BeachReads · Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Booksparks · Fiction

Book Tour and Review: ‘Barbarians at the PTA’

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‘Desperate Housewives’ meets ‘Mean Girls’ was all I needed to hear to inspire me to read Stephanie Newman’s debut novel, ‘Barbarians at the PTA‘, about a mother-daughter duo facing cliques, cyberbullying, & snobs in a wealthy NYC suburb.

Victoria Bryant is starting over. After a rage-inducing scandal & the realization that her dreamy fiancé is faker than a faux Fendi purse, she moves her psychology practice & 10-yr-old daughter, Rachel, to Mayfair Close, an idyllic Westchester, NY, suburb known for its manicured lawns & excellent schools.

The transition is initially seamless; several PTA moms befriend Victoria, her already busy practice booms, & Rachel finds a group of friends. But before anyone can say “helicopter mom,” in walks Lee DeVry. Wealthy, glamorous & perfectly toned, the PTA president is everything Victoria is not.

Vic tries to fit in w/ Lee & the other SUV driving, athleisure-wearing mothers. At first, she manages to balance the demands of her practice, single parenthood, & her budding romance w/ Jim, a handsome school administrator. All seems well until Rachel is suddenly targeted, first by the girls at school, & then by an anonymous cyberbully. As Rachel spirals, becoming isolated, playing hooky, & exhibiting signs of depression & disordered eating, Victoria vows to find out who has been messing w/ her daughter.

After she learns a secret that will help her rescue her child, Vic faces the ultimate dilemma: should she expose the bully publicly, despite the potential consequences to her professional reputation & relationships w/ Rachel & Jim?

A witty, sharp, & hope-filled debut, ‘Barbarians at the PTA‘ will have you cheering for badass moms everywhere who go to the ends of the earth for their children—& will leave you wanting more from Dr. Stephanie Newman.

Having the insight & fortitude of a psychologist & mother, Newman nails it in this book w/ the all too realistic scenarios & heart-breaking challenges of being a parent to a child who is being bullied at school & online, not just by peers, but by over-involved, competitive mothers. One of my fave comedies is ‘Bad Moms‘ & this book compares to that movie, but on a more serious level, & balanced out w/ humor, twists & sass.

Barbarians at the PTA‘ makes a great summer (or back to school time) read & is available now. Look for it at your local indie stores today! And Thank You to Booksparks for inviting me on the virtual book tour & to Stephanie Newman & SkyHorse Publishing for the autographed copy of the the book!

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · OwnVoices · Romance · RomCom · YAbooks

Book Review: ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ by Pintip Dunn (pub 8/18)

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Thank you @entangledteen for my gifted copy of ‘Dating Makes Perfect‘ by Pintip Dunn! (pub date 8/18)

QOTD: Do you like reading YA fiction or rom-coms? Which one’s did you love the most & recommend? (Please leave a comment. I love to see other readers recommendations!)

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.
Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy…

Told in an authentic, Thai-American #ownvoice , ‘Dating Makes Perfect is a contemporary YA rom-com that will warm your heart, make you laugh & sigh out loud, & you may even find yourself GrubHub’ing some local Thai take-out after reading some of the drool-worthy chapters! Culturally immersive, richly layered in emotion, wit, & realistic family dynamics, these complex, well-fleshed out characters will make your heart swoon! And you will adore Winnie & the rest of her sisters!

Overall, a feel-good, coming of age, family dram-com & second chances at love story that you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy! A perfect summer read!

Click HERE to add ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to visit Pintip Dunn’s website.
Click HERE to visit Pintip’s Instagram page.
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What others are saying about ‘Dating Makes Perfect:

“Dunn, a first-generation Thai American, takes on the enemies-to-lovers romance trope with punchy dialogue and adorable twists while paying tribute to the culture’s prioritization of food and family. A laugh-out-loud YA romance with a smart cast.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“Sweet, spunky, witty, and wise – I feel in love with Winnie and her sisters. Pintip has a rare knack of blending action and adventure into a contemporary rom-com that keeps the pages turning.” – Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI
 
“A witty culturally immersive romance with enthralling dialogue and captivating characters… A masterful story about family obligations, first crushes, and second chances.” – Nisha Sharma, award-winning author of MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE
  
This book made my Thai-American heart soar. Every detail–from the mouth-watering foods to Winnie’s tight-knit but strict Thai family–serve to tell a story that is authentic, layered, and rings so true.“- Christina Soontornvat, author of A WISH IN THE DARK

“A smart, funny, and endearing portrayal of budding romance, the power of sisterly love, and the pressure to be the perfect daughter.” – Farrah Rochon, USA Today Bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project 
 
“A delicious rom-com concoction that immerses readers in a Thai teen drama they’ll adore. Add a pinch of sister envy, the cute guy you love to hate, immigrant parent dynamics, a few kaffir lime leaves, and you’ll get a dish that’ll keep you entertained until the last page.” – Lydia Kang, award-winning author of Young Adult Fiction 
 
“Bubbling over with charisma and charm, DATING MAKES PERFECT is a swoontasm of adorable characters, sparkling wit, and captivating Thai culture. You will totally want to date this book!” – Darcy Woods, award-winning author of SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS
 
“An absolute feast for readers. The characters are deliciously complex, the family dynamics are rich and intense, and the tension between the main character Winnie and her enemy Mat is drool-worthy. This book will completely quench your hunger for a believable enemies to lovers rom-com!” – Becky Wallace, author of STEALING HOME and FAR FROM NORMAL

“So. Much. Fun! Pintip Dunn’s rom-com is an authentic, hilarious and irresistible love letter to Thai culture–not to mention desserts. Foodies, be warned–don’t read this on an empty stomach!” – Vanessa Barneveld, award-winning author of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE and THE ABDUCTION 
 

A first-generation Thai American, Pintip Dunn grew up in a tiny town in Kansas. She went on to graduate from Harvard , magna cum laude, with an A.B. & to receive her J.D. at Yale Law School.
Pintip is a two-time RITA® award winner & a NYTimes bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her books have been translated into four languages, & they have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award & a Kirkus Best Book of the Year.
She’s obsessed with penguins, & her childhood dream was to marry someone whose last name was “Gwynn”―so that her name could be “Pin Gwynn.” Alas, she got stuck with Dunn instead, but her husband & 3 children are worth the sacrifice. They all visit Thailand yearly in order to stay connected with her family.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · Giveaway

GIVEAWAY TIME! ‘A Little Bit of Grace’ by Phoebe Fox (pub 8/11)

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GIVEAWAY TIME!! (please note that the giveaway info in this post is just for FYI sakes. All entries for the actual giveaway must be made on the post on Instagram. Click HERE to go to MomLovesReading on IG.)

Thank you @berkleypub for my gifted copy of ‘A Little Bit of Grace‘ by Phoebe Fox & for sponsoring this giveaway!

A heartfelt story about family, forgiveness, & starting over when the happy ending ends, & handling it all with a little bit of grace.

Family is everything–Grace Adams McHale’s mom must have said it to her a thousand times before she died. Before Grace’s dad ran off with an aspiring actress half his age. Before only-child Grace found out she was unable to have children of her own. Before Brian–her childhood best friend, business partner, & finally her husband–dropped a “bombshell” on her in the form of her stunning new replacement.

Which means Grace now has…nothing.

Until she receives a letter from a woman claiming to be a relative Grace never knew she had, sending her on a journey from the childhood home she had to move back into, to a Florida island to meet a total stranger who embraces her as family. There, Grace starts to uncover answers about the eccentric woman her family never mentioned: an octogenarian who is the keeper of a secret held for more than 50 years.

Such a beautiful, well-written, poignant & witty story about loss, heartache, family & self-discovery that gave me all the feels! And I LOVED Aunt Millie so much! Truly a delightful, captivating story you will not soon forget! And I have (1) copy to giveaway. (Sorry, US residents only).

To enter, do the following: (***Entry on Instagram post ONLY)

*LIKE this post. (Like some others, too, while you’re here.)

*Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @berkleypub

*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.

Giveaway begins 8/13 & ends 8/17/20 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, Facebook, or Twitter.

Click HERE to add ‘A Little Bit of Grace’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to visit Phoebe Fox’s blog/website.
Click HERE to find ‘A Little Bit of Grace’ (& other books) at an independent bookstore near you using BookStoreLink. (Please try to support indie bookstores first, before turning to the big A. Indie bookstores need our sales now more than ever! The big A is doing just fine, I promise.)

What others are saying about ‘A Little Bit of Grace’:

“Secrets, rejection, and betrayal are no match for the powers of forgiveness in this charming novel.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A Little Bit of Grace reads just like the setting it so wonderfully invokes — sunny, warm, and bright, with healthy doses of adventure and wisdom thrown in for good measure. Phoebe Fox conjures delightful characters in intricate, unusual relationships who populate a story that feels like sifting sand between your toes and is the perfect book to read while doing so.”Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of Goodbye for Now and This Is How It Always Is

A Little Bit of Grace is a deeply poignant emotional journey punctuated with humor, warmth and an irresistible irreverence. A rare, feel-good novel that you’ll urgently want to press into the hands of friends and family.  I adored it.”—Karin Gillespie, author of Love Literary Style

Phoebe Fox is the author of the Breakup Doctor series (The Breakup Doctor, Bedside Manners, Heart Conditions, Out of Practice), & has been a contributor & regular columnist for a number of national, regional, & local publications, including the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, & She Knows. A former actor on stage & screen, Phoebe has been dangled from wires as a mall fairy; was accidentally concussed by a blank gun; & hosted a short-lived game show. She has been a relationship columnist; a movie, theater, & book reviewer; & a radio personality, & currently lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband & two excellent dogs.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction

Book Review: “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” by Abbi Waxman

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Happy Friday readers, writers, reviewers, publishers & so on!

In between trying to battle a week long losing battle with a butt-kicker of a migraine (that is still hanging on), I have been squeezing in a little reading when I get a bit of respite from the pain (via prescription pharmaceuticals). I have been a migraine sufferer for decades, & with 2 kids home 24/7, who treat being noisy like it’s their job, it’s getting more & more difficult to get rid of them in a timely fashion. I guess I’ll give it the weekend & then if it’s not better, then Monday I shall see the Doc.

Anyhow, let’s talk about “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” by Abbi Waxman. (That title could seriously be the name of my biography, just saying…)

Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica & Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill”.

Jessica & Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers & Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–& two familiar enemies–Jessica & Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family & old friends along the way. Surprises & secrets threaten their relationship &, in the end, change it forever.

I am a mother to 4 boys & only 1 daughter, who it quite literally the spitting image of me in every way, shape & form. I am grateful for our friendship, conversations & candid talks now that she is a 22-yr old adult, but man, those teen years were TOUGH. I have thanked God on more than one occasion that my twins are boys, & not girls, because I honestly don’t know how I could deal with twin 14 girls & all the angst, hormones, & societal peer pressures that comes with our ever expanding technology & social media apps.

“I Was Told It Would Get Easier” (IWTIWGE from here on out) is Waxman’s 4th novel. I won “The Garden of Small Beginnings” back in 2017 & Waxman became an auto-buy author for me from then on. IWTIWGE is told from both Jessica & Emily’s POV’s & you will meet several interesting side characters along the way. I was definitely able to relate in many ways to the mother daughter relationship struggles & conflict, & even got a bit emotional a couple times as it brought back some memories both good & not-so-good.

This book is a witty, charming, touching, fantastically enjoyable read that is as insightful as it is delightful! If you are new to Abbi Waxman, you will not be disappointed & you should definitely check out her other 3 books as well.

Click HERE to add “I Was Told It Would Get Better” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “Other People’s Houses” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Garden of Small Beginnings” to your Goodreads list.

What others are saying about “I Was Told It Would Get Better“:

“Waxman shines at creating characters that feel like best friends, inspiring compassion, laughs, and cheers, and fans of Katherine Center and Linda Holmes’ Evvie Drake Starts Over (2019) will adore this.”Booklist, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Waxman expertly navigates the fraught shoals of college admissions in this spot-on tale…. Waxman’s alternating first-person narration from Jessica and Emily rings true, while a memorable supporting cast…provide excellent support…This sweet treat doesn’t require a college-bound child to enjoy, though anyone who has helped their offspring weather the admissions process will definitely appreciate this sharp send-up.”—Publisher’s Weekly, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Funny and insightful.”BookRiot, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“We’re forever fans of Abbi Waxman’s sweet, witty, feel-good novels. Her latest, about a mother and daughter making college visits along the East Coast, is her best yet.”HelloGiggles, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“An aptly and hilariously titled novel…Waxman again delivers with her signature wit and laugh-out-loud writing, offering us authentic characters who feel like people we’ve met and loved in our own lives — all while offering sly commentary on the roller coaster that is the college application process for parents and their college-hopefuls.”Shondaland

“This book’s strengths are the exploration of the mother-teen daughter dynamics and relationship and the author’s remarkable gift for realistic, witty dialog. VERDICT: Recommended for fans of mother-daughter fiction with both lighthearted and serious moments.”Library Journal, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Abbi Waxman’s warm, quippy novels explore familial dynamics with sarcastic wit and plenty of heart…. Being a teenager–or parenting one–is tricky territory, but Waxman steers her characters through it with compassion, snappy dialogue and the right dose of zany humor. Things may (or may not) get easier for the Burnstein women, but the ride, literal and otherwise, is highly enjoyable.”Shelf Awareness

BeachReads · Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Moonglow Sisters” by Lori Wilde

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy of “The Moonglow Sisters” by Lori Wilde! (pub date 3/3).

It’s Jill Shalvis meets Susan Mallery in this gorgeous novel by NYT bestselling author Lori Wilde about three sisters, one small town, a wedding, & the summer that changes everything.

Welcome to Moonglow Cove, Texas, a place where your neighbors know your name & the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico lap lazily against the sands. It’s a magical spot, especially in the summertime…

Once the town was the home of the Clark sisters—brought up by their grandmother at the Moonglow Inn. Nicknamed “The Moonglow Sisters”, as children they were inseparable.  Then, a wedding-day betrayal tore them apart & they scattered across the globe & away from each other. But the sisters have at last come home…

There’s Maddie: smart, sensible, & stubborn. Shelley, who ran off to find her bliss. And Gia, a free-spirit determined to keep the peace. It’s her impending wedding that keeps them together…but Gia has a secret, & when her sisters find out all heck is going to break loose!

The Moonglow Sisters continues Lori Wilde’s trademark storytelling to create an unforgettable novel of family, betrayal, love, & second chances.

**I won this book back in very early March, then the pandemic hit & many publishers ceased mailing books out, so I didn’t receive this book until May…but it was worth the wait. This book has the perfect recipe for a summer read: atmosphere, family drama (particularly sisters), betrayal, romance, & second chances. If you are a fan of Elin Hilderbrand, Susan Mallery, Jill Shalvis, or Robyn Carr, you will love this book!


I was able to completely engulf myself in this novel since I, too, live in a small, lakeside town where everyone knows everyone, & also everyone’s business (which is not always a good thing). I could totally picture people I knew in the roles of these women. “The Moonglow Sisters” is chock full of sisterly drama & petty bickering, but it is also breezy, uplifting, heartwarming (& breaking at times), lighthearted beach-read that would make a fantastic Hallmark movie. I hope this becomes a series, as I would love to read more about these sisters in the future.


Look for this one now wherever books are sold! You can also use BookStoreLink to search independent bookstores for this & any other book. Simply go to the website, type in the books title (or author) & then your city and/or state. And voila! Easy peasy! Shopping local is so much better than heading straight to the big “A” online (you know who I mean…).

Be sure to stop over to my Instagram page & show some love for my post there. It makes both the author & publisher very happy to see people showing appreciate & positive comments on their works of art.

Lori Wilde is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Publishers’ Weekly bestselling author of 88 works of romantic fiction. Her books have been translated into 26 languages, with more than four million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her breakout novel, The First Love Cookie Club, has been optioned for a TV movie.

Lori is a registered nurse with a BSN from Texas Christian University. She holds a certificate in forensics and is also a certified yoga instructor. A fifth-generation Texan, Lori lives with her husband, Bill, in the Cutting Horse Capital of the World; where they run Epiphany Orchards, a writing/creativity retreat for the care and enrichment of the artistic soul.