👩🏼💻It’s been a hot minute or two (ok, it’s been a couple months🤭) since I did a blog post, but holy cannoli, I’m getting one done today! And it’s GIVEAWAY time & It’s going to be a long weekend indeed! My kids are on spring break, but since the weather is awful, we’re doing some fun things indoors, like reading! We’re currently reading ‘Stuart Little’ together & will watch the movie version once we’re done.
🥣We’re also going to do some baking together as well, & I’m surprising them with their own chef hats & aprons. They’ll be so excited to get them since ‘Ratatouille’ has been one of their favorite movies since they were little-little, & they had toddler sized chef costumes back then. I’ll be posting pictures for sure.🧑🏼🍳🧑🏼🍳
📚What are you reading this weekend? I’m currently reading & loving ‘The Long Weekend’, the upcoming 3/29 release from New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan. It’s twisty, fast-paced, & engaging, & I can’t wait to get back to it this evening. Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gift copy!😘
📖In this pulse-pounding thriller, a group of women travel to the most remote place in England for a weekend escape, only to discover a startling note that one of their husbands will be killed before they return home.
About the book: Three couple. Two bodies. One secret…
Dark Fell Barn is a “perfectly isolated” retreat, or so says its website when Jayne books a reservation for her friends. A quiet place, far removed from the rest of the world, is exactly what they need.
The women arrive for a girls’ night ahead of their husbands. There’s ex-Army Jayne, hardened and serious, but also damaged. Ruth, the driven doctor and new mother who is battling demons of her own. Young Emily, just wed and insecure, the newest addition of this tight-knit band. Missing this year is Edie, who was the glue holding them together, until her husband died suddenly.
But what they hoped would be a relaxing break soon turns to horror. Upon arrival at Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note claiming one of their husbands will be murdered. There are no phones, no cell service to check on their men. Friendships fracture as the situation spins wildly out of control. Betrayal can come in many forms.
This group has kept each other’s secrets for far too long…
😁Sounds really great, huh? You can click HERE to add it to your Goodread’s list.
In 2020, Gilly Macmillan released ‘To Tell You the Truth’ which I read last year. Click HERE to add that one to your Goodreads.
📖About ‘To Tell You the Truth’: Lucy Harper has a talent for invention… She was nine years old when her brother vanished in the woods near home. As the only witness, Lucy’s story of that night became crucial to the police investigation. Thirty years on, her brother’s whereabouts are still unknown.
Now Lucy is a bestselling thriller writer. Her talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring fans. But her husband, Dan, has started keeping secrets of his own, and a sudden change of scene forces Lucy to confront some dark, unwelcome memories. Then Dan goes missing and Lucy’s past and present begin to collide. Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did?
Finally, Lucy Harper is going to tell us the truth. Cross her heart. And hope to die.
💁🏼♀️I have an extra paperback copy of ‘To Tell You the Truth’ to give away & as a bonus, the winner will get to pick another book (or 2!) from a big stack of other suspense/thrillers I’ll post a pic of when their name is announced. So 3 books total, 1 winner!
📲To enter, you’ll need to goto my Instagram page, (@mom_loves_reading) which you can do by clicking HERE. The giveaway runs 3/26-3/31/22, is U.S. only (sorry international friends🥲)& is not affiliated w/ IG or the publisher. If you do enter, Best of Luck & May the odds be ever in your favor!
💻About the author: Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of seven novels including WHAT SHE KNEW, THE PERFECT GIRL, ODD CHILD OUT, I KNOW YOU KNOW and THE NANNY, and TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, & THE LONG WEEKEND. A former art historian and photographer, Gilly studied at Bristol University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She lives in Bristol, UK, with her husband and three children.
My Monday definitely started out as a ‘Manic Monday’, & I’m pretty impressed with myself for even having the minuscule amount of focus to complete a blog & Instagram post today since lately I don’t have them done ahead of time.
As many of you may know, I have autistic twin sons that are in their teens, but possess a lack of fear & knowledge of right from wrong that is mostly seen in toddlers. They are brilliant, to say the very least, but they also keep me on my toes (while they both walk on their toes, literally), & every once in awhile, one of my twins sneaks out of the house in the early morning hours when he wakes up before his brother or I do.
It is the most God-awful, gut-wrenching, sense of panic & frantic fear when the neighbor calls to let you know your son is just chilling in their family room at 5am while you were sleeping, pretty much cinching the cold hard fact that you will never sleep soundly again & your PTSD symptoms just went next level. That was a few years ago…then came this morning, when it happened again. Nearly 3 yrs of thinking maybe he’s done doing the sneaking out while I’m sleeping thing, & he did it again this morning. We’ve tried many different security measures to ensure his safety & stop him from sneaking out, but the kid is a freaking genius like his brother & for safety precautions it’s not like we can strap him in his bed or lock him in their room. And we don’t inject tagging chips into human beings (…yet…) because of privacy & all that ethical stuff, but I would 100% have it done to my twins because they will always live with us & it would be super beneficial to them, their safety, our security (& sanity!)… I would like to sleep before I’m dead.
In the meantime, like a computer, I pretty much just go into “sleep mode” not that elusive REM state sleep of a typical teenager that I long for, & will once again research until my fingers go numb ways to ensure my autistic children’s safety, not only when they are out in the world (supervised & accompanied by adults, of course), but also at home as they grow bigger & wiser, catching on easily to all other precautions that their parental units have made. Ok, let’s talk book stuff now, shall we?
I’d like to introduce you to Sissie Klein. Sissie Klein was a minor character in Kris Clink’s first novel, released earlier this year in April, ‘Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy‘. I thoroughly enjoyed that delightfully funny, heartwarming novel & was excited to get an advance copy of the 2nd book in The Enchanted Rock Series that releases next Tues, Nov. 9th. Thank you @getredprbooks & #sparkspress for my gift copy of ‘Sissie Klein is Completely Normal‘ by Kris Clink!
‘Sissie Klein is Completely Normal‘ can be read as a stand-alone novel, although I highly recommend reading ‘Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy’ as well, if not first. ‘Sissie Klein is Completely Normal’ is as captivating & relatable as it is heartfelt & poignant.
In Clink’s previous novel, “Sissy offered an opportunity to conduct a deep-dive character study, all while challenging readers to question their assumptions about the people they think they understand,” stated Kris Clink. “Sissie demonstrates how we can be the heroes in our own stories. When Sissie was young, she didn’t know what her power was. Now, it was her turn to claim it. In this book, you get to witness her evolution,” added the author.
Sissie Klein barely remembers the night that tore her from the carefree life she knew. Not long after the shocked teen is pushed into marriage, she’s rushed to the hospital where a catastrophic delivery seals her destiny.
Sissie is determined to give her daughter the opportunities she forfeited, but some fates can’t be avoided. Tragedy strikes, leaving behind a legacy of deceit—and an orphaned toddler.
Told with heartbreaking honesty and shrewd humor, Sissie Klein Is Completely Normal examines the ties that bind us—some inherited, others chosen—none without their share of agonizing tangles.
Captivating, compulsively readable, & weaving together tenderness, humor, & heartbreak, ‘Sissie Klein is Completely Normal’, by Kris Clink, is on sale next Tuesday, Nov 9, 2021.
Click the highlightedtitles in this post to add Kris Clink’s books to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to visit Kris Clink’s website http://www.krisclink.com. Click HERE to visit/follow Kris Clink on Instagram. Click HERE to visit/FOLLOW (please!) Mom_Loves_Reading on Instagram & while you’re there, LIKE & maybe SHARE the post about this book! Click HERE to pre-order ‘Sissie Klein…’ on Amazon. but… It’s be much nicer if you pre-order this book & any others from an indie bookstore near you! You can click HERE to use BookstoreLink.com to find it & others at an Independent Bookstore!
Kris Clink is the author of ‘Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy’ & ‘Sissie Klein is Completely Normal’. Her novels have received praise from Bustle, Midwest Book Review, Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Book Review, Women.com, Lone Star Literary, Brit + Co, Travel & Leisure Magazine, & Entertainment Weekly, among others. Set in middle America, her novels are laced w/ love, heartbreak, & just enough snark to rock the boat as relatable characters confront transformative challenges.
She’s a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association & The Author’s Guild. Before becoming a novelist, she oversaw business development in medical environments & managed an office of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Since then, her work has been published in Moms Don’t Have Time to Write on Medium, diyMFA, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Women Writers Women’s Books, & Accent West Magazine. She is the host of Kris Clink’s Writing Table, a podcast about books & writing where she interviews a variety of publishing professionals & authors including Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler), Zibby Owens, Camille Pagán, & Laurie Frankel.
Calling Texas home for most of her life, Kris now lives in KS, where she & “Hubs” have filled their empty nest w/ two spoiled-rotten pups–a mini-doxie & a rescue who thinks he’s a mini-doxie. When not writing, Kris is playing pickleball w/ friends, riding her bike, counting cardinals in her backyard, reading in the hammock, or searching for an open karaoke mic & an understanding audience.
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!💕)