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.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Crepes of Wrath by Sarah Fox (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Crepes of Wrath by author Sarah Fox!






Author Guest Post

Setting as Character


One feature that all my favorite cozy mystery series have in common is a setting that is as much a part of the story as the characters and the mystery plot. When settings are portrayed with the same detail and vibrancy as the main characters, they seem to come alive and have a personality of their own. Colorful, enjoyable characters will keep me coming back to a particular cozy series, but so will settings. The best combination is when both the characters and the community become so familiar that they feel like long-time friends, ones you miss if you stay away from them for too long. That's how my favorite series make me feel. It's almost like a sense of homesickness, one that leaves me eager to once again spend time in a particular fictional world.

As a writer, the concept of setting as character is one that's often on my mind. With my Pancake House Mysteries, I really wanted the small seaside town to draw readers in as much as the characters and plot. The town of Wildwood Cove was inspired by the beach where my family went on vacation each summer while I was growing up. To this day, that beach is one of my favorite places in the world and it's a source of many happy memories.

When I created Wildwood Cove, I wanted to inject the seaside town with the feelings those memories bring to me. I love the sound of ocean waves breaking upon the shore, the smell of salty air, the feel of soft sand beneath my feet, and all the other sights, smells, sounds, and sensations associated with a beautiful beach. I wanted to incorporate all of those things into the Pancake House Mysteries, to allow readers to feel like they're actually there on Wildwood Beach with the main character, Marley McKinney.

To do that, I drew heavily on my own memories and focused on Marley's senses, not just what she sees, but what she smells and feels whenever she's on the beach. Writing this series makes me miss the beach where I used to spend my vacations, but it also allows me to revisit it in a way, to remember all my favorite things about it.

My hope is that by using memories and sensations to give life to the setting and story, readers will grow as attached to Wildwood Cove as I already am. When I've been away from writing this series for any length of time, I miss Wildwood Cove in the same way that I miss the communities of the cozies that I love to read. Hopefully those who read The Crêpes of Wrath and the next books in the series will feel the same way.

Being a fan of cozies as a reader is important to my writing, because I know what I love in a cozy series, what draws me back to a series time and time again, so I know what I want to incorporate into my own mysteries. By putting as much life into the setting as I do into the characters, I hope that Wildwood Cove will become like a familiar friend to readers, and that they'll want to return again and again in the future.



About The Author



Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

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Book Review



The Crepes of Wrath by Sarah Fox
Book 1: Pancake House Mystery Series
Publisher: Alibi / Penguin Random House Publishing
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Format: eBook - 257 pages
               Kindle - 6124 KB
               Nook - 6 MB
ISBN: 978-0425285091
ASIN: B01A4ATX58
BNID: 978-0425285091
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Buy The Book:
Amazon - US
Amazon - CA
Barnes & Noble
Chapters
Google Play
Penguin Random House Publishing
Goodreads


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.


Book Description:

When Marley McKinney’s aging cousin, Jimmy, is hospitalized with pneumonia, she agrees to help run his pancake house while he recovers. With its rustic interior and syrupy scent, the Flip Side Pancake House is just as she pictured it—and the surly chef is a wizard with crêpes. Marley expects to spend a leisurely week or two in Wildwood Cove, the quaint, coastal community where she used to spend her summers, but then Cousin Jimmy is found murdered, sprawled on the rocks beneath a nearby cliff.

After she stumbles across evidence of stolen goods in Jimmy’s workshop, Marley is determined to find out what’s really going on in the not-so-quiet town of Wildwood Cove. With help from her childhood crush and her adopted cat, Flapjack, Marley sinks her teeth into the investigation. But if she’s not careful, she’s going to get burned by a killer who’s only interested in serving up trouble.


My Book Review:

In The Crepes of Wrath, the first book in the Pancake House Mystery series, author Sarah Fox weaves an intriguing cozy mystery tale that follows the amateur sleuth adventures of Marley McKinney, when she tries to solve the murder of her cousin Jimmy Coulson.

Set in the quaint seaside coastal town of Wildwood Cove, Washington, Marley took a leave of absence from her legal assistant job in Seattle to help run her cousin Jimmy's Flip Side Pancake House while he is in the hospital recovering from pneumonia.

Marley's life is turned upside down when Jimmy's dead body is discovered on the rocks at Myler's Point on Wildwood Beach. Jimmy had self-discharged himself from the hospital that morning, only to wind up murdered on the opposite side of the cove from his house. With the help of her childhood crush Brett Collins, Marley embarks on a search for clues into the identity of Jimmy's murderer in order to clear his name before she becomes the next victim.

The Crepes of Wrath is an intriguing whodunit tale that has enough quirky characters, witty banter and humor, drama, secrets, a growing list of suspects, and surprising twists and turns, that will easily keep you guessing the identity of the murderer. You can't help but get caught up in the drama and calamity that ensues as Marley tries to solve her cousin's murder. Amy's amateur investigative adventure unfolds with a wonderful balance of comedy, drama, suspense, and sweet romance that easily kept me guessing, and left me wanting more.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I really enjoyed the author's rich description of the quaint seaside coastal town of Wildwood Cove, it's colorful townsfolk, and the mouth watering variety of breakfast and lunch food items that is served at the Flip Side Pancake house. You can't help but feel the salty sea air and wish that you could visit this charming coastal town and sink your feet into its sand and surf.

The Crepes of Wrath is an entertaining cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the crazy adventures and trials and tribulations that occur in Wildwood Cove, while providing you with a nice dose of charm and humor.


RATING: 4 STARS 




Virtual Book Tour



Tour Schedule:

August 15 – Reading Reality – REVIEW
August 16 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – INTERVIEW
August 16 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW 
August 16 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW
August 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
August 18 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW 
August 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 19 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
August 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
August 19 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – SPOTLIGHT
August 20 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 21 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW
August 22 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
August 23 – Ashleyz Wonderland – REVIEW
August 23 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT 
August 24 – The Broke Book Bank – REVIEW
August 24 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
August 25 – Book Babble – REVIEW
August 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
August 27 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
August 27 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 28 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST 
August 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
August 30 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
August 31 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
August 31 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW



Friday, August 19, 2016

Die, Die Birdie by J.R. Ripley (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Die, Die Birdie by author J.R. Ripley!







Book Review



Die, Die Birdie by J.R. Ripley
Book 1: A Bird Lover's Mystery Series
Publisher: Lyrical Underground / Kensington / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Format: Paperback - 200 pages
               Kindle - 587 KB
               Nook - 353 KB
ISBN: 978-1601838315
ASIN: B018CGZ1J8
BNID: 978-1601838308
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Buy The Book:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Google+
Kobo
Goodreads


Buy The Series: A Bird Lover's Mystery Series
Book 1: Die, Die Birdie
Book 2: Towhee Get Your Gun (Pub Date: January 3, 2017)
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Google+
Kobo
Goodreads


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.


Book Description:

For Amy Simms, hatching a birding shop in her hometown of Ruby Lake, North Carolina, hasn’t exactly been a breeze. But could a deadly discovery clip her wings for good?

It’s just days before Amy plans to open Birds & Bees on the first floor of her creaky Victorian house, but delayed seed shipments have prevented the fledgling owner from stocking her shelves. And it doesn’t help that Amy’s best friend and business partner is out of town indefinitely. With locals skeptical about the niche shop taking flight, the last thing Amy needs now is a dead man in her storeroom-or for a crotchety tenant to catch her holding a bloody bird feeder hook over his body . . .

Pigeonholed as a leading murder suspect by police and lacking a solid alibi, Amy’s delving into the victim’s ugly past and buzzing around Ruby Lake for clues on his killer . . . before she ends up like so many of her beloved feathery friends-trapped behind bars!


My Book Review:


In Die, Die Birdie, the first book in the Bird Lover's Mystery series, author J.R. Ripley weaves an intriguing cozy mystery tale that follows the amateur sleuth adventures of Bird & Bees shop owner Amy Simms, when she unexpectedly finds herself a suspect in the murder of Matt Kowalski, who she found dead in her storage room.

Set in the southern town of Ruby Lake, North Carolina, Amy has returned to her hometown and is a few days away from opening Birds & Bees, a birding supply store in an old three story Victorian home with her best friend and business partner Kim Christy. Amy's life is turned upside down when she stumbles upon Matt's dead body, and she suddenly finds herself a suspect in his murder when her nosy elderly renter Esther Pilaster, aka Esther Pester, finds Amy standing over the body holding a bloody wrought iron bird feeder pole in her hands. When Amy's ex-high school boyfriend Chief of Police Jerry Kennedy suspects her of the murder, Amy decides to search for clues into the identity of the murderer in order to clear her name and save her new business.

Die, Die Birdie is a slow building southern whodunit tale that has enough quirky characters, witty banter and humor, drama, secrets, frenemies, and intriguing twists and turns that will keep you guessing the identity of the murderer. You can't help but get caught up in the drama and calamity that ensues as Amy tries to solve the murder. Amy's amateur investigative adventure unfolds with a wonderful balance of comedy, drama, and suspense that easily kept me guessing, and left me wanting more.

Die, Die Birdie is an entertaining southern cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the crazy adventures and trials and tribulations that occur, while providing you with a dose of good ol' southern charm and humor. I really enjoyed the author's rich description of the charming western North Carolina small town of Ruby Lake and it's colorful townsfolk. So pull up a rocking chair and set down for a spell with some sweet tea while Amy takes you on her madcap adventure!


RATING: 4 STARS 




About The Author




J.R. Ripley
is the pen name of Glenn Meganck, the critically acclaimed author of the Tony Kozol mystery series. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, he has chaired the Edgar committee for Best Original Paperback novel and served on the Best Short Story Committee. As a member of the International Association of Crime Writers, he has served on the Hammett Award committee for Best Novel. When not writing books, Glenn is writing songs, often singing them to the consternation of his audience and neighbors, or involved in one of his many passions, none of which have involved any of the dead bodies that seem to keep cropping up in his mysteries. For more information about him, visit glennmeganck.com.


Author Website
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Contest Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Virtual Book Tour




Tour Schedule:

August 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW 
August 15 – Booth Talks Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 16 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
August 16 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
August 17 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
August 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
August 18 – Teresa Trent Author Site – REVIEW 
August 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 19 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT 
August 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
August 21 – A Cozy Girl Reads – REVIEW
August 21 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
August 22 – A Date with a Book – REVIEW
August 22 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
August 23 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW 
August 23 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – SPOTLIGHT
August 24 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
August 25 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – The Girl with Book Lungs -REVIEW



Monday, August 15, 2016

Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Terror in Taffeta by author Marla Cooper!





Book Review



Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper
Book 1: Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mystery Series
Publisher: Minotaur Books / Macmillan / St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Format: Hardcover - 288 pages
               Kindle - 1105 KB
               Nook - 770 KB
ISBN: 978-1250072566
ASIN: B014PELGRW
BNID: 978-1466884380
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Buy The Book: 
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Powell's
Goodreads


Buy The Series: Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mystery Series
Book 1: Terror in Taffeta
Book 2: Dying on the Vine (Pub Date: March 21, 2017)
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Goodreads


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 Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.


Book Description:


Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.

Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.


My Book Review:


In Terror in Taffeta, the first book in the Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mystery series, author Marla Cooper weaves an intriguing cozy mystery tale that follows the amateur sleuth adventures of wedding planner Kelsey McKenna as she finds herself with the added duty of investigating the murder of a bridesmaid.

Set in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Kelsey has coordinated the destination wedding of Nicole Abernathy and Vince Moreno. The wedding plans are going as expected until bridesmaid Dana Poole drops dead during the wedding service, and the bride's sister Zoe is arrested for the murder. And if you think that isn't bad enough, add in a momzilla, who demands that Kelsey fix the mess that they find themselves in while being detained in Mexico!

Terror in Taffeta is a captivating and fast-paced whodunit tale that has enough quirky characters, witty banter and humor, drama, intriguing twists and turns, and conspiracy theories that will keep you guessing the identity of the murderer. You can't help but get caught up in the drama and calamity that ensues as Kelsey tries to solve the case of the bridesmaid murder. Kelsey's amateur investigative adventure unfolds with a wonderful balance of comedy, drama, and suspense that easily kept me guessing, and left me wanting more. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed the rich description of the wedding destination setting of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, it sounds like it is a wonderful place to have a wedding!

Terror in Taffeta is an entertaining cozy murder mystery that will easily engage you to join Kelsey in her latest wedding destination adventures!


RATING: 4 STARS 




About The Author



As a freelance writer, Marla Cooper has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.


Author Website
Author Blog
Facebook
Twitter
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Pinterest
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Contest Giveaway



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Virtual Book Tour



Tour Schedule:

August 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST 
August 15 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 16 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
August 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
August 18 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW
August 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
August 20 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW 
August 21 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW
August 22 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW
August 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
August 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 24 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
August 25 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – REVIEW
August 25 – deal sharing aunt – SPOTLIGHT 
August 26 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT 
August 26 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
August 27 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
August 27 – Booth Talks Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 28 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
August 28 – CelticLady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT



Friday, August 12, 2016

Wedding Bell Blues by Caroline Fardig (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 Wedding Bell Blues by author Caroline Fardig!






Book Review



Wedding Bell Blues by Caroline Fardig
Book 5: Lizzie Hart Mystery Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: Paperback - July 14, 2016 / eBook - July 26, 2016
Format: Paperback - 268 pages
               Kindle - 4403 KB
               Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 978-1535276504
ASIN: B01HSJ8I1S
BNID: 2940153105987
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Buy The Book: 
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords
Goodreads


Buy The Series: Lizzie Hart Mystery Series
Book 1: It's Just A Little Crush
Book 2: That Old Black Magic
Book 3: Bad Medicine
Book 4: My Funny Valentine
Book 5: Wedding Bell Blues
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords
Goodreads


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:

Lizzie Hart’s crazy love life has been leading up this moment…when she finally gets to marry Blake Morgan. But with their luck, will they make it to ’til death do us part before the wedding even starts? 

It’s June in the small town of Liberty, and that means it’s wedding season. Faster than you can say “I do,” the social height of the year turns deadly as a sadistic killer begins targeting couples on what should be their happiest day.

The terror begins as a groom keels over before he can get through his vows. The clever killer frames Bethany McCool, the dead groom’s ex, for the murder. Lizzie knows her friend Bethany is innocent, so she enlists the help of her fiancé, Blake, and sets out to find the real killer. But as the mayhem intensifies, the duo realizes they’re going to have to partner up with the police this time instead of trying to do all the sleuthing on their own.

As if they don’t have enough to do, Lizzie and Blake’s big day is fast approaching, and neither of them can wait to tie the knot. Lizzie’s domineering mother has taken over the planning for the wedding, but even she can’t hold everything together as one by one the florist, the baker, and the caterer start pulling out over safety concerns. With the string of violence threatening to ruin their happily ever after, Lizzie and Blake must rush to find the killer before they become the next victims.


My Book Review:


In Wedding Bell Blues, the fifth book in the Lizzie Hart Mystery series, author Caroline Fardig weaves an intriguing cozy mystery tale that easily draws the reader into the latest amateur sleuth adventures of copy editor Lizzie Hart and Blake Morgan, her investigative reporter fiance.

Set in the small town of Liberty and told in the first person narrative, this entertaining cozy mystery tale will keep you engaged as you follow Lizzie and Blake's latest investigative adventure. This captivating and fast-paced whodunit tale has enough quirky characters, witty banter and humor, drama, intriguing twists and turns, and conspiracy theories that will keep you guessing the identity of the wedding murderer. You can't help but get caught up in the drama and calamity that ensues as this inquisitive couple once again goes rogue and tries to solve the case of the wedding murders two weeks before their own upcoming nuptials. Lizzie and Blake's latest amateur investigative adventure unfolds with a wonderful balance of comedy, drama, suspense, and intriguing twists and turns that easily kept me guessing, and left me wanting more.

Wedding Bell Blues is an entertaining cozy murder mystery that will easily engage you to join Lizzie and Blake on their latest madcap sleuthing adventures!

Wedding Bell Blues is the fifth book in the Lizzie Hart Mystery Series.


RATING: 4 STARS 




About The Author



Caroline Fardig
is the author of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig’s Bad Medicine was named one of the Best Books of 2015 by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.


Author Website
Author Blog
Facebook
Twitter
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Pinterest
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Contest Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Virtual Book Tour



Tour Schedule:

August 1 – The Phantom Paragrapher – Review
August 2 - Fiction Dreams – Q&A
August 5 – Kelly’s Nerdy Obsession – Review
August 8 – Turning Another Page – Review
August 10 – Granny Loves to Read – Review
August 10 – Novel Escapes –Excerpt
August 12 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
August 12 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review
August 15 – Chick Lit Plus – Review



Monday, August 8, 2016

My Darling Dorothy by Jo Virden (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with author Jo Virden, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for My Darling Dorothy!







Author Guest Post


 A New Twist On Upcycling


Upcycling is defined as creative reuse of unwanted objects, transferring them into something new and environmentally friendly. The idea of turning empty wine bottles into a chandelier, old candles into new ones, or discarded forks into dragonfly garden decorations tickles my imagination and forces me to see objects differently.

As I contemplated this art form I realized that that is exactly what I did with my parent’s love letters. Reading their letters and transforming them into a novel certainly fits the criteria of making something new out of an old object, though it goes far beyond that. I recommend to one and all reading those forgotten letters that sit in dusty boxes in the darkest corner of the basement. Here’s why:

As you read the letters you are immediately transformed into another time and place. You suspend your own challenges and concerns and begin to experience history first-hand. How could you read the following lines and not be affected:

“Have had hell scared out of me a few times and expect plenty more to come, but none so close but what it could be worse. . .Jap planes visit us all the way from 3 to a dozen or more times a day but as yet haven’t bombed us. All have fox holes for those occasions that make it somewhat safer.”

Reading your parents’ love letters on the one hand may seem rather invasive. On the other hand, you will begin to experience your parents as people, freed from the confines of their role as your parents. They become multidimensional characters who are young and vibrant, full of hopes and dreams. Here is an example:

“I have your picture sitting here but it hasn’t said a word. It’s taking some awful beatings riding around with me. The frame is a little beat up but the picture is ok yet. It’s the most valuable piece of property I have. Those lips look like they were all in the mood for a big kiss, in fact my highest ambition right now, if possible, would be to press my lips against those lips. I hope to God it isn’t too long till we can act that out together…”

Reading letters from someone who died too soon brings that person back to life. As you read about their day-to-day concerns they are far from mere dust in the ground. If only for a few moments, they live, they dream, and they hold hopes for their future. It becomes harder and harder to stop reading their letters, because you know when you stop reading them, they once again become only a distant memory.

If you have the opportunity to read some of your own letters – and here I must stop and declare a debt of gratitude to my dear departed, hoarding of “precious junk” mother, for saving all those letters I wrote home over a twenty year period. Thanks to her, I can now experience myself as a young person, not as a faded memory or what I thought I remembered, but in real-time.

Remember vowing you would one day do something with those letters gathering dust in your basement? The time is now. You don’t have to write a novel about them, but you might piece together your family history and find a forgotten story that explains your father’s fear of taking risks or your mother’s lost dreams.

After you read them invest in some acid-free holders. Letters will deteriorate over time if left folded. Place the letters in a notebook or scrapbook binder. Add some old photos that you have lying around. Before you know it you have created a beautiful family heirloom.

Go – read – upcycle your history!




About The Author



Jo Virden is the author of A Passion For Life: Ruth Marie Colville. Her first love is writing short stories. My Darling Dorothy, which started as a short story, evolved into Jo’s first novel. She is passionate about promoting childhood literacy and spends many hours volunteering in reading programs throughout the Denver Metro area. She lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, Bill, and she enjoys outdoor photography, long walks in the Rocky Mountains and spending time with her grandson, Cyrus.






Book Review



My Darling Dorothy by Jo Virden
Publisher: Plainview Publications
Publication Date: Paperback - May 27, 2016 / eBook - June 16, 2016
Format: Paperback - 398 pages
               Kindle - 531 KB 
               Nook - 871 KB
ISBN: 978-0997430806
ASIN: B01H7MVU7A
BNID: 2940153083568
Genre: Historical Fiction 


Buy The Book:


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. 


Book Description:

A timeless World War II love story…

Based on authentic letters from the era, My Darling Dorothy is a timeless love story that transcends both hard times and the brutal impact of war. The tumult of the Great Depression and World War II provides the background for a novel about three young people; Tommie, Jack and Dorothy and their challenges, struggles, defeats and triumphs.

Tommie struggles to survive the Bataan Death March in the fall of 1941, clinging to his dream of a gratifying future with Dorothy as his bride. On the frontlines of the European Theatre, Jack experiences the horrors of endless battle. Dorothy, caught between the two, works to maintain her dream of a life beyond small-town Nebraska.

The hopes and hardships they share are reflected in the letters that they exchange. Are they remnants of lost dreams, or the foundation for a joyful future?


Book Excerpt:


Beaver City
     Dorothy opened Tommie’s latest letter with great anticipation and began to read:

Dearest Dorothy,
I wrote you a while back we were to get out of school August 1. I put in for a furlough starting August 4 for 10 days, just like I told you. Then yesterday they said we wouldn’t get out before manaevers, or just in time to go. Manaevers were put off until September 1.
Had the leave all signed and everything. I got right down on my knees & begged the captain to let me go, but no dice. Gosh darn I was disgusted. The devils built us all up for an awful let down. There was a bunch of us in the same batch, but that’s the way of this army. So now it looks like it’ll be Christmas if something else doesn’t happen. Right now I wouldn’t be surprised at anything. I feel like I could just bawl if it would do any good. Was so set in seeing you again that now I feel like I lost all I ever lived for.

     Carol put her arm around Dorothy. “Hey, kiddo. What’s up? You looked so happy this morning. Besides, it’s Friday, and isn’t Tommie coming in on Monday?”
     “Was coming, you mean? He says he can’t come now. I don’t know what to think. All this confusion. First he wants to wait until he’s out of the army to get married, then he wants to get married at Christmas, and he’s coming home so we can make plans, and I get all excited and think maybe we should get married; then he writes and says he’s not coming, and I’m thinking maybe I don’t want to get married at all!”
     Carol patted Dorothy’s back. “Well, maybe this is for the best. It’ll give you time to get your head on straight about everything.”

MR. ANDERSON CALLED Carol into his office. He cleared his throat several times. “Carol, there is a position opening at the main office in Lincoln. I would hate to lose you, and, to be honest, I thought about not even mentioning it, but I couldn’t do it. The job would be perfect for you. Here’s the information. I want you to give some serious thought to taking the position.” Carol had waited for this moment for a long time. She knew her work was exemplary; she knew she could do the job in Lincoln without even reading the job description. She also knew her father was dying slowly, painfully, and that her mother had no way of managing without her help. Without hesitation, she walked to Dorothy’s desk and placed the letter on top of a pile of photos where Dorothy would see it when she came in.

DOROTHY READ THE letter, and then looked around, wondering how it found its way to her desk. She spotted Carol, and in one colossal moment of perfect clarity, she knew what had happened.
She marched to Carol’s desk with the letter in hand. “You have to do this, she proclaimed. “I can look in on your parents every day. I can even help your ma cook and clean.”                                                                               “You have enough on your plate with your pa and Walter, and what happens when you leave here like you always say you’re going to do? No, I can’t. I belong here, but you could take the job. I put that on your desk for you, kiddo. It fits you to a T.”                                                                                                                         A shift began within Dorothy, a lightness she hadn’t experienced since before her mother died. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. What was it?
     No attachments, no strings, just me being me. I can be Dorothy or Dottie, not Frank’s daughter or Jessie’s niece. I could even change my name if I wanted to.
     “So, what do you think?” Carol asked, pulling Dorothy out of her trance. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’m interested.”
     “And what about Tommie? What will he think?”
     Dorothy stopped, dumbfounded. Not once had Tommie entered her mind. Sooner or later, the truth always emerges. Once the façade begins to crumble, there is no turning back, no pretending it didn’t happen, that it isn’t true. Tommie had filled an emptiness, a vacant spot, but filling a void isn’t the same as filling a heart. The truth nearly knocked her over.

Dorothy spent that evening writing Tommie a letter, trying to explain her uncertainty. Crumpled sheets of paper covered her bedroom floor. How do you tell someone that you don’t love him, or at least that you’re pretty sure you don’t love him, maybe even that you wanted it to be true so desperately that you convinced yourself he was “the one”? But, maybe he isn’t.


My Book Review:

The inspiration from a bundle of letters from World War II found in her parent's basement, led author Jo Virden to pen the beautifully written historical fiction, My Darling Dorothy. The author utilized these authentic letters to weave a timeless account into the friendships, romantic relationships, and the trials and tribulations between three young people through their letter correspondence during the Great Depression and World War II years of 1930s-1940s.

Set in Nebraska, Europe, and the Philippines, the readers follow the evolving lives of Dorothy, Jack, and Tommie, the two young men who she fell in love with, during the World War II time period. The reader is easily drawn into these three young people's lives filled with hopes, dreams, hardships, emotional traumas, challenges, struggles, love, losses, and successes that they experienced during this difficult time period.

My Darling Dorothy is an emotional and compelling tale that will tug at the heartstrings and stir the soul. You can't help but get drawn in as Dorothy, Jack, and Tommie's story unfolds. The author does a wonderful job of writing an intricate and romantic tale rich in authentic historical description of the Great Depression and World War II years, and masterfully interweave it with Dorothy, Jack, and Tommie's true-to-life experiences. This is an amazing story that will take the reader on an emotional journey that will resonate with them for a very long time.


RATING: 5 STARS 



Virtual Book Tour


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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Have You Received Since You Believed? Quest For The Holy Spirit by Brian Hollins (Book Blast)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Have You Received Since You Believed: Quest For The Holy Spirit by author Brian Hollins!





About The Book


Have You Received Since You Believed? Quest For The Holy Spirit by Brian Hollins
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication Date:  eBook - June 12, 2016 / Paperback - June 21, 2016
Format: Paperback - 112 pages
               Kindle -  1082 KB / 59 pages
               Nook - 493 KB / 112 pages
ISBN: 978-0997354522
ASIN: B01H0PPDJK
BNID: 
978-0997354515
Genre: Christian Living


Buy The Book:



Book Description:

The Spirit that is within me that leads and guides me into all truth is again personified when I receive Christ as my Lord and Savior. The Spirit that is upon me after I ask for him is how I receive power. How could I believe that he would come upon me if I have not really received first that he dwells within me? This is what I wrestled with for many years. The problem was, I really didn’t believe the way I thought; And and maybe I also didn’t understand the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. Bottom line, now that I think about it, I just didn’t believe right.


Book Excerpt:

CHAPTER 4
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
—(2 Timothy 2:15)


Studying, studying, and studying; I was studying everything I could get my hands on to try and grow in the knowledge and understanding of God's word. I didn't just study the good stuff, I even looked at that questionable material written in the name of the Lord, but certainly not inspired by God. I did this just to get a feel for everything.


 

Because God is still giving revelation to men and women in the gospel, there are many anointed audios, videos, and books out there that have helped to shape my understanding of God’s work for my ministry. Still, there has always been something missing. I tried to make myself believe that the something was not having a close mentor, or maybe it was my immaturity in the role as a pastor. Maybe my tenure of just five years in the ministry was to blame. Whatever it was, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that something vital was missing in my walk with God.




About the Author



Brian G. Hollins, Pastor – Pastor Hollins was born in Los Angeles Ca, in 1963. He moved to Shreveport La. as a child where he presently resides. He has ollinsbeen married for 30 years to his beautiful wife Henrietta. Brian and Henrietta have four children Oliver, Jordan, Jade and Lauren. Oliver and his wife Adrienne have two wonderful children: Brian Christopher, age 10, and Londynn Nicole age 6. Jordan has a handsome named Jordan Christian age 3.   Pastor Hollins served 28 years in the Fire Service and retired March of 2009, holding the position of Chief Training Officer.

He was called to ministry in November of 1999.  On August 10, 2002, Pastor Hollins was appointed to the position of Pastor of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ.  On May 23, 2007, Pastor Brian and First Lady Henrietta founded Emmanuel Christian Ministries. On October 21st of 2013, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Hollins changed the name of ECM to Abounding Grace.  Pastor Hollins founded “Have Faith in God” Radio Broadcast which is heard mornings at 9:00am CST, on KOKA radio 980AM and www.koka.am and on The Promise on 90.7FM at 3:30pm to 4:00pm. He is the author of two books “ Don’t Take The Bait” and “Have You Received Since You Believed”. Pastor Hollins also serves as a Volunteer Chaplain for the Shreveport Fire Department.


Book Blast Event