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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Vineyard by Michael Hurley (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Vineyard by Author Michael Hurley!

Author Guest Post

Balancing Life And Writing
By: Michael Hurley

When I saw this topic suggested as a blog post for The Vineyard tour, I had to laugh. The truth is, I really don’t know how you balance life and writing. I seem to be completely consumed by one or the other at any given time.

When I was in my thirties, I gave up a lucrative law practice in Texas to move to the small town of New Bern, North Carolina. My second child had just been born, and both were under two years old. I wanted a simpler life. I loved sailing, so I had the wild hare to become a sailboat charter captain. Within a few weeks it became clear we would starve if I didn’t go back to the practice of law, which I begrudgingly did.

The practice of law—specifically trial law—is a jealous mistress. You’re like a parachute packer, and your clients are parachute jumpers. A parachute packer never gets to have a bad day or to decide he’s just too tired or too sick or too whatever to do his job, because the parachute must open, no matter what. And so, although I had wanted to write fiction from the time I was in my thirties, there really didn’t seem to be any time between my work and the demands of a young family, not to mention getting out and having a little fun now and then, to get serious about finishing a novel.

There was a young pharmaceutical sales rep who came to town, in 1992, named Nicholas Sparks. He and his wife Cathy were about in the same boat as my wife and me—struggling to make ends meet and trying to carve out time to spend with young children and each other. I remember Nick telling me over lunch that he planned to write a novel someday. I’m sure I smiled and wished him luck, but I never dreamed he’d actually do it. After all, who has the time? He was eventually transferred to a new territory in South Carolina for his job, and I lost track of him until one day, a banner headline appeared in our local newspaper, announcing Nick’s unprecedented $1 million advance from Warner Books for The Notebook. Nick had found the time to write his novel, and it changed his life. The rest is history.

I knew from that day forward that while I’d never come even close to Nick’s phenomenal success, my cheap excuses for not finishing my own novel-in-progress were just that—excuses. You just have to commit to the fact that you’re going to finish this thing, come hell or high water, and stick with it every day, every week, every month until you do. I have an enormous problem with this, and I will sometimes leave a novel alone for months at a time. However, I notice that as I get farther along in the writing and the story begins to suck me in, the world around me starts to disappear. Whereas in the early going I might have struggled to write a thousand words in a day, now I’m reeling off five thousand words in an afternoon. You’re going to neglect a few things when that happens, and your life may slide out of balance for a while, but once the book is done and you hold it in your hands, there is a real feeling of accomplishment. That’s when I take some time off to savor the satisfaction of it all and pull my life back into a more balanced orbit before moving on to the next book.

About The Author

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.

The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press on November 25, 2014.

Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.

When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.


Book Review

The Vineyard by Michael Hurley
Publisher: Ragbagger Press
Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Format: Paperback - 384 pages
             Kindle - 540 KB
ISBN: 978-0976127567
Genre: Literary Fiction 

BUY THE BOOK: The Vineyard

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 Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:

Ten years after college, three very different women reunite for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. As they come to grips with various challenges in their lives, an encounter with a reclusive fisherman threatens to change everything they believe about their world—and each other.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 10

Despite the tumultuous beginning of the season and the clouds in Dory’s future, June in Edgartown was as bright as ever, and the three friends took advantage of every minute of it. There were walks down Main Street on sunny afternoons carrying giant, round mounds of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, teetering three-high and dribbling down onto sticky fingers before it was licked gone. There were steamed little neck clams with butter sauce and fresh horseradish, served with gin and tonics on the porch of The Crew House, overlooking the harbor, and the good-looking, Italian waiter who worked there. It became Turner’s mission to see how many times she could get him to use the word “Tanqueray” in a sentence, because she liked the way he said it. There were lazy hours lying on the beach by the lighthouse and meandering hunts for the perfect cockleshell, and double-dog dares to go skinny-dipping after dark that always descended into fully-clothed refusals, recriminations, and false accusations of prudery—the truth, however, being that none of them was eager to expose great white bellies bursting with clams and Tanqueray and mint-chocolate-chip ice cream.

© 2014 by M. C. Hurley. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

The Vineyard is a riveting multi-layered tale about the bonds of friendship; deep secrets; troubled personal lives and relationships; faith, hope and healing.

College friends Dory Delano, Charlotte Harris, and Turner Graham reunite for the summer on Martha's Vineyard ten years after their college graduation. Each of the women have lived very different lifestyles; have dealt with personal challenges, trials, and tribulations; yet have maintained a strong bond of friendship. Their bond of friendship will be tested when an encounter with a reclusive fisherman threatens to forever change the way they view their life and the world around them.

Dory Delano is a member of one of the most established and wealthy families on Martha’s Vineyard. She has lived a life of privilege, but she desperately wants a life filled with love and passion. Dory's encounter with the reclusive fisherman and his prophesy that she has breast cancer will change her life forever.

Charlotte Harris is a lost soul after the loss of her child Madeleine, and then the demise of her marriage. She comes to Martha’s Vineyard with the express intent to end her life. The first night on the island, Charlotte leaves Dory’s home to commit suicide, but fate brings the fisherman who intervenes and miraculously saves Charlotte from dying. As her story unfolds, Charlotte's suffering is massive, but the encounter with the fisherman helps her to survive against all odds.
Turner Graham is at loose ends in her life. She has dreamed of becoming a writer and has a blog with a handful of followers. But Turner's blogging gets out of hand when she blogs about the events of Charlotte's attempted suicide and the“miracle” that kept her alive. And if that doesn't cause enough of a stir, Turner's exaggerated blog posts goes viral, and demands from the public to know more about the reclusive fisherman causes more turmoil in her life.

Author Michael Hurley weaves an intriguing tale that easily draws the reader into the story. As the three college friends come together on Martha's Vineyard, their bonds of friendship and lives are intertwined as they deal with their private turmoils. Each of these wounded women's lives will forever be altered and transformed when they encounter the reclusive fisherman, a mysterious and prophetic man who knows personal things about each of them, things that no one else could ever have known. The author does a wonderful job of delving into the complexity of the three women's lives and intertwines it with the mystery of the reclusive fisherman. This is a gripping story that will captivate the reader as the story unfolds with richly detailed description into the lives of the three women and the fisherman, and intriguing twists and turns that will keep the reader turning the pages until the pivotal and life changing conclusion.

The Vineyard is a compelling and thought provoking story about the strong connection of friendship and the complexities of life experiences and choices, and the ability to have faith and find a way to overcome, survive, heal, and move forward.


Book Trailer

Contest Giveaway

Win A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Prizes for the tour are as follows:
• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.
• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The tour dates can be found here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

November 3: Deal Sharing Aunt
November 3: Brooke Blogs
November 4: Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
November 5: Unabridged Andra's
November 5: Andi's Book Reviews
November 6: Nickie's Views and Interviews
November 7: Bunny's Review
November 7: The Cerebral Writer
November 10: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
November 10: Black Heart Magazine
November 11: Queen of All She Reads
November 11: MAD Hoydenish
November 12: Beyond Romance
November 13: Coffee Books and Art
November 14: Lilac Reviews
November 17: Book 'Em North Carolina
November 17: The blog of C.R. Moss
November 18: Our Wolves Den
November 19: Books N Pearls
November 19: Room With Books
November 20: Long and Short Reviews
November 21: Jersey Girl Book Reviews
November 21: Sharing Links and Wisdom
November 24: Margay Leah Justice
November 25: Booklover Sue
November 25: Zee Monodee - Author's Corner
November 26: Wake Up Your Wild Side
November 27: Writer Wonderland
November 27: SiMPLiSPEAKiNG
November 28: Beer, Books and More

Petit Four - Chick Lit Anthology by Lucie Simone, Cindy Arora, Sue Watson & Joel Zlotnik (Virtual Book Blitz Tour: Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blitz tour event for Petit Four - Chick Lit Anthology by Authors Lucy Simone, Cindy Arora, Sue Watson & Joel Zlotnik!

Author Guest Post

If you could bake a cake for anyone (past or present), who we would it be for? Why and what flavor cake?

Sue Watson: I would bake a cake for trainer Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser. I love that programme, and I love Bob. I also like to think that watching people work out speeds my metabolism! I’d bake a very British cake – a large Victoria Sandwich (named after Queen Victoria): a two-layer sponge cake sandwiched with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam. Bob and I would have tea and cake on fine china and while we eat cake and chat, he’d fill me with the inspiration to lose weight. As for cake calories – surely eating cake with my trainer and talking ‘workouts’ will speed my metabolism...won’t it?

Lucie Simone: I didn’t grow up in a family of bakers. If we ever had cake, it came from a box mix and the frosting came out of a can. Don’t get me wrong, we all thought these were fabulous cakes. (Oh, how little we knew). But a few years ago, I discovered my inner baker; and in the past year, I’ve really gotten into baking cupcakes. So I’d bake chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting for my family, which, luckily, I get to do this Thanksgiving! I’ve been treating my co-workers to my cupcake creations for several months, so I’m really looking forward to sharing my newfound love with those I love the most.

Joel Zlotnik: Well, as long as it can be anyone, I think I'd like to bake a cake for Mila Kunis (before Ashton Kutcher of course). And I'm really not much of a baker, so I'd probably follow Scott's lead in my story and find whatever mix looks easiest to make from the grocery store shelves. It would be basic chocolate with chocolate frosting. She has to like chocolate, right? And Mila always seems so nice, I think she would really appreciate the effort and not care at all that the cake wasn't exactly a masterpiece. I'd write something on top of it, like: "How About Dinner?" And she'd say yes and we'd go to dinner and we'd crack each other up, laughing our way through the night and then we'd start dating and eventually get married and then we'd have an incredibly cool story to tell our kids ... how it all started with their dad baking a bad off-the-shelf cake for mom.

Cindy Arora: I've been thinking a lot about my grandma. We called her Mama Carmen, and she was a really spirited woman. Full of life, energy, sass, and interesting wisdom, so if I had the chance I would bake her a spice cake to match her own zesty personality. It's a classic yellow made with buttercream milk and spices including: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. It's warm, sweet and playful and goes wonderfully with a cup of coffee. My grandmother died more than 10 years ago and oddly enough, I miss her more as each year passes -- not less. I'd love to bake her cake, introduce her to my son, and tell her about everything that has been happening the last decade. Including the arrival of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Oh boy! She'd love that.

About The Authors

Lucie Simone has a passion for travel, romance and all things chick lit. She also has a degree in Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production. She is the author of novels, Hollywood Ending and Picture Perfect, both offering an insider’s take on life in the City of Angels. Her love of comedy (and living under the delusion that she might one day be an actress) resulted in a stint studying improvisation, which, ironically enough, taught her to be a better writer. She lives in Los Angeles (and loves it), but considers New York City her imaginary second home and visits the Big Apple as often as her bank account will allow. For more information on Lucie, please visit her website at

Cindy Arora was a staff writer at The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register and Sacramento Magazine. She’s been published in Saveur, Tasting Table, Orange Coast Magazine and Fodor’s. She’s also mama to an adorable little boy, a feminist, a whiskey enthusiast, and proud to call herself a Chick Lit author. She is the author of Heartbreak Cake, a delicious debut novel, and a contributor to the anthology, Merry & Bright, with her story, Christmas at Mulberry Inn. To learn more about Cindy, please visit

Sue Watson is a former BBC TV Producer who woke up one morning to the realisation that there was no such thing as 'having it all.' Marriage, motherhood and a full-time career were taking over her life and what she really wanted to do was stay home all day, bake and eat cake, watch reality TV and write... in that order. So she quit the day job, baked a year’s supply of cupcakes and chased the dream. What followed was a lot of cake and many hours in the company of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ ‘The Biggest Loser,’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ During this, time Sue also managed to write a few books too: Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes; Younger, Thinner, Blonder; Love, Lies and Lemon Cake; and her latest cake offering, Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake. Learn more about Sue by visiting

Joel Zlotnik is a former Southern California journalist who was lucky enough to find a second career on the other side of the notepad, answering questions instead of asking them. He recently cancelled his cable so he would write more and quickly discovered online binge watching. You can find him living at the beach in South Orange County, where he listens to records, reads and watches the waves. Find some of his essays and short fiction at

Book Spotlight

Petit Four by Cindy Arora, Lucie Simone, Sue Watson & Joel Zlotnik
A Chick Lit Anthology
Publisher: Simon & Fig
Publication Date: November 5, 2014
Format: Paperback - 278 pages
             Kindle - 474 KB
             Nook - 583 KB
ISBN: 978-0990984801
ASIN: B00PB636D6
BNID: 2940150528055
Genre: Chick Lit / Romance 


Book Description:

Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all its delectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.

When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s Cake Therapy, she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s Aprez Vous finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc, and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over the tea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s Her Charms when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes, and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.

From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.

Virtual Book Blitz Tour 

Blitz Tour Schedule:

November 10 - KarmaFor Life Chick- Spotlight & Excerpt 
November 12 - Books Etc – Spotlight
November 13 - Books Etc – Q&A
November 14 - The Little Reading Cabin– Excerpt
November 17 - NovelEscapes - Q&A 
November 18 - Two Children and a Migraine – Spotlight 
November 19 - Chick LitPlus – Spotlight 
November 20 - Chick Lit Goddess – Spotlight & Excerpt
November 21 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Spotlight & Guest Post
November 21 - Ski-Wee’s Book Corner - Spotlight

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Saving Jason by EJ Hanagan (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Saving Jason by Author EJ Hanagan!

Author Guest Post

Inspiration For Saving Jason

My debut novel, Saving Jason, depicts the strain that PTSD can cause on a family and relationships. Jason Barnes, the main character, is a combat veteran who suffers from severe PTSD. The story is told from two different perspectives-one is his current girlfriend and the other is his ex-wife. While Jason appears to be a free spirit with an upbeat personality, the reader gains insight to the anguish that silently haunts him. As the story unfolds, Jason’s secrets surface and you learn that there are always different sides to a story and it takes every character in the novel to ultimately save Jason.

Having been in the military myself, I’ve had several friends experience the harsh realities of war and I’ve witnessed firsthand what it can do to a person. Those in combat forces are trained to be strong and always put on a brave face. They signed up to not only defend their country but also their fellow soldiers. Oftentimes even those with severe PTSD won’t admit their pain because that means that they will be taken off of a battlefield that they have built bonds on. In some sense, the combat itself is the easy part for them, but when they come home, it’s another story. They are thrown into a world of normalcy but their minds are still trying to dig through the turmoil of what they experienced in combat. An example of this is the 4th of July. While the rest of the country celebrates the 4th of July with fireworks and some delicious beer, these vets go into hiding as the sound of the blasts in the sky take them right back to the front line. While there are a lot of great organizations out there backing up PTSD education, it still somehow falls under the radar more than it should.

While PTSD has been the result of several wars, and has affected far too many soldiers, it has slipped under the radar because the world has yet to have a firsthand glimpse into how it alters families and relationships. My hope is that Saving Jason will contribute to helping educate the world on this hot topic while also offering a fictional escape for fiction lovers.

About The Author

EJ Hanagan writes women’s fiction with a focus on strong female characters. An emotionally-moving look at PTSD and the intersection of three lives forever changed, Saving Jason is a riveting glimpse into lives intertwined, unexpected friendships, and the ripples we leave without our knowledge.

EJ is a fitness fanatic, obsessive reader and animal lover. She currently lives in a sleepy little beach town just outside of Boston with her husband, their new aughter, and the family’s two giant Newfoundland dogs. After spending four years in the Air Force, she put her fire for fitness to good use and worked as a personal trainer while attending college. EJ credits the amazing, brave people she met in the military for giving her the passion and focus to raise awareness for veterans with PTSD. Her hope is to bring the invisible scars of war to the surface through her writing and community involvement.

You can learn more about EJ, her books, and her charity work at


Book Review

Saving Jason by EJ Hanagan
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: August 29, 2014
Format: Paperback - 220 pages
             Kindle - 988 KB
ISBN: 978-1620155127
Genre: Women's Fiction

BY THE BOOK: Saving Jason

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 Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:

Jason Barnes is a free spirit. Underneath that fun-loving surface lurks a severe case of PTSD, his personal souvenir from the war on terror. After his young marriage breaks up, he bounces from girlfriend to girlfriend, never allowing himself to get too close, all while maintaining a friendship with his ex-wife, Samantha Colton.

Everything changes when he meets Abby Jacobsen, a smart and sassy artist – but with love comes jealousy, and Abby doesn’t stand for Jason’s cozy friendship with Samantha. Two hours after a heated argument causes Jason to storm out of their apartment, Abby receives a phone call from the intensive care unit of a New Hampshire hospital. The hospital walls close in on Abby and Samantha as they are forced to make tough decisions while trying hard not to kill each other. The two form a rare bond when Emma Jane, Jason’s mom, arrives on the scene. Three weeks after Jason’s accident, Abby is left alone and hovering over a handful of positive pregnancy tests. During her pregnancy, Abby works with Samantha to dig up clues of Jason’s past. As the truth is discovered, their worlds are irreversibly changed.

An emotionally-moving look at PTSD and the intersection of three lives, Saving Jason is a riveting glimpse into unexpected friendships and the ripples we leave without our knowledge.

Book Excerpt:

It seldom rains in southern California, which is why the balmy, wet air had struck me that day as a sign that something was about to go terribly wrong. I wound and dipped along the winding road of Camp Pendleton, taking the turns more slowly than ever before. Although I had driven this route a thousand times in the past two years, I felt the need to go more slowly, to prolong saying goodbye to Jason. As soon as I pulled into the entrance labeled “Location of Departure,” a million emotions invaded me all at once, and the tears began to trickle, ever so gently down my cheeks.

“Alright, this is it.” Jason, far too happy to be going off to war, said as he leaned in for one sweet, subtle goodbye kiss. Opening the back door of our tiny VW Golf, Jason retrieved his pack and hauled it on his back effortlessly as I met him on the passenger side of the car. I remember the sound of the wet, rocky dirt crunching beneath my feet. Knowing Jason all too well, I tried to avoid a sappy emotional goodbye scene. Instead, I gathered a last bit of strength and wrapped my arms around him. Burying my face in his freshly issued desert camouflage uniform, I allowed a few tears to slip out, leaving them behind on his collar as if to send him off with a piece of me.

“I love you. I'll be fine. Remember, this is what I was trained to do. This is what I signed up for.” He enveloped my face in his strong, callused hands.

"Just don't die, okay? Promise me that. Promise me."

"I promise you. I love you always.” I love you always: the four words we so conveniently passed back and forth since we first started dating. The four words that served as a goodbye on all phone calls and somehow managed to cure all our disagreements.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Saving Jason, author EJ Hanagan weaves an emotional story about a military vet who suffers from PTSD, and the two women in his life who come together and form an unlikely bond of friendship when he suffers a serious injury.

Military veteran Jason Barnes' returns home with a severe case of PTSD that ultimately wrecks his marriage. Underneath the free-spirit exterior is a man who silently suffers from the anguish and pain from his front line experience abroad. Jason storms out of his apartment after a heated exchange with his girlfriend Abby over his continued friendship with ex-wife Samantha Colton, only to get into an accident with serious injuries that leaves him in a coma. Jason's injuries force the two women in his life to come together and form an unlikely bond that will change their lives forever.

Told in the alternating first person narrative by ex-wife Samantha Colton and current girlfriend Abby Jacobsen, the reader is easily drawn into Jason's story. This is a riveting story of how three lives are unexpectedly interwoven through a tragic condition that affects each of them in different ways, and how they learn to pull together and cope with it. While Samantha and Abby are very different women, they have one thing in common, their shared love for Jason. It is this shared love for Jason that brings them together, and their relationship ultimately evolves into an unlikely and lovely friendship.

Author EJ Hanagan calls upon her past personal military experience and her tireless passion to raise awareness for military veterans with PTSD, to weave a breathtakingly inspirational and realistic story that pulls at the heart strings and stirs the soul. The author provides the reader with a thoughtful and eye-opening insight into the tragic and complex dynamics of PTSD, and the havoc that it causes to the person afflicted, as well as how this disorder affects their relationships with their loved ones.

Saving Jason is a touching and poignant story that takes the reader on a haunting journey where they will experience the full gamut of emotions. This is an amazing story that reads very much like a Nicholas Sparks novel, I could easily see it being made into a Lifetime or Hallmark Channel tv movie.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $50 Starbucks Gift Card

Author EJ Hanagan will be awarding a $50 Starbucks GC to a randomly selected winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The tour dates can be found here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

Blurb Blitz (promo only):
November 3: Our Wolves Den
November 4: Coffee Books and Art
November 5: Deal Sharing Aunt
November 6: Booklover Sue
November 7: It's Raining Books
November 10: StarAngels' Reviews
November 11: Welcome to My World of Dreams
November 12: Straight from the Library
November 13: Bunny's Review
November 14: Undercover Book Reviews - review

Standard tour (Interviews/Posts):
November 17: Long and Short Reviews
November 18: Jersey Girl Book Reviews - review
November 18: booknerd - review
November 19: The Book Review - review
November 20: Musings and Ramblings
November 20: Untamed Spirit
November 21: Beer, Books and More

Monday, November 17, 2014

Living by Ear by Mary Rowen (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 Living by Ear by Author Mary Rowen!

Book Review

Living by Ear by Mary Rowen
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: September 3, 2014
Format: Paperback - 258 pages
             Kindle - 1829 KB
ISBN: 978-1620155325
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Living by Ear

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

Book Description:

What happens when the world you love doesn’t press pause when you do? Singer-songwriter Christine Daley hit the streets of Boston and became a minor celebrity—with a local radio hit—in the 90s, but a "short" career break to marry and have kids changed everything. Now, sixteen years later, she’s a frustrated suburban housewife, struggling to find her place in life.

After filing for divorce, she learns that her attempts to reestablish her own rhythms—both in music and in love—are more complicated than she'd anticipated. Her two teenagers are desperate for their mom, and her soon-to-be-ex-husband is throwing every obstacle he can in her way. Adding to the stress is the progress in technology, which has not only changed the music industry, but also the dating world. Is there room in the mix for Chris?

My Book Review:

Living by Ear is a wonderful story that is about a woman who strives to reestablish her music career and balance the needs of her family after getting a divorce. Set in Boston and told in the first person narrative, and alternating between the present and flashbacks to the 1990s, the reader follows the journey of Christine Daley as she rediscovers who she is and what she wants after being a suburban housewife for the past sixteen years.

Back in the 1990s, Christine Daley was a struggling Boston street musician who became a minor celebrity on a popular rock and roll station. Chris met local defense attorney Jon Wendt while performing on a street corner, he was interested in helping her pursue her music career. Mutual attraction led to them getting married, and Chris put her music dreams on hold in order to raise their family in the suburbs. Sixteen years later in September of 2010, Chris has filed for divorce and is making plans to restart her music career. This time there is nothing that will hold her back ... or so she thought. With time comes changes, especially in the music industry, and as Chris embarks on a journey of self-discovery, she soon discovers that finding her new place in life is anything but easy.

Author Mary Rowen weaves a realistic and moving tale that easily draws the reader into Chris's story. I found it easy to relate to Chris as she tries to recapture the life she once had while struggling to balance the daily responsibilities of meeting her families needs. As Chris tries to deal with the consequences of the choices that she made in her life, she always held onto her passion and desire to fulfill her musical dream, so she embarks on a journey of self-discovery where she can reconnect with her true self while finding balance in life. The reader gets to know Chris as her story unfolds through the alternating time periods. You can't help but feel for Chris as she struggles with the obstacles and hurdles along the journey, and cheer for her as she comes into her own.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the author does a wonderful job of providing a rich description of Boston's landmarks and the dynamics of the local "busking" street corner music scene.

Living by Ear is a poignant and enjoyable story about life, love, and finding one's true self.


About The Author

Mary Rowen loves music and is a Boston area mom to teenagers. All of her novels focus on women of various ages growing up, or at least becoming comfortable with themselves. Her essays have been anthologized and/or published on multiple blogs. Mary grew up in the Massachusetts Merrimack Valley, is a graduate of Providence College, and has worked as a teacher, writer, salesperson, and political canvasser. She firmly believes that all of those jobs provide good preparation for an aspiring writer.


Contest Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

November 10 – Chick LitPlus
November 12 – Two Children and a Migraine 
November 12 – StormGoddess Book Reviews
November 13 – Writerin a Wheelchair
November 14 - Authorsand Readers Book Corner
November 17 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews

A Dead End In Vegas by Irene Woodbury (Virtual Book Blast Event)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for A Dead End In Vegas by Author Irene Woodbury!

A Dead End In Vegas by Irene Woodbury
Publisher: SynergEbooks
Publication Date: September 5, 2014
Format: Paperback - 248 pages
              Kindle - 1485 KB
              Nook - 354 KB
ISBN: 978-0744321470
BNID: 2940046151527
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: A Dead End In Vegas

Book Description:

As Dave Sloan is leaving for the Denver airport to pick up his wife, Tricia, the phone rings. It’s the cops in Las Vegas. His wife is dead. Her nude body was found that morning in a hotel room at the Bellagio.

Dave is stunned and devastated. He thought she was in Phoenix at a week-long teachers’ conference. A lie, of course, concocted by Tricia, who flew to Phoenix, then drove to Vegas to meet her Internet lover, the handsome, charming, and very much married Joe Daggett of Chicago.

When Joe can’t join her, Tricia’s a mess. He calls a close friend, Al Posey, who lives in Vegas, and asks him to take her to dinner. Al and Tricia hit it off and wind up in bed. On Saturday morning, he walks out of her hotel room at nine. Three hours later, her lifeless body is found by a maid.

 A Dead End In Vegas is a searing exploration of how Tricia Sloan’s tragic, mysterious death shatters, and later transforms, the lives of her family and friends.

Book Excerpt:

Slipping and sliding along Colorado 91 in the near white-out, Randylooked in the rearview mirror and spotted a Colorado Highway Patrol car. Sarah, who remembered every detail of the trip, told me later that he panicked.

“Damn!” he cursed, pounding the steering wheel and pointing behindthem. Sarah turned and saw the police cruiser; her eyes widened and dazed. With her hand over her mouth, she made a sound part gasp, part groan.

“My dad must’ve called them,” Randy shrieked. “They’re gonna take me in for armed robbery!”

“No they won’t,” Sarah cried, gripping his arm. “We’ll be in Leadville soon. They’ll never find us there. In a day or two, we’ll leave for California. My Grandpa’s out there--he’ll help us!”

Randy glanced over at her and nodded. He was now driving as fast as he could, but in the rushing torrent of snow, visibility was failing, and, at 10,000 feet, the old Subaru was suddenly wheezing as if for breath. When Randy muttered something about engine trouble, Sarah buried her head in her hands and started crying. He reached over and patted her leg.

As they approached the farm community of Gage, 10 miles outside of Leadville, the highway cops were still on their tail. A wave of hopelessness and betrayal swept over Randy as he thought of his own father calling the police to turn him in. But in fact, the cops’ presence had nothing to do with Dave. It had to do with Randy’s reckless driving. He was swerving wildly in and out of icy, snow-packed lanes, endangering his own life as well as Sarah’s and everyone else’s on the road.

About The Author

Irene Woodbury’s second novel, A Dead End In Vegas, is a dark, probing look at marriage, infidelity, revenge, and grief. Immersing herself in drama and dysfunction for months on end was a challenge for this upbeat author, whose first book, the humor novel A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, was published by SynergEbooks in 2011. At first glance, the two novels seem quite different, but both deal with midlife confusion and chaos, and the complexities and unpredictable nature of the human heart. And both, of course, are partially set in Las Vegas, a city Irene got to know well during her years as a travel writer. Between 2000 and 2005, her stories appeared in major newspapers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Irene, who graduated from the University of Houston in 1993, lives in Denver with her husband, Richard, a retired correspondent for Time Magazine who edited both of her novels. The couple miss traveling, but, after two novels, Irene insists there’s no greater journey than the one into your own heart and mind.


Virtual Book Blast Event

Book Blast Schedule:

Monday, November 3
Bound 2 Escape
Moonlight Lace & Mayhem
Mary’s Cup of Tea

Tuesday, November 4
Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Storeybook Reviews

Wednesday, November 5
CBY Book Club
Confessions of a Reader

Thursday, November 6
Fiction Zeal

Friday, November 7
Authors and Readers Book Corner

Monday, November 10
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 11
My Life, Loves and Passion

Wednesday, November 12
Lori’s Reading Corner
Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, November 13
Deal Sharing Aunt

Friday, November 14
Carol’s Notebook

Monday, November 17
Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 18
Undercover Book Reviews

Wednesday, November 19
PUYB Virtual Book Club

Thursday, November 20
The Literary Nook

Friday, November 21
As the Page Turns

Monday, November 24
Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, November 25
Beyond the Books

Wednesday, November 26
I’m Shelf-ish

Friday, November 28
The Writer’s Life