As they say in ‘Game of Thrones’ many times, “Winter is coming.” Only in this case, there’s no ice zombies to contend with, just some complex, well-written characters that are much easier to relate to than anyone in the 7 kingdoms of Westeros!
Ok, now that I’ve nerded out on George R.R. Martin references, it’s time for ‘A Winter Night‘ on an almost summer day!
Thank you to @unsolicitedpress & @tlcbooktours for my gift copy of Anne Leigh Parrish’s latest release, ‘A Winter Night’, released back in March!
I’m so glad I joined this book tour! What a refreshing & palette cleansing read for someone that gets way too wrapped up in the dark world of thrillers quite often! (…which I’m not mad about, but I totally dig a change of bookish scenery from time to time…ya know, so I can sleep & not have all the nightmares about the books I’ve read.)
The main character of Angie Dugan is written in a way that is easily relatable, with the right amount of layers & depth, which makes ‘A Winter Night’ even more enjoyable to read. ‘A Winter Night’ is a story of personal growth, learning to love & trust again, dealing w/ loved ones addictions, & so much more. The Dugan family first appeared in Parrish’s previous novel, ‘Our Love Could Light the World‘ & in this new release, Angie Dugan gets center stage. ‘A Winter Night’ is poignant, character driven, engaging, wise & witty. I look forward to reading more from Anne Leigh Parrish in the future & plan to check out some of her backlist soon!
About ‘A Winters Night‘: 34-year-old Angie Dugan struggles with many things–anxiety, her career as a social worker in a retirement home, & her difficult family. Her biggest struggle, though, is finding love. When she meets Matt, she’s swept away by his attention. As issues from his past come up she wonders if she can trust him. Should she break it off, or give him another chance? In the end, all she can do is listen to her heart, & evaluate what she wants most. (**Be sure to read the author bio below to read more about the Dugan’s origin story.)
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love, which also shows support to the author.
Anne Leigh Parrish sat down one day at an ancient typewriter & banged out a short story. Nine yrs & many stories later, ‘A Painful Shade of Blue,’ found a home in The Virginia Quarterly Review. The story featured the real-life trauma of her parents’ divorce when she was only 10 yrs old. While other stories returned to that time & place, most ventured further afield, focusing on women in impossible situations, & blending stark reality w/ magical realism. In 2014 her first novel, ‘What Is Found, What Is Lost’, featuring four generations of women & their experience w/ religious faith convinced her that she also loved long-form writing. ‘Women Within’, her 2nd novel, is another multi-generational story about three women whose lives intersect at the Lindell Retirement home. In both stories & subsequent novels, the Dugan family of Dunston, New York, a fictional town representing Ithaca, where Anne grew up, takes center stage. They’re a tough, hard-worn bunch full of love, pain, & fierce devotion to each other – usually. Her linked story collection, ‘Our Love Could Light The World’, & her novels ‘The Amendment’ & ‘Maggie’s Ruse’ follow them over years & many ups & downs. Her latest novel, ‘A Winter Night’, released in March 2021 centers on the eldest daughter, Angie Dugan, & her struggle to find love & self-acceptance. Anne lived in Seattle for 35 yrs until Amazon made driving anywhere a nightmare, then moved w/ her husband & black pug to a forest outside of Olympia, Washington where she continues to write stories, novels, the occasional essay, & most recently, poetry.
📚Time for a 6 book GIVEAWAY geared towards the men in honor of Father’s Day later this month! Yes, ladies, you can enter the giveaway, too, for yourselves or enter to win these fantastic novels for your father, husband, brother, older sons, grandpa’s, etc. I will even send the books to them wrapped nicely & with a Father’s Day card stating that you thought they would enjoy these books for some summer reading. All of the books are in new condition & some are arc’s, & I have @blackstonepublishing to thank for all of these gifted books! (*Click HERE to see yesterday’s giveaway, too!).
❓Q: Does your husband/boyfriend read books? (And if you’re a male, & following my page, you probably do, so Thank You!) My husband doesn’t read books, but he doesn’t balk at or mind my talking about them all of the time, so I guess that’s good enough for me.
📖’River, Sing Out’ by James Wade not only has a gorgeous cover (I mean, REALLY gorgeous!) but it’s a masterfully written, haunting, dark story w/ such taut, beautiful prose, it will leave you breathless. It’s available this Tues, 6/8. (*See below for full blurb & click on any of the highlighted titles to add them to your Goodreads lists.) Wade’s previous, award winning novel, ‘All Things Left Wild’, is also included in this giveaway.
📚You can enter to win ALL six books pictured for yourself or for another reader by clicking HERE to go to the giveaway on Instagram & doing the following: 1- LIKE this post. 2- Must be following @mom_loves_reading 3- Tag a couple bookish pals (Unlimited entries, 2 tags per comment) Bonus 5 entries: SHARE to your stories & tag me. **Giveaway is on Instagram, is US residents only, runs 6/5-6/8/21, & isn’t affiliated w/ Instagram. Please don’t UNfollow after or you’ll be excluded from all of my future giveaways, & there’s a LOT. (& it’s rude.)
Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.
Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.
Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.
With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.
‘All Things Left Wild’ by James Wade: After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb’s moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill.
Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.
Powerful and atmospheric, lyrical and fast-paced, All Things Left Wild is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country. It artfully sketches the magnificence of the American West as mirrored in the human soul.
‘The Rebel Nun’ by Marj Charlier: Marj Charlier’s The Rebel Nun is based on the true story of Clotild, the daughter of a sixth-century king and his concubine, who leads a rebellion of nuns against the rising misogyny and patriarchy of the medieval church.
At that time, women are afforded few choices in life: prostitution, motherhood, or the cloister. Only the latter offers them any kind of independence. By the end of the sixth century, even this is eroding as the church begins to eject women from the clergy and declares them too unclean to touch sacramental objects or even their priest-husbands.
Craving the legitimacy thwarted by her bastard status, Clotild seeks to become the next abbess of the female Monastery of the Holy Cross, the most famous of the women’s cloisters of the early Middle Ages. When the bishop of Poitiers blocks her appointment and seeks to control the nunnery himself, Clotild masterminds an escape, leading a group of uncloistered nuns on a dangerous pilgrimage to beg her royal relatives to intercede on their behalf. But the bishop refuses to back down, and a bloody battle ensues. Will Clotild and her sisters succeed with their quest, or will they face excommunication, possibly even death?
In the only historical novel written about the incident, The Rebel Nun is a richly imagined story about a truly remarkable heroine.
‘Felonious Monk’ by William Kotzwinkle: Meet Tommy Martini, the monk with an anger management problem. Since killing somebody with a single punch is not a needed talent in a monastery, he spends his time praying, meditating, and taking his anger management medicine. But his meditations are interrupted by a legacy from his uncle, a crooked priest. Arriving in a New Age Arizona town to claim his inheritance, Brother Tommy meets a charismatic, smoking-hot cult leader who claims that women are being impregnated by alien beings while they sleep. Tommy’s own sleep is disturbed–by cartel hitmen, Mafia bill collectors, and women intrigued by his vow of chastity. He loses his anger management medicine in time to deal with the hitmen, but the women present an uphill battle.
William Kotzwinkle’s quicksilver touch has produced an effervescent piece of entertainment filled with suspense, turns you won’t see coming, and the humor for which he is famous.
The summer of 1966 burned hot across America but nowhere hotter than the cotton fields of Mississippi. Finding herself in a precarious position as a black woman living alone, Bernice accepts her brother Floyd’s invitation to join him as a servant for a white family and she enters the web of hostility and deception that is the Kern plantation household.
The secrets of the house are plentiful yet the silence that has encompassed it for so many years suddenly breaks with the arrival of the harvest and the appearance of Jesse and Fletcher to the plantation as cotton pickers. These two brothers, the sons of the house servant Silva, awaken a vengeful seed within the Missus of the house as she plots to punish not only her husband but Silva’s family as well. When the Missus starts flirting with Jesse, she sets into motion a dangerous game that could get Jesse killed and destroy the lives of the rest of the servants.
Bernice walks the fine line between emissary and accomplice, as she tries her best to draw secrets from the Missus’s heart, while using their closeness to protect the lives of the people around her. Once the Missus’s plans are complete, families will be severed, loyalties will be shattered, and no one will come out unscathed.
With a dazzling voice and rich emotional tension, Pale explores the ties that bind and how quickly humanity can fade and return us to primal ways.
Two years ago, Dr. Gina Brady broke Thomas Prescott’s heart, but now her panic-stricken satellite phone call starts it beating again with a fury. Thugs kidnapped the good doctor from the remote jungle village where she was working, and now the retired homicide detective’s expert skills are desperately needed to save her.
Led by a colorful, but perhaps untrustworthy local guide, Prescott journeys deep into the Bolivian Amazon, plunging into a world where the only thing more dangerous than the gun-toting drug traffickers and the ruthless tribesmen, is the jungle itself.
When Gina’s trail leads to a chance encounter with an archaeological expedition, the search for the missing doctor takes on even deadlier consequences. But Prescott will not relent in this punishing quest until, once again, he holds Gina in his arms.
************************* 💁🏼♀️You can click on the highlighted titles above to add any of them to your Goodreads lists & click HERE to go to Mom_Loves_Reading on Instagram & enter to win ALL SIX books for yourself or if you would like, I can wrap them nicely & send them to the person of your choice (US residents only) along with a card & personal note from you.
📖So, what are you reading this weekend or what have you read recently. Please share in the comments. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!😊
🐝If you are looking for an intriguing, moving & deeply felt story for yourself or your book club to discuss this summer, (not to mention that it’s cover is stunning!) look no further. ‘The Hive‘ will have everyone buzzing once it’s released this Tues, 6/8. ‘The Hive‘ is a coming of age/family fiction novel about class in a politically divided country, the love & burden of family businesses, bees, & apocalyptic prepping.
📖A story of survival, sisters, and secrets…
📖The Fehler sisters wanted to be more than bug girls but growing up in a fourth- generation family pest control business in rural Missouri, their path was fixed. The family talked about Fehler Family Exterminating at every meal, even when their mom said to separate the business from the family, an impossible task. They tried to escape work with trips to their trailer camp on the Mississippi River, but the sisters did more fighting than fishing. If only there was a son to lead rural Missouri insect control and guide the way through a crumbling patriarchy.
📖After Robbie Fehler’s sudden death, the surprising details of succession in his will are revealed. He’s left the company to a distant cousin, assuming the women of the family aren’t capable. As the mother’s long-term affair surfaces and her apocalypse prepper training intensifies, she wants to trade responsibility for romance.
📖Facing an economic recession amidst the backdrop of growing Midwestern fear and resentment, the Fehler sisters unite in their struggle to save the company’s finances and the family’s future. To survive, they must overcome a political chasm that threatens a new civil war as the values that once united them now divide the very foundation they’ve built. Through alternating point-of-views, grief and regret gracefully give way to the enduring strength of the hive.
🐝’The Hive‘ is such a rich, complex & deeply felt novel that deals w/ family dynamics, feminism, grief, regrets, secrets, & coming to terms w/ an ever changing & fast moving world that waits for no one. With well-written, flawed & relatable characters (& there’s even one main character w/ my name as well!), ‘The Hive‘ draws you in right from the get go & immerses you into the atmospheric, amazing & eccentric world of the Fehler sister’s.
🦋Thank you @melissascholesyoung for my gift copies of the book (🐝which arrived in a super cute bee-themed bubble wrapper!) & for sponsoring this giveaway! I have one copy to give away to one lucky reader. (**Please note, this giveaway is on Instagram & the following information is for info-sakes only. You can enter the giveaway by clicking HERE. Be sure you are following me on Instagram as well in order to be eligible.)
🐝To enter: 1- LIKE this post.(on Instagram) 2- Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @melissascholesyoung 3- Tag a couple bookish pals (Unlimited entries, 2 tags per comment) **Bonus 5 entries each: 4- Comment what book you are currently reading & any thoughts you have on it. 5- SHARE to your stories & tag me (can do daily).
🦋Click HERE to enter the giveaway on Instagram. You can also click HERE to visit/follow Mom Loves Reading on Instagram.
🐝Click HERE to add ‘The Hive‘ to your Goodreads lists.
🦋Click HERE to visit Melissa Scholes Young’s website.
🐝Click HERE to pre-order or find ‘The Hive‘ at an Independent Book Store near you or online.
Melissa Scholes Young is the author of the novels The Hive & Flood, & editor of Grace in Darkness & Furious Gravity, two anthologies by women writers. She is a contributing editor at Fiction Writers Review, & her work has appeared in the Atlantic, Ms., Washington Post, Poets & Writers, Ploughshares, Literary Hub & elsewhere. She has been the recipient of the Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Foundation Residency Fellowship & the Center for Mark Twain Studies’ Quarry Farm Fellowship. Born & raised in Hannibal, Missouri, she is now an associate professor in Literature at American University. Follow her on Twitter: @mscholesyoungInstagram: @melissascholesyoung Facebook: facebook.com/melissascholesyoung/ Website: melissascholesyoung.com, thehivenovel.com
GIVEAWAY time! (I actually meant to post this to my blog a couple days ago, but then I ended up sick & forgot. So better late than never & you have until the end of the day to enter. Sorry, US residents only per the publisher.)
Thank you to @grandcentralpub for my gift copy of ‘This Close to Okay‘ by Leesa Cross-Smith!
Q: What did you read this weekend? I started & finished ‘Finlay Donovan is Killing It’ & really liked it, & I am this close to finishing the book I am featuring today.
A cathartic novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers: a therapist & the man she prevents from ending his life,
‘This Close to Okay‘ is a vibrant, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they needed each other most.
This book was a Dec BOTM choice & my first book by the author, although ‘So We Can Glow’ is on my TBR list. There is some heavy subject matter covered in this beautiful book: mental illness, racism, grief, & suicide; but don’t let that sway you from reading it. (Just maybe have a rom-com or comedy as a follow-up read if those subjects weigh on your emotions; ‘Finlay Donovan is Killing It’ would make a great follow-up, just saying.)
‘This Close to Okay‘ is so well written, emotional, heartfelt, intimately honest & raw, & the characters are richly drawn, complex, & unforgettable. I highly recommend this book & would love to send a copy to (2) of you! (**The following is for information purposes only. You must enter the giveaway on Instagram & you can go to the post HERE.)
To enter to win one: 1- Must be following @mom_loves_reading 2- LIKE this post. (SHARE it in your stories or feed for 5 bonus entries & TAG me.) 3- Tag some bookish pals. (Unlimited entries, up to 3 tags per comm). Giveaway runs 2/6-2/8/21, is not affiliated w/ Instagram, & is open to US residents only. Please don’t UNfollow after giveaway or you will be ineligible for all future MLR giveaways & there are a LOT.
From the award-winning Southern writer who Roxane Gay calls “a consummate storyteller” comes a cathartic novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers: a therapist and the man she prevents from ending his life.
On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing on the side of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.
Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. But what she doesn’t realize is that he’s not the only one who needs healing — and she’s not the only one with secrets.
Alternating between Tallie and Emmett’s perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge’s edge — as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with in her own life — This Close to Okay is a vibrant, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they needed each other most.
Click HERE to add ‘This Close to Okay’ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to check out my Instagram post & enter the giveaway. Click HERE to visit Leesa Cross-Smith’s website. Click HERE to find this book & any others at a local or online indie bookstore using BookStoreLink.com. Click HERE to join Book of the Month & get your first months book selection at a discount. (*’This Close to Okay’ was a Dec 2020 BOTM pick & is still available. You don’t have to get this one, however, in order to get the discount.) Click HERE to get this book (or any others) on audio from Libro.fm & support indie bookstores that way. You can also get a BOGO using my code MOMLOVESREADING.
Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of SO WE CAN GLOW, WHISKEY & RIBBONS, EVERY KISS A WAR, and the forthcoming novels THIS CLOSE TO OKAY and HALF-BLOWN ROSE from Grand Central Publishing. She is longlisted for the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize. SO WE CAN GLOW was listed as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020. WHISKEY & RIBBONS won the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Gold Medal in Literary Fiction, was longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was one of O Magazine’s 2018 Top Books of Summer. EVERY KISS A WAR was nominated for the PEN Open Book Award (2014) and was a finalist for both the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction (2012) and the Iowa Short Fiction Award (2012). Find more @ LeesaCrossSmith.com
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 Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, 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.