Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery by Paul Flower (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Redeeming Power Of Brain Surgery by Author Paul Flower!

The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery

Book Review

The Redeeeming Power of Brain Surgery

TitleThe Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery: A Suspense Novel by Paul Flower
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 250 pages
               Kindle - 1325 KB
ISBN: 978-0985956271
Genre: Suspense

Buy The Book:

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:

Jesse Tieter, M.D. has carefully constructed the ideal life. But lately, neither his Chicago-based neurology practice nor his wife and son are enough to suppress the memories that have haunted him since he was a little boy. He can't stop thinking about that summer day in 1967 when his father died.

So Jesse is heading back. Back to the town and the place where a long-repressed horror occurred. Back to make sure his twin keeps the family's secret buried.

But what will he uncover along the way?

Book Excerpt:

His son’s hand felt like a lie. Lately, to him, everything felt this way. The look of sadness on his wife’s face, the burn of a drink in his throat, the whine of a saw in the O.R.; nothing seemed true. Nothing was real anymore. He felt out of balance, too. Even now, the school building, the flag slapping against the heavy fall sky¬¬—everything was tipping away from him. It was as though he’d gotten up that morning and screwed on his head carelessly, as though he hadn’t threaded it good and tight. While shaving, he’d cut himself, a discrete, semi-intentional knick just under the curve of his chin. He’d stood there like an idiot, eyes feeding the message “blood” to his brain, nerve endings responding with “pain” and the logic center unable to formulate a response.

“Dad? Daddy?”

“Uh? Wha’?”

“Pick up the pace. Chop chop. Move out.”

Now, as he snaked through the crush of other parents and children, he had to look down to convince himself the boy was there, attached to the hand, flesh and bone. The red hair, “his mother’s hair” everyone called it, was sliced by a crisp white part; his head bounced in beat with his sneakered feet. The child was so painfully real he couldn’t be a lie.

It amazed him that his son looked so much like his wife, especially the tiny mouth, the way it was set in a crooked, determined line. He was a kid who liked to have fun, but he could be fierce. Today, the challenge of a new school year, of third grade, had brought out the determined streak. This was good. They would need that streak, he and his mother would.

“Whoa.”  The tiny hand now was a road sign, white-pink flesh facing him, commanding him. Far enough. He obeyed. Squatting, arms out for the anticipated embrace, he suddenly wanted to tell everything. Tears swam. His throat thickened. The earth tilted and threatened to send him skittering over its edge. There was the slightest of hugs, the brush of lips on his cheek then the boy was off, skipping toward the steps as though third grade challenged nothing, caused no fear, as though the world was in perfect balance.

He walked back to his Lincoln Navigator with the exaggerated care of a drunk who didn’t want anyone to know his condition. He got behind the wheel and suddenly was no longer in his 50s; he felt 16 and too small, too skinny and insignificant to handle the giant SUV.

He nosed the vehicle toward home, alternately trembling and gripping the wheel as he merged with the morning traffic. The plan struck him now as odd and silly, the challenges too great. His hands, already red and scaly, itched fiercely. Get a grip, he told himself. Get a grip.

His tired mind—when was the last time he’d really slept well?—jumped from one stone of thought to another. Was everything covered at work? The bills—had he paid them all? Did his wife suspect anything? Yes. No. Absolutely. Of course not. Relax. Relax. He left the expressway at the exit that took him past their church and wondered if the church, too, was a lie. What of the wedding there so many years ago?

Through a stoplight and past a Dunkin’ Donuts, his gaze floated around a corner. A flash of inspiration—hit the gas. Let the tires slide and the back-end arc around. Let physics have its way until the big vehicle broke free from the grip of gravity and danced head over end, coming to a stop with him bleeding and mercifully, gratefully dead inside.

No. He had something to do. Had he figured the angles right? Gotten the plan tight enough?

A horn jabbed through his reverie. He had drifted into the turn lane of the five-lane street. He jerked the wheel and cut across traffic into the right lane. Tires screeched, horns screamed. A black Toyota streaked past on his left, the driver’s fist, middle finger erect, thrust out the window.

Rage, sharp and bitter, bubbled in his throat. He hesitated, then jammed his foot on the accelerator, cut the wheel hard, and sent the Navigator careening into the left lane.

A staccato barrage of profanity pounded the inside of his skull. He bit his tongue to keep the words in. His heart hammered and a familiar, dizzying pressure filled his ears. The SUV roared ahead, past one car, past a semi then another car, quickly closing the gap on the speeding Toyota. He couldn’t see the car’s driver but he could imagine him, some stupid, simple-minded schmuck, eyes locked on the rear-view mirror as the lumbering Lincoln grew larger, larger, larger. The instant before he would slam into the smaller vehicle, he jabbed his brake and turned again to the left. There was a squeal of tires and more horns bleating behind him; the semi rig’s air horn bellowed angrily past. Ramrod straight, eyes fixed ahead on the now-slow-moving car disappearing tentatively around a curve, he brought the Navigator to a shuddering stop in the center lane. He tensed and waited for the resounding WHUMP of a crash from behind. None came. Face flushed and eyes gleaming, suddenly rejuvenated, he accelerated quickly then eased the Navigator back into the flow of traffic—no looking back.

My Book Review:

The Redeeming Power Of Brian Surgery is a riveting psychological thriller that will keep the reader in suspense and sitting on the edge of their seats.

Author Paul Flower weaves a gritty dark tale of suspense that follows the complex story of Dr. Jesse Tieter, M.D. and how his ideal life is turned upside down when his attempts to suppress the haunting memories of his past are brought to the surface when he travels back to his small Michigan hometown and faces his estranged fraternal twin brother and deeply buried family secrets.

This is a compelling, intricate, and fast paced story that alternates between the past and the present. It has enough richly vivid descriptions of the devious and haunting events in the family's past that will send chills down your spine. I loved how the author allows the reader to delve into the twisted minds of the twins, the complexity of their dysfunctional relationship is palpable, and it lends credence to the old adage that people are not always what they appear to be.

The Redeeming Power Of Brain Surgery is a gritty dark tale that will take the reader on an exhilarating roller coaster ride. There is enough drama, suspense, and intriguing twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged and guessing what will happen next until the surprising and climatic conclusion.


About The Author

Paul Flower

Paul Flower is an author, advertising copywriter/creative director and a journalist.

He has written and produced award-winning advertising for print, radio, television, outdoor, the Web––really, just about every medium––for business-to-consumer and business-to-business accounts.

His news features have appeared in regional and national magazines. His first novel, “The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery,” was published in June 2013 by Scribe Publishing. Visit Paul’s website at  

Connect with Paul:
Author Website
Author Page / Publisher Website


Virtual Book Tour

Click on the above link to view the tour schedule.

The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery

Monday, April 27, 2015

That's A Promise & That's A Lie by Victoria Klahr (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 That's A Promise and That's A Lie by Author Victoria Klahr!

Book Review

That's A Promise by Victoria Klahr
Book 1: Promises, Promises Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Format: Paperback - 260 pages
               Kindle - 2413 KB
ISBN: 978-1620155134
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Book Description:

Pain isn’t new to me.

I’ve been to hell only to find it never really leaves when you get back. It haunts me through nightmares, unrequited love, lies, broken hearts, and now death.

A monster almost took my life.
My best friend carries half my soul a world away.
My boyfriend broke my heart but refuses to let me go.
And my father is dead.

I don’t believe in fate and I don’t believe in happily-ever-afters, but for some reason, I still hope.

Live, even with a tainted spirit.
Long for my other half to come back to me.
Risk another broken heart, just to feel loved again.
And refuse to let another horror break me.

In the face of my most recent tragedy, I have to decide whether forgiveness is something I can give. But even if that’s an option, can I be forgiven?

That's A Lie by Victoria Klahr
Book 2: Promises, Promises Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Format: Paperback - 318 pages
               Kindle - 997 KB
               Nook - 504 KB
ISBN: 978-1620156421
BNID: 2940151659581
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Book Description: 

Seth is back.

When he walked back into my life, it almost felt like the pieces of my broken heart could be fixed. I thought we could go back to being best friends, but then I started to feel what I had been blocking out for years. I tried. Boy, did I try! But once I started to let him in, I wanted nothing more than to cross that line from friendship into something more…

Just when I think I can move on and let myself be happy, an ugly reminder from my past comes storming in and threatens to destroy the sliver of hope that’s been growing since Seth came back.

Do I even deserve to be loved?

“I’m not asking to fix your heart. I’m not asking to mend you. I love each and every shattered piece of you. I’m asking that you let me love you. Let me love each piece of your broken heart, and I swear to you I will make up for every heartache you have ever experienced.”

I came back for Josie.

I knew I’d have to fight for her, but with the loss of her dad and the truth about what happened with her and Blake, I quickly realized that making her mine was going to be a lot harder than I first thought. The problem is, I can’t pretend like she’s just my best friend. I can’t pretend I don’t want more.

I’m willing to do anything to get her to admit she has the same passionate feelings for me, because I know once she opens up and stops lying to herself, I can show her what it really means to be loved. It’s a battle of wills, but my love for her is stronger than her will to stop me.

So I fight for her. I fight because I know she deserves it.

Book Excerpt:

I was instantly distracted as I walked into the space. Seth. Shirtless. I don't think I need to explain my lack of focus. Or the drool.

"You lied to me," he said gruffly, sitting on the barstool at my counter. His blond hair flopped in front of his eyes, and my hands itched to push it back. Touching him again the way I wanted to would satisfy only a millimeter of the need I have, but it would relieve some of the pain. I turned around to hide my thoughts.

"Ugh . . . I need coffee," I said vacantly, reaching for my coffee maker. I didn't even hear Seth move, but his hand grabbed mine and he turned me around, placing his hands beside me on the countertop to trap me. My breath caught, and I was positive he could hear my heart pounding in my chest.

His blue-green eyes screamed hurt and anger, but I didn't even care about him being mad. All that mattered was the charge that thumped between us. I was very aware of him.

"You lied, Josie. You're not supposed to lie to me."

"Seth . . . Come on," I said, turning my face away, unable to look at the raw emotion in his expression. His hand dashed out and grabbed my chin.

"How long, Josie?" he asked. I closed my eyes, not wanting to admit anything. "Open your damn eyes, Jos. Stop fucking hiding." His voice was hard, but it was also full of desperation. I opened my eyes and narrowed them at him.

He didn’t understand that I needed to keep him away from me. My life is tainted by darkness, and he doesn't need that. Yes, I lied to the one person who I said I wouldn't deceive again, but it was for his own good!

"It doesn't matter, Seth. I'm fine."

"Like fucking hell it doesn't matter. I haven't heard you scream like that since your nightmares after you were raped!"

The haunting reminder brought back vivid memories of that time. He or one of my dads would come lay with me to help me fall asleep. Every day that Seth wasn't in school, he was there with me, trying to make the nightmares go away.

"Since the engagement party," I whispered, looking down. I don't know why I admitted it, but I think part of me realized I couldn't hold on to all this pain anymore.

That's when my resolve started to break. How long could I go on fighting the feelings that I have for Seth? How long could I act like nothing hurts me?

"Fuck, Jos . . . ," he whispered back, placing his forehead against mine. His signature smell of hay and apple pie drifted around me, and I almost lost my footing from wanting him so bad. "You should have told me."

"I didn't want you to worry."

"I worry about you every second you're not with me, Pussycat. Every second that you hide behind that wall you've built, I wonder when you're going to crack." His hand reached up to caress my face, and I leaned into his touch. It was only an infinitesimal movement, but I still heard Seth's breath hitch. My lapse in self-control made him bold. He brought his mouth to the side of mine, and kissed me. I couldn't stop the whimper before it escaped my mouth.

"There you are," he whispered hoarsely against my lips, always seeing me, even when I didn’t want him to. I wanted to bask in the moment, but I had already opened up to him too much. I pushed through his barricade and ran back to my room.

"I've got to help Dad at the garage today," I threw out as an explanation, and then I went to hide in my shower.

My Book Review:

That's A Promise is the first book in the Promises, Promises Series. It is an emotional story about love lost, found, abandoned, and refound. Author Victoria Klahr weaves an intriguing tale that will captivate the reader's attention from the very beginning, and take them on an emotional roller coaster ride as they follow Blake, Josie and Seth's story.

This story follows Josie Sommers' journey, and her relationship with longtime best friend Seth Montgomery, and Blake Porter who she met in college. The storyline alternates from the past and present, describing the love triangle between Josie, Seth, and Blake. It is a story that is full of secrets, betrayal, sexual tension, learning how to forgive, and coming clean with one another. Josie doesn't live a fairytale life, but her personal journey is about coping with life experiences, surviving, and trying to heal from a terrible traumatic attack that happened to her a few years ago. That's A Promise is full of drama, angst, and intriguing twists and turns that has a cliffhanger ending, and leaves the reader wanting more.

That's A Lie continues Josie, Seth, and Blake's story seamlessly where it left off in That's A Promise. Author Victoria Klahr once again draws the reader back into this trio's emotional story. There is more drama, angst, and intriguing twists and turns told in alternating points of view with a focus on Seth's return and determination to win Josie's heart. If you think the author took the readers on an emotional roller coaster ride in the first book, get ready because you will once again feel the full gamut of emotions as the story unfolds. Josie and Seth's journey is so riveting, you can't help but cheer them on and hope that they can find love and happiness. But alas, the author once again leaves the reader anticipating and wanting more as it has another cliff hanger ending. I can't wait to see what the author has in store for the readers in the third book of the series!

The Promise, Promise Series is an amazing series of new adult romance stories that are full of drama, emotion, and romantic angst that keeps the reader captivated and wanting more!


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the books 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.

Buy The Books: Promises, Promises Series
Book 1: That's A Promise
Book 2: That's A Lie
Barnes & Noble

About The Author

Victoria Klahr (pronounced “Claire”) lives in Elizabeth City, North Carolina with her husband and daughter, Stephen and Alexis. She loves her chug (Pug/Chihuahua), Bandit, and daughter to pieces. She is a huge and proud book nerd who looks at her bookshelf in admiration daily. When she’s not daydreaming about book boyfriends and fantasizing about being a badass heroine like Rose Hathaway, she’s busy doing schoolwork for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and writing the stories that speak to her in her head. She loves peanut butter with Oreos, good friends, amazing gossip, driving in the middle of merge lanes, comedies, crude humor, pretending like she can dance, pretending like she can kick major ass, and a really, really good laugh.

Author Website / Blog

Contest Giveaway

Win An eBook Copy Of
That's A Promise

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Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

April 20 - Terry’sBook Addiction -Review & Excerpt
April 20 - Forget the Housework,I’m Reading – Review 
April 21 - ABlue Million Books – Excerpt
April 21 - CafinatedReads – Excerpt
April 22 - Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 23 - Polished& Bubbly – Review
April 23 – Sultry SteamyReading – Review
April 27 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
April 27 - Books, Authors, Blog - Excerpt
April 27 - Jess’s Book Blog – Review

The Other Wife by Kathleen Irene Paterka (Author Interview / 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 The Other Wife by Author Kathleen Irene Paterka!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Kathleen Irene!

How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been scribbling stories since the day I learned how to hold a pencil and create words using the alphabet.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?

My ‘day job’ is as staff writer at a real American castle. A beautiful historic site built in 1918, the castle is open for tours, plus hosts numerous weddings. I write for a living, plus I’m surrounded by royalty and romance. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss is the first book I remember from my childhood. That book, more than anything, inspired me to want to work with words. Though I briefly toyed with the notion of being a librarian or an English teacher, I knew what I really wanted to do was dream my life away by telling the stories inside me.

Please give a brief description/storyline about The Other Wife.

Will a husband’s betrayal lead to a woman’s revenge? Eleanor and Claire, two women from two different generations, share a challenge as their lives are forever altered by a single event — their husband Richard’s death. Eleanor was married to Richard for 38 years, while his ‘marriage’ to Claire was brief (4 years)… yet neither woman know of the other’s existence until Richard’s death, which happens on the first page. How does each of them cope when they learn the truth? And what happens when they eventually come together? How does each woman deal with ‘The Other Wife’?

What was the inspiration for this story?

Several years ago, my husband Steve was in the cardiac unit of our local hospital. It was about 5 am, and I was sitting at the end of his bed in the semi-darkness when suddenly Steve made a strange sound. At the time, I thought it was the oddest snore I’d ever heard. Turns out it was the infamous ‘death rattle’. Steve had just died. Since he was in the hospital, all the monitors tripped. They called a Code Blue and the medical team managed to resuscitate him. Steve has since had a triple by-pass and doing well. But that experience started me thinking: What if he’d been at home, asleep in our bed? Would I have thought that horrible sound was merely a loud snore? I probably would have poked him, rolled over in bed, and gone back to sleep… only to wake up the next morning and find him dead beside me. The memory of Steve’s hospital experience sparked my imagination. What happens in a woman’s life when her husband dies? And what if she discovers he’s been hiding a secret… a horrible secret that will change her life forever?

How did it feel to have your first book published?

The Other Wife is my sixth published novel. I’m just as proud to see it sitting in book stores and on a shelf in our public library as I was to see my first novel, Fatty Patty, published.

Do you write books for a specific genre?

I write women’s fiction, which differs from other ‘women’s genres’ (such as romance, chick lit, etc.) in the respect that it is about the emotional journey of the hero/heroine in dealing with a particular issue in their life. There may / may not be romance contained within the plot. In The Other Wife, the issue is specifically how each woman copes with the death of a man she thought was her husband, and how she handles his betrayal.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

I love reading and writing women’s fiction, specifically because it deals with emotions. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, and a brilliant writer. If you haven’t tried her works, her novel Change of Heart is an excellent place to begin. I also love anything written by Jennifer Weiner. She has a smart, sassy style. Her latest novel, All Fall Down, is a fantastic read.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?

I’m a very structured writer, and tend to work best in my home office. Unlike other authors who can write anywhere (J.K. Rowling wrote reams of Harry Potter materials while riding on the train and sitting in coffee shops), I crave the peace and quiet that surrounds me when I’m at my computer.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

My husband loves to brainstorm with me, and I bounce lots of ideas off him. Together we came up with the idea for a series centered in a small Northern Michigan fictional town named James Bay. Four of my novels are set in James Bay. Royal Secrets and The Other Wife are both stand-alone titles of women’s fiction. My next book is about Chuck’s Tavern & Grill, a popular eating establishment in James Bay.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

Like most writers, if inspiration strikes, I immediately scribble things down before the thought or characters’ conversations dissolve in some foggy mist. Normally, however, I write every day. I’m up early, at 5 am, and at my computer by 6:30. I have a little timer which I set for two hours. Then I open up my WIP, and I’m quickly lost in a beautiful daydream that unfolds before me on the computer screen. Thank God for that little timer. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably have been fired from my day job at the castle long ago.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

I love writing about interpersonal relationships and the struggles of everyday people and their lives (ex: Patty and her overweight hero, Sam, in Fatty Patty). In dealing with social media, it can be a challenge to resist the advice coming at me from so many different channels. “Write in 3rd person… don’t write in 3rd person… add lots of details… streamline the story and don’t add too many details… throw in lots of sex scenes (which I’m not comfortable with)…” The list goes on and on. The best thing to do is sit back and allow the characters to be in control of the story.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

Like most authors, I love escaping by reading a good book. I also swim laps on a regular basis, and I really enjoy going to the movies.

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

“Don’t give up.” A good friend of mine who is a NYT bestselling author advised years ago: “Work hard, work smart, work tirelessly. Be tough, be brave, and be persistent. All clich├ęs, yes. But when they apply to you and how much you want to realize your dream, they are very apt.” She autographed her email to me, which I have framed and hanging above my computer. I’ve often looked at it throughout the years, and her words have served me well.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

There’s nothing as delicious as the feeling of typing ‘The End’ and knowing 1) I finished writing a book; 2) I’m satisfied with how everything turned out; and 3) I’ve done my job as an author. Bonus? When readers contact me to let me know how much they enjoyed the book, or how something within the pages changed their perspective on life. The feeling is immensely satisfying.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

I like the conversations that evolve on Facebook. I also have a newsletter which comes out on a regular basis (usually every three months or so). Bonus for subscribers: I hold a monthly free book contest. Sign up for my newsletter, and you’re automatically entered in a monthly drawing to win a free print copy of any of my books.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

Writing a book is rather like baking a cake. Some of the ingredients (flour and sugar) are necessary items (real life events that spark my imagination, such as my husband Steve and his ‘death rattle’ – see #5 above). Other ingredients (butter, salt, and flavoring) are going to come from the characters themselves. When you stir them all together and bake in a 350° oven for however long it takes, you have a story.

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

Author Julie Campbell began the popular Trixie Belden series, which I first started reading when I was 8 yrs. old. I was always excited when a new book came out, and very disappointed when the series ended. I wanted to grow up and continue writing books so fans of Trixie Belden would have another book to read. As an adult, the works of Jodi Picoult, Jane Porter, and Jennifer Weiner have been a huge influence on my writing style.

What is your definition of success as a writer?

If, at the end of the day, you’ve put words on the page that ring true in your heart; if you’ve finished a scene or chapter that has been giving you fits; if you’ve finally completed a book and know the writing is the best you could have done, then you are a success. You’ve done your job as an author. It’s as simple as that.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

As I mentioned in #10 above, I’m currently working on the 5th book in my James Bay series. It’s about Chuck’s Tavern & Grill, a popular restaurant in James Bay. Chuck owns the restaurant and his daughter Katie manages it. The story is told through Katie’s point of view. Chapter One starts out with a simmering stew of a story that quickly escalates into a furious rolling boil when a mysterious young woman shows up at Chuck’s and takes a seat at the bar. Who’s the stranger? What’s she doing in James Bay? And why is she so fascinated with Chuck? Katie’s radar is on high alert. She’s very protective of her dad, and she doesn’t appreciate strangers trying to worm their way into his affections. It should be a delicious read, especially since each chapter will feature a favorite recipe from Chuck’s menu.

Kathleen Irene, thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and giving us a glimpse into your life and writing career.

About The Author

Kathleen Irene Paterka is an Amazon Bestselling Author of smart women’s fiction. Her newest novel, The Other Wife, was published in February to critical acclaim. Kathleen’s popular James Bay series, set in Northern Michigan, includes: Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy, and For I Have Sinned. Love weddings? Pick up a copy of her novel Royal Secrets for a fascinating glimpse into the world of royalty, romance and brides. Kathleen is the resident staff writer for a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book For the Love of a Castle. Kathleen and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, where she is busy working on her next James Bay novel.

Author Website

Book Review

The Other Wife by Kathleen Irene Paterka
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 25, 2015
Format: Paperback - 386 pages
               Kindle - 554 KB
               Nook - 857 KB
ISBN: 978-0989283830
BNID: 2940150127524
Genre: 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 event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Till death do us part…

Eleanor Anderson has a beautiful home, a loving husband, a tranquil life. After thirty-eight years of marriage and her children now grown, she finally has time for herself. She’s not expecting any surprises; certainly not to wake up one morning and find her husband dead in bed beside her from a massive heart attack. It’s a devastating discovery… but not as much as the shock awaiting Eleanor when she learns the truth about her husband’s secret life. And then there’s the damaging document he signed before his death, which threatens to destroy her life.

Claire Anderson isn’t your average thirtysomething. A professor of psychology at a prestigious university, Claire has a successful career, a handsome husband, and two young children at home. But nothing in her background, including her academic accomplishments, prepares Claire for the horrendous reality of discovering that the life she’d led was all a lie… fostered by a husband who’d promised to love and cherish her forever.

Two women from two generations, bound together by denial, anger, and grief. How far will their misery and fear push them? Does compassion rule the day, or will a husband’s betrayal lead to a woman’s revenge?

What happens when each of these women comes face-to-face with the other wife?

Book Excerpt:

Eleanor closed her eyes, blocking out the ugly sight of sibling rivalry. She couldn’t believe she was sitting there listening to her children squabble over their father’s money. Their money. Her money.

“He didn’t leave it to any of you,” Jim admitted. “I haven’t contacted the primary beneficiary yet.”

“Wait a minute. Let me get this straight.” Jeffrey tiredly rubbed his forehead. “You’re telling us that Dad left his money to someone else? Not to Mom, not to either of us, but to someone else? And that he has no idea he’s inherited millions?”

She has no idea.”

She? Eleanor shivered, uncertain whether she’d heard Jim correctly. She shook her head as if by doing so she could dislodge the words rattling around in her brain like loose pennies that somehow had ended up in the bottom of her purse. She? She was certain there must be some mistake. Richard never would have left his money to another woman.

Would he?

“Let’s stop the bullshit,” Jeffrey said. “We’re his family, Jim, and we have a right to know. You said you could release the name to Dad’s personal rep? Well, you’re looking at him. And I’m telling you right now, in my legal capacity as his personal representative: I want to know. I demand to know.”

Genevieve’s eyes narrowed. “Me too.”

“Eleanor?” Jim’s voice was a soothing stream of quiet concern. “Are you all right?”

What a stupid question, she thought to herself as she pulled her sweater tighter around herself. Of course she wasn’t all right. She’d had the oddest feeling when she’d woken that morning that today wouldn’t be a good day. Jim’s revelation was all the confirmation she needed to officially pound the last nail in the casket. Richard’s casket, so to speak. And now, if it wasn’t too much to ask, all she wanted was to be allowed to crawl back into bed, burrow down in the blankets, pull the covers over her head, and go to sleep. And maybe, when she woke up, she would discover all this had simply been a horrible nightmare. Richard would come strolling in the door, as he had countless times in the past, returning from yet another extended trip to the Middle East, his rolling suitcase filled with dirty socks and underwear, and a world-weary look about him. And after planting a kiss on her forehead, he would head upstairs where he would collapse in their bed, once sleeping for nearly sixteen hours straight, before he finally woke. Yes, that would be the way of it. She’d go upstairs and sleep off this nightmare. And when she was awake again, this ghastly business would have drifted away, leaving only mists of misery as a remembrance.

“Mom? Are you okay?”

Eleanor couldn’t remember hearing Jeffrey’s voice sound so distraught save for the day he’d returned from Hawaii, the day after Richard’s death. He’d broken down when he saw her, collapsing in her arms and crying unabashedly like he’d done as a little boy. She’d done the comforting when he was small, and she’d been the one to provide the comfort last week too, never questioning whether he’d been grieving over the loss of a father to whom he’d never been close or the lost opportunity to put things right between them. It hadn’t mattered then, and it didn’t matter now. Somehow she managed to summon the willpower to open her eyes and discovered the three of them staring at her.

“I’m fine.” Eleanor pulled in a deep breath. Much as she didn’t want to hear Jim’s news, she knew in her heart that she didn’t have a choice. “Jeffrey’s right. We need to hear the truth.”

Jim’s face was a cacophony of ethical concern versus friendship, and for a moment, she wondered if he would respect Jeffrey’s command and abide by her wishes. But thirty-plus years of friendship with their family finally won out.

“He left the money to a woman named Claire Anderson,” Jim finally admitted.

Claire Anderson? Eleanor frowned. The first name meant nothing to her, but the last name certainly did. It was the same name listed on her own driver’s license. She’d been Eleanor Anderson since she and Richard had exchanged wedding vows at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago thirty-eight years ago last month.

Claire Anderson. She couldn’t recall ever hearing Richard mention that particular name. He’d been an only child, so she couldn’t be a niece. A long-lost relative? A distant cousin? But if that was the case, surely he would have told her. Wouldn’t he? After all, she was his wife.

Correction, Eleanor reminded herself dully. She had been his wife. She was the one he should have turned to. All those years they were married. You’d think he would have told her something as important as this. She hung her head, hugging herself close, trying to remember the last time Richard had held her close.

On second thought, maybe he wouldn’t have told her.

On third thought, obviously he hadn’t told her.

“Claire Anderson?” Jeffrey’s voice cracked through the black void, trapping her like a clap of thunder. “Who the hell is Claire Anderson?”

“Yes. Who is Claire Anderson?” Eleanor echoed to no one in particular. Though, if Richard happened to be listening from beyond the grave, she would appreciate him providing some answers. She rubbed her forehead, sifting through the memories of those who’d crowded the funeral home, who’d followed them to the cemetery, who’d paid their respects at the house afterward. So many people, so many faces. The crush was overwhelming, yet she couldn’t remember seeing anyone she hadn’t known.

No woman she didn’t know.

“I’ve never met her.” Jim shifted in his chair, his face impassive. “I’ll be able to tell you more once I speak with her. She lives in Hyde Park. From what I understand, she’s a professor at the University of Chicago.”

“Why would Daddy leave his money to some dull old professor?” Genevieve’s bottom lip jutted out in a pretty pout, a trick Eleanor recalled her daughter perfecting as a toddler. “Who is she? What’s her connection to Daddy?”

“I don’t know,” Jim admitted.

She rolled her eyes and turned to her mother. “Do you know her?”

Eleanor shook her head. She couldn’t imagine what Richard had been thinking. Why would he change his insurance policy? They were his family. She was his wife. “No.”

“This is ridiculous,” Genevieve fumed. “I can’t believe no one knows her.”

“Obviously, Dad did,” Jeffrey muttered.

Genevieve slumped back in her chair, her arms forming a barricade across her chest. “Someone had better figure out who she is. I have plenty of questions for her.”

Eleanor stared wordlessly at her daughter. For once, the two of them were in complete agreement. Meanwhile, she had a few questions of her own.

Beginning with who exactly was Claire Anderson, and what kind of hold did she have on Richard?

My Book Review:

The Other Wife is a compelling and emotional story that follows two women whose world is turned upside down when they find out that they have been betrayed by the same man, their husband!

Author Kathleen Irene Paterka weaves an intriguing story told in the alternating point of view of Eleanor Anderson and Claire Anderson, as they deal with the loss of their husband Richard, and how they find out about each other and deal with their loss, betrayal, and the difficulties of moving forward with their lives after the trauma caused by the man that they both loved.

I found myself captivated by this story, it took me on a roller coaster ride where I felt the full gamut of emotions. You just can't help but feel compassion and empathy for both women as their worlds are turned upside down by the traumatic betrayal and selfish actions of a man that they had put their love and trust in. This is a beautifully written story that would be any married woman's nightmare, I couldn't even imagine what I would do if I was in Eleanor or Claire's shoes.

The author does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the story from the beginning, she weaves a thoughtful storyline that easily draws the reader into the womens' lives. It will keep you engaged and turning the pages as both women go through the process of learning about each other, the selfish actions that Richard wrought upon their families, and the internal struggle of picking up the pieces of their lives and moving forward.

The Other Wife is a powerful women's fiction story of loss, betrayal, compassion, forgiveness, and growth. It is a thought provoking and emotional tale that will stay with you long after the last word has been read.


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Tour Schedule:

April 20- Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 21 - TwoChildren and a Migraine – Review
April 22 - Chick LitGoddess – Q&A
April 22 - Sandy/Amazon Reviewer - Review
April 23 - NovelEscapes – Q&A
April 24 - Jess’s Book Blog - Review & Excerpt
April 24 - FictionZeal – Excerpt
April 24 - Authorsand Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
April 27 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
April 27 - Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock – Review

Everything Burns by Vincent Zandri (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Everything Burns by Author Vincent Zandri!

Author Guest Post

The Last Writer On Earth
By: Vincent Zandri

In his book about winning the creative battle, The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield asks, "If you were the last person on earth, would you still write?" So, what of it? If you suddenly found yourself all alone on this big black and blue planet, would you still spend your days putting words on a page? 

If you are already issuing an emphatic Yes to this question, you are a true artist. If you are saying yes, but deep down inside, you know you wouldn't write so much as a comma, you're not a true artist. You're into the glory of it all, writing for the sake of fortune and fame, which of course, you feel entitled to. 

Why did you start writing in the first place? Was it to fulfill some sort of inner desire? A need to craft words and sentences into something that seems truer on the page than it if happened in real life? Do you respect your art and talent, and do you respect the art and talent of others? How much time do you devote to your craft? How much "life" do you sacrifice in order to be a better writer regardless of your age? Do you give it your all without thinking about fame or financial reward or popularity? Would you write even if you were the last living person on the earth? 

Perhaps your ambitions as a writer are purely selfish. Maybe you're like the kid who desperately wants to be a part of the popular gang and is willing to do anything to grab a spot on the inside. Does working day in and day out without recognition just plain piss you off? Maybe you wish to jump start your success by hiring another writer to pen your words for you. Maybe you're the vindictive type who leaves 1-star reviews for books that are propelled to the top of the Amazon lists in the hope that this will discourage readers from purchasing. Perhaps you think that regardless of the billions of souls occupying planet earth, you are the only writer. It's your books that count. Everyone else's are just taking up space and/or, stealing your glory. 

I'm the first to admit, that when I saw old pictures of writers like Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, carousing with friends, fishing, traveling to exotic locals, being adored by fans, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But I was young and foolish. It wasn't until I faced the absolute truth about the agonizing hard work that goes into being a successful writer, that I realized for all the fun Hemingway seemed to be having, he was putting in a whole lot of labor and sacrifice to get there. 

Authors need to be thick-skinned to be sure. Good reviews and bad reviews are all well and good so long as they bring attention to the work. But do they matter in the long run? What matters in the end is that you can look at yourself in the mirror and admit without a doubt that if you had to do it all over again, you would write the same exact novel, word for word. You would not change a thing. You wrote it because you had to. Because it was a means to its own end, not a means for glory or fame or money. These things are nice, but they are only tangential and secondary in importance. 

We write because we have a gift. Why we possess that gift is a great mystery. The writing centers us and soothes us and satisfies us like nothing else can. It makes us who we are. No God, or food, or sexual act can compete with the desire to write as well as one can, and then to wake up the next day and do it even better than the day before. Even if we were the last person on earth, we would write with all the negative capability we could muster. 

About The Author

Vincent Zandri is the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 16 novels including THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT RISES, and the forthcoming, EVERYTHING BURNS. He is also the author of numerous Amazon bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL, TRUE STORIES and MOONLIGHT MAFIA among them. Harlan Coben has described THE INNOCENT (formerly As Catch Can) as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called it "Sensational... Masterful... Brilliant!" 

Zandri's list of domestic publishers include Delacorte, Dell, Down & Out Books, and Thomas & Mercer, while his foreign publisher is Meme Publishers of Milan and Paris. 

An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated in the Dutch, Russian, French, Italian, and Japanese. Recently, Zandri was the subject of a major feature by the New York Times. He has also made appearances on Bloomberg TV and FOX news. In December 2014, Suspense Magazine named Zandri's, THE SHROUD KEY, as one of the Best Books of 2014. 

A freelance photo-journalist and the author of the popular "lit blog," The Vincent Zandri Vox, Zandri has written for Living Ready Magazine, RT, New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Times Union (Albany), Game & Fish Magazine, and many more. 

He is a resident of both New York and Florence, Italy.

Book Review

Everything Burns by Vincent Zandri
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: Feb 1, 2015
Format: Paperback - 340 pages
               Kindle - 2015 KB
ISBN: 978-1477826737
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Buy The Book:
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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 Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

When Reece Johnston was a boy, a fire destroyed his home, killing his mother and brothers while leaving him scarred for life. It also kindled something dark inside him: an irresistible attraction to flames in all their terrifying, tantalizing power. But after two failed arson attempts—and two trips to the mental ward—he was finally able to put down the matches and pick up the pieces.

With a career as a bestselling crime writer going strong, Reece is working to fix his broken marriage to Lisa and be there for their preteen daughter, Anna. He’s not just dealing with his own demons; there’s a world of deadly hurt bearing down on him in the form of the jealous rival he’s bested in literature and love, who’s determined to see Reece crash…and burn. But a guy like Reece knows how to take the heat. And thanks to his lifelong friendship with fire, he also knows how to bring it.

Book Excerpt:

October, 1977
Albany, New York
The boy wakes to smoke and fire.
The thick black smoke chokes his ten-year-old lungs as if he were swallowing dirt. It makes his eyes water and sting. Makes the darkness that fills his small second-floor corner bedroom even darker.
Then there’s the heat.
A heat like he’s never felt before. But that’s not right. He’s felt this kind of heat on other occasions, under far different circumstances. When his father, after a long day’s work, would build fires in the fireplace he built himself out of field stone in the downstairs living room. Sometimes, after coming in from playing out in the cold and the snow, the boy would warm himself by the fire. He would sit on the stone ledge only inches away from the dry wood-fed flames until he could feel the heat seeping through layers of thick clothing. If he sat there for too long, the heat would penetrate the layers and burn his skin until it stung. The fire brought him pain then, but it was a good pain.
That’s the kind of heat he’s feeling now. Only thing is, the pain that comes with it is not good.
Some of the heat is making its way through the wall that separates his bedroom from his parents’ master bedroom. More heat is blowing in from the hallway, where the fire burns and creeps. When he looks over his shoulder, he can make out the flashes of firelight that break through the thick darkness out in the hall. The fire gives the hall a strange, flickering glow. Like candlelight dancing against the walls, only bigger, hotter, deadlier. His heart pounds and his smoke-filled lungs ache. He coughs and chokes. He’s just a boy, but he knows that this should not be happening in the upstairs of his home in the night.
Then comes a scream.
The scream is louder than the fire and pierces his flesh and bone like a sharp knife. The scream belongs to his mother. She keeps screaming.
Her screams are high-pitched and filled with suffering, like she’s trapped in hell. He knows she’s in pain. He closes his eyes, tries to convince himself that what’s happening is a nightmare, and that if he closes his eyes tight he’ll go back to sleep. If he closes his eyes now, he’ll wake up to sunshine leaking in through his windows in the morning and everything will be okay. His mother won’t be screaming anymore. She’ll be downstairs in the kitchen wrapped in her old blue terry-cloth robe, making pancakes while the first cigarette of the day dangles from her lips. His two older brothers will be dressed and fighting over who gets to drive the pickup truck to high school that day. His father will already be off to work.
His mother’s screams strike a new, fiercer pitch, jarring his eyes back open.
This scream is followed by a kind of guttural moan, and then, nothing. The boy lies on his back, his eyes wide open, feeling the wetness from the tears flowing down his smooth cheeks. Even in all his despair he’s a little surprised because the tears dry up as fast as they pour out of his eyes. The heat has become that intense, the flames that close.
Suddenly the figure of a man appears in his doorway. It’s the boy’s father.
“We have to get the hell out of here, Reece!” his father shouts in between lung-choking coughs.
“Dad,” Reece cries above the roar of a flame that is eating away the walls, “are we going to die?”
His father enters into the bedroom, wraps his red, white, and blue Superman comforter tightly around him, and lifts his youngest son from the bed. He then cradles Reece in his big arms, presses the boy’s face into his chest to protect him from the fire that is sure to come.
“Listen to me, Reece,” his father says. “We have to make a run through the fire. You are not to inhale a breath. You understand? When I tell you to, I want you to close your mouth and your eyes and don’t breathe. You got it? Do not take a breath.”
Reece tries to say something while his face is stuffed against his dad’s chest, yet it’s impossible for him to utter a single word. But then, what difference does it make? He’s far too afraid to speak anyway.
Turning for the door, his father grips him so tightly, Reece feels like his bones might break. “Ready?” his father shouts above the roar of the flame. “Close your eyes and your mouth. Do it now.”
Reece does it. At the same time, he feels himself being propelled out the open bedroom door, then down a hallway that is hellishly hot and deafeningly loud. He feels as if he’s been tossed into a furnace, the iron door slammed shut behind him. He hears his father do something he’s never heard him do before. His father screams. The voice is piercing and filled with pain, just like his mother’s voice sounded only a split second before her shrieks suddenly stopped.
Then he feels himself descending the stairs. Still clutched in his father’s arms, he’s falling fast, until he feels his father’s feet land square and flat onto the stone vestibule floor. The front door is wrenched open and slammed against the interior brick wall, the big opaque glass panel embedded inside it shattering into a million pieces, and just like that, a wave of cool air slaps his exposed head along with the small portion of his face that’s no longer stuffed into his father’s chest.
His father runs out onto the lawn with Reece now bouncing in his arms, until he drops the boy onto the damp lawn and begins roughly rolling him back and forth, as if they are playing a summertime game of roll-down-the-hill-on-your-side. But this is not a game. It doesn’t take long for Reece to realize his comforter is on fire and if it should burn through the fabric, it will scorch his skin.
All it takes for the fire to go out is a couple of rolls on the dew-soaked lawn.
“Breathe now, boy,” his father says from down on his knees, his voice having gone from panicked and loud, to an exasperated whisper. “Breathe.”
Reece opens his eyes and inhales a mouthful of sweet night air. But the sweetness lasts only as long as it takes his eyes to focus on a house that is entirely engulfed in red-orange flame. Emerging from out of the darkness now is a team of firemen who carry hoses and axes. Their faces are covered by translucent oxygen masks, their thick shoulders bearing the weight of heavy oxygen tanks. There’s a squad of fire trucks, police cruisers, and EMS vans parked up on the lawn, their rooftop flashers beaming red, white, and blue light throughout the neighborhood. A never-still light that reflects off the vinyl siding of the cookie-cutter ranches and colonials.
“What about Mom?” Reece cries out while sitting up, touching a painful place on his head where his hair caught fire. “What about Tommy? And Patrick?”
He locks his eyes onto his father and is shocked to see what’s become of him. The dark hair on the man’s head is partially burned away, and his right ear and cheek are blackened and blistered like a hamburger patty that’s been left out on the grill for far too long. A long blister has formed on his right arm where the sleeve of his pajamas has burned off. The blister runs the length of the arm. It makes the boy’s back teeth hurt just to look at it.
“They’re gone, Reece,” his father says, as he begins to sob.
“What do you mean, Dad? How are they gone?”
“I couldn’t get to them in time. It was just too hot. Your mother . . .… I warned her about smoking in bed. I told her what would happen.”
“Did Mom start the fire? Did she burn my brothers?”
“She didn’t mean to start it, Reece,” he cries. “But now she’s killed them all.”
Reece watches his father cry. Watches the man bury his face in his burned hands as the ashes from the fire rise up into the night and disappear into an eternal darkness. His eyes might be glued to his father, but in his head he sees his mother and his brothers burning in their beds. He sees their skin on fire, burning, sizzling, charring.
Reece listens to his father’s sobs and it makes his heart burn with a sadness so profound, he feels as if his body will melt into the earth. The destruction is all around him. It has become a part of him now and of who he will become tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that.
He is haunted by fire.

My Book Review:

Everything Burns is a riveting psychological thriller that will give the readers goosebumps, and keep them sitting on the edge of their seats.

Author Vincent Zandri weaves a chilling tale that has enough drama, mystery, suspense, and terrifying thrills and chills that will easily captivate the reader's attention, and draw them into the troubled world of Reece Johnston.

I couldn't help but get caught up in this complex, dark, multi-layered tale. I found myself trying to figure out what would happen next as Reece's story unfolded with a gripping amount of tension, emotion, and intriguing twists and turns.

The author does a great job of describing Reece's complex history of personal demons and obsession with fire. The reader is taken on an intense roller coaster ride as the storyline gains momentum. This is a thought provoking, compelling, and very disturbing tale of pyromania that made my fear of fire that much more real ... because when you have fire ... everything burns!

Everything Burns is a seriously scary good psychological thriller that is terrifying, chilling, and fascinating, it will keep the reader engaged and guessing until the surprising conclusion.


Contest Giveaway

Win A Kindle eBook Copy of 
Everything Burns

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Vincent Zandri. There will be FIVE U.S. winners of a kindle ebook copy of Everything Burns. The giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on April 1st, 2015 and runs through May 2nd, 2015.
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Tour Schedule:
04/01/2015 Interview, Showcase @ Deal Sharing Aunt
04/01/2015 Review @ Nook Users Book Club 
04/06 Showcase @ Mommabears Book Blog
04/07/2015 Interview @ Just Reviews
04/08/2015 Showcase @ Housewife Blues And Chihuahua Stories
04/09/2015 Review @ Hott Books
04/12/2015 Interview @ Suspense Magazine 
04/13/2015 Guestpost @ Writers and Authors 
04/22/2015 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews 
04/24/2015 Showcase @ Maries Cozy Corner
04/27/2015 Review, Guestpost @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews 
04/28/2015 Review @ Colliquium
04/29/2015 Review @ The Top Shelf