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Elise Manion

Random Thoughts from a Hopeless Romantic

Book Review – All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

MY REVIEW OF All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris ❤️❤️❤️❤️💔

(This review may contain spoilers)

Official Book Blurb:
Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora’s 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there’s an even worse discovery―at the kids’ last known destination, a dead body.

While the local police and sheriff’s department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip’s disappearance related to Aurora’s father’s gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quantity, responsible for taking the other children? But regardless of the reason, as the days go by, the most important questions remain. Are the kids still alive? Who could be concealing them? Where could they be?

With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother…if he’s still alive.

I was delighted to learn that Ms. Harris was releasing another Aurora Teagarden mystery and she did not disappoint.

All the Little Liars begins where we left Aurora at the end of Poppy Done to Death; newly discovered pregnant, newly engaged to Robin (they have quickly married before confirming the pregnancy with a doctor and telling their family and friends their happy news), and newly taking guardianship of her half-brother, Phillip.

Ms. Harris expertly directs the reader to look at every angle of the mystery before the final reveal, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Emotionally, we are swept up in Aurora’s joy, confusion and fears. To add insult to injury, Phil and Betty Jo Teagarden show up on her doorstep to cause even more angst, and forces Robin to show us his angry side. Gotta love a man who defends his woman.

This read is clean, i.e. no gratuitous foul language, sex, or violence. In other words, it is perfectly safe to recommend to my mother.

My only complaint with All the Little Liars is its abrupt ending, and unanswered resolution regarding Phillip’s future living arrangements with Aurora and Robin. The assumption is that he will stay and, my hope, is that we will find the answer in a future book. *crossing my fingers*

My final score for All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris is 4 ½ hearts. Ms. Harris, I eagerly await your next book!

Reminiscing

My Man and I are almost empty-nesters. It’s a sad chapter in our lives and I’ve been having a hard time of it lately. Our son is moving two states away on the other side of the continental divide. Talk about moving away! Sheesh!

It’s been hard for me to come to terms with it but I’ve discovered that laughing is usually the cure to get me out of a good pout about the whole thing. I was going through some old entries in my diary and found this gem from two years ago. I can’t stop giggling.

June 19, 2014

The Great BBQ Caper

Tuesday morning I received a call from my 17-year-old son on my cell phone while I was at my day job.

Son: Mom, where is the mini bbq?
Me: It’s in the garage, why?
Son: I need it for the JROTC Commander Summer BBQ. I can’t find the little propane bottles.
Me: Honey, the mini bbq works off of coals.
Son: Oh. Well, that’s ok. Blank (my son’s best friend) is picking me up and we are headed to the marina to get things started.
Me: Ok. Love you.
Son: Love you too.

I’m lucky with my day job that, during the summer, I only work half days and was home by 1:30 pm. As I was putting dishes in the dishwasher, my son calls me again.

Son: Hey, we are headed home to put the BBQ away, then we are going to go play miniature golf.
Me: Cool.
Son: Can I have some money?
Me: of course. Love you!
Son: Love you too.

Fifteen minutes later I hear the garage door opening, so I go outside to say hello. My eyes go round and my mouth gapes open when I see what is in the back of Best Friend’s truck.

“YOU TOOK YOUR DAD’S GAS BBQ?!” I screech. This thing is stainless steel and has six burners plus a searing plate. It fills the back of the pick-up.

“Calm down, it’s fine, Mom. Best Friend even replaced the propane tank,” my son says, but he’s grinning from ear to ear, the ornery dimple showing in his cheek.

“I promise I took really good care of it, Elise,” Best Friend says.

And I can see that, yes, they have taken good care of it; Best Friend has it strapped into his truck bed with yellow moving straps that cinch up tight. Then he proceeds to let down the tailgate, put a custom ramp made for quads onto the tailgate, then layer the ramp with some wooden planks. He begins to unhook the BBQ.

“Are you two just going to let Best Friend do all the work?” I ask my son and Buddy #2 who is with them.

“No, Mother. We let Best Friend do the technical stuff and we are the muscle.”

I close my eyes as my son and Buddy #2 muscle my husband’s giant gas BBQ out of the back of the pick-up; the whole time they are reassuring me that they’ve been moving it all day long and it’s fine. They promise to put it back exactly as they found it. I don’t bother to hold my breath on that promise.

Finally, I say, “I’m not saying a word to your dad about this. We would both be in trouble.”

My son, who has no fear, says, “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt us.”

So that evening, I’m on pins and needles, but my poor husband has had to work late and he doesn’t go out to the patio like he normally does. We are safe for now.

The next evening, my son is with his friends. I am home alone. I’m working on my second book (Yes, the second in the King Brothers Novels… YAY!) when my husband walks through the door.

“Hey baby,” he says and kisses me on the cheek.

“Hey yourself. How was your day?” He proceeds to tell me and we chat for a minute or two before he says….

“The wind has finally stopped. Do you mind if I go get some sun before we have dinner?”

I’m immediately on guard but I play it off. “Sure, honey. Let me know when you get hungry,” and I continue to work on some rewrites, not making eye contact.

Two minutes later….

“Baby, do you know where my BBQ tongs are? I thought I washed them and put them on the counter but I can’t find them.”

I close my eyes and try to act cool, because in my head I’m screaming at my son for not putting the tongs back where they belong. “No honey, I’m sorry. I haven’t seen them.” I don’t feel guilty because I’m not lying, I haven’t seen them. But now I’m worried they’re laying on the sand at the marina.

Another two minutes later….

“Ok, this is weird. I found my BBQ spatula in the bushes on the side of the house by the creek. How drunk was I Sunday?” he asks.

I now cannot contain my laugh because it’s evident that my son could never commit an international crime without being caught within the first 24 hours.

“That’s weird,” I giggle, but unfortunately I now  hear this high pitched hiss, like air leaking from a tire, coming from the patio. I get up to investigate what other obvious clue my son has left my husband to find. My husband’s head is underneath the BBQ where the propane tank is and I smell the stinky odor of propane.

“Well, something is definitely wrong with this thing,” he says. “Did our son say if he took the propane tank to the bbq yesterday?”

I panic. “I..I’m not sure.” I explain as my fat fingers fly across my iPhone to text my son that he’s an idiot.

Now my husband is standing at the sliding glass door with that look of frustration he only gets when he’s figuring out that he’s been played. “Get My Son on the phone right now.”

Uh oh.

I dial and hand the phone to my husband. I immediately go back to my laptop and pretend to write something while listening to my husband’s one-sided conversation…

“Hey, it’s me. Did you take the propane tank from my bbq yesterday?” Pause. “Because it’s leaking propane everywhere, that’s why.”

Another slight pause…

“YOU TOOK MY WHOLE BBQ?!”

I can actually hear my son on the other end yelling to get his point across, and explain what happened.

My husband finally says, “Dude. Why didn’t you just ask me if you could take it? I would’ve let you. I don’t really like this BBQ anyway.”

I really, really love the men in my house. They are sooooo entertaining sometimes!

Don’t Shame Me For Wanting “The Feels”

Paul McCartney asked this question: Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. What’s wrong with that?

I say there’s nothing wrong with that, Paul. I am a junkie for all things silly and romantic. I’ve got a sweet tooth for the sweet stuff. Give me a good laugh, a good cry, maybe even a steamy love scene and I’m happy, just as long as it all works out in the end. I think we all want a little happily ever after in our lives. I see nothing wrong with that.

Unfortunately, there are those in some circles who try to shame us silly-little-love-story readers for our choice in literary entertainment. You know the ones, they’re usually sitting around a table at the local Starbucks embellishing on Little Johnny’s latest achievement, or arguing over who’s daughter has the largest bra size…jasons_princess_fb_banner_release Click here to read more.

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