Blog Tour · Nonfiction

Blog Tour for “The Opposite of Certainty: Fear, Faith and Life In Between” by Janine Urbaniak Reid

Thank you @wpublishing @thomasnelson @janineurbanurbaniakreid & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of “The Opposite of Certainty” which published on May 12th.

What happens when we can no longer pretend that the ground underfoot is bedrock and the sky above predictable?

All Janine Urbaniak Reid ever wanted was for everyone she loved to be okay so she might relax and maybe be happy. Her life strategy was simple: do everything right. This included trying to be the perfect mother to her three kids so they would never experience the kind of pain she pretended not to feel growing up. What she didn’t expect was the chaos of an out-of-control life that begins when her young son’s hand begins to shake.

The Opposite of Certainty is the story of Janine’s reluctant journey beyond easy answers and platitudes. She searches for a source of strength bigger than her circumstances, only to have her circumstances become even thornier with her own crisis. Drawn deeply and against her will into herself, and into the eternal questions we all ask, she discovers hidden reserves of strength, humor, and a no-matter-what faith that looks nothing like she thought it would. 

Beautifully written and deeply hopeful, Janine shows us how can we come through impossible times, transformed and yet more ourselves than we’d ever allowed ourselves to be.

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads TBR

I found this story utterly compelling, touching, & heartbreaking, but also very heartwarming, uplifting, & inspiring. I have a family member who went through something similar with her son many years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer & she was raising 5 kids. The sleeplessness coupled with daily fatigue, battles with insurance companies & what they will or won’t cover, the daily uncertainty of what each new day will bring. Her son, just like Janine’s, was eventually cured, but the stress of it all really took a toll on my family member’s own health.

“The Opposite of Uncertainty” is a memoir about one mother’s deeply emotional & personal journey through motherhood, letting go of perfectionism & struggling with feelings of hopelessness & overwhelming fear after her son is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Advocating for a proper diagnosis & treatment for him while navigating the healthcare system, Janine details the ups & downs she went through daily trying to get her son the care he needed & while trying to be what she considered a perfect wife & mother.

I couldn’t put this book down. It just resonated with me & spoke to my very soul, not to mention that I, too, have a son named Mason, who has autism & has also given us some pretty frightening health scares in his lifetime. This book also reminds me of the old saying, “God only gives us what we can handle.” Sometimes all the little things that are overwhelming & emotionally exhausting you really are just that…little things, & we get reminded of that when the big things come at us out of nowhere to give us that reality check. “The Opposite of Certainty” is more than just a medical memoir. It will also lift your spirits & help you learn to live in the present, not the past or future, & be mindful about how much time & energy you are really wasting on the trivial aspects of your existence.

This book is so well written & articulated, you will want to reread it as soon as you finish it! Beautiful, inspirational & motivational, this book is already available for purchase. You can also read a sneak-peek of the book at the author’s website, JanineUrbaniakReid.com. You can also use BookStoreLink to find this book & others at a local independent bookstore. Many of them offer curbside pick up, home delivery or e-commerce sales.

Reviews from other authors:

‘The diagnosis of life-threatening illness is one of the most terrifying challenges any family or individual can face. Anger, resentment, fear, and loneliness rise up ready to do battle with hope, and all are made more powerful by love. The Opposite of Certainty is a deeply personal memoir about such a journey, told with brutal honesty and so much grace it will touch your soul.’ –Jacqueline Winspear, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, and nine other novels featuring Maisie Dobbs

‘A beautiful sucker punch, like life. When the ground crumbles beneath your hopes, big dreams, and great expectations, what do you stand on and for? Where do you find the strength to keep going? You find it in this gem of a book.’ –Ron Fournier, New York Times bestselling author of Love That Boy

‘Somedays it’s doughnuts and hot coffee. Other days it’s gurneys and scans. That’s true of almost every full life. Here’s the good news: observant and warm, the writing of Janine Urbaniak Reid is the finest company on both kinds of days.’ –Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me More and The Middle Place

About the Author

Janine Urbaniak Reid was born in Chicago and grew up in California. Before she began raising a family and then writing full-time, she was vice president of a San Francisco public relations firm.

Janine has been published in the Washington PostChicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle and is widely syndicated. Hoping to bring humanity into the healthcare discussion by sharing her experience as a mother of a son with a brain tumor, she penned a piece for the Post that went viral. She has been interviewed on national news networks and continues her work as a spokeswoman for healthcare justice.

Janine writes about her imperfect life, what connects us, and addresses the question of what it means to love fiercely in a sometimes dangerous and always uncertain world.

Janine is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and lives in Northern California with her family and a motley assortment of pets. She attends St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City: all are welcome.

For more information, please visit JanineUrbaniakReid.com. You can also connect with Janine at Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Everything is Under Control” by Phyllis Grant

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Thank you @fsgbooks for my gifted copy of the new release, ‘Everything is Under Control‘! (pub date 4/21).

“What a beautiful, rich, & poetic memoir this is. Phyllis Grant writes of longing, suffering, celebration, family, & food with such delicate power. Like the best chefs, she knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, & love. This is a wonderful book.”–Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.

From Amazon

Phyllis Grant’s ‘Everything Is Under Control‘ is a memoir about appetite–as it comes, goes, & refocuses its object of desire. With sparse, affecting prose, & an unsparing eye toward her, & her environment’s, darkest corners, Grant’s story follows the sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged, always revealing contours of her life: from her days as a dancer struggling to find her place at Juilliard, to her experiences in & out of four-star kitchens in New York City, to falling in love with her future husband & leaving the city after 9/11 for California where her children are born. All the while, a sense of longing roils in each stage as she moves through the headspace of a young woman longing to be sustained by a city, to a mother now sustaining a family herself.

Written with the raw transparency of a diarist, ‘Everything Is Under Control’ is an unputdownable series of vignettes followed by tried-and-true recipes from Grant’s table–a heartrending yet unsentimental portrait of the highs & lows of young adulthood, motherhood, & a life in the kitchen.

From Amazon

This is a short book, like 200ish pages, & 20+ of them are recipes. But I will tell you this, I felt like I read a much lengthier novel (in a good way) after I finished this book (in like 1.5 hours) & I found myself wanting to know more about this person. When I first started the book I wasn’t too sure about the writing style & but then it grew on me as I felt myself drawn into Phyllis Grant’s life.

Everything is Under Control” is written in powerful vignettes, kind of diary style without specific dates. Grant takes us on a grounding, eye-opening, raw, & uninhibited journey through her life, introduces us to some amazing sounding food along the way, & poetically describes what it’s like to go through post-partum depression & dysphoria, an eating disorder, an abortion, & more. Yes, there are some heavy subjects in this beautiful book, but Grant writes about these subjects with masterful, unflinching honesty.

From Amazon

I encourage you to read this book for yourself & see why sometimes short can be more than just sweet. The recipes at the back of the book all sound wonderful & I am definitely going to try making a few. Which brings me to my favorite quote in the entire book, that truly reasonated with me:.”When I cook, I am calm. And confident. Baking works. You just follow the rules. There is comfort in logic.”

Be sure to use BookStoreLink to find this book at an independent bookseller. Many have curbside pick-up, home delivery & e-commerce sites. They need our sales now more than ever!

And as always…stay home, stay safe, stay sane. Now go wash your hands!

(and PS….don’t forget to enter to win TWO true-crime books on my Instagram page. Click HERE to go there now!

Blog Tour · Book Reviews

Blog Tour and Book Review for “My Name is Tani…And I Believe in Miracles” by Tanitoluwa Adewumi

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Thank you @tlcbooktours & @thomasnelson for my gifted copy of “My Name is Tani...& I Believe in Miracles: The Amazing True Story of One Boy’s Journey From Refugee to Chess Champion”!

Tani Adewumi didn’t know what Boko Haram was or why they had threatened his family. All he knew was that when his parents said the family was going to America, Tani thought it was the start of a great adventure rather than an escape. In truth, his family’s journey to the United States was nothing short of miraculous—& the miracles were just beginning.

Tani’s father, Kayode, became a dishwasher & Uber driver while Tani’s mother, Oluwatoyin, cleaned buildings, while the family lived in a homeless shelter. Eight-year-old Tani jumped into his new life with courage & perseverance—& an unusual mind for chess.

Tanitoluwa Adewumi

After joining the chess club in his public school, Tani practiced his game for hours in the evenings at the shelter. Then he began competing in the ultra-exclusive chess clubs of New York City. And winning—again & again. And then, less than a year after he learned to play, Tani won the New York State chess championship.

In “My Name Is Tani . . . and I Believe in Miracles, Tani & his parents tell us their incredible true story of sacrificing everything for family, living with nothing but hope, & then sharing generously all they received to discover the greatest riches of all. Tani’s triumphant spirit reminds us of the power of kindness & the beauty of unity as we watch for the next miracle to begin.

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list

What an amazing story! (And to think, I have no CLUE how to play chess. Seriously, not even a little. I know there are like rooks & pawns & other pieces, but that’s IT. Sad, I know. I can play checkers though!)

“I don’t know what I’m going to be. My dad says that’s okay. But I do know this much. I believe it miracles.”-Tani Adewumi (quoted from the book)

This boy is such an amazing young man! A true inspiration! This story is both impressive & faith-affirming, but the stories about the Boko Haram are also terrifying. (Read more about that group on Google! Crazy stuff, man!).

The young readers addition of the book is also available

The book is narrated by both Tani & his parents & is divided into 5 parts. It’s a quick read with a small section of color photos. A truly heart-warming, awe-inspiring, & captivating novel about a fascinating young man, & how a $5 gift turned out to be a life-changing miracle for him & his family.

This book is now available (released on 4/14) and you can use BookStoreLink to find it at a local, independent bookseller near you.

PS…I have a pretty awesome GIVEAWAY going on now on my Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post now. And as always, stay home, stay safe, stay sane. Now go wash your hands! (and excuse me while I go download an online chess game…)

Book Reviews · Giveaway

Heads-Up…”Murderino Monday” 2 ARC-Book Giveaway going LIVE soon…

Head to my Instagram HERE

This is your official notice that a new giveaway will be starting on my Instagram @Mom_Loves_Reading shortly!

Two advance copies of the above true crime novels, “Losing Jon” & “A Tangled Web”,which release next week are up for grabs today to one winner. All the details will be in the Instagram post, so please head there when the post is live.

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads

PopSugar Best True Crime Book of 2020

“The twists and turns read like a page-turning thriller, but Losing Jon is all fact. This is true crime at the highest of levels. Scary, heartbreaking and completely insightful.”
–Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Escape Artist

David Parrish was in disbelief when he learned that nineteen-year-old Jon Bowie’s body had been found hanged from a backstop at the local high school’s baseball field and the death declared a suicide. David had known Jon and his twin brother since they were boys. He had coached them on the baseball field and welcomed them into his home for sleepovers with his own sons. However, when David learned how Jon’s body was found, he felt compelled to find the facts behind this incomprehensible tragedy.

Soon, David would learn of a brutal incident at a local motel where Jon and his brother had been severely beaten by police officers, the charges filed against those officers, and the months of harassment and intimidation Jon and his brother endured. Few in the utopian community of Columbia, Maryland, believed Jon could commit such a final act. Like many others, David wondered how a fateful night of teens blowing off steam could lead to such a tragic end. As law enforcement failed to find answers and seemed intent on preventing the truth from surfacing, David uncovered a system of cover-ups that could only lead to one conclusion–Jon’s death was an act of murder.

“A true page turner, filled with almost-too-unbelievable-to-be-true details of one community’s fight to find justice for one of its own . . . the issues raised, particularly when it comes to questions of police brutality and cover-ups, are very much relevant today.”
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Pulitzer

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list

In the tradition of her acclaimed mother, Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me, bestselling author Leslie Rule delivers a riveting true story for our time–as she exposes the years-long trail of a sadistic sociopath, identity thief, and killer at the dark heart of a real-life fatal attraction . . .

It was a bleak November in 2012 when Cari Lea Farver vanished from Omaha, Nebraska. Cari, thirty-seven, was a devoted mother, reliable employee, and loyal friend–not the type to shirk responsibilities, abandon her son, and run off on an adventure while her dying father took his last breaths. Yet, the many texts from her phone indicated she had done just that.

It appeared that Cari had dumped her new boyfriend, quit her job, and relinquished custody of her son to her mother–all by text. While Cari’s boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, and her supervisor were bewildered by her abrupt disappearance, they accepted the texts at face value. Her mother, Nancy Raney, however, was alarmed and reported Cari missing. Police were skeptical of her claims that a cyber impostor had commandeered her daughter’s phone and online identity.

While Nancy was afraid for Cari, Dave Kroupa was growing afraid of her, for he believed Cari was stalking him. Never seen or heard, the stalker was aware of his every move and seemed obsessed by his casual girlfriend, Shanna “Liz” Golyar, often calling her “a fat whore” in the twelve thousand emails and texts he received in a disturbing three-year deluge.

How did the stalker know Dave’s phone numbers immediately after he changed them, the names of his lady friends, even what he wore as he watched TV? He and Liz reported death threats, vandalism, and burglaries, but the stalker remained at large. The threats were vicious, vile and often obscene, sent mostly via text and always in Cari’s name. There was some truth in the messages, but all of them contained one big lie. The culprit was not Cari — but had killed and planned to kill again.

With mesmerizing detail and compelling narrative skill, Leslie Rule tracks every step of the heart-pounding path to long-awaited justice–from a sociopath’s twisted past to the deadly deception and the high-tech forensics that condemned the killer to prison, where the tangled web of manipulations still draws trusting souls into danger.

**********

Head over to Instagram soon to enter! In the meantime stay home, stay safe, stay sane. Now go wash your hands!

Book Reviews

Murderino Monday Book Review: “How to Catch a Killer: Hunting and Capturing the World’s Most Notorious Serial Killers”

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Time for a Murderino Monday book! Thank you @sterlingbooks for my gifted copy of “How to Catch a Killer: Hunting & Capturing the World’s Most Notorious Serial Killers” by Katherine Ramsland, PhD!

There are two parts to every crime story: how they did it & why they got caught.This book is about the second part, & how it changes the way we catch serial killers.

No two stories about the capture of a serial killer are the same. Sometimes, the killers make crucial mistakes; other times, investigators get lucky. And the process of profiling, hunting, & apprehending these predators has changed radically over time, particularly in the field of criminal forensics, which has exploded in the last ten to 15 years. Laser ablation, video spectral analysis, cyber-sleuthing, & even DNA-based genetic genealogy are now crucial tools in solving murders, including the recent capture of the so-called Golden State Killer. This first book in the new Profiles in Crime series tells the history of forensics through the “capture stories” of some of the most notorious serial killers, going back almost a century.

How serial killers are profiled, hunted, & caught is equally as compelling as the narratives of the crimes themselves. In “How to Catch a Killer“, the history of forensic innovation, detailed behavioral profiling, & solid police work is told through 30 international “capture stories” of infamous & lesser-known serial killers, from 1898 to 2003.

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list

Some of the killers included in this book are so many of the ones we have all heard of before: Bundy, Dahmer, BTK, the Golden State Killer, Gacy, H H Holmes, Israel Keyes, David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker), Aileen Wuornos, & Ed Kemper, but there are even more that you may never have heard of, but will now haunt your thoughts.

Fun fact: I majored in Forensic Psychology & Criminology for 3 yrs in college (then I got preg w/ my twins & quit school.) I wanted to be a forensic profiler. Now I just read about them, but it all still fascinates the heck out of me & I love reading books like this one, not to mention watching all the serial killer documentaries & listening to podcasts about them as well.

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list

This is such a good read for anyone into the whole “true crime” scene like I am. Be sure to check out some of Ramsland’s other books by clicking HERE. There are so many great ones to choose from! I plan to read several more of her books now. “How to Catch a Killer” is available 4/21. Don’t forget to check with your local indie bookstores to see if they have this book (or any others you may want) or if they will order it for you. They need our help right now more than ever! Click HERE to look for a bookseller near you by using BookStoreLink.com.

Be sure to keep an eye out for my next giveaway on Instagram. I have SO MANY great books lined up for giveaways! Click HERE to go to my Instagram page now & make sure you are following me so you can enter the giveaways. You can also follow me on Facebook by clicking HERE and on Twitter by clicking HERE.

And as always…Stay home, Stay safe, Stay sane! Now go wash your hands!