Tag Archives: Family Issues

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

51Uv8PRWk2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro. Open to US only. Ends 6/15/16.
ENTRY-FORM

Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

tlc tour host

Publisher: William Morrow (June 28, 2016)

Review of Daughters of the Lake by Jane Riddell

51pi4x6N7vL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_

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: Riddell.Jane@gmail.com

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: Don’t Call Me Kit Kat by K.J. Farnham

25082515Don’t Call Me Kit Kat
by K.J. Farnham
Published April 20th 2015 by Createspace

About Don’t Call Me Kit Kat

Junior high is where things really start to happen. Cliques form and break apart. Couples are made and destroyed. And a reputation is solidified that you won’t ever be able to escape. Everything you do and say, and everyone you spend your time with, matters.

Katie Mills knows that. She gets it. That’s why she tried so hard to get in with the cool girls at school. And why she was so devastated when those efforts found her detained for shoplifting and laughed out of cheer squad tryouts.

But Katie has more to worry about than just fitting in. Her parents are divorced and always fighting. Her sister never has time for her. And her friends all seem to be drifting apart. Even worse? The boy she has a crush on is dating the mean girl at school.

Everything is a mess, and Katie doesn’t feel like she has control over any of it. Certainly not over her weight, which has always topped out at slightly pudgier than normal—at least, according to her mother.

So when she happens to catch one of the popular girls throwing up in the bathroom one day, it sparks an idea. A match that quickly engulfs her life in flames.

Is there any going back once she gets started down this path?

And would she even want to if she could?

Book Links:

Amazon

Don’t Call Me Kit Kat Trailer

 My Review

Farnham moved me in several ways, first with her ability to depict a clear picture of the horrors and dangers of an eating disorder, secondly to cover other social issues plaguing teens and thirdly to masterfully come across as a troubled teen loud and clear, her language expressed that of a teen floundering, very well done. Her stellar writing is filled with deep emotion as she holds nothing back in her characters along with their hard-hitting challenges. Dialogue is outstanding.

Katie is a teen drowning in pain. Her troubles soon escalate and she finds herself in a spiraling situation. Her parents unfriendly divorce, a mother lacking sensitivity, peer pressure, low self-esteem, bullying and desperately craving acceptance and attention by peers and family are burdening the shoulders of Katie. As the story progresses you feel Katie’s pain and its excruciating. Luckily she has a wonderful set of friends but her problems cause her to distance herself and she finds herself afloat tying to navigate rough terrain on her own, anguish her undertow.

I completely connected with Katie’s story and voice. This isn’t a happy story however, it’s very realistic in the horrors of bulimia and its ongoing struggle to control. Katie felt real and I loved the ending. Farnham did not go with a HEA, rather she left the ending filled with ambiguity fueling its reality. I found myself considering Katie weeks after I read the book. Farnham creates quite a punch in this mighty read.

A potent story addressing serious issues facing young adults. Great book to read with your young adult leading to an open dialogue on issues often avoided or ignored. Outstanding effort by Farnham. Looking forward to future books from this incredibly gifted writer. Highly recommend.

About K. J. Farnham8496528

K. J. Farnham is a former educator turned author and freelance editor. Born and raised in a suburb of Milwaukee, she holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee and a master’s degree from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Farnham now lives in Western Wisconsin with her husband, three children and three cats. When she is not busy keeping up with her kids, she can be found reading or writing.

Farnham enjoys road trips, beach outings, strength training, running, hiking and acoustic music. She hopes to convince her husband to drive across the United States in an RV someday

Connect with K.J. Farnham: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Data from the National Eating Disorders Association:

•Bulimia nervosa affects 1-2% of adolescent and young adult women.
•Approximately 80% of bulimia nervosa patients are female.
•People struggling with bulimia nervosa usually appear to be of average body weight.
•Many people struggling with bulimia nervosa recognize that their behaviors are unusual and perhaps dangerous to their health.
•Bulimia nervosa is frequently associated with symptoms of depression and changes in social adjustment.
•Risk of death from suicide or medical complications is markedly increased for eating disorders.

Despite the prevalence of eating disorders, they continue to receive inadequate research funding.
Illness Prevalence NIH Research Funds (2011)
Alzheimer’s Disease 5.1 million $450,000,000
Autism 3.6 million $160,000,000
Schizophrenia 3.4 million $276,000,000
Eating disorders 30 million $28,000,000

Research dollars spent on Alzheimer’s Disease averaged $88 per affected individual in 2011. For Schizophrenia the amount was $81. For Autism $44. For eating disorders the average amount of research dollars per affected individual was just $0.93. (National Institutes of Health, 2011)

To learn more or to make a donation that will go toward prevention programs, rehabilitation and support for those who struggle with eating disorders, please visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.

Spotlight & Giveaway: Don’t Call Me Kit Kat by K.J. Farnham

25082515Don’t Call Me Kit Kat
by K.J. Farnham
Published April 20th 2015 by Createspace
Paperback, 312 pages
ISBN13: 9781500850333

About Don’t Call Me Kit Kat

Junior high is where things really start to happen. Cliques form and break apart. Couples are made and destroyed. And a reputation is solidified that you won’t ever be able to escape. Everything you do and say, and everyone you spend your time with, matters.

Katie Mills knows that. She gets it. That’s why she tried so hard to get in with the cool girls at school. And why she was so devastated when those efforts found her detained for shoplifting and laughed out of cheer squad tryouts.

But Katie has more to worry about than just fitting in. Her parents are divorced and always fighting. Her sister never has time for her. And her friends all seem to be drifting apart. Even worse? The boy she has a crush on is dating the mean girl at school.

Everything is a mess, and Katie doesn’t feel like she has control over any of it. Certainly not over her weight, which has always topped out at slightly pudgier than normal—at least, according to her mother.

So when she happens to catch one of the popular girls throwing up in the bathroom one day, it sparks an idea. A match that quickly engulfs her life in flames.

Is there any going back once she gets started down this path?

And would she even want to if she could?

Book Links:

Amazon

Don’t Call Me Kit Kat Trailer

About K. J. Farnham8496528

K. J. Farnham is a former educator turned author and freelance editor. Born and raised in a suburb of Milwaukee, she holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee and a master’s degree from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Farnham now lives in Western Wisconsin with her husband, three children and three cats. When she is not busy keeping up with her kids, she can be found reading or writing.

Farnham enjoys road trips, beach outings, strength training, running, hiking and acoustic music. She hopes to convince her husband to drive across the United States in an RV someday

Connect with K.J. Farnham: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Data from the National Eating Disorders Association:

•Bulimia nervosa affects 1-2% of adolescent and young adult women.
•Approximately 80% of bulimia nervosa patients are female.
•People struggling with bulimia nervosa usually appear to be of average body weight.
•Many people struggling with bulimia nervosa recognize that their behaviors are unusual and perhaps dangerous to their health.
•Bulimia nervosa is frequently associated with symptoms of depression and changes in social adjustment.
•Risk of death from suicide or medical complications is markedly increased for eating disorders.

Despite the prevalence of eating disorders, they continue to receive inadequate research funding.
Illness Prevalence NIH Research Funds (2011)
Alzheimer’s Disease 5.1 million $450,000,000
Autism 3.6 million $160,000,000
Schizophrenia 3.4 million $276,000,000
Eating disorders 30 million $28,000,000

Research dollars spent on Alzheimer’s Disease averaged $88 per affected individual in 2011. For Schizophrenia the amount was $81. For Autism $44. For eating disorders the average amount of research dollars per affected individual was just $0.93. (National Institutes of Health, 2011)

To learn more or to make a donation that will go toward prevention programs, rehabilitation and support for those who struggle with eating disorders, please visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.

Giveaway:

Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Don’t Call Me Kit Kat, please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 10/21/15
ENTRY-FORM