Tory’s Friday Ramblings (11/29/13)

Black Friday’s Here! Can I get an OH YEAH!

Oh, wait, I don’t do Black Friday. After one nightmarish experience at the inhumanity to be found at Walmart, I swore off. Yeesh.

So, how was your Thanksgiving (for those in the US)?

On Family

Well, we had a great Thanksgiving for the most part. It was mostly relaxed, the first time it’s just been the five of us since the Shrimpettes were born. We totally enjoyed that part.

Here are some pictures of mine! Mostly food though. Click on the pictures to be linked to where we got the recipes for each. The only thing I prepared was the pie (hey, I bake, not cook – don’t judge).

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Here are the kids eating dinner (Daddy and I were drinking wine)

Shrimp and Twin B chillin’ on the couch afterward.

On Home

Wednesday, our DR Horton agent emailed us, saying the permits had FINALLY been gotten on the house, so they would be starting construction soon. Understand, we signed the contracts at the end of May. We had to fix our credit before they would even start the building process, so it’s been a long time.

Here’s the lot back in June (and until this week):

2013-06-09 07.52.13And here’s the lot as of yesterday:

2013-11-28 12.46.38They have finally begun the process. I’ve never been so excited to see dirt in my entire life. Hehehe. Yes, there will be regular updates and pictures so you can share the excitement of the new house with us!

On Writing

You may note I have put up a new word counter. That’s right – I’ve started the second draft of Carved in Stone. Not much yet, and some things keep shifting around in my head, but I think I’ve got a decent handle on this story (unlike all my false starts with Locked) and the characters. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that my heroes aren’t alphas. Cal, the hero of Locked definitely isn’t an alpha. At all. Protective, yes. A beta, yes. Alpha no. Tom, the hero of Carved may have some alpha tendencies, but he’s still very much a beta. He’s not interested in being large and in charge.

And then there’s Lucas, the presumed hero of Sealed. As the head of the Sentinel Corp, he’d better be all alpha, big and bad. Matthew, the novella hero, the jury’s still out on. He’s introduced in Carved, but doesn’t have much chance to develop. I’ve got plans for him though.

Other than that, there’s nothing really to report. I’m still sitting out in la la land, and that’s frustrating, to say the least, buuuut at least I haven’t gotten a no yet. At least not from the publisher I submitted to. Plenty of agents have passed, or just not responded (thus passing). But it’s in part the query. I just haven’t gotten around to rewriting it yet. I’ve been more interested in writing the stories for a change. I’m amazed that I’ve actually written two entire (well, one entire and one slap-dash piece of junk that needs to be rewritten from the bottom up) books in one year. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know that is a HUGE accomplishment for me. And, maybe given I have other books/series ideas floating around, maybe next year I’ll get 3 written. My goal, ultimately, is 4 a year. I’ll never been a speed demon, pumping them out at the rate of 1 every two weeks like someone I can think of specifically, but I side with the idea that that’s because I invest real quality in my works (you might be able to tell I’m not a fan of the one I’m thinking of).

In Conclusion

So – what are you doing today? What’d you do yesterday for Thanksgiving? Are you braving Black Friday crowds, relaxing in a food coma, or writing? Me? I’m home with all three kids while Daddy’s working. Hopefully I’ll get some writing done and play some Final Fantasy XIV (my current obsession).

Here’s one final picture to make you smile. I have no idea how they ended up in bed together – normally Sam’s on the floor and Jackie’s sprawled out on her bed. But last night, apparently they wanted to sleep together.

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Review: Andrew

Andrew (Lonely Lords)

Author: Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: December 3, 2013
Description:

AndrewAndrew Alexander will do anything to protect those he loves…

After a tragic yachting accident leaves him wracked with guilt and despair, Andrew Alexander becomes certain he doesn’t deserve to be around his own family, let alone the beautiful, forthright Astrid Worthington. He wanders for years, only allowing himself respite from his self-imposed exile when he thinks Astrid safely married. He returns home to find instead that the only woman he’s ever loved has been recently—and mysteriously—widowed.

…especially from himself

When Andrew leaves, Astrid refuses to pine. She finds an amiable husband and contents herself with a cordial if unexciting marriage. But her husband’s sudden death and Andrew’s reappearance threaten to break her heart all over again. When Astrid’s life is threatened, she finds Andrew will do anything to protect her not only from her enemies, but also from the truth of his dark past.

My Thoughts:

First thought – holy smokes, Andrew’s hawt! I love the cover, Ms. Burrowes! I love the whole look for this line, I really do.

Please be advised this review contains spoilers!

Now if only I’d liked the book as much. Don’t get me wrong, people. This is a lovely book, because Ms. Burrowes simply wouldn’t write anything else. I just simply never fully connected with Andrew. Maybe that was deliberate on the author’s part. Andrew was very remote, and given what he believed about himself, I can’t blame him. But the whole thing felt very disconnected. Almost like I was observing a play, and the actors were just reciting dialogue, not truly portraying themselves. It just didn’t … mesh.

I found myself far more interested in the secondary character (and hero of the next book), Douglas. I’m looking forward to reading his story (and have it already from NetGalley – woot!), than I was in Andrew (though I definitely felt his pain) and even Astrid (and lord knows I know the feeling of a miscarriage). But these two did definitely have some darkness in their lives that they had to work through and as they found the strength within, they found each other to finally connect with.

Astrid’s been through a lot – it sucks to be her. She had a crappy marriage with a schmuck of a husband. She definitely deserved better and got it from Andrew once he stopped the “woe is me, I’m a horrible person” act. I hated the villain (had him pegged fairly early on, though that could simply be I didn’t believe there was any other character it could have been – I liked the rest of them too much).

Andrew … yikes. He certainly had reason for his “woe is me”, don’t get me wrong. It would be horrendous, what he thought was the truth for so long (until Gareth finally took him in hand and told him the real truth – and MAN I need to read Gareth’s story). And he had his strengths. There are probably very few English peers capable of delivering twins … without a doctor midwife … wherein a twin needed to be turned … in the middle of a snowstorm. I loved him for that. And I felt sooooo sorry for Felicity. It sucked bad enough being pregnant with twins in the 21st century. It would have been a nightmare back in that period.

Anyway, I will continue being a devoted Grace Burrowes fan. I just didn’t connect quite as well with this book as I have in the past. Thank you as always for allowing me the honor of reading this book for review.

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Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Take Over at Midnight

Take Over at Midnight (The Night Stalkers)

Author: M.L. Buchanan
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: December 3, 2013
Description:

TakeLola LaRue, Chief Warrant Officer of the U.S. Army’s secret helicopter regiment, is a natural at everything except relationships. She’s a professional in the air but she screws up every time she touches the ground.

Sergeant “Crazy” Tim Maloney is a goner the moment he first sees LaRue on a mission to deliver a Delta Force team into the Iranian Desert. He’s always been a ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ kind of guy, but all that changes when Lola’s in danger. Now with the stakes higher than ever, they must find a way to eliminate a threat that could destroy more than just their future.

My Thoughts:

This series gets better and better with each book. Granted, I’ve missed the first book in the series when the two majors get together, though I get the impression that events referred to in this book definitely apply to that missing book (there are references to Pres. Mathews’ late wife and a lot of guilty looks going between the majors).

I really liked how Lola was developed as a character. She had herself a really harsh beginning and it’s not every day you see a character raised pretty much by a brothel house’s cook without being encouraged toward the lifestyle herself. I also really admired that Lola considered it, but then the author allowed the natural time line to influence what happens (9/11, specifically) and what she decides to do with her life. And, as an aside, her father utterly deserves whatever torture he’s put through in this life and the next. She also has a lovely little problem with Kee Stevenson from the last book I read in the series, and I liked seeing little Dalya again. The little girl’s certainly growing up and proving herself smart as can be.

Tim – he’s a hoot. He’s got a fabulous family and really deserves his “crazy” moniker. He’s not afraid to go after a woman, be the first one to own up to feelings, and to not utterly give up on one when she shoots him down. Oh, can’t blame him for being hurt, and he was, buuuuut they also found their way to work through things.

The story was great – I learned a lot about the conflicts in the Middle East, and some of the earliest issues with Iran after the hostage situation in the 1970’s. ML Buchanan took some of the current world’s very real concerns (bioweapons being used) and turned it into a great thriller to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Lola and Tim were great as a couple, or even as a man/woman making eyes at each other without an initial plan as becoming a couple. ML Buchanan played well with the concerns that Lola rightfully would have had, as an officer having an affair/something with an enlisted individual.

I can’t help but wonder if there are going to be any more books. I think the Night Stalkers (at least the unit with the Majors) have been all paired up, so I’m not sure who could be the next subject for this series. But I certainly hope so and know I’ll eagerly read them if/when they come out.

Thank you so much, ML Buchanan and Sourcebooks!

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Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author Interview: Jessica Lemmon

I’m happy to welcome author Jessica Lemmon to the blog today. It’s been a long time since I had an author here, but I really liked Jessica’s book, so knew I just had to invite her to drop by! So let’s get too it, shall we?

JL

1) How long have you been writing?

I’ve always loved to write, but started writing with a focus on publishing in January of 2010.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

The ultimate question! How? I do work part time outside of the home, but most of my time is dedicated to writing. I’m fortunate in that my brain pretty much only works from 8-5, so when the evening hours come, I’m free to relax. Unless there’s a deadline and I’m pushing to finish!

3) What can you tell us about your upcoming release IF YOU DARE? What I’m looking for is the story about how the story came to be, not just the blurb and what not. J

My latest is a fun, sexy short story about two coworkers who butt heads constantly. I love enemies-to-lovers romances, and Marcus and Lily’s story definitely fits the bill! I threw in a hero who dares the heroine to stay the night in an allegedly haunted house, and gave Marcus an inexplicable, distracting crush on Lily, and the story practically wrote itself.

4) You write both contemporary romance and some paranormal with your novella. What is it about these genres that you like so much?  Do you have one you prefer over the other?

Great question! I adore contemporary romance, and smart-aleck characters. I want my readers to have a highly emotional experience, whether they laugh or cry (and sometimes they tell me they do both!)

I love scary movies, so those two genres are easily blended. In IF YOU DARE, there’s enough spooky stuff to give you chills, but enough sexy to warm you up again.

5) Do you think you’ll end up focusing on one over the others?

Contemporary, most definitely, but as I said above, I don’t mind mixing in a little from another genre. 🙂

6) What was it like getting “the call”?

Amazing! I swear it was like I couldn’t get anyone to look twice at my manuscript a few months prior to getting that phone call last July. Then my agent had three publishers  interested. It was surreal! And I’m so blessed and grateful to have not only books with Grand Central, but this novella with Entangled Publishing. I’m humbled to work with so many great people.

7) Got any more books planned? What’s in your future?

Absolutely! The Love in the Balance series continues with Book 3: THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR in April 2014, about a millionaire ad exec who works down a list of extracurricular bedroom activities with a vintage store owner who has had a crush on him for a decade and a half.

I’m also working on a series I’m nicknaming The Bad Boy series. (You can see my Pinterest boards here: www.pinterest.com/lemmony for a peek at all of my hero inspiration.)

8) Got any advice for those still struggling through the trenches?

Yes. Don’t give up! Often, the first book you write isn’t the one that will get you published. It’s because you’re new and haven’t found your style or voice yet. Keep writing. I wrote 6 books from 2010-2013. It was book #5 that made me think I was finally onto something. Those other books were not wasted; they helped me learn how to write!

If you want to be  published, don’t give up on that dream. Knuckle down, and get feedback from as many professionals as you can. Join the RWA (or other writing chapter if you don’t write romance) and get a critique partner. It’s okay to get rejected. We all do. Don’t let it stop you. Let it HELP you get better.

9) Sweet or sour?

Salty! I’m a huge fan of potato chips.

10) Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate.

Fan/Contact Information

Website    *    jessica [at] jessicalemmon [dot] com    *    Twitter    *    Facebook    *    Goodreads

Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish and went out and got herself a job. …And then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another …and another.

Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds,thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier.

She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

Book Information

IfYouDare-1600px_COVER

SHE’LL MAKE HIM A BET…
Lily McIntire is sick of losing every office wager to her overly cocky—and yeah, devilishly handsome—coworker, Marcus Black. After a few too many tequila shots, and a taunt from Marcus that she’s a wuss, Lily lays down a bet he can’t refuse: One night in the abandoned and spooky Willow Mansion alone for his recent office win, a trip to Hawaii.

HE CAN’T REFUSE…
There’s only one thing Marcus wants more than his upcoming vacation to Hawaii: to take his sexy coworker on a real date. Every time he’s tried to get close to Lily, she’s shut him down cold. Too bad the sexual tension has hit the boiling point. Now, he’ll have to scare her out of the mansion if he has a prayer of taking her out any time soon.

UNTIL ALL BETS ARE OFF…
In between trying to scare Lily out of her pants and get his hands into them, Marcus realizes there’s more to the mansion than either of them counted on. Suddenly, it’s not just he and Lily that are going “bump in the night”.  If they manage to survive the night and escape the mansion unscathed, can they survive each other in the light of day? Or will what happens at Willow Mansion stay at Willow Mansion?

So, thanks for coming by, everyone. Make sure to leave lots of comments to make Jessica feel warm and welcome!

Review: Cold Case, Hot Accomplice

Cold Case, Hot Accomplice (Men of Wolf Creek)

Author: Carla Cassidy
Publisher: Harlequin/Harlequin Intrigue
Date of Publication: December 3, 2013
Description:

ColdBESTSELLING AUTHOR CARLA CASSIDY BRINGS IN THE MEN OF WOLF CREEK TO SEEK A MISSING WOMAN

Roxy Marcoli cares about three things—her restaurant, her sisters and her aunt Liz. When Liz disappears, she’s forced to turn to shameless playboy cop Steve Kincaid. Every time the sexy detective turns on the charm, he gets Roxy’s hackles up.

Despite his reputation, Steve is no ladies’ man. His casual flirting hides the pain of an unbearable loss. As they search for clues, he discovers what lies beneath Roxy’s prickly exterior and sharp tongue. His desire grows, and so does his fear. Because it’s not just Aunt Liz the killer wants—but Roxy, too.

My Thoughts:

First, ARGH at the ending. But it’s a good ARGH. Heh.

I adored Roxy in this book. She’s worked so hard to keep her sisters sheltered from their rather sucky mother, and been willing to protect them from all the muck and worries that she’s dealt with as the oldest sister. She’s a successful restaurateur and I love that while she can cook, she can’t bake very well.

Poor Steve, I can only imagine (and did) how much agony he must have been in to have had his son abducted and vanish for 2+ years because of his psycho ex-girlfriend. I liked how Ms. Cassidy portrayed him as still searching, but he’d also made an attempt to move on with his life to some degree even if he never gave up hope of finding his son. Some of the scenes where he was in the boy’s bedroom were truly heart-wrenching.

These two played off each other really well, and I liked the mystery that developed around Aunt Liz’s disappearance. Roxy was a bit stubborn about not giving up the chase, and even wanting to start the chase before Liz had been gone more than a few hours. I can get how Steve was a bit skeptical in the beginning about an actual abduction and how he doubted much would be done…until he got himself sucked into the mystery, with a determination not to let Roxy feel the same unending worry/wonder about her vanished love one, the way he was.

Roxy had a little growing up to do with her tunnel vision when it came to her mother and I was pleased to see she did actually do that in the end. These two truly deserved each other and I was glad when they got together finally.

SPOILER is whited out here because I just have/need to explain my argh from above. If you want to read it, highlight the area. They don’t rescue Liz – she remains kidnapped and we don’t know who the kidnapper is, just that she is alive. AAAACK! I wanna know who dun it and get Liz home safely!

In short – read this book! Heh.

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Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Christmas Past

Christmas Past

Author: Susanna Fraser
Publisher: Entangle/Ever After
Date of Publication: November 25, 2013
Description:

PastTime-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquist’s first mission sounded simple enough—spend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellington’s army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new life—and embrace a new love—two centuries before her time.

Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful “Mrs. Sydney” from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his present—by his side.

My Thoughts:

This is part of Entangled’s Ever After line, and as such, is short, sweet and to the point. And that, I think, ended up being why I wasn’t so thrilled with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a 3-star rating, but I wasn’t ecstatic about it like I have been with almost every other Entangled book I’ve read.

I liked that Ms. Fraser thought it was possible in some timeline somewhere time travel was invented before 2013, and that the possibilities for it as a research tool had been developed. She clearly put some time and thought into the creation of the Temporal Protocal (which made me think of the Prime Directive), and how travelers were to handle things if they got caught in the past.

Sydney’s a great woman, smart and unafraid to venture into the past to observe it for herself, while gathering some blood samples for a colleague in the modern world. She meets handsome Captain Griffin and things go quickly between them, even though Sydney’s only going along with him for the day because she intends to kill herself the following morning and knows she can’t stay because she’ll risk messing up the timeline.

Griffin – well, I’m not so sure about him. He seemed to accept Sydney’s explanation a little too easily, though I suppose if confronted things like an iPad and electric lights, it might have made her story more plausible, but still … he barely bats an eyelash.

The two make a charming couple, and have some very nice sex, though it wasn’t particularly explicit (which was a major plus for me).

What I didn’t particularly care for was the extended explanation at the end as to how/why the time machine broke. Yes, it continues in Ms. Fraser’s bent of being meticulous when it comes to thinking out plot twists, but … it just left me cold.

However, all this being said, I want to see more books by Ms. Fraser. I want to see more with this Temporal Protocol, and given how Ms. Fraser explains the breakdown of Sydney’s machine, I see no reason she can’t continue with the world. I do hope she does, preferably in a longer format! I’d love to read more about this world of 2013 where time travel exists.

Thank you for writing a decent book and hope to see more from you, Ms. Fraser!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tory’s Friday Ramblings (11/22/13)

Holy moly, next week’s Thanksgiving! How is this possible? The year’s just zipping by and I blame the Shrimpettes for that! They just keep me hopping and I don’t have time to sit back and sip the coffee. Oh, wait, yes I do. That’s why I get up at 4:30 in the morning – to drink coffee in peace.

On Work

Yeah, I so got in trouble this week at work. Totally at fault for it, but I got a virus on my computer from listening to Pandora (who knew?). Dragon Lady was … peeved. I’ve never had the Dragon Lady peeved at me before and I not only got a stern talking to, but when she sent the obligatory email around reminding people about the no-social-media policy, I got called out publicly for what I’d done. Yeesh.

So, naturally I wanted to stay out of Dragon Lady’s way yesterday, even to the point of asking my boss “How long should I stay out of sight/hopefully out of mind?” I’m sure Dragon Lady’s still cranky about the situation, but she was joking around a bit with me on the rare occasions she did catch sight of me. My computer’s with the IT guys, so I had to retreat to our firm’s back-up computer (for dumb-asses who have their computers in the shop for one reason or another). And apparently, Dragon Lady found it hilarious that I decided to stay in there during lunch – hey it has a door, I was able to keep the light off, don’t judge – and it got labeled the “Computer Punishment Room”. To the point where Dragon Lady actually put up a sign!

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Of course everyone was laughing their butts off about it. I personally referred to the room as a “time out” room. Hey, I don’t mind being in time out – no one bothers me in time out. Well, at home anyway. At work … I felt a bit on display as several people came by and were giggling over the whole note thing. It probably doesn’t help the whole virus issue thing considering that I’m the “technical liaison” for the IT staff (basically, I’m the first line of defense if someone has computer issues).

Is everyone done laughing at me now? Okay, I’m not done laughing because I found the note really funny and while Dragon Lady might still be annoyed (I cost her money – never a good thing), but she was wise-cracking with me, so I don’t feel like I need to hide under my desk when she walks by.

On Writing

I’m just about done with my few days of letting Carved marinate. I made it through several steps of the Snowflake Method, and got really excited about the story again. OMG – Reny actually has legitimate emotional issues and solid GMC! Tom too! Holy crap. I don’t know if I’ve ever had things so clearly fall in place like that before. I’ve also gotten much clearer about the plotline than I was during the first-draft/fast-draft chaos. So YAY!

On the Shrimp

I did the Cub Scout camp out with the Shrimp last weekend. Okay, I’ll be honest. We were there only for Saturday, didn’t stay overnight either night, but I was recovering from the Cold From Hell. And the boy had tons of fun running around with the other little cub scouts and I had fun too. Primarily sitting in the Sorento, reading on my phone or working on Carved. It was heaven because I had 8+ hours of this quiet and calm. No little girls running in and out, pulling on me, demanding to sit on my lap, nada. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I leap at the chance to take him camping.

Hubby and I are perfect for each other in so many ways, as the camp out proves. He despises camping so much that he would rather stay home, with the holy twin terrors (who keep pulling down the gate meant to keep them from going up the stairs), deal with their meltdowns because he says no, deal with them not wanting to nap, changing poopy diapers, and watching too many baby cartoons … than go and have an entire day (or in normal cases, two full nights and a full day) of pure peace, quiet, and tranquility.

And here are some pictures of the Shrimp at the camp out. He rode a horse and roasted his own hot dog over the fire!

2013-11-16 12.08.33 2013-11-16 17.19.55Have a Great Weekend Everyone!

Review: Operation Saving Daniel

Operating Saving Daniel

Author: Nina Croft
Publisher: Entangled/Covet
Date of Publication: November 25, 2013
Description:

DanielAt eighteen, Melissa seduced her best friend Julia’s brother only to run away shortly after. While Daniel was her fairytale prince, Lissa didn’t believe in happy ever afters.

Ten years and a near death experience later, Lissa is ready for a husband and family. But a cry for help from Julia puts that dream on hold. Daniel is acting weird and he’s about to marry his long term girlfriend—AKA The Evil One. Someone needs to save him.

Daniel has never stopped loving Lissa. Ten years ago when he gave her a little freedom, he always intended that one day they would be together. Right up until the moment he was bitten by a werewolf. Now, Daniel has to hide what he is. He won’t risk anyone else, especially the woman he loves.

But Lissa is back. Their attraction is stronger than ever and Lissa is nothing if not tenacious.

My Thoughts:

As promised – here’s another review of the awesomeness that is Nina Croft! I so want to grow up and be Nina Croft. She’s just plain awesome.

Lissa’s a great character, a complete package. She’s smart, she’s relatively tough, she’s strong-willed and never once, throughout the course of the book, does she have a “too stupid to live” moment. It could have all too easily ended up that way, but while she’s determined not to run away when Daniel tries to send her away as the dangerous mounts, she’s not incredibly idiotic about it and I appreciate a heroine like that.

Now for Daniel. Somehow, when reading the description of the book, I completely overlooked a single word: werewolf. I had absolutely no clue (I blanked out the fact that Covet’s contemporary with a paranormal twist line) that there would be any non-human critters roaming around until Daniel’s thinking about how he became a werewolf. Um, oops? It’s great that Daniel wasn’t born a werewolf, and in fact I suspect no one’s really born a werewolf any more, given the notion at the end that werewolves tend to miscarry because they have to change forms in the middle of the month.

He took what could have been a horrible situation, and he really wasn’t happy about it, and instead worked to better his situation rather than just letting life happen to him. The wolf pack is led by an evil wolf of a man who’s using Daniel’s loyalty and protectiveness toward his family against him to make him use his brain to find some sort of immunity to silver for werewolves. Daniel’s not so happy about that and has formed a plan to challenge the Alpha for leadership when he’s ready.

And then comes Lissa. He’s never gotten over her after she seduced him on his 20th birthday, though he’s long buried those feelings. She’s never totally gotten over him, and in fact had come back to finally get him out of her system once and for all. Of course life’s never that easy, and there’s the whole werewolf mess to deal with on top of their feelings issue.

I’ve never wanted a character to die as much as I wanted the villainess in this piece to die (the sister of the wolf who changed Daniel). She poses a huge threat to the two, both emotionally and physically.

Ultimately, I like the resolution that Ms. Croft brings her hero/heroine to, and think that all the characters got exactly what they deserved in the end. I hope to see other books in this same basic series. After all, there are some new werewolves that could use some mates!

Thanks again Ms. Croft and Entangled. I love these books!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Bittersweet Magic

Bittersweet Magic (A Novel of The Order)

Author: Nina Croft
Publisher: Entangled/Edge
Date of Publication: November 11, 2013
Description:

BittersweetRoz has been indebted to the demon Asmodai for five hundred years, and her freedom is just around the corner. All she has to do is complete one last task for him—obtain a key that had been hidden in a church centuries ago.

Piers, the Head of the Order and an ancient vampire, is intrigued by the woman who comes to him for help. She’s beautiful and seemingly kind, but she’s hiding something. And he’ll find out who she is and what she really wants once he uses his power to get inside her head. But Piers has no idea that Roz is immune to his mind-control…or that he is simply a pawn in her dangerous mission for freedom.

My Thoughts:

It’s official. I’m in love with the awesomeness that is Nina Croft. And, just as a head’s up, I’m going to be interviewing her sometime in the near future (she’s agreed to the interview, I just have to send her the questions), and there will be a review on another one of her books in a few days.

Now, as to the book itself, it’s the second in a series (sigh – when will I learn to pay attention to see if there are others ahead of the book I’m reading?), but it didn’t matter. I got the hang of the book, and I’m assuming that the first book dealt with Christian/Tara.

Roz dealt with some pretty crappy things before she got taken in by Asmodai. She had to watched her mother burned at the stake and was next in line, had Asmodai not pulled her out of there and made a deal with her. She’s got special abilities to find things, and her current (and theoretically last) mission for Asmodai is to find a mysterious Key that’s hidden at a convent. Unfortunately, someone else is after the Key and slaughters the nuns. She rescues the sole survivor of the massacre (who was left alive to carry a message) and escorts her to the one Sister Maria needs to deliver the message to, hero Piers.

Piers. Yum. Wowser. There are too many perfect words for such a lucious man. Alpha, yes. A**hat, no. Sex on a stick is he, and a vampire who wears leather pants to boot. Can I have him, Ms. Croft?

The sparks are very apparent from the very first second Roz & Piers meet, even though he thinks she’s a nun (yeah right – and she has the pink vibrator to prove she’s no innocent miss). There’s a lot of squabbling and hiding truths from one another. And of course sex. There’s explosive sex when they finally have it, though Ms. Croft draaaagggsssss the sexual tension out for so much of the book, I was about ready to pop when they finally did. Erm, maybe that’s too much information.

Anyway, fantabulous book, I want more of this Order series, and highly recommend it without any reservations at all. Please, get this book, support Ms. Croft so she never has an excuse not to write!

Thank you Entangled, NetGalley, and Ms. Nina Awesome-Sauce Croft!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tory’s Random Ramblings (#nano)

Hehe, sorry, couldn’t resist the chance to post mid-week. I’ll still have my normal Friday post, but for some reason I just feel like having a post on Wednesday too.

On Writing

I won NaNo! YAY! I’ll get my badge in a few days when I can verify my winningness.

I finished the very rough, very in need of rewriting/revising first draft of Carved in Stone Monday night. YAY! Just over 65,000 words, which is fine even though my ultimate goal for the finished product is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000. I’m currently re-reading it, something I didn’t allow myself to do while actually drafting it (per Fast Draft rules), and there’s some good, but a lot of drek that needs to be cleaned up/deleted/massively tweaked. I knew I was changing the characters’ goals, and motivations and, to some degree even their base personalities, but that’s what the first draft has become for me, a chance to get to know the characters while piecing together an actual structure for the book.

Now the real work begins. I’m going to take a few days to actually snowflake plot the book, and started the process yesterday. It’s weird, I know, to write the book and THEN use the Snowflake process, but I can’t snowflake if I don’t know the characters/basic plot because otherwise…I don’t know what the story’s about and just sitting there, trying to pre-plot just flat out doesn’t work for me. I am a pantser, through and through, even though for second drafts I’m trying to have a plot. My way doesn’t work for everyone, and I know that. I literally write a full second draft, not just revise/tweak the first draft. I sit down and retype the whole blasted thing. I think I’m definitely finding my way of writing a book.

Second best of all, I actually wrote two full books (one of which is revised/edited/being queried/submitted) in under 4 months. I achieved my goal of upping my writing speed and got two books in this year, and fully intend on getting more in next year. YAY! I’ve been so frustrated with only managing one book in a year. Thanks Candace Havens (I did it in part thanks to her Fast Draft class).

Absolutely best of all? I’ve got at least 1 other story-world in the formation stage while I’m working on my Hearts of Stone series, so the idea has time to marinate/grow over a few months until I’m ready to switch gears from my current set of ideas.

On Family

Heh, I finally got the Shrimp on video as he did the Dora dance last night. And of course I’m sharing it with you because he’s such a dweeb. Then again, it also has the girls doing the Dora dance. Hehe. None of them are doing it right, but it’s funny (for me) to watch. Check it out!

Conclusion

I’m in a good mood at the moment, which is awesome ’cause I was dumpy yesterday about some various things. But over all, life is decent!