Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Characters are people too

What am I reading now?  Broken (A.E. Rought)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Creepy. Macabre. Chilling. Sinister. Psychopathic retelling of Frankenstein for the contemporary YA market.

You interested? I was! (Oh, it's not out yet. Yes, I'm in ARC heaven, reading several right now. Put this title on your calendar for January 3rd.)

Beautiful writing and raw emotional description make this a great read. Titled by the theme, the idea of broken twists and turns with new revelations in each chapter. The characters are intriguing, mysterious. Emma's life was crushed by the death of her boyfriend and she is haunted by his memory. Alex enrolls in her high school a few months later and immediately they are drawn to each other. But they both battle ghosts.

The book is dark and tense. Emotions and fears take center stage most of the time, but there is just enough humor (thanks to Emma's quick wit and Josh's ignorance and to Bree, Emma's best friend) to pull you through to the next tragedy.

Creating Great Characters

 What do you think makes a character come to life?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Potholes in the Plot

What am I reading now?  The Essence (Kimberly Derting)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  (Ooh, I got an ARC for this book! *Happy dancing*)
          I had such high hopes for this book (could be part of the problem) since I loved LOVED the first in the series, so it was hard to keep reading when it started out so slowly. But when you are invested in the characters you can't leave them when they are having a dull day. However--The plot picked up and it was hard to put the book down--in fact, I don't think I did.
          I would have liked to see more of what was going on in the other character's lives, but I understand that the battle in this book was Charlie's.
Yes, I liked this book. Yes, I'll read the next one too. This one comes out January 1st!!

Charlie is the queen but the old queen lives within her. She tries to resist Sabara's voice, but it's more than she can bear. When she had to make life and death decisions, she wonders who's voice will be stronger.

Looking for Potholes!

I can give a lot of excuses for why I haven't been writing enough lately.
•I spent a week at a convention
•Prepared Thanksgiving dinner for 60 people (everyone brought something--wasn't so bad.)
•Dang busy at work (the day job)
•Planning a daughters wedding at the end of the month
•Got sick
The truth is, we have plot-holes (big, gaping, rim bending, probably pop a tire if it were a pothole) and need to figure out our next step.
          So here's what Deanna and I do to get a grip on it...Ever read Save the Cat (Blake Snyder)? He uses this method to plot out stories; we use it to locate holes after writing.
          We like the fun of discovery writing and "pants it" in the first draft, but sooner or later we all have to pay a toll at the story structure bridge, so we do it in the next draft.

We create a large chart of story structure and character arc for our main character's plot line, then we make similar columns for the subplots. Then we read through the first draft and fill in the scenes we have in the right slots.
Here's what it looks like before we start:

Sometimes we have to move scenes. Sometimes we've have to make a subplot into the main plot. Sometimes we have to toss scenes out completely. But always--ALWAYS--we have holes we have to fill.
Here's what it looks like after mapping it out:

By the end of revising we have to deal with all the scenes and notes, one by one, and pull them off the chart to pronounce it finished. Then we can send it out to Beta Readers.

And that my friends is the real reason why I haven't been writing as much as I should--I have to find the plot-holes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leviathan (Scott Westerfeld) Winner

And the winner is 

WAIT, there's more. 
I have 2 of them.
So the winner is also
Renae W.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Giving away a signed copy of Leviathan!

What am I reading now?  Leviathan (Scott Westerfeld)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Steampunk heaven for Middle Grade and YA! (and a few more than a few adults too)
This story is fast paced and the language is rich, making the reading experience one of those no-I'm-not-puting-this-down-to-eat-or-sleep books. Drop that kind of writing within WWI's intriguing historical background to create a page turning addiction.

What if...
•Darwin discovered DNA and learned to manipulate it?
•The murder of your parents started a global war?
•The boundaries between countries, and between allies and enemies were blurred?
•You could have your dream of being a soldier on an airship?
•Your secret could end in swinging from the gallows?
P.S. All three books in this series are out now--and a fourth book about the aeronautics of the world Westerfeld built in these stories.

Just because you love steampunk!
Just because you are here now!
Just because I have one. . . 
 signed copy of Leviathan to give away!

Leave a comment for me with your name, email address (in case you win) and either 1) a reason why you love steampunk too or 2) a suggested title for another steampunk to read, to be entered for the drawing for this book! (Sorry only shipping to USA)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Romance Happiness :)

What am I reading now?  3 Lovely Holiday Romances--Just in time to curl up with a stack of good books and a hot cup of cocoa, saying "Leave me alone--I'm at a really good part."

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  It is so fun to read some great romances and also get in the mood for the holiday season. Let's take them one at a time, shall we. . .

A Candlelight Courting (Joyce DiPastena)
This sweet medieval story (novella) is the moment Meg meets Burthred. They've been betrothed since she was born and he was 8 years old. Nearly two decades later, he meets her. Though he would have only her be his wife, she desires another life, one without him or any man. When her reasons are revealed, I loved her even more (and I think Burthred did too)!

A Cold Creek Noel (RaeAnne Thayne)
I didn't think I was the type for westerns of any kind--well, I was wrong--though not a true western, like with white and black hats and shoot-outs in a slot canyon somewhere. In fact this one starts in Ben's veterinary office. Caidy brings in one of her ranch dogs for emergency treatment. (This starts the country flavor to the setting.) She finds the new Vet completely rude (Caidy--advice to self--stop noticing how gorgeous he is and focus on the rude part.) This is a tender story of two people drawn together but each struggling with memories that make them wary of the attraction they feel. Sometimes there's just too much baggage to make something work, even when both Caidy and Ben want it to. But it's a small town; there's really no way to avoid each other. Yay!

A Timeless Romance Anthology, Winter Collection (Sarah M. Eden et. al.)

Travel back to Medieval England, Victorian times, and turn of the century New York. There are 6 heart-touching short stories of falling in love during the holidays. Normally I don't rate anthologies (because some of the stories are fabulous and some are usually horrid), but I'm breaking that rule today.
This anthology gets 5 stars.
There isn't a lemon in the whole bunch and I was so disappointed that there were no more stories to begin when I turned the last page. My only disappointment is that I purchased this as an ebook and now that I love it, I'm going to have to purchase the paper one and stalk author events to get it signed!

The last holiday read isn't a romance, but a tender family story instead:
Unexpected Angel (Janet K. Halling) 
Ella Davies hates Christmas. Every year she spends the holidays working, trying to forget the pain of a childhood tragedy that left her all alone. But this season, Ella's about to learn something only an angel could teach her. This modern twist on a Christmas classic will remind you that the best gifts of all are the loved ones you learn to treasure!

I usually give Writing Tips at the bottom of my blog each week--so here it is for this week. Stop writing and read, read, read. Then go back to reading and writing. Great advice, huh?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Author Interview: Cindy Hogan

My First Ever Author Interview on my Blog! 
Cindy M. Hogan is the author of the Watched Series.

Welcome, Cindy!
What is quirky about your writing style or habits? 
Oh, crud, here it comes. I can't seem to write without eating or drinking something at the same time. Case in point? I'm drinking hot chocolate right now. I just finished some Chinese. I'll probably hit the popcorn next. #terrible habits

Which of your characters have characteristics most like you? How? 
Maybe, Rick. He's so open and optimistic. I have a hard time seeing potential problems through my rose-colored glasses and when they happen, I'm all bent out of shape. I might still look like sunshine, but inside, I'm fuming-at myself, of course.

What suggestions can you make to help me become a better writer?
1. Go to writers' conferences
2. Get a reliable and fun critique group
3. Read some how to books like Save the Cat by Blake Snyder  and Scene and Structure by Bickman and slowly incorporate what you learn

Tell us about your series.
In a simplistic nutshell, it is about a girl's discovery of her kick-butt self. Sprinkle in some hot guys throughout the series, of course. In a bit more detail...
It takes more than a school trip to Washington, DC to change Christy’s life. It takes murder.
A witness to the brutal slaying of a senator’s aide, Christy finds herself watched not only by the killers and the FBI, but also by two hot guys.
She discovers that if she can’t help the FBI, who want to protect her, it will cost her and her new friends their lives.


She has the guy. The terrorists have been taken care of and she has a shot at becoming popular.
Life is great!
Until they find her.
Now she must run and leave behind everything she knows, including herself.
With The Witness Protection Program failing to keep Christy safe, she is sent to Belgium to hide in a spy school. While there, test scores reveal her true abilities and the director wants her to become a spy. Once the terrorists back home are all caught, and the danger gone, she is forced to make the decision to either go home and live a normal teen life or use her gifts and become a spy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Style Brush Strokes 5 of 5: Action Verbs

What am I reading now? Whispers at Moonrise (C.C. Hunter)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Aren't love triangles annoying--I mean interesting--I mean infuriating--I mean engaging. You know what I mean, right? So you end up picking sides and half the readers are going to be mad in the end.
     I really tried not to choose between the boys for my reader-loyalty (you know, because it's just a book and all) but I did anyway.
     Grrrrrr. So here it is. . .
     I don't think Lucas wants Kylie because he wants her, but more because he's always wanted her and now it's a possessive thing and not soul-mate love. While Derek is the guy letting her find herself, not needing her to be something for him, and he's accepted a role that must hurt him a great deal (based on his own gifts and the frequency of Kylie and Derek making out--he feels it and that must really suck!)
     I am enjoying the stories of the side characters especially the love story between Holiday and Burnett. Both of them have interesting backstories (though we only know bits--and would love to know more! Prequel anyone?) The other characters are growing up nicely too; Della is more comfortable in her own undead skin; Perry is a much stronger person overall; Miranda--hum--I hope in the next book she gets to overcome her insecurities (and maybe her mother--yeah, that would be awesome).
     The END! Could there be anything more cliffy-hangy? Like a cliff on a cliff. Yes, I'll read the next one.
Style Brush Strokes Part 5 of 5
Image Grammar by Harry Noden

5•Action Verbs: replace “being” verbs such as: is, was, were, be
The grocery store was robbed by two armed men. Two armed men robbed the grocery store.
Practice: Compare the two revisions of the same paragraph. First, identify the “being” verbs in these sentence.
“Rockwell was a beautiful lake. Canada geese could be heard across the water bugling like tuneless trumpets. Near the shore, two children were hidden behind a massive maple tree. Watching quietly, they hoped to see the first gosling begin to hatch. Tiny giggles escaped their whispers of excitement.”
Practice: Identify the Action Verbs that replaced the “being” verbs.
“Rockwell Lake echoed with the sounds of Canada geese. Their honking bugled across the water like tuneless trumpets. Two children hid behind the massive maple tree. They silently watched, hoping to see* the first goslings hatch. Tiny giggles escaped their whispers of excitement.”

*the being-­‐verb is moved into the participle instead of attached to the verb/predicate

Apply: Rewrite a sentence from your current WIP by removing the “being” verb and replacing it with an action verb.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Style Brush Strokes 4 of 5: Adjectives out of order

What am I reading now? The Faerie Ring (Kiki Hamilton)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Tiki steals--anything, everything to keep her and her family (a group of orphans in Victorian England) alive. Coins mostly, food when she can, and one day a ring. A beautiful ring whose gem is burning with a fire beneath the delicate cut. Selling the ring means food, warmth, and live saving medicine. It means a way out of the streets and a home. But Tiki finds out that it also means danger, mystery, treason and death.
     Although this book is the opening act for a series, it has a satisfying ending and the story easily stands alone. (LOVE that!) The second book is already out and the third one is due in May.

Style Brush Strokes Part 4 of 5
Image Grammar by Harry Noden

4•Adjectives Shifted Out of Order: Avoid stacking 3 adjectives in a row before the noun they modify, move one or more out of order and offset with commas
The kind woman, old and wrinkled, smiled upon her newborn great grandson with pride.
“And then, suddenly, in the very dead of the night, there came a sound to my ears, clear, resonant, and unmistakable.” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Practice: Find the adjectives that are split apart from the noun they modify.
“The Pavilion was a simple city, long and rectangular.” (Caleb Carr—The Alienist)
Apply: Rewrite a sentence from your current WIP, inserting three adjectives that are split apart from an existing noun they modify.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Style Brush Strokes 3 of 5: Appositives

What am I reading now? Stealing Mercy (Kristy Tate)
Free on Amazon? YES!
Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Wow--I loved this book! (Yes, that's a recommendation to read it.) I approach free books with a heavy dose of skepticism and if the book is "free/indie" even more, but I was drawn in immediately--first chapter is a great set up.
( I am a teacher after all! ~ short answer and essay accepted)

What does a fireplace poker, pies & chocolates, a brothel, a ship and expensive jewels have in common? Oh, wait--I almost forgot the chinese throwing stars!
Okay. (I'll give you a minute to think . . . )

*buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz* Time's up!
The answer is 
Enjoy reading this story. Get it HERE.

Style Brush Strokes Part 3 of 5
Image Grammar by Harry Noden
3•Appositive: restates the noun directly after the noun in a new way that adds detail or expands meaning
The raccoon enjoys eating turtle eggs.
The raccoon, a midnight scavenger who roams lake shorelines in search of food, enjoys eating turtle eggs.
Practice: Identify the appositive(s)
“Plowing through the choppy gray waters, a phalanx of ships bore down on Hitler’s Europe: fast new attack transports, slow rust-­‐scarred freighters, small ocean liners, channel steamers, hospital ships, weather-­‐beaten tankers, and swarms of fussing tugs. Barrage balloons flew above the ships. Squadrons of fighter planes weaved below the clouds.
(Cornelius Ryan—June 6, 1944: The Longest Day)

Apply: Rewrite a sentence from your current WIP inserting an appositive to describe, rename or give more precise meaning to an existing noun.
*Of all the brush strokes so far, this one seemed 
the easiest one for me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Style Brush Strokes 2 of 5: Absolutes

What am I reading now?  Lost Prince (Julie Kagawa)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Another great kick-off book for an exciting series! The story connects to Kagawa's Iron Fey series. There are new characters and some interactions with the characters we love from the first four books (See my reviews of the first series here:
Iron King, Iron Daughter, Iron Queen
and Iron Knight)

Ethan Chase's life changed when his sister, Maegan, left the human world to become the Iron Queen. But really it changed way before that...when he was kidnapped and taken into the faery realm at age 4. Since then he has been able to see past the glamour that hides most non-humans from the notice of normal people. He wants nothing to do with that world. Nothing.

His choice changes when a girl from his high school (that he wouldn't dare fall for--yeah, right) is dragged into the nightmare that is his life. He might want to turn his back on all things Fey but he must save her.
Here are the first two lines: My name is Ethan Chase. And I doubt I'll live to see my eighteenth birthday.

Style Brush Strokes Part 2 of 5
by Harry Noden
2•Absolute: is a description using a two-­word combination of a noun + a participle (an ing-­verb or ed-­verb), an absolute zooms into a detail of the
whole picture, absolute phrases add to the meaning of the independent sentence they modify
The climber edged along the cliff.
The climber edged along the cliff, hands shaking, feet trembling. 
Practice: Find the the absolute(s)
“The mummy was moving. The mummy’s right arm was outstretched, the torn wrappings hanging from it, as the being stepped out of its gilded box! The scream froze in her throat. The thing was coming towards her—towards Henry, who stood with his back to it—moving with a weak shuffling gait, that arm outstretched before it, the dust rising from the rotting linen that covered it, a great smell of dust and decay filling the room. (Ann Rice—The Mummy)
Apply: Identify a basic sentence in your WIP where you can use an absolute and rewrite the sentence.
This series of posts are just a VERY SMALL sampling 
of the types of writing exercises in Noden's book.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Style Brush Strokes 1 of 5: Participles

What am I reading now?  The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Al the women in Blue's family are psychics--except Blue. SHe wants to experience magic the way they do; to see the future, to interpret the past, to talk with the dead, but she can't. Until she sits at the ruins of an old church on St. Mark's Eve as the soon-to-be dead parade past and one of them talks to her--only to her. Then she finds out that that spirit could talk to her for one of two reasons, and both reasons are bad--very, very bad.
      Just a little on the dark and creepy side of magic stories with the secrets all the characters have.

Style Brush Strokes Part 1 of 5
Image Grammar by Harry Noden

1•Participle: description that is supplied by ing-­verbs or ed-­verbs (they are not the verb/predicate of the sentence; a participle is a verb used as an adjective) tagged on to the beginning or ending of sentences.

Basic sentence: The diamond-­‐scaled snakes attacked their prey.”
Participle at the beginning: “Hissing, slithering and coiling, the diamond-­‐ scaled snakes attacked their prey.”

Practice: Find the basic sentence and the participle phrase(s)
“Shifting the weight of the line to his left shoulder and kneeling carefully, he washed his hand in the ocean and held it there, submerged, for more than a minute, watching the blood trail away and the steady movement of the water against his hand as the boat moved.” (Hemingway—Old Man and the Sea)

Apply: Choose a basic sentence from your current WIP. Change it by adding a participle/participle phrase to the beginning or ending of that sentence. Post the new sentence in the chat.

*All of the brush strokes presented in this series should be used with judicious thought before hand and not to excess. :)
Come back next week for the second brush stroke.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall into Fantasy Giveaway Hop !

What am I reading now? Timber Wolves Trilogy (Tammy Blackwell)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Love a good paranormal fantasy book with a strong Alpha or two! Or three? Scout Donovan doesn't believe in myths, magic or fate--until they all gang up on her together.

There is a great romance behind this action-induced story of family and friendship. At first I was like--yeah, I know who the true love is going to be. Then I was like--What? It's him?

Thanks for visiting today; I have a TriCk oR trEaT special.

On this blog, you can win a $20 Amazon (US) gift card to use toward the purchase of your next favorite fantasy book!

To enter, all you need to do is:

1. Become a follower of my blog. (click on the blue "Join this Site" button and follow directions. You must appear in the blog followers to be eligible in the drawing. The button is in the right side-bar, about half-way down.)

2. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what makes a book one of your favorites. If your e-mail address isn't visible through your Blogger profile, please also leave it with the comment so I can notify you if you win. You can enter from now until midnight Mountain Time on October 21, 2012.

That's it! You are now entered. Now please go visit all my friends on their blogs to sign up for more give aways in the FalL iNto FanTaSY hoP . Check out the Blog Hop list at the top of my right-hand sidebar to see a list of participating blogs. (Which has disappeared now that the blog hop is over.) Just click on each link, check out the prize, and follow the easy instructions to enter. You can enter on each blog, so it's possible to win multiple times. It's frighteningly easy.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

AND the Winner is: EBAKER!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cover Love

What am I reading now? Everneath (Brodi Ashton)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? This is a very emotional, wrenching retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth. Oh but if you know that story, you will still be surprised by the twist the author took for this one.

For Nikki Beckett life can't get worse than her mother's death in a car accident--um except it does, when she is lured into the Everneath (think Hades kinda sorta) for a hundred years. Everything she knew, and everything she thought she was changes. She wonders if she can have a life back, can she love again, and can she say good bye this time?

And the cover--AMAZING!

Here are a few more book covers I love:

Maybe it's the dress, but I love the castle in the background and the flowers and vines drawn around the bottom and edges.

Or it could be the movement inherent in the image. There is a feeling of torture and loss in this photo.

Maybe the intriguing part of this cover are the questions that it initiates. Who is he? What is he holding?? Where is he standing??? Why is he dressed that way (niiiice but why)????

Sometimes the cover hints at an impossible situation.

Or a trap.

And sometimes it's just the kiss . . .

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recipe--Pan Gravy

What am I reading now?  Accidentally Amish (Olivia Newport)

Annd . . . what do I think so far?  Annie Friesen has it all; young, beautiful, a great education, and her technology business is wildly successful. She also has a business partner who is attempting to claim her intellectual property and a kiss-and-steal ex-boyfriend and her business's lawyer who has been manipulating her for--how long? That's the question, isn't it? So as I said, she has it all, but now she has to fight to keep it. And hide a bit too.

     When she exiles herself to a small rural town in the mountains of Colorado, she finds herself questioning her own desires and values. Watching the lives of local Amish community members (particularly Rufus Beiler that makes her heart race) prods her to reexamine her future. She makes the only choice she can--she has to be true to herself.

     When I first started reading this book, I thought it might fit into the New Adult age group. That's a little out of the age range I usually go for on this blog; but I thought perhaps juniors and seniors would like to read it. I try to stick with the Young Adult category, books of interest in the 13-18 year-old group--junior high and high school students.

     Now that I've finished it, I don't think it's New Adult. It seems more adult Christian romance. Although the characters technically fit the age range for New Adult, the focus on family history ages it up for me. That said, I did enjoy the book.

Random Recipe Post
My Geneology--In a Foodie Way

My grandmother made a simple pan gravy that is a family favorite for us.

Fry pork chops in a little oil. Leave all the bits of drippings on the pan when you remove the chops.

Stir in heavy whipping cream and deglaze the pan. The cream takes on a light copper color. Yes, boiling the milk causes a skin to form as the gravy cools, so serve it hot.

We break chunks of French bread and dip it directly into the pan on the table.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Footprints in the Snow"

What am I reading now?  Stolen Away (Alyxandra Harvey)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Funny thing that you can be a faerie princess and the faerie king wants to kill you and your protector is a bird (well a hot guy that shape shifts into a bird) and your mom and aunt have been lying to you forever so when this all starts happening it's too hard to believe even though your best friend believes you and oh, don't forget there's another hot guy (the evil king's son) who defies his father to help you--

See this sounds like other stories (I've) you've read, but it's also unique in the telling. I enjoyed the perspective of the two friends and the interaction between the sisters. I liked that the adults know something the kids don't (seemed real to me). I also thought about how kids get so much of their own identity from the way the adults in their lives (read parents here) treat them. So much of this book, although shrouded in paranormal, felt real.

Yes, this is a good read. It's a stand alone, so no cliffhanger that you have to wait a year to resolve. There were satisfying relationships and action.

I picked this book up because of the author's name. I love her Drake Chronicles (see my review of those HERE) and I'm adding this title to the list of books I'd recommend to my paranormal loving friends.

Footprints In the Snow
I want to make my novels more interesting. I want my readers to love my characters as much as I do, to want to know what happens next, to have hope for their futures and to fell loss when they struggle. So how does an author invite a reader into the head and heart of a character?


That's right, good old fashioned, "grandma's in the kitchen telling scathing stories" of revenge, foolishness, poor choices, anger, ignorance. She laughing with her sisters and neighbors about people they know and don't know, telling unflattering stories at everyone's expense. They are the kind of stories though that makes anyone they talk about feel more human to you. Of course there's a healthy bit of judgment and humor that goes with the tellings as well. You don't want to miss one of those parties or leave the room at an inopportune time or you'll be the next topic of discussion. And we all got a file that we don't want to have opened in the public that is grandma's kitchen.

Just like those hen sessions (Grandpa's name for afternoon tea time), authors give the background to the pivotal moments that are etched on the character's--well character--and changed them to be the people they are today.

My goal for this week is to search my characters' histories and draw out the moments that shaped them into the people they are who make the choice they do in the story they have to tell.

Thought for the Day:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tension Times Two

What am I reading now?  Dearly, Beloved (Lia Habel)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  You know I loved the first book in this series! (And if you didn't know that you can read my review HERE.) This one is harder to define than the first. The story is growing and new characters are getting the spotlight. I like them and am looking forward to see how they all connect and interact in the coming books.
In the first book the zombies (those infected with the Laz) were obscure, hidden. Now that they are in the public -- and there are thousands -- public opinion is swaying toward persecution of the dead and the families of the dead.
Okay, granted some of the zombies want to eat anything and everything, but many don't and they want to be left alone to live their lives--deaths--existences.
Full on war is a reality and in the not too distant future.

This one is hard for me to rate.
     5 STARS for The Zombie Apocalypse
     4 STARS for Getting to know the new characters and setting up the continuing plot
     3 STARS for the romantic subplot, it kinda got left behind as the chapters flipped around as the multiple points of view being introduced.
OVERALL 4 STARS! I'll definitely continue to read this series.

Tension Times Two
Here’s another level of tension to look at—between two characters.

•Tension created by conflicting character goals

Inward thoughts are opposite of the outward actions and words toward another character

•The outcome is unknown because the characters are equally passionate about their position

•The interaction changes one of their lives

•Leave the scene with the definite feeling that it’s not over when it’s over