Friday, June 22, 2018

Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey

Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.
Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal—and when a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her, far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?
Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now she’s gone without a trace.
As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return—and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.
Emotionally powerful and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.

Have you ever seen kids getting screamed at in public and wondered if it's an isolated moment or whether they have a bad home life? I have, and so the description of this book really called out to me.
 Sarah is a woman who was neglected, abused and abandoned by her mother as a child. When she sees Emma Townsend being screamed at by her mother it affects her so strongly that she can not forget. When she is sure that this was not an isolated incident she steals Emma, wanting only to protect her and give her the love that she never had as a child and that Emma so obviously needs. Once they are on the run together she is not sure whether she's made a mistake. The story starts off really strong and I was sure I was going to fall in love with it but the ending was just too simplistic and unrealistic for me.
3 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE

The scrawled sign, peddling young siblings on a farmhouse porch, captures the desperation sweeping the country in 1931. It’s an era of breadlines, bank runs, and impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when the image leads to his big break, the consequences are devastating in ways he never imagined.

Haunted by secrets of her own, secretary Lillian Palmer sees more in the picture than a good story and is soon drawn into the fray. Together, the two set out to right a wrongdoing and mend a fractured family, at the risk of everything they value.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned readers across the nation, this touching novel explores the tale within the frame and behind the lens—a journey of ambition, love, and the far-reaching effects of our actions.


This book looked like it would be right up my alley so I expected to fall in love with it. I'm not exactly sure where it went wrong for me or why I am not able to be as exited about it as so many other people are. It just felt a bit bland to me. I do love historical fiction, especially stories set around the time of the great depression. This novel delivers that, but I was hoping it would dive more deeply into the ways struggling families lived and survived in such poverty stricken times and less about the personal lives of the photographer and secretary.
3 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Mirandareturns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?



Frances Metcalfe is basically friendless and ostracized by the snooty moms
in her son's school until one day she meets the new arrival to the neighborhood Kate. The two quickly become the best of friends although something always seems just a bit off. While Kate dotes on her son and on Frances she seems to have no interest or time for her daughter Daisy. Both of these women have secrets in their past but is one of them a sociopath? A murderer? Even if you figure out who is who before the end, and you probably will, this story is still juicier than a soap opera and moves a lot faster. I loved it. 5 stars. A perfect guilty pleasure.

I received an advance copy for review.



Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach

Reddit horror sensation Dathan Auerbach delivers a devilishly dark novel about a young boy who goes missing, and the brother who won't stop looking for him.

Eric disappeared when he was three years old. Ben looked away for only a second at the grocery store, but that was all it took. His brother was gone. Vanished right into the sticky air of the Florida Panhandle.

They say you've got only a couple days to find a missing person. Forty-eight hours to conduct searches, knock on doors, and talk to witnesses. Two days to tear the world apart if there's any chance of putting yours back together. That's your window.

That window closed five years ago, leaving Ben's life in ruins. He still looks for his brother. Still searches, while his stepmother sits and waits and whispers for Eric, refusing to leave the house that Ben's father can no longer afford. Now twenty and desperate for work, Ben takes a night stock job at the only place that will have him: the store that blinked Eric out of existence.

Ben can feel that there's something wrong there. With the people. With his boss. With the graffitied baler that shudders and moans and beckons. There's something wrong with the air itself. He knows he's in the right place now. That the store has much to tell him. So he keeps searching. Keeps looking for his baby brother, while missing the most important message of all.

That he should have stopped looking.


"Somewhere in the distance, lightning lit the sky on fire, and it screamed in pain."

Bad Man will be published on August 7 and is available for pre-order now.
 It is told from the point of view of Ben, a young man who lost his little brother 5 years ago and never forgave himself and never gave up searching. For some reason the police don't seem to care and his step mother is lost in her own world, still buying presents and holding birthday celebrations for her little boy who never came home. Ben's father doesn't want him working in the store where little Eric disappeared but he sure doesn't mind Ben bringing home a paycheck. His boss is a jerk and the other employees are a bit on the suspicious side.
This was an  incredible read. Bad Man has more layers than an onion, each one deeper and darker than the one that came before. A heavy pervasive creeping dread settled in my stomach with the turn of each page.
5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Nikolis Cole: The Low-Rise Saint by Richard Black

The death of a Drug Lord's first lieutenant ignites an all-out war between two rival gangs, a war that has raged on for a year. Homicide detective Karen Oswalt realizes she has no chance of bringing peace to the streets unless she can find the murderer, but it appears to have been the perfect crime. No witnesses. At least none have come forward. But all that is about to change. With one phone call from an informant long-thought dead, Karen Oswalt and her partner are about to come face to... uh... well, face with the killer.  









"Where man's justice doesn't reach out, a higher justice will reach down."

Detective Karen Oswalt and her partner Leon Barnes get schooled in justice when they meet with an informant in a drug infested neighborhood to try to solve a murder, in this gritty horror short by Richard Black. Someone else is patrolling the street and there's hell to pay.
This was a well written, fast paced, supernatural horror.
4 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall

From the national bestselling author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes a moving coming-of-age tale set in the tumultuous sixties that harkens to both Ordinary Grace and The Secret Life of Bees.

Tallulah James’s parents’ volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her family’s reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders.

If not for the emotional constants of her older brother, Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. The dysfunction of her childhood still echoes throughout her scattered family, sending her brother on a disastrous path and drawing her home again. There she uncovers the secrets and lies that set her family on the road to destruction.
  

Part coming of age tale, part family saga, this work of historical fiction put me in mind of V.C. Andrews and I mean her true style when she was alive, not the ghost written books that came out after her death. Although on second thought she would have made it shorter to stretch it into a trilogy. Tallulah James is on her way back to a home she never expected to return to, after news reports that her brother has been arrested for murder. On the way, and once there she recalls what it was like to grow up in such tumultuous times, and the events that led her to flee at such a young age. The story touches on civil rights, mental illness, first loves and family secrets.

4 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review.