Friday, December 2, 2016

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine Mixing It Up by @traciebanister

Mixing It Up by [Banister, Tracie]
Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?
The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her jobeven if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.
Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sautĂ© pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.
As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

What another great read by Banister.  She writes such wonderful stories that are funny, thought provoking and well developed.  I loved the setting of this book and the characters dialogue was great, it was very exciting, fun and quite humorous at times.  There was so much that kept me interested.  This was a well paced story that would be great for any book club!!!

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)
Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz


Thursday, December 1, 2016

#Giveaway #Audiobook #Review #RoundUp #Christmas #MMBBR

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What better way to kick off December than a holiday audiobook!!!  Caroline Mickelson is a storytelling wonder when it comes to feel good romantic comedies. She does a great job of developing characters and feeding the story to the reader in bits...leaving them wondering and wanting more.  She develops characters in a way that makes the reader care about the outcome.  These audiobooks are perfect to listen to while shopping or wrapping presents or any other holiday task.
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Mrs. Saint Nick : A Christmas Romantic Comedy Audiobook

Mrs. Saint Nick : A Christmas Romantic Comedy

Miss Kane's Christmas: A Christmas Romantic Comedy

The Christmas Makeover

The North Pole Prize: A Christmas Romantic Comedy Short Story

The Return of Kris Kringle: A Christmas Romantic Comedy

        • Written by: Caroline Mickelson
        • Narrated by: Carly Robins
        • Length: 2 hrs and 2 mins 
        • Unabridged Audiobook
        • Release Date:08-03-15
        • Publisher: Caroline Mickelson
        • Related imageGiveaway: To enter to win one of the 5 featured audiobooks, leave a comment telling me what your favorite thing about Christmas is! Please leave me your email address so you can be contacted if you win!
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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, 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!!!

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