Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#MMBBR #Showcase #Q&A The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by [Palombo, Alyssa]

Publishers Weekly acclaims that The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence is “strikingly feminist…a compelling narrative that is difficult to putdown.” 

About the Book A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence—most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici—become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion.

Q. What inspires your writing?
I draw inspiration from many sources – history, of course, being the main one; historical people and places and time periods that interest me. As an artist myself, I’m also fascinated by the artistic process in all mediums, and that has of course been a theme in my first two novels. I’m also greatly inspired by the wonderful women in my life, who always compel me to continue creating real, vibrant, and resilient women on the page, and to depict the inner life of women as accurately as I can, even when I’m writing across time periods. Lastly, music is always a great source of inspiration for me: it can help get my brain working and even occasionally inspire scenes and help me resolve plot points as I listen to and interpret lyrics in different ways.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
Honestly, I most love writing stories! Writing is truly my favorite thing in the world to do, and I love being able to escape into another world, another time and place – even if the things going on there aren’t always particularly pleasant! It’s the closest I’ll ever come to being able to visit another era, or to live another life, if only briefly.

Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
Writing is also hard work, at some times more than others. Pushing through those moments when the words aren’t flowing and the work is difficult and you’re doubting yourself is probably the toughest part. 

Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
It’s tough to imagine, because if I wasn’t a writer I’m not sure who I’d be! But I think I would have focused on my love of music instead and tried seriously for a career as a performer.

Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
“The Girl Who Was Crushed by Her Books” – because I have so many that that is how I will no doubt die someday.

Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – it’s the book that really inspired me to write historical fiction as a teenager. The era comes completely to life, and the characters are so real and vivid that I feel like I know them, like they’re old friends. And I love how (as she does in many of her books) she resurrected a little known heroine (in this case Mary Boleyn) who managed to survive the cutthroat Tudor court and make her own way.

Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
This is a tough one! Maybe Alessandra Cecchi from The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. She is passionate about pursuing her dreams and doesn’t let anything stop her, and I like to think I have similar focus and determination. She also loves to learn and doesn’t want her world to slip from the Rena

Alyssa PalomboAbout the Author
ALYSSA PALOMBO is also the author of The Violinist of Venice. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively.  A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Buffalo, New York.

Connect with Alyssa Palombo

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Monday, April 24, 2017

#MMBBR #Review Slightly South of Simple @kristywharvey @GalleryBooks ‏@SimonSchuster

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Kristy Woodson Harvey

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2015)Lies and Other Acts of Love (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2016) and the Peachtree Bluff Series, beginning with Slightly South of Simple(Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2017). Dear Carolina was long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, has been optioned for film and has appeared on numerous “must-read” lists. Lies and Other Acts of Love was a Romantic Timestop pick, a Southern Booksellers Okra Pick and was chosen to be a part of the 2017 Trio display, an integration of story, art and song, which will spend the year traveling the country.
She blogs with her mom daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of Traditional Home’s design blogger hall of fame, about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com.
Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a master’s in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living,Domino, Houzz and Our State. She has been seen featured in Readers’ DigestThe Huffington PostUSA Today’s Happy Every AfterNorth Carolina BookwatchPopSugarGlitter Guide and The Sits Girls. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.

Twitter:  @kristywharvey 
Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/kristywoodsonharvey
From the next “major voice in Southern fiction” (New York Times

bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand) comes the first in an all-new series
chronicling the journeys of three sisters and their mother—and a secret
from their past that has the potential to tear them apart and reshape
their very definition of what it means to be a family.

Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town

of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst
day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother
selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no
less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she'd spent her childhood
summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has
fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant
Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old
daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.

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Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found

out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her
with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design
business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes
Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter
Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and
successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the
piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp.
Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley's
life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives
might finally be forced into the open.

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Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters,

this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and
plenty of heart.

Harvey keeps getting better with every book that she writes.  I have adored each and every one of her stories to date and Slightly South of Simple blew me away.  I am so excited that Slightly South of Simple is part of a new series.  There is something very comforting about the settings Harvey chooses and worlds that Harvey creates because she does so with heart.  I love the characters and found myself really wrapped up in the story because it was multi-layered.  There was depth of story and richness in dialogue that helped flesh out the characters and builds upon the mounting secrets and drama.  This book is about moms, daughters, sisters and families in various ways.  I just adored this book and I cannot wait to see where this new series takes us.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#MMBBR #Review The Odds of You and Me by @ceciliagalante5 #FirstLine @Morrow_PB

In the vein of Meg Donohue and Sarah Jio, Cecilia Galante’s second novel delivers the powerful story of one young woman who’s faced with an impossible choice—one that could have her making the biggest mistake of her life.
Thirteen days. That’s all Bernadette, “Bird,” Sincavage has left to go until she’s done with her probation and can be free again. Free from making payments to the supermarket she wrote bad checks to. Free from living at home with her overzealous mother who’s constantly nagging her about attending church again. Free to give her four-year-old son, Angus, the normal life he deserves. Her impending freedom and move to Moon Lake, where she’s plunked down a deposit on a brand new apartment, is so close she can almost taste it. What trouble could she possibly get into in just thirteen days?
But trouble does follow in the form of James Rittenhouse—someone she worked with a few years ago. At first, Bird is stunned to see James make the evening news when he’s arrested for assaulting someone in a local bar. But that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she discovers James hiding out in an abandoned church choir loft. Somehow he escaped police custody, broke his leg, and got his hand on a gun, which he’s now pointing at her.
Although Bird doesn’t tell anyone she saw James, there’s no way she’s helping him. She can’t screw up her probation or her second chance for a new future. And she has her son’s welfare to think about. Still. If only she could stop thinking about the terrified look in James’ eyes and the fact that he’s hurt. If only she could forget that once, long ago, James helped her out, and she owes him a debt like no other. 
Will Bird jeopardize her future for someone who helped her out in the past? A past that holds secrets she’s not quite sure she’s ready to face? Or will she turn a blind eye and learn to live with the consequences?

#FirstLine ~ "Bird?" Mrs. Ross, all blond hair and wide, kohl-rimmed eyes, beckons from inside the probation office.  

This book was wonderful.  I enjoyed it cover to cover, as it was richly written with characters that I really enjoyed.  It was when I read the book when I really fell in love with Galante.  The Odds of You and Me won me over in the same ways that The Invisibles did.  The story is about real people, who face challenges and come out better in the end.  They are heart and soul on the pages of the book.  They also leave a lasting impression.  I now make sure to include first lines from books in my reviews because of The Invisibles.   Galante is a talent and her writing is real, with fleshed out characters and story lines that are crisp, original and thought provoking.  I highly recommend any and all of her books.  They are also perfect for book clubs and I promise you great conversation when discussing Galante's hard-to-put-down books!

Cecilia Galante

Cecilia Galante is the author of several middle grade, young adult and adult novels. She also teaches 8th grade English at Wyoming Seminary Prep School, and teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Wilkes University.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#MMBBR #Highlight #FirstLine Saratoga Payback by Stephen Dobyns @PenguinPbks @penguinusa @Penguin @_PenguinGroup

Saratoga Payback (Charlie Bradshaw Mystery) by [Dobyns, Stephen]

The latest installment in Stephen Dobyns's Charlie Bradshaw mysteries, Saratoga Payback follows the latest exploits of Saratoga Springs' most unusual and sardonic detective. 

Ever since the cops revoked his private investigator's license, Charlie Bradshaw has been adjusting to life as a regular senior citizen. But reading, sitting around the house, and making amateur home repairs is a far cry from his past life as Saratoga Springs' most successful everyman detective.

So when Charlie discovers the sprawled corpse of Saratoga Springs' biggest nuisance on his sidewalk, the ex-P.I. is torn. Should he risk asking questions of his own, knowing he could easily be prosecuted for doing P.I. work without a license? Or should he avoid the trouble and spend his twilight years in peace? Well, the case was practically delivered to his doorstep...

Saratoga Payback, the latest installment in Stephen Dobyns's critically praised Charlie Bradshaw Mysteries, follows Charlie as he toes the line between concerned private citizen and practiced private eye. As he begins to look into the murder of the town pest, Charlie also finds himself entangled in problem that is purely Saratogian--a mission to rescue an old acquaintance's kidnapped horse. Wry, entertaining, and adroitly written, Saratoga Payback is an immensely satisfying addition to Dobyns's popular mystery series.

#FirstLine ~ Mickey Martin had what an acquaintance called "urinous" breath: a potent alkaloid whiff mixed with eh aroma of rotting meat, which caused those whom he had snared in conversation to stumble back in search of relief.

Image result for Stephen Dobyns writerDobyns was raised in New Jersey, Michigan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He was educated at Shimer College, graduated from Wayne State University, and received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1967. He has worked as a reporter for the Detroit News.

He has taught at various academic institutions, including Sarah Lawrence College, the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, the University of Iowa, Syracuse University, and Boston University.

In much of his poetry and some works of non-genre fiction, Dobyns employs extended tropes, using the ridiculous and the absurd as vehicles to introduce more profound meditations on life, love, and art. He shies neither from the low nor from the sublime, and all in a straightforward narrative voice of reason. His journalistic training has strongly informed this voice.


Friday, April 21, 2017

#Review #MMBBR #Roundup @NatGeo ‏@NGKids #COUNTONME @todastw1

Count On Me

Who do you count on? You may look to friends, teammates, family, mentors and teachers to not let you down. And in return, they can count on you to do the same for them!
Being part of a workplace team also involves accepting responsibilities. When each team member acts responsibly, it makes the workplace more successful.
Responsible people take charge of their lives! Make a plan and set goals to develop your talents and skills! We challenge you, on Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day, to show your future workforce that they can #COUNTONME !
What is your job?  Are you taking your son or daughter to work with you on Thursday, April 27th, 2017?
All these National Geographic books help you and your children explore various types of jobs.  What a great way to bridge you and your child and get them excited about Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day!!!!

Ever wondered how to find a dinosaur? Paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson, host of Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids, tells kids how! How do paleontologists find dinosaur bones? How do they know what dinosaurs ate or looked like? And what is paleontology, anyway? Dr. Scott tackles all these questions and more while inspiring kids to go out and make the next big dino discovery!

Mrs Mommy Booknerd and Carys' Review:  

Carys loves dinosaurs and one of the things on this 7 years old short list for jobs is being a paleontologist.  That was even her costume for Halloween this year, so I knew that my little neighbor friend would be perfect to help me review this book.  Carys loved that this book was all about one of her possible career paths.  She loves dinosaurs and learned tons of new things.  She loves learning that Dr. Scott's favorite dinosaurs is a Kosmoceratops, which happens to be her favorite too! She loved all the illustrations and pictures.  Carys got through this book with ease, as she excels in reading but this book may be a bit harder for new or beginning readers, but would be a great book to read with your child.  Carys and I loved that each two page spread covered a topic like WHAT IS A PALEONTOLOGY, WHERE ARE FOSSILS FOUND and HOW ARE FOSSILS REMOVED FROM THE FIELD, just to name a few.  This book is fun, informative and acts as a great compliment in any dinosaur lovers library.  Carys and I both give this book a HUGE 5 star rating and highly recommend it to any and all dino lovers!

Who says adults can't have fun? This book explores 100 of the coolest, wackiest, and most amazing jobs and careers out there, from astronaut to zookeeper, ice cream taster to game maker. 

 Jam-packed with inspiration, hands-on projects, advice from National Geographic explorers, interviews with experts, weird-but-true facts, and more, this new book in the popular "100 Things" series is a great way to get kids thinking creatively about career paths and excited about their futures!

Mrs Mommy Booknerd's Review
This book is FANTASTIC. I could not stop reading it and both my boys thought is was super cool too! Did you know that being a social worker is the 44th job listed in this book?  That is one of my jobs, so cool right!? In this book you will read about 100 things to be when you grow up.  All the jobs sound interesting and fun! This book has all the things that I love about National Geographic...the amazing photos, great tidbits and facts, as well as the well written table of content and index. This book will make you want to explore all the wonderful, wacky and interesting jobs out in the world!

National Geographic has inspired generations of explorers. Now it's your turn! Learn what it takes to be a real-life explorer in this fun and action-packed guide to discovering the world around us. Unearth ancient mummies and lost treasures, encounter wild animals and learn how to protect their habitats, and shoot for the stars with the latest technologies in space travel. Amazing stories, fantastic photos, and hands-on-activities inspire curious kids to start discovering on land, air, and sea. Profiles feature National Geographic explorers of all kinds: paleontologists, biologists, photographers, artists, writers, activists, conservationists, and more. Kids are inspired to follow their passions into careers and introduced to the first steps to take to achieve their dream.

Mrs Mommy Booknerd's Review
This book is quite speculator! Within this amazing book there are 100's photos of some of the coolest things to grab our attention and to get you out exploring.  In addition to all the fabulous photos, there are facts and tidbits galore. While you peruse the book you can look through the chapters and read things that interest you the most. The book is broken down by land, sea and sky and within those categories there are tons of places listed to explore. When this book arrived my son was instantly reading it bouncing from topic to topic...all I heard was "Did you know that...." followed by some amazing factoids and "Wow, look at this..." followed by me looking at some crazy cool things. These are the type of books that capture the attention of young readers because they have amazing vibrant photos with fun facts, game and puzzles. I love that I can trust that my child will be learning interesting and important facts and that their attention will be captured over the summer with this book. Every time you open it up you read you learn something new. This will be a staple read for my boys over the summer and it will get us out exploring and having grand adventures!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#MMBBR #Giveaway #Giveaway #VampirinaBallerina @AnneMariePace @DisneyHyperion

Vampirina at the Beach
By Ann Marie Pace
Release: April 4, 2017
Recommended for ages 2 - 6

When the summer moon is full, a beach trip is an epic way to spend the night.

With her signature poise, Vampirina and her clan gear up for a festive time at the beach. Keeping her ballet lessons in mind, Vampirina demi-pliƩs on a surfboard, leaps for a volleyball, and finishes each competition with style, even if she doesn't always come out on top.

This book is so much fun!  I love that it is released just in time for summer because it is a perfect summer read.  The illustrations are the so detailed, colorful and engaging.  You could spend a lot of time just looking at the pictures and enjoying all the interesting interactions, activities and characters enjoying the on the outing at the beach.  You could picture read this book with new or beginning readers and then have them work up to reading the text.  There are important lessons in this book about how to stay safe and have fun at the beach.  The story is engaging, fun and sure to become your child's new favorite book.  This series is pure delight and I cannot wait to see how the cute the new show is that is coming to Disney Junior.    


One winner receives copies of the complete series:
Vampirina Ballerina
Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover
Vampirina at the Beach

Cannot wait to see if you won?  Buy the book HERE

About the Author
Anne Marie Pace (www.annemariepace.com) is the author of Vampirina Ballerina and Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover, and has had stories, poems, and articles for kids published in such magazines as Highlights for Children, My Friend, Wee Ones, and On the Line. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband and four teenagers.

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