Book Review: Mom’s of the Missing by Steffen Hou

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. I normally do not read a lot of non-fiction, but I am truly glad to have read Mom’s of the Missing.

I would like to express my gratitude to Steffen Hou for reaching out to me.


About the Book:


Release Date: 10-15-2019

Paperback: 262 pages

Genre: True Crime

ISBN: 978-1-54397-972-5 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-54397-973-2 (ebook)

Publisher: BookBaby



“Oh my God, we found a dead body.” The man’s voice, calling from a mountain trail in Cleveland National Forest, was frantic. “Please hurry. I’m so scared. It’s a little kid.” When police arrived, they were met by a horrific sight. The girl was naked and had been positioned in such a way that detectives believed the murderer had seen his kill as some kind of a trophy. As if he were showing off his “work”. The little kid was Samantha Runnion, a five-year-old girl who had been abducted while playing in her parents’ garden the day before.

Samantha is just one of too many American kids who disappear. Almost half a million children are reported missing every year. And all across America parents are searching for their missing children or—if the worst case scenario has come to pass—the person who killed them.

Moms of the Missing investigates ten abduction cases. Through personal and heartbreaking interviews with the victims, it describes how parents maintain their hopes of one day finding their children—some of whom were taken by a stranger, a family member, or human traffickers. And two survivors tell what it is like to be held captive.

Moms of the Missing explores the principal types of abductions, and—not of least importance—who’s most likely to become a victim of the epidemic of missing children.

About the Author:

Steffen Hou (born 1975) is a Danish author and filmmaker. As a true crime author he
has written about topics such as innocent Americans on death row, human trafficking,
and the white supremacy movement. Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare is his
third book.

Contact the author:



Twitter: @steffenhou

My Thoughts:

As clearly stated in the synopsis, this book deals with facts and investigates ten abduction cases. Through each case we are introduced to the kinds of abductions that exist and how they can happen. This is presented to us through interviews with family members who have had to deal with the loss of a child.

Each experience shared is harrowing and scary, difficult for most of to understand, but necessary for us to be aware of. It is sometimes difficult to digest the kinds of cruelty out there in the world, but through this book, Steffen Hou and the affected people would like to bring about an awareness. Awareness is a must to be able to take preventive actions.

The book is very well structure as explained by the author in the prologue. The reader is introduced to the type of abduction, followed by a description and the authorities or body(ies) to be alerted. This is then followed by a detailed account of an experience. What happened on the day of the abduction? The nature of the child in general and their relationship with their family. The heartbreak and trauma the family faces when the child is missing. The support or non-support of the authorities. A step forward and a few backwards everyday towards trying to find an answer. And then a conclusion, good or bad, but with a strong message.

I would like to share that I respect those who have come forward to support this book and share their stories. It is definitely not easy to have your life taken apart and then to talk about it. The main message of the book is to keep up Hope and to contact the right people if a crime has already been committed and a child is missing. It is also about the prevention of such crimes and the steps we can take to educate ourselves, our peers and our children.

Though this was a difficult book to read, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it brings about an awareness on a very important topic that could help any one of us in the world today.

We are all in this together and we should learn to support one another. Also, please be aware and sensitive towards other people!

Thank you Steffen for bringing your book to my notice!

Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined by Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander

About the Book:

Kilee Brookbank was a typical sixteen-year-old, thinking about school, soccer, her friends, and her boyfriend. But her last ordinary day erupted in an explosion that consumed her house, burning over 45 percent of her body and sending her to the very brink of death. After thirty-eight days of surgeries, skin grafts, perpetual physical therapy, and excruciating pain, she had to discover how to live again.

When Kilee returned home, she had to find a new “normal,” relearning how to tie her shoes, put on her makeup, and even turn a doorknob. In each moment of her long journey back to everyday life, she had to make choices that would define who she was and who she would become.

With unwavering support from her mom, Lori, and the rest of her family, Kilee faced her journey with determination, strength, and a positive attitude that inspired not only her community, but people around the world.

Told together by Kilee and Lori, Beautiful Scars is a story of recovery, healing, and hope, reminding us all that we’re never powerless, never alone, and that each challenge we face helps make us the people we are meant to be.

My Thoughts:

This story of 16 year old, Kilee Brookbank’s experience with skin burns and her positive outlook to fight back and live a fulfilling life is encouraging and inspiring. The idea to get her story out there, to teach people to love themselves in spite of how they look or the scars they bear is wonderful and I applaud Kilee for the same!

This book brings out the sequence of events from both Kilee’s POV and her mother, Lori’s POV, thus helping us to understand all sides of the story and the feelings of everyone involved. It is a scary thing that happened, but the way in which it was approached and dealt with, made a huge difference to the recovery.

How do you recover from the pain and shock of the burns to living a normal life again? How does someone accept that they no longer look the way they used to, they are different in many ways? All this is covered and shared in great detail. The strength and support of the family and the people around them is wonderful and this story of hope and healing tells us that we are not alone, as long as we do not hesitate to ask for help. There is always someone out there who has gone through what you are going through and there are support groups and help if we seek it out. This is a story of growth and healing of not only of Kilee but also of her family and her mother who stood by her and supported her. They treated her as a normal person, in spite of her burns and the difficulties she faced initially. She had to re-learn to do all the everyday things by herself and I think Lori deserves a huge amount of credit for her unwavering faith and support. The idea to help people deal with the trauma of burns and healing makes Kilee’s story worth a read!

Promo: The Angel at the Devil’s Gate

About the Book:


Troubled teen Eli Nunn is moved back to Kansas City following the aftermath of a violent drug deal. Returning to a school where his ruthless reputation still thrives, Eli encounters and instantly connects with Angel, a beautiful and mysterious black-clad orphan. Their flourishing romance begins to grow darker when Eli learns details of Angel’s chilling past. Conflicted with alarm and intrigue, Eli accepts a proposal from Angel that puts both their relationship and lives in danger.

The Angel at the Devil’s Gate is a psychological suspense about two teenage outcasts whose growing bond takes a twisted turn down a murderous path.

Interview with Mocha:

Picture close_2

Mocha was nice enough to do an interview with us about her interests and her book. Here is what she has to say:

Interview questions:

  • What/who inspired you to start writing?

I’m unsure as to what inspired me to start writing other than my imagination was very active, and I needed to get the images onto paper. My mother and her encouragement to write would be someone who inspired me to want to pursue a career in writing.

       2) Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Mocha, an avid reader and lover of makeup. I attended the University of Central Missouri for journalism with a minor in creative writing. I love horror movies and music; I’m currently listening to a lot of Hollywood Undead and The Pretty Reckless, yet I’m sure that’s going to change when Breaking Benjamin’s new album comes out next month.

  • What is your favourite genre?

I have always loved the horror genre. I love to be scared and admire an author who can actually scare me, because I’m pretty hard to scare.

  • Which is your favourite book?

Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice is one of my favorite books; I can go on and on praising it. Sharpe Objects by Gillian Flynn is a novel that I still think about a year after reading it.

  • Who is your favourite author?

Anne Rice is by far my favorite author. She has had a huge influence on me as a writer. She has an incredible way with her words, and she paints such a beautiful picture with them. Reading her works, you can tell she has such a love for all her characters. She also gives the reader interesting facts about the time period her novels are placed in.

  • What are your hobbies?

When I’m not writing, I’m reading. Reading has become something that I cannot do without. I also enjoy going out dancing and talking to strangers, it’s amazing how much a character can be developed just from conversations with strangers. I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, it’s a VH1 reality show, The Wendy Williams Show and American Horror Story.

  • Perfect holiday destination?

I’d love to take a long vacation to New Orleans. After reading Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, It’s been a dream of mine to see the city. It’s one of my goals to do so.

  • Describe a perfect writing day.

A fresh pot of coffee, a full pack of cigarettes, and silence. I’m still waiting for that day to arrive.

  • Which is the best part of writing a story?

For me, the best part of writing a story is knowing that something I created evoked a slew of emotions in someone. When I began looking for beta readers for The Angel at the Devil’s Gate, the reception I received from them was overwhelming and rewarding. They told me how they laughed and cried, how they were afraid to turn the page or how they were anxious to find out what happens next. Conjuring up all those emotions in someone is very gratifying.

  • How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc.?

There are a few things that I draw from real life experiences but not too much. I may describe an emotion I’ve felt or a facial expression a friend made; however, I may subconsciously add more real life experiences than I realize.

  • Who among the characters you created do you like the most and why?

Angel has been with me for about five years now. The character was originally part of another novel I began but never finished. When the concept for The Angel at the Devil’s Gate came about, I knew Angel would fit well into the novel. I think I like Angel the most because the character is so different from any other character out. You’re never really sure if Angel is good or evil.

  • How much do you relate to the characters or incidents in your story?

I can relate to how both Eli and Angel are outsiders. I’ve felt like one my entire life. When I was younger, I was more discouraged about it, even angry about it. Eli is a representation of that anger. Getting older, I am able to embrace and find beauty in how different I am from other people. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of who they are nor should they let other people make them feel bad for who they are.

The Kickstarter project:


Kickstarter, is a site that helps raise funding for creative projects, in this case Mocha Pennington’s novel. Please take a look at the author’s page and show your support. Share the news and let us help bring in some donations. There are rewards based on the amount donated.

Link to Mocha’s profile and kickstarter project: