Tuesday, May 31, 2016

#MMBBR #Review Saving Abby by @steenaholmes @amazon #LakeUnionPublishing


In New York Times and USA Today bestseller Steena Holmes’ highly-anticipated new novel SAVING ABBY (Lake Union Publishing, On-sale May 31st, 2016), a mother must make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her unborn child’s?

About SAVING ABBY  A children’s book illustrator, all Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After years of heartbreak—following her unexpected teenage pregnancy and giving her baby up for adoption—Claire is ready to have another child with her loving husband Josh. But after six years of trying to conceive, Claire and Josh have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own. Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?

 Steena Holmes

Steena Holmes lives in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs. Her previous two dozen novels including Finding Emma and Emma’s Secret have sold more than one million copies, have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, won the National Excellence in Indie Award for Fiction, and are now published in the international market. Learn more at http://www.steenaholmes.com/.

I adored Saving Abby...it was emotional, heartfelt, honest and raw.  Holmes has a way to write characters that touch the readers heart.  She grabs the reader and causes them to ignore everything else until the reader turns the last page and sets the book down.  Readers will be left feeling changed, moved....different than they were before they started Saving Abby  It is more than just reading a book...it is an experience you engage in.  I think Holmes keeps getting better with every book she writes.  I need more people to hurry and read this book so we can discuss it.  This book is so very good and one that would make a great book club pick.  
5 stars

Monday, May 30, 2016

@BookSpark #bestsummerever #SCR2016 #Review #Appetite @SheilaGrinell #MMBBR

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When Jenn Adler returns from a year in India, she has a surprise for her parents: a young guru from Bangalore whom she intends to marry. Her father, Paul, is wary of this “beggar” Jenn has brought home—who, he suspects, is conning his much-loved daughter—while her mother, Maggie, is frightened that this alien stranger will steal away her only child, her focus in life. 

In the months leading up to the backyard wedding, Maggie is forced to reevaluate her virtues as she casts about for support, and Paul faces an unexpected threat at work—one that Maggie could help him meet, if he would only ask. But even with these distractions, the two parents are focused on one primary question: Can they convince their daughter she is making a terrible mistake before the wedding takes place?

Sheila Grinell

Toward the end of her forty-year career as a creator of science museums, Sheila Grinell began to write fiction. Born in a taxi in Manhattan, she studied at the Bronx High School of Science, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and dog.

This was an interesting book because it examines something that I often think about...what makes us feel happy, content and satisfied in life.  What do we do or have the right to do when we have strong opinions about the choices those we love are making.  This book is about family, love, relationships...life and all that is encompasses.   It is engrossing, interesting and original.  It is a great book club choice because there is a lot to be discussed.  4.5 stars 

#MMBBR #Review The Weekenders by @mkayandrews @StMartinsPress

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.
So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens...in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.
Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.

Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies' Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, 
and Summer Rental, all from St. Martin's Press, as well as The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, 
and Savannah Blues, all HarperPerennial. On May 17, 2016, St. Martin's Press will release her 24th novel, THE WEEKENDERS. A former journalist for
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she divides her time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, Georgia.

I loved this book!  It had everything that I love in a good read...mystery, intrigue, great setting and characters with a dash of romance and escapism.  I liked it because it was a bit deeper and a tad darker than Andrews other novels.  It was great reading an author you love put an unexpected spin on her writing,  It was really enjoyable seeing this side to her.  4.5 stars

Sunday, May 29, 2016

#MMBBR #BooknerdBoyBraden #Review Bruce and the Road to Honesty by @galeleach

The Saga Continues . . . 
Bruce and his companions returned home as heroes, having saved many from the tyranny of the evil bat, Stang. Bruce's real victory, however, was in learning his own worth and the value of his friends and family. Now, as he prepares to change into a butterfly, Bruce's parents share a secret that sends him away again in search of a home he never knew he had. 
On the journey, Bruce is caught in a storm of conflicting emotions and doubt, learning of the anguish that accompanies deceptin and how hard it is to do what's right when things are not what they seem.

Gale Leach

When Gale Leach moved to Arizona, she fell in love with pickleball, a wonderful sport with a silly name. Her first book, The Art of Pickleball, won the Arizona Book Award in 2007. This success spurred her to try fiction, a lifelong dream, and in 2010 she finished her first novel, Bruce and the Road to Courage, a heroic fantasy for children. She followed that with three more books in the "Bruce and Friends" series, all of which captured multiple awards. She's currently writing a new YA series, the first novel of which should be released by the end of 2015.

Writing fiction is now Gale's passion, along with playing Celtic music, singing, and pickleball. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two dogs, and three cats.

Visit Gale's website -- www.galeleach.com -- to learn more about her what she's up to now, read and subscribe to her blog. You may also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

What did you like best about the book?
It was nice to be back with the gang from the first book.  There was adventure and fun with new and interesting characters.  There are always things that happen that I did not expect.  That makes reading fun.  There were definitely some times that I was really surprised.

Were there any lessons learned in this book?
Yes, that family is the most most important thing.  

What do you hope to see moving forward with this series?
I would love to see Bruce and Milton and the rest of the gang on other fun adventures while learning other important life lessons.

How many stars would you give it?
4 stars

Saturday, May 28, 2016

#MMBBR #Showcase Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Pau @DianaPaul10

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household―but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years.

Diana Y. Paul

Diana Y. Paul is the award-winning author of Things Unsaid, her debut novel (SheWrites Press: 2015). It has won the award for best New Adult Fiction from Beverly Hills Book Awards for 2016 and has been ranked #2 in the "Top 14 Books about Families Crazier Than Yours" (https://www.brit.co/dysfunctional-family-books/ ). Diana has also written three books on Buddhism, one of which has been translated into Japanese and German (Women in Buddhism, University of California Press). She is a former professor at Stanford University in Buddhist Studies and the role of women in religion and culture.

Diana was born in Akron, Ohio and is a graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in both psychology and philosophy and the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Ph.D in Buddhist Studies . Her short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals and she is currently working on a second novel, A Perfect Match. She lives in Carmel, CA with her husband and loves to create mixed media art, focusing on printmaking. Her art has been exhibited in California, Hawaii, and Japan. Whenever possible, Diana and her husband love to visit their adult daughter and her family in San Francisco and their son in Los Angeles. To learn more about her and her work, visit her author website at http://www.dianaypaul.com, her blog on movies, art, and food at http://www.unhealedwound.com or follow her on Twitter: @DianaPaul10

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. I am always listening and eavesdropping. And friends and acquaintances are always telling me stories. So I absorb these and focus on those that repeat from friend to friend. My first novel, released six months ago--Things Unsaid—focuses on competing family obligations: to one’s aging parents and to one’s own spouse and children. My second novel in progress focuses on the changing nature of dating. These discussions kept resurfacing and I couldn’t let them go.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A. Creating a world with characters that take on a life of their own and have their own voices.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A. I can think of three parts of writing which are tough for me: 1) Imagining how the reader will connect the plot/subplots of the story I’ve created, and add their own experience in responding; 2) Writing scenes with sufficient detail but not excessive wordiness; [ I ended up cutting almost 100 pages from Things Unsaid before publication.] 3) Making the most flawed, unsympathetic characters understandable.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A. A mixed media artist (which I am) or a screenwriter in TV and movies.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. True Myths

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. Too many to choose only one but I would add Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, and August: Osage County by Tracy Letts to my favorites list. They are all very dark and disturbing. On the lighter side, I loved Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. This is a tough oneprobably would say Hermione in the Harry Potter series for my serious, analytical side and Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh series for my impulsive side.

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?

A. This is difficult to answer also, because I have to get inside the mind of every character so that I have hopefully created an appropriate psychology for each of them. I guess I would have to say there is a little bit of me in all of my characters, but since Things Unsaid is not a memoir, the story really is imagined.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. I read two books per week, usually one novel and one nonfiction—so I would take whatever is first on my very long queue. I review almost all of them, cutting the author some slack if he or she is a debut writer.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Autumn—In Carmel the weather is perfect: crystal clear and in the mid-60s with beautiful sunsets and harvest moons. [Fog in this area is more frequent the other three seasons.] Also, our garden has spectacular flowers and vegetables in September and October.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A. Julie Metz, creative director for She Writes Press, my publisher, blew me out of the water with the cover. I am an artist and look at cover design very carefully and it is extremely difficult to convey the tone and heart of a novel in one graphic. I feel Julie nailed it. I also love the simplicity of the covers for Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, Vikram Chandra’s Geek Sublime, and the emotional foreshadowing of Tracy Letts cover for “August: Osage County”.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. I was reading from Things Unsaid and one of the managers of Book Passages in Corte Madera (one of my favorite bookstores) said I should be a stand-up comic. That particular passage was meant to be humorous, or at least ironic, but the book is definitely a “ferocious tale” as some of the reviewers have described it. Also, at another of my favorite bookstores, Books Inc, a student in screenwriting said she could imagine Things Unsaid as an HBO mini-series.
Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes, a humorous riff on dating in your 30’s when you have almost everything —great job, friends, and family—but your dating life is going nowhere. I am almost ready to finalize the manuscript before sending it out.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  I love social media—have been mostly on Facebook and LinkedIn but now trying to become more active on Twitter (@DianaPaul10).
Please stop by or visit my author website: www.dianaypaul.com For me social media is like the town crier or water-cooler back in the day. We can all gather round and share ideas and recommendations. Would love to hear from other readers as well as authors!

#MMBBR #Review Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by @jennycolgan @Morrow_PB

For fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Jojo Moyes, and Jane Green, Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery is an irresistible novel—moving and funny, soulful and sweet—about happiness, heartache, and hope. And recipes.
A thriving bakery. A lighthouse to call home. A handsome beekeeper. A pet puffin. These are the things that Polly Waterford can call her own. This is the beautiful life she leads on a tiny island off the southern coast of England.
But clouds are gathering on the horizon. A stranger threatens to ruin Polly’s business. Her beloved boyfriend seems to be leading a secret life. And the arrival of a newcomer—a bereft widow desperately searching for a fresh start—forces Polly to reconsider the choices she’s made, even as she tries to help her new friend through grief.
Unpredictable and unforgettable, this delightful novel will make you laugh, cry, and long for a lighthouse of your own.

Jenny Colgan

At her website there are extracts, book details, some recipes and info and what-not. 

Here’s her updated Facebook site, where she posts details of anything interesting that she is up to or baking a bit more regularly.

Do please follow her on Twitter, at @jennycolgan – that’s a great place to say hello to if you want to chat – or on Facebook, where she is much better at answering mail. 

A great read to escape into this summer.  You will enjoy the the recipe of a great setting, a dash of deliciousness, with a few pinches of love and hope and a few sprinkles of heartbreak.  You may laugh, you may cry...but you will certainly feel the story.  You will want to own a puffin and a lighthouse after you finish this book...you have been warned!  4 stars

Friday, May 27, 2016

@BookSpark #bestsummerever #SCR2016 #Review The House of Bradbury @nmeierwrites #MMBBR

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Mia Gladwell’s life is going nowhere. The media has skewered her debut novel, her fiancĂ© Carson, a successful Hollywood producer, has jumped ship, and now she’s living in her sister’s carriage house―unattached, unemployed, and uninspired. Then she learns that the Los Angeles estate of iconic author Ray Bradbury is up for sale, and she feels an immediate urge to buy the wonky old house, convinced that moving into the late author’s home will inspire her to create her best work yet.

Life in the Bradbury house is not what Mia imagined, however. Soon after moving in, to fulfill a debt she owes to Carson, she agrees to take in a pill-popping young actress as a tenant, and suddenly she finds herself in a balancing act between her needy ex, an unpredictable starlet, and her disapproving sister, who’s keeping a close eye on her. Add to this a series of mysterious sketches left at her doorstep by a stranger, and Mia’s life is more complicated than ever. As she searches for clues, though, Mia discovers insights into her own life. Maybe moving into Bradbury’s house was a big mistake―but maybe not.

Nicole Meier

Nicole Meier is a native Southern Californian who pulled up roots and moved to the Pacific Northwest. She works as a freelance travel and lifestyle writer. She can be found at www.nicolemeierauthor.com

This book was amazing.  It captured my attention immediately.  The House of Bradbury had me intrigued.  The house itself was so fascinating.  Then you add in great characters, all broken or significantly fractured, needing to be put back together or mended.  It is the relationships formed that help them all do just that.  Not without bumps along the way.  Not without work.  Not without fear.  I was invested in all the things that happened to each and everyone of them...my heart breaking when their's did, triumphing when they succeeded and all the emotions in between.  There was also a mystery interwoven, that referenced To Kill a Mockingbird (which is pretty much the best book ever).  A great summer read and a perfect selection for any book club!  5 stars

Thursday, May 26, 2016

#MMBBR #BlogTour Mastermind Over 100 Games, Tests, and Puzzles to Unleash Your Inner Genius @NGKidsBooks #Mastermind

Welcome to Stop #4 on the National Geographic Kids Mastermind Blog Tour!

This summer, National Geographic Kids Books is inviting kids to "Unleash Their Inner Genius" with the release of Mastermind (May 2016, ages 8-12).  In this fun, interactive book, kids learn what type of thinker they are and are given the chance to exercise different parts of their brains with games, tests and puzzles. 

Each stop on the National Geographic Kids Mastermind Blog Tour will bring you one step closer to becoming a Certified Mastermind. Be sure to stop by each stop on the tour and challenge yourself to unleash your inner genius with fun quizzes, optical illusions, and brain teasers, and learn tips and tricks for improving brainpower and explanations for the science behind navigating your mental map. 

Are you ready to put your logic skills to the test? 

Check out below and be sure to tweet your answers using #Mastermind!

The cheeky narrator and

self-proclaimed "Mastermind" Ima Genius and her talking dog, Atom,
guide the reader through short and snappy explanations of the science behind
why the brain does what it does and how it affects the senses, spatial
reasoning, language, memory and problem solving. As kids work their way through
the book completing experiments, brain teasers, mazes, quizzes and games, their
declaring them as a Certified Mastermind.  Or, in the words of Ima Genius:

efforts (and smarts!) are rewarded with a Certificate of Mental Achievement
"When I'm finished with you, your brain will be so huge that your average-size neck will no longer be able to support your massive noggin.  Ha!  I kid.  That's only happened once."

Stop by Always In The Middle tomorrow to put your left side of the brain to the test!

Blog Tour Schedule:
5/25 – Geo Librarian
5/31 - Mundie Kids

This book is most fantastic.  This jam packed book will keep the boys and I busy during the summer, which is a must.  Ima Genius and her trusty sidekick dog, Atom, take you through the book step-by-step so you can enjoy the book to its fullest.  One thing I know for certain is that I am not a genius, but I sure do plan to become a mastermind by completing the games, puzzle and other fun activities.  I cannot wait for school to end so we can dive into our minds with this 5 star book!  


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#MMBBR What's in the mail???

There are times that books come in the mail and I cannot read and review them right away.  I want to share some of those titles with you now.  These books are not to be missed and are definitely on my TBR pile!!!  Check them out........

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Riley is delighted to earn a spot at an elite, government-funded boarding school. Nothing sounds better than leaving behind her fraught relationship with her ex-boyfriend and moving to faraway Arizona for a spot at Desert Mountain Academy.  But the Academy is more than Nadia bargained for: it's a covert CIA program training high-achieving students for the Black-Ops. Nadia struggles to keep up in her new classes while gaining the trust of her assigned teammates. Things get worse when news leaks that there is a double agent on campus, and someone is framing Nadia.  Nadia discovers dark secrets about her fellow teammates and learns one of them is the deserter.  With a setting that is Hogwarts meets The Bourne Identity, this debut YA thriller will make readers mad with suspense.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to deskwork and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.

Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford's obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet. 

But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat. 

Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them. 

FRICTION will keep you on the edge of your seat with breathtaking plot twists and the unforgettable characters that make Sandra Brown one of the world's best-loved authors. It is an extraordinary novel about the powerful ties that bind us to the ones we love and the secrets we keep to protect them. 

Former CIA Director Craig Page is enjoying his new life as Italian race car driver Enrico Marino—but when he hears that his friend and sponsor, prominent Italian banker Frederico Castiglione, has been found dead, he suspects foul play. 

World-famous forensic sculptor Eve Duncan has landed in a well-guarded hospital room in Carmel, California. But hidden danger looms for Eve, her beloved Joe Quinn, and Cara Delaney, the young girl they’ve both sworn to protect. With Cara’s enemies on the move, Eve has no choice but to flee the hospital―no matter what the doctors say. Her protective instincts in full gear, she decides that their best chance of survival is to get out of the country. She turns to her daughter, Jane MacGuire, for help.

For years, Jane has been avoiding pressure to find a treasure thought to be buried in Scotland―but she’s finally succumbed to John MacDuff’s pleas to track it down. Eve and Cara join Jane in the remote mountains, but soon realize that nowhere is far enough away from the ruthless predators who are on their trail. . .

Pulled into a deadly game of deception, secrets, and lies, a woman must find the truth in order to defeat a mysterious opponent, protect her daughter, and save her own life in this dazzling standalone psychological thriller with an unforgettable ending from the New York Times bestselling author ofWoman with a Secret and The Monogram Murders.
You thought you knew who you were. A stranger knows better.
You’ve left the city—and the career that nearly destroyed you—for a fresh start on the coast. But trouble begins when your daughter withdraws, after her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school.
You beg the principal to reconsider, only to be told that George hasn’t been expelled. Because there is, and was, no George.
Who is lying? Who is real? Who is in danger? Who is in control? As you search for answers, the anonymous calls begin—a stranger, who insists that you and she share a traumatic past and a guilty secret. And then the caller threatens your life. . . .
This is Justine’s story. This is Justine’s family. This is Justine’s game. But it could be yours.



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