30 December, 2015

Today's #WIPWednesday Report

So, today is #WIPWednesday, and even though I've not been all that attentive to my writing of late, I still thought it would be a nice idea to update here with my turtle-paced progress.

Where Things Stand

Inigo and Linley have met, clashed a few times, and then separated on a bad note. She flees her up-north retreat and returns to her downtown apartment in Detroit a twice-bitten woman, again reminding herself about men in general and that it is best to stick with what she knows -- what she's best at -- and not to tempt fate anymore.

Upon her return, she learns via a phone message that her stepsister has been arrested on drug trafficking charges and is currently in the Wayne County Jail with bond set high enough that only someone of Linley's means would be capable of handling -- which is what the phone call is about -- her estranged stepmother asking for that cash.


In the rough draft, I didn't go into any flash-back details about her awful childhood spent with a wicked stepmother and an even more nasty stepsister, which is why I became stuck with the progress of the story. It occurred to me that a worn-out Cinderella Aspect was being implemented without my knowledge or consent.

So, I'm worried.

Do I continue on with this premise and hope that the readers will forgive me? Or, do I scrap the idea and try coming up with a new and inventive way to have our Miss DSO Flutist encounter some form of angst to make the story more exciting?

My Vision

See, the plot I had in mind (before realizing it sounded too Cinderella-esque) was for Linley to break down after thinking about that horrible past, and then getting really angry at having been manipulated and treated so badly during those innocent years, to deciding that her stepsister can rot behind bars for all she cares.

Thinking that she's capable of moving on and not worrying about it anymore, she discovers that there are news reporters surrounding her apartment building, anxious to get the classy lady's take on her sister's plight. She's stuck inside the apartment with her unwanted memories and too much wine.

This is when I have Inigo arrive to innocently save the damsel in distress.

He manages to sneak Linley out of the apartment, and she's willing to leave with him since she'd initially gone up north to think long and hard about her decision to quit the DSO and join another symphony in Europe.

Her internal goal has always been to distance herself from her stepmother and stepsister, so leaving Detroit and America were too tempting not to pass up.

Now it seems like the right thing to do and the best decision she's ever made.

So, she gets into Inigo's rented SUV and stares blankly out the window; not really knowing why she's with him after what occurred at the hotel up north, where they are headed -- together, or what Inigo's intentions might be.

They return to the house up north, where Iliya is waiting anxiously to see Linley in the flesh so that when their little sister phones again for a status update, he can honestly say that her friend is fine, safe, and not affected by the shocking news about the big drug-ring bust being shown on every news channel across the nation and around the globe.

While she's on this suspended leave up north, word reaches her about an indictment against her when the State Police show up to cart her back down to Detroit. Her sister has implicated her in the drug ring in retaliation for Linley's not having posted bail.

Linley is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Now she knows for certain that her career with any orchestra is destroyed and her life's work is over. She has nowhere to go, no one to turn to for comfort, and no way of thinking clearly in order to save her own hide from 20+ years behind bars for a crime she didn't commit.

And that, my dear friends, is as far as I've come in my current WIP.

A Rough Draft Snippet

Upon leaving the bathroom after her shower, Linley was instantly saddened to discover that Inigo had, in fact, left the apartment. Had he said goodbye at the door and she hadn’t heard him? Doubt made her shake her head and pout on her way to the bedroom. More tears surfaced to make her sniffle, and although Inigo’s hang-over remedy had worked to clear her head a little, stifling the urge to bawl like a baby made Linley’s head feel more stuffy than before.

After plunking down in front of a vanity mirror to apply some mascara, Linley ripped a sticky note from the mirror and set it aside to concentrate on her make-up routine. Seconds later, though, she paused applying a foundation to frown at the yellow note. Had she, maybe, written down the stupid things she had said and done last night to remind herself never to get drunk again?

Reaching for the sticky note, Linley frowned at the unfamiliar and somewhat chicken-scratch message.

“I’ll be waiting in the lobby, so don’t fear having to work your way through the gauntlet of reporters that are camped out downstairs. I.”

Linley smiled before she let a wellspring of much-needed excitement bubble to the surface. So, Inigo hadn’t left her after all. He was waiting for her in the lobby and would make a terrific bodyguard and shield to hide her face from so many gawkers, reporters, and cameras.

"My hero," she gushed.

After applying some lipstick, she stopped to stare at herself in the mirror and pouted. Where, exactly, was she supposed to go? And, why was he planning to do anything with her when it wasn’t necessary for him to get involved? She feared her stepmother more than she did the reporters and didn’t want to run into the old bat under any circumstances.

Sad and angry, Linley turned aside to avoid having to look at herself anymore. Even a second’s pause brought back memories she worked so hard and for so long to ignore.

As much as she wanted to believe that hating both the stepmother and the stepsister wasn’t as cruel and heartless as it sounded, Linley still felt heartless at the thought of walking away for good. And, reminding herself of the many well-adjusted people who had done just that wasn’t working to give her some much-needed reassurance, either.

“It isn’t my fault that Heather got busted,” she whispered on her way to the closet. “And, it isn’t my responsibility to pay her bail and finance her trial, either.” Which, Linley knew, was the only reason why her stepmother would try and contact her now. The only time that woman ever got in touch with her was to ask for something. Money, mostly. Heather had been getting into trouble with the law for years now, and Linley still didn’t care about the reasons why. If Heather wanted to take drugs and do illegal things, that was her business.

“Gawd,” she breathed and set a purple, short-sleeve mini dress atop her bed. “It’s such a good thing that I retired when I did, or this would have forced me out on ugly terms.”

Linley slid the dress over her towel-clad head and started to pull it down when another thought hit her and she stopped moving. “I wonder if this will affect my chances at joining the London Symphony now?”

Linley pulled the dress down over her behind and hurried back to the vanity to fix her hair by sliding her fingers through the damp curls and letting it air dry the way she tended to do in summer. She thought some more about her dwindling chance at being hired to play for the London orchestra but also reminded herself that she had left the DSO because her interest in remaining as an orchestra member had begun to wilt.

She took one, last look around the rooms of the apartment that she would probably never enter again and sighed aloud, letting the tears build on her exit. Inside the elevator, she realized that it was like ending another chapter in the book of life before embarking on another one. It gave her a bit of a thrill to know that there was no plotted course for her to follow this time and that she was letting the chips fall where they may for the very first time.

"Maybe my life will actually become a bit more sweet," she quietly mused, smiling at the descending golden numbers above the steel doors. "Or, maybe I can actually get to write it the way I want it to be read this time and not have to live it the way that someone else expects for it to go."

A winsome sigh escaped as the doors rolled open, and with an orchestrated din of shouting, camera clicks, and shuffling feet against the highly polished parquet flooring behind him, Inigo stood before Linley and beamed a teasing smile at her, using his big body to block her view -- and those anxious to see her -- just as she had imagined he would do.

My handsome, strapping male of a hero.


Chapters: 14
Word Count: 38,630
Writer's Block: high
Mood: upward battle

29 December, 2015

Kathryn Shay's Begin Again #BookReview

Pages: 166
Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Ocean View Books (April 15, 2015)
Published: April 15, 2015
Goodreads Link: Author
Series: The Ludzecky Sisters, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Sexual Content: 3-5


BEGIN AGAIN tells the story of Paulina Ludzecky who, since her husband died three years ago, runs a contracting business with her twin, Antonia. She’s ready to dip her toes in romance when she meets Adam Armstrong, the architect on the new music hall her company is building. 
For Adam, opposites attract and he’s drawn to this no-nonsense, down-to-earth girl next door. She’s equally interested in him though he’s too different from her to settle down with. But alpha male Adam has other plans for Paulina and isn’t about to let her go, even when Paulina has trouble with committing to him. Sex, yes! Love, no! This second chance at love story will tug at your heartstrings. 


This was a free (not just Unlimited) copy which took me three nights to finish reading, and the Amazon blurb (above) says it all.

It started out fine, but as I continued to read, issues kept cropping up to help make my interest wane.

The author did manage to make her male lead seem sexually enticing, but neither lead read well enough or was fully developed to the point where I felt comfortable with them, could picture them fully in my head, or to where I hoped for the best for each of them.

Yes, this is a 'family-oriented' series of stories, but this still felt crowded to me anyway. Too many aside characters that, again, weren't completely developed to the point where I understood them and their reasons for being in the picture; who they are as humans and how they tick.

It isn't necessary to read about the oldest brother's or any of the other sister's stories to be able to follow in this series, but gathering from posted reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, one gets the feeling that Luke's story set the bar, and you'll either love the rest or be extremely disappointed.

For me, the real issue boiled down to emotional impact and its overall lacking throughout the story.

There were no climaxes (outside of their steamy, fast-track romance), and any time that a possible antagonist made an appearance, they were quickly erased so that the story could move forward.

As for the emotional aspect of her having lost her husband and brother-in-law three years earlier, it is an entirely personal experience and one that affects everyone differently. Her twin sister is stuck in that past while Paulina is secretly wishing to move on, but it is her twin who tries holding Paulina back, and while we are supposed to believe that Paulina is a self-made woman with balls, she continues to allow her twin to hold her back, which is out of character in my mind.

The whole premise was Paulina's refusal to believe that she could fit in Adam's wealthy, country club world, or that he could tolerate her humble background.

That was about it.

The sexual encounters were more thought than action, although the author did use the anticipated mechanics to describe each scene. They were all over in a flash, and sometimes we heard about the feelings afterwards, but not all the time.

And, speaking of mechanics . . .

While this story was well written in the technical sense, with there being only a few type-o's throughout (illuded for eluded), the odd word choices and slang were annoying.

Remember my post about repetition?

The word wend  was used every time to describe their walk  through a garden behind the music hall being built.

She also used table this  twice, and I'm still not entirely certain about her intended meaning. I first thought cards on the table, but that would mean lay it out or set it straight or get it out in the open when the author clearly meant the opposite, so I'm still confused.

There were also a few Public Service Announcement passages that irked me, but I understand that most readers appreciate being reminded of the fact that while they are reading fiction-fantasy, that they need to be aware that reality has it's place in those types of instances.


Anyway, it all started with Promises to Keep, which introduces us to the oldest Ludzecky, Luke.

If you like sisters in love stories, New York City romances, and family saga romances, try the rest of the books in The Ludzecky Sisters series: PRIMARY COLORS, RISKY BUSINESS, THE WAY WE WERE, HANDLE WITH CARE and LOVE STORY.

22 December, 2015

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride (Scandalous Seasons Book 1) #Review

Pages: 311
Publisher: Christi Caldwell
Pub. Date: December 29, 2013
Series: Scandalous Seasons Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Sexual Content: 4 - 5


Hopeless romantic, Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh, is tired of sitting with the wallflowers, waiting for her betrothed to come to his senses and marry her. When Emmaline reads one too many reports of his scandalous liaisons in the gossip rags, she takes matters into her own hands.
War-torn veteran, Lord Drake, devotes himself to forgetting his days on the Peninsula through an endless round of meaningless associations. He no longer wants to feel anything, but Lady Emmaline is making it hard to maintain a state of numbness. With her zest for life, she awakens his passion and desire for love.
The one woman Drake has spent the better part of his life avoiding is now the only woman he needs, but he is no longer a man worthy of his Emmaline. It is up to her to show him the healing power of love.


The story is about two children who are betrothed by their fathers, and while she is only 5 at the time, he is 13 and really pissed off about the decision. Lord Drake has always resented his father's high-handed sensibilities and warred against them much of his life. This equated to his warring against the innocent girl he is betrothed to against his will.

Three years after his return from the war, the story begins with the two bumping into one another on a London street. They recognize each other but are not on friendly terms, yet there is something about her that intrigues Lord Drake regardless of his staunch efforts to deny himself any part of her.

She decides it is time to make Lord Drake honor the wishes of their fathers and sets out to entice him in as subtle a way as she can devise and ends up gaining the help of Drake's closest friend (Sin) to get that job done.

In all honesty, and despite my 3-5 stars, I enjoyed this story and the two leads as much as I became more interested in the aside characters: namely Lady Emmaline's brother, and Lord Drake's best bud, Sinclair.

I think that each of the characters were well thought out and came across as believable folk, and the story line, while somewhat abused, still managed to pique my interest for the duration.

However, the 3 out of 5 stars is because while it was a good story with interesting characters, there were numerous GPS (grammar/punctuation/spelling) issues that worked to slow my progress and sometimes pull me out of the story due to confusion or frustration (or sometimes both).

It took me days (or, should I say nights?) to finish due to the surprising amount of grammar and especially punctuation issues that abounded throughout.

It seemed as if our author wasn't quite sure how to use a comma, and so she just winged it and put them wherever -- whenever.

It always surprises me to read Best Selling Author and then find such issues in their work. Again, my idea of Best Seller equates to flawless, enthralling work told in a way that effortlessly takes me to another place/time and locks me in, keeps me spellbound, and is, therefore, a true page turner.

This was, by far, none of those things and yet I enjoyed the story.

Spelling issues ran along the homonym line (fair for fare, etc.), and bad word choices that took the reader out of Historical mode and into 21st Century in a heartbeat. Also instances where the author wasn't thinking clearly, and it showed. One cannot kick down a 'doorway' -- it just isn't physically possible to kick down an open space.

The author might not have paid too much attention to those details, but there were also issues with time/place. H had pulled h to her feet, but then h rises to her feet in the next instance.

This was a free-for-awhile purchase, and I gave it a 4 at Amazon. Some of the reviews coincide with mine: they liked it, but . . .

I especially adored Emmaline and her silly, seemingly naive ways and the simple yet endearing fact that nearly every chapter opened with a brief missive from her to Lord Drake -- words that she wrote while he was at war and that she never had any intention of sending.

I thought it was cute and helped me to like her all the more.

There are numerous sex scenes that start out shockingly bold (and hardly believable for that time period -- a fingering in broad daylight in a public park, for instance) yet are still tame to some extent, so I rated that area a 4 out of 5 due to the graphic nature and frequency of those scenes.

I look forward to reading the other stories in this series, but I do hope that the editing issues are taken care of and I am not forced to have to try and read through an entire second draft again. (It appears as if this one was published in draft and not final mode).

If you are willing to overlook the edit issues, I think you might enjoy reading Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride.

20 December, 2015

S.A.D. News Sunday

It's been awhile since I last posted anything, and I feel bad about that (even if no one reads my posts), but I also feel sad, and for other reasons besides not blogging much of late.

I've never been one to self-diagnose an illness, but there were plenty of times when I'd suggested to others that they maybe look into a reason why they either behaved or felt the way they did.

As for myself, I take it all as it comes and most-often hope or will away whatever it is that ails me.

I've also known for a few decades now that it is entirely likely that I am a depressed person, or that I suffer from some form/type of depression.

Back in the 00's, and for a very brief time, I started taking Cortaslim tablets thinking that I might lose some weight that way, and while it did help me to shed a few pounds, what it actually did was enhance my mood.

In fact, it worked so well that I can remember telling myself that I had probably never, ever felt so good in my entire life.

Then, for marketing reasons, the little blue pill disappeared from CVS and 7-11 shelves, never to return.


And, as far as self-diagnosing goes, I looked up the symptoms of S.A.D. (seasonal affected disorder) and here are my findings.

Mayo Clinic report on the symptoms of Seasonal Affected Disorder.

Major depression

Seasonal affective disorder is a subtype of major depression that comes and goes based on seasons. So symptoms of major depression may be part of SAD, such as:
*Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
*Feeling hopeless or worthless
*Having low energy
*Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
*Having problems with sleeping
*Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
*Feeling sluggish or agitated
Having difficulty concentrating
*Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Fall and winter SAD

Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:
*Tiredness or low energy
Problems getting along with other people
*Hypersensitivity to rejection
*Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
*Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
*Weight gain

The starred items relate to my current mood/symptoms.

There is also frequent crying, an actual view of dark, dismal overshadowing of eyesight, and the inability to shake it off and move forward.

When I feel like crying, I usually yawn a few times, shake my head a few times, or get up and walk around in order to shake it off and get over that urge, but lately I've just let the tears flow.

Mostly, I crawl back into bed and try to read or end up falling into a restless nap/sleep pattern.

Suicidal thoughts are frequent as well. Not that I believe I'd ever go so far as to act on them, but that they are even inside my head gives me reason to worry (this time).

In years past, I never connected this situation to the seasons, which is why the MAJOR DEPRESSION symptoms are there as well -- which are likely just compounded around this time of the year, I think.

It is also the start of Christmas week, 2015, and from past experience, it just means that my current bout with depression will only get worse -- until I am unable to get out of bed and function like a so-called normal person would do.

This is a time for joy, togetherness, and fun, which excludes me for various reasons and why I don't care for Christmas anymore.

Not wanting to rain on everyone's parade is a huge reason why I avoid social media this week.

Also, and this probably troubles me far more than a silly holiday can -- I haven't touched my WIP in over a week, which adds to my sadness, because while I continue to think about the story, its characters, and their adventure, I just don't have the strength, the will, or the right attitude to open Word and carry on.

What I'm most afraid of is somehow injecting my current frame of mind into that story, and so I use that as a partial excuse for not writing.

Also, it probably isn't a good idea to vent my frustration here on my blog when the blog isn't about medical issues, my personal problems, and health concerns but about my writing instead.

And, yet, I feel honor-bound to blog . . . at least SOMEthing and at least once a week.

I keep telling myself that tomorrow I will change. When tomorrow comes, I'll feel a bit better. Tomorrow I will definitely write at least one more chapter of my WIP.

The tomorrow's keep coming, though, and I am sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss.

Yet, a tiny voice somewhere deep inside keeps reminding me that this is my life and that I've overcome the symptoms before so, I'm probably going to be able to do it again.

Still wanting to write is a good sign, too, I think.

04 December, 2015

Lip Licking in this #AuthorLife

It's Friday.


It is my day of rest writing-wise yet has since become the best day to blog.

Still reading, of course.

Another free download (via BookBub) in the Contemporary Romance genre of the Western variety.

Directly after viewing the cover of said freebie, I swiped my Paperwhite and read the author's little note:

"If you find any errors, please e-mail me . . ."

And, I got scared.

I began to read her story, and I am finding errors, but I doubt they are of the variety for which she wishes an e-mail notification.

However! This has nothing to do with today's blog post.

What I'd like to touch on today are a few more of the creative words being tossed about in a storm-churned sea of the writing I've encountered for awhile now. Or, should I type a while now since it is preceded by a preposition?

Only “a while” (two separate words) can follow a prepositional phrase. 

For as long as I can remember, awhile was and always would be one word, but then suddenly I began to see it as two, to which I simply chalked up to another of those silly, modern College-type creations of the AP/IP variety and let it go at that.

For this blog post, however, I did a little research and discovered where the issue arose and why, now, all we see is a while and never awhile anymore.

As far back as 2010, there are article posts about this topic, and the issue is a new one on me.

Of course it does, and yet . . .

Let’s stay for awhile. WRONG
Let’s stay awhile. CORRECT

So, how can awhile mean anything if you aren't permitted to use the word after a preposition? This new 'law' makes no sense, and so I will not be separating the word for the sake of a prepositional phrase.


Moving right along.

Another interesting conundrum in the Romance Novel reading/writing scheme of things is this:

Lip Licking

It is becoming rampant in romance novels.

I even went so far as to people watch in this regard just to see if I was, perhaps, overlooking something extremely important and yet too subtle to really notice prior to its having been drawn to my attention.

Here are my findings:

If you're angry, annoyed, irritated during a conversation with one or more people, you MIGHT end up biting one side of your lower lip (to keep from lashing out at the offending party).

The lips are sometimes hidden (by a hand or by turning away from people) to stifle or hide a yawn, a sneeze, or a cough.

Even to hide a laugh/smile, but then the person doing the smiling/laughing isn't as likely to turn aside or even away from their friends/family members.

Bad habit would include (especially in our cold-clime areas) licking dry lips in cold weather.

Most often, though, the lip licker is in a restaurant environment where food is either deposited somewhere along said lips, or when delicious food is being presented to a starved patron and they are inhibiting drool.

I've seen people suck in both upper and lower lip (usually while bobbing in place and with their hands inside their coat pockets), and I've seen people bare their lower front teeth while pressing them against their upper lip (perhaps to stifle a yawn?).

A woman will 'pop' her lips after applying lipstick.

She will also use a finger to wipe, clean, or reapply chapstick, lipstick, balm, gloss (whatever) but rarely, if ever, by using her tongue.

I have not seen anyone -- male or female -- lick their lips in front of the opposite sex, and not even prior to a kiss.

Yet, it occurs in just about every romance novel I've read of late, and it confounds me as to why.

This must be another of those 'editor trope' things, eh?

So, let's be real about this, shall we?

Stand in front of a mirror and lick your lips. Then ask yourself one, simple question: how sexy is it?

If the answer is 'not', consider some other 'trope' to fill in the required word count, and if the answer is yes, might I suggest you attempt the practice in public, everywhere you go, and see if you either attract or repel people?

If this doesn't work to convince you how silly the act is, then ask yourself why you are licking them in the first place. What is the motive? The reason?

Stare at some hot guys in magazines or online or in person and count the number of times you've licked your lips.

If you are like me, the count should remain at zero, but then I am fully aware of my not being or thinking or even doing as all else tend to, so . . .

Today is another #PitMad event, which brought to mind my past attempts at getting noticed that way and having failed.

Without a finished, unpublished manuscript at my disposal to participate this time around, I don't feel so heavy about failing again, which is good for my flagging ego.

However, I was browsing the entrants on my Twitter feed and came across a promising post by an editor at a Publishing house who is looking for romance novel materials!

I have saved her email address and will, eventually, learn how to suck it up, get it done, and write a synopsis for both published novels and send them her way.

Who knows, right?


Lastly, and I don't know how much good it will do me to put this here, but I spent two days this week trying to find some way to get my two published novels read by 'BETA' readers.

I joined Ladies Who Critique and posted a request, but that was two days ago and have received zero replies.

I also did a Tweet with a request for a BETA reader for either novel and received zero replies.

Anymore, I feel like a tiny particle caught in a tempest of successful, popular, and noticed folk, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up. I just don't quite understand how everyone else manages to get what they want and I never do. It's obvious I'm not doing it right, and it is painfully obvious I'm never going to figure out what the secret is to success, either.

Onward, Ho!

02 December, 2015

Review: Bon Appetit (French Twist, Book 2) by Sandra Byrd

Pages: 304
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 16, 2008)
Language: English
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Bon-Appetit-French-Twist-Book/dp/1400073286
Series: French Twist Book 2
Genre: Christian Fiction/Food
Sexual Content: -5/5


Lexi Stuart is risking it all. Saying au revoir to the security of home, her job, and could-be boyfriend Dan, Lexi embarks on a culinary adventure in France to fulfill her life dream of becoming a pastry chef. 
As she settles into her new home in the village of Presque le Chateau to study and work in a local bakery, her twenty-something optimism meets resistance in the seemingly crusty nature of the people and culture around her. Determined to gain her footing, she finds a church, meets a new friend, and makes the acquaintance of a child named Celine–as well as Celine’s attractive, widowed father, Philippe. Even Patricia, the gruff pastry cook, shows a softer side as she mentors Lexi in the art of baking.
As Lexi lives her dream, the only thing she has to do is choose from the array in life’s patisserie display window: her familiar home, friends, and family in Seattle or her new life in France. Lexi discovers that as she leans more on God the choices become a little clearer– and making them, well, c’est la vie!


This is book 2 of a 3-part French Twist series, and while I was just a little confused about this Lexi woman and her reason for being in France (or even why the story was written) it still wasn't all that confusing as a first-read.

This is a well-written novel, I must say, and written in first-person, but I managed to force my way through to the very end due to both curiosity as to its outcome, and the goal of picking up helpful hints about writing clues and style.

The ending turned out to be a cliffhanger.

First, the lovely cover is very deceptive (sadly), as there is no male/female romance.


Yes, there were a few French cheek pecks here and there, even when her American 'friend' arrives for a visit, he kisses her the same way -- cheek/cheek.

This story is actually just a diary-entry compilation of Lexi's trip to Paris to work in a bakery and study the art of pastry making for a few months.

Nothing more; nothing less.

It is obvious that the author knows a thing or three about pastry and the work it entails, and that knowledge is evident throughout the novel.

I really wanted to quit reading this story, but I was of the mistaken opinion that this was a romance and that somewhere along the line things were going to change; the story was going to take off and start doing something.

It didn't though, and I'll need to read book 3 if I want to find out anything at all -- but, to be honest, after having read book 2, I highly doubt that anything romantic will occur in book 3 and that it will simply be more of the same first-person viewpoint/opinion on everything from brioche to the Bible.

Second, I should have been a bit more diligent when I chose to download this (free) novel and noticed underneath the rest of the 'info' or 'about' category of things that it said:

Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#2184 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Contemporary
#21680 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Religious & Inspirational
#22173 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Contemporary Women

The author is obviously a 'Christian' and there were too many references to it, the Bible, and church in this novel for my comfort level to tolerate.

Lexi loves God, of course, and apparently, He really loves her because He answers all of her prayers. And this, I'm afraid, is about all of the romance you're going to encounter in this novel.

We are led to believe that France has no soul and are a non-religious bunch who take their faith about as lightly as they do their driving.

Here are the latest statistics for that country with regard to Religion

The 2007 CIA World Factbook lists the religion of France as: Roman Catholic 83–88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%–10%, unaffiliated 4%. In 2002 the CIA World Factbook stated that 88–92% of the French population was Catholic.

This story was written in 2008, so the statistics are actually quite accurate and fair.

So, France is an extremely religious country: just not from a Protestant (Christian) viewpoint.

Third, my first-person narrative view hasn't changed after having read this novel. I actually don't know any more about Lexi than I do about any of the people she'd met and befriended along the way.

I don't know squat about the two 'men' she was supposedly growing interested in, either.

There was ALMOST some intrigue when foul play started to occur at the school, but while we figured it out almost immediately, Lexi figured it out much later and then 'poof' problem solved and no more intrigue in the sabotage category of things.

Again, it was well written and gave me better insight into the 'mind' of a person who would like to become a better chef p√Ętissier, but that is all.

IF you enjoy Christian non-Romance and are excited to learn more about the p√Ętissier side of France in first-person viewpoint, then this is definitely your novel!