The Uncompromising Lord Flint

The Uncompromising Lord Flint
The Uncompromising Lord Flint by Virginia Heath

The Fallback

The Fallback
The Fallback by Mariah Dietz

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Marked Lord by Sharon Ibbotson - Feature and Review


Like forbidden fruit, forbidden love is more sweet…

It’s 1803 and widowed aristocrat Sophy De Browarec must flee France after being exposed as an undercover British agent. Fearing for her life, she returns to Cornwall to seek help from the only living link to her past, Fitzwilliam ‘Fitz’ Ravensbourne. 

Lord Ravensbourne has suffered his own share of misfortune and it’s left its mark in more ways than one. He has become a near recluse at the Ravensbourne Estate, but still reluctantly accepts Sophy into his home. 
Sophy and Fitz’s relationship is strained and her return could bring danger to Ravensbourne – but there is something that prevents Fitz from casting her out, something almost forbidden...



The Marked LordThe Marked Lord by Sharon Ibbotson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marked Lord by Sharon Ibbotson is a 2019 Choc lit publication.

Love dark, brooding and scarred heroes? Tired of Regency period romance? Enjoy a little intrigue and mystery with your romance? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this book might just be in your wheelhouse.

As Britain officially declares war on France, Sophy De Browarec, a spy for the British, finds herself in serious trouble. Widowed, with nowhere to hide, Sophy can only think of one place she can seek refuge.

After a lengthy absence, Sophy returns to Cornwall, the home she was raised in, and to the only living person she has a connection with- Fitzwilliam ‘Fitz’ Ravensbourne.

Fitz was badly burned in his youth, leaving him permanently disfigured. His father was set to marry Sophy’s mother, but she passed away before the wedding could take place, leaving Sophy orphaned.

Fitz’s father provided for Sophy, but now, after his father’s death, Fitz controls the estate.
The last thing the reclusive Fitz needs is a visit from Sophy. Why has she suddenly returned to Cornwall after having heard nothing from her in ages?

This story is quite absorbing, with mysteries and secrets abounding, along with a few interesting twists. The characters are well drawn, and developed, and the dialogue is authentic and realistic. I loved the time frame for this book. Everyone knows about my continual complaint about the oversaturation of Regency period historical romance, so the Georgian period setting amid the Napoleonic War is a welcome change of pace.

But it is the slightly forbidden romantic development, along with Fitz’s embittered and scarred facial countenance and his brooding demeanor is what really drew me in and gave the story a darker tone than your typical historical romance. The story begins on a suspenseful note, then settles into a slower pace, creating a mild Gothic tone at times, then picks up speed again, adding a bit of adventure and suspense into the mix.

The book is not very long, so there is a lot packed into a small space, but the character development never suffered, and the story was not at all rushed. This is an impressive debut, and I will be keeping my eye on this promising new author!


Sharon is Australian but has lived in the UK for nearly twenty years. She started writing romance when she ran out of Sweet Valley High movies to read. She lives in London with her husband and two kids. Her professional background is in marketing and she has a degree in anthropology and gender studies from the University of Edinburgh. She loves reading and writing regency romance novels, especially those with a more gothic and darker tone.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Sopranos Sessions by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall - Feature and Review


On January 10, 1999, a mobster walked into a psychiatrist’s office and changed TV history. By shattering preconceptions about the kinds of stories the medium should tell, The Sopranoslaunched our current age of prestige television, paving the way for such giants as Mad Men, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones. As TV critics for Tony Soprano’s hometown paper, New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger, Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz were among the first to write about the series before it became a cultural phenomenon. 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show’s debut, Sepinwall and Seitz have reunited to produce The Sopranos Sessions, a collection of recaps, conversations, and critical essays covering every episode. Featuring a series of new long-form interviews with series creator David Chase, as well as selections from the authors’ archival writing on the series, The Sopranos Sessions explores the show’s artistry, themes, and legacy, examining its portrayal of Italian Americans, its graphic depictions of violence, and its deep connections to other cinematic and television classics.



The Sopranos SessionsThe Sopranos Sessions by Matt Zoller Seitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Soprano’s Sessions by Matt Zoller Seitz, Alan Sepinwall, Laura Lippman, (Introduction), David Chase, (Creator) is a 2019 Harry N. Abrams publication.

Well, you woke up this morning
Got yourself a gun
Your mama always said you'd be the chosen one

She said, you're one in a million, you've got to burn to shine
But you were born under a bad sign with a blue moon in your eyes

And you woke up this morning
All that love had gone
Your papa never told you about right and wrong

But you're looking good, baby
I believe you're feeling fine (shame about it)
Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in your eyes

Because you woke up this morning
Got a blue moon in your eyes
Woke up this morning
You got a blue moon in your eyes

Well, you woke up this morning
The world turned upside down
Lord above, thing's ain't been the same since Howlin' Wolf walked into your town
But you're one in a million, you've got that shotgun shine
Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in your eyes
You woke up this morning
You got a blue moon in your eyes
Woke up this morning
You got a blue moon in your eyes

When you woke up this morning everything was gone
By half past ten your head was going ding-dong
Ringing like a bell from your head down to your toes,
Like a voice trying to tell you there's something you should know
Last night you were flying but today you're so low
Ain't it times like these that make you wonder if you'll ever know
The meaning of things as they appear to the others
Wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers
Don't you wish you didn't function, don't you wish you didn't think beyond the next paycheck
And the next little drink?
Well, you do, so make up your mind to go on 'cause when you woke up this morning
Everything you had was gone, everything you had was gone

Woke up this morning
Woke up this morning
Woke up this morning, you want to be, you want to be the chosen one tonight
Yes, you know, because you just get help yourself

Woke up this morning
Woke up this morning
Woke up this morning
You got yourself a gun, got yourself a gun, got yourself a gun

This book is AWESOME!!

The Sopranos has often been referred to as the best television show of all time. Although there have been many great shows before and since, I must agree with that assessment. The Sopranos wasn’t just a groundbreaking crime drama, it changed television as we knew it, forever.
Twenty years after the fact, and I still believe it should hold top honors.
The authors were a little nervous about this book because twenty years IS a long time ago, especially in the television and entertainment industry. So much as changed in that time, and HBO is not necessarily the king of the hill any longer.

However, they needn’t have worried. Despite the passage of time, any dated quality about The Sopranos is easily overlooked compared to the path the show paved for other great television dramas and the legend it created, which still stands unmatched today.

I loved the title of the book. It couldn’t have been more aptly named. I also enjoyed the forward by author Laura Lippman, and David Chase’s participation and interviews. He really made me chuckle in a few places as he expressed frustration with a coddled audience, who after years of having things explained to them like little children, couldn’t manage to puzzle out the nuances of The Sopranos, constantly asking Chase questions, looking for pat answers, instead of using their brains to draw their own conclusions. Viewers simply were not used to that type of challenge coming from a television program.

This book is very comprehensive, detailing every single episode of every season. Oh, the memories!! The complexity of the show, the many juxtapositions, parallels, and ironies, the fantastic, second to none writing, and the performances all spring back to life, reminding me once more of just how incredible this show was.

The psychology behind public’s fascination with the mob is so interesting. Seriously, Tony Soprano was the ultimate anti-hero. I shook my head many times at how often I found myself pulling for the guy. Really. Then I’d wonder what was wrong with me!! The guy was a serial adulterer and a stone -cold killer, for God’s sake!! However, I don’t think I was alone in that.

This book is a must for fans of The Sopranos. There are so many angles this book brought to my attention, that I’d either missed or forgotten about, even though I’ve watched the series at least three times from start to finish. Now, I want to watch it again, using this book as a guide so I can pick up on all those wonderful little Easter eggs, and pointers, the authors and David Chase provided for me.

The Sopranos, along with several other stellar HBO dramas and comedies, did bring television up to a much higher standard, where it even gave the movie industry a run for its money. The show helped spawn such outstanding shows as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, giving the industry respect it had struggled to obtain almost from its inception.

I can’t say it held on to that level of quality programing, however. There are some quality programs out there, but they are far and few between, in my opinion. Thankfully, I still have all my DVD box sets of The Sopranos and can still watch the best show ever made as often as I like.

If you missed out on the show back in the day and are curious about it now, watch the series from start to finish- THEN add this book to your library or only read it in sections, due to spoilers.

Causal fans will become hard core fans once they study the show a little more and see the genius behind it.

Diehard fans- BUY THIS BOOK! You’ll LOVE it!



 Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of He is also the TV critic for New York Magazine and, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and television has appeared in The New York Times,, The New Republic and Sight and Sound. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine, and the co-founder and original editor of Press Play, an IndieWire blog of film and TV criticism and video essays.

Other Seitz books include Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, The Oliver Stone Experience, and TV (The Book). He is currently working on a novel, a children's film, and a book about the history of horror, co-authored with contributor Simon Abrams.

Alan Sepinwall has been writing about television for close to 20 years, first as an online reviewer of "NYPD Blue," then as a TV critic for The Star-Ledger (Tony Soprano's hometown paper), now as author of the popular blog What's Alan Watching? on Sepinwall's episode-by-episode approach to reviewing his favorite TV shows "changed the nature of television criticism," according to Slate, which called him "the acknowledged king of the form."

Friday, January 11, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- The Inheritance by Tom Savage- Feature and Review


Holly is about to collect on an inheritance from a family she's never met. In an imposing mansion, looming like a shroud above Long Island Sound, the Randall family is waiting. Tonight, Holly's fortune is coming at a terrifying price. "A chilling story, with fiendishly stunning twists that will keep readers mesmerized and reeling."--"Booklist." Warner Bros. An LG and Mystery Guild selection. 



The InheritanceThe Inheritance by Tom Savage
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book many years ago. I was going through my bookshelf the other day and found that I had kept it all these years. I had forgotten alot of it, and decided to read it again, which is something I don't do very often. CR 1998, 369 pages long, The Inheritance, written by Tom Savage, is a mystery, suspense novel. The plot takes many twist along the way, some of them downright shocking. None of the revelations are there just for shock value, this is a very cleverly plotted story, giving the reader small clues and information slowly. We know right away that there has been a murder, we know that a vast fortune has been inherited by a girl who was unaware of her heritage. Holly Smith was adopted and knew that, but had no idea who her biological family was. She gets a letter from her Aunt Alicia informing her she is the heir to a fortune. As Holly takes her time deciding if she should respond and how, she learns her aunt has passed away and so Holly is left to deal with the entire situation on her own.
We are also clued in fairly early on that Holly's uncle was expecting to inherit the fortune and was unaware of Holly and his father's will, leaving the bulk of his fortune to his neice. So, we know that Holly is not very well liked by her new family and could be in danger.
We watch as Holly adjust to wealth, makes friends, allies, and as she figures out who her enemies are. It goes without saying, don't make up your mind about anyone until the very last page- literally. A great read!!



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien- Feature and Review


Welcome back to Ho-Lee Noodle House, where you can get fantastic take-out. . .unless you get taken out first.

Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .



 Dim Sum of All Fears (A Noodle Shop Mystery #2)Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Lana Lee returns in this second intriguing installment of the Noodle Shop Mystery Series.

Lana is left in charge of the restaurant while her parents leave to visit family. This is not exactly a responsibility she wants. Lana feels she needs and wants more from her professional life than working in the noodle shop, but now she is trapped, forced to pass on a plumb opportunity.

She is also unhappy about the slow progress of her relationship with police officer, Adam Trudeau. Is he, or isn't he her boyfriend?

However, when her friend and her new husband are found dead, in what appears to be a murder/suicide, Lana’s stress levels skyrocket. Naturally, Adam insists Lana keep away from the investigation, putting even more distance between them. However, Lana still finds herself drawn into the saga as more unusual information about the murdered couple, especially about her friend’s new husband, begins to emerge.

So far, this series has been impressive and, as far as I’m concerned, is a breath of fresh air for the cozy genre. While I often lament the lack of ‘mature’ characters in books, with cozies, the need for a younger protagonist along with the bright colorful blend of diversity, is long overdue.

Lana’s amateur detecting skills have improved, and the series shows positive signs of growth. The mystery was a little frenetic at times, but the pacing also kept me on my toes with ever changing developments, making it very difficult to pinpoint the murderer. The balance, however, is slightly skewed if you are tuning in just to solve the mystery. The personal, romantic, and family dramas were more in the forefront, this time around. In my experience, this not all that uncommon in cozies and as a series progresses the mysteries do tend to run more in the background.

Of course, I prefer more of an even balance, but it is certainly not a deal breaker. In fact, the more involved I become with the characters, the more I look forward to touching base with them again. Often, it’s that element, more than the mystery, that draws me to these stories in the first place. So, it's all good, as far as I'm concerned.

I am still quite excited about the future of this series and am very much looking forward to Lana’s next big adventure!!



Vivien Chien first started writing simple stories about adventures with her classmates when she was in elementary school. As she grew up, her love of books and the written word increased, leading to the attempt of her first novel at age 16. After many struggled beginnings and several different genres, she found her passion in the mystery world.

When she's not writing, she can be found frolicking in the bookstore or searching for her next bowl of noodles. She has a soft spot for doughnuts, a healthy love for coffee, and an extreme need to participate in random acts of crafting.

She currently lives in Cleveland where she is hard at work on the third book in her Noodle Shop series and writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier.

Visit her at

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne - Feature and Review


The new novel from the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Heart's Invisible Furies , a seductive Highsmithian psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of fame 

Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for success. The one thing he doesn't have is talent - but he's not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don't need to be his own.
Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful - but desperately lonely - older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice's first novel. 
Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall...



 A Ladder to the SkyA Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne is a 2018 Hogarth Press publication.

“And you’ve heard the old proverb about ambition, haven’t you?” He shook his head. “That it’s like setting a ladder to the sky. A pointless waste of energy.”

Maurice Swift may be one of the most calculating literary characters in recent memory. His goal is to be a great writer, to win the big literary prize. However, he has no imagination of his own. He can’t outline a plot, or create characters, so he uses his good looks and charisma to draw stories from other people.

His first success comes from suckering the newly famous author, Erich Ackermann, a man who is totally smitten with Maurice, into telling him stories about his life prior to becoming a well -known and respected writer. This pays off for Maurice quite well, propelling him into the spotlight. From this point on Maurice latches on to one author after another sucking everything out them and leaving broken hearts and tragedy in his wake.

He does this with malice aforethought, without conscience, without regret. He is deliciously diabolical, with a deviousness one can’t help but compare to Mr. Ripley.

This is my first novel by the famous Mr. Boyne. Yes, you read that right. I have not been tempted by his YA novel about a boy in striped PJ’s, but, I did want to catch “The Heart’s Invisible Furies’, but will have to pick it sometime in the future. My first impression of this author is one of astonishment! This book is incredible!!

I love dark humor, and deep character studies, and anything that pokes a satirical stick at the publishing industry always tickles me. I’m not sure why climbing into the mind of a sociopath is so mesmerizing, but I was literally spellbound. I couldn’t turn away, couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was utterly chilling!!

Writers are all fascists. We like to control the discourse and crush anyone who dares to disagree with us.

The prose is exquisite, especially considering the book is centered around such a despicable character. The scary thing is that Boyne nails so many parts of this character and those who fall prey to his machinations, as well as the environment that helped Maurice pull off his deceptions. It was a little eerie, to be honest, but oh, so fun!!

I can’t say much more without delving into the plot, but I can tell you this- This is my kind of book! I’m so glad I managed to tuck this one in at the eleventh-hour, so I can add it as one of my favorite books of 2018!



John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and is the author of seven novels for adults and three for children. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas won two Irish Book Awards, was shortlisted for the British Book Award, reached no.1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and was made into an award-winning Miramax feature film. His novels are published in over 45 languages. He lives in Dublin.

The Einstein Code by Grace Blair and Laren Bright- Spotlight, Character Spotlight, and Giveaway

Grace Blair & Laren Bright
Genre: Young Adult / Historical / Fantasy / Science Fiction Certified Lexile Measure: 860L Publisher: Modern Mystic Media Publication Date: January 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 394 pages Coming on Audio, February 2019!


How did Albert Einstein come up with his wondrous theories of light and time? In Einstein's Compass: A YA Time Traveler Adventure, a young Albert is given a supernatural compass that allows him to travel through time and space and find wisdom in other dimensions, including the lost city of Atlantis. But evil forces seek the power of the compass, including a monstrous, shape-shifting dragon from a different age. Can the compass protect Albert from such villainy?

┃ Amazon 


"This is an amazing story. Everyone should thoroughly enjoy reading it. I was impressed with how the authors managed to incorporate the known information on the lost continent of Atlantis, Light Workers, souls, reincarnation, time travel and the early years of Albert Einstein before he became famous, into a mesmerizing work of fiction readers will have difficulty putting down.  --Doug Simpson, Author of We Lived in Atlantis
"I could not stop reading this book. I read at stop lights and in line at the grocery store. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough." --- award winning children's author, Lisa Reinicke This is highly recommended for those who enjoy a saga of good vs. evil that spans tens of thousands of years, for readers who devour novels that blend history and fantasy, and for anyone who is simply looking for a unique story that they will not want to put down. 
-- Author Jacqui Murray, Ask a Tech Teacher blog
The weaving of the story between the religion realm and Albert’s world is a captivating tale that keeps the reader’s attention. The good and evil of the timeless religious realm is like watch a chess match to see who outwits whom … I hope there is a next book somewhere in my future. 
–- Rox Burkey, author of the Enigma Series

Grace Blair is an award-winning self-help and motivational author, and podcast host, who has assisted thousands to find their spiritual wisdom to solve everyday challenges. Throughout her adult life, Grace became a serious student of the spiritual. She found that, often, psychological principles and practices were incomplete, but could be filled out by adding the missing spiritual component. Her approach was always to see practical applications for what she uncovered in the mystical. It was through immersing herself in this field of study and experience that she came up with her idea for her book, Einstein’s Compass. She lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband, Dr. John Blair.

║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Twitter ║ Instagram  
 ║ Goodreads  Amazon Author Page  Bublish 

Laren Bright is a three-time Emmy nominated award-winning writer who has written nearly 100 children’s animated cartoon scripts. He has spent the majority of his professional life over the last two decades assisting authors to produce topnotch books with titles and other promotional writing indistinguishable from those of mainstream publishers. During that time, in addition to Einstein’s Compass, he also co-authored a young adult fantasy series and several books for young children about positive values. Laren lives in Los Angeles with his wife, computer, and two grand-dogs.

║ IMDB Amazon Author Page ║ Website 
FIRST PRIZE: eBook + Einstein’s Compass Cap
SECOND PRIZE: eBook + Einstein socks; THIRD PRIZE: eBook + bookmark
JANUARY 2-11, 2019
(eBooks can be sent internationally, swag USA only)


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