About ME · Audiobooks · BeachReads · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

This weeks Instagram book posts, what I’m listening to today, and a thrift store surprise one year later…

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!💕)

Audiobooks · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Giveaway · LiteraryFiction · OwnVoices

Giveaway time! Win a copy of new release and NY Times bestseller, ‘Black Buck’!

GIVEAWAY TIME!
Folks, it’s early in the year, but I’m predicting ‘Black Buck’ by Mateo Askaripour to be one of my Top 5 favorite books of 2021 & I guarantee it’ll be for many of you as well!

Black Buck‘ is the author’s debut novel that released on 1/5 & I was fortunate enough to receive early copies of it, ultimately choosing to listen to the audiobook version. The narrator did such a fantastic job! It’s already #15 on the NY Times bestseller list this week, a Book of the Month add-on, & the Jan ’21 ‘Reading w/ Jenna‘ pick.

I loved Mateo’s dedication page at the very beginning of the book: “To all of those who have ever been made to feel less than, I see you”. Followed by that are a few pages of Author’s Notes, one of which encourages white readers to consider themselves an honorary black person as you read the book, which I totally get, to better understand the POV from which the situations & scenarios in the book are coming from.

The book is a dram-edy (funny, yet drama filled) & meant to be satirical, meaning some parts are over the top & exaggerated, but the messages in the story are perfectly clear. The description of the book says ‘for fans of ‘Sorry to Bother You’ & ‘The Wolf of Wall Street”, & since I have never seen the 1st movie I don’t get that comparison; however, having seen the 2nd, I do understand that & agree, but it’s only in some ways similar.

You may want a writing instrument handy while reading this book to annotate & underline meaningful quotes & passages. You will love some of the characters like Brian, Wally Cat, Mr. Rawlings & Darren’s mom, & you’ll hate some of them like Clyde (who is total pond scum). You may also catch yourself saying some of the ‘Black Buck’ catch phrases in everyday life like I have been since reading this, such as ‘Every day is deals day’ & ‘Ring ring’. I also cannot help but to think of Darren & Brian every time I go to Starbucks, which is far too often.

I can definitely see this book made into a feature film or 10-episode limited series & I 100% think Jordan Peele should write the script, produce & direct it. I also totally pictured the handsome author as the protagonist, Darren, as I listened to the book. I highly recommend ‘Black Buck‘ in any version (see below for links to get an audiobook deal at Libro.fm or to join Book of the Month & add ‘Black Buck’ to your first months box as an add-on), & I’d like to send an arc to 2 of my followers.

(Please be advised, the following entry info is for information sakes, only. You must enter on Instagram & can do so by clicking HERE to be directed to the giveaway.)
To enter giveaway:
1-LIKE this post.
2-Must be following @mom_loves_reading
3-Tag a couple bookish pals (unlimited entries, 2 tags per com).
Bonus entries (5 ea)
4-SHARE to your stories & tag me (can do daily)
5-Subscribe to my blog (Hey, you’re already here, so why not sign up to get email notifications when a new post is up, & if you ARE subscribed, why Thank You very much!😉
6-LIKE my Facebook page & this post there. (Click HERE to go there now.)
7-Follow me on Twitter & REtweet post. (Click HERE to go there now.)

Giveaway is US only due to shipping, begins 1/16 & ends 1/19/21, & is not affiliated w/ Instagram. Please don’t UNfollow afterwards because it’s rude & you get added to my ‘excluded from all future MLR giveaways’ list. Plus, you’ll miss out on a TON of really great giveaways coming up, some of which will be International.

Click HERE to use my referral code MOMLOVESREADING at Libro.fm & get a BOGO-free audiobook offer.
Click HERE to use my referral link & start a Book of the Month membership. (If you scroll a few posts back you will see more detailed info on all of the great benefits of becoming a BOTM member, & there are no obligations.)

Click HERE to add ‘Black Buck’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to look for ‘Black Buck’ at a local independent bookstore using BookStoreLink.com.
Click HERE to go to MomLovesReading on Instagram.

MATEO ASKARIPOUR was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in EntrepreneurLit HubCatapultThe RumpusMedium, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, and his favorite pastimes include bingeing music videos and movie trailers, drinking yerba mate, and dancing in his apartment. BLACK BUCK is his debut novel. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @AskMateo. You can also subscribe to his monthly newsletter here. 

Audiobooks · Book Reviews · Halloween · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · Paranormal · True Crime

If there’s something strange, in your neighborhood, who ya’ gonna call…AMY BRUNI! Then read her book!👻📖

Today is #MurderinoMonday & this book, although not #TrueCrime, it’s kind of in the same genre since there are definitely some dead people, murders, & even a couple serial killers in it!
Thank you @grandcentralpub for my gift copy of ‘Life With the Afterlife: 13 Truths I Learned About Ghosts
by Amy Bruni!

👻Ok, I have to ask all of you this question: Do you believe in ghosts? Maybe some sort of paranormal phenomenon or such? I do. If you are a hard NO to that question, this book, along w/ Amy Bruni’s TV shows ‘Ghost Hunters’ & ‘Kindred Spirits’, may change your mind about that. (And as to why I believe in spirits and/or ghosts, see a couple of my encounters further down in this blog post.👻)

The ‘ghost’ in this pic is ME. It was a pic from our doorbell this past summer.

Paranormal investigator Amy Bruni shares stories from her years of experiences w/ ghosts, organized around thirteen truths that guide her approach to the supernatural.
Amy Bruni, one of the world’s leading paranormal investigators, has learned a lot about ghosts over her years of research & first-hand experience. Now, in ‘Life with the Afterlife’, she shares the insight she has gleaned & how it has shaped her unique approach to interacting w/ the spirits of the dead & those who encounter them.

From her earliest supernatural encounters as a child, through her yrs appearing on ‘Ghost Hunters’ &  the creation of her company Strange Escapes, which offers paranormal excursions to some of America’s most notoriously haunted destinations, & into her current work on The Travel Channel’s ‘Kindred Spirits’, this book is full of astonishing & deeply moving stories of Amy’s efforts to better understand the dead but not yet departed. With Amy’s bright humor & fierce compassion for both those who are haunted & those who are haunting, ‘Life with the Afterlife‘ is an eye-opening look at what connects us as people, in life & beyond.

Copyright ‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999); & can you believe THAT is Donnie Wahlberg??

Life with the Afterlife‘ is downright fascinating, insightful, thought-provoking & will legit make you second guess every creak, squeak & bump in the night you may hear in your home or any strange chill you feel breeze past you. I have personally had some highly unexplainable occurrences happen in my life, & here is a quick story about one of them:

My husband & I built our home in 2005 on property that had been in his family for decades. No other home had ever stood on our acreage. I was also pregnant with my twins when our house was built. Several months after we were living in our home & the babies were born, there were times when I was home alone that I would smell cigarette smoke as clear as if someone were straight up smoking in my home. No one in my home smoked, & no one had recently visited our home that was a smoker.

I would also hear voices of little kids, like an elementary school class full of them, & this was when there was no TV on, & we do not have children or a school anywhere near our home. Yet, I could often hear little kids laughing & jibber-jabbering. Then one day I walked into my bedroom to find the dresser that held all of my babies clothes, diapers, pjs, etc had EVERY single drawer pulled all the way out. And no one was home but me & my babies, who did not talk or crawl or do anything much more than sit in their carriers, baby swings or lay in their cribs. It totally freaked me out.

Copyright ‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999)

Then one day while I was standing at the kitchen sink, a picture that had been high up on top of the cupboard came flying down at me from an angle. It didn’t just fall, or it would have been about 6 ft away from where I stood. It came down at an angle as if aiming for me purposely, & it hit me in the arm, scratching me pretty well. There were other strange things that had happened for several years after that, but the cigarette smoking ‘entity’ seems to have moved on, probably because I live in the noisiest house ever & whomever (whatever) was here was probably like ‘I’m outta here’, yet to this day, I still swear I hear music or small children’s voices when there is no one else here & it’s quiet or late at night when everyone is sleeping. So, Amy Bruni…have your people call my people if you want to come use your ghostbusting gadgets on my home & let me know who all I should be charging rent for squatting here. 😳🎶🤷🏼👻

The book is a quick read & the audio version is enhanced w/ recordings from Bruni & her crew’s paranormal investigations. Fittingly enough, the book was published on 10/27…the week of Halloween.

So, if there’s something strange, in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call…Amy Bruni! And read her book!👻

Copyright Travel Channel

Click HERE to add ‘Life with the Afterlife’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit my Instagram post about this book & give it some LIKE love!

About ME · Audiobooks · Giveaway · Halloween

Happy Halloween readers!!

🎃Happy Halloween readers!🎃
(Please visit my Instagram post pictured above & give it a LIKE or SHARE! Click HERE.)

👻So what are you reading this weekend? A spooky mystery (Zoinks!), maybe a thrilling who-dunnit (Jeepers!), or listening to a suspense filled audiobook (Jinkies!)? (Yes, those are Scooby Doo words…😆 My kids were watching the movie where they go to Spooky Island.)

🧛🏻‍♂️I am currently finishing up listening to ‘Harrow Lake’ by Kat Ellis which is pretty creepy & perfect for Halloween vibes! I’m also just about done w/ ‘Home Before Dark’ as I’ve been savoring that a chapter or so at a time for the last few weeks. It doesn’t usually take me that long to read a book, but I have purposely drug this one out for the spooky, haunted house feels for today’s holiday. And it truly is just right for Halloween reading!

Click HERE to read more about this book & add it to your Goodreads lists.

🧟‍♀️Next up I’ll be starting a true crime book for Murderino Monday, ‘Last Call’, which I’ll be posting about very soon! And later today I have a post about another suspenseful mystery.

🧡Just a reminder, today is the last day to enter my orange book stack giveaway a few posts back. 1 winner, 6 books!
Click HERE to go to that giveaway on Instagram now. Don’t delay!

📙Drop me some comments with what you are currently reading or some suggestions on what we should be adding to our TBR lists. Have a fun weekend & stay safe out there whether you are Trick-or-Treating or maybe going to a (hopefully small) gathering!

Audiobooks · Book Reviews · Comedy · LibroFm · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Audiobook Love and book review of ‘Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema’ by Lindy West

Are you a fan of audiobooks? I am! I listen to almost a book a day most weeks! Did you know you can get them online & support your local bookstore, too? If you haven’t tried one yet, start w/ a memoir or an essay collection read by the author, such as this one!

Thank you @librofm & @hachetteaudio for my gift audio copy of ‘Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema‘ by the awesome Lindy West! (pub date 10/20) Click HERE to give my Instagram post a LIKE!

NYTimes opinion writer & bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle’s alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film w/ brutal honesty & giddy irreverence. In ‘Sh*t, Actually’, Lindy West returns to those roots, re-examining beloved & iconic movies from the past 40 yrs w/ an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is ‘Twilight’ the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in ‘The Lion King’ trust Mufasa–who is a lion–to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after ‘The Fugitive’ achieved perfection? And, my God, why don’t any of the women in ‘Love, Actually’ ever freaking talk?!

From ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’, & ‘Bad Boys II’, to ‘Face/Off’, ‘Top Gun’, & ‘The Notebook’, West combines her razor-sharp wit & trademark humor w/ a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones–the stories we’ve long been telling ourselves about who we are.

At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, ‘Sh*t, Actually’ reminds us to pause & ask, “How does this movie hold up?”, all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love w/o ever letting them or ourselves off the hook. It’s is a love letter & a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us & the ones that ruined us. More often than not, West finds, they’re one & the same.

I laughed so hard listening to this book & completely agreed w/ most of Lindy’s cinematic observations. (Lindy, please write a book dissecting TV shows now! I will be more than happy to provide some shows to rip on, like ‘Friends’ & ‘King of Queens’.) I have never seen ‘Love, Actually’, but I have seen all of the other movies referenced in this book & had many of the same observations. In my home, breaking down movies & their plot holes is one of our favorite things to do as a family! I seriously loved this book & I think it is definitely one of those best enjoyed on audiobook where you can listen to Lindy & all of her beautiful snarkiness.

Libro.fm is pretty much just like “the other” audiobook app/subscription service out there, but there’s one HUGE difference: Libro.fm supports indie bookstores from our purchases. No lining the pockets of a bajillionaire. Bookstores have been struggling to survive for some time due to the convenience of the internet & right now, many are in serious danger of flatlining in 2021 (or sooner) due to the pandemic. I can’t imagine my community not having access to physical bookstores in the future. I LOVE spending an hour or two picking out books, holding them, smelling them, buying them, & taking them home w/ me right then. And if it means spending a couple extra $$’s to keep them there so I CAN do that, it is 100% worth it!

Readers, please support your local bookstores this holiday season & always by buying books, gift cards and/or Libro.fm memberships for your friends/family/self! Many of the indie stores even have online store fronts, too! Go to the Libro.fm website to learn more & use my code MOMLOVESREADING for a BOGOF.

Click HERE to go to Libro.fm & ‘Sh*t, Actually’.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love, (actually).😉
Click HERE to add ‘Sh*t, Actually’ to your Goodreads lists.

Lindy West is a Seattle-based writer, editor, & performer whose work focuses on pop culture, social justice, humor, & body image. She’s currently a culture writer for GQ magazine & GQ.com & a weekly columnist at The Guardian, as well as the founder & editor of I Believe You/It’s Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens. In 2015 she wrote & recorded a story for This American Life about confronting an Internet troll who impersonated her dead father. She also was listed as “Internet’s Most Fascinating of 2015” by Cosmopolitan.com, & helped launch the viral #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag in defense of women’s reproductive rights.