Audiobooks · Book Reviews · Comedy · LibroFm · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Audiobook Love and book review of ‘Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema’ by Lindy West

Are you a fan of audiobooks? I am! I listen to almost a book a day most weeks! Did you know you can get them online & support your local bookstore, too? If you haven’t tried one yet, start w/ a memoir or an essay collection read by the author, such as this one!

Thank you @librofm & @hachetteaudio for my gift audio copy of ‘Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema‘ by the awesome Lindy West! (pub date 10/20) Click HERE to give my Instagram post a LIKE!

NYTimes opinion writer & bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle’s alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film w/ brutal honesty & giddy irreverence. In ‘Sh*t, Actually’, Lindy West returns to those roots, re-examining beloved & iconic movies from the past 40 yrs w/ an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is ‘Twilight’ the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in ‘The Lion King’ trust Mufasa–who is a lion–to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after ‘The Fugitive’ achieved perfection? And, my God, why don’t any of the women in ‘Love, Actually’ ever freaking talk?!

From ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’, & ‘Bad Boys II’, to ‘Face/Off’, ‘Top Gun’, & ‘The Notebook’, West combines her razor-sharp wit & trademark humor w/ a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones–the stories we’ve long been telling ourselves about who we are.

At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, ‘Sh*t, Actually’ reminds us to pause & ask, “How does this movie hold up?”, all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love w/o ever letting them or ourselves off the hook. It’s is a love letter & a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us & the ones that ruined us. More often than not, West finds, they’re one & the same.

I laughed so hard listening to this book & completely agreed w/ most of Lindy’s cinematic observations. (Lindy, please write a book dissecting TV shows now! I will be more than happy to provide some shows to rip on, like ‘Friends’ & ‘King of Queens’.) I have never seen ‘Love, Actually’, but I have seen all of the other movies referenced in this book & had many of the same observations. In my home, breaking down movies & their plot holes is one of our favorite things to do as a family! I seriously loved this book & I think it is definitely one of those best enjoyed on audiobook where you can listen to Lindy & all of her beautiful snarkiness.

Libro.fm is pretty much just like “the other” audiobook app/subscription service out there, but there’s one HUGE difference: Libro.fm supports indie bookstores from our purchases. No lining the pockets of a bajillionaire. Bookstores have been struggling to survive for some time due to the convenience of the internet & right now, many are in serious danger of flatlining in 2021 (or sooner) due to the pandemic. I can’t imagine my community not having access to physical bookstores in the future. I LOVE spending an hour or two picking out books, holding them, smelling them, buying them, & taking them home w/ me right then. And if it means spending a couple extra $$’s to keep them there so I CAN do that, it is 100% worth it!

Readers, please support your local bookstores this holiday season & always by buying books, gift cards and/or Libro.fm memberships for your friends/family/self! Many of the indie stores even have online store fronts, too! Go to the Libro.fm website to learn more & use my code MOMLOVESREADING for a BOGOF.

Click HERE to go to Libro.fm & ‘Sh*t, Actually’.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love, (actually).😉
Click HERE to add ‘Sh*t, Actually’ to your Goodreads lists.

Lindy West is a Seattle-based writer, editor, & performer whose work focuses on pop culture, social justice, humor, & body image. She’s currently a culture writer for GQ magazine & GQ.com & a weekly columnist at The Guardian, as well as the founder & editor of I Believe You/It’s Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens. In 2015 she wrote & recorded a story for This American Life about confronting an Internet troll who impersonated her dead father. She also was listed as “Internet’s Most Fascinating of 2015” by Cosmopolitan.com, & helped launch the viral #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag in defense of women’s reproductive rights.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Giveaway · Nonfiction · Paranormal

Book Tour and GIVEAWAY of ‘Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation into the Demons, Exorcism and Ghosts’

Book Tour GIVEAWAY! Thank you @thomasnelson @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism & Ghosts’ by Billy Hallowell! (pub 9/8)

Q: (*said in a GhostFace from ‘Scream’ voice) “What’s your favorite scary movie? (***see end of blog post for my answer.)

from IMGflip

This is best time of year to read thrillers & watch scary movies, yes, but here’s a non-fiction book about our fascination w/ the Other Side.

Join investigative reporter Billy Hallowell (yes, his name is SO close to the word HALLOWEEN! Cool coincidence, eh?) as he delves into the strange phenomena of supernatural activity. Themes of demonic possession, exorcism, & ghosts have overtaken Hollywood, with countless films & TV shows delving into the age-old struggle against evil. But the question is why?

Even with so much focus on the topic, there seems to be very little public knowledge & discussion about the theology & real-life claims surrounding demons. Quite often, many people remain silent about their experiences or resort to quietly whispering about what they’ve seen, heard, or felt for fear of being labeled as crazy. The truth is, even pastors, priests, & clergy who have observed firsthand accounts of possession & deliverance can succumb to the strange & terrifying effects of intense spiritual warfare.

For people of faith, Playing with Fire’ addresses these core questions:

Are demons active today?
If they do indeed exist, what are they? Fallen angels? Nephilim?
Can demons inhabit human beings?
According to the Bible, can people die & remain behind as “ghosts”?

Playing with Fire’ explores the theological underpinnings surrounding the supernatural. Relying on firsthand accounts, newspaper reports, & Christian experts, Hallowell takes readers through the various views & perspectives surrounding supernatural activity.

This faith-based book looks at society’s obsession w/ demons, exorcisms & ghosts & why we either believe or don’t believe in them. Hallowell lays it all out for us w/ facts vs. fiction in an easy to read, insightful, thought-provoking, Christian perspective way.

I would love to have a copy sent to one of you! Please head to Instagram (👈click) to enter officially then come back here to the blog post to comment & you will get 5 bonus entries in the giveaway. And don’t forget to enter on Facebook (must be following the account), Twitter (must be following the account).

To enter:

1-LIKE this post.

2-Must be following @mom_loves_reading

3-Tag some friends. Unlimited (up to 3 per com)

Bonus 5 entries for Sharing to your IG board or Stories (tag me!) Bonus entries on Facebook, Twitter & my blog, too!

US res only. Giveway ends 10/15/20 & is not affiliated w/ Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Click HERE to add ‘Playing with Fire’ to your Goodreads lists.

Click HERE to go to my Instagram post.

(Oh, & my favorite scary movie is ‘The Descent’… I am claustrophobic & dislike the dark & creepy creatures very much, so this movie terrified me.)

About the author: Billy Hallowell has been working in journalism and media for more than two decades. His writings, interviews, and social commentary have appeared in Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite and FoxNews.com, among other outlets. He has served as the faith and culture editor of TheBlaze, senior editor of Faithwire, and he has written four books. Hallowell has a BA in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York, and an MS in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.

#playingwithfire #nonfiction #christian #spookyseason #supernatural #exorcism #demonicpossession #newreleases #spookybooks #tlcbooktours #booktours #blogtour #bookstagram #bookshelf #mustreads #thomasnelson #billyhallowell #halloweenreading #fallreading #momlovesreading #fall2020 #tbrlist #giveaway #bookgiveaways #bookishgiveaways #freebooks #ghoststories

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Book Tour and Review of ‘Breathe Again: Choosing to Believe There’s More When Life Has Left You Broken’ by Stacy Henagan

Click HERE to go to IG post & give it a LIKE.

Thank you @thomasnelson & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Breathe Again: Choosing to Believe There’s More When Life Has Left You Broken‘ by Stacy Henagan! (pub 9/22)

What Do You Do When It Seems God Hasn’t Come Through for You?

When the miracle-working God whom Pastor Stacy Henagan loved and served did not answer the prayers on behalf of her terminally ill one-year-old daughter as expected, she was left crushed with grief and struggling to understand.

How could a loving God allow this to happen?

What do you do when it seems God has let you down?

Is God trustworthy?

Rather than choosing to remain in overwhelming pain and doubt, Stacy emerged with a much greater belief that God is good and trustworthy, even when we don’t think His plans make sense.

Breathe Again‘ is a honest, deeply moving & raw reflection on experiencing the devastating sense of loss, grief & pain of losing a child to a terminal illness. When we are feeling lost & broken, vulnerable & grief stricken, sometimes letting go of someone we love & giving in to our faith in something greater can be what helps us to get through life’s worst trials & tribulations we experience as human beings.

As a parent of five, Stacy’s story touched my heart & soul & nearly everyone who reads this book will find a way to relate to it in one way or another. You don’t have to be a parent or even a religious person to be profoundly touched by this heart-breaking, yet redeeming, story. It’s beautiful, well-written, genuine & quite thought-provoking.

Click HERE to add ‘Breathe Again’ to your Goodreads lists.

Click HERE to order the book from Thomas Nelson publishing.

Click HERE to visit Stacy Henagan on Instagram.

Click HERE to visit my post on Instagram & give a LIKE (please & thank you!)

About the author:

Stacy Henagan is copastor of Keypoint Church in northwest Arkansas, a multicampus church she founded with her husband, Casey. Stacy also hosts an annual women’s conference and speaks at other events in the United States and overseas. Stacy and Casey have four children: Haven, who is waiting for them in heaven, and Holland, Hayes, and Hudson.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Nonfiction

Book Tour kick off for ‘Clouds: A Memoir’ by Laura Sobiech featuring the Disney+ movie cover

Thank You @thomasnelson & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Clouds: A Memoir‘ by Laura Sobiech & for letting me kick off the TLC Book Tour of this beautiful book! (Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & show it some love & support with a LIKE, maybe a Share or a Save.)

Originally published as ‘Fly a Little Higher in 2014 & now updated & revised to coincide with the film release of ‘Clouds’ (Disney+), Laura Sobiech tells the amazing, true story behind the song & the movie.

“Okay, Lord, you can have him. But if he must die, I want it to be for something big. I want someone’s life to be changed forever.” This is what Laura Sobiech prayed when she found out her 17-year-old son had only one year to live. With this desperate prayer, she released her son to God’s will.

At that point, Zach Sobiech was just another teenager battling cancer. When his mother told him to think about writing goodbye letters to family & friends, he decided instead to write songs. One of them, “Clouds,” captured hearts & changed lives, making him an international sensation.

(Click HERE to see Zach Sobiech sing ‘Clouds‘)

This story is a testament to what can happen when you live as if each day might be your last. It’s a story about the human spirit. It shows how God used a dying boy from a small town in Minnesota to touch the hearts of millions—including top executives in the entertainment industry, major music artists, news anchors, talk show hosts, actors, priests & pastors, & schoolchildren across the globe. And above all, it’s an example of the amazing things that happen when someone shares the most precious thing he has—himself.

“I’m not a musician; I’m just a filmmaker, and my prayer is that you get an opportunity—both through the reading of this beautiful book and the watching of our film based on it—to experience what I will fail to put into words: the magic and inspiration of Zachary David Sobiech.”

—Justin Baldoni, filmmaker and director of Clouds

The pain of losing a child is one I hope to never experience 1st hand, but last year my 2 oldest sons experienced the loss of their younger brother, S.W. (my ex-husbands son) to cancer. He was 20 & had been fighting cancer since he was 19. One year, endless treatments & hospitals, & then he was gone…& it all started w/ a backache. Much like Zach Sobiech, S.W. touched the hearts of everyone he encountered & was a remarkable human being.

Clouds‘ is so gripping, it left me absolutely breathless! I challenge anyone to read this book & not shed a single tear, sad ones or happy ones, or to feel their hearts fill w/ positivity & hopefulness as they read about the amazing young man who was Zach Sobiech. The courage & grace that he demonstrated while knowing he had only a year of his very young life left to live was just astounding, & the song he wrote, ‘Clouds‘, has been stuck in my head on repeat since I first heard it. The Disney+ adaptation comes out on 10/16, but I encourage you to read this absolutely moving, deeply compelling, inspiring & powerful memoir written by Zach’s mother. I seriously can’t recommend it enough!

Click HERE to visit the Fly A Little Higher website & read a chapter of the book.
Click HERE to add ‘Clouds’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to visit the Thomas Nelson publishing page for ‘Clouds’, listen to a sample of the audiobook. There are also links for ordering the book. The original version is already available & the new, updated, Disney+ cover version ‘Clouds’ publishes on 10/13.
Click HERE to visit my Instagram page & give this post a LIKE there to show the publisher, author (& ME) your support.
Click HERE to go to the hashtag #Clouds on Instagram & see pics from the movie & it’s actors.
Click HERE to see a trailer of the upcoming movie from Disney+.

In 2009 Laura Sobiech was living a very average life. She was married to her husband, Rob, for 20 yrs, had 4 children & was working 2 part-time jobs & volunteering as a firefighter/EMT at her local fire department.
Then, on a gloomy day in Nov 2009, everything changed. Her 14-yr-old son, Zach, was diagnosed w/ osteosarcoma, a rare form of pediatric bone cancer. As Zach battled cancer, Laura blogged about it on their Caring Bridge website.
In May 2012 Zach learned he had only a year to live &, as a way to say “goodbye” to his family & friends, he wrote a beautiful song called “Clouds.” The song touched not only family & friends, but through the help of a team of people who believed in Zach’s music & message, it reached millions of people across the globe.
In May 2013 a documentary called ‘My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech’ was released on the Soul Pancake YouTube channel. The video went viral & reached over 12.3 million people within months of it’s release. And the numbers continue to grow. The week of Zach’s death, on May 20, 2013, his song reached #1 on iTunes & made it’s way up Billboard’s Top 100 chart, debuting at #26, & topping the Rock Digital Downloads at #1.
Laura’s memoir, ‘Fly A Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way’, is about her family’s amazing, joyful & heartbreaking journey with Zach through cancer & his incredible last year of life.
Learn more about Laura, Zach and the book at flyalittlehigher.com. #flyhigher

(I dedicate this blog post to Zach Sobiech’s family & also to my son’s brother, S.W….rest peacefully in Heaven…

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.