Saturday, June 25, 2022

Featuring The Lost of Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister

Food, family, relationships, recipes....a wonderful combination, and a marvelously wonderful book...REVIEW HERE.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Spotlight and Interview of Belinda by Mark Zvonkovic



I couldn't put it down!" - Jenn Bouchard, author of FIRST COURSE
“Zvonkovic’s third novel is a compelling legal drama with heart, driven by character and offering complex corporate scheming and suspense. In Belinda, Zvonkovic layers in the tension and twists that will keep even a casual legal thriller reader’s interest piqued.” —BookLife Reviews
“When the past bleeds into the present, a lawyer and an ex-spy reunite, risking the unknown in this entertaining romantic thriller."—Clarion Reviews
“5 STARS! Belinda is a well-written, fun, and thrilling read which I read in one sitting, and yes, it's worth it!”—NetGalley Reviewer 
“A spy thriller meets legal fiction meets romance novel.” — Kirkus Reviews


Zvonkovic’s third novel is a compelling legal drama, driven by character and offering complex corporate scheming and suspense.

Belinda Larkin is married to her career, but after thirty years of work her firm is requesting that she retire.

When she gets a call from a former law partner and lover Jay Jackson, she finds herself whisked away to his beach house on
the Mexican-California border.

Unaware that her lover’s past is catching up to him, Belinda is thrown into the center of a tense legal battle between corrupt lawyers that will turn everything she knows about herself and Jay on its head.

Zvonkovic writes with a strong sense of character, including glimmering moments with punchy dialogue and a wonderfully
tumultuous reunion between Jay and Belinda, while managing to keep the various threads of the story neatly entwined and examining pressing themes of corruption, justice, and what a life adds up to.

There’s lots of heart, along with the suspense, as Belinda faces hard choices–and the possible rekindling of romance. The choice to jump between time periods and locales (one chapter is set in 2017 in California, the next in 2015 in France) makes for a sometimes jarring experience, as the suspense gets slightly derailed as the reader reorients themselves to each setting.

Despite a slow build-up, Zvokonvic layers in the tension and twists that will keep even a casual legal thriller reader’s
interest piqued.

However, an adolescent preoccupation with his female characters’ breasts proves distracting, with an unflattering description of Belinda’s passage into old age toward the end of the novel feeling unsympathetic, especially after readers have spent some 200 pages with her.

Still, Zvokonvic endeavors to capture what life in a law firm might be like for a powerful woman, noting “The men at her firm weren’t lecherous, but she often felt her body was on display” and other insights that enrich this thriller.

Takeaway: A compelling legal drama with both heart and suspense.

"BELINDA captures characters on the edges of uneasiness as they contemplate their next steps and life choices. 


Corruption and bad behavior are rampant, but there is also redemption through the possibility of romance once thought to be lost forever.


With unexpected shocks and twists, BELINDA captivates and thrills. 



Mark Zvonkovic is a writer who lives in Rosarito Beach, Baja California Mexico, with his wife Nancy and their two dogs Finn and Cooper. 
He has written three novels, and he also writes book reviews and essays that appear in online publications. 
Before retiring to Mexico, Mark practiced law for thirty-five years at three multinational law firms in Houston, Texas and New York City.
He attended college at Southern Methodist University and Boston University, and his law degree is from SMU School of Law. 
Mark grew up as an oil company brat and lived in Latin America, Texas, and New York.



1.    What was the inspiration for this book?
Character development is a focus of all of my writing. I think every person is a story of sorts, and I enjoy telling the story. I practiced law for thirty five years so I had a lot of material to use in the creation of the stories of the characters in Belinda. It was like combining all the ingredients in a very complicated recipe.

2.    And what about Belinda Larkin? Is there a real life version of her?
Oh no! She is an amalgam of many peoples I’ve known, some for many years and some only casually. Many of them weren’t even lawyers. But that’s how all of my characters are created. They start as fused together impressions and evolve with their story into people. And, of course, sometimes creative license leads to exaggeration. I mean, could a man, even a lawyer, be as entirely despicable as Patrick Brashner? But Belinda Larkin is a modern woman who is not going to make a life transition on account of anyone telling her what to do.

3.    How long did it take you to write Belinda?
A little more than two years. But I was wading my way through being a recovering lawyer during that time. I worked with an excellent editor for most of that time. At one point the novel was twice as long as it turned out. That was how I learned about the principal characters, by writing much more background material about them than was needed in the end.

4.    Where can readers find out more about you?
Information about me and my earlier novels can be found at The site also contains book reviews I have written, most of which have been published in Midwest Book Review. I have an author’s page on Facebook and also one on Goodreads.

5.    How did your past as a lawyer affect your writing of Belinda?
Primarily it was a hindrance. My editor said more times than I can remember, Stop Writing Like a Lawyer. Exactitude was definitely not my friend. It wasn’t always necessary to say how many coffee spoons were on the table. And I certainly didn’t approach it like I was writing a contract. One thing I never did as a lawyer was put my head back, close my eyes, and imagine dialogue. Perhaps, if I had, I might have been a better negotiator?

6.    What do you like most about your novels?
What keeps me writing is my love of making up characters that I hope readers will connect with. I want my characters, like Belinda Larkin, Raymond Hatcher and Larry Brown in my three novels, to move readers and get invested in what they think and feel. It’s a reason why some of these characters appear in several novels. None of the novels is meant to be a sequel of another, except to the extent that a reader is granted access to more about the lives of the characters who reappear.

7. Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite character changes when my curiosity leads me back to their personalities and life events. Obviously, Raymond Hatcher is the one I’ve thought about the most. He is the common element across the novels. But I’ve been thinking a lot about Larry Brown lately, as well as Vera, the young Croatian woman who was Raymond’s first love. In everybody’s life feelings and past events come to the surface, and the insights that accompany them can be both exhilarating and painful.


Book Blogger Hop - 6/24 - 6/30

Question of the Week:

What is your reading preference - fiction or non-fiction? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
My Answer: 
FICTION - I do not read non-fiction.

Friendly Fill-Ins - 6/24/2022


1. The grossest food  I ever ate was ___________.

2. The best-tasting food I ever had was __________.

3. I should probably _________, but I won't.

4. If I could have an unlimited supply of one item, I would pick _________.

1.  The grossest food I ever ate was - I honestly don't know because if it looked gross, I wouldn't eat it.  :)
2.  The best-tasting food I ever had was a pasta dish at Carmine's restaurant in New York had chicken with bow tie pasta.  Can't think of the name offhand.

3.  I should probably not eat sweets after dinner, but I won't.

4.  If I could have an unlimited supply of one item, I would pick garden tomatoes for sandwiches on toasted bread with basil and Mayo and a tomato salad with basil and olive oil.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White

Three women, three timelines, one house, family secrets that were to be hidden forever, and individual secrets.

We meet Andie in 2019 who is doing a makeover show in only three permitted rooms at the Sprague Mansion.

We meet Lucky in 1958 who still lives in the Sprague mansion.

We meet Ellen the music teacher in 1899 who is to make a singer out of poor Maybelle so she can be married off to an Italian Prince.

Andie is in need of money and can't lose this job. 

Lucky whose real name is Lucia and who came from Italy never fit in with the wealthy folks, but stays just to be comfortable. 

Ellen worries she will be fired if someone finds out about her past.

The book seamlessly moves from time frame to time frame as we find out about all three women and learn of their secrets, their woes, and connections.

Fans of the three W's will not be disappointed as they weave another marvelous tale with the house being the center of the story and a house that sounds amazing.

Loved the characters and the story line.

THE LOST SUMMERS OF NEWPORT is an enjoyable summer read for the fans of these authors.  5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Last Dress From Paris by Jade Beer

A search for Dior Dresses from the 1950's - how fun would that be?

Louise makes a trip to Paris on her grandmother's request to find a certain dress, but it turns into a trip to search for eight other dresses.

What she finds is someone to help her, personal notes that accompany the dresses, secrets her Grandmother Sylvie kept all these years, and of course, the gorgeous, interesting dresses that have stories of their own.

We then go back in time and meet Alice Ainsley in 1952 who is the ambassador's wife and who also has gorgeous Dior dresses and a wonderful confidante for a maid, and a husband who is not who he appeared to be.  He is cold, and she is lonely.

The loneliness leads to her visiting with a young man named Antoine.

Louise's chase to find the dresses leads to finding her grandmother's secrets, a love interest for her, and a longer stay and return to Paris.

Those readers who love Paris, who love fashion, the 1950's, and visiting with characters with complicated relationships will want to read this book.

A very enjoyable read with a bit of a mystery as grandmother’s life is unraveled. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher for an honest review.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

Meg definitely knew how to lie and to con people.

She knew how to con because of her rough childhood and having to live in a car after her mother's boyfriend conned them out of their house. 

She made it her goal to ruin him.

In the meantime, Meg would research someone in the news that had troubles, but she also made sure they had a nice place to live and money that she could make disappear into her own account. 

She always made sure her past was covered up and no one could really find out who she was.

But Kat did find her and did know her and made it her goal to ruin Meg’s life the way Meg ruined Kat’s life ten years ago.  She wants to expose Meg by writing a book about her cons. 

Can Kat do it?  Or does Meg have a plan of her own for Kat?  Meg is pretty cunning.

We follow Kat as she makes friends with Meg, as Meg investigates Kat because she doesn’t believe the story Kat tells her, as Meg keeps conning, and as they both try to seek revenge on who they want to ruin.

Will they both do what they sought to do?

My money was on Meg. She really was a major con artist with cons that were ones difficult to believe people would fall for.

Kat seemed too naive to trip up Meg.

THE LIES I TELL is a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing, have you shaking your head, and one that you won’t want to put down.  5/5

This book was given to me for an honest review.