Review of The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear with Giveaway


About The Space Between Sisters

Return to Butternut Lake with New York Times bestselling author Mary McNear in a story where the complicated bonds of sisterhood are tested.

They are two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Win, organized and responsible, plans her life with care. Poppy, impulsive and undependable, leaves others to pick up the pieces. But despite their differences, they share memories of the idyllic childhood summers they spent together on the shores of Butternut Lake. Now, thirteen years later, Win, recovering from a personal tragedy, has taken refuge on Butternut Lake, settling into a predictable and quiet life.

Then one night, Poppy unexpectedly shows up on her sister’s doorstep with her suitcases, an aging cat named Sasquatch, and a mysterious man in tow. Although Win loves her beautiful sister, she wasn’t expecting her to move in for the summer. At first, they relive the joys of Butternut Lake. But their blissful nostalgia soon gives way to conflict and painful memories, and buried secrets threaten to tear the sisters apart.

As the waning days of summer get shorter, past secrets are revealed, new love is found, and the ties between the sisters are tested like never before . . . all on the serene shores of Butternut Lake.

My Thoughts

Great story of two sisters, as different as different can be. Despite dissimilarities their bond is strong, past heartbreaking, always there for one another as sisters should be, albeit in this instance one is grounded more than the other providing a safe haven of sorts. Reconnecting, a dark secret revealed, healing, romance, all exposed and addressed under the allure and magical spell of Butternut Lake.

A few incredibly touching and tender moments, affecting end result. Assemblage of characters along with their sketches made this a favorite of mine in the series.

Another enjoyable read taking place at Butternut Lake, as always a great cast and subject matter create a warm and fuzzy end result.

About Mary McNearMary-McNear

Mary McNear, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Butternut Lake series, writes in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. Mary bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

Connect with Mary on Facebook.


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Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 14, 2016)

Win the Entanglement Series by Katie Rose Guest Pryal

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Review of The Creepshow by Adria J. Cimino with Giveaway


About The Creepshow

An empowering story of friendship, love and one woman’s fight against workplace discrimination.

Wanda Julienne was the perfect employee. Until she had a baby.

Wanda, a thirtysomething single mother, would love to spend more time with her newborn daughter, and maybe even rekindle the flame she once had with her baby’s father. Instead, she’s stuck fighting discrimination and harassment at her horrid job.

After maternity leave, Wanda returns to her fund manager position and finds her world turned upside down. Suddenly, everything she does seems wrong—at least in the eyes of management. Add in a dose of sexual harassment, and Wanda, who can’t afford to lose her job, is trapped.

At home, the situation isn’t much brighter. Wanda struggles to balance her baby’s needs and her tough work schedule. Her best friend, Galina, and the ex-boyfriend Wanda never thought would return, Max, offer support, but the attention only suffocates her.

Wanda turns her back and isolates herself, submerged in a downward spiral, until Galina suggests a way out—but the exit won’t be without drastic consequences.

A novel of the glass ceiling: one working mother’s story of fighting sexual harassment, employment discrimination, workplace bullying and sexism so that she finally has time for her baby—and a chance at love. Fans of Biglaw by Lindsay Cameron and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg will enjoy the empowerment and triumph over workplace discrimination in this novel.

My Thoughts

Reading this book really hit home for me, I was once in Wanda’s shoes.

Cimino tackled a touchy topic seldom addressed with realistic ease, reading more nonfiction than fiction. The plot explores discrimination in its ugliest form as well as a detailed sketch of Wanda’s turmoil and emotional rollercoaster as she struggles with sexism along with single motherhood, not excluding her recent breakup.

Wanda is a woman of strength. She’s independent, prideful and determined. Attempting to balance career and motherhood, she soon discovers its difficulties. I must say I felt tremendous empathy towards Wanda, as the story unravels it was difficult witnessing her stumble due to her own devices. Luckily those closest to her expressed support and sound advice and she eventually discovers asking for help, making tough decisions is not a sign of weakness. No doubt Wanda is a character a majority of women will identify with as those juggling career and family strive to be superwoman tacking on much more than necessary because asking for help is unimaginable for a multitude of reasons.

Striking me the most, there was a fleeting moment when Wanda felt she must tolerate with her unacceptable and hostile work environment before it unraveled further given her situation as single parent. I experienced the same thought when I was a corporate slave….until I came to my senses much like Wanda.

A gritty, raw look examining discrimination, with all certitude women will identify with on one level or another. Cimino possess a gift with stellar characterization paired with a smart plot forcing the reader to suppose, her writing style convincing.

About Adria J. Ciminoimage

Adria J. Cimino is the author of Amazon Best- Selling novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs and Close to Destiny, as well as The Creepshow (release April 2016) and A Perfumer’s Secret (release May 2016).

She also co-founded boutique publishing house Velvet Morning Press. Prior to jumping into the publishing world full time, she spent more than a decade as a journalist at news organizations including The AP and Bloomberg News. Adria is a member of Tall Poppy Writers, which unites bright authors with smart readers.


One Amazon $10 gift card. Open Internationally. Ends 6/16/16.

Published April 11th 2016 by Velvet Morning Press

Review of The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro with Giveaway


About The Sun in Your Eyes

For quiet, cautious and restless college freshman Vivian Feld real life begins the day she moves in with the enigmatic Lee Parrish—daughter of died-too-young troubadour Jesse Parrish and model-turned-fashion designer Linda West—and her audiophile roommate Andy Elliott.

When a one-night stand fractures Lee and Andy’s intimate rapport, Lee turns to Viv, inviting her into her glamorous fly-by-night world: an intoxicating mix of Hollywood directors, ambitious artists, and first-class everything. It is the beginning of a friendship that will inexorably shape both women as they embark on the rocky road to adulthood.

More than a decade later, Viv is married to Andy and hasn’t heard from Lee in three years. Suddenly, Lee reappears, begging for a favor: she wants Viv to help her find the lost album Jesse was recording before his death. Holding on to a life-altering secret and ambivalent about her path, Viv allows herself to be pulled into Lee’s world once again. But the chance to rekindle the magic and mystery of their youth might come with a painful lesson: While the sun dazzles us with its warmth and brilliance, it may also blind us from seeing what we really need.

What begins as a familiar story of two girls falling under each other’s spell evolves into an evocative, and at times irrepressibly funny, study of female friendship in all its glorious intensity and heartbreaking complexity.

My Review

A story examining the dynamics of friendship. I found myself taking inventory of my friendships to see if I am easily influenced, passive, questioning if power and/or control exists, luckily my relationships are well balance.

I found it interesting after a ‘falling out’ which led to a considerable amount of time apart, these two pick up the pieces, albeit with suspicion and questions not to mention guilt, as if a monumental interruption never occurred – betrayal isn’t easy to digest. They do wrestle with their reconnection as the story unfolds. Lee clearly the leader, Viv the follower. The duo rekindles their fragile friendship for their own reasons – known and unknown.

I enjoyed the legendary Jesse Parrish and the rock references along with Lee’s quest to learn more of her deceased father Jesse.

I do wish the plot focused less on Lee and Viv’s past friendship and more on their interaction now. The alternating of ‘then’ and ‘now’ became distracting. Difficult to bond with protagonists, simply too much telling and not nearly enough showing.

Fans enjoying a well written exploration of friendship and relationships in general will want to make room on their TBR.

About Deborah ShapiroDeborah-Shapiro-photo-credit-Lewis-McVey

Deborah Shapiro was born and raised outside of Boston, Massachusetts. A graduate of Brown University, she spent several years in New York working at magazines, including New York and ELLE, and her work has been published in Open City, Washington Square Review, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other places. She lives with her husband and son in Chicago. The Sun in Your Eyes is her first novel.

Follow Deborah on Twitter.


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Publisher: William Morrow (June 28, 2016)

Review of All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank with Giveaway


About All Summer Long

Dorothea Benton Frank novels are smart and witty fiction that readers want on their bookshelf: soulful, edgy stories about realistic characters familiar to us all that explore the most deeply felt moments of life with wry humor and heart.

All Summer Long follows one charming New York couple–prominent interior designer Olivia Ritchie and her husband, Nicholas Seymour, an English professor and true southern gentleman. They are seemingly polar opposites, yet magnetically drawn together and have been in love for more than fourteen years.

As they prepare to relocate to Charleston, South Carolina, Olivia, the ultimate New Yorker, has reservations about the promise she made to retire in the Lowcountry, where Nick wants to return home and lead a more peaceful life. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, and downsizing. Nick is ecstatic. Olivia is not. She can’t let Nick know that their finances are not what he thought. Her client list is evaporating, their monetary reserves are dwindling, and maybe that house she picked out on Sullivans Island needs too much work. Thank God for her assistant, Roni Larini, her right (and sometimes left) hand.

As they find themselves pondering the next step of their lives, Olivia and Nick travel with her billionaire clients and their friends and are swept up in the world of the ultra-rich, exploring the globe with a cast of zany eccentrics over one tumultuous, hot summer. All as Olivia grapples with what lies ahead for her and Nick.

This is a story of how plans evolve and lives change in unexpected ways, how even those who have everything are still looking for something more. Even the most successful people can often struggle to keep things together. All Summer Long asks the ultimate question: Can money buy happiness? From Sullivans Island to Necker Island to Nantucket to the beaches of Southern Spain, we’ll come to recognize the many faces of true love; love that deepens and endures, but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. And that leap changes everything.

My Thoughts

Frank reminds us there’s more to life than possessions, money, reinforcing happiness cannot be bought.

I really enjoyed Olivia and Nick, their love, strong marriage. When turbulence hits, they work it out in a constructive manner, heal their wounds and move forward. A couple understanding forgiveness, commitment and the importance of communication.

Wasn’t a huge fan of uber wealthy Bob and Maritza, although their trivial issues and vapidity added plenty of entertainment and excitement. In the end, this troubled couple inadvertently taught Olivia and Nick what’s important along with being thankful for what you have and don’t have. Surprisingly Bob and Maritza learn a few lessons and promises are made.

Frank always crafts such lush atmospheric reads, you’ll enjoy Sullivan Island, New York and Necker Island along with rich architectural details both interior and exterior, tid bits of Lowcountry history as well. You feel the sea air on your skin, the rhythmic swaying of the yacht as you romp along with Olivia and Nick and their privileged pals all summer long.

Fun beach read, especially fans of lifestyles of the rich and famous and all the nuances accompanying the burden.

Dorothea Benton FrankAbout Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.

Find her on the web at, or like her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


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Publisher: William Morrow (May 31, 2016)

Review of Daughters of the Lake by Jane Riddell


About Daughters of the Lake

Daughters of the Lake is a contemporary family drama set in Switzerland. Madalena invites her four adult children to celebrate her hotel’s fortieth anniversary, unaware of their tensions and secrets. As the day of the celebration approaches, confused emotions take hold, and the occasion goes badly wrong. Set against a backdrop of mountains and lakes, this is a story of love, betrayal and family conflict.

My Thoughts

I love stories focused on dysfunctional families, serves as a distraction from my own family troubles. My life is always a cake walk compared to the families in narratives.

Purely character driven, a family reunion unleashes secrets and individual hidden issues unknown to family members. Lots of friction, spats and suspicion float about, a tension filled reunion without a doubt. Twists galore provide captivating reading.

Family reunions were risky. You couldn’t always know where your children were in their lives, how they regarded you. How often had she observed this in her guests? Tension in the public dining room. Family members occasionally checking out earlier than planned. Why, then, had she considered her family situation so rock solid? Especially when she had her own issues. Things to conceal.

It was difficult to warm or connect with the numerous protagonists. I empathized with Madalena, the mother, loving, supportive, trying to bridge the gaps between her scattered and troubled brood, not fully aware of the amount of discord within her family. Not immune to problems as she privately and singularly battles her own challenges. I liked Annie, the less selfish and kindest of the bunch. All the characters are flawed, intricate, and anxiety filled over various issues, incredibly well drawn you find yourself distancing from the lot as the drama unravels and you learn of their varying personalities.

This was the horrid thing about knowledge, the fact you could never “unknow” it. You could bury it, but it would always be there, always threatening to appear.

A family riddled with juicy secrets, guilt, regrets, betrayal, love and fractured intercourse. Extremely well written and presented.

About Jane RiddellJane Riddell

Jane Riddell grew up in Glasgow, Scotland but defected to Edinburgh in her thirties, after living in New Zealand and Australia. For many years she worked for the NHS as a dietitian and health promoter. In 2006 she took a career break to move with her family to Grenoble, France, for three years. During this time she wrote more seriously, so seriously that when she returned to Edinburgh she decided to make writing her ‘job’.

Jane writes contemporary fiction, and is a keen blogger, including penning letters from a Russian cat. She is always on the lookout for interesting authors to interview for her Papillon blog. If you fit this category, email her on:

Jane holds a Masters in Creative Writing. In 2011 she started a small editing business, Choice Words Editing. She is currently rewriting her second novel, Chergui’s Child, a long work in progress….

Her debut novel, Water’s Edge, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.

Her editing guide, Words’Worth – a fiction writer’s guide to serious editing, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback from Amazon.

Jane is enthusiastic, addicted to chocolate and has a dysfunctional relationship with time.

Published November 28th 2014 by Jane Riddell


Review of Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof


About Small Blessings

An inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop’s charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he’d fathered a son who is heading Tom’s way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings’s wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.

My Review

An absolutely charming book, the characters are unique, a solid glimpse into the issues life presents and the choices made.

The college campus undoubtedly allows for a quaint feeling, people joining together in a tight knit community as faculty reside on campus, they’re coworkers, neighbors, friends. I enjoy a university setting, you always find an array of characters and issues causing interest and intrigue certainly proving true in this case. Agnes was my favorite, a woman with a tremendous amount of strength and sense. The bookstore serves as the cog of interest for all, a equal place for everyone to meet, convene without scrutiny, a true social playground.

The characters are a patchwork bunch, their lives slam into each other as they bumble with individual issues and issues created with their interactions. Each character weaves into the other’s in some form which makes the bunch quite interesting. Lots of maneuvering as the players figure out the ins and outs of life and predicaments delivered, both sad and joyous moments/events explored. Issues feel real and the wrongs and rights of their decision and actions plausible.

Humorous, poignant, a very warm and tender story appealing to most. The writing, potluck of issues make the story a worthwhile investment. Simply lovely. Woodroof impresses with her enchanting debut.

About Martha Woodroof290987

Martha Woodroof was born in the South, went to boarding school and college in New England, ran away to Texas for a while, then fetched up in Virginia. She has written for NPR,, Marketplace and Weekend America, and for the Virginia Foundation for Humanities Radio Feature Bureau. Her print essays have appeared in such newspapers as the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Small Blessings is her debut novel. She lives with her husband in the Shenandoah Valley. Their closest neighbors are cows.

Published August 12th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press (first published August 1st 2014)