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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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!
Because I am Thankful for all of the wonderful books I have received & read this year, all of the generous publishers & publicists, all of the talented authors, & all of YOU, I have a few more giveaways planned before 2020 comes to an end! Starting w/ this cooking themed one since that’s what many of us will be doing a lot of this week!
Q: How many of you will be cooking a Thanksgiving feast this week? Since my mom is autoimmune compromised (like me, but worse), this will be the first year in a long time that she will not be coming over or baking a turkey. My oldest sons will be going to their dads this year, & I’m not sure if my daughter will join us here or not yet, so it’ll just be my twins, husband & me this year. We will be roasting our 1st turkey as a couple, too!
For the last few years, my baking tradition includes prepping & shopping on Mon/Tues & baking on Weds/Thurs while listening to (& singing word for word along with) the original cast ‘Hamilton‘ soundtrack. I listen to it on Apple Music, but HERE is a YouTube link for you to use if you do not have another way…if you want to that is.)
I make traditional foods like sweet corn & fresh green beans & mashed potatoes (in my Instant Pot! Easiest way ever!), & in our house, I make pretty much everything, especially anything I am going to eat, sugar-free, mostly dairy-free, & always gluten-free. I have many cookbooks I use w/ my fave’s being my Trim Healthy Mama ones. (Click HERE to read more about those & the THM way of eating.)
In the spirit of this holiday, I am giving away (3) cooking-related ARC books to (1) lucky winner! Included are:
‘A Taste of Sage‘ by Yaffa S Santos (a heartwarming, hilarious, cross between ‘The Hating Game’ & ‘Sweetbitter’ & currently an Amazon Editors pick for Best Romance)
‘Hello, Sunshine‘ by Laura Dave (I loved this one a few yrs ago! Compelling, funny, quick read!)
To enter this giveaway, please go to my Instagram page, to enter (click HERE) & do the following: 1-Must be following @mom_loves_reading (forever & always!) 2-LIKE this post. (& in the spirit of giving, go like some of my previous posts) 3-Tag some bookish friends (unlimited, up to 3 per com) Bonus (5 entries ea) 4-SHARE this post to your stories (on Instagram) & tag me! 5-Follow me on FB (click HERE) & LIKE/COM on this post there. 6-Follow/Subscribe to my blog & LIKE/Comment on this post.
Giveaway can be entered on Instagram. It is International, is not affiliated w/ Instagram. It begins 11/22 & ends 11/25/20 11:59pm. Winner announced on Thanksgiving. If winner is outside of USA, they will get an Amazon e-giftcard instead, due to shipping costs. Please do not UNfollow after giveaway or you will be excluded from all future MLR giveaways & there are a LOT & I do keep track.
Murderino Monday & a GIVEAWAY! (Please note: the giveaway can be entered by clicking HERE & going to the giveaway post on Instagram. You can comment on this blog post for additional bonus entries, but must enter initially on the IG post.)
Things that happened in 1969: American’s landed on the moon for the first time; Charles Manson’s cult members murdered 5 people including pregnant actress, Sharon Tate; Matthew McConaughey & I were both born (I mention him because I just finished listening to his book, ‘Green Light’, which I will be reviewing soon!😉); & a women was murdered at Harvard only to have the mystery of the crime swept under the rug by the university (& even her family) & remain unsolved for half a century. Enter, Becky Cooper….
“You have to remember”, he reminded me, “that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn’t let you forget.“
1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.
Forty years later, Becky Cooper, a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she’d threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a “cowboy culture” among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.
‘We Keep the Dead Close’ is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman’s past onto another’s present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history.
Not since Ronan Farrow’s book ‘Catch & Kill‘ & Michelle McNamara’s ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” have I read a book so well-researched, positively captivating, & addictively all-consuming. Part-memoir, part true-crime/whodunit murder mystery that you will solve right along w/ the author, until the shocking end when the crime is solved. (Tip: Don’t Google about the murder before hand or risk ruining the mystery for yourself.) Cooper’s decade long obsession w/ Jane Britton & who murdered her is reminiscent of McNamara’s fixation on the Golden State Killer.
‘We Keep the Dead Close‘ is fascinatingly informative, hypnotically engaging, & vividly atmospheric.True crime fans will love this comprehensive & twisty tale. And I have a hardback copy to send to one of you! To enter this giveaway, click HERE to go to the Instagram post. (*Giveaway is not affiliated w/ Instagram.)
About the author: Becky Cooper is a former New Yorker editorial staff member and Senior Fellow at Brandeis’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting. Her undergraduate thesis, a literary biography of David Foster Wallace, won Harvard’s Hoopes Prize, the highest undergraduate award for research and writing. Research for this book was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists. She is also the author of Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers (Abrams, 2013).