Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Fiction · psychologicalsuspense · Thriller

Happy (paperback) Pub Day to Samantha Downing and her amazing book ‘He Started It’

Welcome to Mom Loves Reading stop in the Berkley Blog Tour for the paperback release of Samantha Downing’s 2020 bestselling novel ‘He Started It’, a diabolically twisted road trip you will never forget!

AN INSTANT INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Wholly original. Scarily clever. Completely mesmerizing. You will never look at family road trips the same way again.”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

A most anticipated book by Hello Sunshine ∙ Cosmo ∙ Entertainment Weekly ∙ Betches ∙ Hollywood Reporter ∙ Parade ∙ PopSugar ∙ OK! Magazine ∙ Hello Giggles ∙ Bustle ∙ Yahoo! ∙ She Reads ∙ Book Page ∙ CrimeReads ∙ New York Post Best Book of the Week ∙ Goodreads

From the twisted mind behind mega hit My Lovely Wife comes the story of a family—not unlike your own—just with a few more violent tendencies thrown in….

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It isn’t for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory, a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

He Started It‘ was personally my most anticipated new release in 2020 & I was beyond thrilled when Berkley asked me to be on the blog tour! I LOVED Samantha Downing’s first novel, the wickedly dark & original 2019 domestic thriller, ‘My Lovely Wife’ so much! In 2020 Amazon Studios & Nicole Kidman bought the film rights for ‘My Lovely Wife’, so YAY! That incredible book will be a movie someday (soon, I hope!).

He Started It‘ is a twisted, darkly addictive, propulsive family drama/thriller that will have you wanting to read it in one sitting (or standing…in case you get the nervous urge to pace back & forth like I did!). The ending will leave you speechless! I don’t know how Samantha Downing comes up with such original, clever & diabolical stories, but I’m not sure I would ever want to be on her bad side…just sayin’. The paperback & hardback versions of the book is available now wherever books are sold.

***Click on each title below to add them to your Goodreads.***

MY LOVELY WIFE

HE STARTED IT

FOR YOUR OWN GOOD (coming July, ’21)

Click HERE to visit my post about ‘He Started It’ on Instagram, & show Samantha your support & LIKE (maybe even SHARE) it.

Click HERE to find ‘He Started It’ or ‘My Lovely Wife’ at a local or online independent bookseller using BookStoreLink.com

**Visit Samanta Downing: **

Instagram Facebook Website Twitter

Photo Credit: Jaqueline Dallimore

Samantha Downing is the author of the bestselling My Lovely Wife, nominated for Edgar, ITW, Macavity, and CWA awards. Amazon Studios and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films have partnered to produce a feature film based on the novel.Her second book, He Started It, was released in 2020 and became an instant international bestseller.

Sign up for her newsletter: https://www.samanthadowning.com/contact

Book Reviews · Family Reading · Fiction · Young Readers Books

Introducing ‘Aven Green Sleuthing Machine’ by Dusti Bowling, today’s featured Mystery Monday book for young readers!

It’s #MysteryMonday & today I’m featuring a young reader’s mystery w/ a heaping side of humor, featuring a protagonist w/ a disability…she was born w/ no arms.

First off, Thank You to @sterlingpublishing for the gift copy of the AMAZING book, ‘Aven Green Sleuthing Machine‘ by Dusti Bowling, w/ illustrations by Gina Perry! The book was released this past wk on 4/13 & there’s a 2nd book in this series, ‘Aven Green Baking Machine’, coming this fall. I seriously can’t wait to get it & read it w/ my boys, who are featured in this post pic. My boys have developmental disabilities (autism w/ a few other related ones) & I love that there’s books w/ diverse main characters like Aven Green.

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine’, by Dusti Bowling:
Third-grader Aven Green has been solving mysteries for a whole month—cracking such cases as The Mystery of the Cranky Mom. But can this perceptive detective solve two cases at the same time? First her teacher’s lunch bag disappears. Then Aven’s great-grandma’s dog goes missing.
Fortunately, since Aven was born without arms, all the “arm” cells went to her super-powered brain instead. (That’s her theory.) This hilarious chapter book showcases a new side to Dusti Bowling’s unforgettable protagonist.

Bowling first introduced Aven to readers in her previous books, ‘Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus’ & the follow-up, ‘Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus’. Aven is smart, sassy, spunky & extremely likable. You’ll adore her as much as your kids will & you’ll be buying these books as gifts for young readers for years to come. I know I will!

This book & the others mentioned above should be in every elementary & middle school classroom & library. They are diverse & inclusive & remind young readers, as well as the adults in their lives, that people w/ physical and/or developmental disabilities may be different than they are, but they are NOT less than. Books like these are fun to read & teach kids inclusivity without coming off as preachy.

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine‘ is engaging, witty yet sensitive, refreshing & wholly original & Aven is a character that is utterly inspiring & unforgettable! I highly recommend this series & I’m looking fwd to reading this again & again with my kids.

Click on any of the highlighted book titles above to add them to your Goodreads lists.

Click HERE to visit Mom_Loves_Reading on Instagram & support the author (& my awesome boys & I) by giving my post a LIKE & consider SHARING it to your stories.

Click HERE to find ‘Aven Green Sleuthing Machine’ & Dusti Bowling’s other books at an independent bookstore near you or online using BookStoreLink.com

DUSTI BOWLING grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, where, as her family will tell you, she always had her nose in a book. She released her first middle grade novel in 2017 & hasn’t stopped writing since.
Dusti’s books have won the Reading the West Award, the Sakura Medal, a Golden Kite Honor, the Silver Nautilus Award, & have been nominated for a Cybil & over twenty state awards. Her books are Junior Library Guild Selections & have been named best books of the year by the Chicago Public Library, Kirkus, Bank Street College of Eduction, A Mighty Girl, Shelf Awareness, & many more. Dusti currently lives in New River, Arizona with her husband, three daughters, a dozen tarantulas, a gopher snake named Burrito, a king snake name Death Noodle, & a cockatiel named Gandalf the Grey.

Book Reviews · Fiction · Giveaway · psychologicalsuspense · Thriller

‘The Next Wife’ by Kaira Rouda (pub 5/1) and a new GIVEAWAY!

GIVEAWAY TIME!
This month’s Amazon First Reads pre-release selection is ‘The Next Wife‘ by Kaira Rouda, so if you’re an e-book reader & Prime member, go grab that now along w/ the other free e-books! There are several available for April that are on my TBR list, but I’m not an e-book reader. The physical book doesn’t release until 5/1, so Thank you to @getredprbooks & @amazonpublishing for my gift copy of the book!

Deception & betrayal dark enough to end a marriage…or a life.
Kate Nelson had it all. A flourishing company founded w/ her husband, John; a happy marriage; & a daughter, Ashlyn. The picture-perfect family. Until John left for another woman. Tish is half his age. Ambitious. She’s cultivated a friendship w/ Ashlyn. Tish believes she’s won.
She’s wrong.

Tish Nelson has it all. Youth, influence, a life of luxury, & a new husband. But the truth is, there’s a lot of baggage. Namely, his first wife—& suspicions of his infidelity. After all, that’s how she got John. Maybe it’s time for a romantic getaway, far from his vindictive ex. If Kate plans on getting John back, Tish is one step ahead of her.
She thinks.

But what happens next is something neither Kate nor Tish saw coming. As best-laid plans come undone, there’s no telling what a woman will do in the name of love—& revenge.

From the author of ‘Best Day Ever‘ & ‘The Favorite Daughter‘, Rouda’s ‘The Next Wife‘ is a tense, gripping, compulsively readable, psychological thriller that is so deliciously dark & twisty w/ an ending that will leave you speechless.

I have a copy of one of Kaira Rouda’s previous novels, ‘Best Day Ever‘, to give away to one lucky follower. (**Please note, this giveaway can only be entered on Instagram. The following is for information purposes only. You can, however, click HERE to go to the Instagram post, enter giveaway there, & come back here to leave a comment for 5 bonus entries.)

To enter:
1- Must be following @mom_loves_reading (on Instagram)
2- LIKE & SAVE this post. (on Instagram)
3- Tag some bookish pals (Unlimited, only 2 tags per com)
Bonus 5 entries ea:
4- SHARE this post to your stories & tag me. Can do daily.
5- ReTweet on Twitter & tag me.
6- Subscribe to my blog & comment on giveaway post.

Click HERE to go to the Instagram post, enter the ‘Best Day Ever’ giveaway & give the post some LIKE love!
Click HERE to add ‘The Next Wife’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to go to the Amazon Prime First Reads selections.

Kaira Rouda is a multiple award–winning USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction that explores what goes on beneath the surface of seemingly perfect lives. Her novels of domestic suspense include The Favorite DaughterBest Day Ever, and All the Difference. To date, Kaira’s work has been translated into more than ten languages. She lives in Southern California with her family and is working on her next novel. For more information, visit www.kairarouda.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

About ME · Book Reviews · Family Drama · Fiction · psychologicalsuspense

It’s Shelfie (and snowy) Sunday!

Hey there! I have been so bad about getting blog posts done since pretty much the beginning of December. As a mother of autistic kids that keep me on my toes non-stop every waking minute they are home, & the fact that they are only in school 4 days a week for 6 hrs each day, this exhausted mom is really having a hard time getting all 9,000 things done on my daily to do list each day.

One thing I have been enjoying this past week are all of the cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers, juncos, chickadees, & other pretty birds that stick around for our chilly, Northern Ohio winters. Our yard has been full of them, so we have been feeding them seed & nuts daily. We do have two squirrels that are enjoying our feeding generosity, one in particular that I have named Farley (after the late Chris Farley) due to his size (from eating so much of the bird seed & peanuts) & also because he is so funny & entertaining to watch. I named the smaller gray squirrel that keeps trying to get in on the food action Spade (after David Spade.)

It may be a snowy Sunday here in Ohio, but books, tea & coffee will keep me warm today!
Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gift copy of ‘Forgive Me‘ by Susan Lewis! (pub 1/26).
From the bestselling author of ‘My Lies, Your Lies’ & many other novels, comes a story of love, family, & the price of forgiveness, for readers of Diane Chamberlain & Lisa Scottoline.

The past doesn’t stay hidden forever…
In prison, Archie Colbrook spends his time writing letters. Letters addressed to a person against whom he committed terrible, nameless harm. Archie knows he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, & sure, he was only following orders. But does that matter? He still did it.

In a small coastal town of Northern England, Claudia Winters hopes to feel safe for the first time in yrs after fleeing from her abusive husband w/ her mother & daughter. Their new life is supposed to be a fresh start. But Claudia knows the past won’t stay hidden for long—& she can’t help but feel that someone is watching her… & that something terrible is about to happen.

Linked by one irrevocable act of violence, Archie & Claudia’s lives intertwine. Claudia can’t overlook what Archie did to her family—but is forgiveness the only way to truly move on?

Tense, emotional, & gripping, Susan Lewis’s, ‘Forgive Me‘, is a spellbinding story of family & the power of forgiveness. An emotionally compelling, poignant family drama that is a perfect weekend read during these blustery, winter days. It’s available now. Look for it at your local indie bookseller & don’t forget, today is the last day to enter to win a copy of ‘Hadley & Grace‘ so head to my giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post now.

Click HERE to use BookStoreLink.com to find ‘Forgive Me‘ & other books at an Indie Bookstore.
Click HERE to visit Mom Loves Reading on Instagram & LIKE my post there!
Click HERE to visit Susan Lewis’s website.
Click HERE to add ‘Forgive Me’ to your Goodreads lists.

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.