I am a married, mother of 5 (plus 1 elderly chihuahua), and I am also an avid reader. I read many genres of books: thrillers, contemporary fiction, some sci-fi (hello, Blake Crouch!), YA, non-fiction, and more. I am also a huge fan of audio books, thanks to Libro.fm and the Libby app through my local library. Audio books are my go-to method of reading during the day when I am busy running around doing my usual “mom” stuff, and physical books are my morning with coffee and evening with herbal tea way to unwind.
I started this blog the first week of 2020 as an addition to my other social media outlets (Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter) so I could have a more creative, personal space for my book reviews, recommendations, what I’m reading now, what I recommend, and also some more personal tidbits about my life as a mother of 5 (including identical twins with autism), living with autoimmune diseases, life in a small, lakeside (touristy) town and other interesting stuff.
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As they say in ‘Game of Thrones’ many times, “Winter is coming.” Only in this case, there’s no ice zombies to contend with, just some complex, well-written characters that are much easier to relate to than anyone in the 7 kingdoms of Westeros!
Ok, now that I’ve nerded out on George R.R. Martin references, it’s time for ‘A Winter Night‘ on an almost summer day!
Thank you to @unsolicitedpress & @tlcbooktours for my gift copy of Anne Leigh Parrish’s latest release, ‘A Winter Night’, released back in March!
I’m so glad I joined this book tour! What a refreshing & palette cleansing read for someone that gets way too wrapped up in the dark world of thrillers quite often! (…which I’m not mad about, but I totally dig a change of bookish scenery from time to time…ya know, so I can sleep & not have all the nightmares about the books I’ve read.)
The main character of Angie Dugan is written in a way that is easily relatable, with the right amount of layers & depth, which makes ‘A Winter Night’ even more enjoyable to read. ‘A Winter Night’ is a story of personal growth, learning to love & trust again, dealing w/ loved ones addictions, & so much more. The Dugan family first appeared in Parrish’s previous novel, ‘Our Love Could Light the World‘ & in this new release, Angie Dugan gets center stage. ‘A Winter Night’ is poignant, character driven, engaging, wise & witty. I look forward to reading more from Anne Leigh Parrish in the future & plan to check out some of her backlist soon!
About ‘A Winters Night‘: 34-year-old Angie Dugan struggles with many things–anxiety, her career as a social worker in a retirement home, & her difficult family. Her biggest struggle, though, is finding love. When she meets Matt, she’s swept away by his attention. As issues from his past come up she wonders if she can trust him. Should she break it off, or give him another chance? In the end, all she can do is listen to her heart, & evaluate what she wants most. (**Be sure to read the author bio below to read more about the Dugan’s origin story.)
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love, which also shows support to the author.
Anne Leigh Parrish sat down one day at an ancient typewriter & banged out a short story. Nine yrs & many stories later, ‘A Painful Shade of Blue,’ found a home in The Virginia Quarterly Review. The story featured the real-life trauma of her parents’ divorce when she was only 10 yrs old. While other stories returned to that time & place, most ventured further afield, focusing on women in impossible situations, & blending stark reality w/ magical realism. In 2014 her first novel, ‘What Is Found, What Is Lost’, featuring four generations of women & their experience w/ religious faith convinced her that she also loved long-form writing. ‘Women Within’, her 2nd novel, is another multi-generational story about three women whose lives intersect at the Lindell Retirement home. In both stories & subsequent novels, the Dugan family of Dunston, New York, a fictional town representing Ithaca, where Anne grew up, takes center stage. They’re a tough, hard-worn bunch full of love, pain, & fierce devotion to each other – usually. Her linked story collection, ‘Our Love Could Light The World’, & her novels ‘The Amendment’ & ‘Maggie’s Ruse’ follow them over years & many ups & downs. Her latest novel, ‘A Winter Night’, released in March 2021 centers on the eldest daughter, Angie Dugan, & her struggle to find love & self-acceptance. Anne lived in Seattle for 35 yrs until Amazon made driving anywhere a nightmare, then moved w/ her husband & black pug to a forest outside of Olympia, Washington where she continues to write stories, novels, the occasional essay, & most recently, poetry.
Fans of shows like the CSI franchise, CriminalMinds, Mindhunter, Thomas Harris’s ‘RedDragon‘ & ‘Silence of the Lamb‘, this is for you! (And definitely for ME!) Thank you @amazonpublishing @tlcbooktours for my gift copy of ‘The North Face of the Heart‘ by Delores Redondo! (pub 6/1)
“A composer is always thinking about his unfinished work.’- Stravinsky
In a propulsive thriller by the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Baztán Trilogy, a female detective follows a sadistic killer into the eye of a storm…
Amaia Salazar, a young detective from the north of Spain, has joined a group of trainees at the FBI Academy in Virginia. Haunted by her past & having already tracked down a predator on her own, Amaia is no typical rookie. And this is no ordinary student lecture at Quantico. FBI agent Aloisius Dupree is already well acquainted w/ Amaia’s skills, her intuition, & her ability to understand evil. He now needs her help in hunting an elusive serial killer dubbed “the Composer,” & in solving another case that’s been following him his whole life.
From New Jersey to Oklahoma to Texas, the Composer’s victims are entire families annihilated in the chaos of natural disasters, their bodies posed w/ chilling purpose amid the ruins. Dupree & Amaia follow his trail to New Orleans. The clock is ticking. It’s the eve of the worst hurricane in the city’s history. But a troubling call from Amaia’s aunt back home awakens in Amaia the ghosts from her childhood & sends her down a path as dark as that of the coming storm.
Redondo’s razorsharp writing makes this utterly gripping, atmospheric, gritty, dark story so haunting & disturbing, it’s hard to put down. Plus, I studied Forensic Criminology in college w/ plans to work in CSI & profiling before becoming a stay at home mother, so I was fascinated by it.
Want to win a copy? Click HERE to head to the GIVEAWAY on Instagram. There’s one winner, US & CAN residents only.
Dolores Redondo studied law and the culinary arts before writing The Baztán Trilogy, a successful crime series set in the Basque Pyrenees that has sold over 1.5 million copies in Spanish, has been translated into more than thirty-five languages, and was adapted into a popular film series.
Twice nominated for the CWA International Dagger Award and a finalist for the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle, Redondo was the recipient of the 2016 Premio Planeta—one of Spain’s most distinguished literary awards—for her stand-alone thriller All This I Will Give to You, which has also been optioned for feature film and television development and will be translated into eighteen languages.
📚Time for a 6 book GIVEAWAY geared towards the men in honor of Father’s Day later this month! Yes, ladies, you can enter the giveaway, too, for yourselves or enter to win these fantastic novels for your father, husband, brother, older sons, grandpa’s, etc. I will even send the books to them wrapped nicely & with a Father’s Day card stating that you thought they would enjoy these books for some summer reading. All of the books are in new condition & some are arc’s, & I have @blackstonepublishing to thank for all of these gifted books! (*Click HERE to see yesterday’s giveaway, too!).
❓Q: Does your husband/boyfriend read books? (And if you’re a male, & following my page, you probably do, so Thank You!) My husband doesn’t read books, but he doesn’t balk at or mind my talking about them all of the time, so I guess that’s good enough for me.
📖’River, Sing Out’ by James Wade not only has a gorgeous cover (I mean, REALLY gorgeous!) but it’s a masterfully written, haunting, dark story w/ such taut, beautiful prose, it will leave you breathless. It’s available this Tues, 6/8. (*See below for full blurb & click on any of the highlighted titles to add them to your Goodreads lists.) Wade’s previous, award winning novel, ‘All Things Left Wild’, is also included in this giveaway.
📚You can enter to win ALL six books pictured for yourself or for another reader by clicking HERE to go to the giveaway on Instagram & doing the following: 1- LIKE this post. 2- Must be following @mom_loves_reading 3- Tag a couple bookish pals (Unlimited entries, 2 tags per comment) Bonus 5 entries: SHARE to your stories & tag me. **Giveaway is on Instagram, is US residents only, runs 6/5-6/8/21, & isn’t affiliated w/ Instagram. Please don’t UNfollow after or you’ll be excluded from all of my future giveaways, & there’s a LOT. (& it’s rude.)
Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.
Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.
Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.
With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.
‘All Things Left Wild’ by James Wade: After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb’s moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill.
Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.
Powerful and atmospheric, lyrical and fast-paced, All Things Left Wild is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country. It artfully sketches the magnificence of the American West as mirrored in the human soul.
‘The Rebel Nun’ by Marj Charlier: Marj Charlier’s The Rebel Nun is based on the true story of Clotild, the daughter of a sixth-century king and his concubine, who leads a rebellion of nuns against the rising misogyny and patriarchy of the medieval church.
At that time, women are afforded few choices in life: prostitution, motherhood, or the cloister. Only the latter offers them any kind of independence. By the end of the sixth century, even this is eroding as the church begins to eject women from the clergy and declares them too unclean to touch sacramental objects or even their priest-husbands.
Craving the legitimacy thwarted by her bastard status, Clotild seeks to become the next abbess of the female Monastery of the Holy Cross, the most famous of the women’s cloisters of the early Middle Ages. When the bishop of Poitiers blocks her appointment and seeks to control the nunnery himself, Clotild masterminds an escape, leading a group of uncloistered nuns on a dangerous pilgrimage to beg her royal relatives to intercede on their behalf. But the bishop refuses to back down, and a bloody battle ensues. Will Clotild and her sisters succeed with their quest, or will they face excommunication, possibly even death?
In the only historical novel written about the incident, The Rebel Nun is a richly imagined story about a truly remarkable heroine.
‘Felonious Monk’ by William Kotzwinkle: Meet Tommy Martini, the monk with an anger management problem. Since killing somebody with a single punch is not a needed talent in a monastery, he spends his time praying, meditating, and taking his anger management medicine. But his meditations are interrupted by a legacy from his uncle, a crooked priest. Arriving in a New Age Arizona town to claim his inheritance, Brother Tommy meets a charismatic, smoking-hot cult leader who claims that women are being impregnated by alien beings while they sleep. Tommy’s own sleep is disturbed–by cartel hitmen, Mafia bill collectors, and women intrigued by his vow of chastity. He loses his anger management medicine in time to deal with the hitmen, but the women present an uphill battle.
William Kotzwinkle’s quicksilver touch has produced an effervescent piece of entertainment filled with suspense, turns you won’t see coming, and the humor for which he is famous.
The summer of 1966 burned hot across America but nowhere hotter than the cotton fields of Mississippi. Finding herself in a precarious position as a black woman living alone, Bernice accepts her brother Floyd’s invitation to join him as a servant for a white family and she enters the web of hostility and deception that is the Kern plantation household.
The secrets of the house are plentiful yet the silence that has encompassed it for so many years suddenly breaks with the arrival of the harvest and the appearance of Jesse and Fletcher to the plantation as cotton pickers. These two brothers, the sons of the house servant Silva, awaken a vengeful seed within the Missus of the house as she plots to punish not only her husband but Silva’s family as well. When the Missus starts flirting with Jesse, she sets into motion a dangerous game that could get Jesse killed and destroy the lives of the rest of the servants.
Bernice walks the fine line between emissary and accomplice, as she tries her best to draw secrets from the Missus’s heart, while using their closeness to protect the lives of the people around her. Once the Missus’s plans are complete, families will be severed, loyalties will be shattered, and no one will come out unscathed.
With a dazzling voice and rich emotional tension, Pale explores the ties that bind and how quickly humanity can fade and return us to primal ways.
Two years ago, Dr. Gina Brady broke Thomas Prescott’s heart, but now her panic-stricken satellite phone call starts it beating again with a fury. Thugs kidnapped the good doctor from the remote jungle village where she was working, and now the retired homicide detective’s expert skills are desperately needed to save her.
Led by a colorful, but perhaps untrustworthy local guide, Prescott journeys deep into the Bolivian Amazon, plunging into a world where the only thing more dangerous than the gun-toting drug traffickers and the ruthless tribesmen, is the jungle itself.
When Gina’s trail leads to a chance encounter with an archaeological expedition, the search for the missing doctor takes on even deadlier consequences. But Prescott will not relent in this punishing quest until, once again, he holds Gina in his arms.
************************* 💁🏼♀️You can click on the highlighted titles above to add any of them to your Goodreads lists & click HERE to go to Mom_Loves_Reading on Instagram & enter to win ALL SIX books for yourself or if you would like, I can wrap them nicely & send them to the person of your choice (US residents only) along with a card & personal note from you.
📖So, what are you reading this weekend or what have you read recently. Please share in the comments. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!😊
🐝If you are looking for an intriguing, moving & deeply felt story for yourself or your book club to discuss this summer, (not to mention that it’s cover is stunning!) look no further. ‘The Hive‘ will have everyone buzzing once it’s released this Tues, 6/8. ‘The Hive‘ is a coming of age/family fiction novel about class in a politically divided country, the love & burden of family businesses, bees, & apocalyptic prepping.
📖A story of survival, sisters, and secrets…
📖The Fehler sisters wanted to be more than bug girls but growing up in a fourth- generation family pest control business in rural Missouri, their path was fixed. The family talked about Fehler Family Exterminating at every meal, even when their mom said to separate the business from the family, an impossible task. They tried to escape work with trips to their trailer camp on the Mississippi River, but the sisters did more fighting than fishing. If only there was a son to lead rural Missouri insect control and guide the way through a crumbling patriarchy.
📖After Robbie Fehler’s sudden death, the surprising details of succession in his will are revealed. He’s left the company to a distant cousin, assuming the women of the family aren’t capable. As the mother’s long-term affair surfaces and her apocalypse prepper training intensifies, she wants to trade responsibility for romance.
📖Facing an economic recession amidst the backdrop of growing Midwestern fear and resentment, the Fehler sisters unite in their struggle to save the company’s finances and the family’s future. To survive, they must overcome a political chasm that threatens a new civil war as the values that once united them now divide the very foundation they’ve built. Through alternating point-of-views, grief and regret gracefully give way to the enduring strength of the hive.
🐝’The Hive‘ is such a rich, complex & deeply felt novel that deals w/ family dynamics, feminism, grief, regrets, secrets, & coming to terms w/ an ever changing & fast moving world that waits for no one. With well-written, flawed & relatable characters (& there’s even one main character w/ my name as well!), ‘The Hive‘ draws you in right from the get go & immerses you into the atmospheric, amazing & eccentric world of the Fehler sister’s.
🦋Thank you @melissascholesyoung for my gift copies of the book (🐝which arrived in a super cute bee-themed bubble wrapper!) & for sponsoring this giveaway! I have one copy to give away to one lucky reader. (**Please note, this giveaway is on Instagram & the following information is for info-sakes only. You can enter the giveaway by clicking HERE. Be sure you are following me on Instagram as well in order to be eligible.)
🐝To enter: 1- LIKE this post.(on Instagram) 2- Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @melissascholesyoung 3- Tag a couple bookish pals (Unlimited entries, 2 tags per comment) **Bonus 5 entries each: 4- Comment what book you are currently reading & any thoughts you have on it. 5- SHARE to your stories & tag me (can do daily).
🦋Click HERE to enter the giveaway on Instagram. You can also click HERE to visit/follow Mom Loves Reading on Instagram.
🐝Click HERE to add ‘The Hive‘ to your Goodreads lists.
🦋Click HERE to visit Melissa Scholes Young’s website.
🐝Click HERE to pre-order or find ‘The Hive‘ at an Independent Book Store near you or online.
Melissa Scholes Young is the author of the novels The Hive & Flood, & editor of Grace in Darkness & Furious Gravity, two anthologies by women writers. She is a contributing editor at Fiction Writers Review, & her work has appeared in the Atlantic, Ms., Washington Post, Poets & Writers, Ploughshares, Literary Hub & elsewhere. She has been the recipient of the Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Foundation Residency Fellowship & the Center for Mark Twain Studies’ Quarry Farm Fellowship. Born & raised in Hannibal, Missouri, she is now an associate professor in Literature at American University. Follow her on Twitter: @mscholesyoungInstagram: @melissascholesyoung Facebook: facebook.com/melissascholesyoung/ Website: melissascholesyoung.com, thehivenovel.com
Are you a fan of modernized or re-imagined classic novels such as Little Women, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or Pride & Prejudice? I am, as long as they are entertaining & done well.
Today’s upcoming release is a modernized Anne of Green Gables, the beloved classic written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, first published in 1908 & adapted into several movies, series, & now a romantic, charming, hilarious novel set in NYC. Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gift copies of ‘Anne of Manhattan‘ by Brina Starler! (pub 6/1)
After an idyllic girlhood in Avonlea, Long Island, Anne has packed up her trunk, said goodbye to her foster parents, Marilla & Matthew, & moved to the isle of Manhattan for grad school. Together w/ her best friend, Diana Barry, she’s ready to take on the world & find her voice as a writer. When her long-time archrival Gilbert Blythe shows up at Redmond College for their final year, Anne gets the shock of her life. Gil has been in CA for the last 5 yrs—since he kissed her during a beach bonfire, & she ghosted him. Now the handsome brunette is flashing his dimples at her like he hasn’t a care in the world & she isn’t buying it.
Paired w/ the same professor for their thesis, the two former competitors come to a grudging peace that turns into something so much deeper…& sexier than either intended. But when Gil seemingly betrays her to get ahead, Anne realizes she was right all along—she should never have trusted Gilbert Blythe.
While Gil must prove to Anne that they’re meant to be together, she must come to terms w/ her old fears if she wants a happily-ever-after w/ the boy she’s always (secretly) loved.
I adored this heartwarming, sweet, nostalgia-inducing story! It made me want to go back & read the whole Anne of Green Gables series, & I may just do that now. I have (1) arc of ‘Anne of Manhattan‘ up for grabs to send to one lucky reader within the 50 United States. (*Please note: The giveaway can be entered on Instagram only; however, you can earn an extra 10 entries by subscribing to my blog emails & commenting on this post. Click HERE to go to the Instagram post.)
To enter: (*for information sakes only; enter on Instagram by going HERE.) 1-LIKE this post. 2-MUST be following @mom_loves_reading 3-Tag some bookish pals (unlimited entries, up to 3 tags per com) Bonus 5: SHARE in stories & tag me. Can do daily. (**Don’t forget the blog subscriber bonus mentioned above.) Giveaway is US 50 states, runs 5/30-6/1/21, & isn’t affiliated w/ Instagram. Please don’t UNfollow after or you’ll be banned from my many future giveaways, & it’s rude.
Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & enter (or even just to give it some LIKE love!)
Click HERE to add ‘Anne of Manhattan‘ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to read more about ‘Anne of Green Gables’ or to add it to your Goodreads lists.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brina Starler writes and reads romance novels and romantic fiction—really, anything with kissing will do. She loves to bake, garden, and tweet for posterity about the bizarre things her kids say, and she is working her way through a truly frightening backlog of fan fiction. Brina lives in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and a pup who bears a strong resemblance to Falkor the Luck Dragon. She has finally resigned herself to a future of asking tall people to get stuff off the top shelf.