Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Book Tour Stops Here: "Don't Try to Find Me" by Holly Brown with a Berry, Peach & Greens Chia Smoothie

Imagine the very worst happening--your teenage daughter has disappeared and it looks as though she has run away. You are tormenting yourself for every decision you made, every action taken or not taken that could have provoked her leaving, and what you could have done to have prevented it. Then the social media campaign designed to bring her home takes over--your dirty laundry is aired and the secrets you keep carefully hidden are slowly exposed. You are judged and presumed guilty of being a bad mother and maybe even being a suspect in the disappearance. Don't Try to Find Me a novel by Holly Brown weaves an interesting back story around an event that could be pulled from the headlines or an episode of Dateline. 

Publisher's Blurb:

"Don’t try to find me.

Though the message on the kitchen whiteboard is in fourteen-year-old Marley’s handwriting, her mother, Rachel, knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away. 

I’ll be okay.

Marley’s quiet. Innocent. Sheltered. Growing up in Northern California with all the privilege Rachel never had, what does Marley know about taking care of herself? About being okay? Rachel might not know her daughter at all. But she does know that she needs to find Marley before someone else does. Someone dangerous. 

I’ll be better.

The police have limited resources devoted to runaways. If Rachel and her husband, Paul, want their daughter back, they’ll have to find her themselves. Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter and launches But Marley isn’t the only one with something to hide. Paul’s social media campaign generates national attention, and the public scrutiny could expose Rachel’s darkest secrets. When she blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins. 

I love you.

The blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It’s not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it’s discovered that Rachel lied to the police, the devoted mother becomes the prime suspect in Marley’s disappearance.

Is Marley out there, somewhere, watching it all happen . . . or is the truth something far worse?"

Hardcover: 368 pages  
Publisher: William Morrow (July 8, 2014)

I went into this book thinking it was going to be a mystery but from the start we find out from Marley what happened to her. So the story becomes more about uncovering the secrets and reasons that led to her leaving her family for B., the 'boyfriend' she meets online. I would classify it as a family drama/psychological thriller, high on the drama.  The story, told in daily increments, alternates between Marley's perspective--written in her journal pages, and Rachel's thoughts. There are glimpses to the past from both Marley and Rachel that help build the story. I liked the back and forth narrative and felt that both voices rang true but I did find it hard to completely attach to the characters--both frustrated me--especially Rachel, being the adult, and her significant lack of backbone and maturity. The impact of social media on the family was interesting. We are a quick-to-judge society, our lives becoming more transparent with every Facebook post or Tweet, something Rachel especially becomes painfully aware of as the campaign her husband initiates to bring their daughter home quickly spins out of control. Holly Brown is a marriage and family therapist and it shows in her writing and her digging deeply into the 'whys' behind her character's actions--although I am not sure this book ends up being a plug for therapy--maybe more a cautionary tale. Brown doles out these pieces of information in a way that kept me interested and the suspense building. Although not quite what I was expecting, Don't Try to Find Me kept me awake and turning pages on a very long flight returning from a business trip despite being exhausted--a mark of a successfully-written drama in my book.

Author Notes: Holly Brown lives with her husband and toddler daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s a practicing marriage and family therapist. Her blog, Bonding Time, is featured on

Food is mentioned in the book but more as sustenance than in a foodie way--appropriate for the story. The food was pretty basic--fried chicken, yogurt, sandwiches, dishes that Marley cooks for B. before the 'honeymoon' stage of their relationship wanes like lasagna, chicken Marsala and meatloaf. In the end for my usual dish inspired by my reading, I went for a simple and healthy smoothie. In a happier moment, Rachel and her husband Paul are making the family breakfast with Rachel cooking the French toast and Paul manning the blender--whirling like a propeller. I chose to omit the French toast for my breakfast and make a drinkable breakfast. 

I am a big fan of peach and berry smoothies for their sweetness, but I also like to give my fruit smoothies a boost of nutrition so baby spinach leaves and chia seeds join the party. Sure the color isn't as pretty but it tastes great and gets another serving of greens into my day. ;-)

Berry, Peach & Greens Chia Smoothie
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 2 Servings)

1 cup peach slices, fresh or frozen*
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen*
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen*
1 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2-3 drops of vanilla stevia or sweetener of choice
1 cup fruit juice, coconut water or milk alternative of choice (+ extra if needed)

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Add extra water or juice if needed to make it to your desired consistency. Pour into glasses and enjoy! 

*Make a least one of the fruits listed is frozen to make it cold and creamy.

Notes/Results: A quick and easy smoothie perfect for sipping on the go or while checking email. I like the little bit of vanilla sweetness from the vanilla stevia drops I use but you can use whatever sweetener you have on hand or omit it. When I am not taking photos of it I sometimes omit the blueberries and add mango or pineapple instead (and put it in an opaque cup and ignore the murky brown color.) ;-) 

Note: A review copy of "Don't Try to Find Me" was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own. 
You can see the stops for the rest of the TLC Book Tours and Reviews here.  


1 comment:

  1. What a scary experience for her family ... I can't imagine being in their shoes.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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