Friday, December 15, 2017

#MMBBR #Review #KidsRoundUp #BooksMakeGreatGifts #NotTooLate

Princess KittyPrincess Kitty by Steve Metzger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An adorable book about how silly cats are. It is from the point of view of the cat, who thinks the world revolves around her. There is such a sweetness in this book and it captures the ego of cats spot on. The illustrations are bright, beautiful and full of heart. Any cat lover is going to think this is the purr-fect book! Such a delight!

The Last LeafThe Last Leaf by Billy  Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is about overcoming diversity and believing in yourself. This book is all heart. This book will resonate with all the kids that either read it or have it read to them. It is so much more than just a book, it is about finding way to teach kids to love themselves. Books are a powerful tools when it comes to teaching kids their value. This book has a character than kids can relate to and make the lesson applicable to them. It is great that the author had Baldwin has dyslexia, because my son does as well. This book is one that will certainly mean something to him, as he wants to be a writer too. So, between the story and the authors biography this book will be one that my son holds quite dear.

Bigfoot Visits the Big Cities of the World: A Seek and Find Activity BookBigfoot Visits the Big Cities of the World: A Seek and Find Activity Book by D.L. Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is such a fun search and find book. I love Bigfoot, kind of obsessed actually. As are my kids. We love having the debate: Is Bigfoot real? This book has been a fun way to spend the nights before bed. Challenging each other to find the hidden pictures. It has become one of our favorite bedtime routines. It really never gets old. Plus, you get to talk about all the places Bigfoot is visiting, which adds ever more fun. A great book for the kids or the entire family.

#MMBBR #Review #TheWorldAlmanacandBookofFacts2018

The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018 by Sarah Janssen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a fact lovers dream come true. It is filled with everything you ever wanted to know and then some! It covers so many areas like: 2017 Year in Review, Crime, Science and Technology, Sports and so much more. I thought is was great fun jumping around from topic to topic and finding out information I never knew. My kids are going to think this is so awesome too!

NOTE: The print is very small, so if you have trouble reading small print this book may be one you want to buy in large print or use a magnifying glass.

#MMBBR #Review #AllStarActivityBook #SportsIllustratedKids


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is a perfect book for kids of all ages. This book is jam packed with so many activities. There are doodle pages, spot the difference, crossword puzzles, word searches and so much more. My boys just loved getting lost in the pages and keeping boredom at bay. It was great to watch them play and interact with each other. They especially loved the Aaron Rodgers page in this book. It is not too late to grab this book for Christmas. You have my promise that the kids will love it!

Check out these awesome Activities

#MMBBR #Review #PridePrejudiceAndMistletoe by @MelissadelaCruz @StMartinsPress


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was amazing! I loved it cover to cover. It was one of those feel good books that really put me in the holiday spirit. I loved all the characters, even Darcy, who was not perfect, but was a character I wanted to read about. She was so driven, honest and real. I also loved Luke. He was quite the heartthrob. This book is a perfect holiday or winter read that will leave the reader with a smile on their face. I adored it so much. I could hardly put it down, I even exercised with the book. Walked a 5K while reading, that is how much I loved it.

Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, #1 Publishers Weekly and #1 IndieBound bestselling author of Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost as well as many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. Her books have also topped the USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and have been published in more than twenty countries. 

A former fashion and beauty editor, Melissa has written for the New York Times, Marie Claire,Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, the San Francisco Chronicle,McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and Fox News. 

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from the Convent of the Sacred Heart. At Columbia University, she majored in art history and English. Today she lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her husband and daughter.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#MMBBR #TheMuseumofBrokenRelationships #OlinkaVistica #DrazenGrubisic @AmazonPub #GrandCentralPublishing


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book would make a fantastic gift this Christmas. It is filled with so much heart and left me so happy and changed. I loved looking at all the items in the book and reading the little stories next to the photos. It was such an endearing, moving, heartbreaking, inspiring and, at times, strange look into the things we hold dear, the things that change us and the things that sometimes put us back together. You are in for a treat when you read this book and it will be one of those books that you will come back to again and again and again. I just loved this book, such a delight and so very original.

Friday, December 8, 2017

#MMBBR #Interview with @judyfogarty ‏author of #BreakingandHolding

Breaking and Holding: A Novel by [Fogarty, Judy]
For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.
Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.
An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.

Judy Fogarty
Judy Fogarty lives, writes, reads, and runs on the historic Isle of Hope, in her native Savannah, Georgia. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois and has served as Director of Marketing for private golf and tennis communities in the Savannah/Hilton Head area, including The Landings on Skidaway Island, Berkeley Hall, and Callawassie Island. She is a devoted (even rowdy) tennis fan as anyone who has ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching a match with her will attest. Breaking and Holding is her debut novel. She is happily at work on her second, and as always, enjoys the invaluable support of her husband, Mike, and children, Colin and Sara Jane.

Q.  What inspires your writing?

Things I know and love inspire me and find their way into my work. In Breaking and Holding, my character, Patricia, shares my love of reading—of great stories and beautiful writing. Though I've never played tennis, I love the sport and am a devoted, sometimes rowdy fan. Not surprisingly then, Patricia's love interest, Terry, is a collegiate tennis player, and while the book's title refers to the challenge of relationships, it also refers to breaking and holding serve in a tennis match. Lynn and Jack have careers in advertising, as I did for many years. Finally, I love the beach and the beauty of the coastal South, so I set my novel on Kiawah Island, near Charleston.

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

The process—especially the first draft. I write in the early morning, starting at four, while it's dark and quiet outside. My cozy office—that room of one's own that every writer needs—becomes a world of my own. The people at play there often act on their own and surprise me. (Really? Did she say that? Did she do that? And what window or door did that new character come in?) In the early hours, I'm totally, happily lost in both craft and story, but I never fail to hear the first bird sing, a sound I love.  

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?  (Two choices here. Help me pick!)

Believing in yourself and your work, which I guess holds true for all of us in all meaningful tasks we undertake. I usually love my manuscript in the morning with total faith that others will love it too. But my opinion sometimes changes radically over the course of a day so that by the time I put my head on my pillow to sleep, my manuscript shrinks from excellence to mediocrity. Working through doubt, persevering, and taking risks are inescapable parts of the process, but I love to write and these lines from the poem Berryman by W.S. Merwin keep me going: you can never be sure/you die without knowing/whether anything you wrote was any good/if you have to be sure don't write.

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

Along with writing, music is my passion. I have a master's degree in vocal performance, and while it's a too late for a career onstage in that area, I'd love to teach music appreciation or music history.  

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

I'd borrow a line from Tom Montana, a character in my new novel who is a former Olympian with a mysterious past. His mantra is a way of living I believe in: Start With Your Head, Finish With Your Heart.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

Ah, The Great Gatsby. I marvel at this gem of a novel that can be read on so many levels, that is so beautifully written, and that reflects an era so vividly—all in under 200 pages! I love Fitzgerald's prose. I love the characters, their situation and relationships, and especially Nick Carraway's description of Jay Gatsby as having an "extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again." No wonder Breaking and Holding has Gatsby-esque strains! Like Gatsby, it's a story of obsessive love and betrayal. It's set in a freewheeling era, the 1970s instead of Gatsby's 1920s. And narrator Lynn, like Nick, is a good friend and observer caught in the middle of a love triangle destined to implode.

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

This question totally stumped me, so I called on my writing group (True Lit), a close friend, and a sister for help. Evidently, I'm a mix of Nancy Drew, ("inquisitive, polite and a little feisty when pushed"), Hermione Granger (daring and "a wizard with words"), Pollyanna (always glad to find the sunshine in the rain), and Piglet from Winnie the Pooh (no explanation given, though I am petite)! Maybe I should try my hand at children's literature!

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

Darcy, the protagonist of my new novel. A classical singer and professor of voice, she is deeply moved by both the music and poetry of art songs, and finds fulfillment in sharing and teaching music. Above all, she is a devoted single mother, whose four-year-son Zach is the center of her world and heart. There are differences, however, between Darcy and me. I'm married, my children are long past four, and other unusual qualities that are hers alone.
Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. What could be better than escaping to a small medieval castle on the Italian Riviera for the express purpose of being "quiet and still"?
Q.  What is your favorite season?

Spring. It's gorgeous here in historic Savannah. As the season begins, azaleas blanket the city. As it ends, the salt marsh at the edges of our rivers and tidal creeks begins to green. Late March and early April aren't quite warm enough for swimming in the ocean, but May is, and even in early spring the beach is the perfect place to be—especially with a good book.

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

Of my many favorites, I'll choose the cover of The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. It's dramatic, intriguing and represents the story well. Both the title—slightly smudged and appearing to have been manually typed in traditional Courier font—and the typist's partial profile with deep red lips and a hint of a flapper hairstyle, identify the story's era of underworld speakeasies and jazz. Even more intriguing is the typist's subtle, shadowy upside down reflection, barely but eerily there. When I gave my publisher's design team a list of covers that I liked, I included this one. It definitely influenced the cover of Breaking and Holding.

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

At my launch party in my hometown, people I hadn't seen in decades turned out to buy my novel. Many, I'm sure, didn't know its elements: an illicit love affair, a hot steamy summer at the beach, and the Me Decade of the 1970s, with its "If it feels good, do it!" philosophy. At one point, I looked up from my signing table and saw a contingent of octogenarians, including my elementary school librarian, my childhood ballet teacher, and a very sweet neighbor, hobbling on two canes. All of them are dear to my heart, and I still wonder what in the world they thought of the book.

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

Only that, as a first-time novelist, I'm grateful for every reader. While it's exciting to find just the right word for a sentence or create a paragraph that sings on the page, nothing means more to me than being read. I love hearing from readers too—whether it's about Breaking and Holding, which hopefully entertained and even resonated with them, or any book they've enjoyed. Readers are my tribe.


#MMBBR #Interview #Showcase #JeanBaxter #Salvageable

Salvageable by [Baxter, Jean]
The trouble with trust is once it’s broken, it changes who you are and who you will become—forever.

If Michael Jarrid thinks the worst has happened when his parents don't believe him over his pregnant ex-girlfriend’s lie, he is wrong. Feeling alone, he pours all of his heart and soul into a new relationship. What Lacey does to him is even worse …
Now he doesn't even trust himself. Is his life salvageable?

Jean Baxter

Jean Baxter grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. She started writing with her friends in junior high, passing the same story back and forth, each one adding to it. Getting a short story published in a magazine gave her encouragement to try something more challenging.

She white-knuckled through raising two kids as a divorced mom and became a registered nurse to support them. Writing took the back burner. Those teen years were fraught with angst and drama. It’s there she found her niche-young adult- and wrote a book. Eventually that book got dusted off and updated. With a little nudge from her writing group, she started sending it out. Now she is a published author. Salvageable is her debut novel, with a sequel in the process of being revised.

Jean has four grandchildren, a couple of cats and a yard full of flowers. She loves to travel, walk, bike and golf. She’s a member of Wisconsin Writers Association and Green Bay Area Writers Guild.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.  When I see or read something that moves me, it inspires me. My desire to touch someone's heart or make them think inspires me. And the drive to get these stories out of my head inspires me to write them down!

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. Having the power to create something from an idea and carry it all the way through to completion. For me it also invokes a responsibility to say something worthwhile and hopefully meaningful to someone. I love when people tell me they are so angry with Michael, my main character, or it feels like they know him personally because that means I have stirred something in them and they become invested in the story. It warms my heart when someone says, I couldn't put the book down.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.   Making my characters real and believable. It's also hard at times to keep the momentum going because every scene or chapter can't have a catastrophe. And finding a way for my work to reach readers.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A.  I spent 30 years as a registered nurse. I worked on a medical floor in a hospital which provides a variety of interesting experiences to spice up my writing.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  I Dare You To Tell Me I Can't!

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A.  The Fault in Our Stars. Oh my, the mom in me, or the nurse…that story grabbed hold and did not let go. I cried through the entire last half—yes, sobbing, half the book!

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. How about Anne of Anne of Green Gables. It would have to be someone who's overcome some adversity in her life, strong willed, determined, and independent.

Q.  What character from your book are you most like?
A.  The mom. She's the mediator in the family, she never gives up on her relationship with her children, they are her life. But Michael definitely has some of my traits, too, a stubbornness and a sense of what is right or just.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A.  My Sister's Secret—takes place in many exotic surroundings, but the home base is along the sea in England. The descriptions are wonderful. It seems tranquil, quaint and beautiful. I would love to be able to experience that area and that family.

Q.  What is your favorite season?
A.  Each season boasts something unique and special that I love. But if I have to choose, I pick spring. I absolutely adore watching and waiting for the snow to melt and see the daffodils peak through the still frigid earth, followed by the crocuses and every other flower. Rebirth, everything is new, again.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A.  I wanted the cover to represent Michael pondering the mess he's made of his life. I think it fits the story perfectly. There's a brightness in the background that suggests perhaps all is not lost.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A.  I was doing my first meet the author/book signing and had a really good turn out, former co-workers, friends from various groups I attend and my family. I had it all planned out to give a little talk about how I got into writing first, then do a reading from the book, then afterwards, I would sign books. One lady got there early and grabbed one of my books and asked me to sign it right then. I couldn't tell her, "No, you have to wait." All of a sudden there was a line of people wanting their books signed. So much for my nice, orderly plan. But, I guess it was a good kind of problem to have. I eventually got to do the talk and signed even more books after.

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.   Yes! I have already completed a sequel which is at the publisher now. And currently I'm almost done with a stand alone young adult novel about a young man who talks his girlfriend out of getting an abortion and the consequences that follow.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.   First I would like to thank Emily for her love of all things bookish. Thanks for all the reviews you do, giving readers insight into the books you've read and for giving authors a platform. Thanks to your followers for sharing your passion for the written word. And finally, thanks for taking the time to learn a little bit more about me. Much appreciated!

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