Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · True Crime

It’s Murderino Monday! (and this one’s a tough one to read/write about…)

It’s Murderino Monday! Thank you @stmartinspress for my gift copy of ‘The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All -American Family & a Shocking Murder’ by John Glatt (pub 7/21) ** Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!**

In The Perfect Father‘, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare….

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return.

But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The perfect mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family’s Facebook accounts was slipping–and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, sexual ambivalence, and boiling rage.

In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.

You guys, this is a really tough story to write about for obvious reasons. It’s been 2 yrs since Watts murdered his family & for several mos. after, you could still see Shannan’s IG page w/ her smiling face, her adorable little girls & her seemingly doting husband, who is truly a heinous, cheating, vile POS. I did look at her IG page & the video of 4 yr old Bella singing in her sweet voice about how wonderful her daddy is & how he is a hero still haunts me & brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Glatt compiled 18 mos of research, evidence, & interviews into this fast-paced, true story. Friends, co-workers & many family members gave interviews & insight on the young Watts family, the debt they were in [even though you would have never guessed it given their lifestyle], Chris’s quiet nature compared to Shannan’s outgoing, social media presence, the bickering parents of both C & S, & just so much more. At times I did feel that there was some victim shaming/blaming going on & making it look like “Poor Chris, he got over-shadowed by his successful wife, so he had an affair, snapped & killed his whole family”, but not necessarily by the author, more so from others.

As a parent this book became especially difficult to read once I hit Part 3. I had to take breaks every couple pages or so & just go do something mundane like wash dishes, get a drink of water, fold some laundry, etc. I’ll never begin to understand how a husband can murder his wife, but I cannot even fathom how a parent can take the lives of their children: innocent, little humans that they themselves helped to create. And even though I knew how this tragic story ended, the last chapter of the book left me w/ a pain in my heart, tears in my eyes, a veritable gut punch. My husband was home, thankfully, & I just had to hug him tightly right away, as if to sanitize the memory from my brain.

What Chris Watts did to his wife & three children (don’t forget, Shannan was pregnant w/ their son to be named Nico) is unthinkably horrific, cowardly & selfish. But the book, ‘The Perfect Father‘, is an unputdownable, chilling, & utterly riveting book that readers will never forget. I will definitely be reading more of John Glatt’s other 21 true crime books in the near future, but I’ll need a break from these sort of books for a couple weeks or so.

Click HERE to add ‘The Perfect Father‘ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find this book at a local independent bookstore.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love so others will see the post & review as well.
Click HERE to go to John Glatt’s website & read more about this book & his others.

Photo by Enrique Pastor

English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and FoundSecrets in the CellarPlaying with Fire, & many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 yrs of experience as an investigative journalist in England & America. Glatt left school at 16 & worked a variety of jobs―including tea boy & messenger―before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English newspapers, then in 1981 moved to New York, where he joined the staff for News Limited & freelanced for publications including Newsweek & the New York Post. His first book, a biography of Bill Graham, was published in 1981, & he published For I Have Sinned, his first book of true crime, in 1998. He has appeared television & radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Current Affair, BBC World, and A&E Biography. He & his wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains & London.

CrimeThriller · Fiction · Giveaway · MurderinoMonday · Thriller

Murderino Monday (Fiction style) Giveaway!

Click HERE to enter giveaway & LIKE my IG post!

Time for a fiction #MurderinoMonday GIVEAWAY!

Danger in Plain Sight‘ by Burt Weissbourd:

It took 14 yrs to construct a safe world for her & her son—& only one night for her ex to unravel it.

Celebrated Seattle restaurateur Callie James is more than a little thrown when her ex-husband, French investigative reporter Daniel Odile-Grand, shows up after 14 yrs asking for her help. Even more disturbing: as she throws him out, Daniel is deliberately hit by a car, hurled through the front window of her restaurant—broken, bloody & unconscious.

Seattle, WA Starbucks (photo courtesy of Burt Weissbourd)

He flees from the hospital & breaks into Callie’s apartment, where he passes out. Reluctantly, Callie hides him. When she gets back to her restaurant, two assassins walk in, insisting that she find Daniel for them by tonight or pay the consequences. Overwhelmed & hopelessly out of her depth, Callie hires the only man she knows who can help her: Cash Logan, her former bartender, a man she had arrested for smuggling ivory through her restaurant 2 yrs earlier, & who still hasn’t forgiven her.

The assassins blow up her restaurant. It’s Callie’s nightmare. And the worst is yet to come as she & her unlikely, incompatible ally discover that the most perilous dangers are far closer to home than they’d imagined.

Weissbourd’s past as a Hollywood producer & screenwriter shows in this character driven, page-turner of a thriller w/ a strong female protagonist in Callie James. Skillfully crafted, intricate plotting & action packed, ‘Danger in Plain Sight‘ keeps the reader engaged & wanting more!

The book takes place in Seattle, home of the original Starbucks (shown above) & books & coffee just go together, right?

(**The following contains the entry requirements for the giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post now & enter.)
To win an autographed copy of the book AND a $10 Starbucks giftcard:
1- LIKE this post.
2- Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @burtweissbourd
3- Tag some friends (Unlimited, 3 per com)
*Bonus 5 entries: Share in stories & tag me.
(US only. Giveaway not affiliated w/ IG or Starbucks. Entry can only be made on Instagram post. Begins 9/14 & ends 9/18/20. Please don’t unfollow after or you are banned from future MLR giveaways.

Click HERE to add ‘Danger in Plain Sight’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to purchase on Amazon.
Click HERE to go to my Instagram post, give it a LIKE & enter the giveaway.
Click HERE to follow Burt Weissbourd on Instagram.
Click HERE to visit Burt Weissbourd’s website.

What others are saying about ‘Danger in Plain Sight‘:

“His skill as a writer is obvious and there’s a level of polish present in these pages you don’t find with less experienced authors… Danger in Plain Sight sets the stage well for Burt Weissbourd to have an impressive run with this character and he will undoubtedly attract a growing audience with each new additional entry in the series.” — Hollywood Digest

“One of the most accomplished elements of this highly entertaining novel is the way that the action hinges on the emotional and interpersonal arc of the story rather than the plot twists themselves… it’s Callie’s relationships with the central figures, particularly Cash… that give the story its realistic and heart-stopping impact.” — Readers’ Favorite

“Weissbourd delivers a polished page-turner about terrorism, money laundering, and the price of sins rooted in avarice…Tart dialogue, explosive set pieces and a dexterous narrative style that favors velocity over exposition add to the book’s appeal…Thrillers may be a dime a dozen but memorable characters deserve a longer half-life, so here’s hoping Callie and Cash make a welcome return soon.” –BlueInk Review

“An inventive thriller whose unconventional heroine learns how to live again.” — Foreword Clarion Review

“A woman gets in touch with her inner action hero in this bracing thriller… as one character toasts, ‘Bravo, Callie James.'” — Kirkus Reviews

Burt Weissbourd is a novelist, screenwriter & producer of feature films. He was born in 1949 & graduated cum laude from Yale University, w/ honors in psychology. During his student years, he volunteered at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris & taught English to college students in Thailand. After he graduated, he wrote, directed, & produced educational films for Gilbert Altschul Productions. He began a finance program at the Northwestern University Graduate School of Business, but left to start his own film production company in Los Angeles. He managed that company from 1977 until 1986, producing films including “Ghost Story” starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., & Patricia Neal, & “Raggedy Man” starring Sissy Spacek & Sam Shepard, which The NY Times called “a movie of sweet, low-keyed charm.” In 1987, he founded an investment business, which he still runs.

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Giveaway · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · Thriller · True Crime

Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Featuring ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee’

Click HERE to go to IG post!

Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Thank you @caseycep for my gifted/autographed copy of ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud & the Last Trial of Harper Lee‘ by Casey Cep! (pub 5/7/19)

A New York Times best seller, an Amazon Best Book of May 2019, A Time mag Top 10 Best Non-Fiction book of 2019…

“Nobody recognized her. Harper Lee was well known, but not by sight, and if she hadn’t introduced herself, it’s unlikely that anyone in the courtroom would have figured out who she was.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer & the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering 5 of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from NYC to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own ‘In Cold Blood’, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research 17 yrs earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, & many more working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. 

“But to the apprehensive locals, Lee was everything Capote was not: warm, empathetic, and familiar enough that they felt their stories were safe with her. “Absolutely fantastic lady. I really liked her very much,” Harold Nye, one of the KBI agents who worked on the Clutter case, said of Lee, but of Capote he confessed, “I did not get a very good impression of that little son of a bitch.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Told in 3 parts, The Reverend (thrilling, true-crime), The Lawyer (courtroom drama) & The Writer (short bio on Lee) & equaling pure gold for true crime enthusiasts! It’s an absolutely riveting, all-consuming, well-researched, & utterly gripping story. Richly detailed & full of insight, depth & emotion, it’s just fantastic!

I have 1 hardback copy of for grabs. (**The following is for FYI purpose only. All giveaways entries must be done on the Instagram post. Click HERE to go to @mom_loves_reading on IG now.)

To enter, do the following:
*LIKE this post. (Like some others, too, while you’re here.)
*Must be following @mom_loves_reading
*Tag a couple bookish buds. (unlimited entries, up to 5 tags per comment)

BONUS entries: (5 ea)
*Share this post in your stories & tag me (You can do this daily, 5 entries ea time.)
*RE-post this post on your IG wall & tag me.

Open Internationally. If winner is outside of US, book will be shipped via Amazon or BookDepository. Giveaway begins 8/24 & ends 8/27/20 11:59pm EST. No follow-to-UNfollow or you will be excluded from all future MomLovesReading giveaways, & there are a LOT. Entry on Instagram post only. Giveaway is not affiliated w/ Instagram.

Click HERE to go to IG post!

Casey Cep is a writer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” is her first book. It was an instant New York Times, WSJ, & Indiebound bestseller. The book earned rave reviews from Michael Lewis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Roker, David Grann, and Helen Macdonald. Also ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019, NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY Time, LitHub, Vulture, Glamour, O Magazine, Town and Country, Suspense Magazine, Inside Hook. Casey is currently a staff writer at New York Magazine. You can follow Casey Cep on Twitter (@cncep), Instagram (@caseycep) or visit her website (www.caseycep.com).

Book Reviews · Fiction · MurderinoMonday · Paranormal · Thriller

Book Review for ‘The Hollow Ones’ by Guillermo Del Toro/Chuck Hogan

Click HERE to go to Instagram post.

Thank you @grandcentralpub for my gifted copy of ‘The Hollow Ones‘ by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan! (pub 8/4).

From the authors who brought you ‘The Strain‘ Trilogy comes a strange, terrifying, & darkly wondrous world of suspense, mystery, & literary horror. ‘The Hollow Ones is a chilling, hauntingly original new fable from Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro & bestselling author Chuck Hogan featuring their most fascinating character yet.

A horrific crime that defies explanation, a rookie FBI agent in uncharted territory, & an extraordinary hero for the ages: an investigation spirals out of control in this heart-pounding thriller.

Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself — it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.

Questioning her future with the FBI & her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the NY office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named Hugo Blackwood, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, & who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best & only defense against unspeakable evil.

First off, it’s pronounced ‘Gee-AIR-mo’ (Gee like GHEE butter, not like Gee wiz.) Del Toro is a well-known Hollywood film maker (click HERE for his IMDB page) & if you haven’t heard, he is bringing a remake of ‘The Witches’ (by Roald Dahl, 1983) to the big screen (Oct ’20, unless delayed). ‘The Strain‘ TV adaptation gave me nightmares, ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark‘ gave me even more nightmares, but I STILL could not wait to get my hands on this book!

The Hollow Ones‘ is a gripping suspense/thriller/mystery with some unsettling, supernatural elements. It’s a well-developed story for as short as it is & hits the ground running with it’s fast-pace. Spell-binding, creepy, suspenseful & entertaining, ‘The Hollow Ones‘ didn’t give me the sleepless nights like the above mentioned adaptations, but I enjoyed it. If you liked the Denzel Washington movie ‘Fallen‘ (1998), you will love this!

Click HERE to add ‘The Hollow Ones’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to read more about ‘The Strain’ book series.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post about this book (& others, too, please!) some LIKE love!
Click HERE to look for ‘The Hollow Ones’ & any other books at a local indie bookstore near you using BookStoreLink.
Click HERE to get ‘The Hollow Ones’ on audiobook with Libro.fm. (Use my code MOMLOVESREADING to get a 2-for-1 deal. Remember, Libro.fm supports indie bookstores with our audiobook purchases. Read more about Libro.fm HERE.

What others are saying about ‘THE HOLLOW ONES’:

“A transporting, pageturning thriller that rips open a brand new universe, filling it with suspense. Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have a dark vision to share — and they’ve created quite a duo in Hugo Blackwood and Odessa Hardwicke, a Sherlockian partnership for the ages.”―Brad Meltzer, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Escape Artist

“If one could combine the world-conjuring magic of C. S. Lewis with the dark energy of Thomas Harris, one would be at least part of the way to understanding what makes THE HOLLOW ONES so special. Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have yet another twisted masterpiece on their hands. An enduring new series combining horror, suspense, and fable.”―Stephen Chbosky, NYT bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Imaginary Friend

“A welcome gift to disciples of Lovecraft-ian fiction. Odessa Hardewick is cast in the mold of Clarice Starling. . . Inventive and macabre.”―Kirkus

“Fans of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Pendergast books will be enthralled.”―Publishers Weekly

Guillermo del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1964. He is the director of the films Cronos, Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy, Hellboy II, Pacific Rim, and Pan’s Labyrinth, which garnered enormous critical praise worldwide and won three Academy Awards, and The Shape of the Water, which won the 2018 Oscar Award for Best Picture.

Chuck Hogan is the author of several acclaimed novels, including Devils in Exile and Prince of Thieves, which won the 2005 Hammett Award, was named one of the ten best novels of the year by Stephen King, and was the basis of the motion picture The Town.

Blog Tour · MurderinoMonday

Book Tour for “Last Girl Standing” by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

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Murderino Monday book time!

Thank you @kensingtonbooks & @tlcbooktours for including MomLovesReading on the online book tour for “Last Girl Standing” by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush! This book will be available next Tues, May 26th!

The best of friends . . .
In the Portland suburb of West Knoll, Delta & her friends were the pretty, popular elite of the high school. That was fifteen years & a whole lifetime ago. Even then, backstabbing & betrayal erupted among the women in the group, a trio of which are now gathered around a hospital bed. And most of it revolved around the man lying close to death before them . . .

Until the day . . .
To Delta, it feels as if a nightmare unfolds every time they get together. It started at their senior year graduation party when a group of daredevils led by Tanner slipped under the safety rope & tumbled into the dangerous, fast-flowing river. One of their clique died following his lead. It all seemed spontaneous at the time. A thoughtless deed. But since then, there have been more deaths, more “accidents.” And the question hovers, unspoken: who’s next?

They die . . .
As the body count rises, Detective Chris McCrae, one of Delta’s classmates & a long ago friend of Tanner’s, realizes that stopping the terror means digging deep into the past. Hidden beneath the conflicting stories, gossip, & scandalous half-truths are secrets that someone will kill again & again to protect–until there is no one left to tell . . .

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list

Last Girl Standing” is co-written by sisters, Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush, who also wrote the Colony book series together. Both authors have many books under their proverbial belt.

If you like suspense/mystery/thrillers that are fast-paced, twisty, well-written, with interesting characters, laced with romance & keeps you guessing until the end, then this one is for you! Add it to your TBR list or pre-order it today! Use BookStoreLink to find this book & others at a local indie bookstore. Many also ship to your home or have curbside pick-up available. Let’s support the indie stores & help them stay afloat & keep their beautiful brick-n-mortar stores in business!

Also, today is the last day to enter to win 1 of 3 sets of beautiful Elin Hilderbrand beach reads on my Instagram page. Click HERE to go to that post now. Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!