Catwoman Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas

The Uncompromising Lord Flint

The Uncompromising Lord Flint
The Uncompromising Lord Flint by Virginia Heath

Friday, January 18, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg- Feature and Review


It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women—of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.



Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafeFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ© by Fannie Flagg is a 2002 Random House publication – (originally published in 1987)

Many people have seen the movie version of this book. But,as is often the case, the book is a bit different from the movie version. While I enjoyed the movie, and thought it had an excellent cast, I have to say, the book is still better.

Evelyn is stuck in a rut, neglected by her husband, going through menopause, taking comfort in food. But, a chance meeting with Mrs. Threadgoode, at the nursing home, deepens into a close friendship that gives Evelyn the courage to break out of her shell and take charge of her life.

Mrs. Threadgoode’s story is a mesmerizing tale of two women who forge a special bond while living through tragedies, hardships, and triumphs. Idgie and Ruth are friends, but maybe a little more than friends, who build a life together, enjoying a few hair -raising dilemmas and living through some wild adventures.

I remember Fannie Flagg during my childhood when she was a regular on some game show my mother used to watch. She was one of my favorites on the show, but had no idea, back then, what her claim to fame was.

Years later, when the movie version of this book was released, I was surprised to learn that Fannie Flagg wrote the book the movie was based on. I hadn’t thought of Fannie in years, by that time, so my curiosity of piqued. I bought the book soon after seeing the movie.

I was struck by how detailed the story was, how some things were glossed over in the movie version, and how others were curiously more pronounced in the book than on the movie screen, while at other times, I thought the movie version might have brought the scene to life a little better.

I hadn’t thought of this book, or the movie,in a very long time. But the other day, while searching for an audio book at the library, I discovered this story was available in audiobook format, and not only that, it was narrated by Fannie Flagg. I couldn’t resist! I also realized that I had apparently read this book pre-Goodreads, and so I thought I’d write out a review after listening to the audio version, while it was still fresh in my memory.

While Evelyn’s persona is maybe a little dated now, in my opinion, other subject matter addressed in the story is well ahead of its time. The ending here is much more poignant and still gave me a little chill. Hollywood made some crucial changes in that area, which was nice, too, but didn’t pack the same punch.

If you’ve seen the movie version, I hope someday you will give the book a try, and if you can add audio, that would enhance your experience even more.



FANNIE FLAGG began writing and producing television specials at age nineteen and went on to distinguish herself as an actress and writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (which was produced by Universal Pictures as Fried Green Tomatoes), Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, and Standing in the Rainbow. Flagg's script for Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for both the Academy and Writers Guild of America Awards and won the highly regarded Scripters Award. Flagg lives in California and in Alabama.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Catwoman: Soul Stealer by Sarah J. Maas- Feature and Review


When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .

Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing's undoing.




Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3)Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Catwoman: Soul Stealer (DC icons #3) by Sarah J. Maas is a 2018 Random House publication.

I’ve seen this author’s name on Goodreads a lot and apparently her fantasy series is really something. I do hope to someday visit that series, even though I’m not a huge YA fan, but the reason I chose this book had little to do with the author, and more to do with subject – Catwoman. In fact, when I checked the book out at the library, I didn’t even check to see who wrote the book- nor did I notice ‘for young readers’ tag line. But, as some of you know, I recently developed an interest in comics and graphic novels, but there are so many stories surrounding the iconic DC comic characters it is hard to know here to begin.

But, this series, which at the time of this writing, as four installments- Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Catwoman, tells a story about the origins of these iconic DC comic characters. This series is, for young readers, I presume, but I thought it was pretty awesome. To be clear, this is not a graphic novel. It is a text only story, but I read it to gather more insight into the characters featured in the comics.

I was always intrigued by Catwoman. She isn’t a goody-goody, but she isn’t evil either. Of course, since the campy television series, Catwoman has been highly sexualized, outfitted in a skin- tight leather outfit. However, this book really downplays that angle-thank goodness, and gives us a complex character and offers a valid reason for her chosen path. That alone scores a few automatic points. Her partners in crime are also interesting, adding even more angles to explore.

However, I wasn’t familiar with Batwing, so this book was my first introduction to him. Instead of being a temptation to Batman, as I am most accustomed, Selena Kyle- aka- Catwoman, enthralls Batwing, who is supposed to be keeping Gotham City safe while Batman is away. They have the same dynamic really, forcing Batwing to soften his stance and concede to extenuating circumstances, setting up an intriguing and conflicting relationship between the two characters.
In my opinion, this author did a good job with this book. Although it is an easy read, it is very imaginative, with some darker tones, and I believe there’s a little grit in here, too.

This book was very cool, I thought, although I see the ratings on this one varies, wildly. But, at the end of the day, whatever the criticisms might be- I didn’t read them- I liked it. So, I think I’ll hunt down the other books in the ‘DC icon’ series, too.



Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Uncompromising Lord Flint by Virginia Heath


Imprisoned by her past- Set free by her enemy!
Charged with high treason, Lady Jessamine Fane is under the watchful eye of icily calm Lord Peter Flint. It's a task this spy won’t be swayed from, no matter how alluring his prisoner! Only it’s not long before Flint realises that tenacious Jess hides a lifetime of pain. With so much at stake, can he afford to take a chance on their powerful attraction?



The Uncompromising Lord Flint (The King's Elite #2)The Uncompromising Lord Flint by Virginia Heath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Uncompromising Lord Flint by Virginia Heath is a 2019 Mills & Boon/ Harlequin Historical publication.

I’ve only recently discovered Virginia Heath and must say I’m very impressed with her writing. This book helped solidify her reputation for me. The story grabbed my attention right from the beginning and kept me entertained from start to finish!!

Lady Jessamine Fane lived in France since childhood, when her mother left her father for Comte de Saint-Aubin-de-Scellon. After her mother died, Jessamine was forced to work for St. Aubin, who is a part of an elaborate spy ring, or face his cruel wrath. Now, she is being transported back to London, where she will probably stand trial for treason.

Lord Peter Flint is a member of the King’s Elite, where he’s developed a rigid, uncompromising fortitude in his loyal service to the Crown. After a hard lesson learned, Flint is especially wary of female prisoners. However, he makes sure Jessamine comes to no harm and is treated well while in his care. However, Jessamine is far more cunning than Peter could have guessed, becoming an unlikely asset to him. However, her life could now be in danger. Is Jessamine guilty or innocent? Can Peter trust her, or she him?

Peter and Jessamine are both well drawn characters, and I could see both sides of the equation, which gives the story an emotional and compelling complexity. Trust and faith are key points in the story, as both Peter and Jessamine must decide if the risk is worth taking, with so much at stake.

The conclusion is a tad bit rushed, but other than that, I’m starting off on a good roll with my historical romance novels in 2019. This story is full of intrigue, mystery, and adventure and was a pleasure to read.


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 When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

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The Fallout by Mariah Dietz - Feature + Exclusive Excerpt


Today we are celebrating the release of THE FALLBACK, a standalone, contemporary romance title by Mariah Dietz! It is the book many readers and bloggers are calling Mariah's best work to date. It's FREE with KindleUnlimited.


THE FALLBACK by Mariah Dietz

Available now in KindleUnlimited


Breaking up is hard to do.
It's even harder when you're not expecting it. Brooke Jensen is a planner. Not only in her personal life but also professionally as one of the most sought after event planners in Chicago. But, when the ideal life she built for herself, complete with handsome, long-term boyfriend and perfect apartment crumbles, she realizes there are some things you just can’t plan for. While trying to start anew from her best friend's guest room and discovering the best doughnuts in the city, an idea sparks to life when she meets Levi. He's intriguing, funny, and shockingly good-looking, and what had been a few stray thoughts becomes a new passion for Brooke, a blog detailing learning how to be single. The project introduces Brooke to new people and experiences, and keeps returning her back to Levi. But, Brooke learns kismet may have been wrong when she learns Levi is the last person she should be interested in. Falling for the wrong guy once has Brooke hesitant to start a new relationship, but Levi is quickly proving that The Fallback might be even better.


Available to read for FREE in KindleUnlimited



Excerpt from The Fallback by Mariah Dietz

Yeah, but I think you got the wrong impression. See, I’m not…”
“Confusing? Frustrating? Enigmatic? You are. All of them. You’re also funny, and smart, and creative, and while I get the impression this scares you”—he waves a hand between us—“this thing between us, I’m going to shoulder this for both of us until you realize it’s worth it.”
The idea of he and I becoming a we is terrifying. It’s also inexplicably exciting.
“Is this because you see me as a challenge? Because I’m not falling at your feet?”
Levi shakes his head. “There’s something different about you. I recognized it the second I saw you.”
He shakes his head again. “I have no idea.”
My attempt at laughing is as ludicrous as his claim. “That’s ridiculous. You didn’t know me—you don’t know me. Claiming there’s something different about me is absurd. I’m boring. I prefer pajamas to dresses, barefoot to shoes, and I am realizing that I really suck at almost all girly things. My idea of fun is finding the best doughnut shops in town, though you and Jerry sort of ruined that for me recently. And I’ve realized I’m about to turn thirty and I don’t think I know who in the hell I even am.”
“You’re almost thirty?”
“How old did you think I was?”
“Not thirty.”
“Cradle robber.”
He laughs. “I didn’t think you were twenty.”
“Why are you staring at me like that?”
“Like what?”
“Like you’re looking for wrinkles on my face.”
Levi closes his eyes, his laughter growing. “Did you know that when you get upset, your nose crinkles and you bite the inside of your cheek?”
“I’m not upset. I’m flustered.”
For some reason, this only makes him smile wider. “And when someone pays you a compliment, you deflect it and look away, which concerns me. Because I’m starting to believe you’re not actually hearing what people are saying to you.”
“Are you hearing what I’m saying to you?”
“I know Felicity, her kids, and husband are family to you and that when you feel threatened, your brilliance shines and you become really funny.”
“I’m not funny,” I say. “I’m mildly sarcastic, but most people don’t actually catch on, so I generally just sound like a moron.”
“Will you shut up and accept my compliment?” He looks at me again, daring me to oppose. It’s harder than it should be to keep his gaze and not refute his words—and even harder to consider them being true.
“Prepare yourself. Prepare your walls of defense and your excuses because I’m ready. I’m ready for all of it. I’m going to be here to break down every brick you build and shatter every lie you try to believe. And tonight, after I clean up this fuckface’s mess, I’m going to sleep with you, and you’re going to forget caring about what my mother might think, or do, or say and realize me being your client means jack shit.”
I stare at him, searching for words of protest, but I can’t find a single one because more than I want to object … I want to believe him.
He grins. “By the way, I’m going to be busy for the next two weeks.”
“Apparently, I’ve got to work on my doughnut skills. That old fucker.”
I giggle so hard tears form in my eyes, and when I look across at Levi, he’s looking back at me like I’ve just hung the moon.



Mariah Dietz lives with her husband and three sons, who are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent most of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

She has a love for all things that include her family, good coffee, books, traveling, and dark chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.

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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.

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