Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000’s: An Oral History” by Andy Greene

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The untold stories behind The Office, one of the most iconic television shows of the twenty-first century, told by its creators, writers, and actors.

Copyright NBC Studios

When did you last hang out with Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael, and the rest of Dunder Mifflin? It might have been back in 2013, when the series finale aired . . . or it might have been last night, when you watched three episodes in a row. But either way, fifteen years after the show first aired, it’s more popular than ever, and fans have only one problem–what to watch, or read, next.

Copyright NBC Studios

Fortunately, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has that answer. In his brand-new oral history, “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s“, Greene will take readers behind the scenes of their favorite moments and characters. Greene gives us the true inside story behind the entire show, from its origins on the BBC through its impressive nine-season run in America, with in-depth research and exclusive interviews. Fans will get the inside scoop on key episodes from “The Dundies” to “Threat Level Midnight” and “Goodbye, Michael,” including behind-the-scenes details like the battle to keep it on the air when NBC wanted to pull the plug after just six episodes and the failed attempt to bring in James Gandolfini as the new boss after Steve Carell left, spotlighting the incredible, genre-redefining show created by the family-like team, who together took a quirky British import with dicey prospects and turned it into a primetime giant with true historical and cultural significance.

Copyright NBC Studios

Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.

Copyright NBC Studios

We LOVE “The Office” at my house, & are constantly quoting the show! It’s so freaking awesome! (That’s what she said!) I loved going behind the scenes with the actors & writers & reading about some of my fave episodes (Hello, “Dinner Party”!) The book is written in interview form, it’s insightful, fun, & fans will LOVE it!

Even though I was gifted an ARC of the book, I plan to buy the hardback when it comes out (which is TODAY!) This will make an AWESOME gift for fans as well! And if you are a fan of podcasts, be sure to check out Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey’s podcast “Office Ladies” where they discuss each episode starting with the pilot. It’s as amazing as the show itself!

Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey (BFF’s!) & new
pod-casters

Be sure to check with your local indie bookstores first & see if they have the book or can get it for you. We need to support the indie stores now more than ever! Use BookstoreLink.com to find this and other books at indie bookstores near you (click HERE.) And as always…Stay safe, stay home, stay sane!

Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Return” by Rachel Harrison

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[Due to accidentally NOT hitting the publish button yesterday on the previous review post (“The New Girl Code”), subscribers will get TWO emails today. Hope you don’t mind! Live & learn!😉]

Thank you so much @Berkleypub (partner) for my gifted copy of “The Return” by Rachel Harrison (pub date 3/24)!

A group of friends reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance in this edgy & haunting debut.

Julie is missing, & no one believes she will ever return—except Elise. Elise knows Julie better than anyone, & feels it in her bones that her best friend is out there & that one day Julie will come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her.

Along with Molly & Mae, their two close friends from college, the women decide to reunite at a remote inn. But the second Elise sees Julie, she knows something is wrong—she’s emaciated, with sallow skin & odd appetites. And as the weekend unfurls, it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who came back. But then who—or what—is she?

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Well, where to begin, since I don’t want to inadvertently give away any spoilers. This book is best to go into without reading too many reviews since it’s one of those that some people love & some people…not so much.

The book starts out pretty slow, but does pick up eventually, but the chapters were a bit too long for me. The characters often felt contrived & I didn’t really care about any of them, except I did like Mae for the most part. I loved that the majority of the setting was in a hotel, which gave that unsettling vibe like “The Shining”.

“The Return” is creepy, edgy, unexpected & disturbing, with a fair amount of violence & paranormal aspects. (Think “Mean Girls” meets “Jennifer’s Body”) It’s a thriller/horror novel, that’s scary & funny like any teen-scream movie these days, & it will have you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, & peaking over your shoulders while reading it. An overall fast read!

For a debut novel I thought it was well-written & it entertained the bajeebies out of me! I will definitely read more from Harrison in the future! Look for this book tomorrow, 3/24 & don’t forget to support your local, indie bookstores…they need our support now more than ever! Click HERE to go to BookStoreLink.com to find one near you! Many will ship or deliver to you!

Reminder: Today is the last day to enter my current Instagram 3-Winner GIVEAWAY sponsored by Flatiron Publishing! Click HERE to go to that post! Another fresh giveaway coming SOON!

And as always, Wash your hands, stay safe, stay home, and [try to] stay sane! 😊

About ME · Book Reviews · Giveaway

(3) Winner Giveaway on Instagram Starts TODAY!

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Time for a GIVEAWAY! (3 winners!) Thank you @Flatiron_books for my free copy of “It Sounded Better in My Head” & for sponsoring this amazing giveaway!
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From debut author Nina Kenwood comes a tender, funny, & compulsively readable novel about first love & its confusions, & all of the awkwardness of teen romance.
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When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach & Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed & decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, & meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, & nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along & shakes things up even further.
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“It Sounded Better in My Head” is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” & “Emergency Contact”. (Book pub date 4/7)
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“My So-Called Life” meets “Awkward”, this book will instantly transport you back to all that teenage insecurity & vulnerability as you get to know Natalie. This book is charming, relatable, tender & deals with all those woe’s that are often quite traumatic for teens: bad acne, puberty, self-worth, hormonal changes, teen-love, etc. I enjoyed the book & here’s your chance to as well!
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Three winners will receive an advance copy of “It Sounded Better in My Head” from my pals at Flatiron!
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To enter (must do the following): (**Click HERE to head to the giveaway post on Instagram.)
1. Like this post.
2. Must be following @mom_loves_reading AND @flatiron_books
3. Tag 2 friends in comments. (Up to 10x, only 2 per comment)
4. Must live in U.S.
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Bonus entry:
*Share to your stories & tag @mom_loves_reading AND @flatiron_books
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Giveaway begins 3/20/20 & ends 3/23 at 11:59pm EST. Giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram. No giveaway accounts. No unfollowing after giveaway or you will be banned from all future @mom_loves_reading giveaways (& there are a LOT!)

Click HERE to add to your Goodreads list

Remember, you can only enter the giveaway on my Instagram page so be sure to head there. You can get there by clicking HERE.

How is everyone doing with self-isolation and social distancing? I have been doing the home school thing with my kids all week. They are autistic, identical twins and on an IEP at school, so they are missing out on their therapies and school routines, but I have been making a hour by hour schedule for them daily, including Ipad breaks, snack time, meal time, etc. and it has been working! Today they stopped what they were doing, turned TV & Ipads off & sat down at the kitchen table all ready for their “teacher” to get “class” started. I was so impressed!

I bought a bunch of Brain Quest work books from the local book store yesterday as supplemental learning material for our home school learning. The pages in those books are so much more colorful & the instructions are very clear. I highly recommend them!

Home Schooling: Week 1 in the books!

And I am still hunting for toilet paper daily, so if anyone comes across any websites where I can order some, please let me know. I have tried Walmart, Target, Sams, & a few other sites & NADA! I just know someone has a garage full of toilet paper & it’s sad & ridiculous. God bless all those health care, grocery store, & toilet paper factory workers out there! May we all remember them & the sacrifices they are making to keep all of us safe & fed! Stay safe out there people, wash your hands & have a great Friday!

Book Reviews

Book Review: “All Your Twisted Secrets” by Diana Urban

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to go to Instagram post


📖Thank you @dianaurban for my gifted, autographed copy of your newly released YA thriller, ‘All Your Twisted Secrets’!
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💉A thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like ‘One of Us Is Lying’ and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, that will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.
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🍽“Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.”
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💉What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, & music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, & a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill…or else everyone dies.
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💣Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates & herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something.
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⏰And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, & fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
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💉First off, “confusion turns into fear, & fear morphs into panic”…that about sums up the state of our nation lately, am I right? Moving on…
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💣With a pitch-perfect plot & well written characters, this book will have you guessing until the twisted, shocking ending! This is one pressure-cooker of a debut novel that practically turned me into a nail biter! Compelling, captivating, & utterly satisfying, this is a helluva debut novel! Kudo’s to you @dianaurban!!
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📖”All Your Twisted Secrets” is available now everywhere books are sold, but PLEASE check with your local, independent bookstores first to see if they have it or can get it for you. Many are even doing curbside service or home delivery & with the economy in decline due to Co-Vid, if you’re going to buy a book, support indie sellers. You can use BookStoreLink to look up the book(s) you want and find it at local indie bookstores or order it from one that has that option. They need us readers right now more than ever! (Amazon is doing just fine right now…)
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💉PS: The syringe in photo is real! (empty B12 syringe refilled w/ cherry juice!😉)

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list!
Book Reviews

Happy St Patrick’s Day Pub Day!!

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Happy St Patrick’s Pub Day to this stack of beautiful (virus-free!) books!

Whew! What a week it has been, am I right? I’ve said it once & I’ll say it again…Thank God for my own personal library of hundreds of books & also my LOVE of audio books! With two kids home from school for who knows how long at this point, this mama is going to need her mental escape & books is a big part of that!

This weeks pub stack includes a few books I have already introduced you to recently, “Darling Rose Gold” (fantastic!), “The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness” (darkly funny & insightful), & “Little Wonders” (relatable & fun!). (*Click on the titles to go to the Instagram reviews or scroll through my recent blog posts.)

The other newly published books that I have are:

All Your Twisted Secrets” by the ever adorable Diana Urban (Harper Teen)

Click HERE to add to your Goodreads

This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.

Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die? (full review coming soon!)

Sparrow” by Mary Cecilia Jackson (TOR Teen)

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In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a devastating but hopeful YA debut about a ballerina who finds the courage to confront the abuse that haunts her past and threatens her future.

There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey
I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been.
My name is Savannah Darcy Rose.
And I am still prey.

Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever….

The Red Lotus” by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday)

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam, and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met.

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road.

As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in?

Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder. 

The Woman in the Mirror” by Rebecca James (Minotaur Books)

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Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage. 

All of them are really great books! Don’t forget you can get them on audiobook by going to Libro.fm & using my special code MOMLOVESREADING & get a 3-for-1 deal OR use BookStoreLink & find the books you want through your nearest independent book stores. They need our support right now more than EVER! Some are even delivering books curbside or to your door!

What are you reading this week? How are you handling this pandemic & social distancing/isolation? Are you one of them “doomsday preppers” that’s hoarding all the toilet paper in their backyard bunker? Or are you just Netflix & chilling? Do tell! Also, be sure to watch for a couple giveaways coming this week! Stay safe out there people, & like your mother always said “Go wash your hands!”

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Little Wonders” by Kate Rorick

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy of “Little Wonders” by Kate Rorick!

If you like “Small Admissions” by Amy Poepell or “Class Mom” by Laurie Gelman you will love this novel about super mommies, private schools, & getting your worst moment plastered across the internet.

Her mommy meltdown is seen around the world!

When Quinn Barrett’s son refuses to wear his hand-crafted costume to the Little Wonders Preschool Happy Halloween Parade & Dance Party she loses it — complete with stomping, screaming, & costume-destruction galore. Not her best day. And caught on viral video. Yep, “Halloween Mom” is now internet famous.

The posting culprit: tattooed, blue-haired, west-coast transplant Daisy McGulch, out of place in the posh New England town & unable to blend with the other perfect mommies of Little Wonders Preschool.

While she couldn’t care less about organic snacks (paleo-preferred) or the winter quarters of the Little Wonders chickens, she’s not about to admit she’s the one who accidentally brought Quinn’s worst moment to the entire world—she’d be kicked out of town!

But when Quinn & Daisy find themselves unlikely cohorts in the fight for Little Wonders Parents Association supremacy, they also discover they have more in common than they expected…but the internet is forever. Can Quinn live down her new reputation? And how far will Daisy go to keep the truth from coming to light?

Click HERE to look for the book at an indie bookstore

Hilarious, clever, & unforgettable,Little Wonders” offers a glimpse into the high-pressure world of modern momming, with natural toys, scrutinized playdates, PTA politics, & social media gone amok.

Rorick satirically captured the “mom world” perfectly, in my opinion, when it comes to some of the moms in the area I live in. Mom’s who think they are above & beyond, & really just need to get over themselves. I enjoyed this book & took it for what it’s meant to be: entertaining. It gave me “Bad Moms” (the movie, which I LOVE) vibes in dealing with flawed parenting from both ends of the spectrum. It’s funny, but also heartfelt, insightful, & thought-provoking.

Look for “Little Wonders” on 3/17, and here are MY Little Wonders, my autistic twins!

The youngest of my loves!
Book Reviews

Book Review: “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel

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Thank you so much @BerkleyPub (#partner) for gifting me “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel!
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“Sharp Objects” meets “My Lovely Wife” in this tightly drawn debut that peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships…
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For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair & practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers & offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.
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Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.
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After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go & begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.
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Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in & testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.
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Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…
And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

The US/Canada cover

This book will blow your mind! It is such an insane, utterly exhilarating thrill ride, you won’t be able to put it down! And the cover is GORGEOUS!
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Munchausen Syndrome is such a fascinating, albeit frightening, mental disorder, & of course we have all heard of the most famous case of DeeDee Blanchard & Gypsy Rose. This book had the DDB/GR feel, but also some “Carrie” vibes.
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Dark, intense, psychological suspense that will have you flying through the pages, “Darling Rose Gold” is an A+ debut novel & available 3/17.

And don’t forget, you can get this book on audio as well & support independent book stores by purchasing your audiobooks through Libro.fm. Click HERE for the book & use my referral code MOMLOVESREADING to get a 3-for-1 audiobook deal. I LOVE listening to suspense/thrillers on audio!

Stay safe out there everyone! I’ve been practicing social distancing & avoidance of large gatherings for YEARS, so I think I’ll do just fine!😉