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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Saturday is the Fourth of July everywhere, but here in the USA, it is a holiday known as Independence Day, which commemorates the USA’s Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. In honor of the holiday & to make some room on my bookshelves, I am giving away a stack of RED, WHITE & BLUE books to ONE lucky person! (USA only).
These are mostly arc’s & some duplicates I have. They are for the most part thrillers, but a couple are more suspense/mystery.
*My Lovely Wife- Samantha Downing *Blood Orange- Harriet Tyce *A Double Life- Flynn Berry *Long Black Veil- Jennifer Finney Boylan *The Child- Fiona Barton *The Walls- Hollie Overton *The Woman in Cabin 10- Ruth Ware *The Woman in the Mirror- Rebecca James *After the Flood- Kassandra Montag.
To enter: (ENTRY IS ONLY ON INSTAGRAM POST) (This is just for reference.) *Must be following @mom_loves_reading *LIKE & SAVE this post. *Tag a couple bookish pals (unlimited entries, 2 per comment).
Bonus Entries: (5 each) *Share this post in your stories for at least 24 hrs & tag me (do daily for extra entries) *Follow me on Twitter (momlovesreading) & Like/Retweet this post *Follow me on Facebook (Mom_Loves_Reading) & Like/Share this post. *Follow my blog (momlovesreading.com)& Like/Comment on this blog post.
And just to be nice, go LIKE some of my previous posts, because I’m a super generous person! Giveaway starts 7/2 & ends 7/6/20 11:59pm EST. US residents only. Must enter on IG post. Giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram. Unfollowing after giveaway is so not nice, & you will be excluded from all future MomLovesReading giveaways & there are alot! (…and I keep track…)
I hope you all have a safe, fabulous, fun weekend no matter where you are! (And don’t forget to keep those doggie’s indoors as much as possible on the 4th when all those fireworks are going off. I know it really causes pets anxiety. Personally, I very much DISlike fireworks for several reasons.)
Happy Friday readers, writers, reviewers, publishers & so on!
In between trying to battle a week long losing battle with a butt-kicker of a migraine (that is still hanging on), I have been squeezing in a little reading when I get a bit of respite from the pain (via prescription pharmaceuticals). I have been a migraine sufferer for decades, & with 2 kids home 24/7, who treat being noisy like it’s their job, it’s getting more & more difficult to get rid of them in a timely fashion. I guess I’ll give it the weekend & then if it’s not better, then Monday I shall see the Doc.
Anyhow, let’s talk about “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” by Abbi Waxman. (That title could seriously be the name of my biography, just saying…)
Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica & Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill”.
Jessica & Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.
For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?
For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers & Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.
Together with a dozen strangers–& two familiar enemies–Jessica & Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family & old friends along the way. Surprises & secrets threaten their relationship &, in the end, change it forever.
I am a mother to 4 boys & only 1 daughter, who it quite literally the spitting image of me in every way, shape & form. I am grateful for our friendship, conversations & candid talks now that she is a 22-yr old adult, but man, those teen years were TOUGH. I have thanked God on more than one occasion that my twins are boys, & not girls, because I honestly don’t know how I could deal with twin 14 girls & all the angst, hormones, & societal peer pressures that comes with our ever expanding technology & social media apps.
“I Was Told It Would Get Easier” (IWTIWGE from here on out) is Waxman’s 4th novel. I won “The Garden of Small Beginnings” back in 2017 & Waxman became an auto-buy author for me from then on. IWTIWGE is told from both Jessica & Emily’s POV’s & you will meet several interesting side characters along the way. I was definitely able to relate in many ways to the mother daughter relationship struggles & conflict, & even got a bit emotional a couple times as it brought back some memories both good & not-so-good.
This book is a witty, charming, touching, fantastically enjoyable read that is as insightful as it is delightful! If you are new to Abbi Waxman, you will not be disappointed & you should definitely check out her other 3 books as well.
Click HERE to add “I Was Told It Would Get Better” to your Goodreads list. Click HERE to add “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill” to your Goodreads list. Click HERE to add “Other People’s Houses” to your Goodreads list. Click HERE to add “The Garden of Small Beginnings” to your Goodreads list.
What others are saying about “I Was Told It Would Get Better“:
“Waxman shines at creating characters that feel like best friends, inspiring compassion, laughs, and cheers, and fans of Katherine Center and Linda Holmes’ Evvie Drake Starts Over (2019) will adore this.”—Booklist, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier
“Waxman expertly navigates the fraught shoals of college admissions in this spot-on tale…. Waxman’s alternating first-person narration from Jessica and Emily rings true, while a memorable supporting cast…provide excellent support…This sweet treat doesn’t require a college-bound child to enjoy, though anyone who has helped their offspring weather the admissions process will definitely appreciate this sharp send-up.”—Publisher’s Weekly, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier
“Funny and insightful.”—BookRiot, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier
“We’re forever fans of Abbi Waxman’s sweet, witty, feel-good novels. Her latest, about a mother and daughter making college visits along the East Coast, is her best yet.”—HelloGiggles, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier
“An aptly and hilariously titled novel…Waxman again delivers with her signature wit and laugh-out-loud writing, offering us authentic characters who feel like people we’ve met and loved in our own lives — all while offering sly commentary on the roller coaster that is the college application process for parents and their college-hopefuls.”—Shondaland
“This book’s strengths are the exploration of the mother-teen daughter dynamics and relationship and the author’s remarkable gift for realistic, witty dialog. VERDICT: Recommended for fans of mother-daughter fiction with both lighthearted and serious moments.”—Library Journal, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier
“Abbi Waxman’s warm, quippy novels explore familial dynamics with sarcastic wit and plenty of heart…. Being a teenager–or parenting one–is tricky territory, but Waxman steers her characters through it with compassion, snappy dialogue and the right dose of zany humor. Things may (or may not) get easier for the Burnstein women, but the ride, literal and otherwise, is highly enjoyable.”—Shelf Awareness
Thank you @bookclubbish & @parkrowbooks (#promotion) for including MomLovesReading in the Bookstagram Tour for & my gifted copy of ‘Saving Ruby King‘ by Catherine Adel King!
Set in the South Side of Chicago, an epic, enthralling story of a young woman determined to protect her best friend while a long-buried secret threatens to unravel both their families.
Family. Faith. Secrets. Everything in this world comes full circle.
When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it means she’ll be living alone with her violent father. The only person who understands the gravity of her situation is Ruby’s best friend, Layla. Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what are his true motives? And what is the price for turning a blind eye?
In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla comes to discover the murky loyalties & dark secrets tying their families together for three generations. A crucial pilgrimage through the racially divided landscape of Chicago, ‘Saving Ruby King’ traces the way trauma is passed down through generations & the ways in which communities can come together to create sanctuary.
‘Saving Ruby King‘ is an emotional & revelatory story of race, family secrets, faith & redemption. This is an unforgettable debut novel from an exciting new voice in fiction and a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present, and that the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.
This book is absolutely incredible & it should be on every bookclub’s radar because there are just so many areas of discussion. It is a very timely, relevant, powerful, well-written debut novel that brought out so many emotions while reading it. The book is told from several POV’s to convey the varying viewpoints of the fiction community. There are some very heavy themes covered in this book, too. (I have also heard rumors that West is writing a prequel to this book that focuses on Sara King, so I look fwd to that!)
“Saving Ruby King” is complex, nuanced, poignant & thought-provoking, & you will long to discuss it with other readers. This book was released on 6/16. I highly recommend this 5-star read! Look for it today at an independent bookstore by using BookStoreLink to find one near you.
Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads TBR list. Click HERE to get it on audiobook from Libro.fm & use my code MOMLOVESREADING for a BOGO. (The audio is amazing & has 7 narrators!) Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find it at an independent book store near you or online. Click HERE to give my Instagram post some love! The author & publisher will appreciate it as much as I will!
What others are saying about “Saving Ruby King”:
“In the midst of widespread protests and calls to end racial injustice, the conversations and understanding tackled in Saving Ruby King are all significant reflections of this country’s reality today.” – Parade Magazine
“Family, friendship, secrets…this rich, suspenseful page-turner has it all.” – Woman’s World
“Incorporating compelling perspectives, this is a powerful story of family, faith and friendship.” – MS. Magazine
“Saving Ruby King is a stunning force of a novel that has everything anyone could want in a family saga—honey-dipped prose, strikingly human characters, and a satisfying, soul-stirring conclusion that will stay with me for a long, long time.” – Zakiya Harris, author of THE OTHER BLACK GIRL
“Told with teeth and tenderness, SAVING RUBY KING is a surprising, pedal-down debut that explores what happens when the fabrics of family, faith, and friendship snag on violent machinations of the heart. Redemption and survival share a pew with reckoning and hope here, all tangled up with the ties that bind. Catherine Adel West gifts us Chicago, the black church, and a choir of flawed, wonderfully complicated characters who flash fresh with every turn of the page, who stand against the wind, who won’t go down without a fight.” – Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Whiskey & Ribbons and So We Can Glow
“What an astonishing book. Catherine Adel West breathes life into violence and mayhem like a poet on a new day. These are the stories we need to hear: voices of hope in a wilderness of pain.” – Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder and The Butterfly Girl
“West is a bold, exciting new voice in fiction. With honesty and compassion, she brings readers beyond the headlines into the real south side of Chicago where love, church, and family abide. She makes us think not only about saving Ruby King, but about finding our own redemption as we save ourselves individually and collectively. In this assured debut, West deftly breathes life into this community with characters you’ll cry with and root for long after the last page.” – Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie
“[An] Ambitious, keenly observant debut… West’s tale of grace, redemption, and hope would translate handily to the screen. This should enjoy wide popularity with book groups.” – Publishers Weekly
“West uses a fresh approach to covering not only several decades of family history, but also complex themes including the ways in which close communities can nourish and harm their members; how friendships and family ties can hold intimacy and distance; the way misunderstandings and trauma can pass down the generations; and the difference between a relationship with God and a church. The characters, language, and plot come together for a story full of hard truths, insight, and warmth…a daring, dynamic story. A multilayered love letter to South Side Chicago’s African American faith-based community.” – Kirkus Reviews
“West delivers her debut with an honesty that jumps off the pages and into the laps of her readers. Telling Ruby’s story from multiple points of view, West writes with a precision that makes the story sing, with clear language and poetic imagery.” – Booklist
“A story of intrigue and heartbreaking family secrets… A fresh look into the church community of Chicago’s South Side with a bold female perspective.” – Library Journal
Catherine Adel West graduated with both her BA and MA in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her work has been published in Gay Magazine, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Five2One, Better Than Starbucks, and others. Catherine was born and raised in Chicago. Saving Ruby King is her debut novel.
Happy Pub Day & Thank you @wednesdaybooks for my gifted copy of “What Unbreakable Looks Like” by Kate McLaughlin! Available today, 6/23!
Lex was taken –trafficked– & now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again.
After she moves in with her aunt & uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things.
But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend & his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her & that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight & realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, & a new love.
Kate McLaughlin’s “What Unbreakable Looks Like“ is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life & learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.
I will warn you upfront, this is a very difficult book to read. I had to stop at least 3x & go back to it on a day where I could handle it better mentally. (Trigger warnings for graphic physical & sexual violence, rape, & human trafficking. And kudos to the publisher for noting this at the beginning of the book.)
I live in Ohio, which is 5th highest in human trafficking cases, & about 45 mins from Toledo, which is the 4th highest city in the US for cases. We often have reports of unmarked vans trolling through our area w/ people in them trying to get kids (& sometimes adults) to come to the van & help w/ directions or some other seemingly innocent problem. One girl I know had a car follow her & her friends one night, someone jumped out at a stoplight & slashed one of her tires, & then they continued to follow them. But the girls were smart & called 911 right away. There are more stories I could share, but let’s get to the book. (And just talking about the above freaks me out so much!)
Gut-wrenching, raw, relevant, & thought-provoking, Lex learns to allow herself to trust again, even while dealing w/ the aftermath of sexual assault, followed by cruel treatment & bullying by her peers, & coming to terms w/ her past & finding the courage to tell herself she is worthy of love & a future & happiness. It was often painful & emotional to read, but the overall message is hopefulness & strength. A really powerful read!
Click HERE to add this book to your Goodreads TBR. Click HERE to get this on audiobook at Libro.fm & use my code MOMLOVESREADING for a BOGO. Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love! The publisher appreciates it as much as I do!
Book Riot, “The Ultimate Guide to Spring 2020 YA Books for Your TBR”
Culturess, “13 must-read June YA book releases to start your summer off right”
“This shines a light on a little-talked-about topic that involves teens.” – Booklist (Starred Review)
“This story of resilience and recovery is gritty and heavy but ultimately hopeful… A gut-punch story with an uplifting ending.” – Kirkus
“[A] beautiful insight into what it means to heal and have hope. …If you are wanting a heartwarming, heartbreaking, inspiring, and hard hitting story, I would definitely recommend you pick this book up.” –The Nerd Daily
“Gritty and moving, What Unbreakable Looks Like is a compelling story about recovery and the problem of human trafficking that persists today.” – Young Adult Books Central
“With unflinching honesty, What Unbreakable Looks Like exposes the injuries and scars we wear on our skins or in our souls. Hidden damage is tragically common, but helpful others who dared embrace hope invite Alexa to step onto the healing path. This novel may offer a springboard for a reader’s own healing or foster empathy for life’s walking wounded.” – Liz Coley, author of international bestseller Pretty Girl-13
“Raw, unflinching, and authentic, Kate McLaughlin’s thoughtful What Unbreakable Looks Like carefully crafts a story exposing the vulnerability of underage trafficked girls and what it takes to begin the process of healing from sexual trauma.” – Christa Desir, author, advocate, and founding member of The Voices and Faces Project
“This is a powerful book about a sobering topic that I found myself thinking about for days after I completed it. It is wonderfully poignant, painfully real, and even laugh out loud funny at times. Not everyone can truly wrap their minds around the trauma these victims endure and yet somehow, despite all of it, are still just regular kids. But Kate McLaughlin gets it. ‘Lex’ is truly what unbreakable looks like and you’ll fall in love with her spirit.” – Tanya Compagnone, Trooper First Class
“Sex trafficking continues to seep into all our communities. In this novel, Kate McLaughlin brings to life the trauma that transpires in youth who forced into the life of sex trafficking. Her novel is a reminder that each of us can make a difference in someone’s life.” – Dina R. St. George, MSW, Juvenile Re-Entry Unit OCPD
KATE McLAUGHLIN likes people, so much so that she spends her days making up her own. She likes writing about characters who are bent, but not broken – people who find their internal strength through friends, strife and sometimes humor. When she’s not writing, she likes studying people, both real and fictional. She also likes playing board games with friends, talking and discovering new music. A proud Nova Scotian, she’ll gladly tell you all about the highest tides in the world, the magical creation known as a donair, and people who have sofas in their kitchens. Currently, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and four cats.
A gripping new thriller about a man’s quest for the daughter no one else believes is still alive, from the acclaimed author of “The Chalk Man” & “The Hiding Place”.
Q: Why are you called the Other People?
A: We are people just like you. People to whom terrible things have happened. We’ve found solace not in forgiveness or forgetting. But in helping each other find justice…
Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy. He never sees her again. Three years later, Gabe spends his days & nights traveling up & down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.
Q: What sort of justice?
A: That depends on the individual. But our ethos is a punishment that fits the crime.
Fran & her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. Then, the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found, in a lake, with a body inside & Gabe is forced to confront events, not just from the night his daughter disappeared, but from far deeper in his past.
Q: Can I request to have someone killed?
A: If your Request is acceptable, and unless there are exceptional circumstances, we fulfill all Requests.
His search leads him to a group called The Other People. If you have lost a loved one, The Other People want to help. Because they know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like. There’s just one problem . . . they want other people to know it too.
I read this one a few months back, just missed posting about it. I definitely remember this book giving me all the chills & it was so hard to put down! From what I have heard, this is Tudor’s best novel to date, & I would probably agree, but I still have to read my copy of “The Chalk Man” & I need to get a copy of “The Hiding Place“.
“The Other People” is a shockingly twisted, ominous, super creepy supernatural/psychological suspense novel that nearly compelled me to nail biting (which I do not do!). With well-written & developed characters, expert plotting, & a gripping story-line, this is one of those books you will want to read all night long…with the doors & windows locked, of course! This book is available now wherever books are sold! Add it to your TBR list today! You won’t be disappointed! Be sure to click HERE to give my Instagram post a LIKE to show the author & publisher your support.
Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list. Click HERE to look for it at an independent bookstore near you or online using BookStoreLink. Click HERE to get this book or others on audiobook from Librofm (use code MOMLOVESREADING for a 3-for-1 deal)
What other authors are saying about “The Other People“:
“Eerie.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“The Other People will delight you with the same creepy atmosphere you expect. . . . At more than one point while reading, a person might be tempted to access the dark web and see if groups like this exist. Although who knows what might happen once they’ve got your data? Shudder. . . . What will keep readers engaged is the menace of the titular conceit and the authenticity of Gabe Forman’s grief, easily recognized even by those who [have] not experienced such hellacious loss.”—NPR
“The Other People will keep you up all night, reading frantically and searching for answers. Warning: This fast-paced, engaging story is so spooky, you might need a nightlight.” —HelloGiggles
“Hugely enjoyable and deliciously creepy . . . I was hooked from its gripping opening, all the way through its many twists and turns. You may think you’ve got it worked out, but C. J. Tudor is always several steps ahead. She is a brilliant storyteller.”—Alex Michaelides, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient
“The Other People is a creepy, intense novel that drew me right in and never let go. C. J. Tudor’s books keep getting better and better, and this one won’t let you stop reading until the very last page!”—Samantha Downing, author of the international bestseller My Lovely Wife
“C. J. Tudor has done it again. . . . A mesmerizingly chilling and atmospheric page-turner.”—JP Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before
“The Other People is tight as a straitjacket, diabolically clever, and propulsive as a roller coaster. If you like twisty thrillers that leave you guessing till the very last page, this is a must-read.”—Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger and The Deep
“Like no book you’ve read before. It’s the definition of a nail-biting page-turner and sets the bar high for every other thriller this year. Tudor remains at the top of her game. Tightly plotted and utterly unpredictable, The Other People proves that Tudor is the queen of the cliffhanger.”—John Marrs, internationally bestselling author of The Passengers and The One
“Chilling, moving, and disquieting, The Other People proves C. J. Tudor is a force to be reckoned with. With nuanced characters and a satisfying, intricately braided slow-burn that builds to a heart-pounding finish, this novel gripped me, surprised me—and stuck with me long after the final page.”—Andrea Bartz, author of The Lost Night
“A mesmerizingly chilling and atmospheric page-turner.” —JP Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before
C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury & grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner & young daughter. She left school at sixteen & has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter & voiceover.
In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson & Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts & was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Jr showed her his chest. While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl. She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’
The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’ She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag & the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth. She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters & Frank Turner. Her favorite venue is Rock City. Her favorite films are Ghostbusters & The Lost Boys. Her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall & Harlan Coben. She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties. She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza & champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out. Everyone calls her Caz.