Papa's Shoes by Madeline Sharples [Book Review]

June 27, 2019
I am so excited to share with you this latest book Papa's Shoes by Madeline Sharples. It's part of the WOW! Women on Writing blog tour happening now and I'm so honored to be part of this tour. First, be sure that you visit the tour page and read an interview with the author! 

About the Book

Papa’s Shoes: A Polish shoemaker and his family settle in small-town America is a work of fiction about immigration with a feminist and historical bent. At 99,968 words, Papa’s Shoes is a stand-alone novel with series potential.

Ira Schuman is determined to move his family out of their Polish shtetl to the hope and opportunities he’s heard about in America. But along the way he faces the death of three of his four sons, a wife who does not have the same aspirations as his, and the birth of a daughter, Ava, conceived to make up for the loss of his boys. Ava grows up to be smart, beautiful, and very independent.

Besides having a feisty relationship with her overly-protective mother, Ava falls for the college man who directs her high school senior class play. With the news that she wants to marry a non-Jewish man, Ira realizes that his plan to assimilate in the new world has backfired. Should the young couple marry, he must decide whether to banish his daughter from his family or welcome them with open arms. Even though he won’t attend their wedding, he makes her a pair a wedding shoes. In his mind, the shoes are simply a gift, not a peace offering.

My Review

Oh, this was such a wonderful book. I thought the author captured the time period so well and really brought me close to what it must've felt like for someone to be new to America and trying to assimilate and get comfortable. The family relationships were done so well and the Yiddish terms used throughout the book just added to the experience of feeling close to this family. Honestly, the ending of the book enticed me to want to know more about what happens in this family and I hope there is a part two! 

Papa's Shoes by Madeline Sharples is available in print and as an ebook on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author: 

Madeline has worked most of her professional life as a technical writer, grant writer, and proposal process manager. She began writing poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction when her oldest son, Paul, was diagnosed as manic depressive. She continued writing as a way to heal since his death by suicide in 1999. Madeline’s memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, first released on Mother’s Day 2011 in hard cover, is about living with her son’s bipolar disorder and surviving his suicide. Her publisher, Dream of Things, launched a paperback edition in July 2012 and an eBook in August 2012.

Madeline also co-edited Volumes 1 and 2 of The Great American Poetry Show, a poetry anthology, and wrote the poems for two books of photography, The Emerging Goddess and Intimacy (Paul Blieden, photographer). Besides having many poems published in print and online magazines, writes regularly for Naturally Savvy, and occasionally for PsychAliveOpen to Hope, and Journeys Through Grief and The Huffington Post.

Find Madeline Online:
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Twitter page

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Want to read great books like this one? Send me an email to nicole[at] to find out when we are launching a new blog tour.
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Recursion by Blake Crouch [Book Review]

June 12, 2019
So not too long ago, I had the chance to review Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. In fact, if you haven't heard of it, go check out my review - I LOVED it. 

Author Blake Crouch is back again, this time with a book called Recursion. I had mixed feelings about the book, but wow - what a ride.

Here's a bit about the book:

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

What I Thought:

Okay, so if you read Dark Matter, I'm wondering if you struggled with the beginning like I did. Honestly, for the first 30 pages, I thought I knew what was going on and it stalled me on finishing this book. Then, I picked it back up, mostly to fulfill my review commitment and was so shocked at the turn it took. This was absolutely a thriller and it makes you think about reality and time and memories in a new way. However, there are elements similar to Dark Matter, but not quite the same. I know, I'm being vague, but I'm being vague on purpose. 

Overall, I'm a huge fan of themes about alternative universes and time travel and all that. And this book did have some of those elements. I liked the characters Helena Smith and Barry Sutton. Both were strongly developed. 

My issue? Darn this book was dark. I mean seriously, if you aren't in a great mood or place in your life right now, put this one on your TBR for a sunnier time in your life. I mean, I'll give one thing away - the book does end a tad more positively than you might think. Another aspect I struggled with was how complicated it was. Yikes. I mean this is no beach read unless you like complicated books for the beach (no judgment if you do).

If I was going to compare the two, I would say that I enjoyed Dark Matter more. It was more enjoyable and not as complicated and less doom and gloom. Yet, once I got past the first 30 pages of Recursion, I was roped in and couldn't let go. So it is a very exciting, captivating thriller that challenged me a lot.

Four out of five stars for me!

Be sure to purchase your own copy on

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre [Book Review]

June 3, 2019
 I am so excited to be part of another blog tour with WOW! Women on Writing. This book is called Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre and wow, what a ride!

Here's a bit about the book:

A complex, suspenseful, and engrossing tale of doubts, trust, budding romance, and two bullets.
Eighteen-year-old Leigh arrives at a Tel Aviv hospital, seeking information about her probable father, Dr. Sloan, who had a cardiac arrest right after they met for the first time. As she stands next to her father's bed and watches him, her past, present and future collide. Despite the advice of those around her, Leigh decides to face the challenges of the legal system in Israel. She obtains a court order for a paternity test and confronts Sloan. During her quest to find the truth about her biological father, Leigh is exposed to violent religious intolerance, faces life in a country where church and state are not separate, and meets the man who may be her first true love. Will she change her view of the world she thought she knew? Will she forgive her mother? Will a gunshot change her attitude towards her probable father? And, what will she say to Steve, the only father she ever really had?

What I Thought:

This book just drops you right in the middle of everything! I love when books do that and this caught my attention right away. I actually had no idea this was part of a series and it didn't hold me back at all. I liked the family dynamics and complications and it turned out to be an incredibly interesting ride for both the reader and the main character as she navigates a complicated legal system. The author also addresses some complicated issues within the book too! I thought this was very well written and kept my attention the whole time.

I definitely recommend it!
About the Author

Michelle Dim-St. Pierre was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, where she spent more than half of her life before relocating to the United States.

She lived through four wars and served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. Unlike her first year of service in an armored division in the Golan Heights, she served her second year serving in the medical corps where she interacted directly with the injured soldiers of the Peace of Galilee war and their families. This interaction, along with the exposure to the hospital atmosphere, fascinated Michelle and further touched her heart. She went on to get a BS degree in Nursing in Tel-Aviv, and practiced internationally for 32 years in various positions in the surgical field and quickly advanced into health care administration. During her career she worked in the Operating Room, Recovery Room, and CCU—along with many other duties.

Writing was Michelle’s outlet at first, but it soon became her passion. Now, she is a full-time writer. Her international background, along with her military and nursing experience is always at the tip of her pen. Her first novel, Pinnacle Lust, started the Pinnacle trilogy and won the Beach Book Festival in the Romance category, as well as received several honorable mentions in other book contests. It was published to rave reviews.

Michelle is a world traveler who enjoys cooking epicurean food and creating original recipes. She currently splits her time between Florida and Georgia, where she is at work on her next two books.

Find Michelle Online:

Buy the Book:


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I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

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Born Under Fire by RIna Z. Neiman [Book Review]

June 1, 2019

I'm so excited about this latest book Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman. Lately, I've slowly started getting into historical fiction. I think it's a result of WOW! Women on Writing, because there have been so many amazing historical fiction books that I've been introduced to and a few others I've read and reviewed as well. So, as I broaden my reading horizons, I encourage you to open yours! Or, if you simply are in love with historical fiction this is a book for you.

Here's a bit about the book:

Born Under Fire is a historical novel that tells the story of a girl coming of age and her drive to excel despite the devastating effects of long-term war. Born in Jerusalem under British rule in 1928, Shula grows up in a world in turmoil as Hitler rises to power and nations enter into war. Amid a landscape of ancient stone ruins next to modern Bauhaus architecture, and desert scrub ending at newly verdant farmlands, Shula grows into her independence as the State of Israel is born. Based on historical documents and events, Born Under Fire is also about the context surrounding the founding of the State of Israel, as well as the horrors and dangers of growing up in a conflict zone. Shula battles grief and depression due to the shattering events affecting her, her family, and the entire world. Despite this struggle, her resilient spirit enables her to reach great heights as a concert pianist.

What I Thought:

This was such a well-written book. I thought the author did an excellent job in placing me in the middle of this tumultuous time in history and I loved how she told the story from the viewpoint of someone growing up in this time period. I felt close to Shula and enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes. The setting was also very vivid and you can tell the author definitely did her research. One really awesome thing sprinkled throughout the book were links to the actual songs that the book talks about! I thought that was so unique! It added so much to the book and was so perfect because of how close Shula was to her music.

I absolutely recommend this book! 

Born Under Fire is now available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Thrift Books.

Print Length: 258 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN-13: 978-1986349147

ISBN-10: 1986349144

I received the above book in exchange for my honest review.

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