Book Blast: BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES by Yvonne Ventresca


Black Flowers, White Lies


by Yvonne Ventresca


March 6, 2018 Book Blast




Synopsis:



Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca


“I raced through Black Flowers, White Lies in a single sitting. What a twisty thrill-ride!”

~April Henry, New York Times-bestselling author of Girl, Stolen

LIES CAN COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU.


 Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a connection that transcends the grave. Since her mother disapproves, she keeps her visits to the cemetery where he’s buried secret. But when Ella learns that her mother may have lied about how Dad died sixteen years ago, it’s clear she’s not the only one with secrets. New facts point to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not a car accident as Mom always claimed.
 
When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger, as he did once before, or if someone’s playing unsettling tricks on her. But as the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, she finds herself terrified about who—or what—might harm her.
 
Soon the evidence points to someone new: Ella herself. What if, like Dad, she’s suffering from a mental breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers—no matter how disturbing the truth might be.



NOW IN PAPERBACK!



Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca is a 2017 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Winner!




Book Details:



Genre: Young Adult Thriller

Published by: Sky Pony Press

Publication Date: Paperback March 6, 2018 (Hardcover Oct 2016)

Number of Pages: 280

ISBN: 1510725962 (ISBN13: 9781510725966)

Grab Your copy of Black Flowers, White Lies on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, & Add it to your Goodreads list!






Read an excerpt:




Chapter One, Beautiful Boy:


 

I approach Dad’s tombstone with trepidation, then breathe a sigh of relief. No mysterious flowers wilt at his grave as I had feared. Last August, someone left fresh orange lilies for him throughout the month. I never figured out who. Then, in September, the flowers stopped appearing as suddenly as they started. I always wondered, with an odd mixture of anxiety and hope, if I would run into the other mourner— someone else who honored my father. But I never did.

 Usually, the ritual of navigating the same cemetery rows, visiting Thomas Darren Benton, and putting a small rock on his headstone calms me. Now, the heat is relentless and sweat trickles down my back as I search for the perfect pebble. It needs to be a nice, roundish one. Despite the lilies left last summer, Dad wasn’t a bouquet kind of guy.

 I know this even though I never met him. He died before I was born, so I have no memories of him, only stories from Mom that I’ve heard so many times it feels like I was actually there. I see him beam during his graduation from veterinary school and feel his hand pat Mom’s pregnant belly. I hear him pick my name from the baby book: Ariella, meaning lion, although Mom insists they nickname me Ella. I smell the damp on his clothes from the night he rescued Oscar the kitten from a storm drain and brought him home to stay. These recollections have been cobbled together into my own version of Dad for the last fifteen years.

 Today the sky is gray and foreboding, but the occasional burst of wind does nothing to cool me. I finally find just the right rock nestled in a patch of grass and rub off the dirt with my fingers. My friend Jana taught me the tradition of leaving a stone as a way to mark my visits with something more permanent, more enduring than flowers.

 I’m the only person who comes to his grave somewhat regularly, other than last summer’s unknown mourner. I don’t think Mom’s been here since her engagement to Stanley, a non-reading, self-absorbed, stubby man. With the wedding only days away, Stanley’s settled into our apartment, but each awkward conversation we have leaves me yearning for the father who painted my room a cheerful yellow, who created a mini-library of animal books to read to his future daughter.

 I hesitate before Beloved Husband and Father, rolling the pebble between my fingers, then place it in line with the last one, making it the eighth in a row. I let my hand linger against the cool granite. Next week is Dad’s birthday, August 8. That number has been lucky for me since I was eight years old, when I could have died, but because of Dad’s warning, I didn’t.

The air gusts, whipping strands of hair across my face and scattering the pebbles to the ground. My skin prickles at the eerie timing before I realize that the wind has been stormy on and off throughout the day. Still, it spooks me because nothing has disturbed my markers in months. Until now. It’s almost like Dad is giving me another sign.
 
 

The cemetery turns out to be more peaceful than home. I’m lounging across my bed checking my phone with Oscar purring beside me when—bang—Mom pounds on the adjacent wall. Oscar scampers to the top of my bookcase, his favorite spot in times of trouble.
 

The room next to mine serves as Mom’s office, and since my soon-to-be-stepbrother is expected to arrive later tonight, she’s fixing it up. Loudly.
 

I give up on coaxing Oscar down and move to the doorway. “What are you doing?”
 

“Look.” She points with the hammer at two new pictures of the Manhattan skyline where a framed print of The Cat in the Hat used to be. Besides changing the wall decorations, she also cleared out the closet and moved her many piles of papers from the desk. “Do you think Blake will like it?”
 

I have no idea what Blake will like. The only photo I’ve even seen of him is one that Stanley keeps on his nightstand. It’s a faded picture of a young blond boy at the beach, smiling up at him.
 

“The room looks nice,” I say. “But it’s not like he’s living here forever.” Blake would only be staying with us for a few weeks until he moved into his dorm at NYU.
 

“I know. But I want this to feel like home for him.”
 

She certainly cares a lot about this guy we’ve never met. The filing cabinet, the now-spotless desk, and the fax machine are the sole remnants of her office.
 

“After we find your dress today, I need to buy some blue sheets and maybe some towels, too,” she says. “Are you ready to go?”
 

“Sure.” I sigh quietly.
 
 

Our apartment building is directly across from the Hoboken PATH station. After a short train ride to the Newport Mall, I remember for the hundredth time why I hate shopping with Mom. Every dress she pulls off the rack is revolting. But the wedding is only days away. We need to find something suitable that won’t forever embarrass me when I see the photos in years to come.
 

“How about this?” Mom holds up a mauve paisley thing with puffy sleeves, her eyes shiny with hope. “This color will look so flattering on you.”
 

“Maybe.” I don’t want to hurt her feelings, so I purposely drift away to shop on my own. And then I see it: a pale yellow dress, strapless, with a flouncy skirt and sequins around the middle. The dress sparkles when I hold it against me. I can’t wait to try it on.
 

Mom will hate it. She’ll want me to look conservative for the small group of friends and family at her wedding. My strategy is to show her other dresses she’ll hate even more. I find a black mini she’ll say isn’t long enough and a floral sundress she’ll think is too casual.
 

When I get to the dressing room, Mom and three hideous pink dresses await.
 

I try on the minidress first, which she predictably declares too short. Luckily, the mauve one bunches at my waist. She likes the sundress, but not for the wedding.
 

I put on a blush-colored one.
 

“It’s not bad,” she says. “What do you think?”
 

“Too much lace. It’s like wearing a tablecloth.”
 

She nods in agreement.
 

Finally, I try on the yellow one and giggle with delight. I come out, posture perfect, feeling like a princess. “Isn’t it beautiful?”


 

Mom frowns. “Strapless? You’d need something over it.”
 

I twirl. “I have that silver sweater at home.”
 

“Let’s see the rose-colored one.”
 

“Fiiine.”
 

In the dressing room, I breathe deeply as I put on the last dress.
 

Her face lights up when I step out. “Ella! It’s so pretty! It brings a glow to your cheeks. And it’s perfect with your coloring.”
 

She calls it my coloring because I inherited Dad’s brown hair and brown eyes instead of her fairness.
 

“The rose is all right,” I say. “But don’t you think the ruffles look too childish for a sophomore?”
 

“Honey. It’s perfect for an almost-sophomore. And it’s appropriate. The yellow one might be nice for a dance, but for the wedding . . .”
 

I close the curtain and put on my shorts and favorite T-shirt, the one with the tabby cat that says Rescued is my favorite breed. It’s her wedding, I remind myself. She should get to choose. I should be mature.
 

I walk out and hand her the ruffled dress.
 

“Thank you. It means a lot to me,” Mom says. “I’ll pay for this and go to the bedding department. Want to meet at the food court in an hour?”
 

“Sure.”
 

I shake off my annoyance and detour into the accessories section, where my friend Grace had seen a cute wallet with kittens on it that she thought I’d like. I’m sifting through the clearance items when this guy approaches me, holding a bunch of ties. Whoa. He’s tall and blond, and his white polo shirt shows off his tan.
 

“Excuse me,” Beautiful Boy says. “I’m trying to decide between these?” His voice lilts into a question. His smile is friendly, his eyes deep brown and intense. “I suck at this kind of thing.” He somehow manages to look model-perfect and sheepish at the same time. “Would you mind helping me pick one?”
 

I blink for a minute, staring at his face instead of the ties. My delayed response verges on awkward. “Okay,” I say. “What are you wearing it with?”
 

“A gray suit.”
 

I’m conscious of his eyes on me as I study the ones he’s chosen. It makes it hard to think. None of the ties have any yellow, my favorite color. Maybe it’s the dress shopping with Mom, but I point to the gray one with rose-colored diamond shapes. “I like this.”
 

“Thanks.”
 

I wish I could prolong our interaction somehow so that I can learn more about him. He lingers a too-short moment, then gives me another smile before he turns away.
 

I can’t help feeling like something momentous has transpired. I’m a believer in karma and fate and the mysterious workings of the universe. As I watch Beautiful Boy walk away, I hope that meeting him again is meant to be.
 

***


Excerpt from Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca.  Copyright © 2018 by Yvonne Ventresca. Reproduced with permission from Sky Pony Press. All rights reserved.







Author Bio:



Yvonne Ventresca

Whether the topic is psychological manipulation, ghostly encounters, or surviving a deadly outbreak, Yvonne Ventresca enjoys the thrill of writing about frightening situations. BuzzFeed listed her latest novel, BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES at the top of their YA “must read” list for fall 2016, and this psychological thriller received an IPPY Gold Medal for Young Adult Fiction in 2017.

Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC (Sky Pony Press, 2014), won a Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Yvonne’s other credits include several short stories selected for anthologies, as well as two nonfiction books. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, SCBWI, The Authors Guild, and International Thriller Writers.

Besides writing, she loves a good ghost story, and as a third-degree black belt, she studies Isshinryu karate in a haunted dojo. You can learn more about Yvonne and her books at YvonneVentresca.com, where she also features helpful resources for teen writers.



Catch Up With Ms Ventresca on yvonneventresca.com, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & Facebook!





Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!




Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Yvonne Ventresca. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift card. The giveaway begins on March 6, 2018, and runs through March 13, 2018. Void where prohibited.


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Book Showcase/Excerpt: WHITE LIES by Susan Barrett


White Lies by Susan Barrett
Publisher:  Create Space (August 30, 2016)
Category: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Family Saga
Tour Date: April/May, 2017
ISBN: 978-1536806847
Available in: Print & ebook,  164 Pages

White Lies

The story is told from three perspectives: that of Beth, the natural mother of Tess, Liz, the adoptive mother, and Tess herself. The reader’s sympathy is engaged with each woman in turn, as the intricacies of the plot demonstrate how nature and nurture interplay in the formation of personality.

Beth is a guest at a wedding. The bride is Tess, her natural daughter, who’d been adopted as a baby. During the moments leading up to the marriage ceremony, Beth remembers the lifetime events that have led to her present state of sick fear. Recent revelations have made her suspect that the bridegroom is the first child she’d given up for adoption, and therefore Tess’s half-brother. Will she speak of this impediment to matrimony, as invited by the priest, or forever hold her peace?

White Lies gives the answer in a way that reveals the complexities of truth-telling in the context of parenthood and adoption. An entertaining page-turner, the novel also traces the social changes in family life over the last fifty years.



Read an Excerpt:

p.80 in Part Two, Liz (the adoptive mother)

“One thing you should certainly take into account,” said Penny Williams, from the far side of her colossal desk, surrounded by piles of books, lay-out pads and colour proofs, “your life will be taken over.”

Mine won’t be, thought Liz. Penny’s saying that because she’s finding her own life difficult. Fifteen years as an artist’s agent before becoming pregnant. Holding down her job while running her home and being a good mother. She’s speaking for herself. People see the world through the prism of their own experience.

“You mustn’t think,” went on Penny, “that just because you’ve the knack of appealing to children in your work you’ll find it easy to have your own.”  

Penny leaned back in her swivel chair and – happily, proudly – related the exploits of her toddler the previous day when she’d been on duty at home, it being the Belgian au pair’s day off.

Liz and and William, by way of contrast, would be working at home, sharing childcare. They’d take it in turns to be the one on duty. They would draw strict demarcation lines around their respective work areas. William’s carpentry room with all its terrifyingly sharp tools would be out of bounds as would her small studio full of spillable paints and coloured inks. The baby-to-be would lie in the sun on the terrace and when it was old enough, it would swim in the sea. A water-baby.  

One of the scenes Liz liked to conjure up featured the child – boy or girl, as yet unchosen – sitting on her lap, listening to her trying out a new story. With her arms around the child, she also held a sketch pad. In her imagination, she could smell the shampoo in the child’s hair. The child held a big fat blue – or green or red, it varied – felt tip pen and made wild marks on the pad. A creative environment, it would be, back on the island.

“There’ll be lots of village women,” she told Penny. “They’ll be only too happy to whisk the baby away. Greeks worship children.”

Penny let a humph sound emerge from the back of her throat. “So you’re going back?”

“Of course. As soon as the adoption’s through. Five months or so from the time we get the baby.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said Penny. “It seems to me –” She paused before going on. “It seems to me that you’re lucky to have the choice. Unlike most of us, you can actually make a rational, considered decision to burden yourselves – or stay free.”

Burden!  

“For you it’s not a natural happening,” went on Penny. “For us poor mutts, we can have children so we are expected to. Almost duty bound. We have our mothers breathing down our necks, longing to be grannies, trying not to ask when we plan to stop work and have endless babies. You can’t imagine the grief I had from Paul’s Mum.” Penny put on a different voice to imitate her mother-in-law. “There’s poor old Mrs So-and-so living on her own, never had children, no one comes to visit her, she hasn’t a soul in the world who’d be notified if she dropped dead one day in her own front room. Wouldn’t be found for weeks.  It’s such a comfort to me,” said Penny still being mother-in-law, “to know you and Paul are so close. You do so much for me. It’s such a blessing to have children, I can tell you, at my age when you’re widowed and poorly.” She changed back into being Penny. “It actually takes quite a brave person to say they don’t want children.”  

Liz wondered if Penny had been the brave person she had in mind, who had succumbed at last. “Do you regret it then?”

“No. You can’t regret it once it’s happened. Now.” Becoming efficient.  “Where are you with D, the D.B.P?”

 




Praise for White Lies by Susan Barrett

“A beautifully written study of motherhood, loss and what makes us who we are. The characters are deftly drawn and the writer clearly knows her subject. The narrative is expertly woven and fast-paced, delivering pain and joy blow by blow. Sharp and incisive, heartbreaking and so relevant to today.”-Vanessa de Haan

“A beautifully written, sensitive, yet amusing, and intriguing, tale around a subject that is rarely covered in literature. A delight to read.”- Amazon Customer

“This is a gripping read. It is not only relevant to those who have been involved in adoption but to all of us. It raises questions about families, about the fragility and power of maternal bonds, about love and disappointment. It charts with particular accuracy the difficulties of the tangled web of secrecy and complication that was characteristic of adoption in the mid-twentieth century. It keeps you guessing to the very end!”-Sally Woods

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the book group I belong to find this. I was quickly gripped by it, feeling for the central characters, all of them very real. I partly wanted to read slowly to enjoy it, confident there would be a satisfying, unfolding, but partly wanted to race to find out what happened. Will enjoy reading it again.”-Amazon Customer



About Susan Barrett


Born in Plymouth, Devon in 1938, Susan Barrett began writing fiction in the 1960s while living on a Greek island. Her first novel was published by Michael Joseph in 1969. Film rights were sold and renewed over several years. She went on to write six more novels which were published with mainstream publishers in hardback and paperback in UK and USA. A book on Greece’s landscapes, flora and fauna, illustrated in watercolours by her artist husband Peter Barrett, was published by Harrap Columbus in 1986. They have also produced many children’s books together, published in the US. In the 1990s she trained in humanistic counselling and gestalt psychotherapy and has practised as a counsellor for the last twenty years. Her latest two novels and a work of non-fiction are available as ebooks and in paperback editions.


Website http://www.aliveinww2.com
Twitter @SusanBarrett192
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/writersreadersdirect
Google+ https://plus.google.com/107631556274786388597

Buy White Lies by Susan Barrett


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Giveaway White Lies by Susan Barrett



This giveaway is for 2 print copies and 6 ebook copies of White Lies, for a total of 8 winners. The print giveaway is open to Canada, UK, and the U.S. only, however, ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on June 1, 2017 at midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.


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