Friday, August 28, 2015

#MMBBR Review: Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison @hollymadison


A former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner describes how her years inside the Playboy Mansion went from a fairytale of A-list celebrity parties to an oppressive regime of strict rules, scheduled sex, and a total loss of identity, so much so that she even contemplated suicide.

This book was a guilty pleasure of mine.  Who isn't curious about what happens at the playboy mansion???  Who isn't curious about the girls and all the adventures they experienced???  I was both repulsed and is such a strange world and one I have never been (or ever will) be part of.  I was so glad that Madison found happiness and has built herself up after her experience.  It is nice to see a happily ever after the craziness she got herself into!!  3.5 stars

Holly Madison

Holly Madison spent five seasons on the #1 rated E! hit reality show The Girls Next Door before landing the leading role in the Las Vegas Strip's smash hit, Peepshow. She also starred in two seasons of her own hit E! series Holly's World. 

Madison divides her time between Las Vegas and Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#MMBBR Review: Surface by Stacy Robinson @stacymrobinson @BookSparks


In this powerfully written and insightful novel, author Stacy Robinson explores the consequences of flawed choices, the complex nature of betrayal and forgiveness--and the intriguing possibility of second acts. . . Claire Montgomery has a lifetime of sensible decisions behind her. Yet all it takes is one impulsive indiscretion to bring everything crashing down--her marriage to a wealthy entrepreneur, her status as half of one of Denver society's power couples, and the future she dreamed of for their seventeen-year-old son, Nick. Claire's husband, Michael, angrily blames her for the recklessness that has left Nick's life in the balance, though not nearly as much as Claire blames herself. But as Nick struggles to move forward, Claire too begins inching toward a reimagined future. Along with a fresh perspective come new questions. Are there other reasons for her fractured relationship and Michael's increasingly erratic behavior? Has he, too, been harboring painful secrets? And does Claire dare to find the real truth, when her seamlessly decorated world of privilege and security is at stake? 

Surface is a book about what happens when unhappiness leads to a reckless act.  With characters that are flawed, angry and dissatisfied with their lives Surface takes you on a roller coaster ride into the lives all it all slowly falls apart.  3 stars 

Stacy Robinson

Stacy graduated with a BA degree in International Relations from Stanford University, and after satisfying her wanderlust with a three-year consulting and teaching stint in Japan, she returned to her hometown of Los Angeles to continue her career in international marketing. A happy twist of fate brought her to Denver, where she had kids and drifted back into the work she loves most – writing. Stacy is a lover of live music, clever lyrics, and the occasional cycling trip - and enjoys the Mile High city and nearby mountains with her husband, three children and chocolate Labrador non-Retriever, Jagger.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#MMBBR Blog Tour: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks @scottbwilbanks


Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention—not even that of space and time—which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.
Annie and Elsbeth’s search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery—and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen…and yet somehow already did.

Weaving time travel into a novel is not for the faint of heart, not even for a seasoned author, but what if you are a freshman writer who had only an eye to some characters you’d dreamt up and it just happened—the time travel element, I mean?
That gets tricky really fast. Truth be told, I wrote the whole darn book by the seat of my pants; the first draft, anyway. And it all began with an image in my head—a pair of unlikely pen pals, one an eccentric young lady living in contemporary San Francisco who is obsessed with Victorian clothes, the other a dowdy, old schoolmarm living in a turn-of-the-century Kansas wheat field who possesses an inventory of curse words to make a sailor blush, as well as a take-no-prisoners attitude.
If you can believe it, I’d dreamt them up as I drove home with my tail tucked between my legs after a botched first date. Yup. I owe my book to those humble beginnings.
Though I thought the date was going swimmingly, he thought otherwise, and leaned back in his chair to say, “I think we are destined to be great friends.”
I drove home determined to salvage what I could, and conjured Annie and Elsbeth somewhere on Dolores Street in San Francisco. By the time I’d pulled into my garage, I’d written up a letter (in my head) from Annie to El, one in which she asked for advice regarding her love stuck friend—me.
I didn’t stop there, though, putting it to paper, so to speak, and emailed it off to his work address. While I won’t bore you with the details, the letter was a bit of a hit, having gone “viral” throughout the office where he worked. Many more were written.
But back to time travel.
Lemoncholy was born from those letters, first and foremost, and since I couldn’t shake the original notion of Elsbeth living a hundred years in the past, I was going to have to toy with the concept of time so that these two women could communicate. And what better way than through a letterbox that sits in some common magical ground between their two worlds? Annie, of course, had to be delighted with her pen pal. That was a “given” in my mind. I had bigger plans for Elsbeth, however. I decided she was going to be none to happy with the general state of affairs.
The front end of my manuscript quickly became crowded with their letters—Annie expressing delight, Elsbeth itching to make good use of her shogun—and while I was having a blast, it quickly became apparent that I had little in the way of story.
So I cooked one up.
I asked myself a question. What would happen if Annie found an old article, one in which she learns of a murder that took place a hundred years ago in Kansas City, yet will take place in four days on Elsbeth’s timeline? And what if the person who was murdered is responsible for Annie and El being able to communicate across time?
Voila! I had a story!
You’d think that I would have simply sail along at that point, but things only got messier when I created Annie and El’s supporting cast.
There’s Christian. He’s Annie’s best friend; a sweetheart of a man who is burdened with a secret buried so deep within his subconscious that it leaves him with a stutter.
Then there’s Edmond; a total charmer who lifts Christian’s secret to the surface, all the while burdened with a demon of his own—drug addiction.
And, finally, there’s Cap’n. She’s a twelve-year-old street urchin living in turn-of-the-century Kansas City who survives by dent of her wits, a total smarty-pants.
I’d fallen in love.
With all of them.
So I did something crazy. I wrote a separate story for each of them—for Annie and El, for Cap’n, and for Christian and Edmond—not because I wanted to add dimension to a time travel novel, but because it was becoming more and more obvious to me that these characters had something to say. A theme was rising to the surface. I was going to write a story about the marginalization of misfits, with each of mine in pursuit of a little understanding, a little hope, in an unforgiving world. Whether or not they found what they were seeking is a matter of opinion, but it is clear they did find something greater.
Each other.
So, in the end, The Lemoncholy Life Of Annie Aster is really three stories, each exploring the life of a loner, a person struggling to find his or her place, that also happens to be woven together by a fourth story—a mystery that has time travel at its core.
Scott Wilbanks

They say, “Write what you know.” Who ‘they’ may be still remains a mystery, but I took the advice to heart when I wrote a book about five misfits who found themselves walking a path I trod daily, seeking understanding in an indifferent world, but more on that later.

With my life constantly pushed and pulled by a pair of opposing bugaboos—ADD and drive—I surprised myself by graduating summa cum laude from The University of Oklahoma while also garnering a handful of titles in the sport of gymnastics.

Life-changing accidents, lost loves, and an unremarkable career path followed, that is until a lawsuit and Mike changed everything. The lawsuit motivated me to step away from my career. Mike added the extra push, convincing me to take a leap of faith, and move to the country of his birth, New Zealand, while also encouraging me to “see where this writing will take me.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#MMBBR Review: Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes (Rose Gardner #1) by Denise Grover Swank @DeniseMSwank


For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

Winner of The Beacon – 2010 Unpublished Division, Mainstream Category

I adored this book and the main character, Rose.  She was such a sweet and innocent girl wanting to experience the world in its full potential after being held back by her overbearing mother.  This story is filled with sadness, hope, love and self determination.  But what made this book even better that it was not predicable and had some twist and turns.  I cannot wait to dive into other books in this series!!  5 stars

Denise is a single mom who lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri raising five of her six kids. (The oldest has gone off to live on his own.) She loves to embarrass her children whether it be spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen or making her teens’ friends think she’s funny/cool.*gasp* (Even if it’s in her own mind.) On rare occasions, she is known to post stories about her crazy life on her family blog There’s Always Room for One More.She keeps her sanity by creating worlds to escape to and characters to hang out with

Friday, August 21, 2015

#MMBBR Review: The Ones We Trust by Kimberly Belle @KimberlySBelle


A moving and evocative exploration of grief and guilt in the wake of one family's devastating loss.

When former DC journalist Abigail Wolff attempts to rehabilitate her career, she finds herself at the heart of a US army cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan -- with unspeakable emotional consequences for one family. As the story of what happened comes to light, Abigail will do anything to write it.

The more evidence she stumbles upon in the case, the fewer people it seems she can trust, including her own father, a retired army general. And she certainly never expected to fall in love with the slain soldier's brother, Gabe, a bitter man struggling to hold his family together. The investigation eventually leads her to an impossible choice, one of unrelenting sacrifice to protect those she loves.

Beyond the buried truths and betrayals, questions of family loyalty and redemption, Abigail's search is, most of all, a desperate grasp at carrying on and coping -- and seeking hope in the impossible.

I love when thrillers are actually thrillers...when they leave you almost stunned and thinking about them after you turned the last page!  The Ones We Trust is one of those reads...not predictable, full of emotion and characters that are so engaging.  I cannot wait to read more by Belle!!!  4.5 stars

Kimberly Belle

Kimberly Belle grew up in Eastern Tennessee, in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. A graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, Kimberly lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and has worked in marketing and fundraising for various nonprofits. Her debut novel, THE LAST BREATH, was published by Harlequin MIRA in September 2014. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

buy the book

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#MMBBR Blog Tour with Review: The Princess Games- Danai Kadzere


King Winkle and Queen Periwinkle have a problem. They need a princess, and they need her fast. With the upcoming peace-keeping marriage between Prince Linus of Branninia and the princess of the fair Kingdom of Hoggenbottom, it's a bit risky to admit they don't have a princess.

Instead, they decide to host The Princess Games. Soon enough, the fairest maidens of the land are gathered in front of the castle, fairy-godmothers in tow! With a goofy king, an obsessive compulsive advisor, and a fairy godmother whose spells do whatever they want, these games are about to get interesting.

Even if Emma and her clumsy Fairy Louise can manage to do well in the competition, she'll have to get past the expert spells of Fairy Faye and the beauty of Laralyn, who is intent on pleasing her ambitious mother at any cost.


A fun and quick read for any middle grade reader who has ever dreamed to be a princess and craves some adventure and laughs along the way.  4 stars

Danai  Kadzere

Danai Kadzere is a recent graduate of Harvard University, living and writing in New York City. With family scattered around the globe in South Africa, Germany, Zimbabwe, and America, Danai loves traveling, being adventurous and baking. When not nose deep in a good book, or elbows high in flour, Danai can be found covering things in pink glitter, chasing her two cats, climbing trees, or acting.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#MMBBR Review: The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff @PamJenoff


Summer 1941  
Young Adelia Monteforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home. 
Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

Let's be honest, there was a lot a hype around this book this summer.  I was almost afraid to read it for fear of being let down by all the rave reviews....but alas, it was wonderful!!!  It was completely original, had an amazing heroine and a page turner with such depth!  I am so glad that I read this book and you will be too!  4.5 stars

Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Jenoff developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.

Having left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Jenoff is now employed as an attorney in Philadelphia.

Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Diplomat's Wife and Almost Home. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#SRC2015 Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica #MMBBR Review @MaryKubica


Week of August 3: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
pretty babyHeidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

OMG, I am not sure where Kubica's comes up with these stories, but I am so glad she puts pen to paper and writes us these amazing books!  Pretty Baby is another hit.  All I can say is that I both was craving holding a baby and being a mother again and was stressed to the max knowing something was going to happen to turn this story upside down!  Kubica does not disappoint when it comes to writing character driven stories that keep the reader glued to the book.  It is such an experience when you read one of her books because you are left satisfied and the characters linger long after the book has ended.  Bravo, on another hit Kubica, BRAVO!!!  5 stars 

Mary Kubica is the author of two novels, including PRETTY BABY (2015) and THE GOOD GIRL (2014), which is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature, and lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children.  Mary enjoys photography, gardening, and caring for the animals at a local shelter.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#MMBBR Sophie Hannah - The Warning - Virtual Book Tour

I haven’t chosen to have this conversation. Nadine Caspian followed me. Forced it on me.
She’s standing three steps above me on the staircase. It makes me feel trapped and small. I wish we could talk on the same level, but we can hardly stand side by side on one step—they’re too narrow.
I can’t decide if she’s attractive or not. Her hair is nice—dark blond, thick and subtly highlighted. Her face is heart shaped and her features big and doll-like, but with a slightly hardened look to them. She’s around my age: early thirties.
“Something tells me you haven’t known Tom Rigbey long,” she says. “You don’t know him well—am I right?”
I nod.
“This is none of my business, but I’ll say it anyway. You seem like a lovely person, so go and get your gift bag back off Rukia and give it to someone else, anyone else. Have nothing to do with Tom Rigbey. Give him nothing, tell him nothing, trust him not at all.’

Date Published: June 30, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

When a kindly stranger does Chloe a good deed, she decides she must repay him. But in tracing him, she meets a sympathetic woman named Nadine, who warns Chloe to stay away from the man at all costs. “Give him nothing, tell him nothing, don’t trust him,” she says. “Avoid him like the plague.”

Chloe knows the sensible thing to do: walk away. But her curiosity gets the best of her. What is the truth about the good Samaritan? How dangerous could he be? And can Chloe find the answers without putting herself and her daughter in harm’s way?

A twisting, razor-sharp suspense story that will keep you guessing to the very end, The Warning features an appearance from Simon Waterhouse, next seen in the full-length thriller Woman With a Secret - already hailed as “mesmerizing” (Lisa Gardner) and “unputdownable” (Liane Moriarty).

Virtual Book Tour - August 3rd - August 28th

Follow the tour HERE

Have you ever ignored a warning from a friend?  Have you ever been the one who gave the warning???  Be taken on a ride when Chloe ignores a warning about a man who jumped in and saved the day for her and her daughter. Follow along as this man who is charming and funny (in a weird way) takes interest in Chloe and her daughter...what can go wrong????  Pick up this novella and find out for yourself!  Then continue onto another adventure with Simon Waterhouse in Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah, available now!  4 stars


Sophie Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of nine psychological thrillers as well as The Monogram Murders, the first novel to be authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie. Her books have received numerous awards, including the UK National Book Award, and are published in twenty-seven countries. She lives in Cambridge, England.

Contact Information
Twitter:  @sophiehannahCB1


Purchase Links

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#MMBBR Coloring Dream Mandalas by Wendy Piersall

Coloring Dream Mandalas

Coloring mandalas is an ancient way to attain focus, clarity, and peace. Now, Coloring Dream Mandalas adds the beauty of the dream world—including dreamcatchers, sacred geometry, angels and fantastical creatures—to these intricate designs for page after page of coloring book bliss.

With roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas are spiritual symbols that represent the universe. Coloring these hypnotically beautiful, mystical shapes is a meditative and enjoyable way to relax. A fun way to achieve a state of mindfulness, this book fosters creativity, reduces stress, and allows readers to embrace their inner child by focusing on the simple but engaging task of coloring in the detailed designs.

I have found coloring to be a bit of a meditative experience.  I set aside at least 20 minutes a few times a week for this very relaxing activity.  I find this particular coloring book to be very enjoyable as I loved that some of the pictures had sayings, words and quotes while others were just beautiful drawings.  It is easy to get lost in the very dreamy and inspiring drawings. I have colored the below picture using ultra fine markers,  I love that there endless ways to create your own works of art.   4 stars

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