“What Lies Between Us”…. a door to more food (and cupcakes!)

Every family has its secrets but Nina and Maggie are trapped by theirs. And as Nina uncovers Maggie’s secrets, Maggie’s lies, she can never forgive her….. or let her leave.

“Now the two of us are little more than the debris he left behind.”

I don’t want to give away too much of this story because reading it blind was thrilling and I want more people to have that opportunity. With each page turn, another layer, another secret, exposed. Watching the story unfold from what first appears as an agoraphobic woman watching over her neighborhood in “Rear Window” style transforms into a daughter imprisoning her mother to the attic with a heavy chain, punishing her for her lies.

What I loved the most about John Marrs newest book is the slow reveal of facts and secrets. He gives you a peak of what happened in the past and just as you think you understand what’s going on, a little more is revealed. Going deeper in the character’s minds, their pasts, Marrs slowly reveals his characters in such a way that you don’t know who to trust.

“Maybe it’s all a result of my own psychosis? Am I the sick twisted one and not her?  Am I the unreliable narrator in this story?”

The conclusion of this novel was everything, and nothing I expected. I know you will enjoy it too. It was an unputdownable thrill ride from start to finish. I wish I could read it again for the first time!

5 Stars

This book felt apt to our current situation. We are still living in quarantine times, living in LA where the virus is still somewhat rampant. So we don’t go outside much, of our own volition. However, Agatha, our calico, has strong feelings about being confined against her will. Currently we are sequestering the cats apart from each other during feeding times because Agatha has been eating most of Merlyn’s food, leading so some obvious weight issues for both of them. Merlyn has lost some weight and Agatha has become our little chonk. So, there are times throughout the day when either Agatha is confined to one room or is simply not allowed entry to a room. Her cries of anguish are spectacular, I’ve never had such a vocal and LOUD kitty. But it drove home the importance of sound proofing if you’re going to imprison your mother for months on end…. Don’t worry, Agatha is getting lots of love and a couple extra treats to help her fear of missing out.

This book is full of so many secrets, and hidden layers to the characters. You honestly don’t know what’s coming next. I knew as I was reading it I needed a bake with it’s own secret. And what is better than a cupcake with a delicious filling inside! And what better combination after a chilling read than chocolate and peanut butter. So I present you with the extra delicious, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes with a creamy peanut butter filling and chocolate ermine frosting. What is ermine frosting? Well let me tell you, it is the most delicious frosting ever created, especially if you don’t enjoy the heavy, gritty, sweetness of most frostings. Ermine frosting is made partially on the stove and whips into an almost whipped cream consistency. I highly recommend trying it; it is life changing.

The cupcake recipe and filling come from my mother’s great stock of recipes. This one came out of a magazine several years ago, not sure which one but I’m fairly confident it was “Woman’s Day”. What makes these cupcakes extra special is the peanut butter in the batter as well as the filling. The recipe initially calls for a ganache topping but I didn’t use it. I wanted something lighter. These are so delicious; we ate 4 of them as soon as I snapped the pictures!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes



1 ¾ c all-purpose flour

½ c cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ c whole milk

½ c sour cream

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ¼ c sugar

½ c creamy peanut butter

3 large eggs


½ c creamy peanut butter

3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ c powdered sugar

3-4 Tbs milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tins with liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk together milk and sour cream until blended in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until creamed. Beat in peanut butter until blended. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  5. On low speed, add flour mixture and milk mixture, alternating between them beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Spoon about ¼ c of batter into each muffin cup. Bake 20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan then remove cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Filling: Beat peanut butter and butter in a medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth. On low speed gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar and milk until blended. You may not need all 4 Tbs of milk.
  8. Spoon filling into a pastry bag and use a ¼ in plain round tip or a cupcake filling tip. Insert tip into top of each cupcake, squeeze as much filling as can fit, the top of the cupcake will bulge slightly.

Chocolate Ermine Frosting


1 c sugar

4 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp cocoa

pinch of salt

1 c whole milk

1 c unsalted butter, softened

½ tsp vanilla


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt.
  2. Whisk in milk until fully combined.
  3. Over low heat, whisk continuously until mixture thickens to a thick pudding texture.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap to keep from developing a skin.)
  5. When pudding has cooled, beat butter in electric mixture until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. (I use very, very soft butter, almost melty)
  6. Mix in the cooled pudding 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  7. Add in vanilla and beat until mixture is thick, smooth, and creamy, resembling whipped cream.

I piped on the frosting with a large tip and sprinkled chopped peanut butter cups on top!

Published by Aprile

An passionate reader, amateur baker, aspiring writer, and professional cat lady.

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