Review of Wallflower Blooming by Amy Rivers

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wallflower-bloomingCan anyone ever live a totally sheltered life, avoiding risk and relationships at all costs?

In Wallflower Blooming, Amy Rivers tells a tale of the consequences of venturing from stability, the known, to chance finding something you didn’t even realize you were missing.

Val Shakely thinks she can live in a bubble, and she’s done a good job. So far.  She’s built her own public relations business, pouring every minute into it. It’s a success, and she wants to keep it that way.  The fact that she has no time for a social life doesn’t bother Val – it seems like a wise trade-off.  But when Val’s beloved cousin, Gwen, decides to run for mayor of their small Colorado town, Val hesitantly agrees to take Gwen on as a client for the campaign. Val fears it’s a mistake – the incumbent mayor doesn’t play fair, and would do anything to win.  Will her business be able to survive the storm of foul play which ensues?

Val’s life takes another unexpected turn when she notices a man at Gwen’s campaign party.  His pink tie is the same color as her purse, and she can’t resist mentioning it to him. John Hatfield is the town’s wealthy and handsome recluse, and for some reason, Val can’t get him out of her mind.

Can Val navigate the unfamiliar territory of living with risk? Both the campaign and John Hatfield have thrown her totally off-kilter. Will she embrace the change and excitement of her new reality, or go back to the security of what was only recently her safe life?

Wallflower Blooming is an engaging story about a woman learning what makes life interesting, and finding the courage to venture into the unknown. How far would you be willing to move out of your safety zone?

(I received a copy of Wallflower Blooming from the author, in exchange for an honest review.)

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Amy
Website | Facebook |  Twitter  | Goodreads | 


Books on the Subway – NYC

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Books on the Subway
Books on the Subway

What better way to have a mobile library than to stock the New York City subway with books?  Books on the Subway is a group that takes new books, usually sent directly from authors or their publishers, and adds them to the subway’s lending library.  People are free to borrow the books, read them, and then return them to the library.  This is an awesomely cool way to: 1) encourage reading, 2) make the subway more fun, and 3) gain exposure for authors and their books.

Fifteen copies of Life Before were recently added to the NYC subway lending library during their post-Thanksgiving book drop by the Book Fairies. It was even included in one pic entitled Subway Sign Nostalgia.


OK NYC – I hope you will read those copies until they’re dog-eared!

Connect with Books on the Subway at their website here, on Facebook here, and on Twitter at @booksonsubway #booksonthesubway.

Happy Reading!

Come Speak Virtually With Women’s Fiction Authors and Win Books!

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Clink Here to Visit the November 15 FB Book Party

Book Review: I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around By Ann Garvin

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i-like-you-just-fine-when-youre-not-aroundIn her new novel, Ann Garvin explores the many facets of loss, and the hope one must summon to fill in the empty spaces.

Tig Monahan’s life is unraveling right before her eyes. She is currently a therapist, but that may end soon. She uncharacteristically lost her cool, and shamed a client in front of his wife. Her boyfriend Pete decides to leave her behind when he moves to Hawaii for a research project. And at the root of everything is her mother’s mental decline.

Tig Monahan tried to imagine what it would be like to lose her mind. Was it like a quick, fully aware, terror-filled slip on an icy sidewalk, or slower, where a tiny skidding sensation goes unnoticed until suddenly you realize all four limbs are in the air and your face is in a ditch?

Tig’s mother Hallie has Alzheimer’s.  She’s always been the rock in Tig’s life, but her fierce independence has dissolved into the confines of her illness. Now the tables have turned. Tig has done everything in her power to take care of her mother, but after Hallie accidentally cuts herself while living with Tig, it’s clear she needs full-time care. Tig finally decides to place her mother in an assisted living facility. But will she ever be able to overcome the guilt?

Tig wonders what she’s done to cause the implosion of her universe. Everything she thought she had has dwindled right out of her life.  Then, unexpectedly, the wife of the shamed client offers her a job as a radio therapist. Against her better judgment, she accepts the position, and begins her new career.

In the midst of the chaos, her carefree sister Wendy finally returns to town. But she’s keeping a secret, one that will rattle Tig to her core.

Tig now struggles just to get through every day, much less try to figure out where the rest of her life is heading. Will she be able to pull things together? And who will be there to help her?

This novel made me consider the changing roles between parent and child later in life. It also made me realize we should keep our plans flexible enough to change them, because what we think we want, and what we find makes us happy, are sometimes two different things.

I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around is a novel about finding yourself. About discovering who you really are and where you want to go, and having the strength to get there.



A policy to protect the human rights of sex workers…

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safety-for-sex-workersAs a very relevant article to my novel, Life Before, which involves the sex industry in the early twentieth century, here is a very thought provoking article by Amnesty International entitled Sex Worker’s Rights are Human Rights which discusses their efforts to protect the rights of sex workers, trying to ensure their health and safety.

What we want is a refocussing of laws to tackle acts of exploitation, abuse and trafficking – rather than catch-all offences that only criminalize and endanger sex workers.

Surely a very controversial subject, but one that needs our attention and discussion.

Review of Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri

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lemongrass-hopeKate Sutton’s life is not how she always dreamed it would be.  Yes, she has a husband and children – the picture-perfect family.  At least on the outside.  She works so hard to make it seem that way.  But on the inside, Kate isn’t sure she belongs in the life she’s led for the past ten years.

What if she’s suddenly given the chance for a do-over? Would she take it?

Ten years ago, Kate met two men – the adventurous travel journalist who was so easy to talk to, and the ambitious young attorney who always wanted more. When her passionate fling with one ended, the other stepped in to fill the emptiness. But had she made the right choice?

Now, ten years and two kids later, Kate’s marriage has become rocky; they’re like two strangers sharing the same life but living on different shores. Kate’s tried desperately to create the illusion of being the perfect wife, the perfect mom.  But she knows this is just a veneer for others. Her life is anything but perfect. And now her well-maintained façade is slowly cracking, the forceful elements in her world colliding with the beautiful picture of perfection she’s spent years painting.

As Kate tries to decide if her marriage is still even worth the effort, her former love reappears, and rekindles the passion she’d buried so many years ago. Then a mystical happening gives Kate the chance to re-live her life, and change the choices that had catapulted her into disappointment and confusion.  Now she must decide what is most important to her. Which losses can she deal with, and which can she not bear?

In Lemongrass Hope, Amy Impellizzeri gives readers a glimpse of the regret we sometimes feel from the choices we’ve made, and what it would be like to get another chance. We’ve probably all experienced the question what if? But given the opportunity, would we really do things differently? And what would we give up if we did?

Impellizzeri makes us understand that whatever life gives us, happiness is a choice.

Because sometimes you really do have to choose.  Clearly. Definitively.

And after the choice is made, we have to make it count.

Review of Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White

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Echoes of FamilyIn true Barbara Claypole White fashion, Echoes of Family takes us into the life of Marianne Stokes, a caring, giving wife and mother, and creative record producer. Who also happens to be bi-polar.

Marianne lived a carefree life in the small English town of Newton Rushford, the girl who always caused a stir and lived for the moment. But a tragic accident changed her teenage life forever, and plunged her into a bi-polar free-fall.

If purgatory exists, it comes without sound. Nothing to deaden thoughts.

Marianne had long believed that to be true, and the handful of compliant crazies in the waiting room proved her right.

After years of struggling with her illness and its by-products – alcoholism and suicide attempts – Marianne thinks she finally has her life back on track. But another devastating accident plunges her back into the past, and resurrects the guilt she’s held for a lifetime.  She’s compelled to leave her home in America and return to England, where it all started. A last-ditch effort in her search for the peace that has yet again eluded her.

Gabriel Bonham was her childhood best friend, and the love of her teenage life. That fateful accident years ago devastated him, as well. When Marianne returns to Newton Rushford thirty years later, she finds him in the least-expected place. And although Gabriel invites her to stay, Marianne is a most unwelcome visitor from his past.

Marianne’s family – Jade, a brilliant young lady she rescued from the streets and adopted, and Darius, her ex-rock-and-roll-star husband with his own mercurial moods – must find her to save her from herself.

Will Marianne and Gabriel be able to overcome the past tragedy they shared between them? And will they finally be able to forgive each other and themselves?

Love – a strange word. It tasted of dust.

Barbara Claypole White takes us inside the brain of a person struggling with mental illness. But even through her inner turmoil, we also see Marianne’s compassion, love, creativity, and talent.  And we’re thrust into the struggle of a family living with the mentally-ill, trying to weather the ugly while also protecting the beauty. We’re hurled into the push-and-pull of life with someone struggling to overcome the daily battle with their affliction.

Thank you Barbara for once again immersing us into the world of mental illness, and letting us know it can be controlled, and there is always hope at the end of the dark and desolate path to sanity.