sight of what really matters, like building a bond with her four-year-old son. When Christine's best friend insists she spend Christmas in Vermont so she can get her life in order, Christine initially resists. Little does she know she's in for a memorable holiday that will reignite her faith and reawaken her heart.

Bachelor professor John Steadman has given up on finding the right one. Spending time with his friends while keeping up with his job seems satisfying enough. Then one day close to Christmas, a beautiful woman from Chicago nearly runs him off the road during a snowstorm. What's more, she's got a kid in her car. It's only natural that John and his trusty golden retriever want to help drag them out of a ditch and steer them toward their destination. What John doesn't expect is that soon he'll be hoping Christine and her son will be staying in Vermont - for more than just a little while.

If this one looks good to you, click hereto download your free Kindle copy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One More Set Of Book Reviews---Brenda Novak

I swear this isn't going to become a review blog.  I've simply been on such a reading binge lately.  I finished two Brenda Novak books that I wanted to tell you about.

The first one is The Heart of Christmas.  It's from Ms. Novak's Whiskey Creek series and it's Eve's story.  I've always felt a little sorry for Eve because she's so sincere and just wants a husband and family so much, and is especially melancholy as the holiday season approaches.  She finds herself going out on her birthday and that's sort of the last thing she truly remembers. When she wakes up the next morning she has a strange man in her bed.  Things progress from there the more Eve learns about this guy.  And he is a puzzle.  He's going by an assumed name, he's running from something, and puts Eve in danger even by being around him.  But they can't stay away from each other.  There was quite a bit of angst and longing going on that really built the tension as we find out who Rex really is.

This book was fairly suspenseful and kept me turning pages to see how it would all turn out and how Eve would react when she finally got the whole truth about Rex.  For my gentle readers, there were several sex scenes, but they were brief and easy to skip over.  Cheyenne's story and what she's doing behind her husband's back is still going on in this book, which was sad for me.  I just don't like it at all and it's more sad because Cheyenne and Dylan's story was a favorite of mine. Sigh.  All in all, I was glad that Eve finally got her story and it was centered around the holidays.  Not to mention we were able to catch up with everyone from the Whiskey Creek gang.

The second Brenda Novak book I read was A Matter Of Grave Concern.  This one caught my eye because it's unlike any historical romance I've ever heard of.  It's about a surgeon's daughter, Abby, who is buying corpses from "resurrectionists" (people who dig up the recently deceased) to use for medical purposes.  Her father's medical college is suffering at the shortage of bodies to dissect so she arranges to buy some under the table.  Only she gets in trouble with a gang who steals her entire purse and the last gift her mother gives her.  And then to add insult to injury, they steal the cadaver back.

She decides to follow after them and steal her money back since that purse contained the funds the college needed to keep going for the next few months.  And she gets caught by the gang, but not before the handsome and seemingly cultured de facto leader decides to put her under his protection.

And that's where the story got good.  You see, our hero, Max, is really a member of the nobility disguising himself in the resurrectionist gang to find his half-sister Madeline.  Of course, Abby presents a big problem to Max if he doesn't want to compromise his cover.  There are so many great twists and turns as they try to find out what happened to Madeline and figure out what to do about the growing attraction between them.  Again, there are several sex scenes in this one as well, but thankfully they are brief and easy to skip. The best part, of course, was the happy ending (I'm a sucker for those) and while some don't like neat and tidy endings, I do and really enjoyed this one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: Saving Grace

Since I'm not really writing right now, I thought I'd tell you about the book I just finished reading.

This new historical romance by Michele Holmes caught my eye right away.  Our heroine, Grace Thatcher, is on a husband-finding tour to satisfy her gambler father's wishes that she marry well, but she's doing everything she can to make sure no gentleman will offer for her.  For example, she puts on breeches and rides on a fox hunt and gets thrown from a horse and pays a doctor to say she can't bear children.  Her master plan is to buy some time until her inheritance from her deceased grandfather, a duke, comes through, and she can take her brother and sister far away from their father and live quietly in a cottage by themselves.

Grace's plans go awry when she's in a carriage accident on a dark and stormy night and becomes desperately ill.  She finds refuge in the house of Lord Sutherland, but because of a big misunderstanding, he thinks she's trying to trap him into marriage.  Grace becomes embroiled in a love triangle that had me turning pages to see how it all turned out. (Those are the best kind of love triangles, when it could go either way!)  I loved Lord Sutherland's transformation, the reveal of the family secrets and her relationship with Samuel, but most of all I loved Grace.  She was a wonderful heroine who rose above her circumstances and did the best she could to help those around her, even when it probably wasn't the best idea.

I'm anxiously looking forward to more of the Hearthfire romances from this author.  Well worth the read!

Here's the back copy:

From Whitney Award Winning Author, Michele Paige Holmes, comes SAVING GRACE, a regency romance from the Hearthfire Romance series:

After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing.

As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage.

Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.

If you want to download your own copy, it's $3.99 on Amazon.  Click hereto buy!