About ME · Book Reviews · Family Drama · Fiction · Thriller · WomensFiction

A Motherhood Monday book review featuring ‘The Best of Friends’ by Lucinda Berry (and a pic of two actual bff’s)

Thank you @amazonpublishing #thomasandmercer for my gifted copy of ‘The Best of Friends‘ by Lucinda Berry! (pub 8/18)

The two lovely ladies pictured in today’s post are my daughter & her BFF. I really need to get an updated pic of me & my BFF sometime soon, but if you go to my Instagram post HERE, you will get to see a picture of us running a 5k together a few yrs ago & a couple other pics of my daughter & her BFF’s.

(And remember this silly little song written by actor Zach Galifianakis, from the movie, The Hangover, (if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand the simplicity of the lyrics. Click here to view on YouTube)

We’re the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have
We’re the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have.

We’re the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have
And We’ll Never ever ever ever
Leave Each Other.

We’re the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have
We’re the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have…
(Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Zachary Knight Galifianakis
Three Best Friends lyrics © Warner Olive Music Llc.)

Now for the book: ‘The Best of Friends‘ by Lucinda Berry

An unthinkable tragedy forever changes a group of teens & turns family against family in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that begs to be read in one sitting.
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Best friends Lindsey, Kendra, & Dani endure every parent’s nightmare when a tragic accident befalls their teenage boys, leaving one dead, another in a coma, & a third too traumatized to speak. Reeling from the worst night of their lives, the 3 mothers plunge into a desperate investigation of the bizarre incident. How could something so horrible happen in their wealthy Southern California suburb?
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They soon discover that the accident was just the beginning, & troubling discoveries lead to chilling questions: Do they really know their children? Do they even know each other? As more secrets surface, a fog of doubt & suspicion threatens to poison their families, their friendships, & the whole community. With the illusion of happiness and safety long gone, these women must now confront the hazards of heartbreak, the consequences of jealousy, & the dangers of living double lives.
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The Best of Friends‘ relentlessly grabs you from the first pages & doesn’t let go! As a parent of 5, 2 of which are currently teenage boys, this book resonated w/ me & how as a mother, I would go to the end of the world, through hell & back, to protect my child, & if something bad happened to them, I would never give up on finding the truth behind the incident. This book is a heart-wrenching, compelling, thought-provoking domestic suspense, & I loved it! I can’t wait to check out other books by Berry soon!

Click HERE to add ‘The Best of Friends’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to visit Lucinda Berry’s website.
Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it a LIKE. (…please…& thank you!)

**And don’t forget to enter my 4-book thriller giveaway on Instagram that ends tomorrow night! Click HERE to go to that post now!

Dr. Lucinda Berry is a former clinical psychologist and leading researcher in childhood trauma. Now, she spends her days writing full-time where she uses her clinical experience to blur the line between fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys taking her readers on a journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche.

If Berry isn’t chasing after her son, you can find her running through Los Angeles, prepping for her next marathon. To hear about her upcoming releases, visit her on Facebook or sign up for her newsletter at https://lucindaberryauthor.com/

About ME · Book Reviews · Fiction · WomensFiction

Happy #ShelfieSunday and Book Review of ‘Daddy: Stories’ by Emma Cline

Click HERE to give IG post some LIKE love!

Happy Shelfie Sunday & Thank you at @randomhouse for my gifted copy of ‘Daddy: Stories‘ by Emma Cline! (pub 9/1).

This pic features the left half of my window bench bookshelves that my husband built for my bday last yr. Scroll through my feed to see the other side of the room where my big bookshelf is, which he also built last year.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls comes an eagerly anticipated story collection exploring the dark corners of human experience.

An absentee father collects his son from boarding school after a shocking act of violence. A nanny to a celebrity family hides out in Laurel Canyon in the aftermath of a tabloid scandal. A young woman sells her underwear to strangers. A notorious guest arrives at a placid, not-quite rehab in the Southwest.

In ten remarkable stories, Emma Cline portrays moments when the ordinary is disturbed, when daily life buckles, revealing the perversity & violence pulsing under the surface. She explores characters navigating the edge, the limits of themselves & those around them: power dynamics in families, in relationships, the distance between their true & false selves. They want connection, but what they provoke is often closer to self-sabotage.

What are the costs of one’s choices? Of the moments when we act, or fail to act? These complexities are at the heart of ‘Daddy‘, Emma Cline’s sharp-eyed illumination of the contrary impulses that animate our inner lives.

I read Emma Cline’s previous novel, ‘The Girls‘, during the summer of 2016 when it released to very mixed reviews. I was pretty middle ground w/ that book, having not loved it, but also didn’t hate it. In my opinion, ‘Daddy’ is much more intriguing & thought-provoking. I love a well-written book of essays or short stories, preferably non-fiction, & this one had 10 pretty fascinating stories. Each story did leave me wanting more & to know more about the broken people depicted in the short stories.

Some stories were more engaging & provocative than others, but overall ‘Daddy’ is riveting, poignant, glazed in darkness & humor while also making the reader squirm w/ discomfort at times. Oh, & the copy in my pic is an early arc, thus the pale pink color. The actual book is more Mountain Dew yellow. ‘Daddy’ is available now wherever books are sold.

Click HERE to read more about & add ‘Daddy: Stories’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to read more about & add ‘The Girls’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love!

(PS: Don’t forget to head to Mom_Loves_Reading on Instagram & enter to win 1 of 3 copies of the psychological suspense novel by Hank Phillipi Ryan, ‘The First to Lie’. Giveaway ends tomorrow night! Click HERE to go to that giveaway post now.)

Emma Cline is an American writer and novelist, originally from California. She published her first novel, “The Girls”, in 2016, to positive reviews. The book was shortlisted for the John Leonard Award from the National Book Critics Circle and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.
Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Granta and The Paris Review.
In 2017 Cline was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.

About ME · BOTMs,

September Book of the Month books are here!

Click HERE to give my IG post some LIKE love!

📚The September BOTM’s are up!!📚

❤It’s that time of the month that all of Book of the Month book club members look forward to, when we are constantly refreshing our browser every so often on those last couple days of the month, when BOTM generally releases the next months 5 new books & sometimes a few new add-on selections.

📖A long time member & fan of Book of the Month, I get so excited to see what books they have selected for us each month. I skipped last month because I already had the books that I wanted from the August selections from the publishers in advance. So I was extra stoked to see what would be available for me to choose from this month.

Once again, they are some goodies! The books are:

‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’: Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.

‘Transcendent Kingdom‘: Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a Ghanaian-American family ravaged by depression and addiction and grief—a novel about faith, science, religion, love.

‘Winter Counts’: Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.

They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost.

‘Caste’: Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

‘Anxious People‘: Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

**They all sound soooo good, don’t they?!?**

📚If you have been on the fence about joining Book-of-the-Month, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & with some excellent fall releases coming, you will be able to get in on that readerly action before your non-BOTM friends. You get a special introductory price for your first BOTM & then you will be on your way to becoming a BOTM BFF like me!

Click HERE to go to IG post!

📖Once you have received 12 BOTM monthly boxes, you are officially a BFF. With that new title comes great things: a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE BOTM add-on during your bday month & a FREE book at the end of the year from the Book of the Year finalists. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome!

📚Many of the books each month are Early Releases, meaning you can get a nice hardback copy of a book sometimes a month or more before the gen public! Full-size, beautiful hardback books for nearly HALF of what you would pay anywhere else, & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per month) & you can skip any month you like. (You can cancel anytime, but trust me, you won’t want to!)

To get started with a Book of the Month subscription & get your first month at an even bigger discount, click HERE.

About ME · Book Reviews · Fiction

National Book Lovers Day and ‘Bear Necessity’ book review

Happy National Book Lovers Day & Thank You @scribnerbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Bear Necessity‘ by James Gould-Bourn! (pub 8/4)

As many of you know from my last Instagram post, my 4-legged family member, Zeus, passed away on Friday. He would have been 16 yrs old on 9/12. The last year has been a rough one for him (& of course for me as his main caregiver.) I have struggled all weekend w/ coming to terms w/ our loss, so to get out of my head, I read this book that was kinda relevant to what I am going through.

‘Bear Necessity’ is about a father & son overcoming their grief in surprisingly inventive ways.

Danny’s life is falling apart. He’s become a single father to 11-yr-old Will—who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash a year earlier—& Danny has just been fired from his construction job. To make matters worse, he’s behind on the rent & his nasty landlord is threatening to break his legs if he doesn’t pay soon. Danny needs money, & fast.

After observing local street performers in a nearby park, Danny spends his last few dollars on a tattered panda costume, impulsively deciding to become a dancing bear. While performing one day, Danny spots his son in the park, & chases off the older boys who are taunting him. Will opens up for the first time since his mother’s death, unaware that the man in the panda costume is his father. Afraid of disclosing his true identity, Danny comforts his son. But will Danny lose Will’s trust once he reveals who he is? And will he be able to dance his way out of debt, or be beaten up before he has a chance?

Filled with a colorful cast of characters, ‘Bear Necessity‘ is a refreshingly unpretentious & ultimately uplifting story of a father & son reconnecting in the most unlikely of circumstances. This debut novel definitely had it’s heartbreaking & tough-to-read-about moments, & of course I cried more than once (honestly, I would have no matter what, all things considered…), but ‘Bear Necessity‘ is at its heart uplifting & hopeful. The book deals with overcoming tragedy & grief in a unique way while a father does whatever he can to fix whats left of his family. Poignant, heartwarming, & utterly delightful, ‘Bear Necessity‘ is truly a wonderful book!

Click HERE to add ‘Bear Necessity’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post (& maybe some others) a LIKE.
Click HERE to visit James Gould-Bourn on Instagram.

What others are saying about ‘Bear Necessity’:

“James Gould-Bourn’s novel is a comedy of sadness and dancing bears. That alone should convince you to pick up a copy, but I’ll add that it’s a delightful story about fatherhood and childhood. And dancing bears.”
Owen King, author of Double Feature

“Fast, fresh and very very funny. Moving effortlessly from comedy to poignancy, it’s a story of joy, of connection and of the overwhelming resilience of the human spirit. Reading it made me want to dance. An absolute gem of a book.”
—Katie Marsh, author of The Rest of Me

“A deeply comforting story… heartfelt themes and wit further elevate charming plot twists and a well-tuned cast of quirky, supporting characters who prove that the spirit of friendship can build bridges to greater understanding and brighter days. Gould-Bourn is a beautiful, perceptive writer who has crafted a moving, sensitive story that is also very funny. Bear Necessity is a perfect literary antidote to anxious, troubled times.”
Shelf Awareness

“Refreshing…. a well-written, speedy read that focuses on the love between a dad and his son and how it can lead to friendship.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Promising, sweet… a feel-good story about coping with grief.”
Publishers Weekly

❤RIP Zeus Almighty…(9/12/04-8/7/20)❤


About ME · BOTMs,

My May Books-of-the-Month have arrived! Just in time for my BIRTHDAY!

Click HERE to give my IG page some love!

Today is my birthday! 🎂🎈 Yay for me! Except for the fact that I am not feeling well (autoimmune flare-up, not covid). But lucky me, my husband works from home today & my daughter is also here to help me out with everything & force me to sit & chill & just plain relax for the day. I’ve been doing so much lately & I often forget that due to my “invisible” illnesses, I do have limitations & need to take time to just relax each day & not overdo it. Also, here in Ohio many businesses are re-opening today (with provisions, of course, & limitations), but I know I will still be wearing my mask when I go out especially now, since I expect people will be flocking to all of the businesses that have been closed for the last 2 mos or so.😷

Since it’s my birthday month & I am an official Book of the Month B.F.F., I got a FREE add-on book! Once you have received your 12th BOTM box, you become a BFF & receive some great swag! A FREE tote bag, a FREE add-on book during your birthday month, & a your choice of one of the five Book of the Year finalists at the end of the year FREE.

The May book selections were:

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’ public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’ life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah—along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor—have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Bunny Lampert is the princess of North Shore⁠—beautiful, tall, blond, with a rich real-estate-developer father and a swimming pool in her backyard. Michael⁠⁠—with a ponytail down his back and a septum piercing⁠—lives with his aunt in the cramped stucco cottage next door. When Bunny catches Michael smoking in her yard, he discovers that her life is not as perfect as it seems.

At six foot three, Bunny towers over their classmates. Even as she dreams of standing out and competing in the Olympics, she is desperate to fit in, to seem normal, and to get a boyfriend, all while hiding her father’s escalating alcoholism. Michael has secrets of his own. At home and at school Michael pretends to be straight, but at night he tries to understand himself by meeting men online for anonymous encounters that both thrill and scare him.

When Michael falls in love for the first time, a vicious strain of gossip circulates and a terrible, brutal act becomes the defining feature of both his and Bunny’s futures⁠⁠—and of their friendship. With storytelling as intoxicating as it is intelligent, Rufi Thorpe has created a tragic and unflinching portrait of identity, a fascinating examination of our struggles to exist in our bodies, and an excruciatingly beautiful story of two humans aching for connection.

***************

📚Many of the books each month are Early Releases, meaning you can get a nice hardback copy of a book sometimes a month or more before the gen public! Full-size, beautiful hardback books for nearly HALF of what you would pay anywhere else, & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per month) & you can skip any month you like. (You can cancel anytime, but trust me, you won’t want to!)

If you have been on the fence about joining Book-of-the-Month, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & with some excellent summer releases coming, you will be able to get in on that readerly action before your non-BOTM friends. You get a special introductory price for your first BOTM & then you will be on your way to becoming a BOTM BFF like me! Click HERE to use my special referral code & get a nice discount on your first BOTM selection.

📚Are you already a member? What book(s) did you chose for May? Or did you skip perhaps? What books are you hoping will be in the June batch? Personally, I am hoping for the new Riley Sager book as a June or July selection. (I was set to meet him at an author event in early July, but that is cancelled now. So bummed.) Today is also a pretty great pub day! Tuesday’s are always fun when it comes to IG & seeing what new books released that day. Any particular book(s) come out today that you are excited to read? Oh, & don’t forget I have a new giveaway going on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post.

Click HERE to go to the giveaway post

Well, folks, hope you all have a wonderful week! Stay safe out there! And don’t forget to wash your hands & stop touching your face! 😊😷🎂