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

About ME · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · LibroFm

It’s Friday folks and the November Books of the Month are LIVE!

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

It’s Friday folks & the NOV Books of the Month are up! (And speaking of Friday’s, just for fun, here’s the song that I used to sing to my daughter when I would wake her up on Friday mornings:

📚Nov selections are some good ones! Four of them are early releases, too! Plus, there are some great new add-on additions, such as ‘Goodnight Beautiful‘ by Aimee Molloy, ‘White Ivy‘ by Susie Young, ‘Group‘ by Christie Tate (which is also Reese Witherspoon’s Nov Book Club pick! See my review 21 posts back), & a 2019 release ‘The Hunting Party‘ by Lucy Foley.

November Books of the Month are:

Memorial‘, by Bryan Washington (also GMA book club selection for Nov! Pub 10/27)
This Time Next Year‘ by Sophie Cousens (pub 12/1)
Pretty Little Wife’ by Darby Kane (debut, pub 12/29)
These Violent Delights‘ by Chloe Gong (debut, YA, pub 11/17)
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany‘ by Lori Nelson Spielman (pub 11/17)


(Click on any of the highlighted titles under book pics to read more about them & add them to your Goodreads lists.)

📚As a long time member & fan of BOTM, I get so excited to see what books they have selected for us each month because many of their picks end up being some of my all-time favorites! They also have some fan fave, older books available as add-on’s such as ‘The Secret History’, ‘Gone Girl’, all of Riley Sager’s books & so much more!

📚If you have been on the fence about joining BOTM, I encourage you to do it now! Many of the books each month are Early Releases, meaning you can get books a month or more before the gen public! Four of them this month! You get a special intro price for your first BOTM & then you’ll be on your way to being a BOTM BFF like me.

If there is one book I might suggest, it is ‘The Invisible Life of Addie Larue‘…one of my FAVES of 2020!

📚Once you’ve rcvd 12 BOTM monthly boxes, you are officially a BFF. With that new title comes great things: a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE BOTM add-on during your bday month & a FREE book at the end of the year from the Book of the Year finalists. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome! Full-sz hardback books for nearly HALF of what you’d pay elsewhere & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per mo) & you can skip any mo. you like. You can also sign another member of your household up & have two accts so you can get all of the BOTM’s each month. Many club members do this! So act now & click HERE to join & get a discount offer!

So current members, what are you choosing this month? Or are you skipping? I think I am going with the thriller pick, ‘Pretty Little Wife’ & ‘Goodnight Beautiful’ as an add-on. I was gifted an audio copy of ‘Goodnight Beautiful’ since I am a Libro.fm influencer, but I haven’t heard many good things about the audio version. Mainly that it’s hard to follow & some other auditory issues, but I was really interested in the book in general, so I’m happy to pick it as an add-on.

Be sure to go give my Instagram post some LIKE love by clicking HERE & while you’re there, enter my current giveaway (US only due to shipping costs) that includes SIX books that are thriller/suspense/mystery themed AND they all have orange spines for Halloween! Click HERE to go to that post!

BOTMs, · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · Thriller · WomensFiction

The October Books of the Month are LIVE!

📚The October BOTM’s are up!! (Click HERE to visit my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!)

📚It’s that time of the month that all of Book of the Month book club members look forward to! Constantly refreshing our browser every so often on those last couple days of the month, when BOTM generally releases the 5 new books & a few new add-on selections.

📚A long time member & fan of Book of the Month club, I get so excited to see what books they have selected for us each month. I skipped the last 2 mos because I already had the books that I wanted from the Aug/Sep selections from the publishers. So I was extra stoked to see what would be available for me to choose for October.

Once again, they are some goodies! The books are:

‘Magic Lessons‘:
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

‘Leave the World Behind’: Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older Black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?

‘The Girl in the Mirror’: Twin sisters Iris & Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical & insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam. Called to Thailand to help her sister sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. When she makes it to land, Iris allows herself to be swept up by Adam, who assumes that she is Summer.
Iris recklessly goes along with his mistake. Not only does she finally have the golden life she’s always envied, w/ her sister gone, she’s one step closer to the 100-million-dollar inheritance left by her manipulative father. All Iris has to do is be the first of his seven children to produce an heir. Iris’s “new” life lurches between glamorous dream & paranoid nightmare. On the edge of being exposed, how far will she go to ensure no one discovers the truth? And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht? Only Iris knows…

‘Ties That Tether’: At 12 yrs old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man & preserve her culture even after immigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping—forcing—her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company & later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, & white.
When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael & the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.
Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be w/ him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious & fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

‘The Invisible Life of Addie Larue’:
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, & a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries & continents, across history & art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore & he remembers her name.



📚If you have been on the fence about joining BOTM, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & w/ some excellent fall releases coming, you will be able to get in on that readerly action before your non-BOTM friends. You get a special intro price for your first BOTM & then you’ll be on your way to being a BOTM BFF like me! (**Please be advised, BOTM is currently only available for shipping within the 50 United States.)

📚Once you’ve rcvd 12 BOTM monthly boxes, you are officially a BFF. With that new title comes great things: a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE BOTM add-on during your bday month & a FREE book at the end of the year from the Book of the Year finalists. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome!

📚Many of the books each mo. are Early Releases, meaning you can get books a mo. or more before the gen public! Full-sz hardback books for nearly HALF of what you’d pay elsewhere & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per mo) & you can skip any month you choose to. Click HERE for my referral offer & get your first book for only $9.99!

📚Some of this mos new add-ons include ‘Invisible Girl’ by Lisa Jewell, ‘Practical Magic‘, Elin Hilderbrand’s ‘Troubles in Paradise’, & more! So, what looks good to you this month? All of them, right!?😉 (Don’t forget, once you add a monthly BOTM, go back & check out all of the available add-ons. There are new ones addes all of the time! Some are newer, some are classics!

Click HERE to use my special code & join me in becoming a Book of the Month club member!

About ME · BOTMs,

September Book of the Month books are here!

Click HERE to give my IG post some LIKE love!

📚The September BOTM’s are up!!📚

❤It’s that time of the month that all of Book of the Month book club members look forward to, when we are constantly refreshing our browser every so often on those last couple days of the month, when BOTM generally releases the next months 5 new books & sometimes a few new add-on selections.

📖A long time member & fan of Book of the Month, I get so excited to see what books they have selected for us each month. I skipped last month because I already had the books that I wanted from the August selections from the publishers in advance. So I was extra stoked to see what would be available for me to choose from this month.

Once again, they are some goodies! The books are:

‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’: 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, and 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 and 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 and 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.

‘Transcendent Kingdom‘: Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a Ghanaian-American family ravaged by depression and addiction and grief—a novel about faith, science, religion, love.

‘Winter Counts’: Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.

They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost.

‘Caste’: Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

‘Anxious People‘: Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

**They all sound soooo good, don’t they?!?**

📚If you have been on the fence about joining Book-of-the-Month, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & with some excellent fall releases coming, you will be able to get in on that readerly action before your non-BOTM friends. You get a special introductory price for your first BOTM & then you will be on your way to becoming a BOTM BFF like me!

Click HERE to go to IG post!

📖Once you have received 12 BOTM monthly boxes, you are officially a BFF. With that new title comes great things: a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE BOTM add-on during your bday month & a FREE book at the end of the year from the Book of the Year finalists. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome!

📚Many of the books each month are Early Releases, meaning you can get a nice hardback copy of a book sometimes a month or more before the gen public! Full-size, beautiful hardback books for nearly HALF of what you would pay anywhere else, & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per month) & you can skip any month you like. (You can cancel anytime, but trust me, you won’t want to!)

To get started with a Book of the Month subscription & get your first month at an even bigger discount, click HERE.