Seduction and Snacks Book Review

Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1) by Tara Sivec

This book was recommended to me by two of my friends last summer. I decided to check it out and was blown away by how funny it is. The book has its erotic moments that are well written, and the characters remind me of myself and my friends. The 4-year-old son of Claire and Carter, Gavin, has to be the funniest person in this book. The POV is first-person from Claire and Carter’s perspectives and the two of them crack me up. There were parts where I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face. (I may add some quotes at the end of the post because they are priceless.)

*There will also be a preview at the end of the post of Shame On You, the new book by Tara Sivec due to hit the shelves tomorrow, February 25, 2014.*

I’m going to try not to go all fangirl on this review, but I did enjoy the book very much. It’s one of my favorites and I’ve read it twice in around 6-7 months. Seriously, it’s that funny. There are three others (Futures and Frosting-from Claire and Carter’s POV, Troubles and Treats-from Jenny and Drew’s POV, and Hearts and Llamas-a short story which I haven’t read yet) in the series after this. They are hilarious in their own right, but the first is by far the best.

— Seductions and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1) Blurb —

Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough money to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he’s asleep) toddler a better life.

When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.

With Carter’s undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire’s panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

Warning: contains explicit sex, profanity and enough sarcasm to choke a horse.

The story is very character driven, with not a whole lot of action going on (not the kind that i’m used to anyway; fights, monsters, killers, cops, etc.) Despite that, what does happen in the book was enough to keep me interested. Claire gets pregnant after a one-night-stand in college, four years later Carter comes back into her life and we get to watch them discover each other again.

This book is filled with hilarious moments that kept me intrigued and wanting to see how it all ends. I’m not usually one that looks for the happily ever after type of ending, but this is a realistic happy ever after in my humble opinion. Why? Because it’s not exactly happily ever after, it’s more like happy until a problem turns us into neurotic head cases again. That is what I liked most about the book, after the erotic scenes and the humor.

Now let’s take a look at the characters: Claire, Carter, Gavin, Liz, Jim, Jenny, and Drew. All in their 20’s (except 4-year-old Gavin of course) and trying to live their dreams. Carter searches for five years for a girl that he had a one-night-stand with that smelled like chocolate. Claire wants to bake, Liz wants to sell sex toys, and Drew wants to bang anyone he can…until he meets Jenny.

Ah Jenny, what can I say about quite possibly the biggest ditz I’ve ever read about? She’s unintentionally hilarious and her interactions with the other two females make me laugh so hard! And let’s face it, I adore her attitude toward sex. Then we have Liz and Jim. Liz is Claire’s best friend, she’s engaged to Jim, and trying to open a sex toy store. She buys a building with enough space for her and Claire to open their respective businesses and the craziness ensues.

My two favorite characters are Gavin, Claire and Carter’s 4-year-old son, and Drew. Gavin first: this kid is beyond hilarious, running around saying things like “Naps can suck it.” and talking about nuts and how big his wiener is.  He is the epitome of a four year old, sucking up everything around him like a sponge and not caring what he repeats. Seriously, this kid is unreal. When he and Drew are around each other, it’s like watching two toddlers go at it. Imagine a manchild arguing with a 4-year-old. Priceless.

Now Drew: absolutely my favorite character in the entire series. I love this manwhore more than a ghost loves haunting. For real. He is too funny for words and the shirts he wears with sayings such as “Stare at me in disgust if you want to blow me” and giving Gavin a shirt that says “Hung like a five-year-old” only make me love him more. The man is down for anything sexually related, and between him and Jenny, they create one big sex monster that experiments with everything, anywhere they want. (Some people may think this is juvenile and beneath them because of that, but I’m telling you, these people are so funny. If you’re not laughing within the first ten minutes of reading it, then you’ve lost your sense of humor somewhere.)

Here we come (no pun intended) to the basis of my reason for reading this book. When I was introduced to them, I wanted to see if the intimate scenes were more adult and less YA (which is a problem I’m running into with so-called Erotica/Romance books lately–the sex scenes are more like PG or PG-13. I understand this not at all, but obviously I just hit a bad streak with my book luck). I wasn’t disappointed here though. There are a few scenes, particularly the first time Claire and Carter sleep together after all those years, where I was completely wrapped up in the book and refused to put it down for anything. I was literally ignoring people trying to talk to me so I could read these parts. They are very well written, though the language is cleaner than I would have expected considering the rest of the book.

I can truly say the only problem I had with the book was when it transitioned from Claire to Carter the first time. I was going along for three chapters with Claire, then all of the sudden I’m with Carter at the start of chapter 4 (titled Sex and Chocolate). At first I was confused, wondering why Claire was talking about someone named Drew, but it clicked a few seconds later and I felt like a total moron. Other than that, I had no issues with the book. I wasn’t jarred out of the story by bad grammar and typos, the story flows well, and while it may not be the most action-packed story, there are enough hilarious anecdotes and horribly embarrassing situations to keep a reader interested…..not to mention the moments of intimacy between the two main characters.

Overall, this is a great book and well deserving of the five-star rating I, and others, have given it on Goodreads and Amazon, among other sites. Tara Sivec has a way of bringing out outrageous bursts of laughter from her readers when they are least expecting it. I can’t wait to read more of her works.

Shame on You (Fool Me Once #1) — Release date: February 25, 2014!!

I’m looking forward to reading Shame on You (Fool Me Once #1), releasing tomorrow February 25. From the blurbs and information about the book floating around on the interwebz, I think I’ll enjoy this new series of books as much as I enjoy the Chocolate Lovers series.  Sivec is one author I will forever have on my to-read list.

Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω

Some of my favorite quotes from Seduction and Snacks:

“…You’re just walking along one day and think to yourself, “You know, I think it’s time I turn my vagina into an Arby’s Beef and Cheddar (minus the cheddar) and saddle myself down for a minimum of eighteen years to someone who will suck the soul and the will to live right out of my body so I’m a shell of the person I used to be and can’t get laid even if I pay for it.”

“I’m a quirky, intelligent, dark haired chick!   Me, me, me, pick me!   And who the hell keeps whining and ruining my perfect moment?   I will cut a bitch.”

“Liz rolled her eyes at me and I resisted the urge to reach over the console and punch her in the vagina. Pussy Punch: when a Twat Tap just isn’t enough.”

“If you two yentas are finished discussing Claire’s rabid who-ha, me and the boys would like to eat sometime this century.”
“You and ‘the boys?’ You just met them today. Does the Ya Ya Brotherhood already have a secret handshake and a password?” Liz joked.”

“Oh my God, I sent a picture of my boobs to Jim,” I moaned as a fresh wave of nausea rolled through me.
“You also threw up in the emergency room parking lot, called Drew and told him you were the Donkey Punch Dick Queen and filled out a Last Will and Testament on a Burger King napkin and then asked the drive-thru worker to notarize it.”

“I don’t wanna be def. Death. Dead. This Burger Twin nappykin just got served as my will, BEOTCH! The fries here suck, by the way. If I die, don’t feed my son your shitty fries. Don’t give my son to the creepy child molester king you put in your commercials either. What the fuck is wrong with that guy? He’s got a normal body and a plastic face that is always smiley. It’s not right, man. It’s just not right. My ears feel funny.”

“I love you more than a hooker loves free VD testing day at the clinic.”

“I was trying to figure out a way to tell him his love mayonnaise had mad skills and no one at this table could stop talking about vibrators.”

“Spitters are Quitters.” – Okay, so this is one is from Futures and Frosting (Chocolate Lovers #2), but I love that line so I had to include it.

These are by no means the only funny quotes, and they are for the most part even funnier when reading them in their proper context. So go out, grab a copy of this book, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Who Wrote This Dribble?!

I’ve said before (probably more than once) how much I love delving into the minds of writers. One topic I enjoy discussing is the bad lines we write that, hopefully, never see the light of day.

We all have these horrible lines that somehow creep their way into our manuscripts and make us scratch our heads. We look back at them and wonder just what the hell we were thinking when we wrote them. Sometimes, it’s a line the writer thinks is pure gold when first written, but in hindsight wreaks of old shoes and musty closets, sometimes making no sense at all. Thankfully, we can delete anything we want, but they shouldn’t be there to begin with.

How do they get there? Does someone (or something) take over my fingers and type these lines? Because, a) I don’t remember writing them sometimes, though they are there, and b) I don’t write this crappy………..Really, I don’t.

I firmly believe when we are in our zone, on a roll and writing away like it’s nobody’s business, we have no clue what we say for the most part. We’re not in control at that point. When we’re in that zone, the story is guiding us or the character(s) are showing us the path that they follow.

I’m taking one for the team and sharing a couple tidbits of stupidity that have come from me recently. Please don’t think any less of me after you read them. I assure you, neither of them are in the manuscripts anymore.

Snoopy-BadWriting

Caught this little nugget of excellence while I was editing one of the Erotica stories…

The color on my face deepens to a deep red.

— Really? …. I mean, really? Who wrote that shit?

Check this lovely bit of scrawl out. Four -ly words in two sentences…

Slowly, he comes toward me, his hands out in front of him slightly. He haltingly and gently places his hands on my arms.

 — Just take the pen and laptop away from me now. I should NOT be allowed to write again. Ever.

I about stabbed myself in the eye with my pen when I reread that last line during edits. I’m not going to lie…I almost cried.

Bad writer! Bad!

This, dear readers, is why we do endless edits on our manuscripts. Without the edits and rewrites, lines like the ones above would remain

…and people would probably point and laugh at us for trying to publish that trash.

Don’t be shy, share some of your worst lines. I won’t judge, Scout’s honor!

Revising The Revisions

I’m sitting here, everything is in the proper place, my Erotica short is pulled up on the laptop…

…and I’m not touching it. (No pun intended.) I’m really distracted by the music playing, and I’m mostly over here singing along and dancing in my seat. *sighs* It’s just one of those days I suppose.

Except, it really isn’t one of those days. I’m procrastinating on purpose and I know it. The music wouldn’t be on if I wasn’t. The Erotica short I’m working on needs some revisions and I’m putting them off. One thing has lead to another in my scattered brain, and I no longer want to revise. I want to ramble about revising.

Hey, it’s better than nothing.

“Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.” ― Michael Crichton

When I saw that quote by Crichton a few months ago, all I could was nod my head and smile. Show me a writer that has successfully published and  sold the first draft of their manuscript. Please. I’d love to meet them. Revisions are a necessary evil in our world. Like it or not, we need them in the  writing process.

Writers are asked many questions about what we do and why we do it. Their curiosity leads them to question us about every aspect of the writing process, revisions are no exception. They want to understand why it takes so long to write a novel sometimes. The time spent and amount of revisions/edits done varies from one writer (and one story) to the next. So, what can we tell them to make them understand us? Let’s find out.

Do you get dizzy going in so many circles?

A little bit, but it’s worth it.

While I’m spinning, I’m learning and improving. Not only my story, but my writing in general, is being improved (at least I hope so) with every revision I make. When the initial writing stage is complete, it’s like a breath of fresh air. We’ve accomplished our goal and finished the story that needed to be told.

Then the butchering begins. I adore the butchering. Not every writer will have the same process, obviously, when it comes to revisions/edits, but it may look something like this: (1) read through the manuscript, remove what isn’t necessary to the story, mark grammar/punctuation issues, etc. (2) make the changes….. (3) then do it all again.

This can be done once or a million times. The process will be complete when the writer feels that they can do nothing more to make the story better on their own. They’re now ready for outside opinions.

Improve-RevisionsPost

How do you know you’re receiving the proper feedback?

Writers never know how people are going to react to their work. Some will love it, some will hate it. We generally receive conflicting feedback because everyone has different preferences and dislikes when they read a book. Writers have to choose what to take from that information to make our stories better. The only feedback we don’t want, because it helps us not at all, is “I loved it!” or “It sucked!”.

–cue the crickets chirping–

That’s it? That’s all you have for me? Mmmk, thanks.

We are appreciative when people are willing to beta for us, but we need information from them in order to improve the story. (Granted, there are writers who don’t want/can’t take criticism and only want praise for the greatest novel ever written. They are a pain to beta for….to put it mildly.) Bottom line, we need to know what worked and what didn’t for each beta reader we have.

From this information, best if received from multiple sources, we choose what changes to make to the manuscript. The choice is different for every writer and for every story. We’re never going to use all of the feedback we get. It would be impossible to do that. There’s always going to be one person that didn’t like this or that, but another that did. So, we decide which changes are best for the story and go from there.

“Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.” – Bernard Malamud

How can you be sure you’re making the right changes?

The right changes? Hmmm, it depends on how you look at it. As I said above, people have different opinions. Writers make changes in their stories to ensure the flow is consistent. We don’t want our readers halfway into our book to suddenly become bored or disinterested. We want to make sure the reader cares about what happens to the MC(s).

We never know if the changes we’re making are going to work for the overall story. That’s why we have this process. Once the changes are made we can go back and read it again to see how it works. If it doesn’t, more changes will be made until we feel it’s finally right.

Why bother making changes now when you know you’re going to be doing it at some point down the road?

Process-RevisionsPost

I’ve heard this question multiple times. Frankly, I start twitching when it’s asked. Nobody’s ever going to consider publishing your story if you send them an unpolished copy. Rejected. Yes, you will undoubtedly be asked to make some changes to the story once it hits the publisher’s desk. Let the butchering begin…again. That being said, writers who are serious about publication aren’t going to send an unfinished copy of a manuscript out. At least, they shouldn’t. As I said before, changes are unavoidable.

It doesn’t matter to us that we’ll have to go through all of this again later. We plod through the revision/edits stage to polish our story to the best of our ability. Why? Because we care about what we’re doing and want to make it as good as possible.

Don’t you want to be done with it all already?!

No — no I don’t.

I mentioned in a recent post that I think writing a novel is like reading a good book. When I’m reading a new book, I don’t want it to end. The same holds true for when I’m writing. I want to go on writing/reading about these people until I get tired of them. When that will be, nobody knows. (I will say that, eventually, I do let go and decide that there’s nothing more I can do for the story. It’s now ready for submission and all I can do is hope for the best.)

Letting the characters look through my eyes while we dissect every word, every twist and turn, delves me deeper into their minds and their worlds. I learn things about them I didn’t know before. I become more familiar with their personalities and how they react to certain situations. I need this to happen, I don’t know about other writers, but for me this is a must. If I’m going through revising and editing and I don’t feel like I’m learning more about the characters/places I write about, then I’m not fully invested in the story. I should be. When this happens, that particular manuscript is set to the side for a little while. Eventually, I will come back to it and try again.

Whether you love it or hate it, the revision/editing process is a must if you want your novel to be as well written as possible. It doens’t take every writer the same amount of time or revisions before they decide it’s right. Hopefully though, after all of the struggling and rearranging, we’ll have made something that turns out to be better than we initially imagined.

“Throw up in your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.” – Raymond Chandler

An Anti-Vday Celebration

I protest this holiday. Always have and always will. I don’t see the point of it, but that’s just me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against love. It’s a wonderful, beautiful experience. That being said, I really dislike this holiday. I dislike even more that so many people choose this one day out of the year to act like they care about the person they’re with, while any other day they’re behaving like a wank….or a douche. /rant

All this lovey-dovey crap I keep seeing around today is making my stomach turn. My poor Twitter & Facebook feeds are overloaded with so much mushy I can barely wade through it.

So, I’m here to spread some Anti-Valentine’s Day love.

                

                                                                        

I couldn’t resist these last two because they cracked me up.

 

Have a fabulous day and remember to always appreciate the one(s) you’re with, not just on Vday. 😉

The Write Starting Point

I’m always interested in learning the idiosyncrasies of writers. Some of the things we do make people scratch their heads in confusion or shrug their shoulders……even look at us like we’re crazy. That’s my favorite reaction, makes me giggle.

Some writers need to have everything set up just right before they can begin writing; we like complete silence or, in some cases, music playing to inspire and/or relax us; some who write longhand have to use a specific pen/pencil when writing. (I fall under this category.) The list goes on and on…

What’s the point to all of this rambling? This, writers operate and think in ways that don’t necessarily fall under what would be considered “normal” behavior. (Who wants to be normal? Boring!) One of our odd little quirks is where we begin writing our stories. Not all novels are written in order: beginning, middle, end. Let’s have a look at the possibilities.

–The Beginning–

The beginning is where a large majority of writers start their work. It seems the most logical place to do so, right? Sure it does. You get a good flow with your story when you start at the beginning. An event occurs, which has a snowball effect and causes more problems, until everything culminates in the final battle/resolution/whatever.

Reading a book and writing a book are two separate, yet similar, paths on the same journey. Granted, as a writer you know more about your characters than any reader ever will. However, you are experiencing the entire journey for the first time when you begin…er, at the beginning.  After the introduction of the MC(s) and the conflict(s), there will then follow a sequence of events that take us through to the end. By then we will have, hopefully, fallen in love with the characters, both good and bad. Yes, even the bad guys.

People read books this way, unless they’re really weird–or talented–so, it only makes sense for a story to be written this way.

–The Middle–

Next, you have writers that start in the middle of the book, where the plot’s really picking up steam. New twists and turns are being revealed and characters are trying to find the right paths to take them to the end. Whether the finished product will be good or bad is yet to be seen. No matter the tale, the middle is where we get to the meat of the story.

At this point, I have a pretty good idea of who I like/don’t like; I know what I hope will happen and what I think will happen; I’m involved in the story and probably won’t be putting it down until I’ve completed the journey. (I admit to tossing a book or two after only partially reading them because they were becoming increasingly ridiculous.)

Here’s the million dollar question: If you start writing at this place and time in the story, do you have that same sense of familiarity with the MC and their surroundings as with a story started from the very beginning? No…but, you also don’t have preconceived notions about what will happen later, based on what you’ve witnessed along the way.

Writing from the middle of the book can be preferable, to a lot of writers. I’ve done it myself a time or two and will most likely do it again in the future.

–The End–

Writers have been known to think of the ending of a story before they know how it begins. The last leg of the journey. Who is alive, injured, or dead. Happy ending¹ or no, the writer sees the resolution of the problem before they see the problem itself. (¹I prefer “not happy” or “happy for now” type endings myself, none of that Happily Ever After crap.)

Not many people in the world have this kind of talent but, there are writers out there who can create a story from finish to start.  I must also point out that readers have their own form of this behavior. These people cheat–erm, peek at the end of the book to see how it all turns out. I could never do that; it would ruin the whole experience for me.

A writer who begins at the end (so hard not to quote HP’s snitch message in this part of the post. SO! HARD!), obviously looks at things a little differently than the rest of us. (More confirmation that writers are a unique breed.) Is it even possible for a book to make sense if you read it backwards? Writing one from ending to beginning is a different story, but still comes with its own complications.  Also, even though a writer may begin at the end, it doesn’t mean they don’t have an idea of how the character(s) and/or story should begin. (I really hope that makes sense to someone other than me.)

Starting at the end  of a book is a challenge, but it can work, and be well worth it in the long-run.  Perhaps it’s a good idea to start a story at this point of the journey because it gives the writer a different view of everything.

I open at the close–J.K. Rowling (– Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.)

–Anywhere and Everywhere–

Finally, we have those oddballs–those writing freaks of nature (and I say that in such a loving way)–who have no method to their madness. They are a breed within a breed, creating beauty out of chaos in ways even the oddest of us don’t understand.

These writers go from one random path to another during their journey. They go in no particular order that makes sense to anyone but them, and still manage to finish their journey the same as the rest of us. How anyone could make sense out of writing a story this way is beyond me; I really wish I could understand.

The biggest obstacle, I would think, is ensuring accuracy within the journey. A writer using this method could, and probably does, jot down notes to keep a timeline of sorts handy. Maybe, maybe not. Without notes, I imagine there would be some discrepancies, but I could be wrong.

Out of the disorganization, these wonderfully wacky writers tell a tale which, perhaps, wouldn’t have been so coherent otherwise. They are one of the most intriguing groups in the writing breed.

No matter where an author begins writing their story, at least the story is being told. That’s the important thing. Whether or not it’s a good story is debatable, but that’s another post for another day.  (Really, it’s already started in my Drafts.) It’s no matter to us if the story we write is good or bad. Plain and simple, we love what we do, and wouldn’t change it for anything. We wouldn’t put ourselves through rejection after rejection if we didn’t enjoy this madness.

I love writers. We are a diverse and eclectic group of people that those outside our circle may never truly understand. Writers come complete with superpowers oddities we embrace wholeheartedly and without shame. Maybe more people in the world should be like us……

Nah, it would surely be a sign of the apocalypse if that were to happen. The world would never survive.

Enlighten me fellow freaks, because I want to know, where is your write start point?

My POV–Um, POV

See what I did up there in the title? Hehehe, I’m funny.

Ok, so not really.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Point of View (POV) when writing a novel. Normally, I write my novels in some form of third-person POV, usually omniscient or limited. Recently though, I’ve been on this first-person present/first-person past POV kick. (I’m not sure which one I like better yet.) The biggest perk for me in using FPPOV is that I get to keep my main focus on just one person, rather than jumping around with everyone else like I have in the past. Somehow, it just feels…cleaner to me. Yeah, cleaner is the right word for that.

I have this short story I want to submit for AW’s Erotica Anthology. I’ve been working on it off and on for, I think, five or six years now. I know, I know. It’s only a short story, so it shouldn’t be taking me this long. (In my defense I’m even pickier about my Erotica writing than I am about everything else, and it’s not quite right for me yet.) Point is, I want to submit this story, ‘cus there’s a tiny chance it will be picked for the Anthology. (That would be awesome!) Right now though, it’s in TPPOV. Definitely needs to change to FPPOV. So, I start changing it. Wow…just wow. It’s so much better now. Except for–

My dilemma: man or woman’s POV?

Hmmmm…

As my thoughts are journeying down the POV roads, I start wondering, why do I like first-person more now? That’s easy enough to answer. I feel closer to my MC–which, I think, all writers should be striving for–and I get to know him/her better this way. I’m channeling my MC. I am the Oracle; they are the speakers. You see where I’m going with the cheesy cliche’s, right? To me, it’s the most fantastic feeling. Why didn’t I ever write in FPPOV before now? (I checked. There’s not even one story in FPPOV!) It’s like, I was stuck in this TPPOV bubble, and I didn’t even realize it until now. I felt the need to know what was going on all over the place in every story I wrote. Yes, stories written this way have their appeal. I can’t see Lord of the Rings being as good in FPPOV. (Naysayers, shut it. I already know, if it’s written well it can be done.) Point is, I’ve popped the bubble. I’m expanding my horizons.

We must, on our journey, make a stop at second-person POV. It’s a lost and lonely highway, practically abandoned. It’s not something you see often. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a story in second; I’ll have to think about that for a bit…Anyway, it’s a rarity. I wish I had the guts to try writing a story in second. I don’t think I’d ever be able to pull it off though. It would be fun, and a challenge, to write a good story with a bunch of you’s and your’s. Note to self: look for some SPPOV novels.

Now we hit the most traveled road…well, for me. It is well-worn, this road. It has been traveled on for many years, with all manner of people and beings beside me. There are limitations with any point of view you choose, but there are also advantages. With first, I get to delve deep into my MC’s head and with third, I get to dip into everyone’s head. The limitations with third though–I’m beginning to dislike them more and more as time goes by. Yes, I can stay in just my MC’s head in TPLPOV, but it’s not my MC’s voice you’re hearing, it’s mine. I’ve always assumed I was close to these people I write about. That I was getting their words out and not my own. I feel a whole lot closer to them now, trying to rewrite some of their stories in first.

I won’t be changing all of my stories. As I said before, there are advantages to TPPOV. I do think some of them will benefit from the POV change though. That’s the most important thing. The story must be able to draw someone in. If I can’t be drawn in enough, what makes me think anyone else will?