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Designer You by Sarahlyn Bruck: moving but ultimately upbeat


Pam Wheeler checked every box: Happy marriage? Check. Fantastic kid? Check. Booming career? Check.

So when her husband dies in a freak accident and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled and grief-stricken daughter and save the family business.

Pam and Nate were a couple who just couldn’t get away from each other, sharing not only their bed, but also a successful lifestyle empire as DIY home renovators, bloggers, podcasters, and co-authors.

When Nate dies in a freak accident, Pam becomes a 44-year-old widow, at once too young and too old—too young to be thrust into widowhood and too old to rejoin the dating pool.

Now the single mother of a headstrong and grief-stricken teenager, Pam’s life becomes a juggling act between dealing with her loss and learning how to parent by herself. On top of all that she also must reinvent herself or lose the empire that she and Nate had built so carefully.

It is time for Pam to seize the opportunity to step up as a mother, come out from behind Nate’s shadow, and rise as the sole face of the Designer You brand, and maybe, possibly, hopefully, find love again.


My review

Given its story line, you might expect this to be a harrowing book. However, whilst it portrays raw grief very effectively, it’s at heart a positive, optimistic book. Pam has to deal with a nightmare scenario, and she does. Not always the best way perhaps, and not without succumbing to despair a few times, but she copes. Not only for herself, but also her teenage daughter who is already at a difficult time of life and now has all this extra awfulness thrust on her. Pam has support from her family, and Nate’s, but she still feels very much alone. So when her daughter vents her frustrations on her too, it’s not easy.

Pam buries herself in her business. Not from choice. but because she has to keep Designer You going. She and Nate had a quite lavish lifestyle and Grace is at a swish private school, so there are plenty of bills to pay. However, it’s a diversion from dwelling on Nate all the time. Pam meets a lot of challenges in becoming the new, lone face of their business. Some are  harder than others to deal with, but she soldiers on. Along the way she encounters Charlie, a divorcee, and they click, sharing as they do their aloneness and the problems that teenagers can bring.

Pam is a wonderful character – inherently strong, but also vulnerable. She’s energetic, endlessly patient with her daughter but also brings her up short when Grace pushes things that bit too far. She’s a loving mum who does her best but makes the odd mistake along the way. She doesn’t always want to be an adult, but she knows she has to be.

The language of the book is vigorous and energetic with clever, apt imagery. For example, Pam scowls at her watch, and her friend Becky, who’s British, sounds ‘authoritarian’ whenever she speaks because of her accent.

It’s an absorbing read, very moving but also, ultimately, very upbeat.

Super cover too.


Purchase Link

Author Bio – Sarahlyn Bruck writes contemporary women’s fiction and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of DESIGNER YOU, published by Crooked Cat Books on August 31, 2018. Sarahlyn teaches writing and literature at a local community college and also coaches writers for Author Accelerator.

DESIGNER YOU is Sarahlyn’s debut, and she is hard at work on her next book. Want the latest updates? Follow along for news, events, and announcements at You can sign up for her monthly newsletter there, too.

Social Media Links – Website:





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Cover reveal: Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmour

Isolation Junction

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.

She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.

It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?

Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiraling life she so desperately wants to change?

Pre-order Links:

Amazon UK –

Amazon US –

This  new edition of Isolation Junction publishes on 22nd October, and Jennifer Gilmour would love to invite you to the online launch party on Facebook –

Author Bio

Born in the North East, I am a young, married mum with three children. I assist in running a family business from my home-base and I have a large readership of other young mums in business for my blog posts.

From an early age I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside my own to write my first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again. I hope that in reading my debut novel, I will raise awareness of this often hidden and unseen behaviour and empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and find the confidence to change their lives.