My Favorite Things (So Far) This Year

June 21st, 2022

The best books, tv, movies, podcasts and products I’ve purchased in 2022!

Hello, my friends! I hope that you’re having a wonderful summer! I thought it might be fun to talk about my favorite things (so far) this year.

Personally, I get bogged down with those end-of-year recaps so I thought a mid-year surprise might be a lovely escape for summer.

Please consider today’s list as INTERACTIVE! Please leave a comment and tell me what’s topped YOUR list this year! It can be anything- books, podcasts, apps, recipes, clothing, organizers- WHATEVER. I love and miss the interactions we share in these spaces.

My Favorite Things (So Far) This Year from MomAdvice.com

My Favorite Things (So Far) This Year

Please keep in mind, these are new-to-me discoveries and may not have been released this year.

The Best Apps of the Year (So Far)

Two apps changed my mental health journey this year and I’m forever grateful.

Loona App

Loóna

I have been struggling with nighttime anxiety and this app came recommended to me by my therapist to help with my sleep anxiety and insomnia.

Friends, it has helped me more than ANYTHING we have tried.

In particular, it has helped so much with my racing thoughts and inability to shutdown.

Throw on a pair of headphones and immerse yourself in these gorgeous interactive sleep stories.

The narrator acts as a guide, giving you directions for coloring in images and you tap the screen to fill in the colors.

As you tap, it has ASMR sounds that are beautifully pleasant as an added reinforcement. Sounds like tapping floor boards, paper shuffling, rocking a chair, or spinning a metal toy- that kind of thing.

The music and narration are just beautiful and will transport you somewhere else.

I don’t use this app only for bed though.

In fact, I’m listening to the work/study music while I type this post.

Other musical options include lullabies, sleep songs, music to wake up to, and calming tunes.

We share an account as a family and every family member has tried (and loved) this app too.

Sunnyside App (formerly Cutback Coach)

Sunnyside App (formerly known as the Cutback Coach App)

Last summer I decided I wanted to reign in my evening drinking habit and I used this app to help reinforce my commitment to myself.

Can some people do it without an app?

Sure!

Did I ever honor a commitment that I didn’t invest into and get spelled out to me in black-and-white?

No, I didn’t.

Each week I would make a commitment to the amount I would drink that week and it would coach me every evening to remind me of that commitment I made to myself. It sent me charts on saved money, sleep hours reclaimed, and calories saved.

Gradually, I went from two drinks in the evening (or more) to being a girl who has a glass of wine on special occasions.

Admittedly, the holidays were weird this year and I now notice how I used alcohol to brave social situations.

It was the hardest and best gift I could have ever given myself to feel so aware of my actions.

Alcohol no longer plays a role in my life really at all and it was because of this app.

The Best Podcasts of the Year (So Far)

You know I have to mention the launch of the Book Gang Podcast (subscribe wherever you get podcasts!). The challenge with podcasting has been making shows AND listening to other people’s shows. That said, these are two that I loved this year.

Maintenance Phase Podcast

Maintenance Phase

When people talk about podcast hosts feeling like friends, I never really got that. I have always been pretty grounded in the separation in these feelings…that is until this podcast came along.

Fun fact that might change how you feel about me- I deeply despise harmful wellness culture and dieting fads.

These hosts, it turns out, do too, and they debunk and explore the myths around these topics in their show. They tackle everything from fad diets that we perceive as healthy to the problematic Dr. Oz and don’t mind exposing a few wellness influencers and their dramatic demises.

I have belly-laughed through so many of these episodes and appreciate the extensive lengths to their research they go to on why this culture and how fat-shaming is so harmful.

Sidedoor Podcast

Smithsonian Sidedoor

This podcast is going on its eighth season and I’ve enjoyed every single episode.

This takes you through the side door to learn the stories behind the exhibits from the experts themselves.

Each episode is different and utilizes the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists to tell the story behind the story.

I promise, you’ll fall in love with this one too. It’s also (relatively) family-friendly, but you can go through episode-by-episode if you have smaller children to pick topics they might enjoy.

I always learn something new and have fun trivia for any dinner party.

The Best Books of the Year (So Far)

If you thought I could narrow it down to just one, I can’t.

These two books that I’m sharing today transported me to a different time and place that I never wanted to end.

They both are coming out this summer so get those pre-orders in.

Carrie Soto is Back

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Masterful storyteller Taylor Jenkins Reid serves her readers a healthy dose of love and drama on and off the courts in Carrie Soto is Back

Carie fights for all of her tennis titles but refuses to be a media darling.

If she’s tough (shrug), that is on you.

She can’t be friendly and kick your ass at the same time.

Her nickname, Battle Axe, was won through her ruthless game.

After winning every title (and facing an injury), a girl should just enjoy retiring.

Right?

Well, Carrie refuses to take take the easy road.

She jumps back into training and challenges her body beyond its capabilities to try to win Wimbledon again.

She also discovers that it is okay to be loved and needed by others along the way.

This is CINEMATIC in nature and pure book club catnip.

Sweet, but never saccharine. Bitingly feminist-forward. 

It asks us to examine how we think about women in sports.

Why must we be likable?

Why are men held to different standards?

What does it mean to age out?

How can we find joy in the later years?

I held my breath through tennis matches when I care nothing about sports.

I snickered through trash-talk.

I ugly-cried through the ending and then cried again that this was over.

I am trying to be measured with praise and I can’t.

Reid has written another fully fleshed character that makes this book feel like a memoir.

Was Carrie real? Is there a Wikipedia page on her?

Since her debut, I have followed this author and have read her entire backlist in real-time.

I did my homework, and I’m telling you, this is going to be your favorite book too.

This book hits store on shelves on August 30th. Thank you to the publishing house for this sneak peek.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin is a tried-and-true storyteller, but no one could have prepared me for the epic and sweeping journey she crafted for these characters in her latest book Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.

For three decades, we follow two unlikely friends who find each other in a children’s hospital.

Sadie’s sister is receiving treatment for cancer, and Sam is recovering from a series of surgeries after a tragic car accident.

They bond over their shared love of video games in the gaming room of the hospital.

However, when Sam discovers that Sadie has been tallying her visits to fulfill her bat mitzvah service, he feels like her charity project instead of a friend.

It ends the fast friendship abruptly, but they find one another again in college when Sadie shares another computer game she has been developing.

The two decide to develop a game together, which follows their success in the gaming industry with their first game.

It also follows the consequences of virtual world-building when they build a world where all are welcome that ends in violence and the dissolution of their formed partnership.

Sam’s chronic pain from his foot injury are written so beautifully and help us understand the daily challenges of chronic pain and learning to find peace with our disabilities when we face them.

This experience is unlike any other that a reader could imagine because Zevin writes each of the games for this company in beautiful and intricate ways that each feels fully fleshed from idea to execution.

I shared these scenes with my software developer husband, who was equally astounded by this remarkable execution.

One world she built, in particular, left me in a puddle on the ground.

It is a journey within a journey within a journey.

Publishers Weekly put it best when they said this book is a “one-of-a-kind achievement.”

Again, I assure you that this will be your favorite book too.

This book hits store on shelves on July 5th. Thank you to the publishing house for this sneak peek.

Best Movies of the Year (So Far)

I try to see a movie every week (both in theatre and/or streaming).

If you need some inspiration for dating yourself, here is an action shot of me on my weekly solo movie date and you could also try this fun new streaming tradition I’m going to do every year for the awards season.

This is another challenging category to narrow down so I’m going to share three that packed a punch this year.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once (watch the trailer)

I can’t recall the last time that a movie has transported me MORE than Everything Everywhere All At Once. We went into this one knowing very little and I am really glad we did.

This is the official blurb for the film- “An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.”

It pretty much tells you NOTHING.

Keep it that way.

This is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve seen on the challenges of mothering our daughters. It made me laugh and cry- sometimes at the same time.

The film was astonishing and visually spectacular.

It was so visually stunning, in fact, that we felt guilty that we didn’t pay for a live theater ticket to see it.

It also is spectacularly strange as she goes through the different universes.

I loved every minute of it and the statements it made about what it means to be family and to fight for those you love.

Captive Audience

Captive Audience (on Hulu- watch the trailer)

I’ve been obsessed with true crime this year, and this series was one of the best I’ve seen.

Honestly, I’ve been surprised that I haven’t heard more people talk about it.

This documentary follows the life of Steven Stayner and his family, diving into the family’s 50-year journey to unravel the tale of two brothers, one deemed a villain and the other a hero.

Don’t Google anything if you are unfamiliar with the case- allow yourself to be immersed in this family’s story (told by their mother).

What made this one so compelling isn’t just the true crime case itself but the unique use of narration they used to tell this story.

The documentarians brought back the made-for-tv cast to read the scenes from the movie that was made about this case.

It sounds cheesy, but these readings were phenomenal, and they also reminisced on their own experience acting in these roles in a really beautiful reflective exercise about how they felt for their own characters.

If you are highly sensitive, the storytelling is compassionate and beautifully told.

The Best TV of the Year (So Far)

I am REALLY having a hard time today with this category because television has been so exceptional this year.

I’m narrowing it down to the best in ensemble casts and outstanding women’s lead performances today.

I do want to give two honorable mentions to The Righteous Gemstones & Physical this year.

The Thing About Pam

The Thing About Pam (on Peacock- watch the trailer)

This true crime tv series is based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria that resulted in her husband, Russ’ conviction. All along, Russ swore his innocence, but who else could have done it?

Well, it turns out this brutal crime was committed by her weird friend, Pam Hupp, who has felt MORE than entitled to a few of the finer things in life.

Again, narration wins for this one as it utilizes Keith Morrison, the journalist who first covered the mystery in a 2016 episode of Dateline as the narrator for this saga.

This dark comedy of errors could not be illustrated better and Zellweger deserves every award she receives for playing this role.

Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary (on Hulu- watch the trailer)

My friend Kelly recommended this show as one of her favorites, and we devoured this first season.

This adorable mockumentary series follows a group of teachers as they navigate the financial challenges of one public school.

This has so much heart and humor to it.

You can really tell that Quinta Brunson has been a powerful observer in her own mother’s teaching career.

It mimics, I’m sure, the challenges that so many of today’s teachers face. It also showcases brilliantly creative ways teachers work around budget constraints in the show’s thoughtful details.

The Dropout

The Dropout (on Hulu- watch the trailer)

Our fascination with con artists knew no bounds this year, did it?

I think I’ve watched every single con documentary and film that has come out this year. This is the one that I enjoyed the most though.

This limited tv series, chronicles Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ attempt to revolutionize the healthcare industry after dropping out of college and starting a technology company.

Thanks to all of this coverage on the case, I felt like I knew this story inside out.

Still, nothing prepared me for the performances of these actors or the way that they would tell this story.

It is such a binge-worthy series that you will have a hard time stopping once you start it. The writing of this story is so thoughtful and there are jaw-dropping performances in this cast too.

Amanda Seyfried could not have been more perfectly cast as Elizabeth Holmes.

The Best Purchases of the Year (So Far)

We continue to embrace minimalism. The purchases that I make and share about will always be authentically chosen. These are the things that have made my life better this year.

Conway AirMega Air Purifier

Conway AirMega Air Purifier

For the record, I’ve never owned an air purifier, but since I bought this I cannot imagine a day without it.

This gadget came highly rated by NYT and has done a phenomenal job not only reducing the odors in our home, but it also has reduced our difficulties with allergies.

The biggest glow-up from this device is when I am cooking. It has an eco-friendly setting that kicks on to clean out detected odors quickly. While I’m cooking, it efficiently cleans up smells before we have even sat down to dinner.

It also does a stellar job with pets, teenagers, sweaty workout smells, and trash.

Thirdlove Classic Uplift Plunge Bra

Thirdlove Classic Uplift Plunge Bra

I had been dealing with unbearable shoulder pain this year and never thought a poorly fitted bra could have contributed so much to this pain.

I had one bra, in particular, that was my go-to, but they went through some pandemic manufacturing changes that really affected the quality (and my body, it turns out!).

This company boasts half-sizing on bras and smart inclusions like a soft-back detail that doesn’t hurt and ways to adjust pads if you have two different cup sizes.

I can’t believe how much better I feel and imagine there might be a few others out there who haven’t seen a bra update since the pandemic that might benefit from a switch too.

Florence Cream Blush

Florence Cream Blush

I’m not sure why it is so hard to find a cream blush with staying power, but my quest ended when I discovered this product this year.

Do you recognize this brand owner? (I had no clue until my daughter told me this fun fact today)

The hue (Glowing G) adds a natural flush that lasts all day. Although it is a little bit pricier than my usual drugstore options, the tiniest bit goes a long way without any need for a second application.

Home Edit Organizers

The Home Edit Organizers Sets (from Walmart)

Our home has been so disorganized since the pandemic and part of the problem is that so many of our organizing systems have been failing us.

I implemented some of these organizing systems in our poorly functioning bathroom closet, pantry, and laundry area with REAL success.

Particularly, we had been stockpiling a lot of canned food during these past couple of years and these stacked tiers have stopped me from buying repeat purchases.

Dishwasher Sign

The Dishwasher Sign

It’s all about communication-free communication at our house. This magnetic dishwasher sign lets everyone know if things are clean or dirty, reducing the stacked dishes with people claiming they couldn’t figure it out.

If you need one more communication-free communication strategy, here’s my final hot tip.

Tell me, what have been your favorite things (so far) this year? Are you going to try anything from today’s list? If you love this list, be sure to sign up for my newsletter for a weekly dose of this fun!

this post contains affiliate links

other things we are loving this year:

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack from MomAdvice.com
11 beach reads that I loved for your summer
join my book club for a great read year of reading

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life

June 13th, 2022
How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Scribd offers unlimited books at an affordable price. Learn why I’ve been listening to audiobooks through the Scribd app since 2013. Here are the pros and cons of this monthly subscription service from a REAL user.

In 2013, I got the opportunity to work with a new eBook and audiobook membership service called Scribd.

What I didn’t expect was that I would convert into one of their most loyal customers who has been a paid member ever since.

A Scribd subscription is BY FAR one of the best book and audiobook subscriptions for your money and is my most used subscription. However, there is a reason I continue to stay with them, and it isn’t just because they have great books (even though that is the most significant part).

Today I want to talk about why I think this is TRULY the best audiobook service for readers and how I make the most of my membership EVERY MONTH.

I want to explore your biggest burning questions like if authors get paid, what the significant differences are between this kind of access versus Kindle Unlimited membership and some particular things that *I* use this membership for (that might be helpful to you too).  

Even if you have been a subscriber for years, today’s tutorial will also offer some hidden benefits to membership.

Let’s get every dollar out of your experience with today’s tutorial.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life 

Scribd (it sounds like RIBBED) is, basically, the Netflix membership for book lovers. 

For one monthly fee (currently $11.99 per month), you can have access to their entire catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, sheet music, and uploaded documents.

I want to clarify that this is a digital lending library, much like our experience with online tv streaming services. 

You do not own the materials.

You own membership to stream the books you want to read or listen to in their membership catalog. 

As long as you are a member, you can stream these materials.

At this time, Scribd offers these notable items (plus rotating perks)-

  • Over TWO MILLION audiobooks and ebooks in one app (they work with 5 of the biggest publishing houses).
  • Unlimited sheet music and documents (They have over 70,000+ pieces of sheet music available. This catalog includes the classics and contemporary artists). 
  • Unlimited access to podcasts, magazines, and news (including Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Cook’s Illustrated, & Newsweek).
  • Rotating Membership Perks (more details below on some of my past favorite bonuses).

The monthly subscription includes fiction, nonfiction books (like cookbooks), young adult books, and children’s books.

So your entire family can benefit from this service, all with the cost of just one membership.

How to Find and Add Books to Your Library

Well, the BEST place to check would be the Book Gang Podcast (stream wherever you get podcasts) since it celebrates under-the-radar books, debuts, and backlist selections.

Scribd makes it easier too by offering recommendations based on other books you are reading or have on your library list, much like your experience with other online book purchases. 

You can add books by searching the specific title or browse the incredibly curated selections from Scribd’s editors.

These editors’ picks are where I start when I need a little guidance on book selection.

Bookmark the books that you want to save in your library.

Once you decide what you might like to add to your library, you open up the book and read or listen to it. 

That’s it!

Now let’s talk about those hidden features on the app and some of those faqs.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

The Best Hidden Scribd Features and Frequently Asked Questions

What Device Can I Read My Scribd Books Through?

These books are available across many ebook reading devices, including iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire tablet, Android & the Barnes & Noble Nook tablet.

At this time, the Kindle Paperwhite is not a supported device. 

Is it Unlimited? Sort of! 

Regarding reading, there’s no limit on the number of books or audiobooks you can read or listen to each month. 

You may sometimes notice that a title you have saved indicates it will be “Available Soon.” 

Once your subscription renews for the next month, your library will refresh, and you’ll be able to select from the entire library.

The reason for this is because they can “adjust availability” of books based on contracts with these publishing houses.

In their defense, they claim it is to pay authors fairly based on the contract distribution terms.

It can be frustrating so if there is a book you are, particularly excited to read that month, prioritize it just in case it becomes unavailable until the next month.

I would say that this is my only issue with this platform.

How Do I Download Content When I’m Traveling?

To store content on your device for offline reading, tap on the cover of the book you wish to save, and you’ll be dropped into the book’s summary page.

To download the book, tap the “Download” button on the summary page.

Again, it is up to each publisher what they want to make available to its users. Some publishers disable downloading for specific titles, and the ‘Download’ option won’t be shown for those titles.

You’ll still be able to enjoy them on Scribd, but they won’t be directly downloadable.

Do Authors Get Paid When You Read on Scribd?

As I hinted earilier, Scribd does pay authors for their work.

I am quoting them directly when I share this statement, “Scribd has deals with our authors and publishing partners concerning payment for all membership content.

Basically, every time you read a premium title or listen to an audiobook, we pay the author the full price of their work!

Revenue that Scribd earns from monthly membership fees is paid to the original publishers or authors every time you read their work on Scribd.”

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Kindle Unlimited?

Scribd is a better value and they offer a completely different catalog.

Kindle Unlimited is a library of (primarily) self-published authors.

On the other hand, Scribd works with five big publishing houses- Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, & Macmillan. 

The catalog is updated so well that I can often secure my new release books the week they come out. 

I find with Scribd that their audiobook selection is more robust though than their book selection. 

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Audible?

The most significant difference between these two is the pricing.

Scribd is an unlimited service, while Audible offers a single credit for $14.95 a month. 

Audible may offer a more extensive selection but comes at a higher price.

You can read about their different plan offerings for more specific pricing.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

What Are Some of My Favorite Hidden Features on Scribd?

Although I wouldn’t consider this first element to be “hidden,” I want to remind you that access to ebooks means you have access to cookbooks and books on health. 

If you are on a specific diet or diagnosed with a health condition, this resource is INVALUABLE for your family.

When my daughter played guitar, we used the catalog of sheet music for her lessons. 

My kids also have benefitted from my membership when assigned summer literature. (Be sure to read how to enable parental controls if you share your account as a family).

I also want to discuss two lesser-known features you might have missed with your membership. 

Let’s start with your Member Perks! 

Scribd keeps a rotating catalog of member bonuses through various partnerships that, in the past, have included NYT subscriber bundles and Pandora Premium memberships. 

Check this page for the included perks for this month

Another fun feature is that Scribd offers a sleep timer on audiobooks. So if you want to listen to a book to fall asleep, try using this feature! 

Just click the icon in the upper left-hand corner, and you can select any chapter immediately!

Select the moon icon on the lower right side of the audio page to use the Sleep Timer. The menu will appear, and select the length of time you wish for the book to play. The playback will automatically turn off once the timer counts down to zero.

Try Scribd for FREE for 60 Days with my Referral Code

This referral code doesn’t give you a 30-day trial- it provides you SIXTY days of reading to try the platform. Activate it HERE

Sound off: What has been your experience with Scribd? Do you have any other questions about this platform?

Looking for more great reading resources? Don’t miss these posts!

How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life
How to Use the Storygraph App for a Better Reading Life
How to Check Out Library Books for Free On Your Kindle
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The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack

May 18th, 2022

Beach reads are required reading in the warmer months. These summer books deliver on page-turners filled with family drama, steamy love stories, and small-town feelings. Bookmark this summer reading list for your next library day.

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack from MomAdvice.com

Beach books have been a hot top request in our book club and today I wanted to share a few of my top recommendations for this summer’s reading.

After all, summers should be filled with good books, fun drinks, and fictional escapes. I also have one REALLY compelling memoir that reads as fast as fiction.

Escape real life with a few of my favorite reads this year.

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer

The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements & Onjuli Datta

Vogue described this as “a perfect summer read,” and I have to co-sign this comment. This book is now my go-to summer recommendation for a sophisticated romance with enough dimension for a thoughtful book club discussion.


The fake dating trope rarely works for me, but this debut examines the media and public’s obsession with Hollywood figures.

Whitman (“Win) Tagore is a well-known actress making headlines with a jet-setting playboy named Leo Milanowski.

The two have made headlines for a decade with their on-again, off-again romance. The public doesn’t know that the entire relationship is staged.


The two manipulate the press for necessary coverage and to gain favor and attention when necessary. All these situations are carefully orchestrated events between two friends.


As you might guess, this gets complicated but in all the best ways. Rather than leaning into the stereotypical plotlines, this goes into smart places like examining what it is like to be a woman of color in Hollywood.


This wife writing duo truly crafted one of my new favorite romances. I can’t wait to see what they write together next! (P.S.- Stay tuned for a summer interview with this fantastic writing duo on the Book Gang Podcast)

Cover Story

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

This buzzy novel has been making its rounds on bookstagram, and that’s how it landed in my stack. Described as Inventing Anna meets Catch Me If You Can, get ready to meet the next prominent con artist. 

While the novel clocks in at 362 pages, the page count is quite deceptive and can easily be read in a day. Told in diary entries, emails, and text messages, the reader can observe a naive aspiring writer get conned in real-time. 

Lora can’t believe she has landed a summer internship at ELLE Magazine, where she meets Cat Wolff, a contributing editor and heir to a clean-energy mogul. The two begin a side project crafting a short story for a potential magazine submission.

Cat has story ideas, but they aren’t fleshed out well. Lora is a great writer but struggling to make rent. Why not solve both issues at once? 

Cat’s brilliant plan is that Lora can move into the Plaza Hotel with her, and the two can work on the story together.  Lora’s name won’t be on the work, but she can earn a salary and get her start as a ghostwriter. 

Lora grapples with this decision but loves the lifestyle that Cat provides and the ability to do what she loves. It becomes more difficult as she awaits those precious paychecks and as her work begins to gain notoriety. Lora doesn’t know that Cat is being investigated by the FBI, and she may be the next victim.

What makes this story the perfect reading slump buster is that it moves SO FAST by including these different documents and diary entries.

I have been immersed in both Inventing Anna and the memoir that it helped to inspire (My Friend Anna). If you are familiar with this story, it borrows most of its plot from that experience. 

It wasn’t until the 58% mark that the plot switches. 

What makes it the reason you want to finish it is that the last fifteen pages will give you the best plot twist whiplash that you will, FOR SURE, never see coming.

The book is worth the read for the ending alone.

Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

It is the early 1960s, and Elizabeth Zott wants to do her job and get credit for it. As a chemist, her work environment is less than desirable, with a boy’s club mentality among her coworkers at the Hastings Research Institute.

One man, though, treats Elizabeth with the respect she’s always desired, and their relationship evolves into a mutually beneficial exchange that brings them both unexpected joy. 

In a pivotal plot point, Elizabeth has unexpectedly become a single mother and an incredible television star on a cooking show called Supper at Six.

What makes the show such a success is Elizabeth’s refusal to see women as just housewives and to see them as aspiring chemists too. 

The leading lady isn’t the only notable character because Garmus has made an entire beloved cast of characters for the reader to adore, including an adorable dog that the reader will fall in love with. 

This novel is quirky, heartwarming, and feminist-forward in all the right ways.

This will be on my best books of the year list and would be the perfect selection for any book club. Read this before the TV series on Apple+.

Deconstructed

Deconstructed by Liz Talley

Finlay Donovan fans will devour this fun Southern story that blends heart and humor into a perfectly satisfying story.  

An antique-shop owner overhears a gossipy conversation about her husband that draws into question whether her husband has been unfaithful to her or not.

If her husband has been cheating, she will not let him get away with it, and she decides to hire a private investigator to look into this affair and what else he could be hiding. 

What she doesn’t expect is that her new assistant is the perfect accomplice to help her uncover his hidden secrets.

Not only is Ruby a wildly talented seamstress, turning her store’s trash into treasures, but she also knows all the right people to get any job done in town. 

These two women become unlikely friends, and there are some lovely layers to this story with checkered pasts and town secrets. 

What the Fireflies Knew

What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

It is no secret that I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories, and this debut delivered on so much beauty. If you enjoyed our book club book, The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, this novel would hit all the sweet spots. 

Almost-eleven-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB) has undergone some challenging changes in her life.

Not only has her father died, but her mother also has left.

She and Nia (her sister) are dropped off at her estranged grandfather’s home for an indefinite amount of time with no explained reasons. 

Told through KB’s eyes, this story is beautifully told as she learns more about what tore her mother and grandfather apart.

It’s a big summer of discovery for many reasons.

Still, one of the most powerful is the transition between the two sisters as Nia begins to separate herself from her sister and move away from the things of her youth to embark on the big girlhood journey of self-discovery (and boys).

I have never read this stage so beautifully captured- it reminded me a lot of the transition between my sister and me at that stage.

If you want a book that you want to hug when you finish, this is the book to add to your stack.

Harris writes vividly and beautifully with turns of phrases that are a delight to read.

It also layers in more significant themes like mental illness, race, and identity that add depth to this sweet summer adventure story.  

Described as an ode to “black girlhood and adolescence,” this was one of my favorite library discoveries.

Cleopatra and Frankenstein

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors

The book opens with a young painter (Cleo) meeting an older successful businessman (Frank). They could not be more opposite but immediately are drawn to one another’s company.

They find a deep appreciation for one another and also acquire their nicknames, Cleopatra and Frankenstein, yielding the book’s unique title. 

Cleo requires a Green Card, and Frank offers her both the steadiness that her artistic life lacks and a permanent residence in the states. 

We follow the two as their marriage goes through the highs of new love to the monotony in the middle and then what it feels like to fall out of love. 

Each chapter is a month, and the observations of family and friends round out the story as they too observe this relationship and try to forge their own in different ways. 

There is so much humor throughout these pages, even in heartbreaking moments in their marriage.

Their brief stint as parents of a sugar glider (go ahead and look that up on Tik Tok and tell me you aren’t intrigued) may be some of the most memorable chapters I’ve read in a long time.  

Mellors writing draws Salley Rooney comparisons. Comparatively, I thought this delivered on Katherine Heiney writing joy.

It’s not just the unlikely love story though, for me. It is the dry humor where this one shined and made it such a wildly memorable debut. 

If you are looking for really readable literary fiction, this is it.

Book Lovers

Book Lovers Emily Henry

Beach Read was my favorite book by this author until this latest contemporary romance dropped.

When a New York City literary agent goes on a small-town getaway with her sister, the two work through a checklist of adventures that you would appreciate in any Hallmark movie. 

Expecting to find romance with a hunky local in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, is just what Nora believe is destined to happen. 

She couldn’t expect that a difficult editor she worked with from the city just might be living there too. 

In Henry’s signature writing style, this has heart, humor, and loads of bookish moments.

This love story also loves to poke a little fun at the romance tropes while leaning into a few of them in its own story.

Fans of Elin Hilderbrand or Jennifer Weiner should definitely get acquainted with Emily Henry’s backlist selections as well as this fantastic new release.

This Will Be Funny Later

This Will Be Funny Later by Jenny Pentland

This fascinating memoir of Jenny Pentland’s childhood is the book that you won’t be able to put down.

Imagine your real-life becomes episodes for a sitcom. Most of us can’t fathom this existence, but the life of Jenny (and her siblings) became the show we know as “Roseanne. “

Jenny’s mom, Roseanne Arnold, is more of a compassionate side note, while the meat of this story focuses on Jenny’s anxieties from paparazzi encounters and struggles with obesity.

In response to these trials, she goes through various programs, including those infamous wilderness camps and fat camps. 

A couple of truth bombs about Pentland’s journey (both in these programs and with the paparazzi) may have yielded an audible gasp. I was also unfamiliar with Roseanne’s backstory, so the captured moments are pretty surprising.

Through even these sad and challenging moments, Pentland embraces the funny.

I, indeed, will count this among my favorite memoirs.   (P.S.- Stay tuned for a summer interview with Jenny on my podcast)

The Kaiju Preservation Society

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

Craving a summer blockbuster film in a book? This lighthearted science fiction book is just what your beach bag needs.

The timing for this is just as the pandemic is descending on the world, but there is no need to stick around to see the devastation when you get to go to another world.

THANK GOD!

Jamie is a driver for an Uber Eats competitor although he never expected his corporate job to take such a turn.

Stuck in the rat race of trying to make ends meet, he ends up making a life-changing series of food deliveries to someone that promises him a job that can get him away from what’s happening in the world.

AND pay him far better too.

Jamie joins a team of scientists in an alternate world intent on the preservation of Kaijus (giant dinosaur monsters).

This book is filled with laughs and “boy humor” that I couldn’t wait to pass on to my husband, from laugh-out-loud mating rituals to heart-pounding danger.

I love that Scalzi never takes things too seriously and isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at some of the more predictable themes.

Stick around for the author’s note on this one- it includes a tale of a double-saved manuscript that was lost and how this book came to be.

Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead

I fell in love with Ashley Winstead’s thrilling debut and was so surprised to see that her next book was a romance.

This gigantic genre leap shouldn’t have worked so well, but Winstead delivered on a laugh-out-loud plot that has made me a believer that she can write anything.

Lee works as a communications director at a women-run electric car company.

While serious and successful at work, Lee definitely leans into the “work hard play hard” mindset. She’s not afraid to throw back a few or call a guy for a one night stand. 

Her carefree attitude isn’t because she’s so easygoing.

There have been many heartbreaks in her life (both in her childhood and as she is older), which is why she keeps so many at a distance.

This jumping to conclusions and mistrust is exactly what ends an important relationship in her life with some of her signature sabotage.

It is also why, five years later, she is stunned to discover that she must reunite with this old boyfriend when the two are both working towards getting a clean energy bill rolling. 

With a political backdrop that doesn’t lean into the negativity, lots of chemistry between old flames, and loads of LOLs, this is destined to be a favorite in this summer’s book stack.

The Truth About Ben And June

The Truth About Ben and June by Alex Kiester

Thank you to the publishing house for the complimentary copy. 

The story opens with the disappearance of a young mother, and Kiester builds a beautifully believable mystery layered with big book club themes. 

Ben never expected to be at a police station inquiring about the procedure for filing a missing person case, but that is precisely where he has found himself.

The juggle of work and family without his wife takes its toll quickly and he would do anything to have June back.

Ben discovers that he doesn’t really know his wife at all and, frankly, neither do her friends.

Kiester takes the reader on a journey to understand June’s motives and a rarely explored topic in literature. To tell you what this is, though, would rob you of the beauty in this read. 

CW: suicide ideation

The Best Psychological Thriller Books to Read

Looking for a few thrillers to add to this stack? Be sure to check out this list of the best psychological thriller books to check out!

What beach reads would you add to today’s stack? Let me know what I’m missing in the comments below!

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack from MomAdvice.com

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

December 16th, 2019

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

Have you been looking for a free book club to join? Check out the 2020 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today! These 12 selections have all been read and loved, by me.  I look forward to our free book club chats, interactive book club crafts, and our interviews with this year’s chosen authors.

This is one of my favorite days of the year. I am so excited to reveal our MomAdvice Book Club selections with you today. 

I have read each of these selections and couldn’t be prouder of the gathering this year. Not only do I love them, but I think that they will lend themselves well to a great book club discussion.

Why?

Well, each of these books have challenged my viewpoint, in some way. I really believe that this is one of the BEST side effects to being a reader. It expands your world in a new way and reminds us that we all have the capacity to grow.

After reading each of these, I contacted each of the authors (with the exception of Betty Smith, of course) to let them know that their book had been officially selected as our official monthly selection.

I admit, I am no Reese, Jenna, or Oprah, but I do believe that I have gotten many to read books that they never would have picked up.

I consider this one of my superpowers.

I am hoping there will be a few on this year’s list that will be new to you and that they will top your list of favorites too.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 3,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

MomAdvice Free Online Book Club

What Will Be Different in the MomAdvice Book Club This Year?

This all has been a big learning process, for me, on how to expand and make the book club even more beneficial to you.

In the past, I selected novels based on awards, authors that consistently delivered great reads, or anticipated buzz books for the year. 

This strategy ended up working a lot, but there were books that I wasn’t as crazy about that ended up on our list.

This year I made it a goal to read all the 12 selections to (hopefully) deliver consistently great books that you will, truly, love. 

I also  contacted the authors to let them know that their book had been officially selected as our official monthly selection.

With their help, we will be having interactive discussions, reviving the author interview series, and we will have a copy of each book to giveaway to a reader.

In addition to our chats, this year, I am partnering with MJ, at pars caeli, to craft a project around each read. 

MomAdvice Book Club Chats

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?  

Scroll down to see my list of the twelve books that we will be discussing.

The Book Club Chat is held on the last Friday (of the month)  and an Event invite is sent out to members at the beginning of each month.

Once you RSVP to an event, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

This year, we will have many authors also participating in our chats.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals (sign up for our daily deals newsletter to receive these directly to your inbox)  and I share our book club picks through something called an affiliate link.

What is an affiliate link? 

Great question!

Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me approximately $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you. This year, I will also have the additional expense of mailing giveaway books and the cost to hire a designer for our crafts.

Thank you for helping me make this book club great with your purchases.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I do try to pick books that I think you will enjoy.

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

MomAdvice Reading Retreat

How Do I Meet People from the MomAdvice Book Club?

Did you know that we hosted our first MomAdvice Reading Retreat this year?

I can’t begin to tell you how magical it all was and how thankful I was to meet these incredible women.

You have to be an active member in our club to participate in our face-to-face weekend retreats so be sure to join!

Enough waiting! I’m thrilled to share these twelve 2020 book club selections with you today! I can’t wait to hear what you think about this year’s list.

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett January- The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali February- The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica March- The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

When All Is Said by Anne Giffin April- When All Is Said by Anne Giffin

Dominicana by Angie Cruz May- Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie June- Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie

The Warehouse by Rob Hart July- The Warehouse by Rob Hart

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop August- We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson September- Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

October- The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

November Road by Lou Berney November- November Road by Lou Berney

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith December- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (my favorite classic!)

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

 

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site!

Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads

You can also sign up for the MomAdvice Daily Book Deals Newsletter with the latest book news!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections Pin It

The 2019 MomAdvice Summer Reads Guide

June 1st, 2019

For many years, I have wanted to do a reading guide for you all, but each year the days would slip away and I would think, “Maybe next year!”

Well, not today, Satan!

I am thrilled to share my first Summer Reading Guide with you! This has been a true labor of love and I’m incredibly proud how this turned out.

Within this 15 page guide you will find:

  • A huge list of great books to read over the summer. I have included some new (and upcoming) novels, but I also weaved in some older favorites that might be easier to snag at your local library.
  • Tips for reading more this summer including a few of my own tried-and-true formulas for reading.
  • A bookworm gift guide filled with fun finds from Etsy sellers.
  • 10 of my all-time favorite books
  • 5 summer selections curated by the Currently Reading Podcast.

All you need to do to access the free guide is be an email subscriber! Upon signing up for our mailing list, you will receive a link to the reading guide.

If you decide to read any of these selections, I’d be honored if you used the #momadvicesummerreading hashtag and tag me on Instagram!

Happy reading, bookworms! xo

Sign up for the MomAdvice Newsletter and receive your FREE Summer Reading Guide!

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

November 26th, 2018

Check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today!

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more great reads for your stack!

Can you believe that I am picking our 2019 MomAdvice Book Club selections this week? This year has flown by and I have SO enjoyed sharing books and discussions with you.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 2,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

The best part?

There is no commitment to participate in chats (although I love it when you do!). This is a place to get opinions about books, find out what everyone is reading, and start chats of your own about books you would just love to talk about.

I wanted to get this list up a little early so you have loads of time to make requests to your local library or read ahead on any of these selections.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

Scroll through the book list below to see what we have in store for you in 2019.  The discussion is held on the last Friday and an Event invite is sent out at the beginning of the month to join a virtual chat. Once you RSVP, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

I’m thrilled to share these 12 selections with you from a pool of talented writers. As always, I try to keep a good mix of fiction, nonfiction, YA, memoirs, and mysteries.

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

January- A Ladder to the Sky

February- My Sister the Serial Killer

March- The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

April- Little

May- The Friend

June- The Editor

July- In Sight of Stars

August- There Will Be No Miracles Here

September- No One Can Pronounce My Name

October- The Lying Woods

November- The Library Book

December- Virgil Wander

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

January 1st, 2018

"MomAdvice

Is one of your goals to join a book club this year? I’m thrilled to share that we have an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group that I’d love for you to join. I’m so excited to share with you our MomAdvice 2018 Book Club selections.

Our book club now has over 1,200 bookworms (!!!) and we would love to have you join in on the fun discussions this year. I loved last year’s selections so much that they even found their way on my Best Books of 2017 list.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

I will be your book club hostess this year and have selected the entire year of books for 2018 to round out your book stacks.  The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question.

To make finding these discussions easier (and so you can hop in at anytime!!) we have moved our discussions into the Events tab. You will receive an invitation to each discussion and can find the entire discussion in the Events, instead of searching through our VERY active page.

You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do You Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website. The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

In fact, I have been reading our book club picks before we get to them to make sure that not a moment of your time or penny is wasted.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed. Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

Here are the books we will be talking about this year!

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood January- Alias Grace

Lucky Boy February- Lucky Boy

American Fire March- American Fire

Lilli De Jong April- Lilli De Jong

The Music Shop May- The Music Shop

Everything Here is Beautiful June- Everything Here is Beautiful

Salt Houses July- Salt Houses

Little Broken Things August- Little Broken Things

Far From the Tree September- Far From the Tree

The Hunger by Alma Katsu October- The Hunger

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy November- Steal the Stars

Girls Burn Brighter December-Girls Burn Brighter

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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The People We Keep: An Interview with Allison Larkin

August 5th, 2022
The People We Keep: An Interview With Allison Larkin

Enjoy this exclusive podcast interview with Allison Larkin discussing her writing process for The People We Keep. 

This is our final episode of Season 1! Be sure to scroll down to see the list of your top ten favorite episodes and my short list of must-listen episodes to keep you busy until our next season, launching on September 9th! 

Have you ever thought about how the #MeToo movement might have impacted your favorite characters? What if the world saw your character as unlikeable or difficult, but the world’s new lens saw her as beloved and endearing?

Today I give you a peek behind the Patreon wall to fully immerse yourself in this MomAdvice Book Club selection. Download my playlist to travel through April’s life in the songs and download my exclusive book club guide to host your own chat! 

Learn More About Today’s Featured Book:

The People We Keep is a captivating coming-of-age story pulled at every heartstring as you follow one girl’s journey towards finding love in her chosen family.

April Sawicki lives in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, and picking up shifts at a local diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to find a life that’s all hers.

This emotional journey to find April’s true family is compelling and moving.I love to see how April moves through the world meeting people who feel like home.  It reminds us that chosen families can be just as good as the real ones.

You will find a very determined voice in this character, but April isn’t the only determined woman. 

In today’s interview, you will find that Allison is just as determined. 

She wants her story told and will not compromise in any fashion on this story, no matter how long it might take or how many hands it had to pass. 

Ultimately, it has become such a beloved story to many readers because of her dogged determination. So today, we celebrate Allison Larkin. 

About Allison Larkin: 

Allison Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of The People We KeepStay, Why Can’t I Be You, and Swimming for Sunlight

Her short fiction has been published in the Summerset Review and Slice, and nonfiction in the anthologies I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship and Author in Progress. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Jeremy.

Connect with Allison Larkin on her website.

The People We Keep: An Interview with Allison Larkin (Podcast)

Listen to the Show

Book Gang Podcast Episode 41:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

Stay by Allison Larkin

Why Can’t I Be You by Allison Larkin

Swimming for Sunlight by Allison Larkin

I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship

Author in Progress

The People We Keep Playlist

Book Gang T-Shirts and Merchandise

Book Gang Listener’s Favorite Season 1 Shows:

  1. Strong Book Opinions Wanted (Episode 24)
  2. Best Books of 2021 Part 1 (Episode 16)
  3. Best Backlist Books You Missed Part 2 (Episode 33)
  4. Must Read True Crime Books (Episode 21)
  5. Best Books of 2021 Part 2 (Episode 17)
  6. Improve Your Reading Focus and Memory (Episode 32)
  7. Use These Cleaning Hacks For a Better Reading Life (Episode 28)
  8. The Best Audiobooks for Your Reading Life (Episode 39)
  9. Best Backlist Books You Missed Part 2 (Episode 33)
  10. Episode 19: Sneak Peek: Fully Booked

Amy’s Favorite Season 1 Shows:

  1. What it Takes to Be A Top GoodReads Reviewer (Episode 11)
  2. 2. How the Storygraph Can Enhance Your Reading Life: An Interview With Nadia Odunayo- the CEO and Founder (Episode 25)
  3. Hopes & Heartbreaks of Pandemic Publishing With Gae Polisner (Episode 20)
  4. The Julia Whelan Interview You Need to Hear (Episode 40)
  5. This Will Be Funny Later: An Interview With Jenny Pentland (Episode 34)

Book Gang Shirts and Merchandise

Connect With Us:

Connect with Amy on Instagram

Join the MomAdvice Book Club 

Shop Our Bookish Shirts to support the show

Join the Book Gang Patreon (for our exclusive FULLY BOOKED  book review show & more!)

The Julia Whelan Interview You Need to Hear (Podcast)

July 29th, 2022
The Julia Whelan Interview You Need to Hear (Podcast)

Julia Whelan uses her background as an award-winning audiobook narrator to write her romance novel, Thank You for Listening. Join me today for an interview to learn more about her writing process and the behind-the-scenes of an audiobook narrator’s life. 

I had no idea when I shared  last week’s episode on the best audiobooks for your reading life that I would be sitting down with one of my favorite featured audiobook narrators today.

If you listen to audiobooks, today’s voice should be a very familiar one.

The Julia Whelan Interview You Need to Hear (Podcast)

Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, lifelong actor, and award-winning audiobook narrator of over FIVE HUNDRED BOOKS.  Her debut novel, My Oxford Year, garnered a Society of Voice Arts award. 

Today we sit down to discuss her romance novel, Thank You For Listening which I loved and shared in our June FULLY BOOKED podcast episode

This steamy romance read dishes up some surprising routines in an audiobook narrator’s life, from their narration preparation to snack routines.

We also talk about the need for pseudonyms in the romance industry. It’s an absolutely FASCINATING discussion.

Discover Julia’s proudest moments in her career, what she learned by slowing down on audiobook projects, and what she would tell her younger self about her wildly successful career path.

About Thank You For Listening:

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING is an uplifting book telling the story of a former actress turned successful audiobook narrator—who has lost sight of her dreams after a tragic accident—and her journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance when she agrees to narrate one last romance novel.

This novel is available on August 2nd, 2022.

Patreon friends can enjoy a bonus episode with Julia in our fun Bookworm Challenge. Be sure to join Patreon to unlock this feature.

Be sure to check out this year’s Summer Reading Guide for the best beach read book recommendations.

The Julia Whelan Interview You Need to Hear (Podcast)

Listen to the Show

Book Gang Podcast Episode 40:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan

These Walls Can Talk by Erin Mallon

Connect With Us:

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

MomAdvice.com

justjuliawhelan on Instagram

@justjuliawhelan on Twitter

Join the Book Gang Patreon for Exclusive Bonus Content

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my  MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

QUESTION? What were you surprised to discover from today’s interview?

Join Our Patreon Book Gang Today

Do you want to have the best reading year ever? 

Join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide.

Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.

The FULLY BOOKED New Release Book Reviews Podcast- Listen to the Patreon-Exclusive podcast and download your printable 30-page guide EVERY MONTH! We screen the new release books and tell you what we loved (and loathed). Get book adaptation news and a bookstore guide for the most-anticipated new books.

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections. 

Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.  

Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

More Audiobook Fun:

this episode on the best audiobooks for your reading life is such a fun one!

The Best Audiobooks For Your Reading Life

July 22nd, 2022
Book Gang Podcast: The Best Audiobooks For Your Reading Life

Fall in love with these book recommendations for the best audiobooks for your next reading day. Meg, from Sorta Awesome, joined the show to share her top recommendations.

Looking for your next audiobook? Today’s podcast show has everything you crave- deeply personal memoirs, science fiction (sci-fi), young adult reads, and pure escapist fun.

We start our discussion with our audiobook habits, speeds, and what I’ve learned from our guests about staying engaged with your audiobook literature. 

If you struggle to stay focused during your audiobook time, don’t miss today’s show with some surprising tricks to keep your brain engaged. These audiobook reading hacks helped me to engage with our book club books in new ways this year. 

Don’t miss Meg’s recommendation on one of this year’s award winners (for the Audie Awards) or my selections with full cast narration that kept me engaged from start to finish. 

I know many of us have enjoyed some of the more familiar voices like Trevor Noah’s memoir on his childhood in South Africa  (from the Daily Show), the Harry Potter books, Michelle Obama, David Sedaris, and Tom Hanks.

Today’s goal though is to connect you with some of the lesser-known backlist books and under-the-radar gems you might not know about. 

Get to Know Meg Tietz

Meg Tietz should be a very familiar voice to many of you. She runs a top women’s lifestyle podcast called Sorta Awesome for women who want to stay current on all things awesome, including culture, media, and trending conversations!  

Meg first created Sorta Awesome in 2015, after closing her popular blog, Sorta Crunchy. Sorta Awesome has over three million downloads from thousands of awesome listeners. 

They also run a very active community in the show’s private Facebook group, the Sorta Awesome Hangout. There is so much to love about Meg and this show, and I’m so honored to have her in our space today. 

The Best Audiobooks For Your Reading Life

Listen to the Show:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

Book Gang Episode: Improve Your Reading Memory and Focus

Book Gang Episode: Booker of the Month

Sorta Awesome Romance Starter Pack

Pop Culture Happy Hour on NPR

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead

The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta

Let’s Talk About Midlife with Mindy and Meg

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

New York Times Spelling Bee

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life

Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile

Mean Baby by Selma Blair

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

One of Us is Dead by Jeneva Rose

The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose

The Girl I Was by Jeneva Rose

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Assistants by Camille Perri

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Bad Blood on Netflix 

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant

The One by John Marrs

Black Mirror Hang the DJ

The One on Netflix 

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir

Amy’s interview with Andy Weir

Connect With Us:

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

MomAdvice.com

Sorta Awesome podcast

Sorta Awesome Hangout on Facebook

sortaawesomemeg on Instagram

Join the  Book Gang Patreon for Exclusive Bonus Content

Join Our Patreon Book Gang Today

Do you want to have the best reading year ever? 

Join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide.

I have selected 12 phenomenal books to read together that were picked just for you.  These are thought-provoking stories that deserve discussion, and many are hidden literary treasures. The official 2022 MomAdvice Book Club selection announcement will happen on December 1st. Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections. 

Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.  

Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.

Sneak Peek Upcoming Content. You will know before anyone else what to expect in upcoming podcast episodes and what I’m researching for our next shows. Be bookishly curious with me and give your input for these MomAdvice Book Gang podcast shows.

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores

Love audiobooks? Check out this post on my favorite unlimited audiobook app!

The View Was Exhausting: Interview with Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta

July 15th, 2022
The View Was Exhausting:  Interview with Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta

Sit down with our first wife-writing duo, Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta, as they discuss their sophisticated summer romance, The View Was Exhausting. They join us from Berlin to share about their writing process, embracing tropes, and why they wanted to explore the topic of women of color in Hollywood.

I am excited to host our first writing duo on the podcast today. It’s not just any writing duo, though; this is a wife-writing duo that joined me from Berlin to discuss their romance debut, The View Was Exhausting

I selected this book for our Summer Reading Guide because it brings the PURE ESCAPE factor you crave in your vacation reading. This swoon-worthy romance laces iconic scenery with a Hollywood setting, relying on many of our favorite romance tropes: FAKE DATING. 

This week does, sadly, conclude our Summer Author Interview series. I REALLY hope you have enjoyed these conversations as much as I’ve enjoyed hosting them. 

Check out the two other episodes this summer: my Ashley Winstead interview on Fool Me Once (episode 37) and the Jenny Pentland interview on This Will Be Funny Later (episode 34).

They were both such memorable conversations for very different reasons. Ashley shares the creative differences between thriller and romance writing if you missed them. Jenny’s interview was a lesson in vulnerability with memoir writing and growing up as Roseanne Arnold’s daughter. I’m incredibly proud of these beautiful conversations, and I don’t want you to miss them. 

This smart and sophisticated summer romance has become my new go-to recommendation for friends that need a proper escape from reality. 

In our story, Whitman is a well-known actress making a paparazzi splash with a jet-setting playboy named Leo.

The two have made headlines for a decade with their on-again, off-again romance. However, the public doesn’t know that the entire relationship is staged.

They manipulate the press for necessary coverage and to gain favor and attention when required. All these situations are carefully orchestrated events between two friends from gorgeous locations, Like St. Tropez, to those behind-the-scenes celebrity shots of them leaving dinners and extravagant parties. 

As you might guess, this gets complicated but in all the best ways. Rather than leaning into the stereotypical plotlines, this goes into brilliant places like examining what it is like to be a woman of color in Hollywood.

The View Was Exhausting:  Interview with Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta

About Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta

Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta co-wrote The View Was Exhausting, published by Grand Central Publishing in July 2021. Mikaella’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Hazlitt, Catapult, and more, and she was shortlisted for the 2019 Galley Beggar Press Prize and the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize. Onjuli’s work has been published in The Billfold and Daddy magazine. Mikaella is originally from Australia and Onjuli from England; they are married and live together in Berlin.

The View Was Exhausting Book Club Guide

If you lead a book club, this is a smart summer selection that comes with thoughtfully curated discussion questions, music playlists, and signature drink ideas. I can’t think of an easier book club book to execute! Check out their book club extras here.

On a more personal project note, I hope you love the show’s new podcast logo as much as I do! 

Patreon friends can enjoy a bonus episode with Mikaella and Onjuli in our fun Bookworm Challenge. Be sure to join Patreon to unlock this feature.

Be sure to check out this year’s Summer Reading Guide for the best beach read book recommendations.

The View Was Exhausting: Interview with Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta

Listen to the Show:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

Get the Kindle Daily Deals List to Your Email

The View was Exhausting by Mikaela Clements & Onjuli Datta

Book Gang: Fool Me Once: An Interview with Ashley Winstead

Thank U, Next: How the Golden Age of Romcoms Inspired Our Novel

Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

The View Was Exhausting Playlist on Spotify

TVWE Remix on Spotify

100 Ways Music Video by Jackson Wang

Getaway Car Music Video by Taylor Swift

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

The View Was Exhausting Book Club Kit

Six Days in Rome by Francesca Giacco

Tell Me Everything by Laura Kay

Connect With Us:

mikandonj on Instagram

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

MomAdvice.com

Join the Patreon Community For the Bonus Content

Join Our Patreon Book Gang Today

Do you want to have the best reading year ever? 

Join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide.

I have selected 12 phenomenal books to read together that were picked just for you.  These are thought-provoking stories that deserve discussion, and many are hidden literary treasures. The official 2022 MomAdvice Book Club selection announcement will happen on December 1st. Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections. 

Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.  

Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.

Sneak Peek Upcoming Content. You will know before anyone else what to expect in upcoming podcast episodes and what I’m researching for our next shows. Be bookishly curious with me and give your input for these MomAdvice Book Gang podcast shows.

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

More Summer Reads:

get the summer reading guide!

Book Gang Podcast Episode 37: Fool Me Once: An Interview with Ashley Winstead

July 8th, 2022
Fool Me Once An Interview With Ashley Winstead

Not everyone can say they published two books during the pandemic, but Ashley Winstead can. Today we discuss her romance debut Fool Me Once and how Winstead hopes to break the mold with her romance characters. 

This week we continue our conversations with writers in our Summer Author Interview series. After our incredible kickoff with Jenny Pentland’s memoir (episode 34), we move into lighter fiction waters with Fool Me Once, written by Ashley Winstead. 

I felt compelled to reach out to Ashley to hear about her surprising journey to full-time writing during the pandemic and what it was about this time that yielded such a fruitful creative time for her career. She shares how her previous job (as a communications director working in public policy) shaped the plot line for Lee Stone and the kickoff to her new romance series.

I also want to know what it looks like to compartmentalize work when you write in two genres. For example, Ashley alternates writing thrillers (like In My Dreams I Hold a Knife and the soon-to-be-released The Last Housewife) and romance – two VERY different worlds. 

Are there two Ashleys? We need answers!

She speaks with surprising vulnerability about the challenges in the romance industry and with great confidence about the kind of success she plans to achieve with her writing. Don’t miss this episode.

Patreon friends can enjoy a bonus episode with Ashley in our fun Bookworm Challenge. Be sure to join Patreon to unlock this feature.

Be sure to check out this year’s Summer Reading Guide for the best beach read book recommendations.

Get to Know Ashley:

Ashley Winstead holds a Ph.D. in contemporary American literature from Southern Methodist University and a B.A. in English and Art History from Vanderbilt University. She lives in Houston with her husband, where she drinks red wine and dreams up novels.

Book Gang Podcast Episode 37: Fool Me Once: An Interview with Ashley Winstead

Listen to the Show:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead

Book Gang Episode: This Will Be Funny Later with Jenny Pentland

Book Gang on Patreon

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead

The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

How the Hell Has Danielle Steel Managed to Write 179 Books?

Ashley’s Instagram

Ashley on Twitter

AshleyWinstead.com

Connect With Me:

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

MomAdvice.com

Join the Patreon Community For the Bonus Content

Book Gang Podcast

Join Our Patreon Book Gang Today

Do you want to have the best reading year ever? 

Join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide.

I have selected 12 phenomenal books to read together that were picked just for you.  These are thought-provoking stories that deserve discussion, and many are hidden literary treasures. The official 2022 MomAdvice Book Club selection announcement will happen on December 1st. Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections. 

Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.  

Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.

Sneak Peek Upcoming Content. You will know before anyone else what to expect in upcoming podcast episodes and what I’m researching for our next shows. Be bookishly curious with me and give your input for these MomAdvice Book Gang podcast shows.

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

11 beach reads for your stack (don’t miss my summer reading guide!)

Amazon First Reads For July (Get 2 Free Books)

July 3rd, 2022
Amazon First Reads for July (Get 2 Free Books)

Prime members shouldn’t miss access to this FREE Amazon First Reads program. Learn about this Kindle reading program and how this Prime perk works! 

I am starting a Amazon First Reads monthly post to help you as you make those reading selections each month. I thought it would be fun to take you on my journey on selection process.

What is Amazon First Reads?
read how this prime perk works for readers

If you aren’t familiar with how this program works, head to this post that shares everything you wanted to know about the Amazon First Reads program (formerly the Kindle First program).

This explains the benefits, how Amazon selects these books, and what you need to get started reading.

These posts share the names of each selection, what type of literature it is, where it was published, a small blurb, and the reviews on each book (so far).

I will also tell you which book I chose at the end!

What an Amazon First Reads Purchase Looks Like in Cart

Make sure that when you add these to your cart, it shows the BUY IT NOW FOR FREE! If it does not, you are not signed into your family’s Prime account.

If you have a moment, leave a comment and let me know what you picked or if you have read any of these!

This month, Amazon is offering TWO books for free with your Prime membership. Don’t miss this deal! Here is what you need to know for this month!

Amazon First Reads For July (Get 2 Free Books)

PICK TWO HERE OR ON THE LANDING PAGE

She's Up to No Good

She’s Up to No Good by Sara Goodman Confino

This Women’s Humorous Fiction pick was published by Lake Union Publishing.

Blurb:

“For two women generations apart, going home will change their lives in this funny, poignant, and life-affirming novel about family, secrets, and broken hearts by the author of For the Love of Friends.

Four years into her marriage, Jenna is blindsided when her husband asks for a divorce. With time on her hands and her life in flux, she agrees to accompany her eccentric grandmother Evelyn on a road trip to the seaside Massachusetts town where much of their family history was shaped.”

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

4.5 with 78 Reviews. One reviewer had read over 170 books and had only given a dozen books five stars. This book, she said, deserved all of them.

A Feather on the Water

A Feather on the Water by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

This historical fiction literary selection is from Lake Union Publishing.

Blurb:

“For three women in postwar Germany, 1945 is a time of hope—lost and found—in this powerful novel by the bestselling author of The Woman on the Orient Express.

Just weeks after World War II ends, three women from different corners of the world arrive in Germany to run a Displaced Persons camp. They long to help rebuild shattered lives—including their own…”

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

4.5 stars with 12 reviews. Although feedback is limited in this initial stage, one Vine reviewer shared that this story is full of hope & healing, characters that learn & grow. They also praised it for being a little different than the typical books from this era.

The Last Lie Told

The Last Lie Told by Debra Webb

This is first in a new private investigator mystery series from Thomas & Mercer. This is the Mystery selection for July.

Blurb:

“From USA Today bestselling author Debra Webb comes the thrilling first installment in the Finley O’Sullivan series, featuring a legal investigator haunted by her past and obsessed with the truth.

Legal investigator Finley O’Sullivan searches for evidence the police overlooked, wading through secrets, lies, and betrayal to find answers. With the unsolved murder of her husband still very much on her mind, Finley must confront her own personal trauma on a daily basis. Lies are part of her livelihood, but they’re also the reason she can’t get justice for the man she loved.”

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

5 stars with 21 Reviews. This has HIGH praise with reviewers raving about the smart twists that made it a true page-turner. If you love private investigation stories, this looks like a promising start in a new series.

Kismet by Amina Akhtar

This psychological thriller is from Thomas & Mercer. A notable detail on the cover is the blurb from Caroline Kepnes (a featured author on my site) who described it as “Wicked and smart…Read it Now.”

Blurb:

Lifelong New Yorker Ronnie Khan never thought she’d leave Queens. She’s not an “aim high, dream big” person—until she meets socialite wellness guru Marley Dewhurst.

Marley isn’t just a visionary; she’s a revelation. Seduced by the fever dream of finding her best self, Ronnie makes for the desert mountains of Sedona, Arizona.

Healing yoga, transcendent hikes, epic juice cleanses…Ronnie consumes her new bougie existence like a fine wine. But is it, really? Or is this whole self-care business a little sour?

When the glam gurus around town start turning up gruesomely murdered, Ronnie has her answer: all is not well in wellness town. As Marley’s blind ambition veers into madness, Ronnie fears for her life.

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

4.48 with 42 Reviews. Readers describe it as darkly funny, disturbing, and wickedly entertaining. Overall, lots of high praise for this one!

Signal Moon

Signal Moon by Kate Quinn

This short story is categorized under time travel fiction and is published by Amazon Orginal Stories. Kate Quinn is a big name in historical fiction so fans will be excited about this short story offering.

Blurb:

“Yorkshire, 1943. Lily Baines, a bright young debutante increasingly ground down by an endless war, has traded in her white gloves for a set of headphones. It’s her job to intercept enemy naval communications and send them to Bletchley Park for decryption.

One night, she picks up a transmission that isn’t code at all—it’s a cry for help.

An American ship is taking heavy fire in the North Atlantic—but no one else has reported an attack, and the information relayed by the young US officer, Matt Jackson, seems all wrong. The contact that Lily has made on the other end of the radio channel says it’s…2023.

Across an eighty-year gap, Lily and Matt must find a way to help each other: Matt to convince her that the war she’s fighting can still be won, and Lily to help him stave off the war to come. As their connection grows stronger, they both know there’s no telling when time will run out on their inexplicable link.”

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

4.55 with 106 Reviews. One reviewer said it was a solid short story that should take about 40 minutes to read. If you are short on a reading goal, this would be a great option.

All The Lies They Did Not Tell: The True Story of Satanic Panic in an Italian Community by Pablo Trincia

This translated memoir is officially cataloged under “biographies of hoaxes and deceptions” and published by Amazon Crossing.

Blurb:

In 1997 a six-year-old boy questioned by authorities relayed disturbing stories of abuse. The more he talked, the more people were implicated in his shocking revelations. And he was only the first child to come forward.

Within a year, fifteen more children with similar tales were transferred out of the Bassa region of Italy to protected locations. Their parents were accused of belonging to a satanic sect that performed sex rituals under the aegis of beloved local priest Don Giorgio Govoni. With each child’s confession, the network of monsters grew. Families were torn apart. Lives were forever destroyed—and some ended—as allegations of kidnapping, torture, sacrifice, and murder escalated beyond comprehension.

But what was really happening in the Bassa Modenese?

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

4.31 with 669 Reviews. This is the highest amount of feedback on the offerings this month because it is a translated work.

No Ordinary Thursday

No Ordinary Thursday by Anoop Judge

This book club cultural heritage fiction selection is published by Lake Union Publishing.

Blurb:

A family, broken by the shattering turns of a single day, will do anything to find their way back to one another.

Lena Sharma is a successful San Francisco restaurateur. An immigrant, she’s cultivated an image of conservatism and tradition in her close-knit Indian community. But when Lena’s carefully constructed world begins to crumble, her ties to her daughter, Maya, and son, Sameer—both raised in thoroughly modern California—slip further away.

Maya, divorced once, becomes engaged to a man twelve years her junior: Veer Kapoor, the son of Lena’s longtime friend. Immediately Maya feels her mother’s disgrace and the judgment of an insular society she was born into but never chose, while Lena’s cherished friendship frays. Meanwhile, Maya’s younger brother, Sameer, struggles with an addiction that reaches a devastating and very public turning point, upending his already tenuous future.

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

2 With Only 1 Rating. The author has two other books (with favorable reviews) and describes herself as a recovering litigator, former TV presenter, and blogger.

War and Me

War and Me by Faleeha Hassan

This is a translated work on Iraq History from Amazon Crossing. Kirkus Reviews gave this a starred rating stating this, “Hassan renders her harrowing experiences in an authentic, heartfelt manner, offering important testimony of personal and national courage. A beautifully wrought memoir from a pioneering Iraqi author.” ‘

Oprah also called her as “The Maya Angelou of Iraq!”

Blurb:

An intimate memoir about coming of age in a tight-knit working-class family during Iraq’s seemingly endless series of wars.

Faleeha Hassan became intimately acquainted with loss and fear while growing up in Najaf, Iraq. Now, in a deeply personal account of her life, she remembers those she has loved and lost.

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

5 stars With Only 1 rating, but the praise is SO HIGH with notable reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Oprah, and Publishers Weekly. I am going to go with my gut and say that this will be a memorable selection.

Embers on the Wind

Embers on the Wind by Lisa Williams Rosenberg

This Literary Fiction pick is categorized under Occult Horror and published by Little A.

Blurb:

The past and the present converge in this enthralling, serpentine tale of women connected by motherhood, slavery’s legacy, and histories that span centuries.

In 1850 in Massachusetts, Whittaker House stood as a stop on the Underground Railroad. It’s where two freedom seekers, Little Annie and Clementine, hid and perished. Whittaker House still stands, and Little Annie and Clementine still linger, their dreams of freedom unfulfilled.

Now a fashionably distressed vacation rental in the Berkshires, Whittaker House draws seekers of another kind: Black women who only appear to be free. Among them are Dominique, a single mother following her grand-mère’s stories to Whittaker House in search of an ancestor; Michelle, Dominique’s lover, who has journeyed to the Berkshire Mountains to heal her own traumas; and Kaye, Michelle’s sister, a seer whose visions reveal the past and future secrets of the former safehouse—along with her own.

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

4.29 With 7 Reviews. Reviewers praised it as cinematic in scope, hanting, and read like interconnected short stories.

Mother of All Secrets

Mother of All Secrets by Kathellen M Willett

This is categorized under mystery, thriller, & suspense literary fiction and was published by Lake Union Publishing.

Amanda Eyre Ward offered this notable review- “Mother of All Secrets is a thrilling page-turner and a fierce manifesto about motherhood, powerful women, and what we must be willing to do to protect our children. The plot twists are breathtaking and I loved staying up late reading this fabulous novel.”

Blurb:

Her freedom, her sanity, her life. How much will a young mother sacrifice to protect her secrets?

Sleep deprived and overwhelmed, first-time mom Jenn is struggling to adapt to her new role. Frustrated with her loving but preoccupied husband and still grieving the death of her own mother, she feels isolated and depressed. It’s only when she joins a new-moms’ group that she starts to think she’s finally getting back on track.

Until Isabel, the group’s leader, suddenly disappears.

Now Jenn’s baby isn’t the only reason she can’t sleep. Consumed with worry over Isabel, Jenn is teetering on the edge of obsession. Concern turns to paranoia when Jenn finds clues that force her to look at herself, her marriage, and the women in her support group, who have more in common than Jenn realized. Much more.

GoodReads Rating (So Far):

4.06 with 78 Reviews. Readers described it as compulsively readable, engrossing, and a rollercoaster of emotions that reminded them of those early days with their infants.

VERDICT: WHAT I PICKED

This month was SO HARD because they all sounded so interesting this month. Ultimately, I settled on Kismet because I love dark nods to wellness culture.

I also selected War and Me because of the incredible praise it got. I need to learn more about Iraq and this memoir sounds phenomenal.

SOUND OFF: Have you read any of this month’s selections? Tell me what you plan to pick this month!

READ BETTER THIS YEAR WITH THESE ARTICLES

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
the best app for audiobooks is scribd- read my tutorial on this reading option
How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life
how to use the storygraph app for a better reading life
how to check out library books on your kindle for free

Amazon First Reads: The Prime Reading Perk I Love For My Reading Life

July 2nd, 2022
Amazon First Reads: The Prime Reading Perk I Love For My Reading Life

Prime members shouldn’t miss access to this FREE Amazon First Reads program. Learn about this Kindle reading program and how this Prime perk works! 

Do you love to read advanced readers of books? You may not know that Amazon offers a sneak peek at early release books, and it is included with your current Prime membership. 

Today I want to explain this benefit and how to get your free books every month. So scroll down for instructions. I also have a new landing page to the books and this month’s offering of the best books. (updated monthly)!

Amazon First Reads: The Prime Reading Perk I Love For My Reading Life

The Amazon First Reads program is a free Kindle reading program that grants Prime members early access to editors’ picks. 

Each month Amazon releases a list of books that members can choose a free early release copy (or sometimes two). This program was formerly known as the Kindle First program. 

These free Kindle books are released a month before their release date, giving you a first look and the opportunity to build buzz on their official selections. 

This deal doesn’t extend just to their digital version. Amazon also offers select print hardback editions for $9.99 or less in participating months. 

Amazon First Reads: The Prime Reading Perk I Love For My Reading Life

Can I Still Get This Deal If I’m Not a Prime Member?

You can still access Amazon First Reads for $1.99 per month if you’re not an Amazon Prime member. 

As a bonus, Kindle Unlimited members can read most of the previous First Reads picks for free. A Kindle Unlimited membership is NOT REQUIRED to have access to this freebie. 

What Types of Books Are Offered? 

Selections for this program touch on each genre- mystery, historical fiction, psychological thriller, women’s fiction, short story, true crime, book club fiction, memoir, literary fiction, suspense, and children’s books. 

How Are Books Selected?

On the Book Gang podcast, I had the opportunity to speak with Kathleen Carter in our “A Day in the Life of a Book Publicist” episode, whose selections often appear in the program. I had to imagine that this gives an author a great kickstart, especially if they are a debut novelist.

You can listen to this episode here:

I asked if she could tell us a little about the selection process for the Kindle First Reads program and if she had any hand in selecting the authors she’d been representing.

It’s a great question. But, unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for how they choose them. It’s something that they do internally and not something that I have the scoop on, but sometimes the decision has been made before I’ve been brought onto a campaign.

It’s exciting to see, especially when it’s an author who isn’t as well-known; maybe it’s their debut. It’s so cool to see all the reviews come in, especially when they’re positive and, you know, see thousands of reviews for a debut writer and their book. It’s just like so gratifying. It’s a very cool promotion, but it’s not something that I’m responsible for in any way. I’m fortunate to work on several books that are part of that program.

I replied, “It’s kind of like Book of the Month then? Nobody really knows how it happens. And then when it happens, it’s like magic for the author.”

Kathleen shared, “Exactly.”

This support often turns into bestsellers on Amazon.

If I can find more trade secrets in the selection, I’ll share them with you. If you are curious about topics like this, subscribe to my podcast.  

What Does the Program Cost? 

This program is included with your Prime membership. Therefore, there are no additional costs to participate.

If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, this link should give you a free 30-day trial! The company offers free 1-day delivery on most items. You can also access their entertainment options- tv, movies, and books. 

Can I Read These If I Don’t Own a Kindle? 

You can read these Kindle books by downloading the free Kindle reading app, or you can read them on your Kindle device (Paperwhite, Oasis, or Fire) 

Where Can I Find the List of Current Selections? 

I have added a monthly post; you can find the books listed here. You can also find it in my Kindle Daily Deals List or subscribe to our newsletter.

READ BETTER THIS YEAR WITH THESE ARTICLES

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
the best app for audiobooks is scribd- read my tutorial on this reading option
How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life
how to use the storygraph app for a better reading life
how to check out library books on your kindle for free

Do you have any questions about how to access these benefits? Please leave them here!

Book Gang Podcast Episode 36: Break Up with your Reading Slump

June 24th, 2022
Book Gang Podcast: Break Up With Your Reading Slump

What could be more frustrating than a reading slump? Sasha (@pathologically.literate) wants to break up her reading slump and I plan to guide her with my arsenal of advice and my top recommendations to get her reading life back on track.

Sasha asked me for some guidance on choosing her next book and shared some of her all-time favorites that give me a good starting point for recommendations.

This prescription for slump-busting books isn’t just for Sasha. This episode is for ANYONE who has struggled to find their way back to reading again.

Book Gang Podcast Episode 36: Break Up With Your Reading Slump

Listen to the Show:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

The Book Club

Book Gang Podcast: Improve Your Reading Memory and Focus

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris 

Barack Obama’s 2021 Book List

Michelle Obama’s Workout Playlist

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik  

Kindred by Octavia E Butler 

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash 

Serena by Ron Rash 

The Cove by Ron Rash

Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith

The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood 

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood 

Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Deconstructed by Liz Talley 

Amy’s Daily Deals Page

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead

Mean Baby by Selma Blair

A Star is Bored by Byron Lane

Sasha on Instagram

Pathologically Literate

Book Gang Patreon

Connect With Me:

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

MomAdvice.com

Join the Patreon Community For the Bonus Content

Join Our Patreon Book Gang Today

Do you want to have the best reading year ever? 

Join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide.

I have selected 12 phenomenal books to read together that were picked just for you.  These are thought-provoking stories that deserve discussion, and many are hidden literary treasures. The official 2022 MomAdvice Book Club selection announcement will happen on December 1st. Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections. 

Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.  

Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.

Sneak Peek Upcoming Content. You will know before anyone else what to expect in upcoming podcast episodes and what I’m researching for our next shows. Be bookishly curious with me and give your input for these MomAdvice Book Gang podcast shows.

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

Book Gang Podcast; Break Up With Your Reading Slump

More Book Gang fun:

Book Gang Podcast Episode 35: Cozy Summer Reads

June 16th, 2022
Book Gang Episode: Cozy Summer Reads

These page-turning cozy summer reads are just what you need for your beach bag. Try these summer books that embrace cozy love stories, small-town fun, and even light family drama. 

I know I am LIKELY not your go-to for COZY reading choices, so I thought I would bring on a guest who would be. 

When I read something that gives me warm fuzzies, you know it is a rare gem that deserves to be talked about. 

 We have the stack for you if you love a good happily ever after, beach house settings, magical realism, and stories about falling in love. 

Today’s books have fun twists and turn that will keep you turning the pages until past bedtime. These plotlines are light enough for beaching read while still delivering on stories that would be perfect for a summer book club. 

My guest today is Mary Carver! She is a regular contributor on MomAdvice and the host of The Couch With Mary Carver.

Her podcast is for you if you love TV, movies, music, and books.

You can even catch me on her show this month on her Books About Books episode!

In this discussion we share our mutual adoration for Emily Henry (a featured author in this year’s summer reading guide) and Steven Rowley.  We also embrace a few farfetched mysteries, food-themed literature, lighter family dysfunction, and bookish-themed tales.

Book Gang Podcast Episode 35: Cozy Summer Reads With Mary Carver

Listen to the Show:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned on this episode:

Limelight by Amy Poeppel

MomAdvice on Patreon

The Couch Podcast: Reading About Books & Reading with Amy Allen Clark

Book Gang: This Will Be Funny Later with Jenny Pentland

Veronica Mars

The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix 

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer movie

Book Gang: Cozy Up With These Winter Reads

Better Homes & Gardens Ventura Outdoor Rocking Chair

Fre Sparkling Rosé

Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter

Thank You for Listening for Julia Whelan

The Kindred Spirts Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Love, Luck & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert

Women’s Paranormal Fiction on Amazon

The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Editor by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Freaky Friday

The Seven Day Switch by Kelly Harms

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q Sutanto

Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

Connect With Us:

Mary on Instagram

The Couch Podcast with Mary Carver

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

MomAdvice.com

Join the Patreon Community For the Bonus Content

Join Our Patreon Book Gang Today

Do you want to have the best reading year ever? 

Join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide. I have selected 12 phenomenal books to read together that were picked just for you.  These are thought-provoking stories that deserve discussion, and many are hidden literary treasures. The official 2022 MomAdvice Book Club selection announcement will happen on December 1st. Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections. 

Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.  

Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.

Sneak Peek Upcoming Content. You will know before anyone else what to expect in upcoming podcast episodes and what I’m researching for our next shows. Be bookishly curious with me and give your input for these MomAdvice Book Gang podcast shows.

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

Sign Up For The MomAdvice Newsletter!

Book Gang Episode: Cozy Summer Reads

More Summer Fun: