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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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).
Book Tour Sunday! Thank you @getredpr & @reginabuttnerbooks for my gift copy of ‘Absolution‘, the debut novel by Regina Buttner, published on Oct 13th! (Visit my post on Instagram & show it some LIKE love, by clicking HERE.)
I am a big fan of debut novels, & when they’re especially well-written ones with a strong plot & story that you think about off & on long after reading it, then I can’t wait to tell all you about it as well.
“I was weak & deceitful, & I could never, ever let my husband find out the truth about me. I would keep my secrets hidden from him for the rest of my life…” (‘Absolution’, Regina Buttner)
A guilt-ridden young wife & mother struggles to keep a long-ago sexual assault & pregnancy a secret from her ambitious husband… Jeanie thinks she was to blame for the sexual assault she suffered in college―and she’d do anything to keep her old-school Catholic family from finding out about the resulting pregnancy, as well as what she did to conceal it.
Years have passed since the assault, & Jeanie’s husband, Greg, still thinks she’s the seemingly innocent girl he married in a rush to spite his controlling mother. It’s the height of the Seattle dot-com boom, & he’s too busy cashing in his stock options to pay attention to his wife. He isn’t aware of Jeanie’s lingering shame & guilt, or that she married him in the desperate hope that devoting herself to marriage & motherhood would somehow absolve her from the sins in her past.
Their hidden agendas collide when Greg discovers evidence of Jeanie’s long-ago pregnancy. As she confesses the details of that drunken night with her married professor, Greg’s pristine image of her is blown. His shock deepens into violent fury, & Jeanie realizes she needs to leave him―but Greg won’t let her go. He’s up for a big promotion, & he’s not about to let her ruin his reputation by walking out on him. He’ll resort to blackmail if necessary. Or worse.
‘Absolution‘ is an incredibly gripping debut novel that you can easily get swept up in & devour in mere hours. Exploring the theme of sexual assault against women committed by men in powerful positions, this captivating, thought-provoking story will have you rooting out loud for Jeanie as she fights for her self-acceptance & her place in this victim filled world, while not letting her victim-hood define her. Dark secrets, hidden motivations, & manipulations by supposed loved ones, ‘Absolution‘ is a powerful read & would make an excellent book club choice!
‘Absolution‘ is also part of the Amazon promotion ‘Buy 2, Get 3rd one FREE’ (from a specific selection of media items). Some other items that may interest you include books such as ‘Untamed‘, ‘Anxious People‘, ‘The Vanishing Half‘, ‘The Guest List‘, ‘Where the Crawdads Sing‘, ‘American Dirt‘, ‘The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue‘, as well as the latest ‘Hunger Games‘ book, ‘Hamilton Original Cast Soundtrack CD set, & even ‘The Office‘ Complete Series DVD set.
Click HERE to add ‘Absolution’ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to visit me on Instagram & show the author & my post some support with a LIKE & maybe even a SHARE. Click HERE to visit Regina Buttner’s website.
Regina is a registered nurse-turned-writer from beautiful upstate New York where she enjoys hiking in the Adirondack Mountains, paddling on the Genesee River, and exploring the Finger Lakes wine country. ‘Absolution’ is her first novel.
Book Tour time! Thank you @writingkristin & @tlcbooktours for my gift copy of ‘A Frenzy of Sparks’ by Kristin Fields! (pub 11/3/20) Click HERE to visit me on Instagram & support my post with a LIKE, maybe even a SHARE or SAVE.😉
From the author of ‘A Lily in the Light‘ comes a poignant story of innocence lost & what it means to grow up too fast…
It’s 1965, & thirteen-year-old Gia, along with her older brother & cousins, are desperate to escape their sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood where nothing ever happens. The only thing Gia would miss is the surrounding marsh, where she feels at home among sea birds & salt water.
But when one of Gia’s cousins brings drugs into their neighborhood, it sets off a chain of events that quickly turn dangerous. Everyone will be caught in the ripples, & some may be swept away entirely. Gia is determined to keep herself & her family afloat while the world is turned upside down around her. Can she find a way to hold on to the life she was so eager to leave behind, or will she have to watch it all disappear beneath the marsh forever?
At turns heart-wrenching & hopeful, ‘A Frenzy of Sparks‘ explores a world where survival is the attempt to move forward while leaving pieces of your heart behind.
You guys, this book is excellent! Gia gave me Kya from ‘Where the Crawdads Sing‘ vibes w/ her strong-willed innocence, her love of marshes & her having to grow up too quickly because of bad people & bad things happening. ‘A Frenzy of Sparks‘ is a coming of age story about being a young teenager in a time of prevalent drug use, being part of a tight-knit family in a small town, & the desire to not only escape this broken town & keep her family intact & safe, but also to fix it & the residents along the way.
This is not a fluffy read by any means, & does have some dark, gritty moments, but it is so atmospheric, powerful, thoughtful & deeply personal. You will be completely engrossed in this story & it will stick w/ you long after you read it. I highly recommend ‘A Frenzy of Sparks‘ & I really hope to see a sequel for this someday. It is such a beautiful, well-written fiction novel, & as a small-town resident myself, I felt so drawn in to the story & it’s compelling cast of characters.
‘A Frenzy of Sparks‘ is available now, so add it to your TBR, Christmas or wish lists & buy it from an independent bookstore. Please don’t forget to support small businesses this holiday season & always!
Click HERE to add ‘A Frenzy of Sparks‘ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to go to my Instagram post for this book & show some support by giving it a LIKE & a SHARE. Click HERE to add ‘A Lily in the Light‘ to your Goodreads lists.
Kristin Fields grew up in Queens, which she likes to think of as a small town next to a big city. Fields studied writing at Hofstra University, where she received the Eugene Schneider Fiction Award. After college, Fields found herself working on a historic farm, teaching high school English, and designing museum education programs. She is currently leading an initiative to bring gardens to public schools in New York City, where she lives with her husband.
This is a moving & joyous novel about an elderly woman ready to embrace death & the little girl who reminds her what it means to live. And as it goes, it’s never too late to start living…
Eudora Honeysett is done w/ this noisy, moronic world—all of it. She has witnessed the indignities & suffering of old age & has lived a full life. At 85, she isn’t going to leave things to chance. Her end will be on her terms. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland, a plan is set in motion.
Then she meets 10-yr-old Rose Trewidney, a whirling, pint-sized rainbow of color & sparkling cheer. All Eudora wants is to be left alone to set her affairs in order. Instead, she finds herself embarking on a series of adventures w/ the irrepressible Rose & their affable neighbor, the recently widowed Stanley—afternoon tea, shopping sprees, trips to the beach, birthday celebrations, pizza parties.
While the trio of unlikely BFFs grow closer & anxiously await the arrival of Rose’s new baby sister, Eudora is reminded of her own childhood—of losing her father during World War II & the devastating impact it had on her entire family. In reflecting on her past, Eudora realizes she must come to terms w/ what lies ahead. But now that her joy for life has been rekindled, how can she possibly say goodbye?
You nailed it on the head if you said to yourself, “This reminds me a bit of ‘Me Before You’ & ‘A Man Called Ove'” & that’s a good thing, because both of those books are on my all-time favorite books list, & I said the same thing as I read this. ‘The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett‘ is in one word: Brilliant!
A positively beautiful story that I didn’t want to end & I absolutely adored Rose! Rose, Eudora & other characters were so richly drawn & well-written, I felt like I truly got to know them, felt there sorrows & their joys as well. ‘The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett‘ is heart-wrenching at times & will certainly give you all the feels, but it is also sweet, heartwarming, captivating & memorable. This book was a nice change in pace from the plethora of thrillers I have inhaled lately. Look for this book at your nearest indie book store & add it to your TBR lists today!
Click HERE to add this book to your Goodreads list (& add me as a friend while you’re there if you haven’t already!) Click HERE to look for this book at an independent bookstore using BookStoreLink. Click HERE to visit my Instagram post & give my post on this book (& others, please!) a LIKE or SHARE.
After a career in bookselling and publishing, Annie Lyons published five books including the best-selling, ‘Not Quite Perfect‘. When not working on her novels, she teaches creative writing. She lives in south-east London with her husband and two children. Visit her on Instagram- @annielyonsauthor