Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · WomensFiction

Book review: ‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters’ by Emily Carpenter (pub 10/20)

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Thank you @amazonpublishing #lakeunionpublishing for my gift copy of ‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ by Emily Carpenter! (pub 10/20)

The bestselling author of ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, ‘Every Single Secret‘, ‘The Weight of Lies‘ & ‘Until the Day I Die‘ returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive & haunted past.

‘There are things known & unknown, & in between are the doors.“- Althea Cheramie, friend of Dove.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist & faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the 8 yrs since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—& her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder.

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And w/ an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made. 

Now: to protect her family, Eve will join forces w/ the investigative filmmaker & one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

This book continues the story line from Carpenter’s debut novel, ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, but it’s not really a sequel. I have not read that 2016 debut, but I really want to now. I never really felt lost while reading ‘Reviving…’ & it can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. The story draws you in from the very first pages & holds your attention w/ Carpenter’s masterful writing, taunt plotting, & compelling characters.

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ is a beautiful blend of southern gothic, historical fiction, suspense/mystery & some magical realism. Told as Dove’s story from the past & Eve’s present day, this atmospheric, slow-burning mystery would make a fantastic addition to any readers fall tbr stack. I’m certainly going to read more of Emily’s other novels.

Click HERE to view more about this book.

Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter on Instagram.
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Click HERE to add ‘Reviving the Honeysuckle Girls’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter’s website.

Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of four thrillers: Until the Day I Die, Every Single SecretThe Weight of Lies, and Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. A graduate of Auburn University, Emily has worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for CBS television. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she moved to New York City before returning to the South, where she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Visit Emily at http://www.emilycarpenterauthor.com.

BOTMs, · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · Thriller · WomensFiction

The October Books of the Month are LIVE!

📚The October BOTM’s are up!! (Click HERE to visit my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!)

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

📚A long time member & fan of Book of the Month club, I get so excited to see what books they have selected for us each month. I skipped the last 2 mos because I already had the books that I wanted from the Aug/Sep selections from the publishers. So I was extra stoked to see what would be available for me to choose for October.

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

‘Magic Lessons‘:
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

‘Leave the World Behind’: Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older Black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?

‘The Girl in the Mirror’: Twin sisters Iris & Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical & insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam. Called to Thailand to help her sister sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. When she makes it to land, Iris allows herself to be swept up by Adam, who assumes that she is Summer.
Iris recklessly goes along with his mistake. Not only does she finally have the golden life she’s always envied, w/ her sister gone, she’s one step closer to the 100-million-dollar inheritance left by her manipulative father. All Iris has to do is be the first of his seven children to produce an heir. Iris’s “new” life lurches between glamorous dream & paranoid nightmare. On the edge of being exposed, how far will she go to ensure no one discovers the truth? And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht? Only Iris knows…

‘Ties That Tether’: At 12 yrs old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man & preserve her culture even after immigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping—forcing—her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company & later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, & white.
When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael & the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.
Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be w/ him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious & fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

‘The Invisible Life of Addie Larue’:
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, & a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries & continents, across history & art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore & he remembers her name.



📚If you have been on the fence about joining BOTM, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & w/ 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 intro price for your first BOTM & then you’ll be on your way to being a BOTM BFF like me! (**Please be advised, BOTM is currently only available for shipping within the 50 United States.)

📚Once you’ve rcvd 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 mo. are Early Releases, meaning you can get books a mo. or more before the gen public! Full-sz hardback books for nearly HALF of what you’d pay elsewhere & 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 mo) & you can skip any month you choose to. Click HERE for my referral offer & get your first book for only $9.99!

📚Some of this mos new add-ons include ‘Invisible Girl’ by Lisa Jewell, ‘Practical Magic‘, Elin Hilderbrand’s ‘Troubles in Paradise’, & more! So, what looks good to you this month? All of them, right!?😉 (Don’t forget, once you add a monthly BOTM, go back & check out all of the available add-ons. There are new ones addes all of the time! Some are newer, some are classics!

Click HERE to use my special code & join me in becoming a Book of the Month club member!

Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · OwnVoices · Thriller

Happy Belated Pub Day and Book Review of: ‘When No One is Watching’ by Alyssa Cole

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Happy Belated Pub Day & Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy [partner] of ‘When No One is Watching‘ by Alyssa Cole! (pub 9/1)

Q: What was the last thriller you read that taught you about something you otherwise didn’t know much about?

‘Rear Window’ meets ‘Get Out’ in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed & NY Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born & raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, & the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past & present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour & finds an unlikely & unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney & Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia & fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, & the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney & Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

Cole has pivoted from writing romance novels to bring us one heck of an amazing suspense/thriller that is so much more than just an entertaining read. The first line of the book says it all: “History is f–king wild.”

Gentrification: the process of renovating or improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. (Problem w/ this is property values increase thereby increasing cost of living in that area, while affordable housing decreases & lower income residents are displaced.)

Unflinchingly well-crafted w/ knowledge & insight, Cole gives readers a much needed history lesson on the aftermath of this process, having lived in neighborhoods like this in the past. With a keen sense of atmosphere, richly drawn narrative & characters, ‘When No One is Watching‘ is clever, riveting, eye-opening & twisty. Highly recommend!

Click HERE to add this book to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Alyssa Cole on Instagram.
Click HERE to visit ME on Instagram & give this post a LIKE.

Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, & sci-fi romance. Her romantic comedy A PRINCESS IN THEORY is a NY Times notable book for 2018. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION was the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, & also the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award Book of the Year. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, & others, & her books have received critical acclaim from The NY Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, & various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can generally be found watching anime w/ her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.

Audiobooks · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Giveaway · HistoricalFiction · LibroFm · OwnVoices · WomensFiction

Happy Independent Book Store Day and a GIVEAWAY!

Click HERE to go to IG post! (Enter, LIKE, & Share!)

Happy Independent Book Store Day!! & INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY time! (Giveaway is on Instagram only, click HERE for post.) Thank you to @librofm for sponsoring it! Click here for more information on the TODAY ONLY specials Libro.fm has for Indie Book Store Day! They are some great deals!)

3 lucky winners will each receive an audiobook copy of ‘The Vanishing Half‘ by Brit Bennett, which is currently the #1 ranked audiobook on Libro.fm & the NYT, & #3 on the NYTimes hardback best seller list!

I absolutely LOVED Bennett’s novel, ‘The Mothers’ & I was so excited for the 6/2/20 release of ‘The Vanishing Half‘. Adding to my excitement, the book was a June pick for Book of the Month members, so I picked it! My anticipation got the better of me & I ended up listening to the audio book on my Libro.fm app! It is FANTASTIC! (Both books are still available on BOTM, too! Click HERE to join BOTM & get a great deal on your first month! BOTM is U.S. only at this time unfortunately)

A slow-burning, endearingly poignant piece of literary/historical fiction, this book will give you all the feels! You will love most people in the book, too, even though, like everyone on the planet, they have all made their share of mistakes, poor choices, & live w/ some sort of regret. Bennett’s story telling ability is exceptional & not surprisingly, there was a bidding war on the film rights, w/ HBO coming out on top & Bennett earning a 7-figure payday!

Those of you that are fans of audiobooks can concur w/ me when I say:

1- They 100% count when it comes to books you have ‘read’, having enjoyed them w/ your ears instead of your eyes, but the same part of your brain.

2- You can do SO much more while listening to an audiobook vs. a physical book. (IE: chores, shopping, driving, showering, exercising, etc.)

3- Audiobook narrators really bring a cinematic & lifelike feel to a book.

Libro.fm audiobooks are yours 4ever! You download the book you are listening to on your device, so no need to use wifi or precious data when out & about, then delete the file from device when done, but it stays in your Libro.fm acct forevs! Libro.fm supports indie bookstores w/ our audiobook purchases/subscription (unlike that ‘other’ audio company owned by a bajillionaire). The Libro.fm app is FREE, so you don’t pay a dime to enter this giveaway or be a winner! You can also use my code MOMLOVESREADING to get a 2-for-1 deal! (goto Libro.fm for more info).

(**The following is for FYI purpose only. Giveaway is on Instagram only & you must enter there. Click HERE to go to that post.)
To enter to win an audiobook copy of ‘The Vanishing Half‘, do the following:

1- LIKE this post. (like some others while your here just to be nice!)

2- Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @librofm

3- Tag some bookish pals. (unlimited, only 3 per com)

Bonus-5 entries
4- Share post to your IG stories or feed & tag @mom_loves_reading (can do daily).

Giveaway is open internationally, begins 8/29 & ends 8/31/20 11:59pm EST. Giveaway not affiliated w/ Instagram. Unfollowing MomLovesReading after will get you banned from future MLR giveaways & there are a LOT.

TODAY ONLY

Pre-order in print, get an audiobook for free! Click HERE for details!

When you pre-order these print books from your chosen Indie Book Store today, you’ll either receive the audiobook version or a bestselling audiobook from the author, courtesy of Libro.fm! Just email hello@libro.fm with your receipt from 8/29 (a picture of your physical receipt or the email purchase confirmation), and we’ll send you an email with a link to your free audiobook, which you can keep for yourself or gift to a friend!

Get another of the author’s bestselling audiobooks for free:

Receipts must include a purchase date of August 29th, 2020. There is no limit on the number of print books purchased and free audiobooks collected. You will receive the link to your free audiobook within 24 hours of emailing hello@libro.fm. Please note that upcoming audiobook releases (The Last Story of Mina LeeHis Only Wife, and The Awkward Black Man) will not appear in your library until the listed pub date.

The deadline to submit your receipt is Monday, August 31st, 2020.

Book Reviews · Fiction · Giveaway · HistoricalFiction

Giveaway Time! (2) AMAZING books by Tiffany McDaniel!

Click HERE to go to giveaway!

Giveaway Time!! Thank you @aaknopf for my gifted copy of ‘Betty‘ by the talented Tiffany McDaniel! And Thank you to Tiffany for the paperback copy (not shown) for the giveaway! (pub 8/18)

“A girl comes of age against the knife.”

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father & white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty & violence–both from outside the family, & also, devastatingly, from within. The lush landscape, rich w/ birdsong, wild fruit, & blazing stars, becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family’s darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties & incredible characters she encounters in her rural town of Breathed, Ohio.

But despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, & her father’s brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, & in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family’s past & present w/ pen & paper & buries them deep in the dirt–moments that had stung her so deeply, she could not tell them, until now.

Inspired by the life of her own mother, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by telling this heartbreaking yet magical story–a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the freshest & most important voices in American fiction.

I have only just begun reading ‘Betty‘ & it is what I expected it to be after having read Tiffany’s previous novel of literary fiction, ‘The Summer That Melted Everything‘. It’s absolutely stunning, profoundly moving, heart-wrenchingly raw, & w/ hauntingly poetic prose that builds an entirely authentic world w/in its pages that will utterly consume you.

I will post more about her previous novel soon, but in the meantime, who wants to win a copy of BOTH books? (**Please note: the following information is for FYI only. All entries must be made on Instagram on the giveaway post. Click HERE to go to @mom_loves_reading now)

To enter: (US only)

*Like this post (& maybe some other posts, too while you’re here)
*Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @aaknopf
*Tag a couple friends (Unlimited entries, up to 5 tags per comment)

Bonus entries (5 ea):
*Share post in your feed or stories & tag me. (can be done daily)
*Follow me & share on FB (Mom_Loves_Reading)
*Follow me & retweet on Twitter (momlovesreading)
*Follow my blog (link in bio) & comment on the giveaway post.

US residents only. Giveaway begins 8/21 & ends 8/25 at 11:59pm EST. One winner will get a paperback copy of The Summer That Melted Everything from me (courtesy of Ms McDaniels) & a hardback copy of Betty from Knopf. Giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram. Following then UNfollowing MomLovesReading will get you banned from all future MLR giveaways, & there are a LOT! Giveaway entries on Instagram post only.

The Summer That Melted Everything: (2016, St Martins Press)

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984:
the year a heatwave scorched the small town of Breathed, Ohio.
The year he became friends with the devil.

When local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes an invitation to the devil to come to the country town of Breathed, Ohio, nobody quite expected that he would turn up. They especially didn’t expect him to turn up a tattered and bruised thirteen-year-old boy.

Fielding, the son of Autopsy, finds the boy outside the courthouse and brings him home, and he is welcomed into the Bliss family. The Blisses believe the boy, who calls himself Sal, is a runaway from a nearby farm town. Then, as a series of strange incidents implicate Sal — and riled by the feverish heatwave baking the town from the inside out — there are some around town who start to believe that maybe Sal is exactly who he claims to be.

But whether he’s a traumatised child or the devil incarnate, Sal is certainly one strange fruit: he talks in riddles, his uncanny knowledge and understanding reaches far outside the realm of a normal child — and ultimately his eerily affecting stories of Heaven, Hell, and earth will mesmerise and enflame the entire town.

Devastatingly beautiful, The Summer That Melted Everything is a captivating story about community, redemption, and the dark places where evil really lies.

Click HERE to add ‘Betty’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Summer that Melted Everything’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Tiffany McDaniel’s website.
Click HERE to go to the book giveaway on Instagram.

Tiffany McDaniel is a novelist, poet, and visual artist born and raised in Ohio. She is the author of The Summer That Melted Everything and BETTY.
http://www.tiffanymcdaniel.com