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, January 27, 2015

The 5 Stages Of Falling In Love by Rachel Higginson (Book Release Day Blast Event)


In association with Mark My Words Book Publicity, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book release day blast event for The 5 Stages Of Falling In Love by Author Rachel Higginson!

About The Book

The 5 Stages Of Falling In Love by Rachel Higginson
Publisher: Reckless Siren Publishing
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Format: Paperback - 305 pages
             Kindle - 2789 KB
             Nook - 382 KB
ISBN: 978-1310186691
BNID: 2940046187700
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: The 5 Stages Of Falling In Love

Book Description:

Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.    

Book Excerpt:


“Hey, there she is,” Grady looked up at me from his bed, his eyes smiling even while his mouth barely mimicked the emotion.

“Hey, you,” I called back. The lights had been dimmed after the last nurse checked his vitals and the TV was on, but muted. “Where are the kiddos? I was only in the cafeteria for ten minutes.”

Grady winked at me playfully, “My mother took them.” I melted a little at his roguish expression. It was the same look that made me agree to a date with him our junior year of college, it was the same look that made me fall in love with him- the same one that made me agree to have our second baby boy when I would have been just fine to stop after Blake, Abby and Lucy.

“Oh, yeah?” I walked over to the hospital bed and sat down next to him. He immediately reached for me, pulling me against him with weak arms. I snuggled back into him, so that my head rested on his thin shoulder and our bodies fit side by side on the narrow bed. One of my legs didn’t make it and hung off awkwardly. But I didn’t mind. It was just perfect to lie next to the love of my life, my husband.

“Oh, yeah,” he growled suggestively. “You know what that means?” He walked his free hand up my arm and gave my breast a wicked squeeze. “When the kids are away, the grownups get to play…”

“You are so bad,” I swatted him- or at least made the motion of swatting at him, since I was too afraid to hurt him.

“God, I don’t remember the last time I got laid,” he groaned next to me and I felt the rumble of his words against my side.

“Tell me about it, sport,” I sighed. “I could use a nice, hard-“

“Elizabeth Carlson,” he cut in on a surprised laugh. “When did you get such a dirty mouth?”

“I think you’ve known about my dirty mouth for quite some time, Grady,” I flirted back. We’d been serious for so long it was nice to flirt with him, to remember that we didn’t just love each other, but we liked each other too.

He grunted in satisfaction. “That I have. I think your dirty mouth had something to do with Lucy’s conception.”

I blushed. Even after all these years, he knew exactly what to say to me. “Maybe,” I conceded.

“Probably,” he chuckled, his breath hot on my ear.

We laid there in silence for a while, enjoying the feel of each other, watching the silent TV screen flicker in front of our eyes. It was perfect- or as close to perfect as we had felt in a long time.

“Dance with me, Lizzy,” Grady whispered after a while. I’d thought maybe he fell asleep; the drugs were so hard on his system that he was usually in and out of consciousness. This was actually the most coherent he’d been in a month.

“Okay,” I agreed. “It’s the first thing we’ll do when you get out. We’ll have your mom come over and babysit, you can take me to dinner at Pazio’s and we’ll go dancing after.”

“Mmm, that sounds nice,” he agreed. “You love Pazio’s. That’s a guaranteed get-lucky night for me.”

“Baby,” I crooned. “As soon as I get you back home, you’re going to have guaranteed get-lucky nights for at least a month, maybe two.”

“I don’t want to wait. I’m tired of waiting. Dance with me now, Lizzy,” Grady pressed, this time sounding serious.

“Babe, after your treatment this morning, you can barely stand up right now. Honestly, how are you going to put all those sweet moves on me?” I teased, wondering where this sudden urge to dance- of all things- was coming from.

“Lizzy, I am a sick man. I haven’t slept in my own bed in four months, I haven’t seen my wife naked in just as long, and I am tired of lying in this bed. I want to dance with you. Will you please, pretty please, dance with me?”

I nodded at first because I was incapable of speech. He was right. I hated that he was right, but I hated that he was sick even more.

“Alright, Grady, I’ll dance with you,” I finally whispered.

“I knew I’d get my way,” he croaked smugly.

I slipped off the bed and turned around to face my husband and help him to his feet. His once full head of auburn hair was now bald, reflecting the pallid color of his skin. His face was haggard, dark black circles under his eyes, chapped lips and pale cheeks. He was still as tall as he’d ever been, but instead of the toned muscles and thick frame he once boasted, he was depressingly skinny and weak, his shoulders perpetually slumped.

The only thing that remained the same was his eyes; they were the same dark green eyes I’d fallen in love with ten years ago. They were still full of life, even when his body wasn’t, still full of mischief while the rest of him was tired and exhausted from fighting this stupid sickness.

“You always get your way,” I grumbled while I helped him up from the bed.

“Only with you,” he shot back on a pant after successfully standing. “And only because you love me.”

“That I do,” I agreed. Grady’s hands slipped around my waist and he clutched my sides in an effort to stay standing.

I slipped my arms around his neck, but didn’t allow any weight to press down on him. We maneuvered our bodies around his IV and monitors. It was awkward, but we managed.

“What should we listen to?” I asked, while I pulled out my cell phone and turned it to my iTunes app.

“You know what song. There is no other song when we’re dancing,” he reminded me on a faint smile.

“You must be horny,” I laughed. “You’re getting awfully romantic.”

“Just trying to keep this fire alive, Babe,” he pulled me closer and I held back the flood of tears that threatened to spill over.

I turned on The Way You Look Tonight- the Frank Sinatra version- and we swayed slowly back and forth. Frank sang the soft, beautiful lyrics with the help of a full band, the music drifting around us over the constant beeping and whirring of medical machines. This was the song we thought of as ours, the first song we’d danced to at our wedding, the song he still made the band at Pazio’s play on our anniversary each year.

“This fire is very much alive,” I informed him sternly. I lay my forehead against his shoulder and inhaled him. He didn’t smell like himself anymore, he was full of chemo drugs and smelled like hospital soap and detergent, but he was still Grady. And even though he barely resembled himself anymore, he still felt like Grady.

He was still my Grady.

“It is, isn’t it?” He whispered. I could feel how weak he was growing, how tired this was making him, but still he clung to me, held me close. When my favorite verse came on, he leaned his head down and whispered in a broken voice along with Frank, “There is nothing for me, but to love you. And the way you look tonight.”

Silent tears streamed down my face with truths I wasn’t ready to admit to myself and fears that were too horrifying to even think. This was the man I loved with every fiber of my being- the only man I’d ever loved. The only man I’d ever love.

He’d made me fall in love with him before I was old enough to drink legally, then he’d convinced me to marry him before I even graduated college. He knocked me up a year later, and didn’t stop until we had four wild rug rats that all had his red hair and his emerald green eyes. He’d encouraged me to finish my undergrad degree, and then to continue on to grad school while I was pregnant, nursing and then pregnant again. He went to bed every night with socks on and then took them off sometime in the middle of the night, leaving them obnoxiously tucked in between our sheets. He could never find his wallet, or his keys, and when there was hair to grow he always forgot to shave.

And he drove me crazy most of the time.

But he was mine.

He was my husband.

And now he was sick.

“I do love you, Lizzy,” he murmured against my hair. “I’ll always love you, even when I’m dead and gone.”

“Which won’t be for a very long time,” I reminded him on a sob.

He ignored me, “You love me back, don’t you?”

“Yes, I love you back,” I whispered with so much emotion the words felt stuck in my throat. “But you already knew that.”

“Maybe,” he conceded gently. “But I will never, ever get tired of hearing it.”

I sniffled against him, staining his hospital gown with my mascara and eye liner. “That’s a good thing, because you’re going to be hearing it for a very long time.”

He didn’t respond, just kept swaying with me back and forth until the song ended. He asked me to play it again and I did, three more times. By the end of the fourth time, he was too tired to stand. I laid him back in bed and helped him adjust the IV and monitor again so that it didn’t bother him, then pulled the sheet over his cold toes.

His eyes were closed and I thought he’d fallen asleep, so I bent down to kiss his forehead. He stirred at my touch and reached out to cup my face with his un-needled arm. I looked down into his depthless green eyes and fell in love with him all over again.

It was as simple as that.

It had always been that simple for him to get me to fall in love with him.

“You are the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me, Lizzy.” His voice was broken and scratchy and a tear slid out from the corner of each of his eyes.

My chin trembled at his words because I knew what he was doing and I hated it, I hated every part of it. I shook my head, trying to get him to stop but he held my gaze and just kept going.

“You are. And you have made my life good, and worth living. You have made me love more than any man has ever known how to love. I didn’t know this kind of happiness existed in real life, Liz, and you’re the one that gave it to me. I couldn’t be more thankful for the life we’ve shared together. I couldn’t be more thankful for you.”

“Oh, Grady, please-”

“Lizzy,” he said in his most stern voice that he only ever used when I’d maxed out a credit card. “Whatever happens, whatever happens to me, I want you to keep giving this gift to other people.” I opened my mouth to vehemently object to everything he was saying but he silenced me with a cold finger on my lips. “I didn’t say go marry the first man you find. Hell, I’m not even talking about another man. But I don’t want this light to die with me. I don’t want you to forget how happy you make other people just because you might not feel happy. Even if I don’t, Lizzy, I want you to go on living. Promise me that.”

But I shook my head, “no.” I wasn’t going to promise him that. I couldn’t make myself. And it was unfair of him to ask me that.

“Please, Sweetheart, for me?” His deep, green eyes glossed over with emotion and I could physically feel how painful this was for him to ask me. He didn’t want this anymore than I did.

I found myself nodding, while I sniffled back a stream of tears. “Okay,” I whispered. “I promise.”

He broke out into a genuine smile then, his thumb rubbing back and forth along my jaw. “Now tell me you love me, one more time.”

“I love you, Grady,” I murmured, leaning into his touch and savoring this moment with him.

“And I will always, always love you, Lizzy,” he promised.

His eyes finally fluttered shut and his hand dropped from my face. His vitals remained the same, so I knew he was just sleeping. I crawled into bed with him, gently shifting him so that I could lie on my side, in the nook of his arm and lay my hand on his chest. I did this often; I liked to feel the beat of his heart underneath my hand. It had stopped too many times before, for me to trust its reliability. My husband was a very sick man, and had been for a while now.

Tonight was different though. Tonight, Grady was lucid and coherent, he’d found enough energy to stand up and dance with me, to tell me he loved me. Tonight could have been a turn for the better.

But it wasn’t- because only a few hours later, Grady’s heart stopped for the fourth time during his adult life, and this time it never restarted.

Stage One: Denial

Not every story has a happy ending. Some only hold a happy beginning.

This is my story. I’d already met my soul mate, fallen in love with him and lived our happily ever after.

This story is not about me falling in love.

This story is about me learning to live again after love left my life.

Research shows there are five stages of grief. I don’t know what this means for me, as I was stuck, nice and hard, in step one.


I knew, acutely, that I was still in stage one.

I knew this because every time I walked in the house, I wandered around aimlessly looking for Grady. Because I still picked up my phone to check if he texted or called throughout the day. Because I looked for him in a crowded room, got the urge to call him from the grocery store just to make sure I had everything he needed, and reached for him in the middle of the night.

Acceptance- the last stage of grief- was firmly and forever out of my reach, and I often looked forward to it with longing. Why? Because Denial was a son of a bitch and it hurt more than anything when I realized he wasn’t in the house, wouldn’t be calling me, wasn’t where I wanted him to be, didn’t need anything from the store and would never lie next to me in bed again. The grief would cascade over me, fresh and suffocating and I was forced to suffer through the unbearable pain of losing my husband all over again.

Denial sucked.

But it was where I was right now. I was living in Denial.

About The Author

Rachel Higginson is the creator of The Star-Crossed Series, Love & Decay Novella Series, The Starbright Series, The Siren SeriesBet on Us and the soon to be released, The Five Stages of Falling in Love! She is also the co-creator of the podcast "Zach & Rachel Take Over the World."

She was born and raised in Nebraska, and spent her college years traveling the world. She fell in love with Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, but came back home to marry her high school sweetheart. Now she spends her days raising four amazing kids. In the few spare moments she has to herself, she is either reading for hours on end or writing her own stories.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Running Away with You by Suzanne Sweeney (Virtual Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Running Away with You by Author Suzanne Sweeney!

About The Book

Running Away with You by Suzanne Sweeney
Book 3: The Running Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publisher
Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Format: eBook - 452 pages
             Kindle - 2547 KB
             Nook - 624 KB
BNID: 2940046329834
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Running Away with You

BUY THE SERIES: The Running Series
Book 1: Running Back to You
Book 2: Running Home to You
Book 3: Running Away with You

Book Description:

Juliette Fletcher’s life has been full of surprises ever since she began dating NFL superstar Evan “Big Mac” McGuire. He’s everything she could ever have wished for – strong and tender, and wrapped up in an exquisite package. She has experienced more happiness than she ever dreamed of, but she’s also survived enough pain and anguish to last a lifetime.

It’s Evan’s rookie season as starting quarterback with the NJ Sentinels, and it looks like he just might take the team all the way to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. And now Juliette is planning her dream wedding in the dazzle of the paparazzi’s camera flashes.

But Juliette is about to learn how quickly a dream can turn into a nightmare. Dark secrets begin to emerge – the kind that wreck careers and break hearts. Is silence a betrayal, even when the truth could cause anguish to the ones you love? And when the past threatens to cast its shadow over the present, how far is too far to make certain it stays buried?

Running Away With You is the third book in the Running Series.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter Two ~ Learning the Ropes

I hear the water running in the bathroom while Evan showers. AC/DC is blaring, and when I hear Evan singing along to “You Shook Me All Night Long”, I can’t help but smile. We have a routine when he’s got an away game, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” pretty well sums it up. The first few weeks of the season, I felt guilty for keeping him up all night so close to a game, but then I realized that the night before the game, he’s safely tucked away in his hotel room by eight o’clock. That more than makes up for whatever sleep he may have missed the night before.

He doesn’t need to bring much with him when he travels. He’ll wear a suit jacket on the plane, and then again on the way home, so there’s no need to pack that. He needs workout clothes, something to wear to dinner, and lots of clean socks and underwear. God, he has great underwear. Some say Armani on the waist. Others say Andrew Christian in gold. They are all tight-fitting boxer briefs and all make him look sexy as hell. Not that he needs any help in that department.

“Why are you staring at my underwear?” he laughs. I am so caught up in my thoughts, I never heard him turn off the music. Now, he’s standing in front of me wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. Water droplets cling to his skin, and all I can think about is licking them off one by one.

My God, he’s delicious.

About The Author

Suzanne Sweeney is a graduate of Georgian Court University where she studied Education and Sociology. For some time now, she has been sharing her love of literature with the young minds who sit before her in class each and every day. After years of teaching the art of writing, Suzanne has finally taken her own advice and put pen to paper in order to produce her most recent book, Running Away With You. She writes what she lives, residing in the community she loves, Point Pleasant, with her family who provide a constant source of inspiration and support.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $10 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Author Suzanne Sweeney will be giving away: $10 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn guest.

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

The tour dates can be found here:

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Virtual Book Blast Event

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jeremy's Promise by A.R. Talley (Virtual Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with I Am A Reader Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Jeremy's Promise by Author A.R. Talley!

About The Book

Jeremy's Promise

Jeremy's Promise by A.R. Talley
Book 2: David's Song Trilogy
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication Date: October 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover / Paperback - 342 pages
              Kindle - 601 KB
              Nook - 453 KB
ISBN: 978-1491818121
Genre: Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Jeremy's Promise
Barnes & Noble

BUY THE TRILOGY: David's Song Trilogy
Book 1: David's Song
Book 2: Jeremy's Promise
Book 3: Annie's Choice
Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

The trip that was meant to save Annie and Jeremy’s marriage brought it to near ruin. Now Annie has returned home, frightened and confused. Jeremy, too, is frightened—and angry. What will it take to save their marriage? It’s clear. Jeremy needs to forgive—Annie needs to forget. A promise is made. A tragedy occurs. A second honeymoon is disrupted. A chance encounter brings David Andrews back into Annie’s life. Annie is determined to remain faithful. She’s made a promise she intends to keep—Jeremy’s Promise.

Praise for Jeremy's Promise:

A.R. Talley, gives you a believable look at the struggle of one couple to reconnect and heal their marriage, with dialog which sweeps you into the moment as if you were there with them, experiencing both their pain and recovery. Kudos to the author who has once again produced a book I couldn't put down, as well as one I felt compelled to read multiple times. ~Donna Dech

Jeremy's Promise second book in a trilogy by A.R. Talley is an awesome, emotional, romantic, highly recommended, well written story with captivating and engaging characters. ~Debbie Ballard

This is not a book I would have picked by myself! I loved it from start to finish! Eagerly waiting for the third book in the trilogy to come out!! I highly recommend this book! ~Goodreads

About The Author


A.R. Talley lives in Ohio with her husband Doug and the last of her seven children (the rest have flown the coup.) She loves to cook, read, write, watch movies, play piano, and laugh. Her second favorite vacation involves the British Isles and a small café in Scotland.

Virtual Book Tour

Jeremy's Promise (1)

Contest Giveaway


$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/15/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

One Last Hold by Angela Smith (Book Promo Blitz Event)

In association with Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book promo blitz event for One Last Hold by Author Angela Smith!

About The Book

One Last Hold by Angela Smith
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: November 2, 2014 (PB) / November 5, 2014 (eBook)
Format: Paperback - 242 pages
             Kindle - 3226 KB
             Nook - 334 KB
ISBN: 978-0692325865
BNID: 2940046356809
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: One Last Hold

Book Description:

Wesley Webb is at the pinnacle of his auto racing career when his main rival is murdered hours after their confrontation. That, along with evidence found at the scene, shades him as prime suspect. Now he’s under intense press scrutiny, particularly from Caitlyn Daniels, an ex-girlfriend who knows all about his secret past.

Caitlyn thought to never see Wesley again. Now, his life could be in her hands. Ten years ago, a tragedy tore apart everything she held dear, including their relationship. When she’s assigned to do an exclusive story with the reluctant race car driver she once loved, she believes this could be her purging. But chemistry tears apart her resolve to stay strong. Can they work out their differences and fall in love again, or will tragedy keep them apart?

Book Excerpt:

She took a deep breath. Usually her interviews became more personal. She wasn’t sure how personal to get with him. She knew a lot about him—at least she used to—but she was scared of asking him the wrong thing. She didn’t want to set him off.

“What’s your favorite color?” Caitlyn held a pen in her hand, poised to write, trying to concentrate on the task at hand. Her focus, though, was Wesley’s deep green eyes. Eyes able to pierce her and reach a part of her no one had ever been able to touch before. Something about the way he looked at her, like he saw only her, deep down, clear to her soul.

A hint of danger lurked in his eyes, a predator-like stance that made her sense he was ready to devour her, sexually and otherwise. A vulnerability that made Caitlyn yearn to take him in her arms, to be as close to him as possible. His gaze held no arrogance, no indifference, and no deceit.

Her throat felt parched. His eyes devoured every morsel of her power and well-being.

She couldn’t think of a decent thing to say. Thank God it was his turn to talk.

“My favorite color,” he said as he leaned across the table, closer to Caitlyn, “is the capricious color of your eyes.”

His lips were only inches from hers so that his breath licked against her skin. His eyes possessed her. 

She clutched her pen in midair, frozen in space for a mere second. He touched her hand.

The pen fell.

“Blueberry,” he said as he trailed a light kiss across her knuckle, his eyes still magnetizing hers. Her heart stopped in her throat. “Dark and wounded. Cornflower blue, tantalizing with banter and witticism.” He kissed the tip of her pinkie and went on to taste each finger, slowly taking his time with each one. “Sea blue, bright and sparkling like the waves catching a sunset, when you’re happy.”

Caitlyn, entranced with his words, was amazed he even noticed her eyes and more amazed he practically recited poetry. Where had he come up with this?

“Storm clouds,” he continued as he stroked the inside of her palm. “Brewing with a passion and desire you’re too afraid to feel. Sometimes periwinkle, sometimes almost lavender and sometimes a sultry gray. Right now though, they are definitely–”

She pulled her hand away and scooted back in her chair. Thoroughly aroused, she squeezed her thighs tighter in an attempt to bury the spark.

“You’re full of it,” she said. “My eyes don’t change colors that much and even if they did, you wouldn’t notice.”

“What makes you say that?” He leaned back in his chair, taking the two back legs to its haunches, something they both used to get in trouble for when they were kids.

She shook her head and didn’t answer. The touch of his warm mouth on her fingers still burned in her core.

“I always notice your eyes.”

About The Author

During her senior year in high school, Angela Smith was dubbed most likely to write a novel, and that has been her dream ever since her mother read stories of 'Brer Rabbit' to her and her sister so often that they were able to recite it back to each other before they learned to read. She hasn't stopped reading or writing since. A certified paralegal, work gives her perfect fodder for her romantic suspense stories. When not caring for her small farm or spending time with her husband of two decades, she enjoys 4-wheeling, crafting, reading, and dreaming of the places she'll visit one day.


Virtual Book Promo Blitz Event

Monday, January 19, 2015

Another Mazzy Monday by Savannah Young and Sierra Avalon (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Another Mazzy Monday by Authors Savannah Young and Sierra Avalon!

Book Review

Another Mazzy Monday by Savannah Young & Sierra Avalon
Book 1: Tawnee Mountain Series
Publisher: Short on Time Books
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Format: eBook - 161 pages
             Kindle - 1935 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Another Mazzy Monday

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 Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

When the wealthy and charming Drew Graham walks into the Tawnee Mountain Resort where I work and offers me a lucrative part-time job it sounds too good to be true. I just have to pretend to be his fiancée until he wins the election for Governor and then we can go our separate ways. It seems like an easy way to make a hundred thousand dollars…until his brother, Austin, returns from Europe and moves in with us. And I’m completely overwhelmed by my attraction to my fake fiancé’s rebellious younger brother.

Book Excerpt:

As I approach the bar I see a gorgeous little blonde serving small cups of wine to several middle-aged women wearing matching conservative navy blue suits and single strands of white pearls around their necks. They all have their hair cut short and look like they’ll be absolutely no fun even with a little wine in them.

Once the women of the blue suit brigade have cups of wine in their hands, they make their way over to my brother. I wait for the bartender to acknowledge me. I’m a little hurt that she doesn’t even glance up at me when she asks me what I want. Then I remember I’m wearing one of my brother’s stuffy suits and that I probably look just like another one of the conservative jackasses at the fundraising event.

This girl looks like someone who prefers a more down-to-Earth kind of guy. If I had on my everyday attire: leather jacket, well-worn jeans and black biker boots, I think I’d get her attention in a heartbeat.

“Beer,” I say, trying to will the blonde to at least glance at me once. But to no avail. She’s all business, serving drinks then taking the next person’s order.

“We’ve got Miller, Bud, and Coors.”


She nods and fills up one of the small cups with beer. It’s not even the size of a Dixie cup. Maybe half as large. “Got anything bigger than that?”

She shakes her head. “Sorry. It’s complimentary. You can have as many as you like.”

I hold up the ridiculously small cup. It would probably take about ten of these before I even felt a buzz. “Thanks.”

She nods, but she’s only half paying attention to me. When I glance down at her name tag I see her name is Mazzy. Unusual name. I’m completely intrigued. Not just because she’s beautiful with a smoking hot body to match, but there’s something about her that’s different.

Most girls fall all over themselves to get my attention when they figure out who my family is. Being from a wealthy and well-connected family is like an aphrodisiac for most women. I look down to make sure I’m still wearing my name tag and it’s definitely there. This girl just hasn’t even bothered to take a look at it.

Two guys are now standing behind me so I know I have to let her serve them, but I don’t want to move from this spot. I just want to look at her for a few seconds more. I like watching the way she moves. She seems so carefree and comfortable in her body. As carefree as I like to pretend to be. I know I’m really just a mass of insecurities and over compensative tactics.

“Anything else?” she asks.

Your number, I want to say, but what’s the point. I don’t plan on being in New Jersey any longer than I have to. I promised my dad I’d stay through the election and that’s it. Then my backpack and I are off to Asia.

I take my ridiculous little cup of beer and head off in search of someone I might find even remotely interesting to talk to.

As luck would have it I run into my mother and her league of women voters. They’re all wearing the same conservative blue suits as the blue suit brigade who were ordering wine in front of me at the bar. They each have a tiny American flag displayed prominently on their lapels. As soon as my mother spots me a look of disgust hijacks her face. She can’t seem to control it whenever she sees me and I’m not sure she wants to. She’s even less thrilled with me than my father and she usually has no trouble expressing that displeasure to me. My only saving grace is that I know she won’t rail at me in front of her supporters. She’s much too shrewd for that. She’ll do her best to pretend I’m the perfect son in front of potential donors and wait to condemn me in private.

I’m so glad I decided to stay at the lake house. My mother won’t consider venturing out to Northern New Jersey this late in the season. When it’s less than seventy degrees she has no interest in the lake house.

“Austin,” my mother says as she approaches and places a quick peck on my cheek. “So glad you could make it.”

The other women in her small group are all smiling and eyeballing me, even though they’re all my mother’s age or older.

I down the rest of my beer and stare into the empty cup. “I think I need a refill.”

My mother expresses her displeasure with a harrumph, but then quickly replaces her grimace with a broad smile. Hers isn’t as rehearsed as my father’s or brother’s, but it’s equally phony.

“When you come back, Mrs. Lexington has an opening in her firm that might be of interest to you and she’s already said she’d love to talk to you about it.

“Great,” I lie as I loosen my tie. I’m already feeling trapped and the stupid material around my neck isn’t helping matters any. I can’t even remember the last time I wore a tie.

As I hurry back towards the bar I’m glad to see that Mazzy doesn’t have any other customers. She’s all mine, at least for a few minutes.

I order two beers and down them both double-fisted. When I look up I imagine that Mazzy will have a look of horror on her face, but all I see is puzzlement. As if she’s looking at a brand new species of creature.

By the time I order my fourth miniature beer I have just enough liquid courage to actually start a conversation with her. It’s not that I generally have a hard time conversing with women. On the contrary, I’m generally quite smooth with the opposite sex. But I feel different in this monkey suit and a political fundraiser is definitely not my native habitat. I’m used to picking up women at dive bars or neighborhood pubs. The more relaxed and casual the atmosphere the better.

There’s absolutely nothing relaxed or casual about my present circumstances. But at least the beers have taken the edge off.

“Mazzy is an unusual name,” I say as she hands me my beer.

She just gives me a polite nod in return.

“Do you live around here?” As soon as the words leave my lips I realize it’s a ridiculous question. I’m sure she doesn’t commute very far for a job as a bartender.

“I’ve lived in Old Town my whole life.” Her clipped tone leads me to believe that she has little interest in talking to me. Not that I blame her. If I ran into me in this setting wearing this suit I wouldn’t want to talk to me either.

“Know of any good bars around here.” I hold up the small cup. “These tiny cups aren’t really doing it for me.”

That remark elicits the tiniest of smiles. At least it’s a start.

“Try Haymakers. It’s the only bar in Old Town. Do you like country music?”

I shrug. “I’m more of a rock-and-roll kind of guy.”

“Haymakers is definitely a country bar. I used to work there.”

“Maybe I’ll check it out.” I’ll be staying at my family’s lake house, which isn’t too far from Old Town. I’m sure I’ll go stir crazy after a while and will need some kind of escape. “Thanks for the recommendation.”

“If you tell them that Mazzy sent you they might even give you a free beer.”

“Free is good.” I give her my sexiest smile, but it doesn’t seem to make much of an impact. I realize that maybe she’s just being nice so I’ll give her a good tip. I reach into my pocket, pull out a five dollar bill and add it to the mostly singles lining the tip jar.

“Thanks,” she says and when she finally looks me in the eye I feel a little flash of something. I’m not quite sure what it is, but my entire body reacts to it. I put my beer on the end of the bar for a moment and put my hands in my pockets in an effort to lower the flag that’s starting to rise in my pants.

“Haymakers,” I repeat. “I’m definitely going to check it out.”

“Only bar in town. You can’t miss it.”

I don’t want to stop talking to this girl. She’s like the cool girl that guys love to be friends with, but who they also want to fuck. It’s a rare combination. Most girls who are as attractive as she is are a little high on the maintenance scale. And girls who are as cool as she seems, the ones you’d love to hang out with and drink on a Friday night, are usually not as attractive as Mazzy. She’s like the best of both worlds.

I take one more look at her and when she gives me the slightest of smiles it tugs at my heartstrings. I’m completely entranced again.

Unfortunately a group of Young Republicans turn up behind me and I know she needs to serve them so I’ve got to move on.

My Book Review:

Just when I thought author Savannah Young would leave her fans brokenhearted with the conclusion of her popular Old Town Country Romance series, she teams up with author Sierra Avalon to create a spin-off series, Tawnee Mountain, that takes the readers back to Old Town, NJ to catch up with their favorite characters from the first series, while giving twin sisters Mazzy and Suzie Olsen their own spotlight!

In Another Mazzy Monday, the first book in the Tawnee Mountain series, Mazzy and Suzie are bartenders at the ritzy Tawnee Mountain Resort, who dream of owning their own restaurant. While at a fundraiser at the resort, wealthy NJ gubernatorial candidate Drew Graham offers Mazzy a job to pretend to be his fiancee for the next two months to help him secure votes to win the election, she has no problem agreeing to his proposal thinking that it would help her and Suzie obtain their dream ... that is until Drew's sexy younger brother Austin returns home from Europe, and Mazzy suddenly finds herself attracted to him instead!

In true Savannah Young style, she and fellow author Sierra Avalon weave another delicious romantic tale that will leave a smile on your face. I was so excited when I saw that there was going to be a spin-off series to the Old Town Country Romance series. I really enjoyed reading about the sexy Wilde brothers, and I was so happy to catch up with them and their lovely ladies, and finally getting the chance to read about Mazzy and Suzie, who had made cameo appearances in the first series.

Another Mazzy Monday is such a sassy fun story filled with humor, drama, witty banter, and sigh worthy romance. The reader will easily be drawn into the twin sisters' lives, and will enjoy following the romantic journey that awaits Mazzy. While I was intrigued by Drew's offer, I really enjoyed watching the relationship that developed between Mazzy and Austin. Let's just say that Austin fits right in with the Old Town gang, just like the Wilde brothers, this black sheep, motorcycle riding bad boy simply stole my heart! I can't wait to read Suzie's story! So if you want to read a contemporary romance story that will leave a smile on your face, then do yourself a favor, read both series ... you won't be disappointed!


About The Author

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Mueller Bryson writes under four pen names. This is her first novel co-written by two of them.

Savannah Young’s stories take place in fictional Old Town, which is very much like the rural Northwest New Jersey town in which she grew up. She is the author of the four-book Wilde brother’s Old Town Country Romance series.

Sierra Avalon’s stories have a little sass and lots of spice. She is the author of Always Rayne, which is the first book in the Always, Sometimes, Never series.


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Hearts on Fire by Alison Packard (Book Cover Reveal Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book cover release event for Hearts on Fire by Author Alison Packard!

Hearts on Fire by Alison Packard
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Format: eBook - Kindle - 2347 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Hearts on Fire
AMAZON  (Preorder: Pub Date - February 3, 2015)

Book Description:

Country music star Jessie Grant has it all. An amazing voice, a string of multi-platinum albums, and a sold-out concert tour. But just before her Hearts on Fire tour rolls into Las Vegas, her lead guitarist is badly injured and is unable to play. Desperate to find a replacement before the night of a televised live show, Jessie is forced to accept help from the last person on earth she wants to see again.

Drew Carmichael has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best up-and-coming musicians in Nashville, without cashing in on his renowned father’s name. When Jessie’s manager calls and asks him to fill in for her band’s injured guitar player, he agrees to help Jessie out even though she cut him out of her life four months ago.

In Sin City, sparks fly between Jessie and Drew, and it isn’t long before they give in to their mutual attraction. But when the dark past Jessie has successfully hidden for ten years explodes in the media, their tenuous bond is put to the test, and both Jessie and Drew must learn to trust each other if they don’t want their newfound romantic relationship to go up in flames.

Book Excerpt:

Jessie Grant stared at the cheery yellow wall in her dressing room, and fought the overwhelming urge to throw something. Anything. Her agitated gaze fell on the lovely vase of flowers that had been delivered just before the show, and she had to remind herself that violence, especially towards a perfectly innocent bouquet of pink roses and white calla lilies, wouldn’t solve anything.

But then again, it might relieve the tension that was coiled inside of her like a tightly wound spring.

“Calm down.”

“Calm down?” Jessie whirled around and met the exasperated eyes of her manager. “You expect me to calm down when my guitar player, who, unbeknownst to me, was half-wasted during our set, and decided to stage dive into the audience.” She pointed a finger at him. “That broken arm of his isn’t gonna to heal in four days. I need another guitar player, and I need one now.”

“Relax,” Wally Lindell said in a soothing voice. “I’m working on it.”

“How are you working on it?”

She propped her hands on her hips and gave him her best glacial stare. It didn’t faze him. It never did. He’d been her manager since she was fifteen years old, and he knew her better than anyone. So he should have known that she would be totally freaked out about losing her lead guitar player four days before her exclusive gig in Las Vegas, after all, he was the one who had dubbed her a perfectionist.

“I put in a call to Drew.”

Jessie’s already churning stomach lurched wildly. “Drew Carmichael?”

“How many other guitar players named Drew do you know?” Wally shot her a wise-ass grin.

Only one.

“So you talked to him?” she asked, as she moved to the make-up table. She picked up the bottle of water her stylist had left out for her and took a sip. Maybe the simple task would soothe her frayed nerves.

It didn’t even come close.

“What did he say?”

“I left him a message. He hasn’t called me back yet.” Wally shoved his hands into the front pockets of his black jeans and looked her straight in the eyes with an unflinching directness.

She’d seen that look before; the one telling her that while she might be the star, he was the one who’d gotten her there, and before she went off half-cocked, she’d better let him have his say. And of course, she would. She respected Wally far too much not to listen to him.

“He’s the only guitar player we can get on such short notice that knows your set list,” he continued. “I don’t know what happened between the two of you, but whatever it is, you need to put it aside for the sake of this gig, and maybe the rest of the tour.”

“What makes you think something happened?” she asked with feigned nonchalance.

It was best not to let anyone, especially Wally, know how much she cared about Drew.

“Because you two were as thick as thieves last spring, and now it’s like he’s dropped off the face of the earth. Did you have a falling out?”

“No.” Jessie scowled, as she returned the bottle to the table. “We didn’t have a falling out. I’ve been on the road for months now and he…he’s got a life.”

A life that didn’t include her.

About The Author

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison Packard now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store.

When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.


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