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Monday, November 30, 2015

Lethal Game by Julie Rowe (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Lethal Game author Julie Rowe!

Book Review

Lethal Game by Julie Rowe
Book 2: Biological Response Team Series
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: October 12, 2015
Format: eBook - 270 pages
               Kindle - 814 KB
               Nook - 392 KB
ISBN: 978-1459290198
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Buy The Book:

Buy The Series: Biological Response Team Series
Book 1: Deadly Strain
Book 2: Lethal Game
Book 3: Viral Justice
Barnes & Noble

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book.

Book Description:

Book Two of Biological Response Team Series
As the nation’s youngest virologist and hematologist, Captain Sophia Perry has always been one step ahead of her peers. But there’s one thing she can’t beat—cancer. She wants to make a difference in the time she has left, so when she’s sent to investigate a breakout at a Syrian refugee camp, she goes, saying nothing of her diagnosis. But saving the masses isn’t easy when the man tasked to protect her is so irresistible.

Communications Sergeant Connor Button is back on active duty after a deadly explosion, but he doesn’t feel whole again until he meets Sophia. Assigned to keep her safe, he’s prepared to die for her, but for the first time in months he truly wants to live—if only she wasn’t so determined to put them both in danger.

With a secret to keep and nothing to lose, Sophia is determined to find the source of the breakout at any cost. Violent attacks on the camp convince her that someone wants her to pay dearly. But as Sophia’s health deteriorates, Connor must find a way to help her defeat her enemies before her body defeats her.

Book Excerpt:

Security is mostly a superstition ~ Helen Keller

Chapter One

It had taken him three airplanes and over twenty-six hours to travel more than seven thousand miles, and now he was going to have to kill someone.
Ten feet from his room in the Navy hotel at the American Naval base in Bahrain.
All Special Forces Communications Sergeant Connor Button wanted was to find a bed and crash for a few hours.
What he did not need was witnessing some idiot striking out with a hot blonde and not taking it well.
She’d just removed his hand from her waist.
The man put it on her shoulder and tried to bring her closer. “Aw, come on, sweetheart.”
She slid away, her voice clear across the short distance. “No.”
Okay, dude, time to retreat. Only, the guy didn’t. He grabbed her by the back of the neck, hard enough to make her gasp in pain, and leaned down, his mouth aimed for hers.
She slapped the moron, but he didn’t get that hint either, just grabbed her hand and twisted it behind her back.
Con had to make himself stand still for a second. One second, so he could throttle back the instinct to beat the stupid fuck to death.
Fine. His jaw flexed. He wouldn’t kill the asshole, but he could hurt him real bad.
Con dropped his duffel on the floor and stomped toward the woman and the moron whose arm he was about to break.
Into several pieces.
Small ones.
The stomping got the moron’s attention. He glanced up, saw Con coming and his eyes went wide. He let go of the woman so fast she wobbled off balance and fell to the floor. Con stopped to help her while the moron ran like a track star down the hall and around a corner.
Good call, asshole.
Con bent down and offered his hand to the woman. “Are you okay?”
Her head jerked up and she stared at him with eyes that didn’t miss a thing. She scooted away, leaving his hand hanging in the air, then stood. Her shoulders went back and her chin rose.
He almost smiled. She was so not interested in another man getting all up in her business. He’d make sure she was all right, then he’d back off.
“Ma’am, did he hurt you?”
“I’m fine,” she said, retreating a step.
Blue-green eyes stood out in a face framed by white-blond hair hanging in a sheet down to the middle of her back. She was also stacked, though she wasn’t showing it off. She was following military clothing requirements, wearing long pants and a collared shirt one size too big, buttoned up to her neck. An asshole had just tried to sexually assault her, but Con would bet a year’s pay that had he not come along, the moron would have had his hands full with a pissed-off female trying to smash his balls into paste.
He glanced down.
Her mouth was pressed into a thin angry line, but her hands were shaking.
For the first time in months something other than anger or despair slammed into him.
He knew just how she felt. Hyped up on adrenaline and looking for a target.
It surprised him so much he opened his mouth to make some inane comment or other to show her he was no threat, but she raised a hand to stop him.
She spoke a quick, firm “Thank you.” And then she was gone, inside the room closest to her. The click of the lock being engaged echoed down the hall.
He blinked at the empty hallway. He wasn’t sure she was okay, but those shaking hands and that locked door sent a pretty clear signal that she didn’t want another man anywhere near her.
Sometimes other people just made things worse.
He sighed, strode back to his bag, checked his room number again and discovered he was next door to the blonde.
At least he wouldn’t have to go far if Moron came back.


So much for getting some sleep. He’d lain awake, alert for any noise that might indicate a problem in the room next door, but it had been church-quiet. He got up at 0700 base time, then went in search of his new commanding officer, Colonel Maximillian. The man had an interesting reputation, but he trusted what his buddy, Jacob “Sharp” Foster, a former Special Forces soldier, had to say about him. Everyone else said the colonel was one bullet shy of a magazine. Sharp had warned him that the colonel wasn’t exactly regular army, but he gave a shit about his people, and that was number one for Con. If your CO had your six, at least you didn’t have to take your attention off what was coming at you.
The colonel had a fancy lab that didn’t exist on the base, according to official records. Officially, the lab that did exist on paper was rated for level two containment. Good enough to run the sort of tests any big city hospital conducted. In reality, the lab was capable of level four containment testing. The stuff you needed to wear a bio-suit for and breathe your own oxygen supply.
Con had to pass through two internal checkpoints to gain entry to the nondescript building that was his destination. Colonel Maximillian’s office was the first one inside the prefab rectangle that housed the lab and offices. A soldier who didn’t look a day over sixteen sat typing on a computer facing the entrance to the building.
The kid’s gaze darted over Con’s uniform, then he stood and saluted. “Private Eugene Walsh.”
“Sergeant Connor Button, Special Forces.”
“Yes, sir. Colonel Maximillian is expecting you.” Walsh extended his hand in the direction of the first office. “Go right in.”
Con gave him a nod, then walked into the office.
He saluted the salt-and-pepper-haired man, who stood and saluted back. “Sir, Sergeant Button reporting for duty.”
“Welcome, Sergeant.” The colonel came around his desk and offered his hand.
Con shook it once, twice, then released a hand that hadn’t tested him beyond what would be considered polite.
“Take a seat,” the colonel said, gesturing at one of the chairs facing his desk. “I’d like to go over your assignment and answer any questions you might have.”
“Thank you, sir.” Con sat and adopted a neutral body posture, back straight and hands resting lightly on his thighs. It was harder than it should have been.
The last time he’d been in the Middle East he’d been deployed with his unit, attempting to ascertain the military strength of two groups of extremists in Northern Iraq and Syria. Both groups had threatened multiple American and allied targets, as well as calling for sympathetic citizens to carry out terrorist acts inside their own countries.
The last time he’d been in the Middle East, he’d been the only survivor of an IED that took out their vehicle. Fortune had smiled on him that day. He’d been thrown clear.
More and more often, he wished he hadn’t been so lucky.
Colonel Maximillian continued to stare at him and seemed content to not say anything for several moments.
Con waited with the patience of a man who’d waited days for just the right moment to take a shot at his target.
Finally, the colonel asked, “How much do you know about your mission here?”
“Probably not enough.”
Maximillian’s face didn’t change. “Sharp said you were smart. Are you, Sergeant Button?”
“That would depend on your definition of smart.
“Observant, creative, organized, able to see unusual relationships between people and information.”
“Sir, you’re looking for Sherlock Holmes. He’s a fictional character.”
A brief smile crossed the colonel’s face. “How would you describe yourself?”
“Flexible, determined, fuck the box.”
Colonel Maximillian’s forehead lowered over his eyes. “Were you aware General Stone had some reluctance in assigning you to this mission?”
“Not directly, but it doesn’t surprise me.”
How many conversations like this had he had recently? Five, six? “Sir, I received injuries in an attack that killed all the men in the armored vehicle with me. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t hesitant.” No officer wanted to have a suicidal or homicidal soldier on a mission. Survivor’s guilt could lead to either one. Or both.
“Do you consider yourself fit for duty?”
“Yes, sir.”
Goddamned why-questions. Why judged, weighed and measured what was in a man’s head. What was in his head was not pretty, and not to be shared.
“Sir, I signed on to serve my country. My service isn’t done.”
Maximillian tilted his head to one side. “That is one of the best non-answers I’ve ever heard.”
Fuck it. Con leaned forward and said in a less civilized tone, “I got thrown off the horse. I need to get back on and finish my ride.”
“And if you don’t?”
Con’s throat closed up. “That thought can’t be in my head.”
The colonel’s face lost its sharp inquisitiveness for a moment, replaced by a surprising level of comprehension. A second later it was gone and he was flipping through pages on his desk. “You’ve had some problems with your temper since you returned to duty.”
“I’m working on that.” Anger was easy. Acting on it was even easier.
The officer considered Con for a couple more seconds, then nodded briskly. “My Biological Response Team is tracking a very dangerous man who’s created his own extremely deadly strain of anthrax. We managed to prevent an attack on a base in Afghanistan, but not before nearly one hundred people died of the infection. We think he’s not done. We think he’ll continue to strike at high-quality American or allied targets, and we don’t know where he is or where he will attack next.”
Con straightened. Hunting down a homicidal nutcase wasn’t the sort of duty he’d taken on before, but it sounded dangerous. Good.
Holy fuck he was messed up.
Maximillian continued. “We were successful in preventing the last attack because we had one of our infectious disease specialists embedded with an A-team training members of the Afghan military. General Stone agrees with me—until this man is found, we need more cooperation between my team and army Special Forces. I asked for specific men to work with my people. Men who are not only well trained and smart, but also creative and who can take a step back and support his teammate or take charge of a situation if that’s what’s needed. Jacob Foster says you’re that kind of man. Are you?”
It might be nice to have a specific enemy, with a face and a name, rather than a faceless one who could be anybody. The need to kill, to avenge his dead, was a relentless voice in the back of his head. This mission could get him the opportunity to give himself that, and maybe a measure of peace.
“Sir.” He paused, trying hard not to come on too strong. If he lost this chance, he might not get another. “I’m a team player. That means I’ll play whatever role is needed by the team.”
Colonel Maximillian smiled. “Do you mind working with a woman?”
“No, sir. Sharp mentioned the possibility I’d be paired with a woman.” Man, woman, two-headed alien, he didn’t care as long as they shared a common enemy.
“You’re okay with that? No hesitations?”
The colonel seemed unusually concerned.
What the hell? While he might smack down a fellow Special Forces soldier, he’d never lay a hand on a woman.
“Sir, I’m the youngest of five children with four older sisters. Working with or for a woman is nothing new to me.”
“Good.” Maximillian nodded. “I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but the doctor you’re going to be working with is somewhat high-strung.”
The colonel shook his head. “That’s the wrong description. She doesn’t trust…people. I’ve been trying to find a suitable partner for her, but I’ve been unsuccessful.”
“Most people look at her and see a young woman who looks as if she’d have trouble with breaking a nail. Coddle her in any way and she’ll find a way to make you miserable.”
The bottom of Con’s stomach grew cold. “So why me?”
“Growing up with sisters is part of it.”
This interview was a personality test. Fuck.
“You’ve also been through some challenging combat situations and I think that will give you a level of experience she’ll respect.”
Con had to work to keep a growl out of his voice. “I’m not going to sit around the campfire telling her war stories.” What he’d seen wouldn’t instill confidence in anyone.
“I don’t expect you to. She works best with people who are highly competent, who don’t brag or try to impress.”
First time he’d been complimented on his ability to keep his trap shut.
“Another issue is her age. She’s young, she’s a genius and she has absolutely no idea how to talk to anyone who isn’t a scientist or doctor.”
That didn’t leave a whole lot of people. “Genius, as in graduated from medical school really young?”
“She’s twenty-four and is the youngest physician in the USA to have a double speciality in virology and hematology.”
“Virology, I get. Hematology?”
“The study of blood cells.”
If she was an overachiever, he could work with that. “So, work is her life, and before that, it was school?”
“S’okay. My second-oldest sister is married to a physicist. He speaks math, and we get along just fine.”
Maximillian quirked an eyebrow. “You speak math?”
“Nope. I speak barbecue. Everyone has something to say about properly grilling a steak.”
The colonel laughed. “You’ll do. Time to meet her.” He stepped out of his office and led the way down a hall. “Oh, and call me Max. It’s shorter.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Max sighed as he opened a door with a key and preceded Con inside.
The room they entered was part office and part lab, with a couple of desks and two tall microscopes set up on the end of each. Papers and boxes of slides littered both surfaces. Only one of the desks was occupied.
A woman sat looking through the lens of one of the microscopes. Her hair was white-blond and pulled back into a severe bun. She wore an army uniform with a lab coat over top. When she saw Max, she pushed away from the scope, stood and moved to meet them.
The blonde from last night. With her hair pulled back, she could have passed for even younger than twenty-four.
Fucking gorgeous. He took that thought, hog-tied it and shoved it into a dark corner. His personal mission left no room for anything beyond a professional relationship.
She also looked ready to rip someone’s head off.
“Sophia,” Max said. “This is your new partner, Communications Sergeant Connor Button.” He turned to Con. “Connor, this is Captain Sophia Perry.” Her mouth, pressed into a thin line, convinced him to pretend last night hadn’t happened. He nodded at her respectfully. “Good to meet you, ma’am.”
“Ma’am?” she asked, crossing her arms over her chest and displaying a huge bruise on her right hand.
Must’ve hurt.
“This is who you found to babysit me, Max? A fossil?”
Damn, she came out swinging. Maybe he’d let her win this bout. Con managed to keep a straight face and said in a hesitant voice, “I’m only twenty-nine.”
“Would you rather I pair you up with someone who follows all the rules and regulations?” Max asked her, irritation showing in his rigid posture. “This guy—” he pointed a thumb at Con “—hates inside-the-box thinking as much as you do.”
“Oh yeah?” she said, looking Con full in the face. A challenge. Why was she so pissed off? Because she didn’t think she needed a babysitter?
He shrugged, then coughed to hide a chuckle. If he laughed now, she’d think he was laughing at her. “I don’t like boxes. They’re never big enough, and they’re too…square.”
She blinked at him, then narrowed her gaze. “What did you do to draw this duty? It had to have been bad.”
Max opened his mouth, but Con didn’t want to escalate things, so he spoke first, and went with the unvarnished truth. “I got blown up. I spent almost seven months in hospitals and physical therapy. The last three or four months I’ve been instructing and getting back into shape.” He smiled at her. “When I found out what my first mission was going to be, bodyguarding some army doctor, I thought what the fuck? I sure as shit didn’t want easy duty. But having talked with Max here, I’ve changed my mind.” He shifted his gaze to Max’s face. “This isn’t easy duty, is it, sir?”
“No. It’s not a matter of if there will be another biological weapon attack somewhere in this part of the world, it’s when.”
“My role isn’t just to bodyguard Dr. Perry, is it?”
“No.” Max began pacing back and forth between Con and Sophia. “We have intel that points to the Biological Response Team as a specific target. I don’t want you to just protect Sophia, I need you two to be a team. All of us are being paired with Special Forces soldiers, even myself.”
“Assassination?” Con asked. The idea of it made the back of his neck itch.
“Very possible. Sabotage is another danger.”
“Have any attempts been made?”
“Yes. Dr. Samuels and her Green Beret were nearly killed in a trap I believe was set for them. We have an enemy who is intelligent, ruthless and fearless.”
“Can I get everything you have on this guy?” Con asked.
“My assistant will have it ready for you in an hour or two.” Max turned to him. “Have you been assigned quarters?”
“I’m going to have you moved to the room next to Sophia’s.”
The woman in question opened her mouth to say something unpleasant—he was sure from the way she’d screwed up her nose—which is why Con spoke first again. “Are you sure that’s necessary?” He looked down, like he was thinking hard. “Do you want to advertise to the whole base that I’m her bodyguard, or would you like to keep it below the radar?”
Max gave him a dirty look. “Whose side are you on?”
“Hers, sir.”
“Fine,” Max said, with bit of an impatient edge to his voice. “I’ll check to see where you’re housed now. If it’s not too far, you can stay where you are.” Max pressed his lips together, glared at them both, then stomped off.
Con looked at Sophia.
She looked back at him, snorted and went back to her microscope. “Nice attempt to come to my rescue. Again. But I don’t need anyone to rescue me.”
She needed to talk to someone about the moron. To prevent fear and anger from getting too deep a hold on her brain.
Despite how fast things had happened, the human mind had a way of warping events so the memory of them seemed to take a thousand times longer than the reality had.
Hell, he was a walking testament for how three seconds of hell could totally screw up the rest of a man’s life.
Or take it.
Listen to him passing judgment on her mental state, when he’d done his level best to keep the shrinks out of his. Right now, he just had to convince her he was on her side. He wanted this assignment. “I know.”
“Really?” Sarcasm turned the word into something sharp and heavy. “You just met me. How would you know that?”
“I saw you in action last night.”
She froze, and for a moment the expression on her face was a mixture of anger, fear and disgust. A second later, it was gone, smoothed away as if it had never been there.
Whoa. What was that?
Without looking at him, she said, “Babysitting me is going to be a complete bore for a soldier’s soldier like you. I’ll tell Max to find someone else.”

My Book Review:

In Lethal Game, the second book in the Biological Response Team series, author Julie Rowe introduces the reader to Captain Sophia Perry , the nation’s youngest virologist and hematologist, who is sent to a Syrian refugee camp to investigate a deadly breakout with Special Forces Communications Sergeant Connor Button assigned to keep her safe. Sophia and Connor have to find the source of the breakout, but their mission is wrought with danger lurking around every corner. And if that isn't enough, Sophia is battling another round of cancer, and as her health deteriorates, Sophia and Connor are determined to defeat the enemies before the cancer defeats her. 

This is a intriguing romantic suspense military tale that takes the reader on an exhilarating thrill ride. Sophia and Connor's story is a fast-paced, action packed tale filled with an exciting mixture of romance, suspense, personal struggles, and unexpected twists and turns that easily keeps the reader sitting on the edge of their seats.

I loved the mystery, suspense, drama, sense of danger, and intense military action used in the search to find the source of the breakout, and when you add in the internal personal struggles mixed in with the electric sexual chemistry and tension between Sophia and Connor, you have one hell of thriller that will keep you thoroughly captivated and wanting more. I can't wait to see what new adventures the author will take her readers on in the next book in the series.

If you are looking for a romantic military suspense tale that will give you an adrenaline rush and get your heart racing, look no further, Lethal Game is the book for you!


About The Author

Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”.

In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living.

Virtual Book Tour

Click on the above link for the schedule of tour participants. 

Soulshifter by Barbara Pietron (Book Spotlight)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Soulshifter by author Barbara Pietron!

About The Book

Soulshifter by Barbara Pietron
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Format: Paperback - 290 pages 
ISBN: 978-0991602124
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Buy The Book:

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it. Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track star, Natalie Segetich, until her best friend Emma disappears. Natalie swears something took Emma, and though most people write Natalie off as traumatized and confused, Jack is a soulshifter and he knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell's messengers—are real. As a soulshifter, Jack can cross into the underworld so he sees Emma's rescue as an opportunity to prove himself a valuable member of his transcendental sect—and a way to secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Although he needs Natalie's help to prepare for the mission, Jack intends to go to the underworld alone. But as a viable plan takes shape, it's clear the best chance of success means Natalie must accompany him. On the eve of the quest, when Jack is promised the hand of a respected elder's daughter—a dream come true—he realizes he's no longer sure what he wants. But it's too late to back out, not with the sect and Natalie counting on him. Pursued by the dark lord's henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1
Revelations from the Dark Realm

Feedback shrieked from the electric guitar amp, annihilating the harmonious blend of drums, bass guitar and electric piano. Jack winced as he fumbled for the volume knob on his guitar, pretending he didn’t see Tommy, the lead singer, shoot him a furious glare. Head down, Jack concentrated on the next few chord progressions, until Tommy launched into his signature vocal screaming. Then Jack stole a glance to his left and caught the eye of his best friend, Wes, who skillfully delivered the pulse of the track on his bass guitar. Wes lifted his eyebrows and Jack answered with a slight shrug and an apologetic frown.
It was one thing if Jack screwed up this opportunity for himself, but Wes had talked the band into giving Jack a chance this summer when they'd lost their lead guitarist to college. Jack didn't want to embarrass Wes, or give Tommy a reason to give his friend a hard time. The singer hadn't wanted Wes in the band either, but when the other members heard Wes play and realized he was a wizard on the bass guitar, Tommy had been out-voted. It had taken two years for Wes to earn the lead singer's grudging respect and Jack hated to mess that up.
They finished the set and Jack ducked out of his guitar strap, leaning the instrument against the cinderblock wall of Fletch's—the drummer's—basement. He ran both hands through his thick curls, for the first time thankful that his mom had insisted he get a haircut before school started. Shoulder-length for most of the summer, his dark brown mane was now tamed to a mass of loose curls that ended at the base of his jaw—not as rock and roll, but certainly cooler.
He turned and nearly collided with Tommy. "What's up with the feedback, Ironwood? We've got a gig in two days!"
"Sorry, man." Jack shook his head. He noticed John, the keyboardist, give him and Tommy a wide berth as he beat a hasty retreat. "Just having an off day. I'm low on sleep."
"Well you better get it together by Monday. A lot of people come out to the park on Labor Day, and we don't need you making the rest of us look like amateurs." He spun on his heel and stomped up the steps before Jack could reply.
Fletch offered Jack a sports drink. "You've been playing good all summer. Just don't choke when you get on stage." He laughed, but his eyes were serious.
"Thanks." Jack took the plastic bottle and cracked the lid open. "I'll be fine. I promise." He took a long drink, letting the slightly salty, citrusy liquid soothe his dry tongue and throat before bending to put his guitar into its case.
An intermittent chink of metal on metal sounded from the base of the stairwell. "Ready?"
Jack glanced up to see Wes tossing a bundle of keys into the air and then catching them. "Yep." He noticed that Wes had decided to leave his guitar at Fletch's. They were going to rehearse again tomorrow, but Jack felt like he ought to go home and get in some extra practice. He followed his friend out to the minivan, which smelled like the burgers and fries they'd eaten on the way to rehearsal, and loaded his gear into the back.
After Jack plopped into the passenger seat and closed the door, Wes spoke up. "Dude." He drew out the solitary word and added a sigh, conveying both disappointment and sympathy.
"I know," Jack said quickly. "I'm not a hundred percent today. Yesterday was my end-of-summer spirit-walk."

About The Author

After years in the corporate world, Barbara Pietron found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her technical writing experience, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication before trying her hand at her true passion, fiction. In addition to Soulshifter, Barbara is also the author of Thunderstone, Book One of the Legacy in Legend series and a prequel to ThunderstoneHeart of Ice, is available in e-book format. Book Two of the Legacy in Legend series is slated for fall of 2016. You can visit Barbara's website at

Virtual Book Tour

Click on the above link for a schedule of tour participants.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Lowcountry Bordello by Susan M. Boyer (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Lowcountry Bordello by author Susan M. Boyer!

Book Review

Lowcountry Bordello by Susan M. Boyer
Book 4: Liz Talbot Mystery Series
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Format: Paperback - 272 pages
               Kindle - 749 KB
               Nook - 528 KB
ISBN: 978-1943390175
ASIN: B0147MG9W4
BNID: 2940150975965
Genre: Southern Cozy Mystery 

Buy The Book: 

Buy The Series: Liz Talbot Mystery Series
Book 1: Lowcountry Boil
Book 2: Lowcountry Bombshell
Book 3: Lowcountry Boneyard
Book 4: Lowcountry Bordello

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

The Charleston streets are dressed for the holidays in sophisticated Southern style: topiaries adorned with red ribbons, garland entwined with white lights, and poinsettias potted in gold planters. The high class bordello in a stately historic home is certainly no exception. When Private Investigator Liz Talbot’s dear friend Olivia swears she saw a dead body in the parlor of this bordello, one Olivia accidentally co-owns, Liz promptly comes to her aid. 

With her wedding back home on Stella Maris less than a week away, Liz must juggle one elderly madam, two ex and future in-laws, three ghosts in the bordello, four giddy bridesmaids, five lovely courtesans, six suspicious patrons…and a partridge in a pear tree as she tries to keep her bridesmaid out of jail and live to walk down the aisle. 

Related subjects include: women sleuths, private investigator mystery series, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, Southern fiction, Southern humor, Southern living.

Book Excerpt:

A Day in the Life of Liz Talbot, PI, by Susan M. Boyer

The dead are not altogether reliable. Colleen, my best friend, calls herself a Guardian Spirit. I can’t argue with the facts at hand: She’s been dead seventeen years, and she watches my back. I’m a private investigator, so situations arise from time to time wherein my back needs watching. Technically, Colleen’s afterlife mission is to protect Stella Maris, our island home near Charleston, South Carolina, from developers and all such as that. Since I’m on the town council and can’t abide the notion of condos and time-shares on our pristine beaches, protecting me falls under her purview.

Solving my cases, however, does not. She’ll tell me that in a skinny minute should I happen to mention how she could be more helpful. But she has been known to toss me the occasional insight from beyond that provokes a train of thought, which, upon reflection, proves useful. Here’s the thing: Colleen shows up when she detects I’m in danger. Sometimes she warns me in advance. Occasionally she drops by just to chat. But she doesn’t come whenever I think of her or call her name. It rarely works like that.

One Monday in December, I really could’ve used Colleen’s perspective. We were closing in on Christmas, and I was getting married on the twentieth—in five days. I was a teensy bit distracted, is what I’m saying.

It was a little after ten in the morning, and I was at my desk in the living room of my beachfront house, which doubles as my office. I was deep into research on a criminal case Nate, my partner and fiancĂ©, and I were working for Andy Savage. Andy was a high profile Charleston attorney, and while this case didn’t amount to much more than fact-checking, we hoped it would lead to a lucrative relationship for Talbot and Andrews, our agency.

I stared at my computer screen and reached for one of Mamma’s Christmas cookies. My phone trilled out the ringtone named Old Phone. Old Phone was reserved for old friends. I grabbed my phone instead of the cookie.

Robert Pearson. He’d been a year ahead of me in high school, the same age as my brother, Blake. He’d married one of my best friends. Robert was also our family attorney, and he and I were both on the Stella Maris town council.

I tapped the green “accept” button.

After we exchanged the usual pleasantries, he said, “I wondered, if you’re not too busy, could you drop by this afternoon? There’s something I want to run by you.”

“I have an appointment at one that’s going to take most of the afternoon.” Multi-toned highlights are a maintenance issue, especially with hair as long as mine. My natural sandy blonde would turn Tweety Bird yellow if Dori looked at it wrong. She always took her time, but five days before my wedding she’d be excruciatingly meticulous. I couldn’t walk down the aisle with yellow hair.

“Noon?” he asked.

“Sure. See you then.”

“Thanks, Liz. I really appreciate it.” He sounded way too grateful for such an ordinary request. This is what should’ve tipped me off that something was up.

Copyright © 2015 by Susan M. Boyer -- This excerpt is reprinted by permission from Henery Press. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In the fourth book of the Liz Talbot Mystery seriesLowcountry Bordello, the reader catches up with P.I. Liz Talbot's latest investigative adventures.

Author Susan M. Boyer weaves an entertaining Southern cozy mystery set in Charleston and the lowcountry island town of Stella Maris, South Carolina, that follows the adventures of Liz Talbot and partner/fiance Nate Andrews as they investigate the suspicious activities that are going on at Liz's friend Olivia Pearson and Aunt Dean Beauthorpe's high class bordello.

Written in the first person narrative, Liz's sassy wit and southern charm keeps the reader engaged as she tries to fill in the pieces of the puzzle of what kind of illicit activities goes on behind the stately doors of the bordello's occupants and their wealthy patrons, while also trying to finish getting ready for her Christmas wedding to Nate that is in five days! This fun cozy mystery is full of intriguing twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing. It has a paranormal twist in the form of Colleen, Liz's ghostly best friend, who is Stella Maris' resident guardian spirit, who also helps Liz with her investigations. And if that isn't enough to draw you into the story, the reader gets up-to-date on Liz and Nate's relationship, and their determination to put the bordello case's distraction behind them as quickly as they can as they make a mad dash to their wedding day.

With a quirky cast of characters whose witty dialogue will keep you stitches, and a fast paced Southern cozy mystery guaranteed to make you want some sweet tea and hushpuppies, Lowcountry Bordello is an enchanting tale that will leave you wanting more of Liz's adventures!

Lowcountry Bordello is the fourth book in the Liz Talbot Mystery series. While the books can be a stand alone read, I would recommend that the series be read in sequential order, as the stories easily flows from one book to next with new mystery adventures for our sassy Southern P.I. Liz Talbot.


About The Author

Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA TODAY bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations, including the Macavity. Lowcountry Boneyard, the third Liz Talbot mystery, was a Spring 2015 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. Lowcountry Bordello, the fourth Liz Talbot mystery, was released April 21, 2015. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels.

Susan lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.

Author Website
Henery Press

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with author Joanne DeMaio, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer!

Author Guest Post

Whether I’m writing about countryside Addison, or seaside Stony Point, the charm, quirks and community of quaint Connecticut towns become their own characters in my books. So when I head out the door for a writing walk, I’m sure to bring my camera. Sights like this have a way of winding straight into my storylines. If you’ve read my newest novel, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer, can’t you just picture these birch deer gracing the holiday front stoops?

From decorated doorsteps, to cozy Main Street shops, to swags of evergreen on white picket fences, to those quintessential New England candles aglow in frosty historical-home windows—my novels’ settings come to life right in front of me on my walks. And when readers turn the pages of my books, it is my hope that they, too, feel right at home.

About The Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Her sixth novel, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer, was recently published. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut. To learn more about the author, visit She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

Author Website

Book Review

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Format: Paperback - 304 pages
               Kindle - 2898 KB
               Nook - 895 KB
ISBN: 978-1515120773
BNID: 2940150766846
Genre: Holiday Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour hosted by the author.

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio delivers a delightful novel about following your heart on the snow-dusted journey home. 

Jane March's greeting cards have lost their jingle. While worried about her job at New England's Cobblestone Cards, she stumbles upon a forgotten box of her mother's nostalgic paintings. They depict small-town Addison's covered bridge and red barns and picket-fenced colonials. If only Jane's designs could capture the same heart. When her mother shows her how with a Christmas to-do list of memories in the making, Jane gets checking.

Wes Davis has come home again, jilted and a little bitter. His autumn wedding's off, and so is his holiday spirit. Even seeing the rustic wooden deer his father whittles by lantern light doesn't help as he settles back into the shabby Victorian home of his childhood. It is only when Wes encounters the sparkling Jane March on his winding mail route that his cold winter heart begins to thaw.

As the fall months turn wintry, and the season merry, a funny thing happens in this charming Connecticut town: Jane and Wes check off items on that Christmas itinerary, together. But falling in love wasn't included on the list. Or was it?

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer is a treasured keepsake, reminding us that like winter's first snow, life brings a beautiful flurry of its own unexpected moments.

Book Excerpt:

To read a book excerpt of Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer, click on the Goodreads Link

My Book Review:

In Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer, author Joanne DeMaio transports the reader to the tranquil small New England town of Addison Cove, Connecticut for a heartwarming Christmas tale of family, friendship, and finding unexpected love.

After breaking her left wrist, greeting card designer Jane March heads back to her hometown of Addison Cove, Connecticut to recuperate at her childhood home. Jane has lost her "jingle" and needs to find new inspiration for next season's Christmas cards, or possibly lose the job that she loves. With an uncertain future before her, Jane discovers a set of her mother Lillian's paintings of various scenes around Addison which provide her with a much needed spurt of mojo. But it's Lillian who adds the extra touch of inspiration for Jane by telling her that she needs to get back to the roots of the Christmas season and immerse herself and experience them. Lillian provides Jane with an "insist list of things to do around Addison" that will help her muse find the inspiration behind the wonder of the holiday season.

Wes Davis is a third generation mailman who has been jilted by his ex-fiance two weeks before their wedding. Wes moves back home with his father, Pete, whose hobby is whittling wooden deer that he sells at local town events. With the Christmas holiday approaching, Wes is not looking forward to the small town gossip and answering questions about his failed wedding, so to avoid it he exchanges his honeymoon tickets for a trip to California over the holiday. When Wes delivers the mail to Jane's house, he notices that her arm is in a sling, and he reluctantly begins to help Jane complete her mother's insist list. As the friendship develops between Jane and Wes, from late October leading up to Christmas, they embark on the Christmas list adventure, and their relationship blossoms into something more when Jane's natural sparkle thaws Wes' frozen heart, giving them an unexpected chance at finding love.

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer is a wonderful Christmas story that will tug at the heartstrings and fill the reader with seasonal joy. Author Joanne DeMaio weaves a spellbinding tale set in the quaint New England town of Addison Cove, Connecticut, that captivates the reader's attention with a heartwarming romance. This delightful holiday tale has a rich description of the breathtaking small town setting, holiday tradition and greeting cards, birch deer decorations, delicate swirls of snowflakes, and yummy hot cocoa. With both Jane and Wes' lives at a crossroads, their emotional journey of taking a risk, letting go of the past, and finding an unexpected chance at love and happiness unfolds in a magical way that will make the reader believe in the power of love and friendship, and the joy of the holiday season.

There is not enough words that I can express about the simplicity and beauty in which author Joanne DeMaio weaves her wonderful heartwarming and multi-layered stories that are filled with a mixture of loss and love, friendship, wholesome family values, and life's unexpected special moments, it is simply breathtaking. As the readers follow Jane and Wes' story, they will discover the true holiday meaning of what snow deers and coca cheers stands for, it is simply magical!

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer is an enchanting holiday story full of warmth and comfort that will remind the reader of the magic, joy, and spirit of Christmas. It is a lovely story that will resonate with the reader for a very long time.