Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray

source: free copy via Pump Up Your Book Promotion for review.
title: Bird’s Eye View
author: TK Ray
genre: fiction/novella/family drama
pages: 103
published: July 15th 2020
first line: Cancer.

About:
A Bird’s Eye View is a twisted tale of deception with acts of love overshadowed by the pains of a troubled teen. As traces of laughter and love are left amongst the whispers of chilling prayers, this once tight knit family faces a rollercoaster of emotions and a call to heal. This blindsided attack leaves the family devastated and takes this family on a journey none of them could prepare for.

My thoughts:
Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray is a story revolving around a family and the pain they go through and the ties that bind them. As the story starts off Cara narrates. She is a widow and mother of three daughters who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her life has not been easy she and her deceased husband used drugs and she’s gotten clean and tried to pick up the pieces after his death. She has twin daughters aged 18 and a younger daughter about to go into high school when she starts making arrangements. She decided to leave her youngest Carli to her niece Mirabel. As the chapters flows the other women in the story narrate in turn. Carli lives with her cousin Mirabel and spends most weekends with her sisters.

As the book flows and each character tells their story, there is sadness and heartache but also hope and strength. As a teenager Carli starts to rebel and I wondered how it would turn out for her. She drops a bombshell towards the middle of the book that was quite the plot twist. This bombshell causes a ripple effect that threatens to tear the entire family apart.
Some of the chapters end with the women saying a prayer as Mirabel especially is religious. I will mention a trigger warning for domestic violence and gun violence during a scene.
With author TK Ray’s writing style, I felt like I was being told a story by a friend as I read, if that makes sense. The writing flows smoothly as you get each character’s POV.

This is a story about family and how tough times make you stronger. One of the main themes here is that family is the most important thing. I enjoyed reading Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray and I recommend it if you enjoy stories revolving around family dramas and persevering.

“Crazy how that works. You pray against these moments-that they never come, that they don’t penetrate as deep as the last but of pain did-but when it comes, it’s there and then it’s gone. You’re forced to formulate new prayers, new peace, and a new life after the trauma.”-p.24,Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray

“The family I knew us to be, we always pull together in struggle. We were the strongest women I knew. Strength was becoming our thing.”-p.60,Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray



About the author:
“Write what hurts and watch it heal.” That is the mantra that has empowered the imagination and willpower to tell her story for upcoming Author, TK Ray. Using colorful language and descriptive tone, Tk provides a safe space to unpack a beautiful and twisted tale based on a true story of real family dynamics.

TK Ray was born in San Diego, California to a fifteen-year-old mother and fourteen-year-old father in the late eighties. Born to two young teens, TK found herself tainted by the statistics of becoming a teen mother herself. She found solace in the world of literature as her own private journals became her voice when shyness took over. She began to understand the world in more intuitive way and birthed that intuition into an imagination that has fueled much of her writing. Much of her writing is personal however as the years have gone by, have included poetry, music, obituaries, blog posts and now literature.

TK is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner and practicing Massage Therapist in southern California. She fuses her knowledge in holistic health with that of her knowledge of her bachelor’s degree in health science to better serve her community in wellness and education. – quoted from Amazon


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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received a free copy of Bird’s Eye View via Pump Up Your Book Promotion in exchange for my thoughts.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

source: purchased
title: A Head Full of Ghosts
author: Paul Tremblay
published: May 2016
genre: horror
pages: 285
first line: This must be so difficult for you, Meredith.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Shining, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

My thoughts:
I purchased A Head Full of Ghosts because I wanted to dive into something scary. This was my first time reading Paul Tremblay and the premise looked good. Plus, this is what Stephen King said about this book: “A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare”. If that’s not a horror recommendation I don’t know what is.

The book centers around twenty-something Merry Barrett as she tells a writer named Rachel the story of what happened to her family when she was just eight years old. Rachel is going to write a book on the Barretts. When Merry was eight her fourteen year old sister Marjorie started exhibiting symptoms of demonic possession. The Barrett family was having financial difficulties at the time because the dad John Barrett lost his job. When Marjorie begins acting strange it puts a strain on the entire family. She was talking in bizarre and weird voices, cursing and having erratic outbursts.

After treatments from the doctor didn’t work, the family obtained help from the Catholic church. After observing Marjorie, Father Wanderly got permission to perform an exorcism. On top of all this, the Barrett’s got a tv documentary deal so there was a film crew living in their home for a few weeks filming the family daily. The Barrett’s agreed to the documentary which aired weekly and made them somewhat infamous because they needed the money. The exorcism is aired on tv.

I enjoyed how the author pulled me in here, Merry tells a terrifying story and I was on the edge of my seat while reading. She’s an endearing character and you want her to be okay but she is an unreliable narrator so you never truly know what happened.
I wondered where Paul Tremblay would go with the story because halfway through I started thinking this book could easily start to resemble a retelling of The Exorcist which is of my favorite horror novels. I was not disappointed. This one does throw nods to The Exorcist but manages to remain original.

The book culminates into a nice cringeworthy twist at the end that left me speechless. The twist is what seals the deal. I also enjoyed how the book plays with you a little as you read, you never really know what is truly going on. I wondered whether Marjorie was really possessed or mentally ill or maybe both. I feared for Merry and her interactions with her older sister in that state were scary but also sad. Merry idolized her older sister like most little sisters do. I also really enjoyed the whole reality tv twist to the story due to the documentary about the family being filmed.

A Head Full of Ghosts was fantastic horror and I recommend it to fans of the genre. This one is not for the faint of heart some of the scenes are shocking. Ugh, the basement scenes. I wanted to hide under the covers.


“In a way, my personal history not being my own, being literally and figuratively haunted by outside forces, is almost as horrible as what actually happened. Almost.”- A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

I sneak into your room when you are asleep, Merry-monkey. I’ve been doing it for weeks now, since the end of summer. You’re so pretty when you’re asleep. Last night, I pinched your nose shut until you opened your little mouth and gasped.”- A Head Full of Ghosts



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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.



Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan





source: free ARC via Meryl Moss Media
title: Her Three Lives
author: Cate Holahan
genre: thriller/suspense
pages: 338
published: April 20, 2021
first line: She would make them late.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars


blurb:
Gaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.

My thoughts:
Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan was a thrilling read that had me hooked from page one. Having read and enjoyed One Little Secret a few years ago by this same author I was curious about this one.

As the book starts off Jade Thompson and her fiancé Greg are getting ready to go out one evening. Greg opens his front door thinking there is a package delivery and he ends up the victim of a brutal attack that leaves him nearly dead with a brain injury. Two attackers enter the house and also steal Jade’s expensive engagement ring but nothing else. Jade is also injured in the attack.

As Greg begins the healing process with the support of his ex-wife, his two children and Jade, the question of who tried to kill him is at the forefront. Greg installs security cameras in his home but they only make him increasingly obsessed and paranoid. He is also suffering from PTSD after the attack.

The detectives assigned to the case are leaving no stone unturned. They start looking into Jade’s line of work as a social influencer and a blogger hoping to find any clues in some of the comments on her blog posts.

I sat down one Saturday afternoon with Her Three Lives and finished it up the next morning. After being in a book slump for months it was refreshing being able to find myself so immersed in a thrilling read like this one.

I had no idea who attacked Greg and Jade. As the story unfolded I started to dislike Greg more and more. A successful architect in his late fifties he is in the process of getting a divorce when he meets Jade. He is smitten with her and I think by six months into the relationship they are engaged. Jade is thirty something and close to her mother but estranged from her father.
I found this quote in regards to how Jade feels about her father particularly insightful:
“She hadn’t known her father long enough to truly love him as an individual. If anything, she loved him as an idea”.-p141, Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan

Jade is the opposite of Greg, her family is from Jamaica, she is a social media influencer/blogger and it seems that she’s his mid-life crisis relationship in some regards. Jade can take of herself financially but Greg is wealthy and makes millions on commission on certain accounts so Jade definitely has motive to have him murdered. These two are both hiding some secrets.

Greg’s family dynamics seemed realistic and he is still amicable with his ex-wife Leah. His daughter Violet openly dislikes and suspects Jade and she hopes her parents will get back together. Their son seems to be more accepting of the relationship. Speaking of the ex-wife Leah, that lady is ride or die when it comes to her kids.

Author Cate Holahan continues to pen thrilling reads with twists and turns that have you guessing until the very end. As the book went on I had no idea who attacked Greg until the author revealed it. It made sense and the story was wrapped up nicely and even culminated in a bittersweet ending.
I recommend Her Three Lives if you enjoy suspenseful thrillers centered around families.

“Sadness had replaced her anger. Sadness and shame.-p.303, Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan”

Special thanks to Meryl Moss Media for my review copy.


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About the Author:
Cate Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of domestic suspense novels The Widower’s Wife, One Little Secret, Lies She Told, and Dark Turns. In a former life, she was an award-winning journalist, writing for The Record, The Boston Globe, and BusinessWeek, among others. She was also the lead singer of Leaving Kinzley, an original rock band in NYC.
She lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters, and food-obsessed dog, and spends a disturbing amount of time highly-caffeinated, mining her own anxieties for material.-quoted from Amazon

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I received a copy of Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan from Meryl Moss Media in exchange for my honest thoughts. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. If you click on the link and purchase the book I will receive a small affiliate commission.
The book photo is my own and is not to be removed from this post.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

thehousesource: purchased
title: The House We Grew Up In
author: Lisa Jewell (Twitter)
genre: fiction/family issues
pages: 386
published: August 12th 2014
first line: Tuesday 2nd November 2010
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
OUR HOUSE. OUR FAMILY. OUR SECRETS.

Meet the picture-perfect Bird family: pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and towheaded twins Rory and Rhys, one an adventurous troublemaker, the other his slighter, more sensitive counterpart. Their father is a sweet, gangly man, but it’s their beautiful, free-spirited mother Lorelei who spins at the center. In those early years, Lorelei tries to freeze time by filling their simple brick house with precious mementos. Easter egg foils are her favorite. Craft supplies, too. She hangs all of the children’s art, to her husband’s chagrin.

Then one Easter weekend, a tragedy so devastating occurs that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass and the children have become adults, while Lorelei has become the county’s worst hoarder. She has alienated her husband and children and has been living as a recluse. But then something happens that beckons the Bird family back to the house they grew up in—to finally understand the events of that long-ago Easter weekend and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

my thoughts:

After having read Then She Was Gone this past January I knew I wanted to read Lisa Jewell again. The House We Grew Up In centers on the Bird family and their secrets, heartache and healing. The story goes back and forth from past to present day as we get each family member’s story. The matriarch of the house is a hoarder. When the children were growing up Lorelei seemed like an eccentric stay at home mom with a house full of knick knacks and the walls covered in her children’s drawings, but as the years passed this turned into a full on hoard situation. Her husband Colin is a quiet teacher who turns a blind eye to the hoarding, their twins sons are Rhys and Rory and the daughters are Meg and Beth. The neighbor Vicky and her children also become part of the Bird’s lives.

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Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

brave
source: free ARC via Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing
title: Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
published: May 19th 2020
genre: fiction
pages: 300
first line: It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstar
blurb:
Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

my thoughts:
If you want to read an emotional story revolving around important issues that will pull at your heartstrings may I suggest Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

As the story starts off Brooke is a 30 something divorced single mom living with her mother and 2 year old daughter Etta. Brooke takes Etta out one evening to the movies when she is carjacked and dragged out of the car. The carjacker proceeds to speed off with baby Etta still in her car-seat. A mother’s worst nightmare right?

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