Category Archives: Graydon House

Review: The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman

Title: The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 372 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The forecast is calling for a reluctant homecoming and regrettable decisions with a strong chance of romance

When Sonny Dunes, a SoCal meteorologist whose job is all sunshine and seventy-two-degree days, is replaced by a virtual meteorologist that will never age, gain weight or renegotiate its contract, the only station willing to give the fifty-year-old another shot is the very place Sonny’s been avoiding since the day she left for college—her northern Michigan hometown.

Sonny grudgingly returns to the long, cold, snowy winters of her childhood…with the added humiliation of moving back in with her mother. Not quite an outsider but no longer a local, Sonny finds her past blindsiding her everywhere: from the high school friends she ghosted, to the former journalism classmate and mortal frenemy who’s now her boss, to, most keenly, the death years ago of her younger sister, who loved the snow.

To distract herself from the memories she’s spent her life trying to outrun, Sonny throws herself headfirst into covering every small-town winter event to woo a new audience, made more bearable by a handsome widower with optimism to spare. But with someone trying to undermine her efforts to rebuild her career, Sonny must make peace with who she used to be and allow her heart to thaw if she’s ever going to find a place she can truly call home.


The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman is a heartwarming novel of family, healing and love.

Fifty-year-old Sonny Dunes is a beloved meteorologist in Palm Springs, but her high ratings do not stop her twenty-something boss from firing her. Sonny does not take the loss of her job gracefully and instead becomes a viral sensation for all the wrong reasons. In the aftermath, the only person who will hire her is her old college classmate Lisa Kirk. The only catch? The job is in Traverse City, MI, the hometown she fled after graduating high school. With much reluctance, Sonny accepts the job offer and moves back into her childhood home with her feisty mother Patty Rose.

Lisa is counting on Sonny to revive the stations sagging ratings. Much to Sonny’s dismay, she is expected to do much more than weather segments. She works with twenty-five-year-old Ron “Icicle” Lanier and neighboring town chamber of commerce president Mason Carrier. Sonny lacks enthusiasm for many of the winter activities she must participate in to highlight the various outdoor events that make Michigan such a wonderful place to live.  Sonny has good reason for wanting to avoid winter weather  and she he has spent a good part of her life putting an emotional distance between her memories of the past. But will she finally face the heartache she has tried so hard to put behind her?

Mason is a wonderful man who also has a painful history. But instead of walling himself off emotionally as Sonny has, he is very open about his loss. Mason is not put off by Sonny’s efforts to avoid dealing with her pain. He is very supportive and he slowly works through her formidable defenses. But will an unexpected opportunity ruin his chance of a future with Sonny?

Sonny uses both physical and emotional distance to protect herself from loss and heartbreak. But when she returns to Traverse City and is confronted with daily reminders of her past, will she come to terms with the past that continues to haunt her? Can Sonny open her heart to the possibility of love as she grows closer to Mason? Is there any chance she can smooth over her stilted relationship with Lisa and discover the beauty of true friendship?

The Secret of Snow is a perfect blend of humor and heartache. With a notable exception, the characters are marvelously developed and easy to root for. Sonny is the very definition of “hot mess” as she melts down and then gamely attempts to salvage her reputation. The storyline is engaging and deals with sensitive topics in a realistic manner. Traverse City and the brutal yet beautiful winter spring vividly to life.  Viola Shipman’s winter novel is an emotional story that will touch readers’ hearts and linger in their minds long after the last page is turned.

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Filed under Contemporary, Graydon House, Rated B+, Review, The Secret of Snow, Viola Shipman, Women's Fiction

Review: Such a Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass

Title: Such a Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Betrayal was just the beginning…

Melanie Hale is a devoted mother to her two children, a diligent caregiver to her ailing mother-in-law and a trusted neighbor in their wealthy Louisiana community. Above all, she’s a loving partner to her wonderful husband, Collin.

Then there are the parts of herself that Mel keeps hidden. She’s exhausted, worried and unfulfilled. So much so that one night, after a writers’ group meeting, Mel begins an affair with a successful local author named Luke. Suddenly she’s transformed into a role she doesn’t recognize—a woman who deceives with unseemly ease. A woman who might be capable of just about anything.

When Mel finds Luke’s dead body in his lavish rented house, she realizes just how high the stakes have become. Not only does she have to keep her affair a secret in order to preserve her marriage, but she desperately needs to avoid being implicated in Luke’s death. But who would want to kill him? Who else in her life is keeping secrets? And most terrifying of all, how far will they—and she—go to keep those secrets hidden?


Such a Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass is a clever domestic mystery.

Melanie “Mel” Hale is a wife, a mother and her mother-in-law’s caregiver. She loves her family but she feels as if she has lost herself over the years. Her husband Collin is a workaholic so the brunt of the work at home falls on her shoulders. Their daughter Rachel is thirteen years old and just beginning the angsty teen years. Their son Bennett is very intelligent but he is also neurodiverse so he can be quite a handful when frustrated. Mel loves her mother-in-law and she mourns the vibrant woman she was before the cancer and dementia diagnoses.

At Collin’s urging, Mel joins the neighborhood book club only to be disappointed to discover no one is interested in reading the books.  Her husband very thoughtfully finds a local writer’s group that might just be what Mel needs to spark her creativity. They meet at a local bookstore where popular romance author Luke Ellison is promoting his latest release. He and Mel enjoy chatting with each other, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and impossible to resist. When she finally decides to end their affair, Mel discovers Luke’s lifeless body and she is left hoping the police do not uncover their illicit relationship.

Mel is completely overwhelmed by the weight of her responsibilities. She sometimes yearns for the life she planned to have before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She is friendly with their neighbors but Mel is not close to any of them. Once she embarks on her affair with Luke, she experiences guilt at betraying her loved ones, but she cannot find the strength to give up the relationship. Mel also tries very hard to act normal but she is distracted by her memories of her stolen hours with Luke.

After Luke’s death, Mel dreads the local police finding out about her affair with Luke. However, it does not take long for them to learn she knows him. But instead of being honest, Mel lies to the detectives in order to protect her secret. Mel is shocked when it becomes obvious someone does know about her and Luke’s relationship. She is under considerable stress as she tries to uncover the identity of the person threatening to destroy her life.

Such a Good Wife is a deliciously engrossing domestic mystery with an intriguing storyline. Mel really is a good wife and it is easy to relate with stressed she is. Collin is a sweet man but even when he is home, he is preoccupied with work. Luke is a charming man but how well does Mel know him? The plot is engaging and full of tension. With stunning plot-twists, Seraphina Nova Glass brings this domestic mystery to an unpredictable conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Graydon House, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Seraphina Nova Glass, Such a Good Wife

Review: The Clover Girls by Viola Shipman

Title: The Clover Girls by Viola Shipman
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Elizabeth, Veronica, Rachel and Emily met at Camp Birchwood as girls in 1985, where over four summers they were the Clover Girls—inseparable for those magical few weeks of freedom—until the last summer that pulled them apart. Now approaching middle age, the women are facing challenges they never imagined as teens, struggles with their marriages, their children, their careers, and wondering who it is they see when they look in the mirror.

Then Liz, V and Rachel each receive a letter from Emily with devastating news. She implores the girls who were once her best friends to reunite at Camp Birchwood one last time, to spend a week together revisiting the dreams they’d put aside and repair the relationships they’d allowed to sour. But the women are not the same idealistic, confident girls who once ruled Camp Birchwood, and perhaps some friendships aren’t meant to last forever…

Bestselling author Viola Shipman is at her absolute best with The Clover Girls. Readers of all ages and backgrounds will love its powerful, redemptive nature and the empowering message at its heart.


The Clover Girls by Viola Shipman is a heartwarming novel of friendship, forgiveness and self-discovery.

In the mid to late 1980s, Elizabeth “Liz”, Veronica “V”, Rachael and Emily become best of friends while they are at summer camp. Their last summer together, betrayals drive a wedge between the young women but Emily tries the hardest to keep in touch with everyone. Fast forward to the present day and Em has recently passed away and her last request of Liz, V and Rachael is to reunite at Camp Birchwood so they can repair their fractured friendships. Will spending time together at a place full of happy memories bring the three women together?

Liz is a former model who is married to a successful architect. She is a stay-at-home mom to their two teenagers who are close to graduating from high school. The family has moved so frequently for her husband’s career that Liz has no close friends. Although she is not certain returning to Camp Birchwood is the right choice, she decides the timing is perfect for her to at least give a reunion with her former friends a chance.

Liz is a divorced mom and grandmother and owner of a thriving real estate business. She has always been close to her mother whose health is in a steady decline. Although she has doubts about returning to Camp Birchwood, Liz takes the time to honor Em’s request.

Rachael is a former actress whose work in politics seems to be an anathema to her long ago core values. She has alienated a lot of people in her life but she cannot envision changing course. Rachael plans to pay a cursory visit to Camp Birchwood but will the magic of days gone  by alter her decision?

With plenty of cultural references to the 1980s, The Clover Girls is an endearing novel with a nostalgic atmosphere. Liz, V and Rachael are vibrantly developed characters with relatable foibles and strengths. The storyline is topical with realistic elements that touch on the current climate in America. The flashbacks to the Camp Birchwood years are filled with carefree fun and typical mean girl antics. The time away from their regular lives provides each of the women with clarity for their respective issues.   Viola Shipman brings this emotional novel to a heartfelt, uplifting conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Graydon House, Rated B+, Review, The Clover Girls, Viola Shipman, Women's Fiction

Review: The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Title: The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Suspense
Length: 259 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Wives comes another twisted psychological thriller guaranteed to turn your world upside down.

Have you ever been wrong about someone?

Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch.

Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore.

Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel…

She shouldn’t get involved.

She really shouldn’t.

But this could be her chance to make a few things right.

Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.

From the wickedly dark mind of bestselling author Tarryn Fisher, The Wrong Family is a taut new thriller that’s riddled with twists in all the right places.


The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher is a riveting domestic mystery.

Winnie and Nigel Crouch live with their thirteen year old son Samuel in their dream home. By all appearances, they are a perfect, happy family. But underneath the surface, Winnie and Nigel’s marriage has plenty of cracks and Sam is pulling away from his parents. Adding to the tension within the home is the occasional stays by Winnie’s twin brother Dakota.  Nigel barely tolerates Dakota and Sam is scared of his uncle. Despite their problems, Winnie still loves her husband and she is confident he will not leave her.

Retired therapist Juno Holland is quick to notice the trouble within the household after she begins staying with them. She hears the terrible arguments and horrible insults hurled by husband and wife. The bright spot in the family is young Sam, and she enjoys their chats. But after overhearing the secret that binds Winnie and Nigel together, Juno is determined to right the heart rending wrong.  But does Juno know the whole story about what happened to change everything for Nigel and Winnie?

Alternating between Winnie and Juno’s points of view,  The Wrong Family is an absolutely captivating domestic mystery with an unpredictable storyline. The characters are vibrantly developed with plenty of flaws and unexpected strengths. This engrossing mystery moves at a brisk pace and with stunning twists and breathtaking turns, Tarryn Fisher brings this suspenseful mystery to a completely shocking conclusion. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this fiendishly clever domestic mystery to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Graydon House, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, Tarryn Fisher, The Wrong Family

Review: Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

Title: Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


She wrote the book on escaping a predator… Now one is coming for her.

Faith Finley has it all: she’s a talented psychologist with a flourishing career, a bestselling author and the host of a popular local radio program, Someone’s Listening, with Dr. Faith Finley. She’s married to the perfect man, Liam Finley, a respected food critic.

Until the night everything goes horribly wrong, and Faith’s life is shattered forever.

Liam is missing—gone without a trace—and the police are suspicious of everything Faith says. They either think she has something to hide, or that she’s lost her mind.

And then the notes begin to arrive. Notes that are ripped from Faith’s own book, the one that helps victims leave their abusers. Notes like “Lock your windows. Consider investing in a steel door.”

As the threats escalate, the mystery behind Liam’s disappearance intensifies. And Faith’s very life will depend on finding answers


Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass is a suspenseful domestic mystery.

Psychologist Faith Finley’s life imploded months earlier with a shocking accusation and the unexplained disappearance of her husband, Liam. Unable to move past her grief, Faith relies on alcohol and pills to cushion her from her pain. Ready for a change, she makes a snap decision to move from their house in the suburbs to their apartment in downtown Chicago.  After making a shocking discovery, Faith hopes the police will take her assertions that Liam did not abandon her more seriously.  And when sinister notes begin appearing in her mailbox and at her apartment, Faith takes matters into her own hands to try to unearth the truth about who is stalking her and what happened to Liam.

Faith and Liam are happily married and she is stunned by the realization that her beloved husband does not instantly discount the accusation leveled against her.  But Faith gives him the space he needs in hopes that he will realize she is telling the truth. By the night of her anticipated book release, their marriage is in a much better place.   Which is why Faith is so convinced that Liam did not leave her following the accident on their way home from the book release party.

Uncertain whom to trust after returning to Chicago, Faith tries to avoid new neighbor Hilly Lancaster. She has an unexpected tie to Liam but Faith cannot decide whether the woman is just eccentric and harmless or hiding a devious mind.  Faith is grateful for neighbor Marty Nash who provides her unexpected assistance as she tries to find out more information about her husband’s life. And although a little uncomfortable, Faith turns to old friend Will Holloway for legal advice as she continues to be a suspect in Liam’s case.

Detective John Sterling is suspicious of Faith’s account about what happened but they do go through the motions of investigating the accident. When evidence points toward Liam leaving of his own accord, the case is soon closed. But an astonishing finding changes the course of the investigation.  Faith remains under suspicion but will the increasingly menacing threats she is receiving change Sterling’s mind?

Someone’s Listening is a perplexing mystery with an intriguing storyline. Faith’s history is interesting but considering her profession, she does not always make the wisest choices.  A bit slow moving at first, the pace picks up steam and Seraphina Nova Glass brings this clever mystery to a twist-filled conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Graydon House, Rated B, Review, Seraphina Nova Glass, Someone's Listening, Suspense

Review: The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

Title: The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Contemporary, Historical (40s), Women’s Fiction
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose…and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

With delightful illustrations and fascinating detail, Viola Shipman’s heartwarming story will charm readers while resonating with issues that are so relevant today.


The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman is a captivating novel of healing, friendship and love.

In the 1940’s, Iris Maynard is a botanist whose love of flowers was instilled in her by her grandmother and mother.  Married young, Iris and her daughter Mary await the return of husband and father Jon. Following the heartrending loss of Jon, tragedy once again strikes and Iris lavishes all of her love and attention on her heirloom garden. By 2003, Iris is a recluse who lives in her family cottage on Lake Michigan. After renting the house next door to Abby, Cory and Lily Peterson, will Iris allow the troubled family into her life?

Abby is hoping the change in scenery will prove to be beneficial to Cory. Her beloved husband is a mere shadow of the man he was before his deployment to Iraq.  She loves her husband and she feels helpless as she watches him cope with the horrors of war in unhealthy ways. A fortuitous job offer precipitates their move and she loves the small town where they now live. An engineer, Abby is first excited about her new job but she is soon disillusioned as she watches her prized project becomes unrecognizable in her boss’s hands.

Iris spends long days working in her garden. She lovingly cares for each plant and continues to propagate her beloved flowers. She rarely ventures from behind the towering fence she had built decades earlier and she dissuades people from visiting. But young Lily’s bright and inquisitive nature is impossible to resist and Iris enjoys showing her around her beloved garden.  She is also drawn to Abby as she struggles to keep her family together while Cory battles the demons from his time in battle. Iris finds a kindred spirit in Cory and  her quiet presence soothes him as he fights the PTSD that haunts him. Their unexpected bond proves to be healing as they deal with their respective issues.

With beautiful references to flowers,  The Heirloom Garden is a heartfelt novel that is emotionally compelling.  Each of the characters is beautifully developed with relatable problems to overcome. Abby’s situation with her career is still an all too real issue in today’s world. Iris and Cory’s struggles are realistically depicted with gradual success in surmounting their emotional wounds. Young Lily is precocious and an absolute delight.  A wonderful tribute to the military will resonate with readers, Viola Shipman brings this charming small town novel to a poignant and touching conclusion. I adored this  moving story and highly recommend it to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Graydon House, Rated B+, Review, The Heirloom Garden, Viola Shipman, Women's Fiction