Reviews 1

Praise for The Back-Up List
We have been beyond delighted with the reviews we've been getting and the feedback from our loyal readers. Our first official review came from CHICK LIT PLUS, a favorite blog of ours. Thank you so much Terry for the best review, with compliments higher than we could have ever dreamed. Here is the beautiful review below...
the back-up list

The book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.
When I begun this book, the first chapter really threw me…I recall thinking-great another mushy novel about a perfect women that ends up with a perfect non-realistic life with a rock star. I was determined not to like it after that first chapter…….
And then I was introduce to Maddy and Kinley….In all honesty my heart broke and I cried….and cried…and cried throughout this book. The ability to capture and describe grief without minimizing or making less of the experience is not often done well, in this book they did so well that as I not only could relate I truly felt the grief written. It was moving to read how the accident affected Kinley and her family and I was pleased that this was not left out of the story. Often times when someone passes, we don’t get to really experience how many lives they touched and how many are truly affected by their death…Especially when taken so unexpectedly and tragically.
This story is a unique surprising story about recovering…or at least surviving a terrible tragedy. It was so well written that I grieved and hurt with the character’s all throughout the story and I celebrated with them as well. I felt like I was very much apart of this unique family and all that is their sweet quirky clan.
I won’t go in  to many details, because I feel that I can not do justice to this story. However, I will tell you this story has it all! It has grief, happiness, scandal, an amazing story about how friendship can replace family, and of course it was what ever story needs…Rock stars!
Through the story you see a dynamic between Maddy and her friends, something every girl should have in her life, and I am feeling slighted that my and my girlfriends have never thought to create validation cards. It will now be done, actually the friendships between the ladies in this book lighten my heart and have reminded me how important it is to treasure those unique friends that support your highs and lows in life. Lifetime friends as I would call what these 4 have, is never to be taken lightly nor should one ever live without having at least one.
The ending of the story was a fun happy way to end a story and I am looking forward to book 2 and the twists that Kinley will add to the next in this series.
Rarely am I surprised by a novel quite like I was with this one…If I could give this higher then 5 stars-I would! It was a pleasure and privilege to read this story and I will be reading it again.

5 stars


For other ideas on great books to read, visit the Chick Lit Plus website. It's adorable, and they have awesome picks...especially one called The Back-Up List, which incidentally made their list of favorites! Thanks ladies for giving us a review!

Here is a wonderful review we received from another website we adore- Literati Literature Lovers. Our reviewer Tiffany made us smile by Tweeting quotes directly from the book.
Here is her review...

PICK UP this book! I giggled throughout the whole thing! (Even in the parts that made me sad.) Miriam and Amber write wonderfully together. This is one hell of a story! Each character you read about will make you smile. I kept wishing, myself, that I had Madison and Kinley as best friends! ;) Their traditions are so unique, I’m thinking starting some that are mentioned. Definitely a fabulous read!
Madison Grey just lost her entire family in a tragic car accident. In the blink of an eye, her 4 kids and husband are gone. She’s more than struggling with the pain and constant reminder of them, while still living in the house they shared. Her 3 best friends try to help her get out and keep living, but it’s too difficult. The girls decide to distract Madison with tickets to see her favorite band, and her dreamy, rockstar crush: Calvin Hunt. What she didn’t expect was to actually meet him and for Calvin to find her absolutely mesmerizing!
Calvin Hunt’s never met a woman like Madison. She’s quiet, beautiful and something else. He decides he HAS to find out more about her, but Madison is scared to let him in her life. She begins to truly care for Calvin, but is it too soon? Jack was her only love, and the perfect husband. Is she ready to move on? Is she betraying her family’s memory by doing so? Can she ever have a relationship again knowing it could lead to marriage? Can she even BE someone’s wife again?! Dun dun DUNNN!!
Damn. As you can see this story is jam packed! Even though it deals with death (a not so easy subject), it still manages to make you smile. There are many comic reliefs that make the story flow. I really enjoyed Madison’s story about how she deals with such a tragedy. It’s tough, but being such a brave and strong girl, she tries to find happiness again. :)

Check out their blog- it's great!!!!

Our reviews from Smexy- Bookaholics posted September18, 2013

REVIEW- "The Back-Up List" by Miriam Brady & Amber Best

Madison Grey lost her husband and 4 children in a tragic accident. She feels guilt over how things were left between her and her husband. They had an argument, they hadn't even kissed good-bye. Madison wanted some time to herself so she decided to stay at home and not go with her family. Now she carries around guilt over not being with them. Not being there when they died. Not dying when they did. She has isolated herself and is in a bit of a depression. Her friends are worried they may lose her since she isn't taking care of herself.

Madison's friends are worried about her. Her friend Kinley was close to Madison and her whole family, so she's also depressed over the loss of Madison's family. Depressed that she's slowly losing her best friend to the depression she keeps sinking deeper and deeper into. Kinley has children of her own that were best friends with Madison's children and they are feeling the loss of not only Madison's family, but also Madison as well because Madison has become so isolated. Kinley is going through issues of her own, but she is so worried about Madison's state of mind that she doesn't confide in her like they used to. Madison and Kinley are not like the carefree people they used to be when Madison's family was alive. It's eating at Kinley that there seems to be nothing she can do to get her best friend through this tragic time.

Madison has a hard time leaving the house. Everywhere she looks, there are happy families. It's a harsh reminder of what she's lost. She's isolating herself from her best friend Kinley's family because they were so close to her family that she fears what it will be like to be around them and fears it will just remind her of what she's lost. Madison also has a hard time being at home. Everywhere she looks, there is reminders of her husband and 4 children. The vehicles are reminders of them, as are all the other things that they owned. The kids' rooms and toys are reminders of her lost family as well. Her house is one big empty building, that just reminds her of what she lost without them there with her. She even gets glimpses of what used to be, of moments that stood out when her family was alive.

Finally, her friends have enough and try to take her out to a concert. It's Madison's favorite band "Murder of Crows". She catches the eye of Calvin Hunt, the lead singer of the band who is also the #1 person on her "Back Up List".

Madison and Kinley have, for years, had a "back-up list" which is a card that says:

If the woman carrying this card has been recently made single, through the accidental death of her husband, untimely demise due to unforeseen natural causes (or deliberate murder) or has become single due to the fact that her husband was a cheating bastard who left her, then this is an emergency. A new husband must be procured for her promptly. A list of suitable candidates is provided on the other side.

Never in Madison's life would she ever have predicted that she would lose her husband, then 6 months later meet the #1 person on her back-up list!

Calvin is a  womanizer, and everyone knows it. Even with his past though, he can't get Madison out of his mind when they meet. He has to get to know her. He doesn't see any other women, doesn't want to be with other women after he's met Madison. Calvin is ready to settle down and he envies anyone who has a wife and children. It's hard for him to be around others who have the life like he so desperately wants for himself. Deep down, he knows Madison could be the one for him, but Madison is denying her feelings. Madison feels guilt over feeling so strongly for Calvin and doesn't know if it's appropriate that she's moved on so quickly from her deceased husband, so she denies her feelings for Calvin for as long as she can.

When Madison does spend time with Calvin, she makes Kinley come with her. She doesn't know what her deceased husband would think of her spending so much time with Calvin and she has such strong feelings that she makes Kinley go with thinking that will somehow help by not spending alone time with him. Calvin loves Madison's friends, he eventually considers Kinley to be like a family member, but he wants to spend time alone with Madison, getting to know her better. Eventually they end up spending time together and their relationship develops further.

After they are alone together, a life changing event happens. Something that Madison keeps from Calvin initially, but not for long. This has the potential to make his dreams come true and it has the potential to force Madison to accept things and move on with her life and not be stuck in the past when deep down, she knows her husband would never want that for her.

Fate has brought Madison and Calvin together, but will his womanizing past ruin what they have built for themselves, ruin what trust they have developed with each other, or will they make it though? Will Madison be able to move on with her life and accept the tragic things that happened with her husband and 4 children and accept that fate had reasons for her not being with them that day? Will she finally accept that her husband would never want her to be alone for the rest of her life? Will she realize this before it's too late and she's lost Calvin forever? How will this life changing event affect Madison's and Calvin's life? What's going on with Kinley that she's been hiding from Madison? Will Madison's mother-in-law Debbie be an issue when she finds out about Madison trying to move on with her life? Will Calvin and Madison be together at the end of the book? You'll have to read the book to find out the answers to the questions and so much more!

The other characters in the book were just as entertaining as Madison and Calvin. Kinley of course was great, but this book also had Madison's other friends Kate and Megan, as well as Calvin's family, which included his brother Rory who was very entertaining! There were times when even Kinley's daughters McKenna and Kennedy were absolutely adorable and were entertaining at times as well.

I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started this book, but it honestly exceeded every expectation I had! I loved this book and am so grateful to Amber and Miriam for allowing our blog to read this book and for giving us copies of the next 2 books in the series and I cannot wait to read them! This book is definitely going on my favorites list! I would highly recommend this book to everyone who wants a great love story that has some humor and some emotional moments as well!

Some of my favorite quotes from The Back-Up List:

"You an obligation? Ha, I don't think so. You're more of a vision, something unearthly, a woman with etheral beauty, I can't even sleep without seeing you in my dreams. I want to do this, please allow me the pleasure of doing something for you?"
"Alright," she answered softly. "You really feel that way about me? I'm just your average ordinary woman," Madison replied.
"Then you are not seeing yourself clearly," he told her.


There stood a man with a dozen sterling roses in a vase. "Are you Madison Grey?" he asked, with an odd little smirk/smile on his face. She nodded. "You are loved, that is all I have to say." He turned his head and called out behind him, "This is her!" He wiped his feet on the welcome mat, "May we come in?"
She moved aside, in a daze, "We?" He was followed by half a dozen more men and women each carrying roses, there were red, yellow, pink, white, green, blue, slightly red, redder still, white with pink tips, purple, a golden yellow, black and red, and more. Vases of roses came in like a parade and filled the dull emptiness of her townhouse.
Before he left, the main deliveryman handed her a card and asked her to sign for all the roses. There were enough to fill an entire store.
She looked around and moments later Kinley pulled up to her door.
Kinley smiled as she walked in. "When he does something, he really does it well," she muttered. "Ooh I love the sterling ones," she breathed in.
"I don't know what you told him but flowers arrived for my girls this morning, with gigantic teddy bears and chocolates." Tears welled up in her eyes, "Thank you."
"This is where normal people would hug," Madison pointed out.
Kinley laughed and hugged her. "Thanks Maddy."
"Did he send you flowers too?" Madison inquired.
Madison opened her card and read Cal's sweet words.
I hope this makes you smile, and surrounds you with beauty.
Know that you are adored, and that I am wishing you a wonderful day!
From the man who adores you!


"Maddy," Kinley was following her, making a path through the roses, "he's in love with you, if ever anyone was in love with you," Madison didn't want to hear this. 
"I know you're terrified of having your heart broken, and he's got the potential to do it. I know. But hear me out for a moment. He also has the potential to make you happy again. Don't you think he might be worth taking a chance on?"


The girl either didn't recognize him, or she just treated him like he was part of the family. He watched her curiously, as Kinley came down the stairs, holding onto the oak railing. "Cal, it's so good to see you. What are you wearing?"
He pulled his hat off, and his wig, and his glasses and set them down on the coffee table. "It was fun. No one knew who I was." Yep, the girl had not recognized him. Her mouth was hanging open as she dropped what looked like a blob of mashed potatoes onto a plate.
"You''re...." He coloring was waning; she turned to her mother, and pointed, "He's....he's...."
"Yes McKenna, he is and it's not nice to point sweetie."
"Calvin Hunt is in my living room, sitting on my sofa...." McKenna gushed. "I'm going to die."


"You must be Kennedy," he stated.
"Yes, are you Mom's friend Cal?" he nodded. Both little girls had little noses that turned up ever so slightly, and he had to admit they were beauties.
"Thank you for the bear. I asked Momma who sent it and she told me it was her friend Cal, so I named my bear Cal after you." Oh, yes, she was definitely going to break his heart. She sat down on the sofa at the other end, not too close to him, but not too far away either. "Thank you for the flowers and the chocolates." She smiled, and he melted. He could see aspects of their mother and father in both girls but they had taken different traits from each of them.
"You don't know who he is?" McKenna asked the little girl.
"He's Mom's friend Cal. Duh," Kennedy proclaimed. "She's a bit slow sometimes."
"He's the lead singer of Murder of Crows," McKenna told her with a somewhat exasperated tone.
"Really? Then do you know my Aunt Maddy? She's in love with you."
Kinley who had been silently watching everything began to cough and sputter. She choked, "Kennedy why don't you go clean your room?"
"It's clean," Kennedy grinned.
"Go jump on the trampoline." Kinley placed a plate on the table for him. "Cal, I know you must be starving, come over and eat." He walked over to the table, and though he was hungry, he was more interested in talking to little Kennedy.
"So, your aunt is in love with me? Did she tell you that?" He grinned while Kinley scowled.
"She didn't have to, she sings your songs all the time with my mom, and they are really silly together. They love you. And....I think you're on her back-up list." Kennedy smiled broadly.
"What's a back-up list?" he asked intrigued. "Is your mom in love with me too?" He looked up at Kinley, who was just staring at him with an indescribable expression.
"No, she loves the one named Rory," Kennedy answered matter-of-factly. Kinley just put her hands on her forehead in exasperation.
He gaped. "Your mom has a crush on my brother?"
"No," she stammered. "He's and you're....Kennedy, go our and play," Kinley said in a sterner voice.


It was in that moment, that he realized he wanted to be with her for the rest of forever. He realized as her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep in his arms, that he loved her.


Cal needed her. Living without her was something he did before, because he didn't know any better. Now, it was utterly painful to be away from her.


She needed Cal like she needed the air to breathe. She was a fish, flopping on the ground, lost without oxygen, unable to see anything for what it really was. She needed oxygen to think clearly and oxygen was Cal. She didn't want to need him. What she wanted was to be independent and embrace it, but it was all a facade.

ARC provided to our Smexy Bookaholics blog by authors Miriam Brady & Amber Best in exchange for an honest review!

Here are a couple of the reviews we've received on Amazon too!

5.0 out of 5 stars Totally loved this book! April 4, 2013
I totally love this book. It only took me about two chapters to get hooked. I couldn't wait to see how things turned out for each of the characters. The story has a beautiful representation of a tight friendship amongst several women, I couldn't help but be able to see myself and my close friends in their silly, yet deeply meaningful relationships! The story will lift you up with laughter, while tugging at your heartstrings in the face of a tragedy! I finished this one and immediately downloaded the second one in the series to my kindle. I will be following till the end!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fan April 29, 2012
Format Kindle Edition |Amazon Verified Purchase
I read the first two chapters of this book and was so intrigued. I couldn't wait to get a copy of the book. I look forward to reading the rest. Both of the authors have put together a book that is very entertaining. I also liked the fact that of what I read, there was no vulgarity or sexual content.

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read!, June 24, 2012
Mrh -
Amazon Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down. I love the characters relationships and the sisterhood the friends shared! I hope this becomes a movie!

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Excellent read, June 22, 2012
I loved this book! It had just the right amount of sorrow, happiness, love etc. I liked the fact that even though there were two authors it didn't feel like it was choppy. I hope they will write more.

5.0 out of 5 stars This book has it all!, May 26, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase
Everything you look for in a great read is here! Women, you will love these characters & want to have them as YOUR friends. Can't wait for the next one! (There's a next one, right? RIGHT?!) So glad to have found this gem! Great, great job, Ladies!

5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever!, May 2, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: The Back-Up List (A Series of Lists) (Volume 1) (Paperback)
I love this book, I couldn't put it down. I love the characters. I feel like I know them. This book is so fun. Almost every women has some fantasy about meeting someone famous. Now it's finally a story.

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing., May 2, 2012
This review is from: The Back-Up List (A Series of Lists) (Volume 1) (Paperback)
It's so refreshing to finally read a REALLY good book!! Especially a fun love story that is juicy but not too inappropriate. Just read the first few teaser chapters and you'll be hooked-I was! I couldn't get my hands on the rest of the story fast enough. It is crazy how you really connect with the characters and feel apart of their lives. Very skillfully written-thought provoking, entertaining and witty. Everything you want in a good book :)

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, May 1, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: The Back-Up List (A Series of Lists) (Volume 1) (Paperback)
This book was such a great read. I couldn't even but it down. You can feel the emotions in the book and its just amazing!

 Here are some of our Goodreads reviews-

I really enjoyed this story, there was always something going on so you didn't feel like you wanted to skim through any of it. I am happy to see there will be a sequel and I am hoping it's about Rory and Kinley
Lisa Brown
I love this book. im not really a book reader until i got this book from my dear friend. ive read this book 4 times now. i love it i can't wait for more book's from these's talented young lady's love them both!!!
Mar 22, 2013 Brittany rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: All women who want a laugh and romance.
Loved the characters, the story had me hooked. I carried this book to work and everywhere else with me. Definitely a good weekend or beach read. Can't wait for book 2!

bookshelves: review-request
Read from August 03 to 18, 2013

The Back-Up List is a bittersweet tale about loss and grief, about tragedies and the power of friendship, about healing and love and about the second chances we are given in life.

This book tells the story of Madison, a wife and mother that in one short moment loses everything. She is consumed by grief and despair, feeling guilt and pain – wishing to be dead. The portrayal of her grief is heart-wrenchingly realistic. She can't and doesn't want to move on at first, feeling somehow frozen in time. Despite the effort of her friends, she basically just exists but doesn't live. She replays every thing she might have done wrong in the past, all the what ifs and has given up on herself, not knowing how to go on. That is until her wonderful circle of friends takes her to the concert of her favourite band. And that is when she meets him, Cal – a self-centred, womanising rockstar that is used to be swooned over. Their is an instant attraction and connection between those two, but Maddy – unlike any other fan – isn't getting her panties in a knot about him. She is consumed by grief.
But Cal is intrigued and wants to win her heart – no matter how long it is going to take. After Madison beating herself up about her feelings for him, she finally is ready to give her heart to him. But will she just get it broken? Is he too set in his rockstar life?

This book left me with no finger nails and throughout all of it I was really emotional...always on the verge of tears – some of them were happy, while others were devastated and sad.
Amber Best and Miriam Brady accomplished to document realistically what a grieving person goes through – all the feelings of guilt, sadness and despair. The way it affects every single moment of every single day and how laughing or enjoying something brings feelings of guilt. My heart broke for her. The more I loved her friends for being there for her with never-ending support, loyalty and understanding. The closeness of those four women, but especially the bond between Madison and Kinley was beautiful and a friendship every person should have in their life. And as we get glimpses of how things used to be before everything changed for Maddy, we learn that the friendships have always been fun and unique. I really loved the idea of the validation or friendship cards. They don't judge each other for their behaviour or their decisions but love each other unconditionally.

It is sweet and heart-breaking to see Maddy slowly open up to Cal, while we get to see him finally mature and grow-up, pulling his head out of his behind. Having been used to having every wish fulfilled within the blink of an eye, he now actually has to work hard for something – for Maddy's love and trust. But don't get me wrong, I feel for this guy. Coming into a situation like he is, on the minefield that is Maddy's life and emotional situation, he doesn't have an easy task. So for him to actually not giving up, shows the depth of his emotions.

The realism of this book really dumbfounded me. The fact that the healing process for Maddy continued throughout the book, had some detours and some bumps in the road and that her healing didn't just happen with a declaration of love made the book more honest, more raw and definitely more emotional. Just as in real life you never fully get over the kind of loss that Maddy suffered from, her character also doesn't. Even with her giving a new life a chance, the pain is not something that will ever let her go fully.

This book definitely wasn't a happy go lucky kind of read, but it was therefore more rewarding. It made me contemplate my life, my friendships, my relationships with the people I love. That is something only a good book does.

And although the book didn't end on a cliffhanger, the epilogue still makes me think that the authors are sadists.

5 painful, bittersweet, emotional, drowned-in-tears stars.


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