Tag Archives: Accused

New Books to Read – YAY!

Today I have a fun post on creative breakthroughs over at Routines for Writers. You might enjoy it for yourself, or just to see how excited I got over a colorful business plan. LOL!

Speaking of creative breakthroughs, I wanted to share some new books by a few great friends of mine. My friend Mona Hodgson has been writing children’s books since before we met (she’s one of my first writer friends!) and has published over a dozen of them. But she wanted to write adult books, too. In 2010, her dream came true. Two Brides Too Many, the first book in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series, was released by WaterBrook MultnomahToo Rich for a Bride followed in 2011, and The Bride Wore Blue came out in May of this year. On October 2, the fourth and final book, Twice a Bride, will be released.

Today Mona is celebrating the release of her very first book trailer! You get to be among the first people to see it! The trailer is beautifully put together. You’ll want to visit these four sisters yourself. Celebrate with us by picking up a copy of Two Brides Too Many, or finish where you left off if you’ve already started the series. I think you’ll enjoy it. Congratulations, Mona, on your wonderful series and the beautiful book trailer! I can’t wait to see what your next series will be!

You can visit Mona at her web site www.monahodgson.com/ and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Author.Mona.

A few weeks ago, I started my friend Lauraine Snelling’s new Wild West Wind series. Valley of Dreams is book one, about a young woman who is a trick rider and sharpshooter (like Annie Oakley!) who has to start a new life when everything suddenly falls apart. Whispers in the Wind, book two, just came out a few weeks ago.

I also started her new contemporary book, Reunion. I’m only on chapter one, but I like it. Lots of family drama and family secrets.

You can check out the rest of Lauraine’s books on her web site www.laurainesnelling.net and chat with her on Facebook at Facebook.com/lauraine.snelling.

The other series I started and for which I have been eagerly awaiting the next installment is by my friend Janice Cantore. Janice is a former police officer and she writes great books with a female police officer as the lead character. Her newest series is the Pacific Coast Justice series. I read the first book, Accused, as soon as it was released in February. I wrote a review about it here. Abducted is book two and it just came out last month. Avenged is next in the series and will be released in April of 2013.

You can learn more about Janice and her books at her web site www.janicecantore.com and see what else is new at her Facebook page Facebook.com/JaniceCantore.

I hope you found some new books to read here. If you’ve already read some of them, which ones did you like best?

Book Review: Accused by Janice Cantore

Let me start by saying that I’m not a professional book reviewer. I’m not sure I could do it. I’ve read reviews over the years that are crushing! If I were writing in my private journal, I guess I could be ruthless. But what’s more likely to happen in a Kitty review is that I’ll be attacked by a mob of exclamation points!  🙂

Last week I read my friend (see, that’s where I’d put a disclaimer if I were a pro) Janice Cantore’s new book, Accused. I loved it! It’s about a Long Beach, California, police officer (Janice used to be one) who helps out in a homicide investigation only to be nearly killed a couple times by people trying to shush her. And some of the people involved may or may not be on the police force. Yikes!

Detective Carly Edwards, our heroine, owns a cool dog (points for that) and has a good-looking ex-husband who wants to win her back (points for that, too – come on, I write romances!). She also thinks her mom is very annoying when she talks about church and praying and stuff all the time.

Over the course of the book, Carly has to decide what to believe – about a lot of things. Is there a murder cover-up and could someone she know be involved? Has her ex-husband really changed his stripes? Is there really a God and what, if anything, is He willing to do for her?

I like Janice’s books because they’re fast-paced and full of action, yet the characters are fully developed so that you care what’s happening with each of them. Since she used to be a cop, everything seems real and believable. A couple times I wished she’d gotten us even more involved in the action, but I might be a bit of an adrenalin junkie when it comes to action in books, so you have to take that into consideration. 😛

If you read Christian fiction, I think you’ll find Accused to be just what you’re looking for. If you don’t, but you like police action books, the faith-talk isn’t too distracting, especially since Carly doesn’t even want to talk about it for over half the book. When she does start thinking about it and asking questions of her friends, it’s not too heavy-handed. There are a couple conversations that dig deep into the topic of faith and God, but that’s the kind of book this is and it goes along with all the pages that have come before. The conversations answer questions the reader has been wondering about for the whole book, just like the conversations about who did it and why answer questions the reader has wondered all along.

Overall, I give the book 4 stars out of 5. (Caveat: I don’t give many 5-star ratings, so keep that in mind.) I’m definitely going to read the next two books in the series, Abducted, coming out in August, and a third book next year.

Also, if you haven’t read her Brinna’s Heart series, you should try The Kevlar Heart and A Heart of Justice. I’ve read both of those, too, and rate them both 4 stars. (And they both have a dog, too!)

Still not sure? Go read the first chapter on Amazon for free. And if you buy Accused, the first chapter of Abducted is in the back for free. (D’oh! Didn’t realize that till I started typing this! Need to go read it when I’m done!)

More disclaimers:

Disclaimer 1: Tyndale House Publishers gave me a free early review copy of the book. In return for reviews, of course. They didn’t make me promise to be nice though.

Disclaimer 2: I’d already pre-ordered the book on Amazon as soon as it became available. I’m thinking I might offer a free giveaway of book 1 sometime when book 2 or 3 comes out. I’m cool like that.

Disclaimer 3: I’m good friends with Janice and I love her! And I love her dogs! I would probably find a way to promote her books even without free copies. But you’d know if I didn’t like it because I’d be saying things like, Good use of white space with the paragraph indentations, and Lots of pages for the price, and Cute male model on the cover. Note I didn’t say any of those things. (I can’t talk about the cute male model anyway in case John might be reading!)

Disclaimer 4: I’d totally forgotten that she asked my husband if she could use his name so it was a complete surprise when FBI agent John Bucholtz walked onto a page! I screamed and John came running to find out how I’d hurt myself. Then he gave a manly yell when he saw his name. I’d still love the book even if Janice hadn’t immortalized my awesome husband. (Already own the book? Go to page 362!)

Disclaimer 5: I’ve never used disclaimers in a list before. It’s fun.

My Silly Valentine

If we had kids, John would have a great story for an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” I’d bounced around from tiny country town to Ivy League university to the Marine Corps in less than two years. When we met in January 1988, I was marking time at the local community college, waiting desperately for the fall semester so I could return to my “real” school.

John was living off-campus with his twin brother, but he spent most of his time hanging out with his friends at West Hall. That just happened to be where I lived. When I asked him out on a date – I was a modern 80s woman – he grudgingly agreed. He was more interested in my bubbly roommate and Hot Rachel across the hall, but I was determined to gain his attention.

Our first date was a disaster. He was mad at me for something, then I got mad at him, and back and forth all night. By the time we ended up at his place where he introduced me to his pet rats, I decided the whole thing had been a terrible mistake. I wanted my kiss and then I’d leave.

See, when we were in college, it was sort of the “in” thing for girls to ask boys out if they really wanted to. Whoever did the asking paid for the date. And experience had taught us girls that boys assumed they should at least get a kiss after forking out the cash for a cheap dinner and a flick of their choice. So, having paid for those things that night, and having far less fun with Mr. Moody than I’d expected, I wanted the kiss I’d paid for and I’d be on my way. Goodbye and good luck.

The thing is, when I finally got that kiss – and it took a lot of work on my part to get him to give in – it was pretty darned good. Good enough to give the guy a second chance! 😉

A month later, smitten to the core by now, I waited to see what John would plan for Valentine’s Day. I was more than a little nervous because John’s twin brother had been telling him over and over, “Run far, and run fast!” We were 19 and 20, not old enough to buy a wine cooler, let alone a fancy bottle of wine. Neither of us had a car, there was no public transit in our town, and several feet of snow covered the ground. Where could we walk to besides the pizza place?

John invited me to have Valentine’s dinner with him at his place. He was in the hospitality program at school, so I figured I’d lucked out. I didn’t cook, so anything he made was bound to be delicious.

John was the perfect gentleman, taking my coat when I arrived and pushing me toward the heater to defrost. I’d only walked about a mile, but it was bitter cold out. When I thawed enough to glance at the table, I was speechless for a moment. Not a home-cooked dish in sight. But when I realized how John had prepared dinner, I began to smile. I don’t think a boy had ever gone to such trouble for me.

I think we had salisbury steak dinners and corn – courtesy of Swanson frozen dinners and the microwave. John took the food out of the cardboard containers and re-plated it on Corningware plates (the college student’s dinnerware of choice). He poured peach Faygo sodapop into glasses so it looked like champaign. Our paper napkins had fancy restaurant folds. Then he pulled out my chair.

I fell for him a little more.

We talked and ate and drank peach-flavored pop. For dessert, John went into the kitchen and made some noise. I heard the microwave ding and out he came with a steaming carton of microwaveable brownies. Yum! He cut the brownies and…the knife made a big globby mess. John muttered under his breath.

By then, I knew this guy was someone I wanted to make happy. “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “Let’s just eat it with spoons.”

John got the spoons, but he was still grumpy that the brownies hadn’t turned out right. What he didn’t know is that I love brownie and cookie batter! Before long, we were laughing and feeding each other spoonfuls of sort-of microwaved brownies. More Faygo was opened and consumed. One of us joked that we didn’t need alcohol to have a good time.

By the end of the night, I was more than smitten. I was irrevocably in love. I never returned to my old Ivy League school. John gave me a promise ring that summer and we’ve been following each other around ever since. The only thing that’s changed since then is that we’ve learned you can actually become MORE in love every year. 🙂

That’s why I like to write funny, romantic stories! What about you? Do you have a silly Valentine’s Day story? Tell me! I love to hear stories about people in love. 🙂

 

Books I’m reading this week: Accused by Janice Cantore (it’s awesome!)

Movies I’ve seen in the last week or two: Red Tails, really liked it; Her Minor Thing, not funny enough for a rom-com; Chronicle, weird but cool.

For Love or Money?

Some days I am so focused on work, I push myself to exhaustion. I had several of those days in the last week or so. In my own way, I’m having fun because I enjoy my job. But sometimes I’m not sure I’m making the right choices.

John’s job on Happy Feet 2 in Sydney, Australia, ended in October last year. We thought for sure he had another job lined up so we didn’t even think about packing. Then suddenly that job fell through and we had three weeks to leave the country (due to visa restrictions). Yikes! That would’ve been fine and dandy but I’d just self-published Little Miss Lovesick and I had a ton of work to do.

But I couldn’t do much of it because we had to move halfway around the world. Then we were living in our awesome friend’s guest room while we waited for John to find another job. Which took a while because it was Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then the first of January. Slowly but surely, companies started to look for people for new projects.

Yay!

But it wasn’t just me sitting around doing my writing thing in Doug’s computer room while John surfed the Net for job openings. John and I talked about what places to apply to, where didn’t we want to live, and I proofread his email applications. We drove 200+ miles roundtrip to Los Angeles several times for meetings, lunches, and seminars related to his work.

That was the stuff I don’t feel at all guilty about, time-consuming as it was.

Then there was the fact that John had time off for the first time in over two years. We were back in America for the first time in over two years. We surfed Doug’s satellite TV and found the TV shows we’d missed in Sydney. We went to the outlet mall and remembered what prices are like in the U.S. We stayed up late, slept in, ate way too much, started exercising again, and – when Doug wasn’t around – caught up on a little husband and wife time. <wink, wink>

If I’d been writing all the time that we’ve watched TV in the last two months, I’d have my short story finished and polished and submitted, and my next novel would be closing in on a second draft. These things really need to be done! Not to mention the vast amounts of work I need to do on my web site, my Facebook author page, and the fact that Little Miss Lovesick still isn’t in print!

That kills me!

The fact is, there will always be more work than time. And John will soon be back to work for 8-10 hours a day. He might even transition from 8-10 hours a day to 12-14 hours a day like happens in his business. And then I won’t see him much at all. I’ll have lots of extra time to do my own work.

So I wonder what’s more important, love or money? Quality family time or my career?

I suppose that’s a lie. I don’t wonder. My actions speak louder than words, don’t they? I’ve chosen time with John.  🙂  And I’m pretty darn sure I won’t regret it. But as soon as he gets a job and we find an apartment (another time-consuming but necessary project), I’ll be back to working my butt off on my career – and feeling guilty that I’m not making enough time for John.

Since I’ve now decided not to feel too guilty about the play time we’ve had, let me show you some cool pictures we took last week. Our friend Eric works at JPL on the Mars Science Laboratory Project editing the footage from the rovers on Mars! Mars, the planet!! Isn’t that the coolest thing? And he gave us a tour!! (Yes, more time that I could’ve been writing – but it was NASA, people!)

Here are some of the photos I took:

Me and John in front of a replica of "Curiosity" that's on its way to MARS!!

Ooo! Will we see a spacecraft being assembled?

Walking toward the Flight Projects Center - sounds exciting!

The actual command center! We could see data streaming in from several rovers and other space "stuff".

A moon rock!

Awesome Eric in the museum

If you’re going to play hooky from work, at least make sure you do something amazing! Thanks, Eric, for the awesome morning!

As a new fun feature, I decide to add the following to my blog every week. What are you reading? What have you seen lately?

Books I’m Reading This Week: The Miracle Girls, Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer, Accused

Movies I Saw Last Week: Joyful Noise, also the first 3 episodes of Alcatraz – I love Queen Latifah and JJ Abrams! And I just have to get the Joyful Noise soundtrack!