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Mallory (Spoiler Alert!)

I stare through the window, which frames a mass of thick grayish-black clouds; it is, after all, the last day of December. I walk to Mama’s sofa and sit, hugging my thighs into my chest. So tired. So tired. Snuggling into the corner, I lay my cheek against the arm rest and inhale her powdered scent.

She is in me. Mama’s in me.

Turns out Itchy and I are both right. Life is random, a deck of cards shuffled, collapsed then dealt to its players with blind oblivion; sperm to egg, roll of the dice, quirky fate. Yet some of us—those fortunate to have been birthed into nurturing families, those lucky few with prescience to find hope in despair—can coerce, twist and reshape the odds into something redeeming. Make your best hand, high card wins the trick.

I cut deals with the devil, learning just what he can do and precisely how he does it, huddling in his abyss as the fear of living devoured me. But light seeped through, tracing the contours of darkness; he couldn’t steal my soul.

Closing my eyes, I round the bend to the place where the year began, and now is ending, and all of the events in between; everything that occurred the day of the accident, and my unraveling since. Nothing that happens in the universe vanishes, and our past is not a dream; our past is our story, which lives forever, somewhere, and is limitless, attaching itself to what follows, and it’s this thing that follows that is the dream. Some dreams drown in booze, some come crashing down on asphalt, while others dissolve in a backwoods Southern town. Yet, for some, the dream persists. Shuddering. So you pick yourself up, retracing your path, but only if—and here’s the burning truth—only if you’ve got the guts. I’ve seen the face of courage. In the past six months, I’ve seen this face on a man, woman and child. Next time I’ll recognize it sooner. Next time it will be my own.

Close up coffee cup on wood table at sunset or sunrise beach


A Good Read

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*

If Amazon allowed me to rate books in fractions I’d rate this 3.5 stars but since I can’t do that I’m rating it as 4 stars.

I enjoyed reading the book but must confess I skipped a few parts when the rhythm got a bit slow. Granted, it’s not a thriller so I didn’t expect to read a page-turner but I couldn’t relate to one of the main characters and that hindered the enjoyment of story for me. However, that’s just my personal opinion and I would advise potential readers to check it for themselves because each person reacts differently to similar situations. I’m pretty sure you may enjoy this book more than I did.







A single mother who dreams of becoming a chef.

A food writer who just lost the love of her life.

Two women discover what’s worth fighting for in this deliciously rendered novel that illuminates the power of food, love, friendship and family on the human heart


Shelby Preston–a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia–escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat. Mallory Lakes–an Atlanta newspaper food writer–may lose her job, and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion.


Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelgänger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience. This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted; no warning. Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta. She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good.


Chasing desires and ambitions, the women’s lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders–some borders not meant to be crossed. As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what’s really worth fighting for.






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$50 Amazon/BN GC




Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm. She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet. After selling the business, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive. This is her first novel.

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  1. What a terrific post! Your book sounds terrific and congratulations on your good news! Thank you so much for sharing and happy writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks to all of you fab women for your good wishes and encouragement. I’m sure many of you are writers and I wish you the same in this crazy/fun world. Happy reading! Peggy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Becky. I enjoy literary fiction, particularly fiction set in the American South. Think Sue Monk Kidd and Pat Conroy. I also love Ann Patchett and Donna Tart. My favorite memoir is Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”. I tend to gravitate to women writers, but I just finished, “Purity”, by Jonathan Franzen. It’s filled with psychotic twists and turns; esp. loved the quirky mother-daughter relationship. Do you have any favorite genres or authors? Peggy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to host and please make yourself at home here! The blog is all yours today! LOL
    Congrats on the great news. Funny enough I work better with deadlines than without them. Meaning I know how long I’m allowed to stall before I can start panicking. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Much appreciation for inviting me to your blog, Liz.

    Love your beach pic shot (-: Right now we’re in the middle of a snow storm shutting everything down. Good day to write. Had great news yesterday–Lake Union Publishing made my agent an offer to buy “Simmer and Smoke” and are giving me an advance to complete book two by year’s end. Totally geeked! I’m not so great with deadlines, though; this weather will help.

    I’m delighted to answer questions, but it’s not the book for everyone. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”

    Again, thanks so much for hosting! Peggy

    Liked by 1 person

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