Just about every woman I know, has at least one LBD – or little black dress. I have around a dozen in my closet, in as many sizes to wear, when my weight fluctuates. But do you have a little gray dress? In Aimee Brown’s, debut novel, LITTLE GRAY DRESS (CrookedCat), life is always better for Emi, when she slips into her favorite outfit – her little gray dress.

She’s going to need her little gray dress, because her ex-fiancé’s sister is getting married to her brother. Emi has managed to keep ex-fiancé, Jack Cabot out of her life for nearly two years. That’s going to change now that her brother, Evan is marrying his sister, Hannah. Can Emi miss her own brother’s wedding? No, but she and her unfinished issues, can certainly add some drama to the event.

Emi caught Jack in a compromising position two days before they were to marry. She immediately called the wedding off without ever having another word with Jack. Hum? Maybe she should have, because sometimes, situations aren’t what they appear to be.

You can tell author, Aimee Brown was having fun when she wrote, LITTLE GRAY DRESS, and will readers. Emi, who doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, finds herself in the middle of a tornado of mishaps. She’s able to squeeze into her bridesmaid dress with the help of a corset, her 5’3″ frame teeters on 6-inch hooker shoes she’s afraid of falling off of and her biggest problem, is drinking entirely too much to make herself stronger.

LITTLE GRAY DRESS is a fun chick-lit novel with characters you’ll get to know and love (and hate) and situations leading up to the perfect “happily-ever-after-ending.” Aimee Brown is fresh voice in chick-lit.


Aimee Brown is a writer and an avid reader. Little Gray Dress is her first published novel. Her second novel is in the works now. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on LITTLE GRAY DRESS! If you’d like to chat with her she’s very active on social media. You can find her at any of the networks below. Stop by and say hello!

FacebookTwitter InstagramPinterest | Website/Blog | GoodReads | Amazon Page | Newsletter

Thanks to Aimee, we have one signed copy of LITTLE GRAY DRESS to giveaway. All of us have LBDs, but do you have a “little gray dress?” Tell us about it. We’ll announce a winner next week.



godd, guilty, guin

BookSparks’ Summer Reading Challenge 2017 keeps getting hotter!

They’ve added bonus books, including Liane Moriarty’s, TRULY MADLY GUILTY


Liane Moriarty once again focuses on love, marriage, parenthood, friendship, sex and guilt in her new novel, TRULY MADLY GUILTY (Flatiron). Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could go wrong?

But before we check out her new novel, I must write something about the brilliant production HBO created from her novel, BIG LITTLE LIES. The casting, including, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, was amazing. The BIG LITTLE LIES mini-series received a total of 16 Emmy nominations, including one each for Witherspoon and Kidman. Witherspoon’s production company produced the 10-part drama, and was true to the novel. It was a clever choice to use Monterey, California for the setting.

Liane Moriarty’s novels are filled with yummy secrets that keep us, her fans flipping through the pages. Her characters are complicated, compelling and jump off the page. Her plots and storylines go inside their homes revealing what’s really going on behind the doors in those bedroom communities. In TRULY MADLY GUILTY, the action takes place outside, during a barbecue that goes terribly wrong, on so many levels.

Vid, a wealthy electrician and his wife, Tiffany invite their kind of boring next door neighbors, Ericka and Oliver over for a BBQ. Vid knows if they come, he can invite their friends, the really hot, Clementine and her hubby, Sam. The two men can’t keep their eyes off Sam’s wife, Clementine. Sam and Clementine bring their two daughters, and Vid and Tiffany’s “strange” daughter, Dakota make it three girls, plus Dakota’s little dog that won’t stop barking. Add to the mix, Harry the grumpy neighbor who complains about the noise. Again, what could go wrong? You’ll just have to read the novel, which at five-hundred pages is a tad too long.

My favorite Liane Moriarty novel so far is WHAT ALICE FORGOT.  I’m sure TRULY MADLY GUILTY will be a huge success, but it was a bit of a letdown for me.


Liane Moriarty has sold over six million copies of her books worldwide and her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages.

She lives in Sydney with her husband, son and daughter. When she’s not writing she can be found reading, demanding coffee, clutching her forehead and occasionally falling to her knees on the soccer field sidelines (the grief, the joy, the drama!)  demanding chocolate, skiing like she’s thirty years younger than she is, recovering from skiing injuries, doing the school run, walking around the block to avoid writer’s block, talking to old friends about getting old, listening to her children explain the wonders of MineCraft, watching TV series far too late into the night and reading, which has already been mentioned, but deserves a second mention.


Thanks to BookSparks, we have one copy of TRULY MADLY GUILTY to giveaway. Just tell us which Liane Moriarty novel is your favorite.

We’ll announce a winner next week. Good luck!

@BookSparks  #SRC2017 #LianeMoriarty #TrulyMadlyGuilty  #FlatironBooks


Kate Hamer’s new novel, THE DOLL FUNERAL (MelvilleHouse) explores the complex and often difficult relationship between mothers and daughters. Hammer’s narrative introduces us to new ideas, concepts, senses and unimaginable possibilities

One her thirteenth birthday, Ruby learns the abusive people she has called her parents all her life, aren’t her mother and father. Her parents are out there … somewhere, and finding them becomes Ruby’s obsession, taking us on a journey, where the definition of family becomes an abstract concept.

Ruby, along with her imaginary friend, Shadow Boy, head into the Forest of Dean, where she meets up with siblings who live in the woods. She’s taken in and Ruby believes she’s found the family she’s always wanted. But then the relationship begins to shift, and she believes they need her more and the lines between who is helping who begin to blur. What’s real? Should she be afraid?

While reading THE DOLL FUNERAL, I felt as if I’d entered the realm of magical realism. There was always the fear something dangerous could happen, similar to reading a Grimm’s fairytale. The characters are complex and have us question our own judgement. Whenever an author explores the relationships between parents and children, particularly mothers and daughters, they take readers into murky waters, where there is room for interpretation.

Perspectives and timelines shift in THE DOLL FUNERAL, alternating between teenage, Ruby, her mother, Anna and Ruby’s imaginary friend, the Shadow Boy. I felt on edge at times, nervous for Ruby and wanted to protect her.

Kate Hamer is an incredibly talented and courageous writer. She pushes the limits, never what a reader expects and I look forward to her next novel.

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About Kate Hamer

KATE HAMER is the author of The Girl in the Red Coat, which was a Costa First Novel Award finalist, a Dagger Award finalist, an Amazon Best Book of the Year 2016, and a winner of the ELLE Lettres Readers’ Prize. She lives in Cardiff, Wales, with her husband and two children.

Connect with Kate


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Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Melville House, we have one copy of THE DOLL FUNERAL to giveaway. Just tell us if you’ve ever read a novel that felt as if it were a fairytale? And if so, which one. We’ll announce a winner next week.

Have a great week.







THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘N THAT celebrates INDIES FIRST in August, featuring some of the hottest books being published this month!


The best part? Just click on to this INDIES FIRST site and you can locate the nearest independent bookstore near you!

indies first


Henry Holt, Pub. Date August 1st

HAPPINESS: A Memoir (HenryHolt) by Heather Harpham, follows a one-of-a-kind family through twists of fate that require nearly unimaginable choices. It’s a moving portrait of parenthood and partnership.

The grace and humor that ripple through Harpham’s writing transform the unwanted heartbreak and parental fears into a clear-eyed, warm-hearted view of the world. Profoundly moving and subtly written, HAPPINESS radiates in a new romantic love; gratitude for a beautiful, inscrutable world; deep, abiding friendship; the passion a parent has for a child; and the many unlikely ways to build a family. Ultimately it’s a story about love and happiness, in their many crooked configurations.


Heather Harpham has written six solo plays, including Happiness and BURNING which toured nationally. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in MORE Magazine and Water~Stone Review. Harpham is the recipient of the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize, a Marin Arts Council Independent Artist Grant and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and SUNY Purchase and lives along the Hudson River with her family. HAPPINESS : A memoir is her first book.



Viking, Pub. Date August 1st

Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, seventeen year-old, Lee Cuddy finds herself on the run in Augustus Rose’s novel, READY MADE THIEF (Viking).

Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city—empty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families. But the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she’s trying to avoid. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her—and why.


Augustus Rose grew up in Bolinas, California, and later moved to San Francisco. For many years he kept himself afloat through a series of bookstore jobs, where he found and collected books on cults, subcultures, urban exploration, speculative science, metaphysics, alchemy, conspiracy theories, subversive or underground art movements, and, of course, Marcel Duchamp. All stuff that later became both the center and the background noise of his debut novel The Readymade Thief. His screenplay Far From Cool was a finalist for the 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowship. He lives in Chicago with his wife, the novelist Nami Mun, and their son. He teaches fiction writing at the University of Chicago.



Atlantic Monthly Press, Pub. Date August 1st

Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Or did she? In Sarah Schmidt’s debut novel, SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE (AtlanticMonthlyPress), Lizzie Borden is recast into one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell–of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters desperate for their independence. It’s an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.


Sarah Schmidt is a Melbourne based writer who happens to work at a public library.
SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE is her first novel.


almost sister

William Morrow, Pub. Date August 3rd

In Josilyn Jackson’s new novel, THE ALMOST SISTERS (WilliamMorrow), superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her bar stool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. An unplanned pregnancy, her stepsister’s imploding marriage and some big secrets kept by her beloved ninety-year old grandmother, Birdie, threatens the family’s freedom, future, and the world she thinks she knows.



New York Times Bestselling novelist, Joshilyn Jackson is the author of seven novels and a novella: The Opposite of Everyone, Someone Else’s Love Story, gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Backseat Saints, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and the novella My Own Miraculous. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, won SIBA’s novel of the year, three times been a #1 Book Sense Pick, twice won Georgia Author of the Year, and three times been shortlisted for the Townsend prize.




St. Martin’s Press, Pub. Date August 8th

In Wendy Walker’s novel, EMMA IN THE NIGHT (St. MartinsPress), the Tanner sisters disappeared three years ago: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family, Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent had complete power. And one sister’s return, might just be the beginning of the crime. Twisted and disturbing, readers don’t know who to believe in the thriller.


Wendy Walker is an attorney and former investment banker. Her first thriller, All Is Not Forgotten, has become an international bestseller with movie rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Warner Brothers. The paperback will be out on July 18, 2017. EMMA IN THE NIGHT is her second thriller. Wendy lives in Connecticut where she is busy raising her three sons and writing her next novel.





Simon & Schuster, Pub. Date August 22nd

When a beloved high school girl, named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered in Danya Kukafka debut novel, GIRL IN SNOW, (Simon&Schuster) no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched. Not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three characters–Cameron, Jade, and Russ–must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.



Danya Kukafka is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She works as an assistant editor at Riverhead Books.

GIRL IN SNOW is her first novel.





SOURCEBOOKS, Pub. Date August 22nd

IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE (SourceBooks) by Leah Weiss introduces a new voice to homegrown grit and honest Southern women’s fiction.

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That’s long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby. Sadie’s desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out-of-town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out.  When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline – if she can just figure out how to use it.



Leah Weiss is a Southern writer born in North Carolina and raised in the foothills of Virginia. IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is her debut novel. She retired in 2015 from a 24-year career as Executive Assistant to the Headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School. Leah enjoys speaking with book clubs.



We have copies of all seven novels to giveaway. Just tell us the name of your favorite Independent Bookstore, it’s location and why you like going there.


just click on to:

indies first

We’ll announce winners at the end of the month.

Thanks to, Amazon and the above-mentioned publishers for providing summaries.



Remember how we all thought it takes TWO to Tango? It seems not everyone agrees!

What happens when one partner in a relationship has had enough and is ready to give up and walk away? Most experts would argue both people in the relationship need to get together and figure out how to make it work, or basically, that’s, that! A new book, IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO (Touchstone) by Winifred M. Reilly, MA, MFT, argues, not so fast, take a step back. Perhaps it takes only one to tango!

Unlike most self-help books about marriage, IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO uses Reilly’s personal story about trying to keep her own once troubled marriage from coming apart. She didn’t want a divorce, and waiting for her hubby to leap up and embrace her ideas wasn’t working out any better. So she decided to rescue her marriage by herself, even though, at the outset, she had no idea what she was in for.

Here are just a couple of tips Reilly offers:

  • Focus on your own behaviors.
  • Take a firm stand for what matters.
  • Take a look at the BIG picture.
  • Try to respond, rather than being reactive.
  • Dig in, and use all of your strength, stamina … and love!

Reilly’s humorous and optimistic guide offers psychological theories as well as her own personal journey. Don’t give up!

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About Winifred Reilly

Winifred M. Reilly is a marriage and family therapist, with a private practice in Berkeley, CA.  She has been committed to helping couples and individuals build strong, loving relationships for more than 35 years. Winifred is the author of the relationship advice blog Speaking of Marriage, and her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, xoJane, and The Huffington Post.

Connect with Winifred

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Touchstone books, we have one copy of IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO. Just tell us what keep your marriage and/or relationship hot with your partner. Be as explicit as you want. We’ll announce a winner next week.

Have a wonderful week. I couldn’t finish writing this without sharing something. Whenever I hear something about the Tango, I can’t help but picture in my mind, Al Pacino doing the tango in the film, SCENT OF A WOMAN.   “Whoo-ah. Hah!”

Have a wonderful week.


gone reading

Here are this week’s winners!


CARRIE M. wins Ann Kidd Taylor’s, THE SHARK CLUB.


CARLA S. wins Fiona Davis’, THE ADDRESS.


MELANIE G. and MINDY O. win Tom Perrotta’s, MRS. FLETCHER.


PAMELA R. wins  Ann Hood’s, MORNINGSTAR.


BARRY C. wins Jan Shapin’s, RED YEAR.


Check out our blog all week for more chances to win!




redyear_cover1_thumbCan a red-haired woman from Chicago single-handedly force Joseph Stalin to back down?

Jan Shapin’s novel, RED YEAR (CambridgeBooks) tells the little known story of Rayna Prohme, a significant figure in the American Socialist/Communist movement.

Rayna Prohme was born Rayna Simons in Chicago in 1894 and grew up in a wealthy, loving Jewish family. At the University of Illinois, she met and became good friends with Dorothy Day, the Catholic activist for workers rights. Both became interested in Socialism, reading numerous socialist novels by Upton Sinclair and Jack London. They eventually joined the American Socialist Party. Inspired by the Russian Revolution, Rayna joined the American Communist Party.

Shortly after marrying her left-wing husband, William Prohme, they moved to China. They became supporters of the Kuomintang (National People’s Party) and edited the Kuomintang’s English language paper in Wuhan. They were there between 1926-1927 during the Wuhan Interlude. In 1927, Rayna becomes the political confidant and lover of Mikhail Borodin, the Russian commander sent by Lenin to prop up a failing Chinese revolution. In a bid to continue their love affair, Rayna hatches a plan to accompany Mme. Sun, the widow of the Chinese revolution’s founder, to Moscow.

But Moscow doesn’t roll out the welcome mat for the women. Borodin shuns them. Rayna’s stipend and housing arrangements are cancelled. She is told to, “Go home.” But Rayna does not want to go back to her husband or an ordinary life in Chicago. Instead, she applies to a Soviet espionage school that soon demands she spy on Mme. Sun. The Chinese widow is, by now, in grave danger as her exit visa is blocked. Rayna must make a choice — Borodin and Russia or Mme. Sun and China.

Soon she begins suffering from headache and lapses of memory. She starts to withdraw, fearful she’s going mad or getting dementia. On November 21st, 1927 Rayna dies of encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.

RED YEAR is deep in historical facts and Jan Shapin presents Rayna Prohme as an exciting, interesting three-dimensional character, you can’t help but get caught up with and want to learn more. I indeed did learned a great deal about the American Socialist and Communists parties. RED YEAR isn’t a quick read. I believe it’s important to single out how the actual book is produced. For me, reading the book was somewhat difficult due to the tight print. The sentences seemed to run into the other. I’d suggest a more reader-friendly type for the next printing. Knowing the novel was based on actual history, I did some research on my own. Rayna Prohme is an interesting woman more people should know about, and Jan Shapin was clever to write a novel about her.

Purchase Link


About Jan Shapin

Jan Shapin has been writing plays and screenplays for nearly thirty years, in the last decade concentrating on fiction. Shapin has studied playwriting at Catholic University in Washington, DC, screenwriting at the Film and Television Workshop and University of Southern California, and fiction writing at a variety of locations including Barnard College’s Writers on Writing seminar, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Her plays have been produced in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. She has received grants from the RI Council for the Humanities and has served as a juror for the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts screenplay fellowship awards. Two previous novels, A Desire Path and A Snug Life Somewhere, were published in 2012 and 2014.

She lives in North Kingstown, RI with her photographer husband. Learn more about Jan at her website,

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Thanks to TLC Book Tours, we have one copy of RED YEAR to giveaway. Just tell us the name of some historical figure you think deserves to have a book written about. We’ll announce a winner next week. Have a lovely weekend.