I have a fantastic YA Thriller to tell you about today, along w/ a generous discount code to buy it AND one of you lucky readers will win a personalized copy from the author!
Q: Did you attend summer camp as a kid/teen?
I didn’t, but I did go camping w/ the parents a lot…that is until I saw ‘Friday the 13th’ then it was a big NOPE from then on out. Fiction or not, Jason (& his psycho mom) scared the crud out of me & frequented my nightmares. Summer camp does make for a fun backdrop in books & movies though, especially suspense/thriller ones. Books like ‘The Last Time I Lied’ by Riley Sager & ‘The Troop’ by Nick Cutter offer up even more reasons to be leary of camping for scaredy-cats like me.
‘Called Upon‘ is the debut novel by Bethany Lee, that takes place at summer camp, it’s my current read & I’m loving it! Lee does such a great job w/ character development & keeps the reader engaged, w/ a twisty, compelling, page-turner, while tackling some important issues & there’s even a little side of (clean) romance. I’m stunned this is a debut, it’s written so exquisitely.
About the book, ‘Called Upon’: (click on title to add to your Goodreads lists!) Kaitlin, the social pariah of her high school, is so relieved to have made friends at Camp Overlook—and time have caught the attention of a real, live, honest-to-goodness boy—that she is willing to look past the camp’s anomalies: creepy grey-eyed counselors, 24 hour video surveillance, and campers falling ill and then disappearing quietly into the night.
But when Kaitlin begins feeling strange symptoms herself, she can no longer pretend that Overlook is a run-of-the-mill summer camp. She and her new friend must race to solve the mystery of Camp Overlook, even if it means facing some difficult truths and uncovering some painful family secrets, before she is the next camper to vanish.
Bethany is generously giving anyone who uses my code MOMLOVES60 to order ‘Called Upon‘ (from her website, www.bethanylee.com, ONLY) 60% off. What a deal! (**Please be advised, this discount does not work anywhere else, only her website.) And she’ll send one of you a personalized, autographed copy when you enter today’s giveaway. (U.S. only).
To enter: (Click HERE to go to the Instagram post & enter. The following information is for FYI only, but read on for a special blog follower/subscriber bonus!) 1-Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @bethanyrlee81 2-LIKE this post. (SHARE it to stories or feed & tag me for additional 5 entries!) 3-Tag a couple book lovers! (unlimited, only 2 per comment).
Rules & such: Giveaway runs 4/11-4/14/21, is open to the 50 USA states only & is not affiliated w/ Instagram. Please don’t UNfollow after or you’ll be excluded from all future MomLovesReading giveaways, & there are a LOT. (**Remember, you MUST enter on my Instagram page; however, you can comment on this blogpost that you did & I will give you 5 extra entries, because I am cool like that. 😉)
When Bethany Lee isn’t writing, she is elbow deep in garden soil or covered in dust from a mountain trail. She is decidedly an “outside girl” and loves biking, hiking, and basically any activity that can be done in yoga pants —clearly, she was born to write a book about an adventure in the mountains. Bethany is a communications graduate who has a soft spot for young adults and all of the cringy moments they experience every day (It gets better, friends). A creative writer since early childhood, she uses humor, honesty, and whimsy to pull readers in and invite them to laugh, relate, and introspect. Bethany currently resides in Lehi, Utah, with her husband, three kids, and garden.
Happy Book Birthday Week to @nina.restieri & her new, non-fiction release ‘Overcoming the Mom-Life Crisis: Ditch the Guilt, Put Yourself on the To-Do List & Create a Life You Love‘! (pub 4/6). Thank you to @Booksparks for my gift copy of the book & for inviting me on the pop-up book tour!
As a super busy mother of 5, it’s far too often that I forget to or run out of hours in the day to make time for myself. As you’ve seen in previous posts, my 2 kids at home are autistic (click HERE for a recent Instagram post for World Autism Awareness Day) & you probably don’t need me to tell you what a toll that can take on me some days. And yes, 3 of my 5 kids live on their own, but as any mother knows, the job of “MOM” is full-time, 24/7, all day/all night, every single day, forever & ever. I never stop thinking about or worrying about any of my kids. Yet, there’s one person I forget to prioritize & show love & care to…ME!
A perfect mom (or parent) is as mythical as unicorns: they don’t exist. We’re all flawed in some way, but still doing our best, still deserve a break & self-care, so we can embrace a more fulfilling life & remember we’re blessed just to BE parents. This book helped open my eyes & heart to the pressure I’ve been putting on myself & the ‘ME-time’ I need to recharge, but rarely give myself.
‘Overcoming the Mom-Life Crisis‘ is perfect for mothers like me who are often overwhelmed by the non-stop demands of parenthood & exhausted by the day to day hustle. The book is soulful & excruciatingly honest, & is the essential handbook for stressed-out & overwhelmed moms & offers up steps for creating your own “momAgenda” & finding lifelong happiness & fulfillment.
From the founder of momAgenda comes the ultimate guide to navigating the mom-life crisis, with a simple process for putting your own long-forgotten needs back on the to-do list.
Nina Restieri was a wife, a mom of 4 young kids, & a successful entrepreneur. Despite having what most people would consider “it all,” happiness eluded her. She beat herself up daily for not being grateful. But as she looked around, she realized most of the moms she knew shared that same sense of sadness, stress, & overwhelm, all while working hard to keep up the “perfect mom” appearance. Desperate for a change & tired of crying behind a locked bathroom door, Nina embarked upon a 10-yr journey that led her to unexpected places—including a pole dancing studio—for peace & solace.
After digging deep & facing some painful truths, Nina emerged knowing she deserved more than she was giving herself & figured out that a mom can take care of her kids, AND take care of herself. Like a permission slip for mothers to love themselves as much as they do their children, this book chronicles Nina’s journey to putting her mom-life crisis behind her—forever—& offers up a roadmap so you can too.
Click HERE to visit momagenda.com (it’s a beautiful site w/ even more beautiful planners! And I LOVE planners!)
Click HERE to visit my Instagram post & give is some LIKE love, maybe even share it!😉
Click HERE to add‘Overcoming Mom-Life Crisis’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to find the book at a nearby independent book store using BookStoreLink.
Nina Restieri is the founder and president of momAgenda. Previously, she has spent time as an advertising executive, as the president of a family business, and as a stay-at-home mom.
She started momAgenda when her four kids were seven, five, three, and one, to create organizing products to help make moms’ lives (and her own life) easier. momAgenda has grown to include a diversified range of products that help organize the lives of mothers and others, including day planners, home organizers, pads, journals, and accessories. The collection is sold at leading national retailers and regional boutiques throughout the U.S. Over the past fifteen years, Nina Restieri and momAgenda have been featured in numerous outlets including NBC’s Today show, The Early Show, MSNBC, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post.
This week went by super fast for me as usual but, boy oh boy, did I get to listen to & read some fantastic books while I was on the go. Right now I am currently finishing up listening to ‘Who is Maud Dixon?‘ by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown & Co, 3/2/21) & it is really good!
Florence Darrow is a small-town striver who believes that she’s destined to become a celebrated writer. When she stumbles into the opportunity to become the assistant to “Maud Dixon,” a celebrated-but anonymous-novelist (think: Elena Ferrante), she believes that the universe is finally providing her big chance. The arrangement feels idyllic; Helen can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom on both writing and living. She even invites Florence along on a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set. Florence has never been out of the country before; maybe, she imagines, she’ll finally have something exciting to write about herself.
But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and Helen is dead, she begins to imagine what it might be like to ‘upgrade’ into not only Helen’s life, but also that of Helen’s bestselling pseudonym, Maud Dixon…
The narrators do such a fantastic job of bringing this story to life & it’s very engaging. The cover is kind of boring, but that single squiggly line that makes the shape of two women’s faces kind of grew on me as I listened to the story. Definitely recommend it! (Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads.)
On Tuesday I posted about the new release, ‘Maybe One Day‘ by Debbie Johnson (William Morrow, 3/2/21). A poignant, heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story that will give you all the emotions.
In the spirit of Ruth Hogan and Adriana Trigiani, bestselling British author Debbie Johnson brings us the ultimate in “happy tears”: a heartfelt story about a woman seizing the chance to reconnect with her lost love.
The truth changes everything. For years Jess believed that Joe—the father of her child and the only man she ever loved—had abandoned her during her greatest time of need. That belief nearly destroyed her. Seventeen years later, when cleaning out her mother’s house, Jess unpacks a box of cards and letters hidden in the attic and makes a discovery that changes everything about life as she knows it.
Shaken but empowered, Jess—and her two stalwart best friends—set out on a remarkable journey to follow a set of faded postmarks around the world. Is Joe still alive? Does he know that Jess never forgot him? Maybe their love story isn’t over. Maybe one day they’ll find each other again… (Click HERE for my Instagram post & HERE to add the book on Goodreads.)
Thursday’s post posted sort of late in the day & was a more personal one, giving a bit of an explanation as to why I am currently still in so much physical pain today. The post photo also features some of my lettering that I enjoy doing in the evening as a way to decompress & wind down my day. Handwriting has always been something I have enjoyed doing & I am a total “font-nerd” or typophile (a lover of printed matter or typography). I am not even sure how many different pens I own, but I would venture to say the number is around 500-600. And Lord have mercy, but I’m in a couple of “pen obsessed” groups on Facebook & they are quite a motley group of enablers, but I love it! (Click HERE for that post on Instagram.)
Friday’s post is what I like to call #ForeverFriday when I post a book review for a Forever Publishing recent release, & this weeks book is ‘Sandcastle Beach’ by Jenny Holiday, book #3 in Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. This beach read is sassy, witty, sweet & sexy! All three books in the series are like $5 on Amazon & would make great additions to your seaside (or poolside) reading. You can click HERE to see the post on Instagram & for those that may ask, the cup featured in the post is by Kate Spade & was bought a couple years ago at T J Maxx (aka: the GREATEST store ever!).
About the book: From the USA Today bestselling “master of witty banter” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a hilarious and heartwarming romance about two enemies whose feud turns red-hot. Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.
Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings? Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads.
Yesterday’s post was about one of my favorite books so far this year, ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ by Sarah Penner (Park Row, 3/2/21). I hadn’t planned to post about it until next week, but I wanted to encourage anyone who hadn’t made their Book of the Month selections yet to grab this one, since it was one of the March choices. ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ is such a fabulous book! I literally didn’t want it to end, that’s how much I loved it!
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman. Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive. (Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads & HERE to see my Instagram post.)
Last, but certainly not least, today’s post features a fab new book, ‘When We Were Young’ by Jaclyn Goldis (Forever Pub, 2/6/21) & a splendid dose of serendipity! Have you ever discovered something you bought at a thrift store actually belonged to a family member long ago? That happened to me today!
Today began w/ me starting a new book (as mentioned above). I was really looking forward to starting this book after reading many fantastic reviews & having just finished (& loved!) ‘The Lost Apothecary’ which also has 3 amazing female protagonists & takes place in the past & present day.
As I was getting my props together, I decided to use two of my vintage luggage pieces that I bought on 2 separate shopping trips last year at a local Goodwill. The luggage belonged to the same person as was evident by personalization inside both pieces via an inked address stamper. Since this sort of stamper is meant for paper, not the silky material inside of the cases, it was very blurry, & the lettering bled so much that I never really bothered to get a closer look at the name. I could only see a nearby city fairly well & really the name didn’t matter to me that much…until today.
Today I put on my readers, used my camera’s magnifying glass, & I was absolutely flabbergasted. Now I know why the first piece appealed to me so much & why there was a second piece at the shop a week later, as if waiting for me to reunite it w/ it’s partner at home: the luggage belonged to my Grandfather’s brother, my great Uncle! Holy serendipity! My great uncle passed away at the age of 97 in 2014. All this time & I had no idea they had belonged to him.
The book, ‘When We Were Young’, spans 3 generations & is a page-turner of a debut full of family secrets, heart-wrenching drama, & second chances. My vintage luggage, now heirloom, also spans 3 generations & is all about family, too! I’m loving this book so far & think you all would, too! (Click HERE to read more about it on Goodreads & HERE to go to my Instagram post.)
Well, that’s my reading week in a nutshell. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend & best wishes in your weeks to come! I leave you with my Friday evening lettering project, which may be hard to tell from the poor quality pic, but it’s on a shimmery pink cardstock & was done with Mildliner Clickart Pens by Zebra & Micron’s. (Ahhh, pens!💕)
Today is Read Across America Day & World Teen Mental Wellness Day & yes, it’s Dr Seuss’s birthday. He would have been blowing out 117 candles today since he was born in 1904, but passed away in 1991. I will let you take it upon yourselves to Google the controversy surrounding some of Seuss’s books & why cancel culture has thrown him to the proverbial lions in recent years.
Controversy aside, above is my husband, twin sons & me on Halloween several years ago in costumes I handmade (including my sons somewhat heavy “wigs”, that were actually winter hats & a bajillion strips of hand cut felt glued on with a hot glue gun, thus adding to the overall weight of the hats. But the boys sure loved those hats & the kept them in their play dress-up & costumes trunk.) I love this picture of the four of us! We haven’t done trick or treating for 2 years now & the boys miss it…but I. Do. Not. Ugh…always so cold & our town has the worst sidewalks ever.)
This past week I posted the above pic on Instagram featuring some of my favorite suspense/thriller arcs that I have received over the years, including my first arc ever & the one I am holding, ‘All is Not Forgotten‘ by Wendy Walker. Click HERE to go to that post & read more about some more of my bookish first’s since beginning my “bookstagram” journey. Speaking of journey (no, not the band), one of my favorite sayings since becoming a fan of ‘Schitt’s Creek’ is from Alexis Rose (Boop!) & I hand lettered & framed that saying for a friend as she is a huge fan as well. You can see that at the end of this post. 😉
On Wednesday & posted about an awesome new release, sci-fi/speculative fiction/apocalyptic debut novel by Claire Holroyde, ‘The Effort’. The post photo also included one of my favorite Rae Dunn mugs (yes, I collect them, but only certain ones) that fit well with the books theme that says ‘Chaos Coordinator’. It always gets the Instagram love when I post it because isn’t that what most of us mom’s really are? I know I am! Click HERE to go to that post.
On Thriller Thursday I posted a giveaway for an arc of one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2021 & what will surely be one of my favorite thrillers of the year, too, ‘Every Last Fear‘ by Alex Finlay. That giveaway ended on 3/1/21, but I am still working on verifying all of the entries & bonus entries, so I will most likely post the winners name sometime tomorrow, on 3/3. That giveaway also included a super cute mini Happy Planner that has a bookish theme & says “The world was hers for the reading!” (well, I guess if a male wins he can give it away or give a Sharpie makeover.) Click HERE to go to that post (keep in mind the comments will be closed now due to the giveaway, but you can give it a LIKE to show your support.)
On Friday I posted with the hashtag #foreverfriday since I am a book influencer for Forever publishing. I really liked my post pic that day because of the color scheme, which honestly, pastels (💕especially pink, gray, & white) is the majority of my pages aesthetic theme & pretty much the color scheme of my home & wardrobe, too. I’m fair haired & fair skinned so the lighter the colors the better. Dark colors make me look splotchy & ill.😆
Anyhow, the book featured is a super cute one & a nice reading palette cleanser since I have been inhaling thrillers lately on audio book. And come on…look at that adorable cover! ‘Dream a Little Dream’ by Melinda Curtis takes place in a small town & just like Journey says (yes, the band this time), I’m 🎶 “Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…“🎶 (God, I LOVE that song & I will sing right along with it as loud as I can when it comes on the radio in my van, & I truly do not care who see’s me singing. Life’s too short to not sing along to your favorite songs when they come on!) You can click HERE to go to that Insta-post & give it some LIKE love!
Saturday’s Instagram post was about a book that is all kinds of cray-cray, but in a good way (way). That book is ‘The Electric Kingdom‘ by David Arnold. This is geared towards the YA crowd, but Penguin Random House Teen saw that, even though I am well past being a YA, I still love reading many books in that genre, & they sent the book my way…& I am so glad they did! I think we all enjoy some YA books from time to time. I mean, I AM raising two YA’s so I can totally justify my wanting to read books geared towards their age group, so, yeah…💁🏼♀️ I’ll be sharing this book with my older kids for sure so we can discuss it. To read more about it, click HERE to go to my Insta-post.
On Sunday, the March Book of the Month selections went live, & my post includes my monthly spiel about how great BOTM is (because it REALLY is!) & how you can use my link in my Instagram bio to join Book of the Month (US only) & get your first book at a huge discount. Click HERE to go to that post & read more about that.
I will save today’s post (which you can go see by clicking HERE) for my next blog post since this one is long enough. In the meantime, would you guys do me a solid & LIKE my Facebook page Mom_Loves_Reading? (link in blog side bar or click HERE) Facebook is the big sister to Instagram & you know how their whole algorithm nightmare goes where you can have hundreds of followers, but they only let your posts be seen by like FIVE of them? Arghhh. So annoying. So help a sister out, (please & thank you!) & go LIKE my page, some posts, etc & if you have a bookish Facebook page, drop me a comment & I will LIKE your page & do the same for you! (Quid pro Quo, bro…😉)
☀️I hope everyone’s weather has been better lately wherever you live. Last week was sunny nearly every day for my neck of the woods, & it felt amazing! This weeks forecast shows a lot of sun once again, but temps will still be in the 40s & 30s, with some 50s on horizon for next week. I’m still feeding the 9000 birds that are visiting our yard daily, along with 4 squirrels who have become regulars (which I have named Farley, Spade, Jim & Pam), the neighbors dog (who steals suet blocks I put out for the woodpeckers), the deer (who have been somewhat MIA lately) & last night a raccoon decided he was going to get in on the action nocturnally. It’s a proverbial zoo out back some days!🐿🦝🐦🦌
🌈Stay safe out there, friends, & I hope you all have a fantastic week!😊
Hey there! I have been so bad about getting blog posts done since pretty much the beginning of December. As a mother of autistic kids that keep me on my toes non-stop every waking minute they are home, & the fact that they are only in school 4 days a week for 6 hrs each day, this exhausted mom is really having a hard time getting all 9,000 things done on my daily to do list each day.
One thing I have been enjoying this past week are all of the cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers, juncos, chickadees, & other pretty birds that stick around for our chilly, Northern Ohio winters. Our yard has been full of them, so we have been feeding them seed & nuts daily. We do have two squirrels that are enjoying our feeding generosity, one in particular that I have named Farley (after the late Chris Farley) due to his size (from eating so much of the bird seed & peanuts) & also because he is so funny & entertaining to watch. I named the smaller gray squirrel that keeps trying to get in on the food action Spade (after David Spade.)
It may be a snowy Sunday here in Ohio, but books, tea & coffee will keep me warm today! Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gift copy of ‘Forgive Me‘ by Susan Lewis! (pub 1/26). From the bestselling author of ‘My Lies, Your Lies’ & many other novels, comes a story of love, family, & the price of forgiveness, for readers of Diane Chamberlain & Lisa Scottoline.
The past doesn’t stay hidden forever… In prison, Archie Colbrook spends his time writing letters. Letters addressed to a person against whom he committed terrible, nameless harm. Archie knows he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, & sure, he was only following orders. But does that matter? He still did it.
In a small coastal town of Northern England, Claudia Winters hopes to feel safe for the first time in yrs after fleeing from her abusive husband w/ her mother & daughter. Their new life is supposed to be a fresh start. But Claudia knows the past won’t stay hidden for long—& she can’t help but feel that someone is watching her… & that something terrible is about to happen.
Linked by one irrevocable act of violence, Archie & Claudia’s lives intertwine. Claudia can’t overlook what Archie did to her family—but is forgiveness the only way to truly move on?
Tense, emotional, & gripping, Susan Lewis’s, ‘Forgive Me‘, is a spellbinding story of family & the power of forgiveness. An emotionally compelling, poignant family drama that is a perfect weekend read during these blustery, winter days. It’s available now. Look for it at your local indie bookseller & don’t forget, today is the last day to enter to win a copy of ‘Hadley & Grace‘ so head to my giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post now.
Click HERE to use BookStoreLink.com to find ‘Forgive Me‘ & other books at an Indie Bookstore. Click HERE to visit Mom Loves Reading on Instagram & LIKE my post there! Click HERE to visit Susan Lewis’s website. Click HERE to add ‘Forgive Me’ to your Goodreads lists.
Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.