99 RED BALLOONS by Elisabeth Carpenter

99 Red Balloons

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

Told from alternating viewpoints, it took me a minute to figure out all the players in this psychological thriller.

An eight year old girl doesn’t come home from school. As her family frantically try and figure out who did this and why.

Not far away, Maggie has already lost her husband, dear friends and her daughter and is still not over the abduction of her granddaughter. When she sees a picture of Grace in the news, she feels a strong connection.

This was a very twisty tale full of secrets, crimes and stolen children. Will they get Grace back? Is this family even a family?

There was quite a bit of tension in the story, as one would expect when a child goes missing. It was a good story. I just felt there was a lot more that could have been said about the individual characters.

Would I read it again? No. But give it a try and let me know what you think!

Netgalley/Avon August 24th Release.

EMMA IN THE NIGHT BY WENDY WALKER

Emma in the Night

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

This is one of the most spell binding psychological thrillers I’ve read in a bit!

Ms. Walker has told this story from the viewpoint of the victim, Cass, and Dr. Abigail Winter, a Forensic Psychologist with the FBI. And it works extremely well.

With a narcissist as a mother the Tanner girls never really stood a chance. If you don’t know what a narcissist is, you will after reading this book!

The sorrow I felt for these girls and their poor father, who just did not know what he was getting himself in to by marrying Judy. When she cheats on him and divorces him to marry up, it just opens a new can of ugliness. There were no boundaries, the girls had no voice.

When after three years Cass shows up at her family’s doorstep, everyone is shocked, no one more than Dr.Winters, who knows first hand what it means to live with a narcissist.

As Cass says, People believe what they want to believe. And that is so true in this case and a lot of others. Easier to believe the pretty story. But this wasn’t pretty but it was powerful. And the end? Did not see that coming at all!

Highly recommend this book!

Netgalley/St.Martin’s Press  August 08, 2017

 

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

The Art of Hiding

Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

When we first meet Nina it is quite obvious that while her life looks perfect, she is definitely not comfortable with it.

She tries to make herself invisible. Her husband takes care of everything on the financial front and she spends her days shuttling her boys around and making sure her house is immaculate.

When her husband is killed in a car crash her world is wrenched apart and as the song says, You find out who your friends are! And in this posh little section of Bath, she could just have well died herself. There is no help from friends, there is no one coming to save her. She must start over and discover who she is without her husband.

Amanda’s books are relatable. The struggles and the strength of her characters are real and very empowering.

There was heartbreak, anger, and loss but there was also hope, love and faith.

Netgalley//Lake Union

The Wildling Sisters by EVE CHASE *Release Day*

The Wildling Sisters

Nineteen fifty-nine. The four Wilde sisters, Isla, Violet, Maggie and Dot, are spending the summer in the Cotswolds, at Applecote Manor. Affectionately called the Wildlings, the sisters are exceptionally close, yet this year there’s a sense of nostalgia. Things are changing.

Except for Applecote itself, a house that seems frozen in time. The sisters haven’t been there in five years; not since their cousin Audrey mysteriously vanished.

But as they discover Applecote’s dark secrets and new temptations, the sisters begin to grow apart. Until the night everything spirals out of control and the Wildlings form a bond far thicker than blood . . .

Told in a dual timeline, it was very easy to follow the story. Mainly because it starts out in the 1950’s, so most of the people are still alive over 50 years later when a new family buys Applecote. Jessie, new wife and mother plus step-mother to a snotty teen-aged daughter whose own mother died a few years. Will is Jessie’s husband and Bella’s father as well as the new little girl, Romy.

The house seems to be alive, breathing as it contracts and constricts, seemingly at will. Something bad has happened in this house  And it feels like they may have made a horrible mistake.

Margot is the voice we hear of the four sisters. The story of that last fateful summer at Applecote and how all of their lives were drastically changed forever.

The writing is easy to read, there is a good flow to it and the characters are all flawed in some way and yet in a way that only family can do, they find the truth and come out on the other side much different from when they came to the house.

I love the title and cover and I hope you will give this one a read! A good summer escape read!

Books,Books and More Books Reviews thanks Netgalley and Penguin Random House for this lovely read!

Eve Chase

Eve Chase is the pseudonym of a journalist who has worked extensively across the British press.

Eve Chase always wanted to write about families – ones that go wrong but somehow survive – and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls.

Black Rabbit Hall is such a story.

She lives in Oxford, England with her husband and three children.

Broken…

Image result for broken angel

I came to you broken
A million jagged pieces
asking you to give me back what I was.

Raging against the storm
the rain stinging my face
I demand this

Give me back my self
I need to know myself
I need to see myself

I beg, I plead, I cajole
but there is only the wind and the rain
the wildness of the storm

It is the same storm
that lives inside of my soul
It is the same storm that has ripped out my heart
and left me in this broken, empty state

I am angry, beyond angry
I don’t want to be here anymore,
I don’t want to do this
although I am not even sure what this is

By dawn, the storm and I  have both exhausted our fury
The sky is clearing and I am left in a heap
on the wet grass
Spent, empty, cleansed

As I open my eyes I see one tiny shard
Sparkling on the ground
Written on it is the word Peace

I pick it up and smile
Nothing is what I thought
Nothing is in my control
I can only collect the tiny pieces of my soul
one at a time and put myself back together

Today would have been my father’s birthday. I wrote this after a week of over 100 degree heat and finally a storm blew in. I’ve put myself back together again, but the pieces will never be the same. One day I shall see you in Valhalla and we will drink and dance and tell stories again.

xx P

Happy Birthday Beautiful!

7 years ago this beautiful little girl came into our lives. And oh how happy we are that she did! She is the spitting image of her daddy in looks and sass!

She has an imagination that won’t quit! And I never want her to lose that. She has the best ideas and is awed by all things sparkly and girly! She also has no qualms about getting dirty if she has to.

We make up the best stories and she is an amazing crafter already and has a voice like an angel. As in this girl has talent!! But then she comes from a long line of musicians. She makes me laugh so hard and she is so certain of everything, rather like a walking encyclopedia!

I never imagined I could love someone so much, but Miss Charli Ava, you have captured my heart and you will forever be my girl.

 

 

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But The Pool by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella ( It’s Release Day Y’all!! And We Have an Exclusive Chapter for You All!)

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool

The bestselling and “perennially hilarious” mother-daughter team is back with a new collection of stories from their real lives, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Join Lisa and Francesca as they regret drunk-shopping online, try smell-dating, and explore the freedom of a hiatus from men – a Guyatus. They offer a fresh and funny take on the triumphs and facepalm moments of modern life, showing that when it comes to navigating the crazy world we live in, you’re always your own best lifeguard.

Mother and Daughter have once again succeeded in making us laugh until we cry as they share their lives, and views on every topic you can think of!

Two generations give us their take on life today. And it all works beautifully. Funny, Touching and Thought provoking subjects that each one shares with us in alternate chapters.

It was my pleasure to read this book which was so funny I literally snorted tea out of my nose!  I was very pleased to see her in Oklahoma City recently thanks to Literary Voices and she is a delight! The relationship between Mothers and Daughters can be complex. But also such a deep connection between two people who love each other and share their journeys with grace, elegance, and strong opinions!

So Here is an Exclusive Excerpt from the book! If you follow her on FB or Twitter say Congratulations!

Exclusive Excerpt:

Mother  Mary  and the Eyebrow

                                                                       Lisa

Let me tell you something about Mother Mary, my late mother who is nevertheless with us in spirit, her feistiness in our hearts and her voice in our ears.

Probably like your mother’s voice, except after two packs of More 100s a day.

The fact is, as feisty as Mother Mary was, she never yelled. That may surprise you, but it’s true.

My mother ruled our house and she never once raised her voice.

It was Teddy Roosevelt who said, speak softly and carry a big stick, and I’m betting he knew my mother.

She spoke softly and carried a wooden spoon.

Her spoon was like a scepter, only used for stirring gravy.

Instead of yelling, she had a series of Meaningful Facial Expressions that conveyed her will.

Chief among these was The Eyebrow.

Mother Mary used to lift, arch, and flex her right eyebrow

 

 

when she didn’t like something I was doing, though she used it only when necessary, like a handgun.

The Eyebrow was meant to convey:

Cut that out.

Put that down. Don’t be fresh. That’s not funny.

Mind your own business. Don’t have so much to say.

Mother Mary also had a Major Glare that she could fire at me from the stove, which made it more potent than The Eye- brow, like a long-distance missile.

The Major Glare meant:

Don’t talk that way to your brother. Don’t be so fresh.

Who are you kidding with that (action or comment)? Where do you get off ?

This last is impossible to translate. If you’re from South Philly, you get it immediately. If you’re not, please don’t sweat it. If you can’t figure it out, let it ride. No one is meant to know everything in the world.

To stay on point, the atomic bomb in Mother Mary’s ar- senal was The Frown.

You prayed The Frown did not come your way.

They say Italians talk with their hands, but they’re wrong. They talk with their faces.

The Frown was Mother Mary’s ultimate warning sign, and The Frown meant that she was going to Point Away, and if she Pointed Away, that meant that whatever you had done was so bad, you had to leave the room. She didn’t care where you went, only that it was Out.

In fact, if Mother Mary said anything when she Pointed Away, it was, “Get out of my sight.”

Spoken, not yelled.

My mother was not alone in believing that quiet can be more powerful than noise. The Godfather rarely spoke a whisper through three movies, except when he got to Johnny Fontane, who would try anybody’s patience.

Really.

What a whiner. Act like a man.

I bet your mother had an array of meaningful expressions, scary frowns, and lifted eyebrows, and they would come in handy in this election season.

Because every candidate is yelling. Now listen, I’m no Pollyanna.

I know that people get angry and I’m generally a fan of emotion. And to be real, it makes great television. A debate where everybody is yelling at each other is totally fun to watch.

Until you realize that’s how we choose a president. In a country we love.

Nobody in the debates is listening to each other because they’re too busy yelling. And they don’t listen to the ques- tion, either. They just wait until the question is over and take it as their signal to start yelling. Then other candidates on the stage interrupt them and start yelling. Nobody listens to any- body else and nobody answers the question, and when it’s over, the surrogates say it was a great debate.

The problem with yelling is that it’s the same thing as bullying.

And it seems like every week there’s a new debate, where we can watch candidates bully each other. And then we start to talk to each other about our views, and our voices get louder, and we start bullying each other.

It’s not our fault, it’s theirs. But maybe we can stop it.

Because the last thing we want to do is act like politicians. By the way, this is the week when we lost Antonin Scalia, who may have been the most conservative Supreme Court Justice ever, and his best friend was Ruth Bader Ginsberg,who may be the most liberal Supreme Court Justice ever.

They adored each other, though their views were very different.

It’s not coincidental that neither of these people was the type to raise their voice. I have seen arguments before the Supreme Court, and although Justice Scalia’s questions were pointed, he did not yell. I also heard Justice Ginsberg ask questions from the bench, and you could barely hear her.

Don’t think this is because they’re judges, because I’ve seen and heard judges yelling in court.

At me.

So what I’m saying is that true power lies in a soft voice and a listening ear.

It’s okay to disagree with someone.

It’s not okay to yell at them, bully them, or call them names.

And it’s not okay to rejoice in anybody’s death, nor is it okay to exploit that death for political gain.

I know that because I was raised right. By The Eyebrow.

Image result for lisa scottoline and her mother

The Happy Eyebrow!