Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · True Crime

It’s Murderino Monday! (and this one’s a tough one to read/write about…)

It’s Murderino Monday! Thank you @stmartinspress for my gift copy of ‘The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All -American Family & a Shocking Murder’ by John Glatt (pub 7/21) ** Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!**

In The Perfect Father‘, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare….

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return.

But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The perfect mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family’s Facebook accounts was slipping–and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, sexual ambivalence, and boiling rage.

In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.

You guys, this is a really tough story to write about for obvious reasons. It’s been 2 yrs since Watts murdered his family & for several mos. after, you could still see Shannan’s IG page w/ her smiling face, her adorable little girls & her seemingly doting husband, who is truly a heinous, cheating, vile POS. I did look at her IG page & the video of 4 yr old Bella singing in her sweet voice about how wonderful her daddy is & how he is a hero still haunts me & brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Glatt compiled 18 mos of research, evidence, & interviews into this fast-paced, true story. Friends, co-workers & many family members gave interviews & insight on the young Watts family, the debt they were in [even though you would have never guessed it given their lifestyle], Chris’s quiet nature compared to Shannan’s outgoing, social media presence, the bickering parents of both C & S, & just so much more. At times I did feel that there was some victim shaming/blaming going on & making it look like “Poor Chris, he got over-shadowed by his successful wife, so he had an affair, snapped & killed his whole family”, but not necessarily by the author, more so from others.

As a parent this book became especially difficult to read once I hit Part 3. I had to take breaks every couple pages or so & just go do something mundane like wash dishes, get a drink of water, fold some laundry, etc. I’ll never begin to understand how a husband can murder his wife, but I cannot even fathom how a parent can take the lives of their children: innocent, little humans that they themselves helped to create. And even though I knew how this tragic story ended, the last chapter of the book left me w/ a pain in my heart, tears in my eyes, a veritable gut punch. My husband was home, thankfully, & I just had to hug him tightly right away, as if to sanitize the memory from my brain.

What Chris Watts did to his wife & three children (don’t forget, Shannan was pregnant w/ their son to be named Nico) is unthinkably horrific, cowardly & selfish. But the book, ‘The Perfect Father‘, is an unputdownable, chilling, & utterly riveting book that readers will never forget. I will definitely be reading more of John Glatt’s other 21 true crime books in the near future, but I’ll need a break from these sort of books for a couple weeks or so.

Click HERE to add ‘The Perfect Father‘ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find this book at a local independent bookstore.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love so others will see the post & review as well.
Click HERE to go to John Glatt’s website & read more about this book & his others.

Photo by Enrique Pastor

English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and FoundSecrets in the CellarPlaying with Fire, & many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 yrs of experience as an investigative journalist in England & America. Glatt left school at 16 & worked a variety of jobs―including tea boy & messenger―before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English newspapers, then in 1981 moved to New York, where he joined the staff for News Limited & freelanced for publications including Newsweek & the New York Post. His first book, a biography of Bill Graham, was published in 1981, & he published For I Have Sinned, his first book of true crime, in 1998. He has appeared television & radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Current Affair, BBC World, and A&E Biography. He & his wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains & London.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Giveaway · Romance · WomensFiction

Big Giveaway of ‘Big Summer’ on IG…it’s kind of a BIG deal!

Click HERE to go to the giveaway on IG

Happy Saturday folks! This blog post should have went out yesterday, but sometimes real life just gets in the way of my cyber-life, so as the saying goes, ‘A day late, & a dollar short…’🤷🏼

GIVEAWAY TIME! Thank you @atriabooks @jenniferweinerwrites for my cool gift set, including one of my favorite #beachreads of the year, ‘Big Summer‘!

Monday is Labor Day here in the US, which many people consider the ‘unofficial’ end of summer & in my touristy town off Lake Erie, things really die down after this wkends holiday, which is both good & bad.

Speaking of ‘good’, here’s a perfect summer beach read that was released back in early May…’Big Summer‘. (Oh, & it’s pronounced WHY-ner, not WE-ner like a hotdog. Carry on…)

New York Times #1 Bestselling author Jennifer Weiner returns w/ an unforgettable novel about friendship & forgiveness set during a disastrous wedding on picturesque Cape Cod.

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely & successful as ever, w/ a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken 1 word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in HS. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs & pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud & online, & the resilience of the human heart, ‘Big Summer‘ is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, & figuring out what matters most…(oh, & someone gets murdered, so there’s an intriguing mystery, too!)

I really enjoyed this book! It’s masterfully woven w/ complex characters, atmosphere, suspense, spice & will give you all the feels! This book is so much more nuanced than it’s cute cover & back cover description. The audiobook is really well done as well!

One winner will receive a copy of the book & some fun swag to go w/ it.

(👉🏻Important: Please note that the giveaway takes place on Instagram ONLY. The info in this blog post is for FYI purposes only. Click HERE to go to the giveaway on Instagram.)

To enter: (US residents only, Entry on IG only)
1-LIKE this post. –
2-Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @jenniferweinerwrites
3-Tag some friends (Unlimited, up to 2 per com, ea tag is an entry)
Bonus 5 entries-
Share to your stories or page & tag me. Can do daily.
Giveaway ends 9/7 11:59pm EST & is not affiliated w/ Instagram. Please don’t UNfollow after giveaway which is just so rude & because I hold a grudge like it’s my job, you will get banned from all future MomLovesReading giveaways.

So there ya have it! My BIG ‘Big Summer‘ giveaway sponsored by Atria Publishing. Now I’m just hoping Jenn Weiner SHARES my post on her IG page with her 46.5K followers! (Atria shared it in their stories yesterday with their 85.5K followers.😉👍🏻)

Click HERE to go to the giveaway on Instagram. (& even if you aren’t entering, you can do me a solid & just LIKE and/or SHARE the post. Please & Thank you!)
Click HERE to add ‘Big Summer’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit J-Weiner on the IG.

Click HERE to go to giveaway on IG

Here’s what others are saying about ‘Big Summer’:

Sexy and satisfying. . . Observant, self-aware, and very funny, Big Summer will delight Jennifer Weiner’s many fans and could be just the absorbing take-me-away read so many of us need right now.” USA Today

“It’s the beach read to end all beach reads.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Part dissection of female friendships, part murder mystery, part social-media tutorial, part love story and—the best of them all—part portrait of an overweight, under-confident striver. Daphne is an endearing creation: funny, plucky, willing to acknowledge certain critical lapses in judgment and eminently worthy of the love that she is certain will never come her way.” —The Wall Street Journal

“It’s deliciously fun: frothy entertainment with surprising depth.Big Summer is big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is, rather than what it could look like on Instagram.” —The Washington Post

“Everything you’d hope to find in a beach read: complicated female friendships, unhappy rich people, a hardworking heroine with an eye for fashion, and an Instagram-worthy setting for an over-the-top wedding on Cape Cod.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Weiner is deft at plumbing the depths of female friendship and developing characters readers will care about. This highly recommended book willappeal not only to the author’s fans but also to a new audience looking for a fresh take on women’s fiction.” —Library Journal (starred)

“Weiner’s story of female friendships (after Mrs. Everything) mixes a splash of romance, a dash of humor, and a pinch of mystery to create a deliciously bloody poolside cocktail. Weiner’s surprising tale is hard to put down.” Publishers Weekly

“If you love Jennifer Weiner, you’ll love this one. And if you’re a newbie, start here.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The perfect beach read . . . A funny and tender examination of female friendship in all of its messy glory.”—PopSugar

“A new story perfect for summer… Weiner’s lighthearted, moving tale takes readers on a journey that explores the complexities of female friendship.” —The Hollywood Reporter

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of seventeen books, including Mrs. Everything, the children’s book The Littlest Bigfoot, and an essay collection, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com

Book Reviews · Fiction · Giveaway · HistoricalFiction

Giveaway Time! (2) AMAZING books by Tiffany McDaniel!

Click HERE to go to giveaway!

Giveaway Time!! Thank you @aaknopf for my gifted copy of ‘Betty‘ by the talented Tiffany McDaniel! And Thank you to Tiffany for the paperback copy (not shown) for the giveaway! (pub 8/18)

“A girl comes of age against the knife.”

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father & white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty & violence–both from outside the family, & also, devastatingly, from within. The lush landscape, rich w/ birdsong, wild fruit, & blazing stars, becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family’s darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties & incredible characters she encounters in her rural town of Breathed, Ohio.

But despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, & her father’s brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, & in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family’s past & present w/ pen & paper & buries them deep in the dirt–moments that had stung her so deeply, she could not tell them, until now.

Inspired by the life of her own mother, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by telling this heartbreaking yet magical story–a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the freshest & most important voices in American fiction.

I have only just begun reading ‘Betty‘ & it is what I expected it to be after having read Tiffany’s previous novel of literary fiction, ‘The Summer That Melted Everything‘. It’s absolutely stunning, profoundly moving, heart-wrenchingly raw, & w/ hauntingly poetic prose that builds an entirely authentic world w/in its pages that will utterly consume you.

I will post more about her previous novel soon, but in the meantime, who wants to win a copy of BOTH books? (**Please note: the following information is for FYI only. All entries must be made on Instagram on the giveaway post. Click HERE to go to @mom_loves_reading now)

To enter: (US only)

*Like this post (& maybe some other posts, too while you’re here)
*Must be following @mom_loves_reading & @aaknopf
*Tag a couple friends (Unlimited entries, up to 5 tags per comment)

Bonus entries (5 ea):
*Share post in your feed or stories & tag me. (can be done daily)
*Follow me & share on FB (Mom_Loves_Reading)
*Follow me & retweet on Twitter (momlovesreading)
*Follow my blog (link in bio) & comment on the giveaway post.

US residents only. Giveaway begins 8/21 & ends 8/25 at 11:59pm EST. One winner will get a paperback copy of The Summer That Melted Everything from me (courtesy of Ms McDaniels) & a hardback copy of Betty from Knopf. Giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram. Following then UNfollowing MomLovesReading will get you banned from all future MLR giveaways, & there are a LOT! Giveaway entries on Instagram post only.

The Summer That Melted Everything: (2016, St Martins Press)

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984:
the year a heatwave scorched the small town of Breathed, Ohio.
The year he became friends with the devil.

When local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes an invitation to the devil to come to the country town of Breathed, Ohio, nobody quite expected that he would turn up. They especially didn’t expect him to turn up a tattered and bruised thirteen-year-old boy.

Fielding, the son of Autopsy, finds the boy outside the courthouse and brings him home, and he is welcomed into the Bliss family. The Blisses believe the boy, who calls himself Sal, is a runaway from a nearby farm town. Then, as a series of strange incidents implicate Sal — and riled by the feverish heatwave baking the town from the inside out — there are some around town who start to believe that maybe Sal is exactly who he claims to be.

But whether he’s a traumatised child or the devil incarnate, Sal is certainly one strange fruit: he talks in riddles, his uncanny knowledge and understanding reaches far outside the realm of a normal child — and ultimately his eerily affecting stories of Heaven, Hell, and earth will mesmerise and enflame the entire town.

Devastatingly beautiful, The Summer That Melted Everything is a captivating story about community, redemption, and the dark places where evil really lies.

Click HERE to add ‘Betty’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Summer that Melted Everything’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Tiffany McDaniel’s website.
Click HERE to go to the book giveaway on Instagram.

Tiffany McDaniel is a novelist, poet, and visual artist born and raised in Ohio. She is the author of The Summer That Melted Everything and BETTY.
http://www.tiffanymcdaniel.com

Book Reviews · Giveaway

Heads up! Giveaway starting today on IG…

Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden

GIVEAWAY!! Thank you @atriabooks (#partner) for my gifted copy of “Adequate Yearly Progress” by Roxanna Elden & for sponsoring this giveaway!

Roxanna Elden’s satire is a brilliantly entertaining & moving look at our education system..Each new school year brings familiar challenges to Brae Hill Valley, a struggling high school in one the biggest cities in Texas. But the teachers also face plenty of personal challenges and this year, they may finally spill over into the classroom.

English teacher Lena Wright, a spoken-word poet, can never seem to truly connect with her students. Hernan D. Hernandez is confident in front of his biology classes, but tongue-tied around the woman he most wants to impress. Down the hall, math teacher Maybelline Galang focuses on the numbers as she struggles to parent her daughter, while Coach Ray hustles his troubled football team toward another winning season.

Recording it all is idealistic second-year history teacher Kaytee Mahoney, whose anonymous blog gains new readers by the day as it drifts ever further from her in-class reality. And this year, a new superintendent is determined to leave his own mark on the school—even if that means shutting the whole place down.

“Gossip Girl” meets “The Office” but in an urban high school…sounds intriguing, eh?I LOVED this book so much! I already have a few teacher friends asking to borrow my copy after they heard about this book! “Adequate Yearly Progress” is funny, clever, engaging, & heart-warming & will have you thanking all the teachers in your life for all of their sacrifices & their service! Fans of @LaurieGelman ‘s “Class Mom” series will love this book! 

Giveaway will begin at 10:00am EST on Instagram.