About ME · Book Reviews · Fiction · WomensFiction

Happy #ShelfieSunday and Book Review of ‘Daddy: Stories’ by Emma Cline

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Happy Shelfie Sunday & Thank you at @randomhouse for my gifted copy of ‘Daddy: Stories‘ by Emma Cline! (pub 9/1).

This pic features the left half of my window bench bookshelves that my husband built for my bday last yr. Scroll through my feed to see the other side of the room where my big bookshelf is, which he also built last year.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls comes an eagerly anticipated story collection exploring the dark corners of human experience.

An absentee father collects his son from boarding school after a shocking act of violence. A nanny to a celebrity family hides out in Laurel Canyon in the aftermath of a tabloid scandal. A young woman sells her underwear to strangers. A notorious guest arrives at a placid, not-quite rehab in the Southwest.

In ten remarkable stories, Emma Cline portrays moments when the ordinary is disturbed, when daily life buckles, revealing the perversity & violence pulsing under the surface. She explores characters navigating the edge, the limits of themselves & those around them: power dynamics in families, in relationships, the distance between their true & false selves. They want connection, but what they provoke is often closer to self-sabotage.

What are the costs of one’s choices? Of the moments when we act, or fail to act? These complexities are at the heart of ‘Daddy‘, Emma Cline’s sharp-eyed illumination of the contrary impulses that animate our inner lives.

I read Emma Cline’s previous novel, ‘The Girls‘, during the summer of 2016 when it released to very mixed reviews. I was pretty middle ground w/ that book, having not loved it, but also didn’t hate it. In my opinion, ‘Daddy’ is much more intriguing & thought-provoking. I love a well-written book of essays or short stories, preferably non-fiction, & this one had 10 pretty fascinating stories. Each story did leave me wanting more & to know more about the broken people depicted in the short stories.

Some stories were more engaging & provocative than others, but overall ‘Daddy’ is riveting, poignant, glazed in darkness & humor while also making the reader squirm w/ discomfort at times. Oh, & the copy in my pic is an early arc, thus the pale pink color. The actual book is more Mountain Dew yellow. ‘Daddy’ is available now wherever books are sold.

Click HERE to read more about & add ‘Daddy: Stories’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to read more about & add ‘The Girls’ to your Goodreads list.
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(PS: Don’t forget to head to Mom_Loves_Reading on Instagram & enter to win 1 of 3 copies of the psychological suspense novel by Hank Phillipi Ryan, ‘The First to Lie’. Giveaway ends tomorrow night! Click HERE to go to that giveaway post now.)

Emma Cline is an American writer and novelist, originally from California. She published her first novel, “The Girls”, in 2016, to positive reviews. The book was shortlisted for the John Leonard Award from the National Book Critics Circle and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.
Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Granta and The Paris Review.
In 2017 Cline was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.

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

BeachReads · Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Booksparks · Fiction

Book Tour and Review: ‘Barbarians at the PTA’

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‘Desperate Housewives’ meets ‘Mean Girls’ was all I needed to hear to inspire me to read Stephanie Newman’s debut novel, ‘Barbarians at the PTA‘, about a mother-daughter duo facing cliques, cyberbullying, & snobs in a wealthy NYC suburb.

Victoria Bryant is starting over. After a rage-inducing scandal & the realization that her dreamy fiancé is faker than a faux Fendi purse, she moves her psychology practice & 10-yr-old daughter, Rachel, to Mayfair Close, an idyllic Westchester, NY, suburb known for its manicured lawns & excellent schools.

The transition is initially seamless; several PTA moms befriend Victoria, her already busy practice booms, & Rachel finds a group of friends. But before anyone can say “helicopter mom,” in walks Lee DeVry. Wealthy, glamorous & perfectly toned, the PTA president is everything Victoria is not.

Vic tries to fit in w/ Lee & the other SUV driving, athleisure-wearing mothers. At first, she manages to balance the demands of her practice, single parenthood, & her budding romance w/ Jim, a handsome school administrator. All seems well until Rachel is suddenly targeted, first by the girls at school, & then by an anonymous cyberbully. As Rachel spirals, becoming isolated, playing hooky, & exhibiting signs of depression & disordered eating, Victoria vows to find out who has been messing w/ her daughter.

After she learns a secret that will help her rescue her child, Vic faces the ultimate dilemma: should she expose the bully publicly, despite the potential consequences to her professional reputation & relationships w/ Rachel & Jim?

A witty, sharp, & hope-filled debut, ‘Barbarians at the PTA‘ will have you cheering for badass moms everywhere who go to the ends of the earth for their children—& will leave you wanting more from Dr. Stephanie Newman.

Having the insight & fortitude of a psychologist & mother, Newman nails it in this book w/ the all too realistic scenarios & heart-breaking challenges of being a parent to a child who is being bullied at school & online, not just by peers, but by over-involved, competitive mothers. One of my fave comedies is ‘Bad Moms‘ & this book compares to that movie, but on a more serious level, & balanced out w/ humor, twists & sass.

Barbarians at the PTA‘ makes a great summer (or back to school time) read & is available now. Look for it at your local indie stores today! And Thank You to Booksparks for inviting me on the virtual book tour & to Stephanie Newman & SkyHorse Publishing for the autographed copy of the the book!

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · WomensFiction

Book Review: ‘Impersonation’ by Heidi Pitlor

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Thank you @algonquinbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Impersonation‘ by Heidi Pitlor! Pub Day was a couple days ago on 8/18 so Happy Belated Book Birthday, too!

Book Synopsis:
Allie Lang is a professional ghostwriter and a perpetually broke single mother to a young boy. Years of navigating her own and America’s cultural definitions of motherhood have left her a lapsed idealist. Lana Breban is a powerhouse lawyer, economist, and advocate for women’s rights with designs on elected office. She also has a son. Lana and her staff have decided she needs help softening her public image and that a memoir about her life as a mother will help.

When Allie lands the job as Lana’s ghostwriter, it seems as if things will finally go Allie’s way. At last, she thinks, there will be enough money not just to pay her bills but to actually buy a house.

After years of working as a ghostwriter for other celebrities, Allie believes she knows the drill: she has learned how to inhabit the lives of others and tell their stories better than they can.

But this time, everything becomes more complicated. Allie’s childcare arrangements unravel; she falls behind on her rent; her subject, Lana, is better at critiquing than actually providing material; and Allie’s boyfriend decides to go on a road trip toward self-discovery. But as a writer for hire, Allie has gotten too used to being accommodating. At what point will she speak up for all that she deserves?  

A satirical, incisive snapshot of how so many of us now live, Impersonation tells a timely, insightful, and bitingly funny story of ambition, motherhood, and class.

Impersonation’ takes place in the months leading up to the last presidential election in 2016 & in 2017. The story touches on feminism, motherhood, struggling to make ends meet, & accountability for ones actions. It’s a fast-paced, nuanced, funny, & thought-provoking story that is unflinching & well-written. A provocative story of two women caught up in one another’s life, & together they make the perfect feminist mother!

Impersonation‘ is available now. Apple Books has even chosen ‘Impersonation’ as one of the Best Books of August!
Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to visit Heidi Pitlor‘s Instagram.
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About the Author:
Heidi Pitlor is the author of the novels The Birthdays and The Daylight Marriage. She has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 2007 and the editorial director of Plympton, a literary studio. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Huffington PostPloughshares, and the anthologies It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art and Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers. She lives outside Boston

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Fiction · OwnVoices

Book Tour and Review of: ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

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Thank you @bookclubbish #parkrowbooks (partner) for my gifted copy of ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ by Nancy Jooyoun Kim & for inviting me on the #Bookstagram Tour! (book release date 9/1)

A profoundly moving & unconventional mother-daughter saga, ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee illustrates the devastating realities of being an immigrant in America.

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, & 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 & 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 & 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.

Told through the intimate lens of a mother & daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ is a powerful & exquisitely woven debut novel that explores identity, family, secrets, & what it truly means to belong.

Told in alternating POV’s (the past & present, Mina & Margot), this is a story that will make a home in your heart for years to come. This book would make an excellent book club choice, too! There are just so many points of discussion in this gorgeous, debut novel.

The Last Story of Mina Lee‘ is a gripping, poignant, & often heartbreaking story about a complex mother-daughter relationship: an immigrant parent’s sacrifices & the mystery surrounding her life & her death, & the daughter who longs to reconnect with & understand her, & who now must do so by unraveling the enigma of her mother’s past. I loved learning more about Korean culture as well in this well-written, #ownvoice novel.

Click HERE to add ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Nancy Jooyoun Kim on Instagram.
Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & show it some LIKE love!

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a graduate of UCLA & the University of Washington, Seattle. Her essays & short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, NPR/PRI’s Selected Shorts, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, The Offing, & elsewhere.

Her debut novel, ‘THE LAST STORY OF MINA LEE’, is forthcoming from Park Row Books/HarperCollins on September 1, 2020.