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Auld Lang Syne | With Gratitude

Thursday, December 31, 2015


In a matter of hours, 2015 will be over. 2016 is rapidly approaching, demanding to be ushered in.

As with the close of every year, reflections and resolutions seem to be the two big things we talk about. The former leads us to think back on our year whether with smiles, regret, bittersweet memories or joy. The latter leads us to make plans with good intentions to live a different, healthier or more challenging life.

BLOG POST: Silver Screen Favorites of 2015 | Favorite Books of 2015

In many ways my life did have some shifts and changes this year. In many ways it remained entirely the same. No matter what changes or challenges we encountered, time still progressed and we are no on the precipice of that new year - a new group of 365 days to try and meet those resolutions! *wink*

Most important, I hope whatever we experienced in this crazy thing called life, we learned lessons.

As always, I am grateful to all of you for a fun year of conversations, fangirl moments, challenging discussions (most of which you all posted to your blogs), and the fabulous book blogging community you all make up. Thanks so much for another great year on DUTSM. It's because of you this blog changes - no matter the form, whether that be growth or new content. I'm eager to see what you amazing blogging friends have in store for 2016, and to continue to meet new people in this community. Thank you for hanging out here since 2011. It's been a journey.

Whatever this past year brought for you, I hope you welcome this New Year with joy and a refreshed perspective.

Wishing you a joyous New Year.

Now, grab some bubbly (for me that consists of sparkling juice), a top hat (preferably one with glitter) and let's begin that countdown....


Happy New Year!

Silver Screen Favorites of 2015 | Of Princes and Yellow Creatures

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

 
Each year one of the things I look forward to with great anticipation is putting together my list of “favorites” from the year. Today, my topic of choice just happens to be favorite films and the new television shows I either discovered in 2015 or were new shows for the year.
 
In looking back I was surprised by how many entertaining films did appear at the box office. There weren’t a lot that “blew me away” (keeping in mind I have yet to see several blockbusters – lots of which showed up under my tree, and period dramas I was interested in see) akin to films that are truly great, but nonetheless, I’m a simple girl who is easy to please when it comes to a trip to the movies. The artsy movie scene, which usually has more to them aren’t my cup of tea. This is why the blockbusters are most often my brand of happy. 

When Calls the Heart, New Year's Wish (2015)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

 
The Hallmark Channel has produced many an original over the years. Originals that ranged from the genres of romantic comedies and historical romances to television series. One thing all of their titles share in commonality is their ability to be wholesome. Their latest gem follows in that path. After the events of the season two finale, fans (or “Hearties” as they are more commonly known) were holding their breath for what would come of Elizabeth's and Jack’s continuing on-and-off again romance. This first two-hour episode begins the third season and with it, a new agreement is reached.  

Seasons Greetings

Friday, December 25, 2015


Good morning, dear readers and friends! Today another Christmas day is upon us. With that arrives the "most wonderful time of the year," which at my house involves the entire month of December straight through to New Years (our idea of a good time involves nights in watching copious amounts of Christmas films which my #BookBesties can totally attest too!). Today, a quiet day spent at home is in the plans since, as I mentioned in this week's Top Ten Tuesday post, we won't be seeing family for Christmas celebrations until January. As is the family tradition, a yummy meal will be prepared, gifts will be opened and Christmas movies watched.

I hope whatever you have planned with your family and friends, you enjoy a wonderful, special kind of Christmas as well as a fantastic rest of the holiday season. Whether you have snow or not (if you're anything like us, you're overrun with rain!), a small or large gathering, I wish you the happiest of holidays (and for my fellow book nerds, maybe a new book or two).
Merry Christmas
PS; thank you to everyone who continues to read DUTSM, and for all of the lovely
comments. Replies to the comments from this week unanswered will arrive soon!

Top Ten Tuesday ǀ Dear Santa

Monday, December 21, 2015


In the recent years, it’s become something of a tradition to write my bookish wishlist to Santa. This is inspired by the fabulous Top Ten Tuesday meme which is a weekly bookish meme. The day has again arrived that we are allowed to pen those letters to Santa thanks to said meme. 

The Proposal by Becky Wade


About the Book:
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author Promotion
Publication Date: 2015
 Series: Porter Family, #3.5
Genre: Fiction; Christmas Romance Novella
Rating: 4 out of 5
Find the Review elsewhere:
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads  

 
What began in Undeniably Yours draws to a swoon-worthy close in this sweet novella that is more “chapter story” than anything else. Without breaking itself into sections, this scene-long story gives us a peek into the lives of two characters we began to root for in A Love Like Ours, Becky last Porter family novel. The story is as simplistically sweet as it is perfect, about single mom Amber and the kind (not to mention good-looking) single father fireman Will, who captures her guarded heart. Having been dating for seven months, Amber and Will have discussed their future, but recently Will hasn’t been as excited about that future leading Amber to doubt what’s next. A flat tire, walk in the rain and Christmas carols are all involved in what comes next – which is, of course perfectly festive.  

Romantic TV Spotlight | Downton Abbey's Mary and Matthew and a Long Awaited Proposal

Sunday, December 20, 2015


In a matter of days, the gorgeous period drama Downton Abbey will end its six-year reign of making us smile, exhale in frustration, swoon over a beautiful declaration and breaking our hearts. Across the pond, the finale of the sixth season is set to premiere at the end of this week and with it, a small part of my fan-girl loving heart is tangled in bittersweet knots. Having watched nearly the entire sixth season, I feel like this season has hit a happier stride that suits the show. Alas, for now, this is all Julian Fellowes has written for us.

Christmas Land (2015)


Tonight is a bittersweet one in the world of TV land. Or at least it is for the Christmas movie fan girls among us. Tonight is Hallmark Channel’s final premiere of the 2015 Countdown to Christmas season. The script follows Jules Cooper (Nikki DeLoach), a New York city girl who inherits her grandmother’s “Christmas Land,” a holiday-themed family tourist spot that has brought joy to many lives over the years. Having been gone since she was a child – without a recent visit, Jules decides to visit her property with plans of selling it without looking back. 

The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Thursday, December 17, 2015

 
About the Book:
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Contemporary  
Rating: 4 out of 5

Some of the best stories can go full out “whimsy” and it’s a strategy that will serve them well. This is one of them. The darling premise and fabulous characters makes this recently released novel an easy-going piece of charm anyone can thoroughly enjoy. It all begins with a luxury cruise on which high school senior Liza travels for one purpose only – never mind all the fun that comes with the luxury cruise, Destiny. Liza has arrived on board with a purpose that includes ensuring her school band continues to receive funding by winning the $25,000 talent show prize. Only trouble is, Liza is keeping this pressure from her band mates turning her into a crazed director and to complicate matters more, Liza’s camp crush Lenny appears on the scene. Destiny has more than a few pranks in store for Liza. 

Top Ten Tuesday ǀ Favorite Book Covers of 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015


As it is well documented on Dreaming Under the Same Moon, we make a big “to-do” about the books, films and telly show’s that were among this fangirl’s favorites of the year. This is why, while I love today’s Top 10 Tuesday topic, I’ve opted to do something a little different. But the topic rules do always for anything that’s a “best” list, so there is that. (And this means, technically, today I’m not really breaking the rules.) 

Dashing Through the Snow (2015) - Romantic (Mis)Adventures at Christmastime

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Anytime a movie can sprinkle in some fun mystery, an entertaining time is sure to be discovered inside whatever cute world is waiting. Sure to up the game is the co-mingling of a Christmas script with said cozy mystery. That’s just what tonight’s new Christmas film premiere is all about.  

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas (2015)

Saturday, December 12, 2015


As the new premieres of 2015 wind down for this year’s Hallmark Channel TV flicks of holiday cheer - *insert sad face* - their latest chronicles a series of gifts, a scrooge of a hero (with good reason) and the return of some familiar faces. The story follows Maggie Chalke (Broke Nevin, Come Dance at my Wedding), an idealistic journalist working at her home town’s smaller newspaper offices. As a freshman in college, Maggie met Mitch O’Grady (Robin Dunne, Aurora Teagarden) and ever since – some ten years later, she has wondered what happened to him. Turns out, Mitch is now in her hometown with his own radio show, but beyond that, he’s a completely different man.

Books and Beverages │ The Shoppe + Giveaway

Friday, December 11, 2015

It's been said dozens of times, but no matter the many (many) times I have said it and will continue to say it, the book blogging (and blogging in general) community is fantastic. The people I've come to know and those who I admire in this community are kind (generously willing to help), fun and passionate about what they do not to mention insanely talented. It's for these reasons and so many more that I get excited when I learn one of my blogging buddies is venturing into something new whether that be publishing a novel or launching some sort of new project.

MEET THE BLOGGER: Jamie + Historical Fiction


Today I have the pleasure of helping to spread the word for Jamie's new venture. Many of you will know Jamie from her blog Books and Beverages. In addition to her fabulous talent as a blogger, Jamie has launched The Shoppe. What is the Shoppe? Well, I'm glad you asked! The Shoppe is a unique book blogger's paradise. In The Shoppe, you can find lovely Inklinks items (including iPad covers!), book marks and perhaps, the coolest item (from a book blogger's perspective) is the Book Blogger's Planner. Seriously, this item is amazing.

Silver Petticoat │15 Hallmark Channel Christmas Originals

Thursday, December 10, 2015


As has been well documented, I'm a bit of a Hallmark movie addict. My archives here suggest this as does my file drives. This is why I decided to follow up my 15 Hallmark Channel Romances list with one exclusive to the Christmas season. Yes, that's right, I compiled a list of 15 Hallmark Channel films to enjoy at Christmas time because, well, they're centered on Christmas with plenty of romance.

BLOG PAGE: Christmas Film Archives

This time of year, I tend to binge watch them. So of course, in pursuit of that, over the many years, I've amassed several on DVD. Below you can find the opening of said list with links to the Silver Petticoat list. Have a look and if you like, comment or share about your favorites. As you know, I'm always ready to chat about any new Hallmark flick.

A Royal Night Out (2015) - Cinderella-Esque Period Drama about Queen Elizabeth

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Once in a while there are films that tiptoe past our notice. It’s not too often that this happens to me with British films because I could be considered a bit obsessive about reading up on them and seeing all of the latest. This was not one of those films. I ran across it quite by chance (I think it was somehow connected to its lead actress, Sarah Gadon, whom I’d seen in other things). When I learned what it was about, I knew it was bound to be a must see. 

As the film opens, the image we see is a young Princess Elizabeth (played by Gadon). Standing at the window of Buckingham Palace, she observes the celebratory events of the May 1945 day, otherwise known as VE Day. For years, the royal family has stood united at every prominent appearance and certainly for every one of their father’s speeches, but tonight Elizabeth and her sister Margaret (Bel Powley) want to spend a night out among the people. They wish to mingle with the crowd and experience life, an idea their mother (Emily Watson) irrefutably refuses but their father (Rupert Everett) gives in. With excitement, the girls dress up and head out into the thrilling, unfamiliar and new world seeing it as they’ve never before experienced.  

Giveaway and Cover Reveal │ Herringford and Watts Mysteries

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Afternoon, dear readers. Today is a very good day. Today, I get to play a small role in introducing you to a debut author and the amazing series she's written. Rachel McMillan is a fabulous blogger and writer who I met through the little online publication called Femnista. In the last year or so, I learned that she was going to be putting that writing talent to paper as a published author. Needless to say, I was thrilled for her. As the months went by and we learned more and more about Rachel's series, I grew more and more excited. Last week, Rachel's series launched with the release of her novella, A Singular and Whimsical Problem. Let me tell you, I can honestly say, it's smashing, friends. Lots of fun sleuthing and of course, plenty of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson vibes.

But that's not all there is to today's post (there is actually quite a lot), so let's keep it going.

NOVELLA REVIEW: A Singular and Whimsical Problem by Rachel McMillan

Herringford and Watts Mysteries 

A Singular and Whimsical Problem
 
 Christmas, 1910. Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts would be enjoying the season a lot more if they weren’t forced to do their own laundry and cooking. Just as they are adapting to their trusty housekeeper’s ill-timed vacation, they are confronted by the strangest mystery they’ve encountered since they started their private investigation firm.


In this bonus e-only novella, what begins as the search for a missing cat leads to a rabble-rousing suffragette and the disappearance of several young women from St. Jerome’s Reformatory for Incorrigible Females. From the women’s courts of City Hall to Toronto’s seedy docks and into the cold heart of the underground shipping industry, this will be the most exciting Christmas the girls have had yet…if they can stay alive long enough to enjoy it. - Goodreads
 
 
The Bachelor Girls Guide to Murder
 
In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever--if they can stay alive long enough to do so.
  
 

Rachel has a second novella cover to reveal, and she asked about featuring that here. Naturally, I say YES! Because a.) I'm a huge cover candy snob and b.) the cover team at Harvest House couldn't have designed a more perfect concept for the series. Before having a peek at that new cover, let's hear from Rachel.

I am really excited to share the first glimpse at the next novella-sized Herringford and Watts story releasing June 2016.  I am an avid reader of Rissi’s blog and I thought it would be so fun to do a giveaway and a cover reveal here.    

I have a digital copy of ASingular and Whimsical Problem to share with a lucky winner but also a print copy of The Bachelor Girl’s Guideto Murder which releases March 1.

Of Dubious and Questionable Memory takes Jem Watts and Merinda Herringford from Toronto to Boston, Massachusetts and to Concord! Jem is especially excited because Concord was the home of Louisa May Alcott, writer of some of her favourite stories, including Little Women.

Unfortunately, pre-order links are not ready for this fun novella yet but keep in touch on my twitterfacebook and blog and I will keep you posted!

You can also follow me on instagram!

This is the FIRST place I am sharing this cover and draft of the unfinalized cover copy so I hope you enjoy this exclusive sneak peek.

The Herringford and Watts business is never lacking clients nor mysteries of the curious and the commonplace. Lately, however, business has been a little less curious and a little more dull: with little beyond a missing necklace and a kidnapped rooster to keep Merinda in deductive mode. Merinda may be bored stiff; but the newly married Jem welcomes the reprieve from danger and the opportunity to improve her limited domestic skills.

Excitement soon arrives in a telegram from the girls' suffragette friend Martha Kingston. Martha's school chum Miri Winthrop was entertaining her cousin Del in historic Boston when she went missing during a day trip to Concord.

Receiving no help from the authorities state-side, Miri turns to Martha who, in turn, recommends Herringford and Watts. When Merinda and Jem arrive in America, they are plunged into a world of strange affairs, purloined letters and a baffling mystery that lies in the heart of Orchard House, the homestead made famous by its long-time resident, Louisa May Alcott. 

Without further ado, let's have a look at the cover.
 
...Drumroll please...


Don't you love this cover? It fits perfectly with the other novels in the series not to mention with the stories themselves.

(CLOSED)

- Giveaway Details -
 
But wait that's not ALL for today's blog post! Rachel is also giving away a copy of her novella, plus a copy of her debut novel, The Bachelor Girls Guide to Murder. What does this mean for you? All you have to do to enter is leave a comment (make sure your email addy is included) down below. Want to talk about your favorite Sherlock adaptation or story? Go for it! Have an amazing book your reading and you want to shout from the rooftops about it? That goes to. We're all about the amazing bookish and fangirl-y things here. So comment away. This one is open to U.S and Canada readers only.

And best of luck to all who enter.

A Singular and Whimsical Problem by Rachel McMillan

 
About the Book:
Author: Rachel McMillan
Publisher: Harvest House
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: Herringford and Watts Mysteries, .5
Genre: Fiction; Historical Novella
Rating: 5 out of 5 

Ever since I learned fellow blogger was writing a book, I was as usual, thrilled. Not only that, but that same blogger was also publishing said book with Harvest House. As time passed, Rachel shared more details about her upcoming novel and eventually we learned it was not just a novel, but a series of books. All of which begins with this novella. Coming in at a mere 54 pages (there's no shortage of amazing), this novella introduces us to Jem and Merinda. Two women living in 1900s Toronto, who are not only unconventional (to say nothing of their lack of proper pursuits like keeping a home for a husband), they are also consulting detectives.

One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg - A Hallmark-esque Novella with Charm for Days


About the Book:
Author: Melissa Tagg
Publisher: Indie Published
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ  Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Genre: Fiction; Christmas, Novella
Rating: ★★★★★

If you've read any of my reviews, you'll have probably recognized one of my more popular reading habits steers towards the lighthearted and happy. If ever there were a time when this would be truer than is routine, that'd be the Christmas season. It's fortunate then that one of my all-time favorite romantic-comedy authors has written a sweet as sugar novella to pair with the holiday season.

Giveaway │ Christmas Novellas + Movies

Monday, December 7, 2015


Hello! Within the next 24 hours we have not one but two giveaway features - and if I do say, both of these books and their respective authors are amazing! Starting now, the line up of posts on the blog is a little excessive. Later, we have a special post that will revolve around Rachel McMillan's new series, but since I planned to give away a copy of Melissa Tagg's novella and I thought Rachel's novella was smashing, I couldn't very well leave it out. This means, you have two chances to win A Singular and Whimsical Problem on the blog. (The details of the second giveaway arrive later.) If you're looking for some sweet and Christmas-y reads, these giveaways are perfect for you - and they'll end in plenty of time for some fireside reading.

GIVEAWAY + COVER REVEAL│ Herringford and Watts Mysteries (GO ENTER!)

Before you can read up on all of the novella details (or more accurately what you can win), let's get these pesky giveaway rules out of the way.

The giveaway(s) is open to all readers. But if you are outside the U.S., by entering you're agreeing to accept a gifted Kindle version of the book; U.S. readers will have the option of choosing Kindle or paperback (when applicable). I do ask that anyone who leaves a comment under "anonymous," please leave the same name you enter into the widget in your comment - it's not easy to try and match comments when there is no name and in fairness to everyone else, I want to be able to be sure everyone who used the Rafflecopter correctly has a fair chance at winning against those who abuse it - there have been a few people I could not verify. So please, I don't mean to overwhelm, but just keep this in mind when entering future giveaways. I'd sure appreciate it! Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification before another winner is randomly chosen.

If you are entering both giveaways, one comment down below will count as an entry for both giveaways, provided you reflect that in your Rafflecopter entries.

To be entered in the giveaway, just enter as much or as little as you like into the Rafflecopter widget, which you'll find down below. The giveaway ends December 12th.


One Enchanted Christmas


Last December, mystery author Maren Grant had the most perfect night of her life. On a glimmering winter evening, she got to watch the photo shoot for her very first book and ended up on a magical date with the cover model himself—Colin Renwycke.

Fast forward one year. This December, with a looming deadline, restless spirit and her creative spark long since gone, Maren is desperate to get unstuck. And she can’t get Colin out of her head…or his year-old open invitation to spend a couple weeks writing at his family’s farm.

Drew Renwycke never planned to come home and take over the Renwycke family farm. But he’s spent too many years watching his siblings unravel, including his brother, Colin, after one terrible family mistake. If moving to Maple Valley, Iowa, renovating an old farmhouse and switching careers is what it takes to put the Renwycke family back together, he’ll do it.

But his simple plan upends when a scrappy author lands on his doorstep. And she just might be the key to coaxing his brother home. But what if he wants her all to himself? Drew will have to choose between his Christmas wish and the enchantment of a holiday romance that just might be the happy ending they all long for. - Amazon

AmazonGoodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Singular and Whimsical Problem


Christmas, 1910. Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts would be enjoying the season a lot more if they weren’t forced to do their own laundry and cooking. Just as they are adapting to their trusty housekeeper’s ill-timed vacation, they are confronted by the strangest mystery they’ve encountered since they started their private investigation firm.

In this bonus e-only novella, what begins as the search for a missing cat leads to a rabble-rousing suffragette and the disappearance of several young women from St. Jerome’s Reformatory for Incorrigible Females. From the women’s courts of City Hall to Toronto’s seedy docks and into the cold heart of the underground shipping industry, this will be the most exciting Christmas the girls have had yet…if they can stay alive long enough to enjoy it. - Goodreads


AmazonGoodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to winning a copy of these novellas (Kindle), if the winner(s) has a U.S. address, they will also win a Hallmark Channel Christmas film. Why? Because why not!? It's all about the Christmas cheer and both of these novellas are centered around Christmas... so there is that.

The winner will have their choice of films from the list below:

- The Best Christmas Party Ever
- The Christmas Card
- The Christmas Ornament
- Crown for Christmas
- The Nine Lives of Christmas
- A Princess for Christmas
- 'Tis the Season for Love
- A Very Merry Mix Up

Best of luck to you all.

Top Ten Tuesday ǀ 2015’s New-To-Me Authors

 
Though it’s not an impressive feat for most readers, I did actually accomplish reading some novels by authors I’ve long since wished to try. For that, I was a little bit proud of myself.  

Spectre (2015)

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Despite the countless times I’ve seen the promotion for the inevitable new-film-every-few-years, the James Bond films have never been something I’ve gone to experience in the theater. This year, that changed. A random Saturday morning discussion led to an afternoon showing and I walked out of the theater having enjoyed an entertaining 2 ½ hours sitting in a theater seat complete with a bag of popcorn.
 
Since M’s death, James Bond (Daniel Craig) has been working on one last thing for her. You see, she left him a last request, one more mission, if you will. The first step leads him to Mexico where he has to take out someone in pursuit of obtaining his first clue. Cryptic though the clues are, this leads to a silver ring with a symbol on it. His latest national incident angers M (Ralph Fiennes) who expects more from his best agent. Of course, this means that M orders new precautions be taken the first of which is sidelining Bond and the second involves Q (Ben Whitshaw) implanting cutting edge tracking technology in 007.

Eventually, after getting a favor from Q and stealing some cool gadgets (things James has no access to given his temporary timeout), investigation leads him to Madeline (Léa Seydoux). A prominent psychiatrist who also happens to be the daughter of an assassin, she may have the answers to complete this mission. A journey that might not only be 007’s last but also that of the program he has so faithfully served.

FILM REVIEW: Skyfall (2012)
   

Aside from Skyfall, I’ve never seen a Bond film in full. What I have seen are scattered bits and pieces of other films from the franchise, and of course I am familiar with the “legend” that is James Bond. Part of this is just from reading about the films and in part because I did watch the BBC adaptation about his creator, Ian Flemming in Flemming: The Man who Would be Bond. For only my second film in this, Hollywood’s longest running franchise I must admit Spectre was amazing. The concept and lighter script did wonders for the character of James Bond not to mention for the franchise itself.

I don’t remember Skyfall in full, but it seems what I do remember was that it was complex and left little time for anyone to take a breath. Spectre adopted a lighter tone by, ironically, digging into its heroes psyche. While the film is kind of an ode to doing right by M (famously played by Judi Dench in prior films), this also became an exploration of Bond’s past. I don’t think many films have done this, or at least not as seen in Craig’s era. James Bond is the kind of character who keeps to the shadows where his past is concerned. The way the writer’s wove the two stories together was fun as was the entire scope of the film.


As is superior to any Bond film, the cast is dynamite. I’m not Craig’s biggest fan (I could take him or leave him), but do believe he does this role justice. He’s got that “icy” cool demeanor that works to sell the role of a spy. Seeing Finnes, Whitshaw (I nearly exclaimed when I saw his face as my new addiction is BBC’s The Hour), Andrew Scott (Sherlock), Christoph Waltz, and Lea were fantastic as everyone played their roles to as near perfection as could be. There wasn’t a weak link in the cast. Naomie Harris also returned as Moneypenny which was great fun. I was disappointed she wasn’t more involved than she was because her character has more to contribute (her part in the unraveling also wasn’t explained as it should have been).

I also appreciated the role Lea played in this film. Sure she was a pretty face but the writer’s gave her a more important role than merely being arm candy for our notorious 007. She had a purpose and a good one at that. She triggered something in James as a person instead of merely being the means to an end for this iconic spy, and I respected that. Whether or not anything will be made of it (or if it’ll be a happy conclusion) in the next Bond outing is entirely another matter. But for now, at least, there is reason to smile at the credits rolling. Anything else is a story for another day.

The glitz and glamour of these films is a trademark and Spectre is no different. There are cool cars, beautiful evening wear and an overall sophistication that cannot be pinned down or attributed to any one fact. But then, that’s what a fun blockbuster film with a well-tailored man in a suit can achieve.

(Content: there are a handful of sensual scenes that involve zippers being undone and passionate kissing before the camera cuts away, leaving the rest to the imagination. James is seen leaving a woman’s room [he’s dressed, she’s sitting on the bed in lingerie]. There are lots of explosions and tense hand-to-hand combat scenes – including many that end in death. One situation also involves torture [needles inserted into the brain]. The film is rated PG13.)

Told You So by Kristen Heitzmann

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


About the Book:
Publisher: bHd Books
Source: Author Provided (Launch Team)
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Series: Told You, Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Fiction, Indie
Rating: 5 out of 5 

I still remember reading my first novel by Kristen Heitzmann. It came about thanks to the INSPY Awards and the specific book was The Breath of Dawn. Needless to say and without getting into detail, I was wonderstruck by it. That was three years ago and since then, there has been nothing new from this talented author. Until now. Now, Kristen Heitzmann is revisiting the title of author in a big way: she has joined the ranks of Indie authors. Her first Indie book just released and is as delightful as one would expect.  

The story chronicles best-selling author Grace Evangeline. Her path crosses with playwright Devin Bressard, a man who believes Grace’s novels are anything but worth their status. This immediately pits the pair as kind of enemies which is inconvenient since Grace and Devin are tapped to write a play together by aging producer, a woman in need of a new off-Broadway success. As tensions mount between this unlikely pair, their passion leads to life-changing events. Whether they like it or not, their hearts may never be the same. 

Told You So is certainly its own story however the one thing that did flitter across my mind while reading through its quick-witted barbs were reflections of Darcy and Elizabeth. The story is completely different, but the structure of the lead characters is very reminiscent of the fan favorite and iconic literary couple. The bickering between Grace and Devin is beyond brilliantly imagined and composed. Words fail to describe my feelings of this. Kristen knows all of the right bits of dialogue to craft so that the entire novel really feels like one marathon string of witty dialogue montages and it really reads like that as well. This book was so impressive and entertaining, counterbalancing the elegant prose with an equally sophisticated plot that exceeded my expectation of this novel. 

The shift that happens at approximately the halfway point left me stunned. Not in a bad way, rather in an unexpected-plot-twist kind of way. The simmering between the characters was one thing, but because of who they were and what I’d come to expect of their behavior, where the book led was a bend that completely shifts the otherwise clever albeit humorous attitude the novel had adopted. Not to be slighted, the characters are also more than just the exquisite wit. Kristen places a depth to these characters that too frequently is missing from the lines of romantic-comedy. Grace isn’t the average “pretty face” her made up persona would suggest and Devin, well, he’s not the man your first impression might draw of him.  


If you liked Kristen’s prior novels, be sure you pick up a copy of Told You So. It’s a grown-up kind of romance that the author had the freedom to explore and push further than she’d have had with traditional publishing. The balance between the give-and-take and knowing where to pause is well executed as is the sense of complexity the book puts out. Much as I enjoyed reading my Kindle copy, this is one book I will be adding in paperback to my bookshelf because it effortlessly earned its place among my favorites. This is one book I heartily anticipate re-reading because it’s one novel that – I believe, will only grow more and more engaging as I’ve a feeling I missed some of the cleverness. Simply put, when there is that much volleying, a reread is bound to allow a reader to catch missed nuances. 


Content note: this book would be rated PG13 though it never crosses into graphic territory, instead remaining classy at all times. If you’ve read Kristen’s Breath of Dawn, you have an idea of the reason why though anyone who prefers clean fiction might wish to be aware there is some adult subject matter and implications to deal with.

Synopsis: From the minute Grace Evangeline throws her sweet tea in Devin Bressard’s face, their battle of wits and cross-purposes overtakes their lives. Sassy “angelic” Grace Evangeline will stop at nothing to see her romance novel produced for Broadway. Devin Bressard knows all about the commercial success of Ms. Evangeline’s “novels”—as far from his literary, nerve-striking plays as anything could be. Grace intends to pull his head out of the rarefied air long enough to make her point, even if it involves stalking him and infiltrating his friends and colleagues. It’s research, after all. Devin knows she’s trouble, but who would guess the spokesperson for strength and virtue would be a calamity vortex? He mounts a fierce resistance, but when he’s forced to work with Grace, his profession and sanity aren’t the only things at risk. Collapsing walls on both sides bring a detente that could shatter their bond—or resound through more lives than their own. - Goodreads

Coming Next from Kristen Heitzmann, Told You Twice arrives in 2016! 

Sincere thanks to the author (and Rel) for providing a complimentary e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes.
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