Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Giveaway · LiteraryFiction · OwnVoices · WomensFiction

Last day to enter GIVEAWAY! ‘This Close to Okay’ by Leesa Cross-Smith

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.

About the book, ‘This Close to Okay‘:

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

Audiobooks · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Giveaway · LiteraryFiction · OwnVoices

Giveaway time! Win a copy of new release and NY Times bestseller, ‘Black Buck’!

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 EntrepreneurLit HubCatapultThe RumpusMedium, 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. 

Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · OwnVoices · Thriller

Happy Belated Pub Day and Book Review of: ‘When No One is Watching’ by Alyssa Cole

Click HERE to give my IG post a LIKE!

Happy Belated Pub Day & Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy [partner] of ‘When No One is Watching‘ by Alyssa Cole! (pub 9/1)

Q: What was the last thriller you read that taught you about something you otherwise didn’t know much about?

‘Rear Window’ meets ‘Get Out’ in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed & NY Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born & raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, & the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past & present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour & finds an unlikely & unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney & Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia & fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, & the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney & Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

Cole has pivoted from writing romance novels to bring us one heck of an amazing suspense/thriller that is so much more than just an entertaining read. The first line of the book says it all: “History is f–king wild.”

Gentrification: the process of renovating or improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. (Problem w/ this is property values increase thereby increasing cost of living in that area, while affordable housing decreases & lower income residents are displaced.)

Unflinchingly well-crafted w/ knowledge & insight, Cole gives readers a much needed history lesson on the aftermath of this process, having lived in neighborhoods like this in the past. With a keen sense of atmosphere, richly drawn narrative & characters, ‘When No One is Watching‘ is clever, riveting, eye-opening & twisty. Highly recommend!

Click HERE to add this book to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Alyssa Cole on Instagram.
Click HERE to visit ME on Instagram & give this post a LIKE.

Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, & sci-fi romance. Her romantic comedy A PRINCESS IN THEORY is a NY Times notable book for 2018. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION was the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, & also the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award Book of the Year. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, & others, & her books have received critical acclaim from The NY Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, & various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can generally be found watching anime w/ her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.

Audiobooks · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Giveaway · HistoricalFiction · LibroFm · OwnVoices · WomensFiction

Happy Independent Book Store Day and a GIVEAWAY!

Click HERE to go to IG post! (Enter, LIKE, & Share!)

Happy Independent Book Store Day!! & INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY time! (Giveaway is on Instagram only, click HERE for post.) Thank you to @librofm for sponsoring it! Click here for more information on the TODAY ONLY specials Libro.fm has for Indie Book Store Day! They are some great deals!)

3 lucky winners will each receive an audiobook copy of ‘The Vanishing Half‘ by Brit Bennett, which is currently the #1 ranked audiobook on Libro.fm & the NYT, & #3 on the NYTimes hardback best seller list!

I absolutely LOVED Bennett’s novel, ‘The Mothers’ & I was so excited for the 6/2/20 release of ‘The Vanishing Half‘. Adding to my excitement, the book was a June pick for Book of the Month members, so I picked it! My anticipation got the better of me & I ended up listening to the audio book on my Libro.fm app! It is FANTASTIC! (Both books are still available on BOTM, too! Click HERE to join BOTM & get a great deal on your first month! BOTM is U.S. only at this time unfortunately)

A slow-burning, endearingly poignant piece of literary/historical fiction, this book will give you all the feels! You will love most people in the book, too, even though, like everyone on the planet, they have all made their share of mistakes, poor choices, & live w/ some sort of regret. Bennett’s story telling ability is exceptional & not surprisingly, there was a bidding war on the film rights, w/ HBO coming out on top & Bennett earning a 7-figure payday!

Those of you that are fans of audiobooks can concur w/ me when I say:

1- They 100% count when it comes to books you have ‘read’, having enjoyed them w/ your ears instead of your eyes, but the same part of your brain.

2- You can do SO much more while listening to an audiobook vs. a physical book. (IE: chores, shopping, driving, showering, exercising, etc.)

3- Audiobook narrators really bring a cinematic & lifelike feel to a book.

Libro.fm audiobooks are yours 4ever! You download the book you are listening to on your device, so no need to use wifi or precious data when out & about, then delete the file from device when done, but it stays in your Libro.fm acct forevs! Libro.fm supports indie bookstores w/ our audiobook purchases/subscription (unlike that ‘other’ audio company owned by a bajillionaire). The Libro.fm app is FREE, so you don’t pay a dime to enter this giveaway or be a winner! You can also use my code MOMLOVESREADING to get a 2-for-1 deal! (goto Libro.fm for more info).

(**The following is for FYI purpose only. Giveaway is on Instagram only & you must enter there. Click HERE to go to that post.)
To enter to win an audiobook copy of ‘The Vanishing Half‘, do the following:

1- LIKE this post. (like some others while your here just to be nice!)

2- Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @librofm

3- Tag some bookish pals. (unlimited, only 3 per com)

Bonus-5 entries
4- Share post to your IG stories or feed & tag @mom_loves_reading (can do daily).

Giveaway is open internationally, begins 8/29 & ends 8/31/20 11:59pm EST. Giveaway not affiliated w/ Instagram. Unfollowing MomLovesReading after will get you banned from future MLR giveaways & there are a LOT.

TODAY ONLY

Pre-order in print, get an audiobook for free! Click HERE for details!

When you pre-order these print books from your chosen Indie Book Store today, you’ll either receive the audiobook version or a bestselling audiobook from the author, courtesy of Libro.fm! Just email hello@libro.fm with your receipt from 8/29 (a picture of your physical receipt or the email purchase confirmation), and we’ll send you an email with a link to your free audiobook, which you can keep for yourself or gift to a friend!

Get another of the author’s bestselling audiobooks for free:

Receipts must include a purchase date of August 29th, 2020. There is no limit on the number of print books purchased and free audiobooks collected. You will receive the link to your free audiobook within 24 hours of emailing hello@libro.fm. Please note that upcoming audiobook releases (The Last Story of Mina LeeHis Only Wife, and The Awkward Black Man) will not appear in your library until the listed pub date.

The deadline to submit your receipt is Monday, August 31st, 2020.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Fiction · OwnVoices

Book Tour and Review of: ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

Click HERE to give my IG post some LIKE love!

Thank you @bookclubbish #parkrowbooks (partner) for my gifted copy of ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ by Nancy Jooyoun Kim & for inviting me on the #Bookstagram Tour! (book release date 9/1)

A profoundly moving & unconventional mother-daughter saga, ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee illustrates the devastating realities of being an immigrant in America.

Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, & finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan & an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises & perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.

Told through the intimate lens of a mother & daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ is a powerful & exquisitely woven debut novel that explores identity, family, secrets, & what it truly means to belong.

Told in alternating POV’s (the past & present, Mina & Margot), this is a story that will make a home in your heart for years to come. This book would make an excellent book club choice, too! There are just so many points of discussion in this gorgeous, debut novel.

The Last Story of Mina Lee‘ is a gripping, poignant, & often heartbreaking story about a complex mother-daughter relationship: an immigrant parent’s sacrifices & the mystery surrounding her life & her death, & the daughter who longs to reconnect with & understand her, & who now must do so by unraveling the enigma of her mother’s past. I loved learning more about Korean culture as well in this well-written, #ownvoice novel.

Click HERE to add ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Nancy Jooyoun Kim on Instagram.
Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & show it some LIKE love!

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a graduate of UCLA & the University of Washington, Seattle. Her essays & short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, NPR/PRI’s Selected Shorts, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, The Offing, & elsewhere.

Her debut novel, ‘THE LAST STORY OF MINA LEE’, is forthcoming from Park Row Books/HarperCollins on September 1, 2020.