Book Reviews · Fiction · LiteraryFiction · WomensFiction

Hey readers and all you other chronic pain warriors, here’s today’s book feature! (and my first blog post in 2 wks!)

After spending the better part of August in an autoimmune flare-up & chronic pain inflammation, what better book to feature today than Mona Awad’s latest release, ‘All’s Well‘, published on 8/3! Thank you @simonandschuster for my gift copy!

I’ve barely been on the ‘gram for the last wk due to my flare-up & lack of proper sleep due to my pain has had me in a brain fog so thick, I can barely think straight. I take some meds, but nothing like the woman portrayed in this book. (*For the sake of privacy, I prefer not to go into specifics regarding meds or my exact autoimmunes.)

From the critically acclaimed author of ‘Bunny’ comes a darkly funny novel about a theater professor suffering from chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly & miraculously recovers.

Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her w/ excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, & a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, & cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.

That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past & a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, & the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.

With prose Margaret Atwood has described as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged…genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. 

‘All’s Well’ is the story of a woman at her breaking point & a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness & believe female pain. This unique story is about Miranda’s wavering mental health & grip on reality amid her battle w/ her chronic pain & the way invisible afflictions are perceived by peers.

All’s Well‘ is like following Miranda into the rabbit hole of pain meds, often chased w/ alcohol, as she alienates herself from friends & family as they grow tired of her moodiness due to her pain & meds. Is her inner monologue a descent into madness? This is a fiercely imaginative, deeply satisfying, intriguing, trippy novel that is also somewhat relatable at times, & also has a really cool cover. A solid, well-written novel!

Click HERE to add ‘All’s Well’ to your Goodreads lists.

Click HERE to visit MomLovesReading on Instagram & give this post some LIKE-love to show the author support (& me, too!)

Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find ‘All’s Well’ at an indie bookstore near you or online.

Mona Awad was born in Montreal & has lived in the US since 2009. Her debut novel, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL (Penguin Books, 2016), won the Amazon Best First Novel Award & was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. Her second novel, BUNNY (Viking, 2019), was a finalist for a GoodReads Choice Award for Best Horror, the New England Book Award & the Massachusetts Book Award. It won the Ladies of Horror Fiction Best Novel Award. Her latest novel, ALL’S WELL, released with Simon & Schuster on August 3rd, 2021.
She earned an MFA in fiction from Brown University & an MScR in English from the University of Edinburgh where her dissertation was on fear in the fairy tale. In 2018, she completed a Ph.D. in Creative Writing & English literature at the University of Denver. She currently lives in Boston. 

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · Fiction · WomensFiction

‘I Thought You Said This Would Work’ by Ann Garvin is today’s book feature and recommended reading!

🎉Happy World Emoji Day! Comment your 5 favorite or most often used emojis in the comments & let’s see who else has the same ones! The ones I use most often are: 😘📖📚💕😂

🌺As a Tall Poppy Blogger I was super excited to read Ann Garvin’s latest release, ‘I Thought You Said This Would Work‘, which was published in May. Ann is the founder of Tall Poppy Writers & Bloggers & also the author of another book I enjoyed a couple yrs ago, ‘I Like You Fine When You’re Not Around‘. (PS, my conveniently & coincidentally poppy colored nail polish is called My Chihuahua Bites by OPI)

📖’I Thought You Said This Would Work‘ is one of the most enjoyable, heartwarming, engaging, atmospherically adventurous books I’ve read in a long time. As someone who doesn’t get to do Girl’s Trips or Night’s Out pretty much next to never, I love books that are about the importance of female friendships, forgiveness, & the people in your life who aren’t related to you, but are still family. I definitely recommend both books.

🚎A road trip can drive anyone over the edge—especially two former bff’s—in bestselling author Ann Garvin’s funny & poignant novel about broken bonds, messy histories, & the power of forgiveness.

🚎Widowed Samantha Arias hasn’t spoken to Holly Dunfee in forever. It’s for the best. Samantha prefers to avoid conflict. The blisteringly honest Holly craves it. What they still have in common puts them both back on speed dial: a mutual love for Katie, their best friend of 25 yrs, now hospitalized w/ cancer & needing one little errand from her old college roomies.

🚎It’s simple: travel cross-country together, steal her loathsome ex-husband’s VW camper, find Katie’s diabetic Great Pyrenees at a Utah rescue, & drive him back home to Wisconsin. If it’ll make Katie happy, no favor is too big (100 pounds), too daunting (2000 miles), or too illegal (ish), even when a boho D-list celebrity hitches a ride & drives the road trip in fresh directions.

🚎Samantha & Holly are following every new turn—toward second chances, unexpected romance, & self-discovery—& finally blowing the dust off the secret that broke their friendship. On the open road, they’ll try to put it back together—for themselves, & especially for the love of Katie.

📖Click HERE to add ‘I Thought You Said This Would Work’ to your Goodreads lists.
📖Click HERE to add ‘I Like You Fine When You’re Not Around’ to your Goodreads.
📖Click HERE to visit Mom_Loves_Reading on Instagram & give my post some LIKE love! (There’s also a giveaway in progress for another book a couple posts back. Click HERE for that.)

🌺Ann Garvin Ph.D. is a nurse, a professor, and USA Today Bestselling Author. She thinks everything is funny and a little bit sad.
Ann Writes stories about women with a good sense of humor who do too much in a world that asks too much from them. She thought writing a book would get her a beach house. The beach house hasn’t happened yet, but she’s bought sunglasses, so she’s ready. She created the Tall Poppies because she loves writers, readers, and helping women get their voices heard. Ann is the author of I THOUGHT YOU SAID THIS WOULD WORK, I LIKE YOU JUST FINE WHEN YOU’RE NOT AROUND, THE DOG YEAR AND ON MAGGIE’S WATCH.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Family Drama · Fiction · LiteraryFiction · WomensFiction

Winter is coming! ‘A Winter Night’ on a summer day!

As they say in ‘Game of Thrones’ many times, “Winter is coming.” Only in this case, there’s no ice zombies to contend with, just some complex, well-written characters that are much easier to relate to than anyone in the 7 kingdoms of Westeros!

Ok, now that I’ve nerded out on George R.R. Martin references, it’s time for ‘A Winter Night‘ on an almost summer day!

Thank you to @unsolicitedpress & @tlcbooktours for my gift copy of Anne Leigh Parrish’s latest release, ‘A Winter Night’, released back in March!

I’m so glad I joined this book tour! What a refreshing & palette cleansing read for someone that gets way too wrapped up in the dark world of thrillers quite often! (…which I’m not mad about, but I totally dig a change of bookish scenery from time to time…ya know, so I can sleep & not have all the nightmares about the books I’ve read.)

The main character of Angie Dugan is written in a way that is easily relatable, with the right amount of layers & depth, which makes ‘A Winter Night’ even more enjoyable to read.
‘A Winter Night’ is a story of personal growth, learning to love & trust again, dealing w/ loved ones addictions, & so much more. The Dugan family first appeared in Parrish’s previous novel, ‘Our Love Could Light the World‘ & in this new release, Angie Dugan gets center stage. ‘A Winter Night’ is poignant, character driven, engaging, wise & witty. I look forward to reading more from Anne Leigh Parrish in the future & plan to check out some of her backlist soon!

About ‘A Winters Night‘:
34-year-old Angie Dugan struggles with many things–anxiety, her career as a social worker in a retirement home, & her difficult family. Her biggest struggle, though, is finding love. When she meets Matt, she’s swept away by his attention.
As issues from his past come up she wonders if she can trust him. Should she break it off, or give him another chance? In the end, all she can do is listen to her heart, & evaluate what she wants most.
(**Be sure to read the author bio below to read more about the Dugan’s origin story.)

Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love, which also shows support to the author.

Purchase Links

Unsolicited Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Anne

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Anne Leigh Parrish sat down one day at an ancient typewriter & banged out a short story. Nine yrs & many stories later, ‘A Painful Shade of Blue,’ found a home in The Virginia Quarterly Review. The story featured the real-life trauma of her parents’ divorce when she was only 10 yrs old. While other stories returned to that time & place, most ventured further afield, focusing on women in impossible situations, & blending stark reality w/ magical realism. In 2014 her first novel, ‘What Is Found, What Is Lost’, featuring four generations of women & their experience w/ religious faith convinced her that she also loved long-form writing. ‘Women Within’, her 2nd novel, is another multi-generational story about three women whose lives intersect at the Lindell Retirement home. In both stories & subsequent novels, the Dugan family of Dunston, New York, a fictional town representing Ithaca, where Anne grew up, takes center stage. They’re a tough, hard-worn bunch full of love, pain, & fierce devotion to each other – usually. Her linked story collection, ‘Our Love Could Light The World’, & her novels ‘The Amendment’ & ‘Maggie’s Ruse’ follow them over years & many ups & downs. Her latest novel, ‘A Winter Night’, released in March 2021 centers on the eldest daughter, Angie Dugan, & her struggle to find love & self-acceptance. Anne lived in Seattle for 35 yrs until Amazon made driving anywhere a nightmare, then moved w/ her husband & black pug to a forest outside of Olympia, Washington where she continues to write stories, novels, the occasional essay, & most recently, poetry.

BeachReads · Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Family Drama · Fiction · Romance · WomensFiction

‘The Path to Sunshine Cove’ by RaeAnne Thayne is today’s featured book and a great one, too!

Who else is ready for some summer reading? The sun’s been shining most of the week where I live in Ohio & it has definitely got me excited for some outdoor reading! (as long as I’ve had my allergy meds…allergy season is hitting me hard this year!)

If you’re a fan of authors like Robyn Carr, Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, you may have read books by RaeAnne Thayne, since she has many. If you haven’t, today’s featured book is an excellent one to start with!

‘The Path to Sunshine Cove’ by RaeAnne Thayne

She knows what’s best for everyone but herself…

With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She’s made a career out of helping others downsize–because she’s learned the hard way that the less “stuff,” the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home…& that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven’t made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents & changed everything between them.

While Jess couldn’t wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world–and her sister–to think she has a picture-perfect life. But w/ the demands of her youngest child’s disability, Rachel’s marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she’s learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn’t do family, & she shouldn’t count on her now.

Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached–to her sister & her family, even to her client’s interfering son, Nate–& it’s time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put & make room for the love & joy that come along with it?

This book is book 2 in the Cape Sanctuary series, but can be read as a standalone. I absolutely loved it! It’s emotionally engaging, breathtakingly atmospheric, charming, & realistic in nature. For me it was also somewhat relatable in the sense that Rachel is a SAHM & mother to a child w/ autism (oh & she’s a social media influencer on the side).

This heartwarming novel is available now (released on 3/30/21) & a big  Thanks to @harlequinbooks & @getredprbooks for my gift copy!

Click HERE to add ‘The Path to Sunshine Cove’ to your Goodreads lists.

Click HERE to visit RaeAnne Thayne’s web page and HERE to visit her on Instagram.

Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love or SHARE it with other readers.

Click HERE to find this book or RaeAnne Thayne’s other books at a local independent bookseller near you or online.

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com

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