Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Blitz via Chick Lit Plus: Starstruck by Ruby Preston




With her Broadway opening night a few weeks away savvy young producer, Scarlett Savoy, is finally ready for her brand new musical to take center stage. Only two major things stand in her way - the beautiful but mercurial Hollywood diva she's cast in the lead and a handsome familiar face from her past who flies back into her life. From high stakes rehearsal rooms, to paparazzi fueled scandals, to the star-studded red carpet of opening night, Starstruck is a page-turning journey behind the scenes of Broadway, all set against the glittering back drop of Manhattan. Will Scarlett make it to opening night before the curtain falls on her dreams?


SCENE ONE

Scarlett blinked as a camera flash made her momentarily lose her train of thought. She paused to collect herself. Her heart raced as if urging her feet to follow suit. She could feel all eyes on her as sweat pricked her brow. She prayed that her panic at having the lens of every major theater news outlet aimed in her direction didn’t show.

She pasted her most professional smile on her face and continued, “As I was saying, thank you all for joining us today as we kick off rehearsals for Broadway’s newest original musical, Swan Song. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to a familiar Broadway face, our director, Kyle Jared.”

She gestured to Kyle with a “please save me” glance as he stepped blithely in front of the gaggle of reporters and photographers in the crowded rehearsal studio. Scarlett sagged against the wall amid the cast members at the side of the room, waiting for her pulse to slow. She knew she was being ridiculous. Of all the challenges she had faced so far while producing her first Broadway show, talking to the press shouldn’t have felt like such an ordeal.

Scarlett had attended the traditional Broadway “Media Day” meet and greets many times, back when she was a Broadway assistant. This time was different and her stage fright had caught her off guard. Introducing Swan Song to Broadway somehow brought home the fact that she was “all in” on this show.

“You did good, kid,” Lawrence whispered in her ear. “You sounded like a pro.” Lawrence was the show’s major investor and often her guardian angel. She reached out and squeezed his hand. In a tailored suit with not a single silver hair out of place, he looked every bit a Broadway moneyman.

“I’m a producer — I thought that meant I could avoid the spotlight,” Scarlett whispered back.

“Well, you’d better get used to the attention. A beautiful, young Broadway producer with a hot show. Sounds like front page news to me.” Lawrence leaned down and kissed her cheek quickly.

Scarlett shot a proud smile up at Lawrence, just in time to catch Bliss Hadley, Swan Song’s leading lady and Hollywood darling, glaring in their direction. Lawrence caught Bliss’s look as well.

“That’s my cue,” Lawrence said, winking at Scarlett.

“Don’t go,” Scarlett pleaded in a whisper. “I need you here.”

“You’ll be fine. You’ve got this. I’ll just…” He glanced at Bliss, who was still glaring. “I’d just be in the way. Break a leg!” And with that, he took his leave. Scarlett sighed. First rehearsal and the backstage drama was already in full force.

Bliss’s “casual” rehearsal clothes perfectly complemented her designer figure. Her platinum hair, à la Marilyn Monroe, was immaculate. Stylist: Check!

When it came to press, Bliss, at twenty-six, was already a master. Did they teach classes to movie stars on the art of not blinking? Even as Scarlett laughed to herself at the absurdity of that, she realized she probably wasn’t that far off. Scarlett eyed the cameras again warily. In a few minutes she’d have to face the media again. This time in a receiving line set-up: three-minute interviews, one by one, with every theater website, newspaper, and blogger with a press pass.

She suddenly wished she’d asked the show’s publicist, Karen, for more tips on how to survive these press onslaughts. Thinking of her conversation with Karen just moments before the event got her mind racing again.

“My assistant got a call from Bliss’s personal press agent. You’ll need to jump on that. Hollywood stars and their people are a necessary evil these days.” Karen had told her, sounding disgusted at the mention of her Hollywood counterparts. “I can’t have some Hollywood know-it-all thinking they know how Broadway press works, which they never do, and getting in the way. I need you to run a little interference. Get a sense from Bliss’s publicist of any issues that Bliss may have, any special needs or landmines.”

“Landmines?” Scarlett had asked, wondering where this new task was going to fit into her already overwhelming to-do list.

“Secret drug problems, anger management, sex scandal cover-ups, you know, anything that could come to light and be a distraction for us along the way. See what you can get out of him. Here’s his number.” She reached into the pocket of her crisp navy blazer and handed Scarlett a phone message slip.

Scarlett glanced down at the name scrawled on the paper and the LA phone number.

Her heart skipped a beat.

BIO:
Ruby Preston is a young Broadway producer currently working on several new musicals on the Great White Way. She couldn't be more thrilled to be living her dreams in the Times Square trenches of Manhattan. Starstruck is her third novel and includes many of the characters introduced in her previous books, Showbiz and Staged.

@BroadwayRuby


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 FOLLOW THE TOUR:

July 27 - Poof Books- Review

July 27 - Mrs. Mommy Booknerd Book Reviews – Excerpt

July 28 - Novel Escapes  - Q&A

July 28 - Fiction Dreams – Q&A

July 29 - Polished & Bubbly – Review

July 30 - Books and Ladders- Review & Q&A

August 3 - Sanaa’s Book Blog- Review & Excerpt

August 3 - Girls Love Pink Books – Review

August 5 - Ashley Book Blog – Review

August 6 - Living Life With Joy – Review & Ecerpt

August 7 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

August 7 - Basically Book Blog – Review

August 10 - Two Children and a Migraine – Review    

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#MMBBR Review: The S Word: A Memoir About Secrets by Paolina Milana

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In accordance with her Sicilian Catholic family’s unspoken code, Paolina Milana learned at an early age to keep her secrets locked away where no one could find them. Nobody outside the family needed to know about the voices her Mamma battled in her head; or about how Paolina forged her birth certificate at thirteen so she could get a job at The Donut Shop; or about the police officer twenty-six years her senior whose promise to her Papà to “keep an eye on her” quickly translated into something sinister. And perhaps that’s why no one saw it coming when—on the eve of her sweet sixteen, pushed to edge—Paolina attempted to take her own mother’s life. 

Raw and compelling, The S Word is the true story of a girl who nearly suffocates in the silence she was taught to value above all else—until she finally finds the strength to break free of the secrets binding her and save herself.


About the Author

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For a long time, Paolina has told other people’s stories: first as a journalist; then as a PR pro for a nonprofit; then as a storyteller of students for a university; and most recently as a content marketer for the unsung heroes of small business. She has won awards for her fiction pieces and screenplays. The S-Word is her first full-length book.



A story of self discovery and bravery that follows a woman as she fights against what she was taught to forge the life she deserved to live!  Powerful and packed with emotion the S Word is a read I will not soon forget.  4 stars




Saturday, July 25, 2015

#MMBBR A Different Kind of Same: A Memoir by Kelley Clink

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Two weeks before his college graduation, Kelley Clink’s younger brother Matt hanged himself. Though he’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager and had attempted suicide once before, the news came as a shock—and it sent Kelley into a spiral of guilt and grief.

After Matt’s death, a chasm opened between the brother Kelley had known and the brother she’d buried. She kept telling herself she couldn’t understand why he’d done it—but the truth was, she could. Several years before he’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she’d been diagnosed with depression. Several years before he first attempted suicide by overdose, she had attempted suicide by overdose. She’d blazed the trail he’d followed. If he couldn’t make it, what hope was there for her?

A Different Kind of Same traces Kelley’s journey through grief, her investigation into the role her own depression played in her brother’s death, and, ultimately, her path toward acceptance, forgiveness, resilience, and love.
 


Kelley Clink

Kelley Clink is an advocate for suicide prevention and mental health. She has degrees in literature from the University of Alabama and DePaul University. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, including Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, Woman's Day, and The Huffington Post. She is the winner of the 2014 Beacon Street Prize in Nonfiction and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son.


Wow....what an honest and heart wrenching memoir about the impact of mental illness on the lives of many and the ultimate loss of life due to the struggle.  I love that Clink did not sugar coat the harsh reality of what it is like living with, dealing with and struggling with mental illness.  I am almost at a loss of words regarding this read.  It has so much truth and insight and I commend Clink for sharing it with the world.  I say this a lot when I read memoirs, that is takes such bravery to share it in an attempt to help others.  To expose yourself in your rawest form for the world to judge.  I feel that this memoir will help so many people dealing with mental illness...to know they are not alone...that there can be hope among the sadness.  5 stars


Friday, July 24, 2015

#MMBBR Review: Fire Season: A Memoir by Hollye Dexter


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Who would you be if you lost everything?

Hollye Dexter and her husband Troy woke one night to find their house ablaze. To escape the fire, they had to jump from their second-story window with their toddler son—and then watch their house and home-based businesses burn to the ground. Over the next two years, the family went bankrupt, lost their cars and another home, and got dropped by their best friends. As the outer layers of her life were stripped away, Dexter began to unravel emotionally; but then she found herself on the brink of losing her marriage, and she realized that if she was going to save her family, she would have to pull herself back together somehow.

As she fought to reassemble the pieces of the life she’d had, Dexter discovered that a shattered heart has the ability to regenerate in a mighty way; that even in the midst of disaster, you can find your place; and that when everything you identify with is gone, you are free to discover who you really are. Poignant and inspiring, Fire Season is a story for anyone who has ever lost hope—and found it again.
 



Hollye Dexter is author of the memoir Fire Season (She Writes Press, 2015) and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press)-- praised by bestselling author Gloria Feldt (former CEO of Planned Parenthood) as “…a brilliant book that just might change your life.” Her essays and articles about women’s issues, activism and parenting have been published in anthologies as well as in Maria Shriver’s Architects of ChangeHuffington PostThe Feminist Wire and more. In 2003, she founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running arts workshops for teenagers in the foster care system. She currently teaches writing workshops and works as an activist for gun violence prevention in L.A., where she lives with her husband and a houseful of kids and pets.www.hollyedexter.blogspot.com


When it comes to memoirs, I devour them!  I love reading about how people can overcome and conquer over tragedy.  I admire the bravery it takes for the writers to expose themselves in the darkest times in their lives so that others can learn from their tragedies.  Fire Season was one of those reads that both breaks your heart and one that is hard to put down.  It is raw and real and a story that forces the reader reconsider your own life, choices, friends and desire for belongings.  I applaud Dexter for sharing her story with the world and for showing us that it is with the spirit of love and redemption that good can come from sadness and we can triumph over tragedy!!!  5 stars



Friday, July 10, 2015

#MMBBR Blog Tour (TLC) A Necessary End by Holly Brown



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How far would you go to get what you wanted? The author of Don’t Try to Find Me returns with a taut, riveting novel of psychological suspense—a domestic drama full of secrets and twists—about a woman determined to have a child, her ambivalent husband, and a pregnant teenager with a secret agenda of her own.

“I know now that there was no other way things could have turned out. Tragedies are inevitable, just like the great love stories, like us.”

Thirty-nine-year-old Adrienne is desperate to be a mother. And this time, nothing is going to get in her way.

Sure, her husband, Gabe, is ambivalent about fatherhood. But she knows that once he holds their baby, he’ll come around. He’s just feeling a little threatened, that’s all. Because once upon a time, it was Gabe that Adrienne wanted more than anything; she was willing to do anything. . . . But that was half a lifetime ago. She’s a different person now, and so is Gabe. There are lines she wouldn’t cross, not without extreme provocation.

And sure, she was bitten once before by another birth mother—clear to the bone—and for most people, it’s once bitten, twice shy. But Adrienne isn’t exactly the retiring type.

At nineteen, Leah bears a remarkable resemblance to the young woman Adrienne once was. Which is why Adrienne knows the baby Leah is carrying is meant to be hers. But Leah’s got ideas of her own: Her baby’s going to get a life in California; why shouldn’t she? All she wants is to live in Adrienne’s house for a year after the baby’s born, and get a fresh start.

It seems like a small price for Adrienne to pay to get their baby. And with Gabe suddenly on board, what could possibly go wrong?



What a great thriller, that gets you thinking...keeps you burning through the pages.  There are so many twists and many turns that I was surprised by.  This is one of those novels that slowly reveals bits of information that causes you shout out loud.  It is a crazy adventure and one that will not soon be forgotten.  If you love to be taken on a literary ride A Necessary End, is the book for you!  4.5 stars

Holly Brown

Holly Brown is a practicing marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and toddler daughter. Her blog, Bonding Time, covers a wide range of mental health, parenting, and relationship issues, and is featured at PsychCentral.com. She'd love to be part of your book club in person or online. Drop a line through her Facebook author page:
https://www.facebook.com/hollybrownauthor


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GIVEAWAY #MMBBR Mandy's Review: Wind Chime Wedding (Wind Chime #2) by Sophie Moss


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Wind Chime Wedding
by Sophie Moss
Wind Chime Cafe #2
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Genres: ContemporaryRomance

Tour: Wind Chime Wedding by Sophie Moss

Second-grade teacher, Becca Haddaway, is weeks away from walking down the aisle when she learns that the Heron Island Elementary School is about to be shut down. In the midst of a whirlwind of wedding planning, she launches into a last-ditch effort to save it. But the one man who can help her is determined to make her question every decision she has ever made—including the man she’s about to marry.

Former Navy SEAL and son of the current Maryland governor, Colin Foley, is finally starting to feel whole again after losing his leg on a career-ending deployment in Afghanistan. After struggling for months to figure out what to do with his post-military life, he’s found a new mission—opening a rehab center for wounded veterans on the peaceful Chesapeake Bay island. All he needs now is a woman to share his new life with…and he knows exactly who he wants.
With a little help from the island’s magical wind chimes, can Colin convince Becca to change her mind before it’s too late?

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About Sophie Moss

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Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of five full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she's working on her next novel. When she's not writing, she's testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemossauthor@gmail.comor visit her website sophiemossauthor.com to sign up for her newsletter.
Website • Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads




Wind Chime Wedding by Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss warms the hearts of her readers again.  This is the second book in the Wind Chime series.  In this lovely novel we meet Becca; who is weeks away from walking down the aisle to marry Tom, but is he really the one who should hold her heart forever ?  Colin Foley is on the road to recovery and sets his sights on Becca, who will win her heart in the end ?  Sophie does a marvelous job of weaving this tale of love.  As a reader I felt like I was part of the story with the detailed descriptions of the island and the characters.  I imagined myself sitting at the cafe chatting it up the with locals.  I could not put the book down, I was hooked immediately.  This is a must read book.  I give it 5 stars.  


GIVEAWAY:



GIVEAWAY #MMBBR #PONYTIME Books in the Classroom with Yvonne: The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton


NOTE:  The samples & prizing are provided by Scholastic.






About the Book
Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn't quite get the horse of her dreams...

From the artist behind the comic phenomenon Hark! A VagrantThe Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of brave warriors, big surprises, and falling in love with one unforgettable little pony.

About the Author
Kate Beaton is the author of Hark! A Vagrant, her #1 New York Times bestselling collection of comics which began as a webcomic in 2007.The Princess and the Pony is her first picture book. She is the recipient of multiple Harvey awards, and her work has been featured in theNew Yorker, Harper’s, and The Best American Comics Anthology. Kate lives in Toronto, and you can find her online atwww.beatontown.com and on Twitter as @beatonna.


LEARN MORE
Learn more at Scholastic.com
Visit the author at BeatonTown.com
Follow Kate Beaton on Twitter
#PonyTime




The Princess and the Pony
By: Kate Beaton

This book is packed with positive messages for young children. Kate Beaton takes the love of a princess and adds a humorous twist. As an elementary teacher, this book is a great read aloud that will have students rereading it during independent reading time.
Teaching Ideas:
*Synthesizing the lesson/moral…Being grateful for what you are given and making the most of it. Most children have been given a gift they didn’t really want and as teachers/parents we want to teach our children to say “Thank you” and be polite.
*Easy for young, transitional readers to read independently.
*Appeals to girls (princesses) and boys (a farting pony and warriors)
*Using parentheses to add internal thinking
*Using the various punctuation to guide readers’ fluency

Not only will the text make you laugh and provide for teachable topics but the illustrations are remarkable. They have the Middle Ages look with many modern features hidden within. I am excited to share this book with my second graders and add it to our classroom library. 5 stars


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*US Only, Prizing and Samples provided by Scholastic 

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