Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine The Charming Life of Izzy Malone by @Jenny_Lundquist


Izzy Malone isn’t your typical middle schooler. She wears camouflage combat boots, the stars are her only friends, and after a month she’s set a new record for the most trips to her principal’s office.

But Izzy’s life isn’t so charming these days. The kids at school think she’s a mouthy misfit, her musical prodigy sister gets all the attention at home, and no one takes Izzy’s determination to compete in her small town’s Great Pumpkin Race seriously.

When Izzy’s antics land her in hot water, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whippie’s Earn Your Charm School. At first Izzy thinks it sounds stupid—her manners are just fine, thanks—but Mrs. Whippie’s first assignment proves intriguing. Tucked inside a letter is a shiny charm bracelet and instructions telling her she will “Earn Her Charm” by performing a series of tasks. For each task Izzy completes, she’ll receive a charm to place on her bracelet. “Complete them all,” the letter says, “and you will have earned a prize unlike any other.”

Soon Izzy’s adding charms to her bracelet. But when a task goes seriously awry and threatens to derail her mother’s budding political career, Izzy has her hands full proving she’s not an emerging juvenile delinquent. Add in some middle school mean girls, a giant pumpkin that could be the answer to all her problems, and discovering she might have a crush on the boy she accidentally punched in the face, and Izzy may just pull it all together and Earn Her Charm. And she’s about to find out the best kind of friends are just like stars: Bright and beautiful, appearing just when you need them, to shine a little bit of light on a dark night.

I adored this book.  It encompasses so many very important themes for middle aged readers such as friendship, being yourself, family, love and so much more.  It has humor and moral lessons that are sure to strike a cord for all readers.  I loved Izzy.  She was not perfect and did not need to change and try to become perfect.  She just needed to find her place.  This is also such a great book to create some important taking point with young adults.  It is a great way to help to bridge those conversations.  A delight of a read!! 
#FirstLine The bracelet and the first charm appeared the day I punched Austin Jackson in the nose.

Jenny Lundquist

Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat.

Monday, November 28, 2016

#MMBBR #Highlight @HarperCollins STAY GONE by Holly Brown

Stay Gone: A Novella by [Brown, Holly]

STAY GONE by Holly Brown
“A mother is just a woman who gave birth to you. You don’t need her to like you, or love you. Because a mother’s just another person.
She was. And now she’s dead.”
Growing up, Rae played the good girl, hoping to win her mother Marlene’s love. But Marlene favored Rae’s dangerous older brother Thomas, even after he nearly got teenage Rae killed. The night Thomas disappeared was the best night of Rae’s life.
Now 28 years old and engaged, Rae is nursing Marlene, who has advanced cancer and one last request: for Rae to find Thomas and bring him home.
Thomas purports to be a changed man, the CEO of his own meteorically successful company. But Rae knows he’s hiding something. When Marlene takes a turn for the worse, is it assisted suicide or murder?
The answer goes back decades, through secrets and pain, and comes back full circle. Rae has to figure out who she can really trust. Or else.
Poor little good girl . . . who’ll save her now?

Holly Brown
About Holly Brown
Holly Brown lives with her husband and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s a practicing marriage and family therapist. Her blog, “Bonding Time”, is featured on Psychcentral.com, a mental health website with 1.5 million visitors per month.


#MMBBR #GuestPost Hitting the Black Wall by Paul Scott-Bates

Hitting the Black Wall by [Scott-Bates, Paul]
Born under a claret sky in Burnley Lancashire, Pauls witnessing of the Glam Rock pop-stars of the 1970s and New Romantics of the early 1980s gave him notions of joining some of his heroes in later life. The realisations dawned that his inability to play a musical instrument might be a hindrance and so these fledgling lyrical attempts slowly evolved into poetry, with no subject considered taboo his mood can lurch from the darkest depths to the light airy notions of love and peace.

After years wandering the emotional wilderness, Paul now married to his true soul mate and the father of four children, has found his true calling. Paul currently resides in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire where he leads the good life and is co-founder and Chair for a local Community Group as well as writing for, and featuring in several music publications and his own popular blog site.

Hitting The Black Wall is a book of alternative poetry that was almost twenty years in the making. It expresses feelings and thoughts from the overactive imagination of a man fighting the black dog of depression, initially not knowing why the bleak feelings he had were so.
Many things have contributed to the book and its influences - lyrics in songs, scenes on TV or in a film, a sentence that someone might have said – all have embedded themselves and manifested into the poems that were then written. Of course, some of the pieces are based on true feelings and some are completely fictional but, the success in them is whether the reader believes them or not. It’s up to them to decide what to take as truth or not.
The early poetry started out as song words but when the realisation struck that I couldn’t sing or play a musical instrument, they slowly morphed into poetry. Very early attempts such as 9 Day After 19 were written as a teenager struggling to understand why he felt so low not knowing that the seeds of depression had been planted. Through adult life additional poems have bene written, around 300 at last count, and whittled down to the sixty contains in this debut collection.
Love, music, relationships, loneliness, religion, sex and phobia feature prominently as well as regret and betrayal in poetry that has been described as dark, cathartic and visceral. It is a book about blackness and bleakness, hatred and the seemingly endless dark tunnel which often lies ahead. It is also a book of hope, of how some of these issues can be overcome, and how transferring these feelings to paper can somehow aid in recovery. More importantly, it is a book that has become an ambition realised and a tonic to all those years of wondering if it was really good enough.
Music has played a huge part in my life. Earliest memories are of a four or five-year-old immersed in the Glam Rock of the early 70s. Marc Bolan, Roxy Music, Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Alvin Stardust, Gary Glitter, David Bowie, the list is endless. Watching Brian Connolly, the lead singer of Sweet break a microphone stands over his thigh as he ended The Ballroom Blitz or Block Buster is a memory that will stay forever.
Call it pantomime if you will but to a young child it was both exciting and amazing. The colour, the glitz, the performance all played a part in the package that was Glam. Songs that were memorable and still resonate to this day, it was my introduction to music. What followed was baron. The disco dirge that infiltrated the radio waves and tv screens, whilst still a fixture in the memory was essentially awful and Punk was in many ways the saviour. My memories of punk are few, I knew it existed but maybe my family sheltered me from it? Maybe as a ten-year-old I had better things to do like catching fish and newts in the bluebell wood.
My calling came in the early 80s. Following many a look of adoration at my bedroom posters of Debbie Harry the New Romantic scene encompassing the synthesizer age attracted my ears, there are so many classic songs from the few two or three years of the decade that a cursory glance of the music chart of the day will confirm. I adored Adam & The Ants, Duran Duran, Human League, Spandau Ballet, so so many.
Come 1982, I latched on to Depeche Mode a band that I still hold in the highest esteem to this day. As the band matured so did their lyrics, now being penned by Martin Gore following the departure of Vince Clarke to Yazoo, they told stories of lost love, depression and hurt with a little sexual deviance thrown in for good measure!
As the 80s progressed I lost interest in mainstream music, some of the groups I had loved had, in my opinion ‘sold out’ and I began to look further afield for my aural pleasures. At the end of the decade I came across three huge influences that would stay with me forever. The first was the Infected album by The The, it told a story of the times, of the working classes, of regret, of love, and for me struck a chord with how I felt. To this day it remains one of my favourite albums. The second was stumbling across On The Wire on BBC Radio Lancashire. Presented by Steve Barker the show is still running and is the BBCs longest running alternative music show, it opened up so much to me in terms of the weird and wonderful that I have never looked back since. One feature of the show was Steve’s connection to On U-Sound Records which became the third thing to influence my tastes. It fused hip-hop with punk and electro, and was so far ahead of its time it was unbelievable. Fronted by Adrian Sherwood, the label is still strong today and the quote that accompanies it resonates with me constantly – Disturbing the comfortable, comforting the disturbed - it could almost be a metaphor for depression.

As a teenager I fell into the ‘love trap’. I felt obliged to have a girlfriend as dictated by society, I never had one. Yes, I had girl friends but never a girlfriend, and I suppose it started to affect me. I wanted desperately to be in love with someone forever and when I heard Depeche Mode’s ‘Somebody’ for the first time it hit home instantly. At 19 I had my first ‘fumble’ in the dark and soon had my first girlfriend who later became my first wife. My marriage lasted sixteen years before it ended, for a while I had some bitterness as to how it happened and I felt tricked for a while. I vowed never to have a relationship again before meeting someone within only a few months – it seemed right from day one and I pursued it against the odds – I am now married to that wonderful, warm, beautiful person with two children to add to the duo from my first marriage. Love carries its ups and downs but for me the ups far outweigh anything else.
Not surprisingly, love and regret and bitterness also play a large part of my poetry. A brief extra marital encounter during my first marriage opened up my mind but I also vowed never to do it again. Deep down, it may have been the beginning of the end, which is ironic as it only lasted a matter of weeks before I was unceremoniously dumped. There was a desolation that I couldn’t tell anyone about and haven’t done to this day with the exception of my current darling.
The bitterness I had seemed to harbour a hate which never really manifested itself past being a passing feeling, but what it did do was allow me to write about something that was hidden in the darkest recesses of my mind and allow it to be gone from my life. It’s something that I am grateful for as it allows me to be mellow (most of the time) and try not to hold grudges of bad feeling to anyone along the way.
Poems of murder or self-harm or death are quite common with me and the result of an imagination gone wild. For the reader to question what is true and what is fiction gives me an incredible buzz.
When driving home from work one day at the age of thirty-seven I had the urge to drive my car off the by-pass and take my life. I’d always had ‘bad mood days’ but this was different. I went to the Doctors and was later diagnosed with clinical depression. It made me realise that I had maybe been fighting the condition all my life and with anti-depressants I managed to get by. It was never perfect and there is no cure. To the outsider it’s not a simple case of popping a pill to feel better and when non-sufferers say that they were “depressed this morning” or they had a depressing day yesterday” they have no idea what enduring the condition really is. It’s not just about feeling down, it can be a complete shutdown of feelings, of motivation, of anything. Waking up and not being able to move is common, indescribable loneliness and emptiness even more so. I wouldn’t change suffering from depression, it makes me who I am and without it then I’m not me. I’m lucky, I seem to be able to cope on a daily basis even though some are harder to get through than others. Some people aren’t so lucky and face a permanent hell.
After having the ambition to have a book of my own poetry published for thirty-one years I decided in 2015 to do something about it. A fellow writer I had stumbled across on Twitter gave me the motivation and I decided to give it one last shot. I was lucky, and my current publisher saw what I had to offer and took me on. Hitting The Black Wall acts as a metaphor for depression and was published in July 2016. It marked a milestone in my life as I approach the big ‘50’ in less than two years and opened up another avenue which may hark back to my teenage ambitions.

Watch this space. Hang on in there, and keep strong.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

#MMBBR #Review #Coloring @DoodleArtAlley All You Need Is Love...and a Cat: Coloring Book

Calling All Cat Lovers. Color Your Way to Fun, Inspiration, and Relaxation. 

"Cats are a mysterious kind of folk." --Walter Scott 

"The cat is nature's beauty." --French Proverb 

"What greater gift than the love of a cat?" --Charles Dickens 

All You Need Is Love…and a Cat shares 50 doodle art images of inspiring proverbs, quotes, and sayings printed on one side of the page for all ages to color.
Quotes from famous authors include Robert Byrne, Charles Dickens, Robert A. Heinlein, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe, and Mark Twain. The book also includes proverbs and sayings from “Behind every great person is a great cat,” “Dogs have owners, cats have staff,” and “If stretching were wealth the cat would be rich” to “The cat is magical and the bringer of good luck” and “You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.”
Each doodle art image has been carefully selected to provide plenty of enjoyment, inspiration, and relaxation.

On this Thanksgiving day, I am grateful for coloring.  I have been very dedicated to coloring for about a year.  I have found that it is so very relaxing and fun.  I love to listening to audiobooks and coloring.  I find that it helps to keep me grounded.  I find that not only is it a great hobby, it is also so good for my mind.  There is so much negative in this world and I adore doing something positive for myself.  I colored this picture for my little friend.  I think that color pages make a great replacement for a common card.  It means so much more when people make you something from the heart.  Doodle Art Alley coloring books are my FAVORITE to color.  I love the quotes and the designs.  There inspire such creativity in me.  You won't regret buying any of the books by Doodle Art Alley...they are all amazing!!!

I am NOT an Idiot! by Jeff Amster #MMBBR #Review

I am NOT an Idiot!

20-page, color paperback with original illustrations

This funny, yet discussion provoking book shows kids the balance between urges and broader issues compelling awareness to help them (and us as parents) achieve balance so we're not classified in the extreme.

An important book with an important message.  It is our duty as parents to show kids the way to navigate the world around us and to teach them to be compassionate and contributing citizens.  This takes honest communication and discussion to accomplish this goal and I AM NOT AN IDIOT, helps to facilitate the conversation.

#MMBBR #Highlight Archie Wilson & The Nuckelavee by Mark A. Cooper @JasonSteed007

Archie Wilson & The Nuckelavee by [Cooper, Mark A.]

Tragedy strikes forcing 10 year-old Archie Wilson to live with a father he doesn’t know in Foyers, Scotland. 

Archie stumbles upon a secret underground cavern, befriends Gordon the Loch Ness Monster and the last remaining Sporrans who, for over a thousand years have lived in secret. 

When the most treacherous creature of all time; known as the Nuckelavee tries to resurrect itself. Archie is the only line of defense against the Nuckelavee, and the fate of the world may rest in his hands.

Editorial Reviews


KIRKUS REVIEWS. Heartfelt, witty, and wonderfully original. 
Archie Wilson's world is in ruins. After his beloved mother is killed in a car crash, the London boy is sent to dreary Foyers, Scotland, to live with his father--a man he's never met and knows nothing about. Yet despite the pain and sadness he feels, he senses something calling to him from the murky depths of nearby Loch Ness. While peering into the gigantic lake one afternoon, he loses his footing and tumbles into the ice-cold water. He tries to swim to the surface only to find something has "clasped his ankle tight," pulling him deeper in the darkness. When the boy awakens later in an underwater cavern, he receives the shock of a lifetime: the Loch Ness monster is real. But rather than being a threat to humans, the gentle-hearted sea dragon (who goes by the name of Gordon) is an ally who's protected mankind for centuries. Later, when an evil creature threatens to rear its ugly head, Gordon must decide whether to risk his freedom to save the human race again--or it may be up to Archie to tackle the dreaded Nuckelavee. This fast-paced, multilayered adventure story is ideal for young readers to curl up with under the covers. Action abounds, but Cooper also invests heavily in the emotional life of his protagonist. As a result, the day-to-day trials that Archie faces at home and in school are just as engrossing as his battles with mythical creatures. In particular, the author beautifully renders Archie's evolving relationships with his father as well as with his friend Chloe. Overall, this story will connect with kids despite the text's occasional copy-editing and formatting errors. Cooper masterfully plays with well-worn myths and folklore to create a new Scottish tale imbued with its own playful magic.

"At last a novel about Loch Ness you can actually believe. Archie Wilson is a fast-paced novel that young readers will adore. The story is an excellent read, with plot and characterization exceeding all expectations. A structure of great old-fashion story telling, built on a foundation of historic facts.
Cooper gives a new twist to an old, enduring myth. An exhilarating, mind-expanding voyage under calm waters that opens the mysterious secrets of Loch Ness"fictionreviewer.com

"This well-written, fast-paced fantasy combines a celebrated subject with engaging, unique characters, humor, coming-of-age and exhilaration. An historic myth is being re-told and we do get an explanation why the Loch Ness Monster never shows up, but everyone's convinced that it's there". Book Nerd

About the Author

Mark A. CooperMark A. Cooper is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Anthony Horowitz as "The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century." (New York Times).

The first book in his Jason Steed series was self-published in 2008. Since then the series has won over fans across the world with its mix of action, emotion and coming of age originality.
Mark was snapped up by the Barbara Zitwer Agency and since has written 3 more in the series now published by Sourcebooks.
Fictionreviwer.com named 'Fledgling Jason Steed' Young adult book of the year 2009. The book was also voted as finalist in the 2009 'Indie book Awards'. In 2013 in the Beverly Hills Book Awards it came first in Juvenile fiction. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#MMBBR #Highlight Bonded at Birth: An Adoptee's Search for Her Roots by @gloriaoren

"You have the resilience of Job, and what an extraordinary story you tell."
Professor Emeritus Eugene Goodheart, Watertown, Massachusetts 

"As a woman who was adopted when I was three days old, I felt every twistand turn in your journey. It's your wonderful writing that brings thepeople on your pages alive for all readers, adopted or not. Great job!"-- Carol Woien, writer

Gloria Oren's adoption memoir Bonded at Birth: An Adoptee's Search for Her Roots is a story of loss, survival, determination, and persistence. It covers one state, three countries, and two continents. It coverssixteen years of searching and a little over four decades since herfirst adoption.

After growing up under the umbrella ofsecrecy, Gloria sets out to find her birth mother with all she knewabout her: she was a Jewish teenager. Despite being told by anyone andeveryone that it would be an impossible feat, her determination andmotivation increased. Learning her birth father's name upon reunion with her birth mother and a short time later that he passed away eight years before led to her getting involved in genealogy and through thisresearch medium she discovered that her first cousin seven times removed was Col. William Prescott of the Battle of Bunker Hill fame and more. Seven years later her story is brought full circle.

Bonded at Birth will interest adult adoptees who wish to search but hesitate, adoptiveparents confronted by their adopted child's wish to search, and by birth parents who fear searching not wanting to intrude on their biologicaloffspring's life. It will attract memoir readers who enjoy a uniquestory. And couples contemplating adoption will learn the damage secrecycan lead to, and with hope, this book will ensure that they will be theones to talk to their adopted children about their adoptions.

Gloria OrenGloria Oren, Author | Award winning Editor

Gloria is the author of Bonded at Birth: An Adoptee's Search for Her Roots coming June 2016. 

She has a powerful perspective of finding positivity in experiences on life's roller coaster lurches that leave many in panic. 

She is an editor for Muse It Up Publishing and also does freelance editing. When editing Gloria helps authors create the best book they can. 

Founder of the Facebook group Women Writers Editors Agents and Publishers which has over 6,000 members (all women) and which continues growing day by day.

She is a member of the Redmond Association of Spokenword (RASP) and Society of Good Grammar (SPOGG). 

You can connect with Gloria: 

She is also on Facebook and Twitter (@gloriaoren).


Runes for Beginners
Unlock the Secrets of Your Past, Present, and Future
Connect with your intuition, discover more about your personality, and solve problems using the power of runes. With professional fortune-teller Alexandra Chauran as your guide, you can learn how to ask for and interpret the answers to your biggest life questions concerning love, your career, health, and many other important topics.

A solid reference for both beginners and adepts, Runes for Beginners covers everything from rune meanings and memorization techniques to making your own runes. With help from diagrams, practical exercises, and phonetic breakdowns for all the runic letters, you’ll develop a path most beneficial to your goals and improve your life. You’ll even uncover traits about yourself that you may have never known.

I love using runes to figure out the things that I am having difficulty in.  This new ruins book has been very helpful in sorting things out.  This book has worked to broadening my understanding of runes on a deeper level.  It has also allowed me to gain a greater appreciation of the power the runes have in helping me sort things out.  I am always seeking ways to improve my life.  This book is great for all people who are new to runes or those that have knowledge in this area.  It is well written and well laid out book and I feel like I am constantly learning new things.


Joyful Living
Experience joy each day and equip yourself for the ups and downs of life with Joyful Living, a practical roadmap to achieving inner and outer happiness. Using a mindful and balanced approach, Amy Leigh Mercree presents over a hundred ways to enliven your spirit and step into the blissful life you desire. Featuring affirmations, exercises, inspirational stories, and more, Joyful Living’s uplifting entries are easy to use and can be enjoyed in any order. Explore a variety of themes from spiritual ecstasy to attitudes of gratitude to creative inspiration. Apply mindfulness techniques and work toward greater awareness of the present moment. With this book’s guidance, you can calm your busy life and focus on the joyful world around you.

I love that this is a book can be read all at once or a bit at a time and no matter which way you read it there will be ways to make your life better in both big and little ways.  I loved all the affirmations.  I feel like we need to take care of ourselves and finding ways to do that is quite important. Life can be hard and things can cause us to focus on all the negatives, but we need to take advantage of the goodness that life has to offer and this book help you do just that!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

#MMBBR #Highlight The Drogue (The Tréaltha Series #1) by M.A. Nichols

What is the Drogue?

No one knows for certain what the Drogue is or where it came from, but the Dark Knights have spent millennia searching for it. And now, they know who has it. Even if he doesn’t realize it.

Jake always knew he was odd. Only odd people sense things no one else can, and only the exceptionally odd can make those invisible somethings do the impossible. But everyone said he was crazy. Even his own dad—until the man disappeared. Gone in a poof of smoke, his father vanished in front of Jake’s eyes, abandoning him to a hidden world of wizards and magic. Jake must find the truth behind his past, his dad’s disappearance, and the Drogue before the Dark Knights find him. For where the Dark Knights go, death follows.

M.A. Nichols
Born and raised in Anchorage, M.A. Nichols is a lifelong Alaskan with a love of the outdoors. As a child she despised reading, but through the love and persistence of her mother was taught the error of her ways and has had a deep, abiding relationship with it ever since.

She graduated with a bachelor's degree in landscape management from Brigham Young University and a master's in landscape architecture from Utah State University, neither of which has anything to do with why she became a writer, but is a fun little tidbit none-the-less. And no, she doesn't have any idea what type of plant you should put in that shady spot out by your deck. She's not that kind of landscape architect. Stop asking.

The Drogue is her first published novel, but certainly won't be her last.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine The Hostage's Daughter: A Story of Family, Madness, and the Middle East by @SulomeAnderson @HarperCollins

In this gripping blend of reportage, memoir, and analysis, a journalist and daughter of one of the world’s most famous hostages, Terry Anderson, takes an intimate look at her father’s captivity during the Lebanese Hostage Crisis and the ensuing political firestorm on both her family and the United States—as well as the far-reaching implications of those events on Middle Eastern politics today.
In 1991, six-year-old Sulome Anderson met her father, Terry, for the first time. While working as the Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press covering the long and bloody civil war in Lebanon, Terry had been kidnapped in Beirut and held for her entire life by a Shiite Muslim militia associated with the Hezbollah movement.

#FirstLine ~ As far back as I can remember, maybe age three, I was aware of what was happening to my father.
A moving, thoughtful and brutally honest account of a life altering experience for a family and for the state of the world. It is heartbreaking and eye opening.  It was, at times, hard to read.  I found that the bravery in writing this book to be very commendable because it is important.  It is a story that needs to be told and really heard.  A outstanding read...I really cannot find the right words to capture my thoughts.

Friday, November 18, 2016

#MMBBR #Showcase The Pirate Adventures: Volume I by Hunter Saab

The Pirate Adventures: Volume I by [Saab, Hunter]

Join Captain Hunter in his magical journey along the coast. Searching for treasure and his crew, he discovers life lessons on an epic adventure!

#MMBBR #Showcase Scared of the Dark by Caroline L Thornton

Scared of the Dark by [Thornton, Caroline L]

The dark can be scary, especially when you don't know what you're afraid of. But you're not alone, most of us have felt scared at night and the dark's not actually so bad. Discover some of the reasons for our fear, meet friendly animals who play in the night and learn to think of the dark in a new way. Oh and just in case some monsters are real...you'll be reminded that you're braver than you may think!

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