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!

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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

Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction

Book Review: ‘Etiquette for Runaways’ by Liza Nash Taylor

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Thank you @blackstonepublishing for my gifted copy of ‘Etiquette for Runaways‘ by debut novelist, Liza Nash Taylor! (pub date 8/18)

A sweeping Jazz Age tale of regret, ambition, & redemption inspired by true events, including the Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 & Josephine Baker’s 1925 Paris debut in Le Revue Nègre.

1924. May Marshall is determined to spend the dog days of summer in self-imposed exile at her father’s farm in Keswick, Virginia. Following a naive dalliance that led to heartbreak & her expulsion from Mary Baldwin College, May returns home with a shameful secret only to find her father’s orchard is now the site of a lucrative moonshining enterprise. Despite warnings from the one man she trusts — her childhood friend Byrd — she joins her father’s illegal business. When authorities close in & her father, Henry, is arrested, May goes on the run.

May arrives in New York City, determined to reinvent herself as May Valentine and succeed on her own terms, following in her mother’s footsteps as a costume designer. The Jazz Age city glitters with both opportunity and the darker temptations of cocaine and nightlife. From a start mending sheets at the famed Biltmore Hotel, May falls into a position designing costumes for a newly formed troupe of African American entertainers bound for Paris. Reveling in her good fortune, May will do anything for the chance to go abroad, and the lines between right and wrong begin to blur. When Byrd shows up in New York, intent upon taking May back home, she pushes him, and her past, away.

In Paris, May’s run of luck comes to a screeching halt, spiraling her into darkness as she unravels a painful secret about her past. May must make a choice: surrender to failure and addiction, or face the truth and make amends to those she has wronged. But first, she must find self-forgiveness before she can try to reclaim what her heart craves most.

Etiquette for Runaways‘ is a coming of age story written through evocatively beautiful prose. With atmospherically vivid details, you will feel transported back to the dazzling, glamorously gilded Jazz age as you follow along w/ the complex & ambitious, May Marshall. May’s trials & tribulations are often intimately heartbreaking as she struggles w/ her tormenting past, secrets, temptation, addiction, & confronting her demons while pursuing her dreams & blooming into the heroine she knows herself to be.
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I felt a female ‘Great Gatsby’ vibe while reading this magnificent, well-researched, & captivating story that is pure gold for readers of literary art & lovers of historical fiction. A magnificent debut novel!

Click HERE to add ‘Etiquette for Runaways’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to visit Liz Nash Taylor’s website.
Click HERE to pre-order your copy on Amazon.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love!

The farmhouse where Liza Nash Taylor lives in Keswick, Virginia, with her family & dogs was built in 1825, and it is the opening setting of Etiquette for Runaways. She writes in the old bunkhouse, with the occasional black snake & a view of the Southwest Mountains. In 2018, Liza completed the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Art & was named a Hawthornden International Fellow.
She was the 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference Fiction Prize. Her short stories have appeared in Microchondria II, (an anthology by the Harvard Bookstore), Gargoyle Magazine, & others.
‘Etiquette for Runaways’ is her first novel. Look for her second, a stand-alone sequel, in 2021, also from Blackstone Publishing.