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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer Fire: Love When It's Hot Contemporary Romance Boxed Set (Book Blast)

 In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Summer Fire: When It's Hot - Contemporary Romance Boxed Set!

About The Boxed Set

Title:  Summer Fire: Love When It's Hot (Boxed Set) 
Author: Gennita Low, Stacey Mosteller, R.J. Lewis. L. Wilder, Victoria Danann, Kym Grosso, Cat Miller, Mimi Barbour, Clarissa Wild, Teresa Gabelman, Linda Barlow, Helen Scott Taylor, Victoria James, Mona Risk, Patrice Wilton, Joan Reeves, Danielle Jamie, Terri Marie, Lorhainne Eckhart, Brandy L. Rivers, Nicole Blanchard 
Publisher:  dba 7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC 
Publication Date: May 26, 2015 
Format: eBook
                Kindle - 3204 KB
                Nook - 4 MB
ISBN: 978-1507060469 
BNID: 2940151700993
Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Twitter Hashtag: #SUMMERFIRE   

Book Description:

21 ALL NEW contemporary romance stories by New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors.

Limited Time Only!

Love when it’s hot? So do we. 

Especially when we’re writing about gritty alphas, angsty bad boys, sizzling attraction, and unrequited passion. Turn the fan to oscillate, loosen your buttons,  and join us for this groundbreaking bundle of summer tales that are hot hot hot.

1. Gennita Low - Sizzle
2. Stacey Mosteller – Just One Summer
3. R.J. Lewis - Sinful
4. L. Wilder - Summer Storm
5. Victoria Danann – A Season in Gemini
6. Kym Grosso - Solstice Burn
7. Cat Miller – Sun Burnt
8. Mimi Barbour – Big Girls Don’t Cry
9. Clarissa Wild - Killer
10. Teresa Gabelman - Rodeo Romance
11. Helen Scott Taylor - Irish Kisses
12. Victoria James – Sweet Surrender 13. Mona Risk - Husband for a Week
14. Patrice Wilton – A Man for Hire
15. Linda Barlow - My Mile-High Mistake
16. Joan Reeves – Heat Lightning
17. Danielle Jamie – Tan Lines and Salty Kisses
18. Terri Marie - Someone Exactly Like You
19. Lorhainne Eckhart – His Promise
20. Brandy L Rivers - Summer Rhythm
21. Nicole Blanchard - Anchor

Buy The Boxed Set: 



Barnes & Noble:



May 24 - 27, 2015
Join In The Fun!

Summer Fire Book Blast Event

Notorious P-Man Sam by Thomas Barr, Jr (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Notorious P-Man Sam by Author Thomas Barr, Jr.!


Book Review

TitleNotorious P-Man Sam: Miami's Urban Chronicles Vol. 1 by Thomas Barr, Jr.
Vol. 1: Miami's Urban Chronicles
Publisher: VIP INK Publishing Group, Inc. / Printhouse Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2015
Format: Paperback - 270 pages
               Kindle - 835 KB
               Nook - 187 KB
ISBN: 978-0986134012
BNID: 2940151319539
Genre: Urban Fiction  

Purchase The Book:
Barnes & Noble

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

Book Description:

This book is about the struggle of African American men as they traverse the perils of 20th and twenty first century life in the professional realms of the work place atmosphere. The differences in opportunities are often overlooked in comparison to other classes and among the races.

The American dream is the realization of success in the face of struggle and hard work. Is it relevant that one’s struggle is harder than the other in accomplishment of this goal? P-Man Sam is a hard look at the road to self-empowerment and what it takes to make it in the American society. The entrepreneurial spirit is one of the main roads traveled in realization of the American dream.

It takes knowledge and a fearlessness to take a chance in the ruthless world of business in this society. It’s also important to be able to effectively communicate with the modern diverse society of today through effective people skills.

The P-Man Sam story brings an awareness of how to navigate negative experiences and transform them into motivational learning blocks. Learning from experiences and moving forward is essential in life. One’s eyes must be open and naïve thought processes must be conquered in attaining the ultimate prize. The following are useful for application:

• Mentorship
• Net working
• Coalition building
• Broad-mindedness

This book is a good source for inspiration and having hope is a major force in your journey through life. Situations and circumstances should not be viewed as a hindrance, but instead a hurdle in step to the finish line. There are many instances in this story that relay the struggle against forces that present obstacles. Willpower and dedication are true factors that assist the main character in winning out against such forces.

In conclusion, the power of love and support are sustaining factors in the realization of goals in life. The act of goal-setting itself is an important factor in accomplishing anything in pursuant of ambitious dreams. This novel is sprinkled with kernels of knowledge and inspirational wording designed to give the reader insight into the motivations of the main character that can be transcending to experience.

It is beneficial and intended to identify and acquire these gems of knowledge to retain as progressive career tools.  

Book Excerpt: 

In the tenth year of the millennium, on the major Interstate of I-95 cars sped up the roadway and zinged pass construction barriers. Many of the vehicles just barely swipe distressed vehicles’ parked roadside. Sam Silvasteen drove with his windows down taking in the South Florida breeze as his car cruised at a comfortable speed. A black car with a high performance sounding engine screeched up next to Sam’s car. The sound of gunfire erupted and peppered the passenger’s side of Sam’s car with silver dollar sized bullet holes. Sam jerked the steering wheel in an attempt to dodge the spray of bullets. The men in the car continued to pace Sam’s car firing ruthlessly into the frame of the automobile. Hot lead ripped through Sam’s flesh as he was hit with a volley of bullets.

Sam slammed into the median and the men sped off as his car coasted to a halt along the concrete rail. Sam could hear the screaming brakes of other cars on the road and smell the scent of twisted metal as he faded out. The Entrepreneurial President of Bandstand Magazine lay shot along the Miami corridor among twisted metal. His life flashed before his eyes and he thought back on the events that led him to his current predicament.

Sam was a street wise entrepreneur who had escaped the shadows of the crime filled eighties drug environment of Miami. Cocaine was the major drug that circulated thru the community of Dade County. He transformed his life into a respectable businessman and attempted to help other urban youth in becoming productive community citizens. Within the blink of an eye his life was turned upside down and the phantoms of his past attempted to snatch his mortal essence from existence.

Sam was initially raised in a single parent home. When Sam turned ten in the year 1977, he was placed in an orphanage by his grandparents due to his mother’s early dementia among her other mental illness related problems. Sam’s grandparents had six adult kids living in their home and couldn’t afford a proper home for young Sam.


“Who turned the damn T.V.,” yelled a burly kid his hair dripped with Gerri curl juice. His voice echoed through the bare white walled dayroom of the orphanage. Sam sat motionless as the other kids looked around not saying a word in response to the question. The scarcely decorated room remained silent. Most of the juveniles were Cuban exiles and spoke little English. The burly kid steaming with rage yanked the plug out of the wall and kicked the T.V. over. The loud crash and sound of breaking glass alerted the nearby sisters from the hallway entrance.

“What happened to the T.V.?” Asked Sister Alice, she was new to Saint Joseph and relocated from Nicaragua to assist with the influx of prospective exiled children of political patriots. She wore the traditional long flowing robes of her profession. She was a looker and it could be speculated that she had her pick of the litter before being ordained.

“Jose kicked it over,” said the burly kid as he pointed at Jose Marti a skinny pale Cuban teen. Jose possessed long limbs but his skinny frame made him look a bit goofy in appearance.

“Jose is this true?” Replied Sister Alice, as she wheeled in his direction. Jose remained silent as Sister Alice waited for him to respond.

“Jose didn’t do it Sister Alice,” Sam exclaimed. His voice was firm and controlled. “Well it didn’t happen on its on Sam,” replied Sister Alice in a sarcastic tone. The burly kid cut his eyes at Sam and gave him a hard look.

She now turned to the burly kid, “Trey Brownlee if you’re fibbing you get twenty lashes,” She exclaimed.

“I swear….,” replied Trey before he could finish his sentence Sister Alice smacked him in the chest with a ruler. In a heavy Spanish accent she sentenced Trey to spend the rest of the day in time out.

“Sam get this mess cleaned up,” she said as she escorted Trey from the room.

Sam immediately grabbed a garbage can to pick up the shards of glass that covered the floor. Jose found a broom and swept some of the glass in a pile for Sam to scoop into the garbage. The other kids resumed their activities as the hype died down.

Sam made a friend in Jose from the day of the T.V. incident with Trey. They began their friendship working as partners at anything they did together. Sam was a husky twelve year old and Jose was three years his senior. The two got along quite well with no regards to their respective ages. Lucky Barnes was a younger kid who hung around Burt Ramos the only Puerto Rican kid at the orphanage. Lucky was a portly black kid with big hands. Burt often used little Lucky when he was trying to hustle the other boys in marbles.

“Hey Sam,” said Burt. “Trey is going to be pissed that you stuck your nose in his business.”

“Forget Trey,” responded Sam. “If you’re down with Trey than forget you too,” said Sam as he flopped down onto a sofa in the dayroom of the orphanage. A group of boys congregated at the corner of the day room and shot a game of marbles.

“Oh I’m down for myself and I was just making sure you knew what time it was,” said Burt as he made his way to the marbles game. Lucky gave Sam thumbs up as he shuffled close behind Burt. Jose pulled up a chair alongside Sam and said, “Now we have nothing to watch because of Trey.” The boys protested loudly in the corner of the room while Burt tried to convince them he was not cheating. “Hey I got ya back don’t let them get to you about that Trey stuff,” he said.

Sam sat straight up and replied, “I’m not worried about a thing.” He extended his hand and slapped Jose five. Jose watched a lot of T.V. and was hip to the street ways of black culture. He understood the gesture and was happy to have made a friend in a place where watching out for self was paramount. Sam was also careful in not being labeled a rat while sticking up for Jose. He knew in befriending an older kid his chances of survival had increased tenfold.


The females were housed in an entirely different dorm wing as compared with the males. The only times the two would mingle was during mealtimes and that was usually three times a day. All the kids in the orphanage were supervised by nuns and the Mon Senior had final call on all activities. Sam had his eye on this one pigtailed hair girl named Vivian Smart. She was a beautiful vivacious teen who was present at the orphanage upon Sam’s arrival.

“Hi Sam,” she said as she sat down with her lunch at Sam’s table. “I heard what you did for that Cuban kid the other day and I think it was courageous.” Sam shifted in his chair.

“No big thing,” he replied. “The kid looked as if he needed help and I stepped in.” Sam dropped his head and continued to munch on his sandwich. Vivian took a cookie from her tray and placed it on a napkin in front of Sam’s tray. Sam didn’t raise his head but his heart quickened its pace.

“This is for your bravery,” she replied as she slid the napkin in Sam’s direction. Sam was at a loss of words, and before he uttered his faint thank you Vivian had strode off and rejoined her friends.

The cafeteria was a bustle with kids and they were being closely monitored by the nuns for any improprieties. Sam sat brooding as he finished his meal. He missed he mother and siblings, while the orphanage provided a vibrant surrounding it lacked genuine personal connections. Before his mother’s unfortunate problems Sam was often doted on by his family. He was the youngest and the last born of his mother’s children. His siblings were years older than he was and were all away trying to establish a life for themselves. Sam hated being poor but what else could he do he thought to himself.

Sam made his way to the day room after lunch and sat looking at one of the day room windows. He had a second period of classes in which he contemplated cutting. Jose walked up to him and slapped him on the back, “What up Sam!” He said in his best English.

“What’s up Jose,” replied Sam. I got a couple of classes for second period and I do not feel like going,” said Sam with a sigh.

Jose was only a grade higher than Sam although he was fifteen. His problems with the language barrier relegated him to grades lower than his normal level in Cuba. “Let’s hangout in the courtyard or sneak over to the girl’s dorm,” replied Jose.

“Cool,” replied Sam. He stashed his books under a nearby sofa and was out the door along with Jose. 


The girl’s wing was well kept and immaculate in comparison to the facilities the boys maintained. When not in class the girls milled around outside and played dodge ball on the cement courts. The males and females rarely participated in physical activities except when there was a yearly festival occurring. Jose and Sam hid behind a dumpster near the courts of the girl’s dormitory. “Hey there’s Vivian,” said Sam as he ducked so he wouldn’t be seen by her.

“Who is Vivian?” Jose inquired.

“Nobody,” replied Sam.

The girls walked on a nearby court and began their ritual jump rope Double Dutch game. Jose whistled trying to get one of the girls’ attention, Sam nudged him in the side.

“Are you trying to get us busted,” exclaimed Sam.

“No, just trying to get us some trim,” replied Jose.

One of the girls heard the commotion and walked over to where Sam and Jose were held up. She saw them crouched behind the dumpster and immediately began screaming. The boys tore out of their hiding place and ran for the nearest place to hide for cover. Jose laughed hysterically as he tried to catch his breath from the sprint to the dormitory.

“You’re crazy,” remarked Sam bending over in exhaustion.

“That was a rush,” said Jose.


The two boys walked back to the day room and talked about the look on the girls’ faces when they realized they were being spied upon. Classes were ending for the day and the dayroom was filled with students. Music appreciation seminars were usually held by Sister Alice after dinner and Sam really enjoyed the sessions. He profiled the different types of music genre as well as the musicians of past and contemporary times. “I’m going to my room before dinner,” said Jose.

“See you later,” remarked Sam.

Sam remained in the dayroom leafing through his school books as he sat on a bench in the back of the room. Sister Alice entered the dayroom recruiting groups to complete chores. Sister Alice mentioned that the females were also participating and Sam decided to volunteer. One group of males and one group of females were directed to the gymnasium area of the compound. The two groups were instructed to scrub the floors and wash the walls. Sam joined the chore group hoping to get a chance to be around Vivian. Sam began scrubbing and to his dismay saw no sign of Vivian in the other group.

Sam continued to volunteer his services for the chores squad of Sister Alice in hopes of seeing Vivian. On this one particular day the squad was tasked to clean the main administrative offices of parish officials. Vivian was assigned to the task and Sam was delighted his persistence had finally paid off. Sam decided he would work closely with Vivian and learn more about her interests.

“Hey what are you doing here?” said Sam. Vivian stopped what she was doing and put her hands on his hips.

“The same thing you’re doing,” She said. The girls giggled as Vivian smiled at Sam.

Sam thought to himself that was a dumb question to ask. He never knew the right words to say to the members of the opposite sex. She looked so beautiful standing there with a twinkle in her eyes and sass in her voice thought Sam.

“Well I was offering to help but I see you’re good,” Sam replied with a smirk.

“You’re such a good guy,” said Vivian with a wink.

Sam continued to work while the girls chatted about what guys they thought were cute in the boys’ dormitory. Sam pondered his next move on how to get Vivian’s attention without her friends being around. He thought he would have a better chance at an honest conversation on a one on one basis. Sam would have to covertly recruit individuals to help with his plan and a major part of his plan would be Sister Alice.

Sam was exhausted after his chores and he lounged in the dayroom and watched the boys roll marbles. A couple of maintenance men coordinated the installment of a new T.V. in place of the damaged one. Jose walked in and made his way over to a nearby by sofa avoiding the guys on the floor as they shot marbles.

“So you were doing chores,” remarked Jose. “Did you see your sweetheart Vivian,” he remarked with a laugh. Sam ignored Jose’s remark and continued to watch the boys argue over taking a turn to roll marbles.

“When are you going to volunteer to help out around here?” asked Sam. “Maybe you’ll meet a nice female.” Sam remarked.

“My uncles say the best way to get a fine girl is with a lot of money,” said Jose.

“Yeah that works too,” said Sam with a chuckle.

Sam was intent on wining the heart of Vivian and he assured himself that love was his reason for his persistence. Sam had not really known the love of a woman outside of his mother but he could not resist the emotion he felt when he was around Vivian. Sam would be careful about revealing his feelings around the people he interacted with daily, because in his environment this could be a source of perceived weakness.

Trey entered the dayroom and stomped through the circled marbles on the floor where the boys were shooting marbles. The sound of grinding glass against the floor could be heard as Trey twisted his foot on each stomp. Marbles shot out from under Trey’s foot hitting the sides of nearby chairs, tables and walls. The boys scuttled out of Trey’s path dodging flying marbles.

“Man why’d you do that!” One of the enraged boys responded.

“Shut your trap,” retorted Trey.

Sam knew Trey was pissed he had challenged his rule in standing up for Jose. Sam was ready for whatever retaliation Trey would seek to impose. Sam continued to lounge nonchalantly on the sofa as Trey marauded around the dayroom. Jose remained silent as he sat on the other sofa. Sam could see Jose was tense and his demeanor had drastically shifted in relation to his earlier mood. Sister Alice stuck her head through the doorway of the day room.

“We will have no trouble out of you today Trey,” She said as she disappeared down the hallway.

Sam sat at the breakfast table alone and ate his bowl of oatmeal in silence. He soon felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Sister Alice standing over him smiling with her black nun’s head dress draped over her hair.

“Sam don’t mind Trey much,” she said. “Both his parents died of aids when he was just a toddler.” She pulled up a chair and sat next to Sam. Sam paused between spoons full of oatmeal as she continued to talk.

“He was raised by his grandmother until she died a couple of months ago and he seems to have a hard time adjusting.” She said.

Sam thought to himself he was not having an easy time here either and why is she telling this story to someone who loathes Trey. Sam began to fidget with his silverware as Sister Alice told Trey’s life story. He desperately wished Jose would appear and interrupt her oration. Sam could appreciate the concern Sister Alice felt for the kids of the orphanage. He wondered if she spoke of his situation and issues with others as she did of Trey.

Sam’s own home situation was what led to his current occupancy and he felt little empathy for Trey’s story. Sam had few adult role models; however Sister Alice influenced the good in him. Sam dreamed of the day when he could stand on his own without the need of the orphanage. He was tired of being a kid and was ready to venture out into the world. Sam was in his own thoughts now and subconsciously caught bits and pieces of Sister Alice’s conversation. “You know Sam Saint Joseph will seek to be a solid base for your upbringing when you grow up,” she said. Her voice seemed to trail off as her last comment reverberated in his thoughts.

Sam desired to make a good impression to others by making himself who they thought he should be. He would do tasks that made other people happy and would go all out to fit in with others. Sam felt uneasy in the aftermath when he thought of this act of self repression. His true nature was to be himself and explore who the real Sam was as an individual.

Sam viewed Trey as a bully and an enemy to the free spirit of those around him. Trey’s bully tactics blunted the freewill of others stunting their growth. Sam in an attempt to be ordinary like everyone else downplayed his true abilities. He had no desire to be recognized as exceptional in comparison to his colleagues. The Trey types sought to bring out such exceptional abilities which made Sam hate him even more.

Sam’s perceived abandonment issues stoked his desires for the camaraderie of others and he highly valued friendship. Trey bullying tampered with that concept which in turn was a source for instability in Sam’s world. Sam would mesh out any instability that threatened his contentment. Trey would be met with the harsh retaliation whenever he threatened to disrupt Sam’s reality.

Sister Alice realized Sam was not soaking in her words and stopped speaking. She looked at Sam as he sat gazing into the distance. She raised herself from her seated position and stood with her hands on her hips. She shook her head and walked away from Sam as he continued his gaze.

“Kids,” she said.
My Book Review:

Notorious P-Man Sam is an intriguing urban fiction story that is set in Miami and follows the trials and tribulations of Sam Silvasteen as he follows his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Sam Silvasteen is a man from a meager background. He struggles in a low minimum wage job to support his family. He has big ambitions and dreams of a better way of life. As he pursues his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur, he struggles against the temptation of fast money and crime. Sam's story explores the aspirations of an average business person, and the daily pressures, choices, vices, and crucial decisions that lead to his overcoming the odds, and making it as a successful entrepreneur.

According to the author, he was inspired to write the novel by a former Miami music magazine executive, who was tragically killed in a drive-by shooting. He wanted to detail his life experience and portray a fictionalized chronology of the event.  

Notorious P-Man Sam is a fascinating tale about an African-American man's aspirations to become a successful entrepreneur. This fast paced tale easily draws the reader into Sam's story, it is a realistic and engaging in depth look into his personal journey and self-empowerment to achieve the American dream. 


About The Author

Hailing from Miami Florida; Author Thomas Barr was born in Lake City, South Carolina home of the 2nd African American astronaut, killed on the Challenger space mission, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.  He is the grandson of a share cropper whom taught him the value of hard work and education.  At age 17 he began college at Bethune-Cookman University and graduated Cum Laude with honors.  While in college he was inspired to write when he read the novel, Black Boy by Richard Wright.  He began writing short stories for campus publications and won a $500 dollar publication contest in a local campus circular.  He entered the Air Force after college and spent two tours of duty in the gulf during the Persian Gulf War.  Upon leaving the Military he went back to school and completed graduate school at the University of Akron in Ohio earning a master of public administration.  He began a career in government as an Intern with the Ohio legislature and later became employed with the Florida Senate as a legislative assistant.  His current works were inspired by his work with the City of Miami as a civil servant in administration.

Thomas Barr’s writings reflect the everyday struggle of the average individual trying to make something of life.  Every person has a story to tell and the job of an inspirational writer is to bring those stories to life for the good of all.  As an author Thomas Barr desires to be the chronicler of inspirational stories designed to assist dreamers in achieving.   

Connect with Thomas:
Author Website: 
Author Blog: Facebook: 
Twitter: Goodreads:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pleasant Day by Vera Jane Cook (Book Review)

In association with Premier Virtual Author Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Pleasant Day by Author Vera Jane Cook!

Pleasant Day by Vera Jane Cook
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: February 13, 2015
Format: Paperback - 322 pages
               Kindle - 3011 KB
               Nook - 687 KB
ISBN: 978-1937327613
Genre: Southern Fiction / Women's 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 event hosted by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.

Book Description:

With murder in common friendship is inevitable:

As fifteen year old Pleasant Day struggles with her mother’s distance, her father’s infidelity and the death of her best friend, she draws closer to Clarissa, an older woman with the secrets to heal her. But Clarissa has struggles of her own as she faces betrayal and seeks to come to terms with old wounds. With her unpredictable but psychic ability to ‘read people’ Clarissa uncovers the answers to a deadly crime and to Pleasant’s true identity. In the end, both Pleasant and Clarissa’s worlds are transformed by the truths they’re forced to accept.

Praise for Pleasant Day By Vera Jane Cook:

“Absolutely unputdownable, a real page turner. Be prepared to clear your schedule for the day. You’re going to read this one straight through! This is Vera Jane Cook’s best one yet!” –Wall to Wall Books

“A beautiful blend of past and present with loveable, memorable characters and a page turning pace, I was sorry I couldn’t read it in one sitting.” –Jenn Doyle, Books & Life.

“A beautiful piece of southern fiction…a great page turner…this book is filled with delightful characters, charm, warmth, love and last but certainly not least, wonderful humor.”-Arlene Uslander, Editor and writer.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter Four: Pleasant Day 

John Peter told me that Mr. Grady was at the police station same time he was and he was crying and screaming, saying that that couldn't be his daughter's body they found because Millie was home sleeping. Sergeant Brown drove Mr. Grady to Doctor Rand's office so he could get a sedative. John Peter said he started crying himself 'cause Mr. Grady was so distraught.

"I think he's going to go a little crazy," John Peter said to me. "I never saw a man's face look like that in my life. He looked like he was taking fire into his body, burning to death. He had this horrible grimace. I swear, I couldn't look at him."

I didn't know what to say. I wanted to pay my respects to Mr. Grady but on the other hand, I never wanted to see him again in my life. I couldn't bear his distress. I even wanted to get away from John Peter and go hide under a blanket.

"I gotta go," I said. "Mama wanted me to pick up pork chops at Madison's."

I started down the block and I heard him yelling behind me to meet him up on the hill next day. I didn't know if I wanted to see John Peter again so soon. I couldn't help myself but I kept wondering if he could have saved Millie's life. If they'd only waited it out together, waited for the strange man to leave the doorstep. If he'd only not made her jump out the window then maybe the man at the door would have left and John Peter would have gone back up to the bedroom and taken Millie's virginity the whole way. Then she could have told me all about it and I'd be begging for all the clandestine details instead of flying into town, wishing I was dead too.

I was real distracted after buying the pork chops and I guess I wasn't thinking. I hopped on my bike and took the corner at top speed. Before I knew it some damn woman was on the ground under my front bike tire. I nearly flipped my lid. She looked like she was dead, the way she was staring at me, like I held a harp and had wings. I sure was relieved when she got to her feet and wiped herself off. She didn't reprimand me or anything, like someone else might have done. She had kind of a nice face.
I said I was sorry a thousand times but she just kept staring at me. I think she mistook me for someone else but I couldn't be sure.


I put the pork chops on the kitchen counter and ran back outside. I didn't want Mama to put a paring knife in my hand and a sack of potatoes in my lap. That was Sawyer's job anyway, peeling carrots and being in there to savor Mama's gastronomic wonders and telling her how absolutely French her cooking was and how she should be on television showing people how to find flavor. That boy had so much sugar in his shoes I couldn't hardly keep a straight face. He had this little dance he did over the pot when Mama asked him to salt something. I could hear the two of them laughing like hyenas from upstairs; then I'd show up in the kitchen just as hungry for attention. Mama would turn silent and Sawyer would start rattling off things that didn't make no sense, silly songs like I got a chicken in the barn, what barn, whose barn. I got a chicken in the barn.
That was like their private code, she's here, let's get stupid now. That's when I'd tell him that his head was so empty, filled with nothing but pennies, like a pig bank, and his pig head rattled so loud it kept me up nights. I'd tell him he was supposed to have brains in there like everybody else but he got out of line when they were passing them out. Mama would sigh long and hard and tell me he had her genes, that's why he liked to cook. What was that supposed to do, make me feel good? I'd say "Ha, and I have Daddy's." I didn't use that argument none too often though 'cause Mama would always say "You didn't get the better of us. You hear that, Pleasant? You didn't get the better of us."

Maybe that was Mama's way of telling me I was unique. I could read all sorts of things into that but I wasn't going to waste my time. I stayed clear of the kitchen as much as I could. Anyway, Sawyer had pissed in there and left his mark, metaphorically speaking. Fine, I metaphorically pissed all over my bedroom like a male dog too, also out the backyard and in the den, where my fruitcake brother liked to watch cooking shows.

The fence around our house wasn't too high. I sat cross-legged on the ground and stared across the road at Mr. Wiley. If he threw rocks he couldn't hit me, long as I stayed low. He was just sitting there with his sign, Homemade Jellies, $6 a jar. On the little table in front of him he had all Mrs. Wiley's jellies. I think there were five or six different kinds. I didn't like the plum but the cherry was real good and made my lips pucker. The strawberry was Sawyer's favorite. I sometimes swiped one for him. It all depended on how he'd treated me that day. The apricot jelly gave me the runs and the marmalade was made with rum so I couldn't have that.

My Book Review:

Pleasant Day by author Vera Jane Cook is an intriguing southern women's fiction with a suspenseful murder mystery twist that will keep the reader sitting on the edge of their seats!

Set in the small southern town of Hollow Creek, South Carolina, this riveting story is told in the first person narrative by fifteen year old Pleasant Day, who wants to solve the mystery of who really killed her friend Millie Grady. Pleasant unexpectedly meets sixty year old Clarissa Blackwell, who has the gift of psychic ability. With a small town full of complex people, buried secrets, and two murders that were committed fifteen years apart, Pleasant and Clarissa are brought together by an old mystery and a dark past that comes to the surface and will forever change their worlds.

Pleasant Day is an intriguing tale that has enough drama, mystery, and suspense that easily drew me in and kept me turning the pages. Author Vera Jane Cook weaves a complex story told by a sassy southern teenage girl with a potty mouth, she's an old soul whose point of view was so unique that I found myself liking this straight talking and take no crap kind of teen, even though I wanted to wash her mouth out with soap!

There is a great mixture of humor and raw gritty drama within this multi-layered storyline, it has enough gripping twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing what will happen next. As a fan of southern fiction, the author does a great job of transporting the reader to the small town of Hollow Creek with a rich description of the setting, southern charm, and quirky memorable townspeople. From the complex relationships between the characters, the deeply buried town secrets, to the clever intertwining of the past and present murder mysteries that unexpectedly brings Pleasant and Clarissa together, Pleasant Day is a thoroughly riveting story that will keep you captivated until the surprising conclusion!


About The Author

Winner: Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and the Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction! 5 Star Clarion ForeWord Review!

Vera Jane Cook, writer of Award Winning Women’s Fiction, is the author of The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise and Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.

Jane, as she is known to family and friends, was born in New York City and grew up amid the eccentricity of her southern and glamorous mother on the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan.

An only child, Jane turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Some of her favorite authors today are Nelson DeMille, Calib Carr, Wally Lamb, Anne Rice, Sue Monk Kidd, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. Her favorite novels are too long to list but include The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Cheri and The Last of Cheri, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Wuthering Heights, Look at Me, Dogs of Babel, The Bluest Eye, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Body Surfing, Lolita, The Brothers Karamazov, She’s Come Undone, Tale of Two Cities, etc., etc., etc...

Author Website

Virtual Book Tour

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

Swings by Corbin Lewars (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 Swings by Author Corbin Lewars!

Book Review

Swings by Corbin Lewars
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Publication Date: March 11, 2015
Format: Paperback - 192 pages
               Kindle - 686 KB
               Nook - 426 KB
ISBN: 978-1620157275
BNID: 2940151287487
Genre: Women's 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 event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

After attending three new mom groups, only to be banned for eating Cheetos (not organic!) and uttering the occasional swear word, Sadie Walker questions why she is trying so hard to fit in. While sitting in another dingy community center playroom full of squealing babies and new moms enthusiastically discussing homemade organic baby food, Sadie meets John, a handsome, vivacious dad. They quickly form a friendship and Sadie finally finds an adult outlet. John soon becomes a lifeline and she looks to him for advice and support, and confides in him about her strained marriage and career as a copywriter. Sadie begins to have sexual fantasies about John. Those fantasies turn into opportunity when he tells her he’s in an open marriage. As Sadie contemplates how far is too far in regards to her friendship with John, she must also question herself, her marriage, and her life. Will swinging with John improve that life, or destroy it?

Book Excerpt:

I’ve never seen so many boobs and baldheads in my life. And the noise is deafening! About twenty babies are squealing while their moms attempt to talk to one another. The way bodies are crawling, rolling, and lurching all over the dingy carpet reminds me of a wrestling match gone awry. This is a nightmare. I’m out of here, I mutter to myself. My three-month-old son squirms in his sling and smiles up at me expectantly. “Really, buddy?” I ask him. “Don’t you remember how bored we were at the last group?”

From the looks of it, this group is bound to be the same as the other three Seattle moms groups I’ve tried. Women in their early thirties are sprawled out on the floor, wearing yoga pants and ponytails, with strained smiles on their faces. The smile is supposed to convey, “It’s fun getting puked on and singing nursery rhymes,” but really I think they look tired and stressed. They definitely aren’t having fun. I understand the tired part, but maybe I’m just naïve about the stressed part because I don’t think parenting is that complicated. Hell, my mom probably just placed me in my lead-paint crib while she smoked and drank martinis with her friends, and I turned out all right. I don’t understand why everyone in the north end of Seattle seems to feel the need to read twenty parenting books and obsess about whether they are doing it “right.” What’s right? As far as I can tell, what’s right for Spencer is a lot of nursing and napping and the occasional roll around the floor.

“Well, I guess we may as well make the best of it, right?” I say as I join some other boobs in the corner discussing the merits of various strollers. “What kind of jogger do you have?” one woman asks me.

“Huh?” is my ineloquent response. “Sorry, I’m so tired I have a hard time formulating complete sentences these days.”

The women giggle and give me knowing nods. I take this as a sign to continue and start babbling. “Do you guys ever fantasize about checking into a hotel, by yourself, and staying there for a week? My favorite is imagining the clean crisp sheets and firm bed at the W downtown, but these days I’d even settle for one of the sleazy places on Aurora. I get so excited thinking about room service and how no one would wake me up in the middle of the night to nurse.”

I laugh at how pathetic it is that my hotel fantasies now revolve around sleep rather than having sex, but see I’ve lost my audience. Their quick change of topic tells me the mention of wanting to escape my family was taboo enough, so I better not ostracize myself further by asking them about their favorite sex toys. I sigh once again and think, Spence and I should have gone out to breakfast instead.

I try to feign interest in the great stroller debate but am distracted when a man enters the room. We don’t see much of the opposite sex at mommy groups, so he’s an anomaly. Add that he’s nicely dressed and carrying an adorable daughter, who’s wearing a jean jacket, faux leopard hat and huge grin on her face, and I’m surprised the whole room isn’t staring at him. He seems at ease, greets a few women with a smile and a nod, and then joins a group in the corner. He places his daughter into an Exersaucer, and she rides that thing like a bucking bronco.

He grins and laughs with his baby and it’s all I can do to not run over to him and say, “Take me with you! I’m dying of boredom!” It helps that he has that dark sultry look I love. I feel guilty for a moment thinking about my husband, Kyle, who is fair and not sultry, but then think, “Shit! The Church of Moms is getting to me, and I’m starting to feel guilty about everything—including my thoughts! I’m so screwed!” Then I laugh because the irony is I’m rarely screwed and that’s why I’m drooling over this man. The most Kyle and I can accomplish is a quickie, and that’s not very satisfying. Guilt be damned: it’s been a while since I’ve seen an attractive man, and fantasizing about him will certainly be more interesting than stroller talk.

He’s laughing along with his daughter, and they seem to be a party in and of themselves. It’s not that he’s giving the other moms the cold shoulder, but it seems more as if he’s so captivated by his daughter’s antics that he doesn’t even notice the rest of us.

Finally, the facilitator announces the meeting is over and closes with a song about bouncy wagons. I bounce Spencer on my knees along with the song and he laughs and drools all over my legs. I wish I were so easily entertained. Spence breaks out into a huge grin at the mere sight of me. If I lift my shirt, he nearly pees himself with joy.

I start gathering my belongings to leave when I hear, “Want to get a cup of coffee?” I turn to see sexy man standing next to me. He continues, “Several of us go across the street after the meeting, and you’re welcome to join us.”

My Book Review:

Swings by Corbin Lewars is an enjoyable women's fiction story that follows the personal journey of Sadie Walker as she tries to find her way as a new mom while dealing with an unhappy marriage.

As a new mom, Sadie is struggling with finding a balance in her tension filled marriage while trying to take care of her newborn son Spence with little help from her uninterested husband Kyle. She tries several Mommy and Me groups looking to make friends with people who are going through the same trials and tribulations, but finds a lot of Super Mommies ... that is until she joins a new group and meets a dad named John. A friendship quickly blossoms between Sadie and John, but when the spark of attraction ignites between them, Sadie has to figure out what she wants in her life.

Author Corbon Lewars weaves an intriguing tale that delves into the dynamics of a traditional marriage and its issues, open marriage (swinging and polyamorous relationships), man-woman friendship, and dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a new parent. Written with a mixture of humor and reality, it isn't hard for the reader to empathize with Sadie's dilemma when it comes to her unfulfilling and strained marriage, the struggles of finding her way as a new mom, and getting the enticing attraction and attention from another man. I really enjoyed following Sadie's journey, it kept me engaged and wondering what decisions she would make, and watching her grow as she went through the challenging process was like a breath of fresh air.


About The Author

Corbin Lewars is the author of PNBA and Washington State book award nominee Creating a Life: The memoir of a writer and mom in the making and Losing Him, Gaining You: Divorce as Opportunity. Her personal essays have been featured in over twenty-five publications including Mothering, Hip Mama, and the Seattle PI, as well as in several writing anthologies. She teaches writing at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle and at national conferences. She lives in Seattle, WA, with her two children.

Author Website
Author Blog

Contest Giveaway

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Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

May 18 - LivingLife With Joy – Excerpt
May 18 - FictionDreams – Excerpt
May 19 - Polishedand Bubbly – Review
May 19 -ChristyHerself - Review & Excerpt
May 20 - JulieValerie – Review & Excerpt
May 20 - Chick Lit Plus – Review
May 21 - Hello Precious Bliss – Review & Excerpt
May 22 - Terry’s Book Addiction - Excerpt
May 22 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review
May 25 - Hello Chick Lit – Review & Excerpt
May 25 - Books Authors Blogs – Excerpt

Monday, May 18, 2015

Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack by Laura Lynn Ashworth (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack by Author Laura Lynn Ashworth!

Book Review

Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack by Laura Lynn Ashworth
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: November 8, 2014
Format: Paperback - 258 pages
               Kindle - 687 KB
               Nook - 449 KB
ISBN: 978-0990950004
Genre: Non Fiction / YA Historical Romance

Buy The Book:
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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 Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:


Read the rare and recently discovered real time letters between Sal, age 19, and Loretta, age 15, during the final terrifying three years of World War II, 1943-1945.

Both from the Douglas Park neighborhood in Chicago, the two adolescents discuss with humor and candor, the Navy, war, politics, hit music, life back home and their relationship.

Sal nicknamed Slabby for his movie star good looks, deciphers code out of the Navy’s radio shack on a minesweeper in the Pacific.

Loretta monikered Duchess for her aloofness, lives with aunts and her widowed father, while holding day jobs and enjoying an active social life with friends.

Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack lets you experience World War II, both in battle and on the home front, through the eyes of adolescents in a way that Hollywood has never portrayed.

Book Excerpt:

January 5, 1943
US Naval Training Station
Farragut, Idaho 1330

So. Washington Ave.
Chicago, IL

Dear Loretta,

Gee, but aren't you thoughtful. By the way, every time I write a letter to you, you seem to be writing a letter back home. Isn't that a co-incidence or isn't it? I received two letters to date, so “keep em flying.”

It was just a month ago that I left and I'll be damned if I know whether it seems like a year or a week. As far as concerning you, it seems like a year. I presume you're still as sharp as a whip, you old prankster. Say, in your next letter send me a couple of pictures of yourself, one of them recently taken and you may charge it to Uncle Sam and his fleet.

So I see your stepping out now, you're really cooking with the right kind of material. Don't forget I've got a date with you when I get back home, which I hope won't be any longer than a year.

Had a lot of fun at the rifle range this week as no doubt Joe will tell you. I still get three square meals a day, and are they square. A slice of bread with plenty of nothing.

This weather we have up here now surely reminds me of Chicago. It’s dingier than a campaign speech and it just knocks the hell out of these Californians out here. They're just used to beautiful women and mild weather, while we in Chicago are used to gales and violent women.

Do you know what? In “Frisco” the taverns close at midnight. Now isn't that a whacky thing to do?

Haven't seen many movies lately except for a few Navy films showing recent battles to get us boiled. But if we don't get our liberty Wednesday, I'll boil over like a frozen motor. They're going to keep an eye on our company while we're on liberty (now what the hell do you call liberty like that?) and if we're good we'll get one every two weeks. Very, very thoughtful, don't you think? I'll leave you know how I make out, so until then.

Lots of love, Slab

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack, author Laura Lynn Ashworth provides the reader with a glimpse into the friendship and romantic relationship between teen sweethearts Sal and Loretta through their letter correspondence during the World War II years of 1943-1945.

Sal and Loretta's story is broken down into three parts that corresponds through the years of 1943-1945.

In January of 1943, nineteen year old Sal joins the Navy and is stationed at the US Naval Training Station in Farragut Idaho. While there, the readers follow the first part of Sal and Loretta's relationship via Sal's letters to fifteen year old Loretta, who was back at home in Chicago, Illinois. In this first part of the book, the reader follows Sal's correspondence to Loretta from January to May 1943, there aren't any of Loretta's letters to Sal included. From the one-way correspondence, the reader gets a glimpse in the War, Sal's training, the popular music and movies of that time period, and the social scene of their Chicago neighborhood.

Part two continues the correspondence between Sal and Loretta starting in July of 1944 when the readers are introduced to Loretta's letters to Sal. From her letter dated July 11, 1944, the reader finds out that there was a year and a half of silence between the two due to a misunderstanding while Sal was on home on a three day leave. During 1944, Sal is based in San Francisco and Honolulu, and then is transferred in October to the USS Signet, a minesweeper based out of Pearl Harbor that goes out to sea on missions from time to time. Sal is a radio man, who is responsible for translating Morse code messages that come into the radio shack from US ships and Radio San Francisco. Sal and Loretta continue to correspond regularly to each other, but sometimes the arrival of their letters is delayed. The letters contents are typical of teens / young adults, where they tease each other, request recent pictures of each other, and swap information about their daily lives, in addition to talking about the popular music and movies of that time period (this continues in every letter).

Part three of the book consists of Sal's time on the USS Signet in 1945, the crew conducts minesweeping practices and maneuvers around the Hawaiian island region until they are deployed to the Pacific war theater of Japan and surrounding islands in that region. From February through December, the USS Signet minesweeps the region and provides support during the battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During these months, the correspondence between Sal and Loretta are delayed to the hit-n-miss receiving of the letters while he at sea in the combat zone. The book concludes with the USS Signet departing the Pacific region homeward bound on December 11, 1945. The ship and its crew has earned 4 battle stars for meritorious participation in battle. The reader is left with a cliffhanger ending as the only communication between Sal and Loretta is a western union message from Sal to Loretta dated November 30, 1945, stating that he will be home soon. This abrupt ending leaves the reader wondering if Sal went home on leave after the ship docked in Pearl Harbor, and if he and Loretta ever hooked up.

Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack is an interesting non fictional historical romantic account between two young people during the World War II time period. I have to admit that I did not like the letters only style of the book, I would have preferred to read about Sal and Loretta's story with a balance between the backstory of their lives and friendship in Chicago interwoven with the blossoming romantic relationship via the letter correspondence. I found myself getting bored while reading their letters, their teenage / young adult ramblings tended to make me roll my eyes quite a bit. However I did find it fascinating following the USS Signet and Sal's deployment in the Pacific theater during 1945, the author does a fine job of interspersing historical war accounts from the USS Signet's movements during that time period.


About The Author

Laura Lynn Ashworth is an award-winning copywriter and political cartoonist. While helping an elderly family member with veterans administration paperwork, she ran across “the letters” and instantly knew of their rarity, freshness and historical significance. Although she received three publishing contracts within two months of sending the letters to major publishers, Ashworth decided to publish them herself on the advice of best-selling authors. She currently lives and works in a northwest suburb of Chicago.

10% of author proceeds will be donated to the USO and VFW in loving memory of Sal and Loretta.

Author Website

Contest Giveaway

Win A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Author Laura Lynn Ashworth will be awarding $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B&N Gift Card to a randomly drawn host.

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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Friday, May 15, 2015

French Fry by Glynis Astie (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Author Glynis Astie, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book release week tour event for French Fry!

Author Guest Post

My Perfect Day

When life gets tough–when it feels like my task list is out of control and I can’t get anything right–I like to take a step back and go to my happy place. That’s right! I have a happy place. It’s a total fantasy that would have to cross multiple time zones and allow for at least one miracle, but isn’t it more fun to imagine your perfect day than to dwell on your current woes? I think so. Are you ready? Let’s get started! 

My perfect day begins with sipping a rich and creamy salted caramel mocha and munching on a croissant from my favorite French bakery–which is nearly 4,000 miles away–while taking in a beautiful sunrise from the back porch of my gorgeous beach house. The croissants would, of course, have no calories and the sunrise would take place at eight in the morning. (I did mention the word “fantasy,” right?) After a full sit-down breakfast with my two sons–which my husband makes AND cleans up–the boys and I would pack up our beach gear and head down to our private spot to enjoy the sunny day. 

We would splash around in the surf, giggling to our hearts’ content. The water would be warm despite the early hour and our toes would be completely safe from the nips of curious crab claws. (My oldest has an extreme dislike of crabs–other than the ones he smashes with a mallet and gobbles down.) Once my husband joins us, I excuse myself to the comfort of my beach chair, where my Kindle awaits. I spend the next couple of hours devouring my latest book obsession, occasionally taking breaks to photograph my boys as they dig their hole to the center of the earth. 

We then have a glorious picnic lunch on the beach, enjoying our sandwiches, Pringles (our go-to beach snack) and fruit (because Mommy said so) free of the unwanted condiment of sand. We jump in the ocean right after finishing lunch and body surf without sustaining any injuries. Once we dry off, we build sand castles which do not crumble–making it a tear free experience–and head back to the house for a quick shower. 


The afternoon is spent playing mini golf and hitting the arcade. My boys (including my husband) score the games of their lives, win enough tickets in the arcade to “buy” the biggest prize they want and we celebrate our mastery of all games by having huge ice cream sundaes. Both boys fall asleep in the car on the ride back to the house, allowing my husband and me a short window of time to have a conversation that doesn’t involve Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the dreaded Sponge Bob Square Pants. 

The last part of my perfect day would be dinner with my parents. This is the portion of my fantasy which would take a miracle, since both of my parents have passed away. I would watch them snuggle their grandchildren and listen in wonder as the boys regaled them with their latest adventures. (My boys have truly astounding imaginations. I have no idea where that came from.) I would thank my lucky stars that my sons were fortunate enough to experience the love I felt from my parents every day of my childhood. Right before they had to leave, I would show them the books I have written and try not to cry when I tell them how it was both comforting and painful to bring them to life on each page. 

After hugging my parents for as long as possible, I would kiss them goodbye and put my sleepy boys to bed. My husband and I would curl up on the couch, enjoying a glass of wine as we marveled over our amazing day. We would fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, knowing that the next day would be just as perfect. 


There you have it! A day filled with fun activities, beautiful scenery and cherished loved ones. (Let’s not forget the scrumptious food!) While I know I will never be able to live this day, it sure is fun to imagine how awesome it would be. 

What’s your idea of a perfect day? Please share!

About The Author

Glynis Astie never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry

When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.


Book Review

French Fry by Glynis Astie
Book 3: The French Twist Series
Publisher: Tikinou Publishing
Publication Date: May 13, 2015
Format: Paperback - 322 pages
             Kindle - 978 KB
ISBN: 978-0692424780
Genre: Chick Lit / Romance

Buy The Book: French Fry

Buy The Series: French Twist Series
Book 1: French Twist
Book 2: French Toast
Book 3: French Fry

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

Book Excerpt:

French Fry Excerpt: Sydney’s Dilemma

The scream was so deafening I feared my eardrums would burst. The guttural moan which followed was just as alarming and caused me to feel intense sympathy for the injured party. Rather shocking, and most unfortunate for me, was the fact that the source of the scream was my own raw and aching throat. I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the cool wall of the hotel bathroom, secretly wondering if anyone had called security. It wouldn’t be the first time. But we can return to my long list of indiscretions later.

Right about now I would be thankful to be dealing with something as simple as a ruptured ear drum. Granted, it had been one of the most excruciating experiences I had ever been through; I would still gladly have dealt with the pain instead of the daunting task ahead of me. (And this is saying a lot considering I nearly passed out twice from the pain during the four-hour wait I endured in the emergency room.)

I took a deep breath and willed my hands to stop shaking. How in the world was I going to explain this to Louis?

I closed the toilet lid and sat down with a heavy thud. As I buried my head in my hands, I accidentally knocked the offending article onto the marble floor. I peered up and watched it skid across the length of the room, coming to a stop right next to my fluffy hotel slippers. A hysterical giggle escaped my lips before I could stifle it. Louis had been trying (to no avail) to teach me to skip stones all week and I managed to skip the pregnancy test across the room with an unintentional nudge of my elbow. At least I had remembered to put the cap back on and, therefore, hadn’t splattered a trail of urine around the room. This simply would have added insult to injury.

Take a deep breath, Sydney. Everything is going to be fine. When Louis comes back from his Jet Ski run, you’re going to sit him down and tell him. Just like that. With no preamble.

I got up and started to pace the room. How did this happen? I mean, I know how it happened, but HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Everything had been going so well! Louis and I had finally gotten back to a good place…and now…I have to scare the crap out of my husband on the last day of our honeymoon.

It’s not as though Louis were easily spooked. He had lived a life filled with considerably more adventure in his twenty-four years than I had in my, ahem, twenty-eight years. (Yes, I robbed the cradle.) But we had known each other for barely a year. We needed more time to be the two of us, rather than the three of us.

I went into the bedroom, crawled onto the bed and promptly curled myself into a fetal position, my long brown hair forming a protective curtain around my face. Maybe the test was wrong. There is such a thing as a false positive, right? Though I hadn’t had my period in seven weeks, this could easily be the result of the pre-wedding stress rather than an actual pregnancy. We had pulled off two weddings in the last five weeks. The first of which encompassed a trip to France to meet Louis’ very LARGE family as well as every single resident of his home town. (Population: four hundred.)

Something tells me I need to back up a little. (You know, so you might have a chance of understanding what I’m babbling on about.) OK, maybe more than a little. Here’s the breakdown: just over fourteen months ago, I locked eyes with the incredible Louis Durand for the first time. He had come to the Bay Area for a short-term assignment in the San Jose office of his Paris-based software company and I was lucky enough to meet him in a bar, of all places. We spent the evening flirting and buying each other drinks. Six weeks later we were engaged!

I don’t blame you for being surprised. I shocked the hell out of myself by proposing to HIM. Prior to meeting Louis, every decision in my life had been carefully considered and painstakingly analyzed. The concept of “flying by the seat of my pants” was something I would never have considered. But then he came into my life and something clicked. I knew my waiting was over. I knew I had found the one.

I’m not going to say life with Louis has been easy. It has been tumultuous and more than a little scary, but it has been worth it. So what if he was laid off from his job while I was planning my, I mean our, dream wedding? So what if we had to get married in a civil ceremony to avoid his deportation? And did it really matter that our actual wedding ceremony took place in the most hideously decorated town hall in existence? (Picture any room in the Brady’s household – on steroids – and you’ll have a small inkling.)

In the end, we had three, count ‘em, THREE weddings. The aforementioned civil ceremony in my home town of Haverstraw, New York, the French wedding in Louis’ home town of Le Caylar, France, and our originally planned wedding in Monterey, California. We had somehow managed to get through his lengthy job search, the endless series of hoops to jump through for his mother’s dream wedding in France and the countless mishaps associated with my dream wedding in California. Only yesterday, as we sat watching the sun set over the beautiful island of Oahu, Louis and I had been discussing how much we were looking forward to settling into a quiet married life.

My Book Review:

Inspired by her real life whirlwind six month romance and marriage to her French husband, Sebastien, author Glynis Astie weaves an entertaining romantic comedy series called The French Twist Series!

In French Twist, the first book in the series, the reader is introduced to Sydney Bennett, a single twenty-eight New Yorker who has moved to San Francisco. Sydney hasn't been lucky in the romance area, but when she meets handsome Louis Durand, who is in town on business, Sydney is swept off her feet and finds herself in a whirlwind love affair that leads to marriage in six short months!

In French Toast, the second book in the series, Sydney's story continues after her civil ceremony to Louis. She makes plans for a fairytale wedding in California that she has dreamed of having since she was a child, only to have her mother-in-law planning a rival wedding in the France! Suddenly their whirlwind love affair and impulsive wedding is anything but romantic when drama, mishaps, and real life trials and tribulations stand in their way to happily ever after!

In French Fry, the third and final book in the series, Sydney and Louis just had their third wedding (Syd's dream wedding) in Monterrey, California, and on the last day of their honeymoon in Oahu, Hawaii, Sydney takes a pregnancy test and it is positive! After a whirlwind fourteen months together, Sydney and Louis unexpectedly go from a newly married couple to expectant parents. Join in Sydney and Louis' latest adventures as they deal with the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and adding a bouncing baby to their new family! And if being newly married and pregnant isn't enough, Sydney has to deal with pregnancy hormones; her crazy French Mother-in-Law Simone, who comes for an unexpected visit; the quirky antics of co-worker nemeses Lyndsey and Paul; and being the matron of honor for best friend Zoe, who turns into a Bridezilla during the wedding preparations! So come along for the ride as Sydney and Louis' journey culminates with a sigh worthy epilogue that catches the reader up with the couple two years after the birth of their little french fry!

The French Twist Series is a thoroughly entertaining set of romantic comedies. The reader can't help but get drawn into Sydney and Louis' whirlwind love affair, and follow their martial adventures as they deal with the crazy antics, drama, and mishaps that ensue when real life catches up with them. I loved that the author uses the inspiration from her own real life whirlwind romance and marriage to her French husband to create a series that has a wonderful mix of humor, romance, wit, and sarcasm.

The French Twist Series is a lighthearted and delightful series that chronicles Sydney and Louis' adventures in love and marriage. It will keep you in stitches and make you a believer that fairytale romances really do exist!


Contest Giveaway

Giveaway begins on 5/13/15 at 12:01 AM and ends on 5/20/15 at 11:59 PM.

3 prizes will be awarded:

1. $25 amazon gift card & ebook set of the French Twist series
2. 2 e-book sets of the French Twist series.

The giveaway is open for US Only.

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