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!

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📚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.

Book Reviews · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review and Feature: ‘Little Deadly Secrets’ by Pamela Crane

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘ by Pamela Crane! (pub 8/18)

From USA Today bestselling author Pamela Crane comes an addictively readable domestic suspense novel!

Mackenzie, Robin, & Lily have been inseparable forever, sharing life’s ups & downs & growing even closer as the years have gone by. They know everything about each other. Or so they believe.

Nothing could come between these three best friends…
Except for a betrayal.

Nothing could turn them against each other…
Except for a terrible past mistake.

Nothing could tear them apart…
Except for murder.

This is my first Pamela Crane novel & it definitely will not be my last! ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘ is a twisty, perfectly paced, all-consuming & unputdownable domestic suspense/thriller that you will probably read in one sitting. I had to pry myself away from it a couple nights ago so I could get a few hours of sleep. (And then when I did get to bed, the book was all I could think about & look forward to getting back to over coffee in the morning!)

The book kind of gave me ‘Pretty Little Liars‘ (the later years) meets ‘Big Little Lies‘. Literally everyone in this book has some major secrets & wowsa…some of them are explosive ones! This book grabs you from the first few pages & does not disappoint. ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘ is chock full of all the lies, deception, secrets, betrayal & revenge that readers look for in this genre. It’s utterly mind-blowing & will surface mixed emotions as you read it. Highly recommend this one!

PS, tonight is the last day to enter the 2-book giveaway on Instagram (click HERE to go that post.) Also, be sure to enter yesterday’s Murderino Monday True Crime giveaway also on Instagram (click HERE to go that post) & there are even MORE coming soon!

What others are saying about ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘:

“Crane succeeds at painting families and friendships in vivid detail; women will see their tussles and triumphs in these pages, and will relish the twists and moments of brave camaraderie and bold revenge… A satisfying read that has echoes of Liane Moriarty and of Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted.” – Booklist

“Pamela Crane’s anthem to female friendship and the empowerment of women proves one thing. Friends will do anything for each other…including lie, cheat in bed, and kill. Crane’s deft treatment of this theme makes the besties in Little Deadly Secrets friends you’d want as your own…despite the fizzy cocktail of secrecy, betrayal, and deception they pour on every page. This novel is a read for our tumultuous times.” – Jenny Milchman, Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of Cover of Snow and The Second Mother

Little Deadly Secrets has one of the most chilling opening scenes I’ve ever read, and the tension keeps right on building. My advice: don’t read this book…unless you’re prepared not to put it down until you’re finished!” – New York Times Bestselling Author Wendy Corsi Staub

 “I loved it!  It’s so well written, with sharply observed characters and the kind of fast-paced, twisty plot that keeps you turning the pages…” – Sunday Times and international bestselling author Debbie Howells

“There is always great depth to Pamela’s writing and this is no exception. Amidst a cleverly constructed psychological thriller that pulls you along from one page to the next, we are treated to the deconstruction of a friendship between Robin, Mackenzie and Lily. It’s sad, infuriating but fascinating too. Once Pamela has pulled it all together, and the pieces fit into place you are left with a brilliantly told tale, a mystery is solved, and justice is served but what of the friendship…? You’ll have to read it to find out but I promise, you won’t be disappointed.” – bestselling author Patricia Dixon

PAMELA CRANE is a professional juggler. Not one who can toss flaming torches in the air (though how cool would that be?), but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, & a book editor by trade. She lives on the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about their wild adventures while trying to train him) & she writes on the edge…where her sanity resides. Her USA Today best-selling Mental Mommy books unravel flawed women—some she knows, some she creates—& they aren’t always pretty. In fact, her characters are rarely pretty, which makes them interesting…& perfect for doing crazy things worth writing about. When she’s not cleaning horse stalls or changing diapers, she’s psychoanalyzing others.
Visit her at:
http://www.pamelacrane.com
http://www.facebook.com/Author.Pamela.Crane/
http://www.instagram.com/author.pamela.crane/

Book Reviews · Fiction

Book Review: “Pale” by Edward A Farmer (pub 5/19)

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Thank you @blackstonepublishing (partner) for my gifted copy of “Pale“, the impressive debut novel by Edward A Farmer! (pub date 5/19).

Some things just don’t keep well inside this house …”

The summer of 1966 burned hot across America but nowhere hotter than the cotton fields of Mississippi. Finding herself in a precarious position as a black woman living alone, Bernice accepts her brother Floyd’s invitation to join him as a servant for a white family & she enters the web of hostility and deception that is the Kern plantation household.

The secrets of the house are plentiful yet the silence that has encompassed it for so many years suddenly breaks with the arrival of the harvest & the appearance of Jesse & Fletcher to the plantation as cotton pickers. These two brothers, the sons of the house servant Silva, awaken a vengeful seed within the Missus of the house as she plots to punish not only her husband but Silva’s family as well. When the Missus starts flirting with Jesse, she sets into motion a dangerous game that could get Jesse killed & destroy the lives of the rest of the servants.

Bernice walks the fine line between emissary & accomplice, as she tries her best to draw secrets from the Missus’s heart, while using their closeness to protect the lives of the people around her. Once the Missus’s plans are complete, families will be severed, loyalties will be shattered, & no one will come out unscathed.

With a dazzling voice & rich emotional tension, “Pale” explores the ties that bind & how quickly humanity can fade & return us to primal ways.

Farmer is such a very talented storyteller & writer, it is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. “Pale” slowly builds tension & suspense with its complex, riveting & emotionally engaging prose. Family secrets, betrayal, lies & a woman hellbent on vindication & revenge, no matter who gets hurt on the way.

Pale” is powerful, gritty, atmospheric & utterly gripping from start to finish. Farmer is definitely a writer that we can expect more great stories from in the future. Kudos on this debut! “Pale” is available now, so add it to your TBR list & get it from your local indie bookseller today! Use BookStoreLink to find this book & others at a local or online independent bookstore. Click HERE to get started. You can also click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list.

What others are saying about “Pale“:

”More than once I had to remind myself to take a deep breathe while reading Pale. It’s a slow walk through a poetic dream, or rather an inescapable nightmare. Edward Farmer deftly portrays characters that are trapped by choices other people made long ago. A beautiful exploration of the tension between choices and circumstances. The evil of intergenerational racism is revealed by the preference to live in a quicksand of hatred, to choose slow vengeance over breaking free.” —Laila Ibrahim, bestselling author of Yellow Crocus

”Edward A. Farmer’s novel, Pale, takes readers on a twisting, turning journey of unexpected passions, forbidden love, and practiced cruelty. His sumptuous prose creates an operatic vision of life on a cotton plantation in 1960s Mississippi, a world on the cusp of great change that many of its characters resist with all their power. Farmer’s debut marks the emergence of an exciting new voice in American fiction.” —May-lee Chai, author of Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories and Dragon Chica

”Edward Farmer’s powerful debut, Pale, lures you in with its atmospheric prose, grabbing hold gently and then slowly tightening its emotional grip with each page. His main character, Bernice, must navigate Mississippi plantation life circa 1966 with its deeply embedded racism and well-established patriarchy, as well as the complex tensions between both Mr. and Mrs. Kerns and their servants. It’s a beautifully wrought novel, with each character sensitively drawn, exposing the lasting effects of trauma. Farmer is a writer to watch!” —John Copenhaver, author of the Macavity Award-winning Dodging and Burning

”Edward A. Farmer’s Pale is a novel that surges full force into the power of language. The music of the words builds and builds, rendering tension as thick as the humid Mississippi air. The characters overflow with this music, driven by intense passions, often to the point of madness. They try to make melody of circumstance and loss, but instead find only dissonance. Farmer orchestrates this story with the genius of a maestro, only releasing the reader through a deft and lovely resolution in the novel’s final pages. A striking debut by an author to watch.” —Zach Powers, author of First Cosmic Velocity and Gravity Changes

”Farmer’s debut captures the delicate and dangerous lose-lose reality of a person in Bernice’s position … Farmer opens with cotton imagery and returns to it throughout, disallowing any visions of beautiful, puffy whiteness … The story’s rewards and Bernice’s experience are important.” —Booklist

Edward A. Farmer is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, where he journaled and cultivated stories his entire childhood. He is a graduate of Amherst College with a degree in English and psychology, and recipient of the MacArthur-Leithauser Travel Award for creative writing. He currently lives and writes in Pasadena, California. Pale is his first novel.

Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Burning” by Megha Majumdar

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Thank you @aaknopf & @shelf.awareness for my gifted copy of “A Burning” by Megha Majumdar! (pub date 6/2) (Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads list.)

For readers of Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, & Jhumpa Lahiri, an electrifying debut novel about three unforgettable characters who seek to rise—to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies—and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India.

Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, & finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice & dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth & hope & humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, & riveting from its opening lines, “A Burning” has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting.

Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, & what it feels like to face profound obstacles & yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism.

An extraordinary debut.

**Everyone has a right to their opinion, but there are things you just can’t post on social media or any online forum, whether jokingly or not, without possibly being flagged as a terrorist by your government or invoking a visit to your home from the FBI, maybe even arrested. This story is about what happens when one young woman, Jivan, shares a video & posts a seemingly innocent comment on Facebook.


Set in present day India & told from 3 POV’s, there’s a reason this book was selected as a June BOTM. Click HERE to use my referral & join Book-of-the-Month & add this book to your first monthly box. (See one of my previous BOTM posts for all of the wonderful benefits to joining BOTM.)

Relevant, propulsive, positively captivating, & often witty, “The Burning” is an exceptionally well-written & thought-provoking, debut novel that you can zip through in a couple sittings. It’s just that good! Use BookStoreLink.com to find this book & any others at a local, independent bookstore. Click HERE to find “A Burning“.

More editorial reviews of “The Burning“:

#1 Indie Next Pick for June

One of the most anticipated books of summer by the
Wall Street JournalEntertainment Weekly, Vogue, O, Elle, The Millions, Lit Hub

“Particularly relevant today… entertaining as well as intellectually serious… complex… nuanced… Captures the grainy specificity of life in India.”
The New York Times 

“In her captivating debut novel A Burning, Megha Majumdar presents a powerful corrective to the political narratives that have dominated in contemporary India.”
Time

“Propulsive…ambitious…headlong…beautiful and supple…heartbreaking.”  
The Boston Globe

“Remarkable…Early buzz is already comparing A BURNING to the work of modern literary stars . . . but the voice—or voices—here are entirely Majumdar’s own.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Combines fast-paced plotting with the kind of atmospheric detail one might find in the work of Jhumpa Lahiri or Daniyal Mueenuddin. . . A highly compelling read”
—Vogue

““Majumdar’s explosive first novel is an intimate epic”
—Elle

“A BURNING is an excellently crafted, utterly thrilling novel full of characters that I won’t soon forget.  Megha Majumdar writes about the ripple effects of our choices, the interconnectedness of our humanity, with striking beauty and clarity. A stunning debut.”
—Yaa Gyasi

“Polyphonic…Lovely is a particular gem…brilliant”  —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a novel of now: a beautifully constructed literary thriller from a rare and powerful new voice.”
—Colum McCann

MEGHA MAJUMDAR was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She moved to the United States to attend college at Harvard University, followed by graduate school in social anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. She works as an editor at Catapult, and lives in New York City. A Burning is her first book. Follow her on Twitter @MeghaMaj and Instagram @megha.maj