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.
Thanks again for visiting Mom Loves Reading! I would love it if you would subscribe. You will get email notifications for new posts and be one of the first people to know when a giveaway is coming up and when one is currently running. I giveaway LOTS of advance copy books from publishers as well as other books. So click that Subscribe button and tell your bookish friends to do the same. Sharing is caring!😉
GIVEAWAY time! (I actually meant to post this to my blog a couple days ago, but then I ended up sick & forgot. So better late than never & you have until the end of the day to enter. Sorry, US residents only per the publisher.)
Thank you to @grandcentralpub for my gift copy of ‘This Close to Okay‘ by Leesa Cross-Smith!
Q: What did you read this weekend? I started & finished ‘Finlay Donovan is Killing It’ & really liked it, & I am this close to finishing the book I am featuring today.
A cathartic novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers: a therapist & the man she prevents from ending his life,
‘This Close to Okay‘ is a vibrant, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they needed each other most.
This book was a Dec BOTM choice & my first book by the author, although ‘So We Can Glow’ is on my TBR list. There is some heavy subject matter covered in this beautiful book: mental illness, racism, grief, & suicide; but don’t let that sway you from reading it. (Just maybe have a rom-com or comedy as a follow-up read if those subjects weigh on your emotions; ‘Finlay Donovan is Killing It’ would make a great follow-up, just saying.)
‘This Close to Okay‘ is so well written, emotional, heartfelt, intimately honest & raw, & the characters are richly drawn, complex, & unforgettable. I highly recommend this book & would love to send a copy to (2) of you! (**The following is for information purposes only. You must enter the giveaway on Instagram & you can go to the post HERE.)
To enter to win one: 1- Must be following @mom_loves_reading 2- LIKE this post. (SHARE it in your stories or feed for 5 bonus entries & TAG me.) 3- Tag some bookish pals. (Unlimited entries, up to 3 tags per comm). Giveaway runs 2/6-2/8/21, is not affiliated w/ Instagram, & is open to US residents only. Please don’t UNfollow after giveaway or you will be ineligible for all future MLR giveaways & there are a LOT.
From the award-winning Southern writer who Roxane Gay calls “a consummate storyteller” comes a cathartic novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers: a therapist and the man she prevents from ending his life.
On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing on the side of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.
Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. But what she doesn’t realize is that he’s not the only one who needs healing — and she’s not the only one with secrets.
Alternating between Tallie and Emmett’s perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge’s edge — as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with in her own life — This Close to Okay is a vibrant, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they needed each other most.
Click HERE to add ‘This Close to Okay’ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to check out my Instagram post & enter the giveaway. Click HERE to visit Leesa Cross-Smith’s website. Click HERE to find this book & any others at a local or online indie bookstore using BookStoreLink.com. Click HERE to join Book of the Month & get your first months book selection at a discount. (*’This Close to Okay’ was a Dec 2020 BOTM pick & is still available. You don’t have to get this one, however, in order to get the discount.) Click HERE to get this book (or any others) on audio from Libro.fm & support indie bookstores that way. You can also get a BOGO using my code MOMLOVESREADING.
Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of SO WE CAN GLOW, WHISKEY & RIBBONS, EVERY KISS A WAR, and the forthcoming novels THIS CLOSE TO OKAY and HALF-BLOWN ROSE from Grand Central Publishing. She is longlisted for the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize. SO WE CAN GLOW was listed as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020. WHISKEY & RIBBONS won the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Gold Medal in Literary Fiction, was longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was one of O Magazine’s 2018 Top Books of Summer. EVERY KISS A WAR was nominated for the PEN Open Book Award (2014) and was a finalist for both the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction (2012) and the Iowa Short Fiction Award (2012). Find more @ LeesaCrossSmith.com
Hey there! I have been so bad about getting blog posts done since pretty much the beginning of December. As a mother of autistic kids that keep me on my toes non-stop every waking minute they are home, & the fact that they are only in school 4 days a week for 6 hrs each day, this exhausted mom is really having a hard time getting all 9,000 things done on my daily to do list each day.
One thing I have been enjoying this past week are all of the cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers, juncos, chickadees, & other pretty birds that stick around for our chilly, Northern Ohio winters. Our yard has been full of them, so we have been feeding them seed & nuts daily. We do have two squirrels that are enjoying our feeding generosity, one in particular that I have named Farley (after the late Chris Farley) due to his size (from eating so much of the bird seed & peanuts) & also because he is so funny & entertaining to watch. I named the smaller gray squirrel that keeps trying to get in on the food action Spade (after David Spade.)
It may be a snowy Sunday here in Ohio, but books, tea & coffee will keep me warm today! Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gift copy of ‘Forgive Me‘ by Susan Lewis! (pub 1/26). From the bestselling author of ‘My Lies, Your Lies’ & many other novels, comes a story of love, family, & the price of forgiveness, for readers of Diane Chamberlain & Lisa Scottoline.
The past doesn’t stay hidden forever… In prison, Archie Colbrook spends his time writing letters. Letters addressed to a person against whom he committed terrible, nameless harm. Archie knows he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, & sure, he was only following orders. But does that matter? He still did it.
In a small coastal town of Northern England, Claudia Winters hopes to feel safe for the first time in yrs after fleeing from her abusive husband w/ her mother & daughter. Their new life is supposed to be a fresh start. But Claudia knows the past won’t stay hidden for long—& she can’t help but feel that someone is watching her… & that something terrible is about to happen.
Linked by one irrevocable act of violence, Archie & Claudia’s lives intertwine. Claudia can’t overlook what Archie did to her family—but is forgiveness the only way to truly move on?
Tense, emotional, & gripping, Susan Lewis’s, ‘Forgive Me‘, is a spellbinding story of family & the power of forgiveness. An emotionally compelling, poignant family drama that is a perfect weekend read during these blustery, winter days. It’s available now. Look for it at your local indie bookseller & don’t forget, today is the last day to enter to win a copy of ‘Hadley & Grace‘ so head to my giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post now.
Click HERE to use BookStoreLink.com to find ‘Forgive Me‘ & other books at an Indie Bookstore. Click HERE to visit Mom Loves Reading on Instagram & LIKE my post there! Click HERE to visit Susan Lewis’s website. Click HERE to add ‘Forgive Me’ to your Goodreads lists.
Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.
GIVEAWAY TIME! Folks, it’s early in the year, but I’m predicting ‘Black Buck’ by Mateo Askaripour to be one of my Top 5 favorite books of 2021 & I guarantee it’ll be for many of you as well!
‘Black Buck‘ is the author’s debut novel that released on 1/5 & I was fortunate enough to receive early copies of it, ultimately choosing to listen to the audiobook version. The narrator did such a fantastic job! It’s already #15 on the NY Times bestseller list this week, a Book of the Month add-on, & the Jan ’21 ‘Reading w/ Jenna‘ pick.
I loved Mateo’s dedication page at the very beginning of the book: “To all of those who have ever been made to feel less than, I see you”. Followed by that are a few pages of Author’s Notes, one of which encourages white readers to consider themselves an honorary black person as you read the book, which I totally get, to better understand the POV from which the situations & scenarios in the book are coming from.
The book is a dram-edy (funny, yet drama filled) & meant to be satirical, meaning some parts are over the top & exaggerated, but the messages in the story are perfectly clear. The description of the book says ‘for fans of ‘Sorry to Bother You’ & ‘The Wolf of Wall Street”, & since I have never seen the 1st movie I don’t get that comparison; however, having seen the 2nd, I do understand that & agree, but it’s only in some ways similar.
You may want a writing instrument handy while reading this book to annotate & underline meaningful quotes & passages. You will love some of the characters like Brian, Wally Cat, Mr. Rawlings & Darren’s mom, & you’ll hate some of them like Clyde (who is total pond scum). You may also catch yourself saying some of the ‘Black Buck’ catch phrases in everyday life like I have been since reading this, such as ‘Every day is deals day’ & ‘Ring ring’. I also cannot help but to think of Darren & Brian every time I go to Starbucks, which is far too often.
I can definitely see this book made into a feature film or 10-episode limited series & I 100% think Jordan Peele should write the script, produce & direct it. I also totally pictured the handsome author as the protagonist, Darren, as I listened to the book. I highly recommend ‘Black Buck‘ in any version (see below for links to get an audiobook deal at Libro.fm or to join Book of the Month & add ‘Black Buck’ to your first months box as an add-on), & I’d like to send an arc to 2 of my followers.
(Please be advised, the following entry info is for information sakes, only. You must enter on Instagram & can do so by clicking HERE to be directed to the giveaway.) To enter giveaway: 1-LIKE this post. 2-Must be following @mom_loves_reading 3-Tag a couple bookish pals (unlimited entries, 2 tags per com). Bonus entries (5 ea) 4-SHARE to your stories & tag me (can do daily) 5-Subscribe to my blog (Hey, you’re already here, so why not sign up to get email notifications when a new post is up, & if you ARE subscribed, why Thank You very much!😉 6-LIKE my Facebook page & this post there. (Click HERE to go there now.) 7-Follow me on Twitter & REtweet post. (Click HERE to go there now.)
Giveaway is US only due to shipping, begins 1/16 & ends 1/19/21, & is not affiliated w/ Instagram. Please don’t UNfollow afterwards because it’s rude & you get added to my ‘excluded from all future MLR giveaways’ list. Plus, you’ll miss out on a TON of really great giveaways coming up, some of which will be International.
Click HERE to use my referral code MOMLOVESREADING at Libro.fm & get a BOGO-free audiobook offer. Click HERE to use my referral link & start a Book of the Month membership. (If you scroll a few posts back you will see more detailed info on all of the great benefits of becoming a BOTM member, & there are no obligations.)
Click HERE to add ‘Black Buck’ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to look for ‘Black Buck’ at a local independent bookstore using BookStoreLink.com. Click HERE to go to MomLovesReading on Instagram.
MATEO ASKARIPOUR was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, and his favorite pastimes include bingeing music videos and movie trailers, drinking yerba mate, and dancing in his apartment. BLACK BUCK is his debut novel. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @AskMateo. You can also subscribe to his monthly newsletter here.
Today is #MurderinoMonday & this book, although not #TrueCrime, it’s kind of in the same genre since there are definitely some dead people, murders, & even a couple serial killers in it! Thank you @grandcentralpub for my gift copy of ‘Life With the Afterlife: 13 Truths I Learned About Ghosts‘ by Amy Bruni!
👻Ok, I have to ask all of you this question: Do you believe in ghosts? Maybe some sort of paranormal phenomenon or such? I do. If you are a hard NO to that question, this book, along w/ Amy Bruni’s TV shows ‘Ghost Hunters’ & ‘Kindred Spirits’, may change your mind about that. (And as to why I believe in spirits and/or ghosts, see a couple of my encounters further down in this blog post.👻)
Paranormal investigator Amy Bruni shares stories from her years of experiences w/ ghosts, organized around thirteen truths that guide her approach to the supernatural. Amy Bruni, one of the world’s leading paranormal investigators, has learned a lot about ghosts over her years of research & first-hand experience. Now, in ‘Life with the Afterlife’, she shares the insight she has gleaned & how it has shaped her unique approach to interacting w/ the spirits of the dead & those who encounter them.
From her earliest supernatural encounters as a child, through her yrs appearing on ‘Ghost Hunters’ & the creation of her company Strange Escapes, which offers paranormal excursions to some of America’s most notoriously haunted destinations, & into her current work on The Travel Channel’s ‘Kindred Spirits’, this book is full of astonishing & deeply moving stories of Amy’s efforts to better understand the dead but not yet departed. With Amy’s bright humor & fierce compassion for both those who are haunted & those who are haunting, ‘Life with the Afterlife‘ is an eye-opening look at what connects us as people, in life & beyond.
‘Life with the Afterlife‘ is downright fascinating, insightful, thought-provoking & will legit make you second guess every creak, squeak & bump in the night you may hear in your home or any strange chill you feel breeze past you. I have personally had some highly unexplainable occurrences happen in my life, & here is a quick story about one of them:
My husband & I built our home in 2005 on property that had been in his family for decades. No other home had ever stood on our acreage. I was also pregnant with my twins when our house was built. Several months after we were living in our home & the babies were born, there were times when I was home alone that I would smell cigarette smoke as clear as if someone were straight up smoking in my home. No one in my home smoked, & no one had recently visited our home that was a smoker.
I would also hear voices of little kids, like an elementary school class full of them, & this was when there was no TV on, & we do not have children or a school anywhere near our home. Yet, I could often hear little kids laughing & jibber-jabbering. Then one day I walked into my bedroom to find the dresser that held all of my babies clothes, diapers, pjs, etc had EVERY single drawer pulled all the way out. And no one was home but me & my babies, who did not talk or crawl or do anything much more than sit in their carriers, baby swings or lay in their cribs. It totally freaked me out.
Then one day while I was standing at the kitchen sink, a picture that had been high up on top of the cupboard came flying down at me from an angle. It didn’t just fall, or it would have been about 6 ft away from where I stood. It came down at an angle as if aiming for me purposely, & it hit me in the arm, scratching me pretty well. There were other strange things that had happened for several years after that, but the cigarette smoking ‘entity’ seems to have moved on, probably because I live in the noisiest house ever & whomever (whatever) was here was probably like ‘I’m outta here’, yet to this day, I still swear I hear music or small children’s voices when there is no one else here & it’s quiet or late at night when everyone is sleeping. So, Amy Bruni…have your people call my people if you want to come use your ghostbusting gadgets on my home & let me know who all I should be charging rent for squatting here. 😳🎶🤷🏼👻
The book is a quick read & the audio version is enhanced w/ recordings from Bruni & her crew’s paranormal investigations. Fittingly enough, the book was published on 10/27…the week of Halloween.
So, if there’s something strange, in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call…Amy Bruni! And read her book!👻
Click HERE to add ‘Life with the Afterlife’ to your Goodreads list. Click HERE to visit my Instagram post about this book & give it some LIKE love!
It’s SelfieSunday! I am currently chilling in my cozy office & just finished reading ‘Not My Boy‘ by Kelly Simmons which pubs this Tues, 1/5. Thank you @kellyasimmons for my gift copy of this fantastic book! (Readers, please click HERE to visit my Instagram post & give it a LIKE if you would.😉)
🌲Q: Who else still has their Christmas tree up with no intention of taking it down anytime soon? I just love mine so much! Since it has all the pretty pink on it, I think it will just have to stay up & pass as a Valentine’s Tree! (Which btw, is my wedding anniversary…💕)
📚This weekend I’ve been getting all my new planners & goal lists together, & then I have to get my massive grocery list together for my next shopping trip when the kids go back to school on Tues. And I have so many appts to make for various things. Procrastination is the monkey on my back that I need to work on in 2021, that’s for sure! Anyhow, on to the book…
Who will you cross to protect your own? When Hannah packs up her past & moves to the cottage next-door to her sister, she hopes the luxe neighborhood & close family ties will be the perfect escape for her son & the shadows that trail them. But when a young girl goes missing days after they unload their final boxes & her son is quickly thrown under suspicion, Hannah must do whatever it takes to protect her child.
Even if that means pointing the blame her sister’s way instead. With investigators swarming & neighborhood scrutiny closing in, the divide between two sisters grows. As one fiercely defends her husband, the other shields her boy from the crime, keeping quiet the secrets that might unravel it all. And all the while, one young girl has vanished, & someone is to blame.
‘Not My Boy‘ is a pulse-pounding, fast-paced, suspense-filled, family drama/thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end. I am really looking forward to reading more from Kelly like her previous releases ‘Where She Went’, ‘The Fifth of July’ & ‘One More Day’. Add any or all of these books to your TBR lists now & buy ‘Not My Boy‘ this Tuesday.
Click HERE to add it your Goodreads list. Click HERE to find it at an indie bookstore near you using BookStoreLink. Click HERE to visit Kelly Simmons website & read more about her & her other books.
PS: Be sure to enter my current giveaway for another page-turner of a thriller, ‘Factor-7’. There are a lot of extra’s in that giveaway, too! Click HERE to go to that giveaway on Instagram now.
My sixth novel NOT MY BOY arrives January 5, 2021, & will also be available in audiobook & who knows, maybe a Netflix series is next? It was compared to BIG LITTLE LIES by Booklist in a starred review, & NYTimes Bestseller phenom Julie Clark, author of LAST FLIGHT, called it “propulsive & impossible to put down.” All of my books have been applauded by bestselling authors like Megan Abbott, Caroline Leavitt, & Sarah Pekkanen. They’ve been hailed as “great titles for book groups who love strong female characters” by the Library Journal. Publishers Weekly called my first novel, Standing Still “An electrifying debut” in its starred review. Even Kirkus likes me! Maybe you’d enjoy discovering a new-to-you author? I’ve visited hundreds & hundreds of book clubs via Zoom, FaceTie, Google Hangouts or in person. I’d love to meet with yours. For book signing events or more information, see my website kellysimmonsbooks.com. Or friend me on Facebook (kellyatbubble) or follow me on Insta (kellyasimmons) or twitter (kellysimmons) for more giveaways & fun!