Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Giveaway · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · Thriller · True Crime

Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Featuring ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee’

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Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Thank you @caseycep for my gifted/autographed copy of ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud & the Last Trial of Harper Lee‘ by Casey Cep! (pub 5/7/19)

A New York Times best seller, an Amazon Best Book of May 2019, A Time mag Top 10 Best Non-Fiction book of 2019…

“Nobody recognized her. Harper Lee was well known, but not by sight, and if she hadn’t introduced herself, it’s unlikely that anyone in the courtroom would have figured out who she was.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer & the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering 5 of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from NYC to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own ‘In Cold Blood’, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research 17 yrs earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, & many more working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. 

“But to the apprehensive locals, Lee was everything Capote was not: warm, empathetic, and familiar enough that they felt their stories were safe with her. “Absolutely fantastic lady. I really liked her very much,” Harold Nye, one of the KBI agents who worked on the Clutter case, said of Lee, but of Capote he confessed, “I did not get a very good impression of that little son of a bitch.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Told in 3 parts, The Reverend (thrilling, true-crime), The Lawyer (courtroom drama) & The Writer (short bio on Lee) & equaling pure gold for true crime enthusiasts! It’s an absolutely riveting, all-consuming, well-researched, & utterly gripping story. Richly detailed & full of insight, depth & emotion, it’s just fantastic!

I have 1 hardback copy of for grabs. (**The following is for FYI purpose only. All giveaways entries must be done on the Instagram post. Click HERE to go to @mom_loves_reading on IG now.)

To enter, do the following:
*LIKE this post. (Like some others, too, while you’re here.)
*Must be following @mom_loves_reading
*Tag a couple bookish buds. (unlimited entries, up to 5 tags per comment)

BONUS entries: (5 ea)
*Share this post in your stories & tag me (You can do this daily, 5 entries ea time.)
*RE-post this post on your IG wall & tag me.

Open Internationally. If winner is outside of US, book will be shipped via Amazon or BookDepository. Giveaway begins 8/24 & ends 8/27/20 11:59pm EST. No follow-to-UNfollow or you will be excluded from all future MomLovesReading giveaways, & there are a LOT. Entry on Instagram post only. Giveaway is not affiliated w/ Instagram.

Click HERE to go to IG post!

Casey Cep is a writer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” is her first book. It was an instant New York Times, WSJ, & Indiebound bestseller. The book earned rave reviews from Michael Lewis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Roker, David Grann, and Helen Macdonald. Also ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019, NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY Time, LitHub, Vulture, Glamour, O Magazine, Town and Country, Suspense Magazine, Inside Hook. Casey is currently a staff writer at New York Magazine. You can follow Casey Cep on Twitter (@cncep), Instagram (@caseycep) or visit her website (

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Nonfiction

Blog Tour and Book Review: ‘Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection w/ Your Teenage Daughter’ by Kari Kampakis

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Thank you @thomasnelson @karikampakis & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy & Connection w/ Your Teenage Daughter’! (pub 8/18) And thank you for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

As a mother to 5 (1 daughter- the middle child, & 4 sons- the 2 youngest are twins), I can’t even tell you how many times over the yrs my hubs & I have said “Thank God the twins were boys!” TRUTH! I don’t know if I could survive going through these current teen yrs (again) if my twin sons were daughters. And during a pandemic? I just got chills thinking about it.

Moms are eager for tips and wisdom to help them build strong relationships with their daughters, & Kari Kampakis’s ‘Love Her Well’ gives them ten practical ways to do so, not by changing their daughters but by changing their own thoughts, actions, & mind-set.

For many women, having a baby girl is a dream come true. Yet as girls grow up, the narrative of innocence & joy changes to gloom & doom as moms are told, “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” & handed a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive.

Author & blogger Kari Kampakis suggests it’s time to change the narrative & mind-set that lead moms to parent teen girls with a spirit of defeat, not strength. By improving the foundation, habits, & dynamics of the relationship, mothers can connect with their teen daughters & earn a voice in their lives that allows moms to offer guidance, love, wisdom, & emotional support.

As a mom of four daughters (three of whom are teenagers), Kari has learned the hard way that as girls grow up, mothers must grow up too. In ‘Love Her Well, Kari shares ten ways that moms can better connect with their daughters in a challenging season, including:

  • choosing their words and timing carefully,
  • listening and empathizing with her teen’s world,
  • seeing the good and loving her for who she is,
  • taking care of themselves and having a support system, and more.

This book isn’t a guide to help mothers “fix” their daughters or make them behave. Rather, it’s about a mom’s journey, doing the heart work and legwork necessary to love a teenager while still being a strong, steady parent. Kari explores how every relationship consists of two imperfect sinners, and teenagers gain more respect for their parents when they admit (and learn from) their mistakes, apologize, listen, give grace, and try to understand their teens’ point of view. Yes, teenagers need rules and consequences, but without a connected relationship, parents may never gain a significant voice in their lives or be a safe place they long to return to.

By admitting her personal failures and prideful mistakes that have hurt her relationships with her teenage daughters, Kari gives mothers hope and reminds them all things are possible through God. By leaning on him, mothers gain the wisdom, guidance, protection, and clarity they need to grow strong relationships with their daughters at every age, especially during the critical teen years.

I love the easy way ‘Love Her Well‘ is laid out. Easy to read, short, to the point chapters; inspirational quotes & proverbs; lists (boy, do I love lists!); reflection questions & space to write your answers at the end of each chapter; & so much relevant, useful & easily employable advice from an author who has been on the front lines of raising daughters for many years (she has 4 daughters).

Love Her Well‘ may quite possibly change your life if you are a mother to a teen or pre-teen daughter. It’s insightful, practical, compassionate, & packed with many pearls of relatable wisdom. I will be utilizing some of Kampakis’s advice in my relationship w/ my 22-yr-old as well. Have your pen, highlighter & post-it flags ready when you read this well-written, informational guidebook & be sure to check out Kari’s blog & other books as well. (Links below)

Click HERE to be nice & give my Instagram post a LIKE.
Click HERE to pre-order ‘Love Her Well’ on Amazon. (I also encourage you to shop local indie bookstores first!)
Click HERE to add ‘Love Her Well’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to read more about ’10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know’ also by Kari Kampakis.
Click HERE to read more about ‘Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For’ also by Kari Kampakis.
Click HERE to visit Kari’s Instagram page.
Click HERE to visit Kari’s blog.
Click HERE to visit Kari Kampakis’s podcast, ‘Girl Mom Podcast’.

Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is an author, blogger, & national speaker from Birmingham, Alabama. Her books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know & Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?, have been used widely across the country by teen youth groups & church groups to empower girls through faith.
Kari’s work has been featured on the TODAY Show, TODAY Parents, Yahoo! News, EWTN, Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s blog, The Huffington Post, & other national outlets. She & her husband, Harry, have four daughters & a dog named Lola.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Nonfiction

Blog Tour and Book Review of “All Things Reconsidered” by Knox McCoy

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Thank you @tlcbooktours & @thomasnelson for my gifted copy of ‘All Things Reconsidered‘ by Knox McCoy! (pub 6/2).

If ask just one question, does everything fall apart?
What happens when we question what we think we know?
Will our entire world unravel, leaving us directionless, in a perpetual state of doubt?
Or will discover that our instincts were right the first time around–only now we can articulate more authentically what we know to be true?

Podcaster Knox McCoy is convinced of the power of rethinking, whether we’re reexamining the movies & music we love or our deepest convictions about family & faith. In this laugh-out-loud defense of questioning what we believe, Knox brings his signature humorous, self-deprecating style to these topics & others:

*Are participation trophies truly the scourge of our times?
*Is it really worth it to be a ride-or-die sports fan?
*Where is home, & what does it mean to leave it behind?
*Do we believe in God because of the promise of heaven—or the threat of hell?
*Does prayer work? Is anyone even there?

This book is the catalyst we need to courageously ask the questions that will lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves—& God. It’s time to start reconsidering.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book before I started it, but let me just say, there’s a reason it (& McCoy’s previous book, ‘The Wondering Years’) has a 5-star rating on Amazon…it’s hilarious! I knew right away I’d like it after the first paragraph in the ‘How to Read This Book’ section:
“So, look, in a lot of ways this may be a weird read. First off, it’s not fiction. So it’s already not like the other books because it’s not ‘The Girl Next Door’s Husband’s Wife in Cabin 32 Who Went Missing and May Be Dead or Dying’.”
Like seriously, did he write that spot on for me (& many of you!) or what?

There’s a lot of pop culture references, which I always dig, including many from ‘Hamilton’ which ya’ll know I LOVE! (& if ya don’t know, now ya know… 👈A.Ham reference) Even the footnotes in this book are funny! I found myself annotating/underlining throughout the book, too! McCoy takes things we consider one way, whether it be good or bad, & explains how maybe if we reconsidered it another way, how it will change the way we look at it.

‘All Things Reconsidered’ is a quick, thought-provoking, witty, unexpected, & captivating read. I will be ordering ‘The Wondering Years’ now & listening to ‘The Popcast’ as well!

Click HERE to add ‘All Things Reconsidered‘ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to go to Knox McCoy’s Instagram page.
Click HERE to go to MomLovesReading IG page & give me post a LIKE.
Click HERE to add ‘The Wondering Years‘ to your Goodreads lists.

‘The Wondering Years’ by Knox McCoy (2018, Thomas Nelson)

Yes, you can love God and binge Netflix!
Podcaster Knox McCoy, co-host of The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, tells hilarious stories about how pop culture helped him answer life’s biggest questions in his debut book, The Wondering Years. Through books, television, music and movies, Knox found many of the answers he was searching for about God and why we’re all here.
When you hear the phrase pop culture, you likely think reality television, boy bands or Real Housewives of various cities. While these are elements of popular culture, they aren’t all it has to offer. Pop culture may not cure diseases or make scientific breakthroughs, but it does play a vital role in the story of humanity.
From the first time he was punched in the face to saving dog souls as a canine evangelist, Knox reflects on how pop culture has helped shape his life and carve out the foundation of his faith. While the three cultural tentpoles—the South, the Church, and Sports—defined many aspects of his East Tennessee upbringing, it was pop culture that influenced Knox and his sense of the world at large.

What others are saying about ‘All Things Reconsidered’:

‘It has been my great luck to find Knox McCoy. His effortless, on-the-spot humor, while making me seethe with envy, absolutely translates to the page in All Things Reconsidered. In this book, you will find masterful storytelling, relatable humanity, and an unexpected story about picking up Cheesy Gorditas from Taco Bell in the drive-through with a naked friend. I’m just saying there is a lot in here, all hilarious and surprisingly tender. Knox is an American treasure.’ Jen Hatmaker, author of Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You

‘In a world that worships certainty, Knox McCoy invites us to give our first impressions a second look and reconsider what we thought we knew for sure. With grace-filled humility, hard-won wisdom, and just the right amount of ridicule, Knox’s writing continues to challenge, entertain, and influence the way we talk about what we believe. I adore this book, and I hope Knox continues to write books forever. This statement needs no reconsideration.’ Emily P. Freeman, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Next Right Thing

‘In All Things Reconsidered, Knox McCoy is engaging and imaginative as he paves the way for the rest of us to examine, and perhaps question, long-held ideas that no longer represent how we think, what we believe, or how we feel. In a fast-paced culture like ours, this is the reminder we need if we are to contribute our own thoughtful, creative, and sometimes new ideas to the larger conversation.’ Suzanne Stabile, author of The Path Between Us and coauthor of The Road Back to You

‘Entertaining, thought-provoking, and laugh-out-loud funny. Knox McCoy writes the books Chuck Klosterman would write if he’d grown up going to Sunday school.’ Chad Alan Gibbs, author of Two Like Me and You

‘We live in an age that villainizes changing your mind. Knox is here to reclaim the lost art of reconsideration. He is a thoughtful captain: helping you navigate the shallow coastlines and subterranean waters of the sacred and the secular, with equal weight and precision to each. Release yourself from the stigma of stubborn and inflexible beliefs and allow yourself to consider again, with Knox as your guide and All Things Reconsidered as your map.’ Erin Moon, author of Every Broken Thing: A Lent and Holy Week Guide to Answering Ecclesiastes

‘In his thoughtful new work, a ‘celebration of recalibration,’ Knox McCoy manages once again to unite comedy and candor, penning serious reflections that are seriously funny. His reflections on introversion and the Enneagram had me in tears, I was laughing so hard.’ Anne Bogel, author of Don’t Overthink It and I’d Rather Be Reading

‘This is the perfect book at the perfect time. For people weary of the us-versus-them culture, Knox offers smart, funny, and thoughtful permission to reconsider our lives with a kind posture, exemplifying how we can do the same for our own people.’ Kendra Adachi, author of The Lazy Genius Way

Knox McCoy loves laughing & making people laugh. Really anything that’s laughter-adjacent, he’s into.
He’s also super into the word swashbuckling, & his dream is to one day use it in a bio. Knox began podcasting in 2011 as a way to talk more about popular culture, & to his extreme surprise, he’s still doing via The Popcast with Knox & Jamie & The Bible Binge. As a resident of the South, Knox’s heritage is to enjoy football & barbecue, & he does so with great passion. He also enjoys zombie movies, police procedurals, & a good Netflix binge. Knox lives with his wife & three kids in Birmingham, Alabama, where he works as the swashbuckling cofounder of The Popcast Media Group.

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, 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 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!