After spending the better part of August in an autoimmune flare-up & chronic pain inflammation, what better book to feature today than Mona Awad’s latest release, ‘All’s Well‘, published on 8/3! Thank you @simonandschuster for my gift copy!
I’ve barely been on the ‘gram for the last wk due to my flare-up & lack of proper sleep due to my pain has had me in a brain fog so thick, I can barely think straight. I take some meds, but nothing like the woman portrayed in this book. (*For the sake of privacy, I prefer not to go into specifics regarding meds or my exact autoimmunes.)
From the critically acclaimed author of ‘Bunny’ comes a darkly funny novel about a theater professor suffering from chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly & miraculously recovers.
Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her w/ excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, & a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, & cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.
That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past & a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, & the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.
With prose Margaret Atwood has described as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged…genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet.
‘All’s Well’ is the story of a woman at her breaking point & a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness & believe female pain. This unique story is about Miranda’s wavering mental health & grip on reality amid her battle w/ her chronic pain & the way invisible afflictions are perceived by peers.
‘All’s Well‘ is like following Miranda into the rabbit hole of pain meds, often chased w/ alcohol, as she alienates herself from friends & family as they grow tired of her moodiness due to her pain & meds. Is her inner monologue a descent into madness? This is a fiercely imaginative, deeply satisfying, intriguing, trippy novel that is also somewhat relatable at times, & also has a really cool cover. A solid, well-written novel!
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Mona Awad was born in Montreal & has lived in the US since 2009. Her debut novel, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL (Penguin Books, 2016), won the Amazon Best First Novel Award & was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. Her second novel, BUNNY (Viking, 2019), was a finalist for a GoodReads Choice Award for Best Horror, the New England Book Award & the Massachusetts Book Award. It won the Ladies of Horror Fiction Best Novel Award. Her latest novel, ALL’S WELL, released with Simon & Schuster on August 3rd, 2021. She earned an MFA in fiction from Brown University & an MScR in English from the University of Edinburgh where her dissertation was on fear in the fairy tale. In 2018, she completed a Ph.D. in Creative Writing & English literature at the University of Denver. She currently lives in Boston.
📕I didn’t like history back when I was in school, but having recently enjoyed some very well-written historical fiction novels such as today’s feature (& of course, the musical ‘Hamilton’⭐️), I now really dig a little travel back in time thanks to some very talented author’s writing skills! (I totally would have loved history if they would have taught it in musical fashion like ‘Hamilton’…just saying.😉)
📘Thank you @blackstonepublishing for my gift copy of ‘In All Good Faith‘ by Liza Taylor Nash! This novel continues the story of May Marshall, the captivating protagonist of ‘Etiquette for Runaways‘ (released 8/18/20) & is a stand-alone sequel, meaning that you can read it w/o having read the first book; however, I strongly recommend that one as well. Both books are incredibly fascinating & so are the characters!
‘In All Good Faith‘: In the summer of 1932, Americans came to realize that the financial crash of 1929 was only the beginning of hard times. May Marshall has returned from Paris to settle at her family home in rural Keswick, VA. She struggles to keep her family farm & market afloat through the economic downturn. May finds herself juggling her marriage w/ a tempting opportunity to revamp the family business to adapt to changing times.
In a cold-water West End Boston tenement the fractured Sykes family scrapes by on an itinerant mechanic’s wages & home sewing. Having recently lost her mother, 16-yr-old Dorrit Sykes questions the religious doctrine she was raised in. Dorrit is reclusive, held back by the anxiety attacks that have plagued her since childhood. Attempting to understand what limits her, she seeks inspiration in Nancy Drew mysteries & finds solace at the Boston Public Library, writing fairy stories for children. The library holds answers to both Dorrit’s exploration of faith & her quest to understand & manage her anxiety.
When Dorrit accompanies her father to Washington, DC, in the summer of 1932 to camp out & march w/ 20,000 veterans intending to petition President Hoover for early payment of war bonuses, she begins an odyssey that will both traumatize & strengthen her. Along the way she redefines her faith, learning both self-sufficiency & how to accept help.
Dorrit & May’s lives intersect, & their fates will intertwine in ways that neither could have imagined or expected. Set against a backdrop of true historical events, ‘In All Good Faith‘ tells a story of two women’s unlikely success during the Great Depression.
📖This book immerses you in the atmosphere of another era as it tells the poignant, powerful, & persevering story of two incredible women. Liza Taylor Nash really did her research & it shows in her amazing writing. ‘In All Good Faith‘ is available 8/10 & ‘Etiquette for Runaways‘ is available in hardback now & paperback 8/18.
*Click any of the highlighted titles above to add either book to your Goodreads lists.
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Click HERE to find either book at a local or online indie bookstore using BookstoreLink.
Liza Nash Taylor was a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow and received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts the same year. She was the 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine; Deep South, and others. ‘Etiquette for Runaways’ was her first novel & her second, & latest novel that releases on 8/10/21, is ‘In All Good Faith’. A native Virginian, she lives in Keswick with her husband and dogs, in an old farmhouse which serves as a setting for her novels.
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.)
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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