Thursday, October 31, 2013

My New Book Was Reviewed In Meridian Magazine!

It is Halloween and I got a treat---my new book was reviewed in Meridian Magazine!

I am so thrilled.  My favorite part of the review was this line, "Be sure to block out enough time to read this one from cover to cover because there aren't any good places to stop."  Love that!

You can read the entire review here  (And then come back and tell me what you thought!)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Word Count Wednesday

Well, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or read this blog, you know I've been considering writing a novella.  I wasn't sure if I could really do it and do justice to it, but then the idea came to me.

I've been outlining a great story for Colby and Sophia from my novel Ashes Ashes, to show more of their romance and where they are now.  It's sort of shaping up as a Christmas story, though, and I can't decide if that's good or bad.  But I really like how the romance and outline so far.

So, in honor of having something new and fun to write, I'm going to be doing a word sprint tonight.  If you can come, that would be great! Same time as usual 8 p.m. MST.

(And for those of you who have asked, no, I'm not doing NaNo this year, but I will still do the word sprints every Wednesday and hopefully help/cheer on those of you who are.)

How was your word count this week?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Castle's Halloween Episode---A Hit and Miss For Me

Before we get to the review, I have to share the 4.5 star review *I* got for Pocket Full of Posies.  Cindy Whitney says she's getting addicted to the series.  To see what else she thought and read the entire review click here

Last night's Castle had some good moments and some not-so-good moments.

We start out with Castle and Martha going to Alexis and Pi's new apartment for dinner.  Castle still can't see what Alexis sees in this guy and doesn't keep his feelings hidden.  He's openly condescending to Pi and you can see the anger building in Alexis.

I was trying to decide what bothers me most about this storyline and I think it comes down to the fact that we have no background on Pi from Alexis's point of view.  Did she fall in love with his generosity in Costa Rica? Are they even really more than friends? What happened between them in Costa Rica because it's really out of character for her to do something like this, so I see Castle's point.  Pi just seems like a plot point for angst between Castle and Alexis.  And her anger toward Castle is a bit overdone.  When she whines that he didn't tell her about proposing to Beckett and she doesn't know if him and Beckett are right I was thinking what? You've watched him with Beckett for five years, encouraged him, pushed him, and everything else you could do for him and Beckett and now your dad doesn't like your plot point, maybe "boyfriend" and you don't know if him and Beckett are right?  That's your excuse?  Yeah. Who is this Alexis and where is the real one.  (Of course if there can't be Caskett angst the logical next angst for him would be Alexis, but at least make it believable.) I did like Martha in the scenario.  Her gushing over the apartment was cute.

Then on to the case.  I didn't really like the case either, but there were some good things. I'm not a big fan of occult and the opening scene was too much for me.  I liked Castle's hypothesizing and the way it was being set up as a Da Vinci code thing or maybe National Treasure.  And, on a shallow note, I also really liked Beckett's hair last night.  Gorgeous!  (Ryan's little aside of sometimes wishing Beckett was back in D.C. was funny, too.)  Beckett's classic skepticism was on point with Castle's possible motives but I have to say when Castle sticks his hand in the mouth to pull the lever to the hidden tunnel and screams, the look on her face was so funny.  I loved that scene in National Treasure, too.

I liked the twists and turns of the game that wasn't a game, and finding the treasure in the sarcophagus. Castle's face when he picks up the bag of treasure and all the doors close was almost as good as Beckett's with the hand thing.  But then we get the wrap-up to the case, and it didn't really jive.  Her cousin was questioned early on as her only family, but then says he needed the money for his sick mother. What?  So he wasn't really her only family since she had an aunt then? And her supposed only family would really kill her in such a gruesome manner for money for his sick mother?  That seemed out of place and a tad bit unbelievable for me.

So, some good moments, some not so great.  What did you think?

P.S. With Castle being so up and down for me, I've started watching The Blacklist.  Anyone else watching that?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection

I need to apologize first thing because this review was supposed to go live on Oct. 14th, but because of a small snafu on my part, it is going up today. So I am sorry for that.

Today it's a little cold outside, the last of the leaves are falling off the trees in front of my house, and my mother in Canada just called to tell me that there was a big snowstorm in her city and she has to go dig out her car.  This means winter is on its way and what better way to celebrate that than reading a collection of Christmas stories?

Carla Kelly has put four Regency Christmas stories together in her Christmas Collection that are sure to touch your heart and put you in the mood for the coming season.  The thing I like about Carla's stories is that they are so filled with emotion and have such unlikely heroes and heroines.

For example, in the first story, The Christmas Ornament, we have two fathers talking about their unmarried children.  The daughter is bookish, a wannabe scholar, who seems to put off suitors with her intelligence. The son is a scholar who doesn't seem to have time for love, so the two fathers scheme to get them together. What follows is an emotional, funny and cute romance that had me smiling right up until the end. There's no dashingly handsome man and a achingly beautiful heroine, but two regular people with problems and rumpled looks who just might find love with one another.

Make A Joyful Noise has a really tender love story between a man who lost his wife and a woman who's lost her husband and is expecting a child.  Her situation is quite dire as she's a "foreigner" and staying with her horrible in-laws who treat her abominably.  I loved this story best I think, because of the tender feelings and the way the hero is so forgiving, loving, and accepting, even when he has to face some pretty big obstacles.

The Object of Charity was a little harder for me to get into because the heroine is first introduced as a possible teenager and the hero is a weather-beaten experienced captain of the sea.  They do eventually overcome some fairly large obstacles of their own and really test out the theory of forgiveness for family members by putting it into practice.  Very apropros for the season.

The Three Kings was another one of Carla's clever heroes who doesn't look much like a hero. I loved Luis' quiet way about him and how he did his duty and honor to keep Sarah safe, even at a great cost to himself. The adventures they go through, the suffering they see and try to alleviate from war-torn Spain is something think about when we come across small ways we can help suffering around us as well.  The traditional Spanish The Three Kings song and the pageant were also really interesting to me and I know Ms. Kelly has done her historical homework as always.

All of the stories were long enough to engage me, and yet short enough I could read each one is an hour or less.  Another great collection from romance writer Carla Kelly that I recommend for anyone wanting to get in the holiday spirit.

Here is the back copy: 

Come explore Regency London with Carla Kelly! This collection features four stories that will warm your heart with Christmas cheer:

The Christmas Ornament: When the father of his now-deceased best friend hints that he should consider his daughter as a potential wife, Lord James Crandall isn’t sure he can get past the fact that he used to tease her mercilessly when she was just a girl. But once he finds out how brilliant her mind is, he’s not sure he can get past the fact that she’s a woman. Add in the fact that her charms have garnered the attentions of other gentlemen, Lord Crandall is in for quite the roller coaster Christmas.

Make a Joyful Noise: Widower Marquis Peter Chard is grateful for his two children, but not so grateful when his mother gives him the chore of recruiting people for the parish Christmas choir competition. When recently widowed and pregnant Rosie Wheatherby turns up with the voice of an angel and the looks to match, Lord Chard isn’t about to let her get away from the choir . . . or his family.

An Object of Charity: Stuck on land while his ship is being repaired,Captain Michael Lynch is approached by his late first mate’s niece and nephew. Learning they are destitute, he decides to take them home with him for the holidays, returning for the first time in 22 years ago. As he spends more time with them and unburdens his heart to the young woman, she replaces his hurt with love in time for a very special Christmas.

The Three Kings: After her brother is shot by the French in Spain, Lady Sarah Comstock is forced to travel across the war-torn countryside with a Spanish Colonel. As Christmas quickly approaches, Sarah learns about the Three Kings giving gifts to the Christ child and finds a gift of her own that she can share—her heart.

Filled with romance and a touch of humor, these stories are sure to find a place in your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time for love.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review of Hawaii Five-O Fallen Hero

Last night's episode was full of emotion and action---everything I love to have in a show.

We start off with Kono and Adam who are running from the Yakuza still.  They get away and are hidden in an alley when Adam says he's going to draw them away from Kono and meet her someplace in an hour.  They say goodbye and he goes back to the road where he is immediately picked up by the guys chasing them while Kono watches.  That didn't sit right with me.  Sure, he doesn't want them to catch Kono and gives himself up, but really? They didn't even look for her at all? See the car about a hundred yards away? And why would Adam go back to the road?  Why not draw them away by giving them a glimpse of him while he runs and hides or something? Giving himself up seemed a needless sacrifice since he has to know Kono will now look for him and refuse to leave without him.  Which she did say to Chin later in the episode.  Still, great action in the chase and great emotion in the goodbye.

Then we move on to Billy and Catherine on surveillance of a cheating husband. Talk about awkward! They see the mistress leave and are packing up to go when another car pulls up with a shooter.  Billy and Catherine both go to confront him after he murders the cheating husband, but both Billy and Catherine are shot. Catherine's wound is in the arm and she manages to get Billy to the hospital before she faints.

Cut to Steve's garage where he's working on a car and Joe walks in. They talk a bit about Doris, who Steve is trying to contact and he wants Joe's help.  Why, I will never know since Joe is rarely honest with him.  Later on, we do see Joe stealing something from Steve's father's toolbox and Joe seeks out a guy who seems to have answers to Steve's questions.  The new secret source tells Joe to be careful what he tells Steve.  That annoys me a lot, but whatever.  Hopefully Steve can find it out on his own, but I digress.  Steve's phone rings and it sounds like the hospital or someone official telling him about Catherine and Billy.

The scenes with Steve at Catherine's bedside while she's waking up were some of my favorite of the season. The emotion between these two is so well done.  Steve is clearly having a difficult time telling her about Billy and when he finally does, Catherine turns over in grief and tears.  Not overdone, but a perfect pitch. Steve stands to tell her how sorry he is and to kiss her head.  And I love that the next scene we get with these two, he's in the hospital bed, cradling her, until she rips out her IV and heart monitor leads to get up and go find Billy's killer.  Steve is obviously torn here because he wants her safe, to stay and rest in the hospital since she's been shot and all, but he also does know how it feels to want to find justice for a friend.  When Catherine presses this point, he caves and helps her leave.

They head up to the cabin crime scene where the HPD are waiting.  Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a crime scene.  The cabin is pristine, no blood spatter, no body.  Steve gently asks Catherine if maybe she got it wrong and she's the one who smells bleach on the floor and finds fresh paint.  So there, Steve! They go back to Five-O headquarters to talk about the little evidence they do have and there is a really sweet hug between Danny who's come back to help with the case and Catherine.  Awww.  I love how easily Catherine seemed to fit into the team and the action scenes were very well done.  Car chase with the guy who stole the car with the body in it, shoot-out with the killer, all so good. I also loved that they were keeping it real when Catherine froze at the scene of the shooter.  Seeing him lying there in his own blood with a stomach wound (just like Billy) when he's the one who shot you and killed your partner, would have an effect on anyone.  I'm interested to see if they follow up with any more of that reaction.

Of course the case was a teeny bit predictable. I called the culprit who hired the hitman early on.  Especially where they just showed the sarin episode the night before where the secretary did it then, too. But it was still a nice wrap-up.

The ending was full of respect for the military.  I liked the scene where Joe calls the M.E. down to tell him who Billy was and the funeral, flag ceremony, TAPS, the whole thing was fitting for the man, SEAL, and hero that Billy was.  The ending Irish song was perfection and the fact that Catherine is feeling guilt for Billy's death was so believeable.  Michelle Borth hit all the right emotional notes and really tugged on my heartstrings.  I can't wait to see how this unfolds if she does, in fact, join the team.

So, another balanced episode of emotion, action, and great teamwork for the Five-O family. Can't wait for the Halloween episode next week!

Friday, October 25, 2013

McRoll Fanfic #4

Always (An Episode Tag for the Season Premiere)

In the season premiere Catherine is kidnapped by the NLM terrorist group and Steve has to release some high value prisoners to save her.  This is the tag I came up with for when the episode ended.  As always this is for entertainment purposes only, I own nothing and no copyright infringement is intended.

They were all heading toward the parking lot when Chin’s phone buzzed.  “Hello?”  He stopped walking and Steve, Catherine and Danny stopped with him.  “Okay, I’ll be right there.”  Chin looked over at them apologetically.  “I’ll need a rain check on that drink.”

“What’s going on?” Steve asked, his arm automatically tightening around Catherine.

“Nothing to worry about.  I need to get back to HQ.  While I’m there I’ll make a few calls and see if we can’t reconstruct the hard drive and see what the NLM was after.”  When Steve was about to protest, Chin nodded toward one of the officers.  “Don’t worry, I’ll catch a ride.”  Chin gave them a wave as he zig-zagged in and out of the maze of emergency vehicles and officers.

“We’ll all need to catch a ride,” Danny pointed out.  “Since my car is a burned out shell.”  His eyes cut over to Steve and he raised his brows with “the look.”

“Lt. Lukela,” Steve said, greeting the man approaching them and ignoring Danny. “Could we borrow a car?”

“Only if you’re heading to the hospital.  From the looks of you, a doctor needs to check you out.”  Lukela jabbed his thumb at the car behind him.  “You can take that one.”

Steve didn’t give him an answer on his suggestion of the hospital, he just thanked him and opened the passenger side door for Catherine.  She got in carefully, as if she were in pain and suddenly he wanted to get her home, to make sure she really was all right.  Maybe a quick drink would be okay, though, since that’s what she seemed to need and want right now.   He went around the driver’s side, but Danny wasn’t getting in.  “You coming?”

Danny glanced at Catherine and then met Steve’s eyes.  “No.  I’ll take a rain check, too.  You need to take care of her and I need to get back to Gabby.”

Steve nodded.  Sometimes it was scary that Danny could read him so well, but at the moment he was grateful.  “See you later then, man. Good luck with Gabby.” 

“Yeah.” Danny shoved his hands in his pockets and headed in the same direction Chin had gone.  Steve slid behind the wheel.

“Where’d Danny go?” Catherine said, craning her neck to see where he was.

“He’s going to meet up with Gabby.”  Steve started the car and looked over at her.  “We need to get cleaned up anyway.”

Catherine leaned back against the head rest.  “I think your shirt is ruined.”

He looked down at the bloody shirt he still wore.  “Yeah, definitely.”  He watched her out of the corner of his eye.  The bruise on her cheek was darkening, making the rage curl in his gut again.  He took her hand, unable to describe the relief he felt at having her next to him, but the fear and anger still licked at the edges of his emotional control.  That had been too close.  He could have lost her today. 

She squeezed his hand and looked over at him, as if she knew the direction of his thoughts.  “I’m okay.”

He smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear, letting his hand caress her face for a moment.  “I know.  I just want to get you home, that’s all.”

She closed her eyes again and he knew the adrenaline was wearing off.  With everything that had happened, she had to be exhausted.  He pressed harder on the gas and in no time was pulling up in front of his house.  He parked and looked over at her.  She was so still, as if just taking everything in.  Maybe starting to process what she’d been through.  He leaned toward her, wanting to be close, to let her know he was there.  Always.  “We’re home.”

Catherine ran her palm over the stubble on his jaw.  Her touch was gentle, contemplative.  “I’ve never been so glad in my life.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” He rested his forehead against hers.  She was so small and yet so brave.  He admired that, but on days like today, it scared him.  He couldn’t lose her and he almost had.  Pushing that thought away, he pulled back. “Cath?”

“I’m okay.”  She smiled and gave him a quick kiss. 

He wanted to believe her, but knew she was hiding something from him.  “Let’s get you taken care of,” he said, opening his door and coming around to open hers.  He was tempted to carry her into the house, but she looked determined to show him she was okay, so he didn’t try. 

Once they were inside, Steve grabbed his first aid kit and took Catherine’s hand to lead her into the bathroom.  “Let’s see what we’ve got here,” he said as he flicked on the lights.

With a practiced pop, he opened the first aid box and got out the gauze and other supplies he would need.  He pushed her hair back and started cleaning the cut on her head, trying to do it as quickly as he could, knowing it would sting.  She leaned back against the sink and sucked in a breath.  “Sorry,” he murmured.  She didn’t reply, just closed her eyes.“If it helps any, I don’t think you’ll need stitches.” 

“That’s good.”  She didn’t open her eyes.

Steve touched her cheek, gently turning her face toward the light.  The bruises on her cheekbone and jaw were deep, but they would heal with time and the help of an ice pack and an Advil.  “Does it hurt anywhere else?”

She looked to the side, but the pain on her face was obvious.  “Catherine?” His chest felt tight.  What wasn’t she telling him?

“My arm,” she admitted. “But it’s nothing.” 

His hand slid down her shoulder slowly.  “Let me see.”

She pulled her sleeve up until her upper arm was visible.  Dark ugly finger bruises in the shape of a man’s hand were all over her arm.  “Catherine,” he breathed, anger filling him again.

“I know there’s nothing we can do for bruises.” 

Steve grit his teeth together, abruptly turning toward the tub.  He flipped on the faucets.  “You need to soak, relax a bit, and I’ll go get us some wine.”

She put her hand on his arm.  “Steve, I’m fine.”

“I know.  I just need a minute.”  He kissed her forehead.  “I’ll be right back.”  He went downstairs to the kitchen and got a bottle of wine out of the refrigerator.  Fury was pulsing through him at what Catherine had gone through today.  What if he hadn’t gotten to her soon enough? 

He heard the water turn off and took a deep breath.  She was here.  She was okay.  That’s what he had to remember. 

Going back upstairs, he knocked and then went in.  She was completely submerged in the water, bubbles everywhere, her hair up.  “I hope you don’t mind. Mary must have left bubbles in the cabinet.”

“Not at all.”  He handed her the wine glass and sat down on the floor next to the tub, facing her.  Reaching out to tuck her hair behind her ear, he leaned closer.  “Catherine, what happened?”

She took a sip of her drink.  “I don’t want to talk about it Steve.”

His gut clenched.  “I need to hear it.”

“Why? It’s over.”

“Because I feel like it’s my fault,” he finally said, letting the feelings to the surface.  He dipped his head and then faced her.  “If you weren’t connected to me, none of this would have happened.”

She moved closer, sloshing a bit of water over the edge.  “Steve, none of this is your fault.  None. And even at my very worst moment today, I knew you’d come for me.”  Reaching out, she grabbed the front of his shirt to draw him closer and kissed him.  Her mouth moved over his, full of need and healing.  All of the feelings he had for her surged in him and he could barely suppress a groan.  His hands slipped around her head, undoing the clip so her hair fell free just how he liked it. 

“I’ll always come for you,” he murmured before pressing his lips against hers once more, no longer gentle.  

Catherine pulled away, her breath coming in short gasps.  “Let’s get you cleaned up, too,” she said with a wicked grin, reaching for the buttons on his shirt.

And Steve didn’t need to be asked twice. 

Want to read some of my other McRoll fanfics?  

Click here for Breathless

Click here for Let's Go Home

Click here for Safe Harbor

Click here for The Long-Awaited Dinner

Friday Freebie

Today's Friday Freebie is The Captain of her Heart by Anita Stansfield.  I haven't read this one myself, but I've heard good things about it.  It's a historical romance and the first in a series.

Here's the back copy:

The year is 1777. As the brooding mists of war settle over a stark American battlefield, Captain Ritcherd Buchanan yearns for his native England—and for Kyrah Payne, the woman he loves. Wounded and disheartened, he eventually returns home, only to have Kyrah torn cruelly away from him and deported for a crime she didn’t commit. Desperate to bring her home, he joins a band of privateers and finds himself embracing the American patriot cause—a cause he’d once sworn to defeat.

All alone in a country at war, Kyrah becomes a victim of the breach between her own impoverished circumstances and the aristocratic upbringing of the man she loves. They had been best friends and confidants for more than half her life, but now she wonders if Ritcherd will ever be able to find her—or if he’ll even try. And she fears that the chasm between their worlds can never be bridged.

A powerful and deeply moving saga, its intricate plot expertly woven and guaranteed to keep any reader turning its pages. The only disappointment is that the book ends!

The Captain of Her Heart may be the finest novel yet by best-selling author Anita Stansfield.

If that sounds good to you, click here for the link to get your free copy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My New Website Unveiled!

I've been wanting to have my website revamped for a long time and have it be more "me" and still be professional.

Here's my new header/logo that I love!

And after a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears, and begging for help from very talented people who are good at this sort of thing, it is really shaping up to be something I LOVE to look at!

Have you seen it yet?  If not, click here

And then come back and tell me what you think. All my pages will be matching and "branded" and I love that they all really go together and represent me as an author.

What do you think?  Love it? Hate it?  Have suggestions?  Let me know!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Short Stories & Novellas--Like or Dislike?

I've been reading a lot of short stories and novellas lately, and I've also been kicking around a few ideas for my own novella with the Hostage Negotiation Team series.  The thing is, I can't decide if I really want to do it.

Some novellas I've really liked and felt they were fleshed out enough to make a good story.  Others I've felt a bit cheated with, like it wasn't really done somehow.  There seems to be a fine line between characters and story in a novella that authors have to look out for and some do it right, while others don't.  I can't decide if I really want to try or not.

So, tell me what you think.  Do you like novellas?  What draws you to them or makes you pass them by?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review of Castle's Futuristic Episode

I loved last night's Castle.  It was intense and had some really great whoa! moments.

We start off with a really gruesome murder of a woman and they have a suspect in custody who claims he's from the future.  He's pretty convincing, too, and when Castle leans over to Beckett and says this is his new favorite case I had to laugh.  It's going to be one of mine, too.

One of the funny "writer" moments of the show was when Lanie is going over the woman's body and says that there are crazies out there with too much imagination and Castle meets her stinkeye with, "I only kill people on paper.  A lot more lucrative, less prison."  Haha! You won't believe how many times I've been asked where I come up with the villains etc., in my books and I must have a dark imagination.  But that's all it is, I promise, an imagination!  Anyway, that little moment gave me a chuckle.

They get a sketch of the guy who ran from her apartment and start checking for suspects and find the "future" guy.  He is so convincing and yet a bit on the crazy side, too.  He tells them all about the future energy wars and the time travel and how the woman's death is the beginning of the end and billions of people will die. Castle's face during his whole spiel is hilarious.  He loves this guy! Beckett doesn't believe him and implores Castle to tell her she doesn't believe him either.  So funny.

Lanie rules out Future Guy as the killer and when the psychiatrist comes to evaluate him he is somehow missing from the holding cell.  Castle is seeing evidence that this guy really is from the future, but Beckett still isn't buying it.  The repartee between those two is as good as it's ever been.  Loved it.

They find another suspect, Garrett Ward, who is very scary.  Castle and Beckett track him to an abandoned power plant and before they can call for backup he's attacked Beckett and has her laid out on the floor and then he chokes Castle.  So intense!  Also, we are shown that Ward has killed the murdered woman's step-brother, attacking him when he answered the door, asking him where's the child before he snaps his neck. Ick.  This whole case is so twisty and awesome, I was on the edge of my seat.

Future Guy shows up and saves them and starts telling them a bit about their future.  They get married, have three kids and Beckett becomes a senator, Castle becomes a serious writer.  I don't know if I can really see that happening, though, but Castle thought it was awesome.

They find a letter at the abandoned power plant that leads them to a guy with the last name of Des Chile, so they know that this is the one Ward was looking for.  Caskett heads off to find him before the crazy killer gets to him, but he's at a planetarium.  Seeing the guy going row by row at the planetarium, with a gun in shadow was so dang creepy.  Of course Caskett save the day and he is saved.  Future Guy is happy because Des Chile is the one who invents the energy shield that protects billions of people in the energy wars, so everyone wins!  Castle sees he's forgotten his futuristic tracking device, but when he goes to give it to him, he's disappeared.  Makes you think!  Loved that.  So, to sum up, the woman was murdered and tortured so she would give up the address of her step-brother who had the letter from Des Chile and would possibly know how to find him.  There were some sort of plausible explanations as to why it wasn't really a future thing, that maybe Ward was mad because Des Chile reported him for having a bomb at a conference that the step-brother was talking at, but I liked the possibility of the futuristic time travel better myself.  Just for entertainment's sake.  :)

There was a B story about Alexis moving in with Pi and Castle not being okay with that, but she was all, it's my life, my future.  Poor Castle.  Hopefully Alexis comes to her senses sooner rather than later.

Great episode and next week is the Halloween ep.  Can't wait!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My First Review & A Double Book Review: The Daisy Chain and Beneath

Guess what? I got my first review of Pocket Full of Posies, and the reviewer is offering a $15 gift card to anyone who comments on her post!  There aren't that many entries, so your chances are good! Go see what she had to say about my book and leave your comment to win!  Click here  Thanks Debra!

Today I want to tell you about two novellas by Heather Moore.

The first one is The Daisy Chain, one of the Aliso Creek novellas.  I have truly loved this series and this story was no exception.

This one is a tiny bit different in that it's the story of Jess, who married an older man, and is dealing with his death.  His children hate her and are taking her to court over the inheritance her husband left her, more or less thinking she's a gold-digger.  She's fighting them and has a financial planner who is helping her navigate the mess. She's only talked to him over the phone since her husband died, but she feels comfortable with him and thinks he has a great voice.

The case comes to a head, and Jess must make a decision to fight for what's legally hers, or let it go.  And should she try to reach out to find happiness again?  Or stay in her little cocoon of grief?  And where does the financial planner fit into all of this?

The characters were great, we get a little update on some of the other Aliso Creek friends, and the love story was sigh-worthy.  This is a series that I recommend to anyone who wants to read a romance, but doesn't have a lot of time.  This one is worth it!

Here's the back copy:

Welcome to the Aliso Creek Novella Series

Liz, Gemma, Arie, Jess, and Drew have been best friends since creating “the Five” at Aliso Creek High School. But that was over ten years ago, and each is still trying to find that perfect someone... if perfect is even possible.

Actually, Jess Giles does find her perfect match, but since Charlie’s several years older than she, they never have a moment of harmony from his adult kids who protest the marriage. When Charlie dies in a tragic accident, his kids add insult to injury and sue Jess for her share of the inheritance. The only person Jess trusts for financial advice is Charlie’s financial planner, Preston Michaels. Just talking to Preston on the phone makes Jess feel flustered, yet strangely comfortable at the same time, so she puts off meeting him for as long as possible. When Jess has to attend the formal hearing, she’s about to find out if the man she’s been talking to over the phone for several months lives up to the voice that she’s grown attached to.

The other title was a short story called Beneath.  It's a little introduction to the main character in Heather's book Finding Sheba, and shows a different side to Omar Zagouri.  The action pulls you in right away and doesn't let go until the end.  I love how the author can really show a person's true character by their reactions to certain events. Chalice is in witness protection, trying to get through her first day at a new museum job when the museum is involved in a heist.  Chalice is taken as a hostage and her life thrown into chaos once again.

I loved seeing Omar in action again, and his reactions to Chalice and her situation.  He's such a great hero! My only problem was that the story felt a tiny bit unfinished.  Even though I knew it was a short story, it seemed like just when Chalice was going to make some decisions about the next step in her life, the story was over.  I hope we see her again!

Here's the back copy:

Chalice Stratford's hands won’t stop shaking, and not only is she required to give up her medical practice, but she’s forced to enter the witness protection program since the serial killer who brutally scarred her is still at large. Working in a museum in Bordeaux, France, the last thing she expects is to be abducted in a museum theft gone wrong. Omar Zagouri, the man behind the heist, is not who she expects, and Chalice soon learns he might be the one man who can put her demons to rest.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review of Hawaii Five-O Wedding Crasher Ep

You know what I love most about this season so far?  It's how balanced it's been.  We've had some great Chin moments, more of Kono than I thought we would, and of course, classic Danny and Steve with a healthy dose of character development with those two.  It's been great and last night was no exception.

Kono is in Kowloon with Adam and they've gotten the drop on one of the guys hunting them.  I love how gray Adam's character is.  He wants to do the right thing, the legal thing, but he also knows how the underworld works. It isn't polite society and he reminds Kono of that during the questioning of the guy following them.  (His screams when Adam shot him in the thigh were really authentic!) I liked that Kono called Chin to let him know what was going on, but the best part was how Chin demanded he be taken off speaker phone so he could remind Adam that he promised to take care of Kono, so DO IT! Love protective Chin.

Chin also pretty much solved the case (and we got some great shots of him on his motorcycle!)  He was the one figuring out why the bride ran away, where she was, and who would have reason to blackmail her.  I admit, I thought the villain was the mom, Rebecca DeMornay's character, but was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.  However, the lawyer (who I actually thought was the dad for a while) didn't really have that strong of a reason to kill the bride's brother, so that was a bit on the weak side.  Other than that, though, a nice twisty case for sure.  Although I was thinking at the sweet ending scene for the bride and groom, wouldn't the mom be mad she missed the actual wedding?  And really, does anyone want to cross Rebecca DeMornay? (Girl is looking good, too!)

Danny and Steve are having a few carguments this episode about weddings and relationships and I didn't realize how against weddings Danny is.  Did his marriage to Rachel really make him that bitter?  I mean, he does bring up his two cousins that had weddings broken up by jealous exes, but Steve was right, Danny has some deep-seated issues.  (Also, Danny's sure been talking a lot to Steve about jealous exes. Anvil, perhaps, with the whole Billy situation?)  Danny doesn't seem too sure of his relationship with Gabby and after the double date movie scene I can see why.  The woman is shushing him, making condescending comments like, "Can you save the commentary for the DVD?" Yeah, take the curator job in Denver already, Gabby. Although Gabby did have a cute scene with Grace, that was her only redeeming quality.  Even the goodbye after Danny told her he really couldn't have her in and out of Grace's life, etc., at the end it just looked awkward and stilted.  I don't think I will miss Gabby at all, but I feel bad for Danny. At least he was sensitive enough to look at all sides of the issue before he let her go.  Poor Danny.  He did have a good line when he admitted that Hawaii was his home now.  And if he left, he'd miss Steve.  (Well, actually Steve said that and Danny just repeated it with a sigh.  As if he didn't want to admit it.  Those two crack me up, seriously.)

One of the funnier lines last night was when Danny and Steve pulled up to Five-O headquarters and Billy is there waiting.  Steve wonders what he's doing there since he's supposed to be on the job with Catherine, and Danny quips, "Maybe he's here to ask for her hand in marriage."  The look on Steve's face was really funny. They get out and chat a bit, with Billy thanking Steve for encouraging Catherine to take the job because he and Catherine, "make a good team." I thought Steve handled that whole situation with a lot of grace.  Stupid Billy.  (The code names Billy picked out for him and Catherine were indicative of his maturity level, too.  He gave himself, "Big Kahuna."  Really? Insecure there, buddy?  Catherine was Little Wing, which is okay, but yeah, not impressive on his part. Catherine had him at the end when she points out that he's sort of self-congratulatory.  On insignificant things. Again I say, stupid Billy.)

Steve goes in to the office to see Catherine in her black pantsuit and yeah, she did look good. (Can Michelle Borth look bad? I don't think so.  Wardrobe does really well with her, too.) Catherine comments on how the Saudi guy they're doing security for still looks at her like she's wearing a string bikini even in her pantsuit and Steve asks for his name so he can beat him up.  Cute! But then Catherine asks him for a favor, to use H50 resources for her background checks.  Steve says he's not comfortable with that, totally teasing her, and she reminds him of how many satellites she repositioned for him when she was with Navy Intel. Adorable scene between the two of them.

But the best scene of all was at the end, when Billy brings Catherine home (where's her car? Still in the shop from episode 1?) and she walks up to the house where Steve is waiting for her to make sure she got home safely.  They chat a bit about her first day, he gives her a kiss, then she goes inside to wash up, and he says he'll open a bottle of wine for them.  Steve turns and who is still in the driveway watching? Creeper Billy.  He leaves with a wave, and Steve has a little smile on his face as he waves back, but then still looks pensive.  I cannot wait to see where this whole thing is going, really.  So, so good.

But the one scene I've re-watched a few times was the previews for next week.  A hero will fall . . . and they show Catherine being shot and then her in the hospital bed with Steve at her bedside, head in his hands. Holy smokes.  How am I going to wait until next week?  So many scenarios are running through my head as to where that episode could go.  (I included the preview below, if you want to watch it yourself.)

This is hands down the best season of Hawaii Five-O and I don't say that lightly.  Balanced, good twisty cases, some great character development, and of course, the beautiful backdrop scenery.  How could you want more from a show?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Freebie-Mr. Nice Spy

Today's Friday Freebie is Mr. Nice Spy, a really fun prequel to I, Spy, by Jordan McCollum, a book that I loved.  This novella tells more about Talia and Elliott and we get to work a case with them.  A novel not to be missed for anyone who loves strong heroines and great intrigue.

Click here for your Kindle copy.

Here's the back matter:

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. CIA operative Elliott Monteith has made it work, just like he’s made things work with his longtime fiancée Shanna. Until Shanna lays out an ultimatum: move forward or move on. Meanwhile, Elliott and his best friend and fellow operative, Talia Reynolds, try to track an elusive leak at the American embassy.

But something changes between Elliott and Talia as they close in on the man selling out his country. Professional and personal lines blur and Elliott has to choose—his fiancée or his best friend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Winner of the LDS Authors Giveaway Hop

It's kind of been a crazy week for me with my new novel, Pocket Full of Posies, coming out.  Yesterday I finally took a bit of time off and caught up on some reading and just playing with my kids.  It felt so great! I have a t-shirt quilt I started at the beginning of the year I'd like to work on, and of course the holidays are fast approaching.  I'm so glad to have gotten that book release out so I can really enjoy my family for a few months before I start working on the final book in the Hostage Negotiation Team series.  (Although I did have an idea for the captain's story come to me and I completely envisioned the end.  I might be back to writing sooner than I thought! LOL)

So, today I'm going to kick back a bit and enjoy the time after a book release.  I can't wait to hear what you think of the new book.

Also, I wanted to announce the winner of the LDS Authors Giveaway Hop who won my three book set of the Hostage Negotiation series.

And the winner is . . .

*drum roll*

M.R. Buttars!!!

Thank you so much for entering.  M.R. Buttars I will be contacting you via email.

Have a great reading Thursday, my bloggy friends!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Huge Ebook Sale & Chance to Win a Kindle Fire!

My award-winning book, All Fall Down, is discounted to $1.99 for this event and there are a TON of other great deals that you won't want to miss.  Not to mention that you can win a Kindle Fire!  Be sure to go here Bookmarked Bargains  to take advantage!  Help me spread the word, will you, and tweet and Facebook about it?
Here are some of the other fantastic authors who are participating:

Andrea Pearson
Anna del C. Dye
Cami Checketts
Cheri Schmidt
Christine Kersey
Christy Dorrity
Cindy Hogan
Heather Justesen
Ilyan Lavanway
Jaleta Clegg
Jason Morgan
Jordan McCollum
Joyce DiPastena
Julie Coulter Bellon
Karey White
Maria Hoagland
Michelle Pennington
Mikey Brooks
Monique Bucheger
Rachael Andersen
Rachel Branton
Rachel Nunes
Rebecca Shelley
Rebecca Talley
Sandra Norton Flynn
Stephanie Fowers
Tamara Heiner
Teyla Branton
 Vickie Hall  

The deals run Wednesday, October 16th through Friday, October 18th. 
Again, click here to enter the Kindle drawing and find fabulous discounted books. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Review of Castle's Hostage Negotiation Case

Oh man, can I tell you how much I loved last night's episode?  Especially since it was a hostage negotiation case because hello? That's all I've been researching for the last two years for my books.

The set up was awesome with the girl running from the crime scene and taking the hostages.  Castle being called down to scene because the hostage-taker will only talk to Richard Castle was priceless.  When Alexis said the captain was on the phone and a jobless dejected Beckett got all excited, I felt so bad that Alexis had to clarify the call was for her dad.  (The sugar daddy comment and the I'm sleep-talking was so funny!) The only thing that bothered me about that whole family scene was Pi. His presence has never been explained, is he Alexis' boyfriend? A pal? Why is he still there? Have a talk with Alexis for the viewers, please, because he's an annoying plot point right now.

Down at the staging point for the hostage scene Castle has to prove he is who he is by playing Castle trivia which was hilarious. He makes a deal to go in if they let the little girl and her mom out.  Awww.  Of course the hostage-taker wants him to prove her innocence and Castle is on the job.  Since Beckett isn't working for the NYPD anymore because of the hiring freeze, she asks the captain to let her help and she does.  The boys are running the investigation and with Sully and Beckett's help uncover some pretty interesting clues.  I loved how this case didn't really let you know whether the hostage-taker was innocent or guilty until halfway through the show. The boys' concern for Castle being in there with the hostages was awesome, and seeing Lainey was great. The family is back together.

It was a great conclusion, and I didn't guess the killer this time so kudos on the procedural part of it, too.  All in all, a great episode, lots of sigh-worthy Castle moments (when she's helping him with his writer vest, after he gets shot and the end.)  This is the Castle I love and I can't wait to see next week!

4th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

I thought it would be fun to be part of this giveaway hop, but then I didn't have anything spooky to give.  So I'm just going to go for warm and themed.

Here's my prize:

If you are the winner, I will send you a Book Lover's Basket that includes a

  • themed handmade lap blanket
  • gourmet hot chocolate mix, 
  • and your choice of any one of my books (ebook or printed copy).  

Who couldn't use a book lover's basket no matter what time of year, right?

It's easy to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are over three hundred blogs taking part in this giveaway hope with TONS of great prizes.  Click here to see the other blogs and then go enter some of them!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving, Two Book Reviews & Some News

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving (Happy Thanksgiving!)  and I am so happy to be able to tell you about two books that have been great reminders of some things I am grateful for.

But first, I have some wonderful news.  My new novel, Pocket Full of Posies, is now available on Kindle and will soon be available in print.  You can see it here

The first book is a compilation of stories that Thomas S. Monson has told during his fifty years in service to the LDS church.  They are short stories with a message and honestly, some were funny, some were touching, but they were all heartfelt.  My family sat around in the living room while I read some of them out loud and we all enjoyed it.  There was one story in particular that touched me because I knew the family involved. Their fifteen year old son Jason passed away while he had an older brother and sister on a mission and another brother that had received his call.  Their father's letter had a picture inside with Jason and his brother holding his mission call, with a caption that said, called to serve on both sides of the veil.  It still makes me weepy to think of it, but this family's faith really is noteworthy.  This book is one that I will use often, I think, for Family Home Evening lessons, for talks, or just when I need a pick me up.  Wonderful book from a wonderful man.

Here's the back copy:

If you ask people what they love most about President Thomas S. Monson’s teaching style, chances are they’ll say something about the personal experiences he relates. The accounts President Monson shares are always true, taken from his own life or the real lives of other people. Those warm, memorable accounts have truly become a hallmark of his messages.

Who can forget the woman who saved one of the two sticks of gum Elder Monson passed out to youth in postwar Germany? Or the neighbor who returned a box of baseballs to young Tommy as a thank-you for his kindness to her? Or the father who declined to attend a “Mormon” meeting with his family but had his heart softened by a message he heard on a radio that was actually broken?

In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his call as an Apostle, Consider the Blessings presents fifty of the true accounts President Thomas S. Monson has shared over the years. With beautiful photographs and heart-touching content, this is a book to treasure with the whole family.

The second book is a collection of themes and ideas that are discussed from the Old Testament.  The author, Emily Freeman puts her personal stamp on the things that are brought up, and frankly, I really enjoyed it.  I've always been intimidated by the Old Testament and wished I understood it better.  This book really helped with that and I feel like maybe I can actually tackle it.  It's down-to-earth and funny, yet at the same time pertinent and serious.  It's also broken up into smaller bites and stories so it's easy to read one a day and just ponder it.  Very well done and the illustrations are particularly good.

Here's the back copy:

If you have ever found the Old Testament intimidating, you're not alone. The less-familiar history, themes, and language, coupled with the length of the book, make it a difficult read for many. But author Emily Freeman loves the Old Testament, and as she shares some of the wonderful things she has learned in her study of this book of scripture, you will find yourself coming to love it too.

Written on Our Hearts is not a commentary or an intensive doctrinal study. Instead, Emily writes about the stories of the Old Testament, stories of trusting and overcoming and enduring and believing. Within these stories are all kinds of applications for the challenges we face today.

"There will come a moment in your life," the author says, "when you or someone you love will struggle with a challenge so great you will wonder how you will make it through. In that moment you will long to better understand the Savior's role as the Deliverer, and to do that you must go to the book of scripture that describes that role the best—the Old Testament."

Discover the delivering power of the Lord yourself in the pages of this book—and experience the scriptures in a new, more personal way!

About the Author

Emily Freeman took her first creative writing class in high school and has loved writing ever since. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. She is the author of several books, including The Ten Virgins; 21 Days Closer to Christ; and The Promise of Enough. There is nothing Emily enjoys more for breakfast than a bowl of vanilla ice cream, raspberries, and chocolate chips. Other favorites include parades, vacations, firework displays, and going for a long walk with a good friend. Emily and her husband, Greg, live in Lehi, Utah, with their four children, whom she adores.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hawaii Five-O Gets Lost

This week's episode starts out with a bang.  Literally.  A couple is killed in their pool and the last shot of the opening is their baby monitor coming to life with the cries of a baby upstairs.  That hurt my heart, knowing what had just happened to the parents.

But then we cut to Steve in bed, waking to find Catherine gone.  He pads out to the beach, where she's sitting in a chair, staring at the ocean with a thoughtful look on her face.  He knows exactly what's wrong, that she's nervous about her retirement from the Navy.  He tells her it's the start of a new adventure, being incredibly supportive.  Then they talk about Billy and she calls him on the fact that he's not really okay with her working for her ex-boyfriend and he says, "I trust you, okay  That's all I need."  It's a really sweet scene between them and made my McRoll heart go pitty pat.

Steve's phone rings and it's about the case they just caught.  The team is on the murder scene when Danny hears the baby crying and he pushes past the officer who is letting her cry, waiting for Family Services, and he picks her up.  The baby is an adorable little girl and Danny knows exactly how to comfort the poor little thing.  Great scene.

They head over to talk to Max we hear how McGarrett has asked him to help get a special gift for Catherine.  Danny asks if he has a personal shopper now and McGarrett and Max fist bump.  "We're BFFs."  So funny.  He gives his report and the team continues to try to figure out what was stolen from the house after the couple was murdered.  They find out the brother's security code was used so they question him.  He sold it to someone for $15,000, and is ruled out as a suspect.

The cargument this week was Danny telling Steve that it was a mistake to let Catherine take a job with her ex-boyfriend, that their old feelings will come back and they will have a "moment."  First of all, Steve is her boyfriend, not her jailer, and Catherine is free to take a job wherever she wants.  Second of all, I'm wondering what the writers are foreshadowing here since this is the second week that Danny has been putting doubts in Steve's mind about Catherine and Billy.  We shall see.

The murder mystery gets interesting when they find out that what was missing is an artifact from the Royal League.  Chin takes them over to meet an old friend of his from band camp.  I never watched Lost because I swore after Alias I would never watch another J.J. Abrams show, so I didn't have any clue who Jorge Garcia was, but I loved the character he played on last night's show (However, even I got the anvil reference to band camp feeling like they were on a deserted island all summer.  Ha!)  The character of Jerry was so funny and sincere.  He helps the scene track down coded letters and figure out that they're searching for the Medici rings in an old Hawaiian statue.  (I also loved the ship scene where Danny tells Jerry to stay away from Catherine because her boyfriend is an animal.  He is so protective of McRoll!)

We cut to Catherine packing up her stuff on the ship and Billy giving her a cake.  He wants her.  It's so obvious.  But guess what, Billy?  Steve has a present for Catherine that far outweighs a cake.  Yeah. Stupid Billy.  (And there was a really cute scene of Max telling Steve he got the gift, but that it costs $1300.  The look on Steve's face is priceless when Max takes it back and tells him when he has the money, he gets the gift.  You know Steve's going to pony up, but it was funny.)

The case was great, lots of twists and turns, as they find the thieves have made a duplicate of the statue and put it in place so no one will realize it's missing, but still don't have the Royal League artifact that will open the treasure.  It's on loan to the museum. The team heads over there and there's an awesome shootout, the key is recovered and they let Jerry open it.  The lost Medici rings are recovered.

The the ending scene is the one I've rewound a few times.  Danny goes to give the orphaned baby Grace's outgrown stuffed monkey and it is so sweet.  And Steve catches Catherine before her retirement ceremony and gives her his gift.  It's a Chicago record.  (Greatest hits?)  (And if it's worth $1300 maybe the record collection in my basement is worth something! Wow.)  But Steve remembered that she told him her mom used to play that album when she was scared as a little girl.  Then he says, "Catherine, you got nothing to be scared of, okay?  You're not going to do this alone."  Awwwww.  Love, love, love, that scene.   Then they ruin it by having her stand on the stage with her plaque smiling at Steve, Danny, Chin, Kamekona, aaaand Billy.  Sigh.  Steve notices and we end on his very thoughtful look as he watches them.

Great, great episode, lots of action and emotion.  This season is turning out to be their best one so far, in my opinion.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Freebie

Today's Friday Freebie is Rescuing Rosalind by G.G. Vandagriff.

It's a regency romance about a young woman, Fanny Edwards, who finds the ton confining and a bit boring.  She longs for excitement in her life and wants to be an actress.  Buck Kernow-Smith has returned from the war to find a young woman that might understand his own feelings toward the ton.  Lots of twists and turns in this romance as this couple has many hurdles to overcome before they can be together.

Here's the back copy:

When frigate Captain Buckingham Kernow-Smith encounters a sprite in a topiary garden going by the name of "Gannymede," he remembers his Shakespeare. Pulling off her stocking cap, he reveals the character of "Rosalind" from As You Like It, played, in this case, by the appealing Fanny Edwards.

Three years pass. The War over, Buck encounters his Rosalind at a ball, where she has developed into a notable beauty. However, her guardian confides to him that she is dancing on the very edge of propriety. Buck, who has been fighting the French since he was twelve, also finds the ton confining and sympathizes with Fanny/Rosalind's plight as a properly reared young lady.

Together, they make a dangerous pair, straddling the line between propriety and scandal, indulging in a masquerade in daylight, riding together in a phaeton race, and laying plans for Fanny/Rosalind to play a role in Covent Garden Theater. Will Buck confide his secrets and overcome his life-long aversion to marriage?Can someone as headstrong and impetuous as Rosalind ever settle for such a union?

If you're interested, you can download it to your Kindle here

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Castle Review: The Team is Back in Business!

This was a great case for me because the team was back together.  Not exactly working together, but there was sparkly dialogue, fun repartee between them, and some really great Caskett scenes.

Castle is finally getting fed up with Pi (but still hasn't talked to Alexis about him, oy) and sees a news report about a childhood TV star from 2 Cool for School has been murdered.  Castle sees Ryan and Esposito on scene and calls to offer his help.  On live television, Esposito rejects his call and the look on Castle's face was priceless.  He goes down to the station and they wrangle a bit, but he's finally allowed to help.  Before they can really get far in the case, however, the Feds show up, aka McCord and Beckett and take it over. They tell the boys they can't tell them why the Feds are interested, which makes them irritated and they coerce Castle to try to get information out of Beckett.  She catches on pretty quick and refuses to be "castle'd."  I loved that little scene.

Once the boys figure out that the murder is connected to Russians smuggling guns and a CIA op of spying on a Russian gangster, McCord and Beckett are forced to shut down their murder investigation.  But ever-sympathetic Kate slips Castle a thumb drive with more information on it so they can still try to solve the murder.  Suspicion is on the murder victim's Russian girlfriend, but is quickly turned to his co-star who confesses.  But it's not over yet.  The CIA has lost an asset and they're trying to coerce the Russian girlfriend to spy on her family, threatening to expose her if she doesn't.  Kate leaks to the media to protect her and I have to say I thought that was gutsy.  Kate's always trying to do the right thing and I love that about her.

We end at Castle's apartment, where he tells her it isn't working with them snatching moments and weekends here and there.  Then he gives her a key to a D.C. apartment and she's thrilled.  That is short-lived, however, when McCord appears at the door to tell Kate they know she leaked the info and she's fired.  Everyone looked shocked, but I was thinking hallelujah.  Let's get the team back on track.

Great case, great character dialogue and cute Caskett moments made this episode shine for me.  The season just hasn't had that sparkle it's always had for me until now, so I was happy to welcome back the show I know and love.  Can't wait to see where they go from here!

What did you think?  Do you hate it when shows try something new (new teams, characters, settings) or do you embrace it?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Word Count Wednesday

Well, my word count is a little sad because I'm just adding/switching words around as I finish up the final edit/go through.  I bet if I added my word count up it would come out to about 48 or something.  But that's okay because of where I am in the process.  It's sort of bittersweet being at this point, but on the other hand, I'm so excited for everyone to read this book!  Not much longer now.

How did you do this week?

(And I won't be doing the sprint tonight.  Everyone seems busy getting ready for NaNoWriMo and poor Debra probably needs a break from being here just so I don't feel lonely.  LOL)  (And for those of you wondering where my Castle review is for this week, I'll post it tomorrow.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Second Annual LDS Authors Giveaway Hop

You might be surprised by how many popular mainstream books are written by LDS authors. Shannon Hale, Orson Scott Card, Janette Rallison, Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, James Dashner, Branda Novak, Richard Paul Evans, J. Scott Savage, Ally Condie, Stephenie Meyer, Bree Despain, Jessica Day George, Aprilynne Pike, Kiersten White, Robison Wells, Jason Wright, Heather Dixon, Obert Skye, Richard Paul Evans, Julie Berry, Mette Ivie Harrison, Becca Fitzpatrick, Lisa Mangum, Amber Argyle, Jennifer Laurens, Brodi Ashton, Julianne Donaldson, Sarah Eden, Heather Moore, Julie Coulter Bellon, Rachael Anderson, Karey White … the list could go on and on.

I am proud to be part of such an amazing group of writers, so, in order to highlight works by LDS authors I am participating in this hop and offering a giveaway of my own as well as pointing you to many other blogs on the hop so you can win a ton of prizes!

What am I giving away, you ask?

A signed three book set of my Hostage Negotiation series.  Yep, all three of them, including All Fall Down, Ashes Ashes and the brand new one, Pocket Full of Posies that will be released later this month.

How do you enter?  Liking my Facebook page gives you one entry and then there are a few optional ones if you want more chances.  Easy peasy!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And when you're done entering my giveaway, you can go to these other blogs for more prizes!

1.~I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (Int)
2.ANWA (Int)
3.~Zucchini Pie (US)
5.A Tuft Act to Follow (Int)
6.Lyrics Without the Chord Changes (Int)
7.Creative Thoughts (US)
8.Mary @ SweepingMe (Int)
9.Julie Coulter Bellon
10.~J. Lloyd Morgan (US)
11.Author - Cindy A. Christiansen
12.~Min Reads and Reviews (US)
13.~A Family Friendly Blog (International)
14.~Bookworm Lisa (INT)
15.~Why Not? Because I Said So! (INT)
16.Writermike. com
17.The Write Path (US and Can)
18.Author Sherry Gammon
19.~Tess Hilmo, Author (US)
20.~First 100 pages (US)
21.The View From My Window
22.Rachelle Writes
23.~Danielle @ Consuming Worlds (US)
25.Tressa's Wishful Endings
27.~The Balanced Writer (US)
28.~Katie's Clean Book Collection (US)
29.Author Cheri Schmidt (US)
30.~Maria Hoagland, LDS Novelist (US)
31.~Books for Kids (Int)
32.Sher A. Hart
33.~The Blessings of Family Life (US)
34.Misty Moncur, Author
35.~Connections (US)
36.Anna del C. Dye official Page
37.YA Author Janette Rallison's blog
38.~Clover Autrey (US)
40.~Getting Your Read On (INT)
41.~Writers Mirror, writing news and inteviews - Every writer has a story.
42.Donna Hatch, romance author
43.~I Love to Read and Review Books : ) (INT)
44.A Storybook World
45.Deal Sharing Aunt USA
46.3 Partners in Shopping USA
47.LAURIE L. C. LEWIS: A View FromThe Other Side of the Hill
48.YA Author D. Ogden Huff
49.~Nicole M. White - author
50.~Rebecca Belliston, author (US)
51.Kelsy @ Up in the Bibliosphere (US)
52.Rebecca Irvine
53.Rebecca Lamoreaux - An Author in Progress

Double Book Review: Working It Out & Through the Smoke

I have two books to tell you about today!

The first one is Working It Out by Rachael Anderson.  It's a cute contemporary romance about a physical therapist named Grace who goes to a bachelor auction to help out a co-worker.  When an arrogant man outbids her, then kisses her, she is so upset she runs away.  Unexpectedly he shows up as her patient and she has to work through a lot of feelings regarding him---frustration, anger, and attraction to name a few!

I really liked the heroine, Grace, and thought she had a lot of guts.  She puts up with a lot from her brother and the hero and I admired how she handled it with, well, grace.  She has a soft spot, but she's also been traumatized and feels guilt for what happened to her brother that day on the ski slopes.  I like that her feelings are explored and she really does grow by the end of the book.

The hero I had a harder time with.  There were points that I loved him, but a lot of times he seemed unable to see how his life view affected others.  I liked that he had give and take with Grace, though, and was willing to change.  Whatever flaws he had, he did redeem himself in the end and we were treated to some sigh-worthy kisses and sweet romance.

All in all, I thought the plot was well-done and the romance was great!  An author for me to watch.

Here's the back copy:

A chance encounter . . . 

Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.

A chance for love . . .

Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.

The second book is Through the Smoke by Brenda Novak.  This one is about a poor village bookshopkeeper's daughter Rachel McTavish.  Rachel's mother is dying and the earl wants information on his wife's death, so Rachel makes a deal---get a doctor for my mother and I'll tell you what I know.  Only it's too late and nothing goes as planned. Things go from bad to worse as her pride lands her in trouble with the earl, the townspeople, and even the town madame.  Rachel makes every concession she can to keep food on the table for her and her brother, but is finally forced to accept the earl's help, although there is a very big cost to her and her heart.

I thought the mystery of what happened to the earl's first wife was what really kept me turning pages, although I called the murderer early on.  The romance was good, but there were a few things that bothered me about our hero.  He just seemed sort of detached sometimes and not really aware until he had to be, if that makes sense.  There are storyline hints that seem to be dropped, like the possibility of the earl himself being drugged at the time of the fire to explain his memory loss, and the fact that Rachel's mother was illegitimate and her real grandfather's name could have possibly paved the way to a union between them.  I also didn't like that intimacies were described when one of the people involved was drugged and out of it. Did no one really notice that?  It bothered me.  (And for my gentle reader, intimacies are described in this one, but they are brief and easy to skip over.)

Despite all of that, the heroine had a lot of spunk, which saved the story for me, and it was a good ending.

Here's the back copy:

A shocking betrayal…
Riches. Power. An ancient heritage of pride. The Earl of Druridge wanted only for an heir. So when he learned that his wife was carrying another man’s child, he was filled with a thirst for vengeance.

But he wasn’t the one who caused Katherine’s death. Or was he? To his horror, he remembers nothing of that dreadful night, when their last confrontation ended in scorching flame and cold blood.

A forbidden love…

Rachel McTavish, the beautiful daughter of a coal miner, knows something about the fire that took Lady Katherine’s life. In secret, the strong-willed girl strikes a bargain with the desperate earl: he must send his physician to help her dying mother or he may go to the devil—and the scaffold. He agrees, but she is still unsure that her revelation will be enough to save him when so many wish him dead.

Passionately drawn to the nobleman, despite all the doubt and mystery that shrouds him, Rachel wonders if he can really be a murderer. Or if he is the only man who will ever own her heart…

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hawaii Five-O Hits Another Home Run

The second episode of Hawaii Five-O was just as awesome as the first.  It definitely had something for everyone (and finally gave me the answer I'd been waiting for---Wo Fat is NOT Steve's half-brother! Whew!)

I love the Kono/Adam storyline, and how they are sticking together.  Kono is a woman of many talents--fishing, saving their lives, fixing the car, you name it, while Adam is all, hiding around the corner, sitting in the car, (looking dang good doing it though!) and saying, yeah, Kono, you need to go home because they're going to keep coming after us and then we'll both be dead.  I was thinking, if you send her home, you'll be dead a lot sooner, pal.  You need her a lot more than she needs you, so you better keep her around! They are cute together, though, and I do like their scenes.

Tim Daly was the guest star this week and he was a great Texas Ranger.  Loved his persona, the way he owned the swagger, and his little peanut butter stunt was hilarious.  He totally sold that rat story and the look on the guy's face when Tim starts slathering the peanut butter on his head was priceless.  I was afraid it would be cliche or stereotypical, but it was great.  The case was another dad looking for his kid, but the Ranger angle gave it a breath of fresh air and made it enjoyable.  I particularly liked all our boys going after the girl, the shootout at the drug house, the shipping container takedowns, (Danny's was especially funny).  It was all great action and what I've come to expect and love about Hawaii Five-O.

The new car also makes an appearance (and the new computer table for Chin, yay!) and poor Danny doesn't even get to drive it before Steve steals the keys.  I did feel bad for him, because that is an incredible car and if it was mine, I'd want to drive it first.  But the cargument was even better than the new car appearance because I had no idea that Danny was a McRoll fan.  His little speech to Steve about Billy the ex-boyfriend (really? A grown man going by Billy?) spending long hard hours with Steve's "beautiful, intelligent, sexy, attractive girlfriend," not being a good idea was great because it looked like Steve was actually thinking about what Danny was saying this time. But the best line for me was when Danny told Steve that Catherine was the best thing that ever happened to him. Awwww.

And that brings me to Billy Harrington.  Right off I was thinking, oh he might not be too bad, but no, he tried to wedge himself in between Catherine and Steve by implying that Catherine had confided in him about leaving the Navy.  "She didn't tell you?" Yeah, not cool.  I liked that Steve immediately asked her about it when he invited her to his office. She told him that her CO had mentioned to Billy she was leaving the Navy, it wasn't her, so all is well in the trust department.  And her answer as to why she wasn't taking the job with Billy?  "I'm happy right now.  I mean, things between us are good and I don't want to ruin that." Awwww. The little smile on Steve's face when she said that was so telling.  And his comment that he'd miss seeing her in her cammies was adorable.  (I also like that he is so gentlemanly around her.  He opens doors, he says excuse me when they're interrupted and he has to talk to someone else.  That's becoming a lost art these days.)

The ending scene was back to the baseball diamond for the championship game.  (They did show a bit of a game at the beginning where Steve and Danny were both ejected from the game, Ha!) Steve tells Catherine to take the job, they're good and nothing will change that.  She hugs him, they kiss, and Kamekona as the umpire calls a timeout so everyone can watch their PDA.  So sweet.  Then, Kamekona shakes his head and says, "Love." Everybody sees it and I love that.  :)  Grace finally hits a home run to end the episode with a victory smile right before she reaches the home plate. So cute!

I cannot wait to see the rest of this season because of the way they are truly mixing action with emotion and romance.  It is adding a third dimension to the characters that is totally drawing me in.  It's a tough balance, but so far these writers have hit a home run with the opening eps of the season.  Let's hope it continues.