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Friday, March 27, 2015

I Just Wanted Love by D.J. Burr (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for I Just Wanted Love by Author D.J. Burr!


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Book Review

 I Just Wanted Love


TitleI Just Wanted Love: Recovery of a Codependent, Sex and Love Addict
Author: D.J. Burr
Publisher: ABLE Counseling Services, LLC
Publication Date: December 31, 2014
Format:  Paperback - 232 pages
                    Kindle - 495 KB
ISBN: 978-0692299128
ASIN: B00O73KMCC
Genre: Memoir


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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 Pump Up Your Book.


Book Description:

D.J. Burr is a man on a mission; successful business owner, highly respected psychotherapist and survivor of a dysfunctional life. At a young age, all he wanted was to be loved, but instead found himself targeted by a sexual predator. D.J. slipped into a life of addiction and clawed his way through broken relationships and seedy sex clubs–looking for love in all the wrong places. D.J. will take readers on a roller coaster of emotions as he details his search for grace and love.


Book Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

 I AM ONLY AS SICK AS MY SECRETS Someone actually said they were addicted to me, and that was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I could no longer hold in all the pain and shame. I cried out in grief as I had this man inside of me and said, “Take the condom off. I need you. I am addicted to you too.” Every ounce of who I was washed out of me as I climaxed multiple times with this man who was not wearing a condom. When it got right down to it, I just didn’t believe I was worth anything. I wish I could say that I learned from my mistake that day, but I didn’t. I took that risk again and again with him and others. At this point, I was utterly spent thinking about all the emotional baggage I had in my life. I just wanted to be wanted for me and who I was, but I didn’t know how to get there. Somehow, I thought I would find the answers to my questions at the bathhouse. The bathhouse I frequented was a place where men could freely have sex out in the open or in private rooms. There was porn, a steam room, and showers. The facility even provided vending machines that were stocked with lubricant, condoms, and candy. I found a sense of false confidence when I visited the bathhouse. For example, when someone approached me and wanted to have sex, I felt empowered. After all, I could say, “yes” or “no.” I hardly ever said no. But, the joy of being needed by others was only temporary, and the power I felt was an inauthentic. It never lasted more than 10 minutes after I left. Always, I worried someone would see me walking out. Often, feared I might see a client there, and then what would I do? With everything going on in my life at the time, I thought my business was the only thing worth salvaging, but I was wrong. I didn’t realize that through my obsessive sexual behavior, I was abandoning my own business too. I spent so much time worrying about my next sexual fix that often my focus and attention was not on my therapy practice and its growing clientele. Also, I was doing things that were actually illegal, such as videotaping men in restrooms or locker rooms. But what can I say? I got high from that kind of thing which temporarily relieved the pain and chaos swirling around inside me. The fact that I wasn’t getting caught was exhilarating. I actually thought this was normal behavior. In fact, I thought it was so normal that I never hesitated to send copies of my illegal videos and pictures to friends. They sent me their photos too. I needed serious help. I started seeing a forensic psychologist who has been in the business for over 30 years. Every week I told him about my struggles, and every week he said the same thing, “Go to a meeting.” But, I didn’t want to hear about going to meetings. However, my therapist was insistent; he wanted me to see how 12-Step meetings could work for me. During our sessions, he often pulled out the AA Big Book, having me read through “The 12 Steps.” He encouraged me to go to Codependents Anonymous, but at the time, I didn’t get it. Along with “not getting it,” I didn’t want anyone to tell me about how I was “codependent.” Frankly, I didn’t have a real sense of what the word even meant. Most weeks, after therapy, I continued to walk down to the bathhouse to have sex for a few hours. Was I codependent on the sex? Looking back at the summer after my sophomore year of high school, I now recognize this is when my codependence and sex and love addiction fully emerged. I wish someone would have told me that I was being targeted by a sick, child molester. While hanging out at my great-grandmother, Mama Sara’s house, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye. It was Kenny. I had always known him as one of my dad’s closest friends. While growing up, I had gone over to his home many times to play with his nephew. Kenny had always been friendly to me. He lived right across the street from Mama Sara. After catching Kenny’s glance out of the corner of my eye, he walked over and asked if he could sit down next to me. I said, “Sure.” I had noticed that his wife and two boys were hanging out on his front porch…I didn’t really know them all that well. Kenny and I started talking, and he asked what was going on with me. Like always, he asked when was the last time I had spoken to my dad. Honestly, I couldn’t remember. Kenny always insisted that I call my dad and try to work things out. He was pretty much a broken record when it came to that subject. After getting all the formalities out of the way, the conversation slowly turned to an awkward topic. In short, Kenny said he knew what was going on with my family and me. At first, I was puzzled. What he was talking about. But as he continued, it was like he had been a fly on the wall inside my house; he knew I was gay. I was baffled. At first, I was angry and upset with Kenny. Then he told me he was interested in talking with me about it. He had genuine empathy for my situation, and he made an effort to understand what I must have been going through. Finally, I said to myself, here is someone who is finally willing to listen to me and possibly be objective about the whole thing. At that moment, I felt a ton of weight lifted from my shoulders. But the weightlessness didn’t last long. After a while, the conversation between Kenny and I turned a little dark. It was like he was too supportive. It was like he was trying to coax me into saying something he wanted to hear, but I had no clue what that was. Throughout our conversation, I kept glancing at him, and he was just staring at me really intensely. His was a look I had never seen before in my life, and I started to get nervous. I felt shaky, and my hands got very clammy. Then, he popped the question I will never forget for as long as I live. He straightforwardly asked me to kiss him. I couldn’t believe my ears. This man was no less than two feet from my face, and he was asking me to kiss him. My heart started to race. At first I thought his gesture was some kind of joke, especially since his family was sitting on his front porch, directly across the street from us, probably wondering why he was even talking to me in the first place. And now, he was asking for a kiss? I was now beyond nervous. I mustered up the courage to ask him what the hell he was talking about and why he was asking for such a thing, especially since his wife was right across the way. I asked if he was gay. He said he didn’t like “labels.” I thought this was kind of funny because I assumed his label as husband and father, should stand for a lot. But, I guess not. That’s when he told me he was interested in me. That was all I needed to hear to get totally freaked out. I had no earthly idea what to do next. I wondered, what interest could a 40-something have in a 16-year old? I told him I had to go inside, and he looked at me as if I were Juliet and him, Romeo. There was so much intensity in that look, and I was actually scared. Now, I am aware the interaction I had with Kenny that weekend was his initial step in him “grooming” me for a secret, sexual relationship. It was a gradual, calculated process. Step 1: Targeting the victim Kenny sized my vulnerabilities up that day. He was empathic to my situation at home and assured me he was not going to be just one more adult interested in judging me for being gay. Kenny wanted to “protect” me. I hurried into the house and went straight to my room. Once there, I began to cry. I was so confused. There were a billion questions rolling around in my head. I didn’t understand what had just happened. This grown man—my dad’s friend, a married man, a father—had just told me of his interest in me. He had asked for a kiss while his wife sat only 50 feet away. I was in total shock. Since I had no one to talk to, I had to deal with it all on my own. I definitely didn’t want to risk my family finding out. I cried myself to sleep that night. Several days passed, and I hadn’t seen or heard from Kenny. I just kept thinking that the whole thing had to be some kind of joke. I tried my best to banish the incident from my mind. Well, no sooner did I try to do that, and I saw him again. Getting off the bus for my job at the mall, there he was. We engaged in small talk. He told me he now worked a taxi route that included the mall. When I heard this, I let out a scream in the back of my mind—this was all too much for me. If he was now working at the mall where I worked, this increased my chances of seeing him on a regular basis. Which really scared me. It occurred to me that maybe he was some sick man who lusted after young boys. If only I had decided to trust my own instincts. But eventually, I decided to throw that idea out the window because, if that were the case, why didn’t he do anything or say something before now? One afternoon after working the morning shift, I walked across the street from the mall to catch the bus home. Kenny’s car was parked near the bus stop. He had also been working that day, so we engaged in casual conversation at the bus stop for a few minutes. Our small talk wasn’t anything really dramatic, but I noticed more and more that I had these crazy feelings whenever I was around him. I found myself growing awkwardly attracted to this man who was old enough to be my father. After all, Kenny was 45 at the time, which was way older than my own dad. Our conversation ended when the bus arrived. A few days later, I worked the evening shift and once again, rode the bus home. By the time I made it back to my neighborhood, it was dark. I got off the bus and headed down the hill to Mama Sara’s house. Everything was fine until I heard a car pull up behind me. I knew it was Kenny because his car made this awful sound. He stopped the car, and I turned around to see what he wanted. He asked if I wanted a lift to my place. Stage two: Gaining a victim’s trust I thought about it for a minute, and then I got into the car with him. That’s when he said he needed to make a quick detour to the local drugstore to pick up some ice cream for his wife. We ended up talking all the way to the drugstore, and it was really interesting having such a lengthy discussion with him. I didn’t feel like a child when I talked to him. I felt as though he valued my opinions. I felt a connection with him. We walked into the store together to get what he needed and then headed back toward home. On the ride back, the conversation took a turn to the topic of him and me. I still thought he was crazy. Why would he want me? I still hadn’t figured this man out. All I knew was that I was growing really attracted to him, and this became evident because I was so aroused around him. I couldn’t tell him whether or not anything could actually develop between us. I couldn’t think that far in advance at that moment. The car finally reached his house and we got out and stood around on the sidewalk for a few minutes. Since Mama Sara’s house was right there, I was scared that someone would see me with him. As I started to leave to walk home, he pulled me back and held me. I froze. I liked it. I liked the feeling of his hands on me. But then, I quickly snapped out of it, pulled away from him, and hurried home. I knew right then I was in trouble. I actually liked this man, and he liked me. What was I to do? Kenny gained my trust, and I was on my way to “needing” him. Stage three: filling a need A few days later I got a page on my pager. It was Kenny. I had totally forgotten I had given him my pager number. I called him back, and he wanted to know what I was doing and when I had to work. I told him I had to work that morning, and apparently, so did he. He gave me a ride to work, and it was so strange being in his car this time. I felt like a fugitive on the run. I rendezvoused with him further down my street so my family wouldn’t see me getting into his car. As he drove me to work, I kept an eye out for other family members’ cars. I just knew I would be dead if they knew I was with Kenny. I finally made it to work undetected, and, afterwards, we planned to go to lunch. So after our shifts ended, we hooked back up in the mall parking lot and went to lunch at this little diner down the street. I felt so strange being with him. I was worried about what people might say. Maybe, they thought I was his son or brother? Maybe, they thought we were lovers? Hell, I didn’t even know what we were. All I really knew was that someone was paying attention to me and thought I was valuable. He was interested in what I had to say and how I felt. I didn’t feel lonely when he was around. I didn’t feel scared anymore. After lunch, we got in the car and headed back home. On the way there, he reached over and touched my leg. It felt good. I got this warm sensation. It was unreal. I liked his affection. I believe, on some unconscious level, I forgot this man had a wife and kids. Was I wrong for doing this? I didn’t know then. I was enjoying myself. After all the hell I had been through, I thought I needed to enjoy my surroundings, and he just happened to be a part of those surroundings. That’s what I told myself. I was a scared kid looking for safety. We finally made it back to our street, and he pulled into his driveway. I looked back, and I could only make out part of Mama Sara’s house, so I doubted anyone could see me. He hopped out of the car and told me to come in. My heart sank. I couldn’t move. I told him there was no way in hell I was going into his house, but he kept begging me. He even came over to my door and playfully tried to drag me out. But still, I didn’t budge. Truth be told; I was terrified because of a serious look on his face, and I knew what was going on in his mind—he wanted to mess around. But, I knew there was no way I could do that. I knew I had to get my ass out of that car. He finally backed off, and I went home. I was relieved to be home, my heart pounding. I was all worked up. The following days and weeks were filled with him trying to pursue me, and me not knowing what to do. He called me constantly. It didn’t matter where I was; he just kept calling. Having my pager going off so much was sort of nerve–racking, but I secretly enjoyed sneaking off to use the phone to see what Kenny wanted. Kenny called me from his home, work, anywhere—and this made me feel good. I felt like I was the only person in his life whenever I was around him. He paid so much attention to me, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Eventually, the fact that he had a wife didn’t seem to bother me at all, because soon he and I finally had sex. It all went down one afternoon after he gave me a ride home from work. This time when he pulled into his driveway and asked me to come in, I didn’t hesitate. He took me to the back bedroom in his house. There was a bathroom, mini-kitchenette, futon bed, and phone—it was like his own studio apartment. He showed me around the other parts of the house, and I saw his family portraits—he had a great-looking family. Step four: Isolation He closed and locked the bedroom door, and my heart jumped out of my chest. At first, I tried to play it calm, walking around the room, hoping he wouldn’t try to do anything—but in the back of my mind, I wanted him just as badly as he wanted me. I had never been in a situation like this before. I had never even been interested in older men. Step five: Sexualizing the relationship Then, it finally happened. He came up to me turned me around, and we kissed. I couldn’t feel my feet…I was floating on air. His lips tasted so good (smoker’s breath, but still good). The next thing I knew our clothes were coming off and we were having wild, passionate, uncontrolled sex. I had never had it like that before, so I just let myself go. Kenny was so gentle with me. I felt so wanted, so loved at that moment. It was like nothing I had ever imagined or experienced. After we both had climaxed, he ran some bath water, and we both got in. I was in heaven. He washed my throbbing body, and it felt so, so good. We kissed some more and fondled each other in the bath. I didn’t know what to think about the whole scenario that day. I was partially relieved because I didn’t have to keep telling him “no.” I was feeling very anxious because I worried that my family would find out. I became trapped in a web of lies and became even more isolated from my family and dependent on Kenny. Step six: Maintaining control In the following weeks, we met secretly at his home, at work, around the block, in the shrubs near the mall—anywhere we could kiss and makeout. We would even sit out in broad daylight kissing in his car in the mall parking lot. It felt like a real relationship. I bought him sweet little cards from Hallmark, wrote him poetry, and did anything else I could do to show him how much he meant to me. He took me out to lunch occasionally. One time he even went to help me shop for school clothes. We bought matching “K-Swiss” t-shirts! Sometimes I looked out my window, and I could see him wearing his t-shirt, and I just knew it was some kind of sign that he was thinking about me. Late at night, he came down to my house and talked to me while I sat on my screened-in front porch. He usually stood out in the street while we talked. One night, all hell broke loose. Mama Sara had apparently started noticing how Kenny was always coming over to talk to me (it was usually around 11 or midnight, but she noticed). Kenny and I were standing there talking about random things when my cousin, Samantha, came storming out of the house, demanding that Kenny leave me alone. She started ranting and raving about how he had no business talking to me. It was such a mess. I was pissed beyond belief. Kenny left, and I went inside demanding to know why in the hell she had decided I couldn’t talk to him. I walked into the living room all fired up. I couldn’t believe Samantha had embarrassed me like that. I demanded an answer as to why I couldn’t talk to Kenny. That’s when Mama Sara said that she knew all about Kenny, and she knew he was trying to mess with me. I told her that she had no right to tell me whom I could talk to or see. Then, she played the AIDS card. She went on and on about our neighbor whose son died of AIDS because he was gay. I had no clue why she couldn’t understand that anybody can contract AIDS, not just gay people. She got all emotional and started saying that she didn’t want me to be like all the other gays and die. She then took it further by claiming that I was the cause of some fight Kenny and his wife supposedly had out on the street a few days back. I hadn’t heard about any fight. I asked how she knew about it. Just like I figured, she heard about it from all the neighborhood gossip. I was appalled. I wanted to get out of that fucking house so bad at that moment. I called Kenny and told him what went down. He claimed he had no idea what Mama Sara was talking about concerning a fight. From that day forward, everything at my great-grandmother’s house got worse. Finally, it got to the point where I started lying about going to the library, so I could see Kenny. I thought my family was trying to take me away from the one that I loved so much. I had fallen hard for this man in just a month’s time. I wrote countless poems that expressed my undying love for Kenny. Here is a sample of one of the poems I wrote to him: Piece of My Heart Like a ray of light, you shined into my life. You took my hand and held it tight. I looked at you, very sweet, indeed. You touched my soul and, like a thief in the night, you stole my heart. I wasn’t willing to, give at first, but with your honesty and trust, I must. Forever in a day, every second of every hour, every day of every month, I will always Know you have a piece of my heart. You cherish me, as I do you. I may not be yours in the fullest extent, but in our hearts we’ll always be. I love you with every inch of my heart, but remember only one piece is given when We part. I became even more isolated from my family that summer. Kenny had come into my life and became everything I thought I was missing. Every chance I could take to see him, I did. He told me he needed me. He told me he loved me. I was convinced that I was in love too. It wasn’t clear at the time, but I now know that my child molester had the ultimate grip on my reality. It was as if I were under a spell. Never had I disobeyed my family like this and lied to so many people. I was different now; I was not myself. I became obsessed with Kenny. But, he knew I was only staying with Mama Sara for the summer, so he slowly tried to push me away. He finally succeeded when he asked me if I thought he would ever leave his family for me. I said I hoped that he would. He said there was no way he would. And so, there it was. In a single instant, Kenny went from this caring, loving friend and lover to this evil user. But, I still couldn’t hate him. Before I left, he said he would always love me and cherish everything I had ever given to him. All of these moments ignited my addictions, but the stage was set much earlier in my childhood.


My Book Review:

In I Just Wanted Love: Recovery of a Codependent, Sex and Love Addict, author Darrett "D.J." Burr's memoir takes the reader along for the ride on his emotional journey of recovery and renewal. This is a compelling and powerful memoir written in an inspirational style that bears the author's soul, and reveals the harrowing depths and direction that his addiction and dependency took him in before finding the courage and determination to seek recovery and a change in his lifestyle. 

D.J.'s story is told in a very realistic, graphic, and straight forward style that will have the reader experiencing the full gamut of emotions. You can't help but feel empathy and compassion for him as his life has been anything but easy, yet you will also cheer him on as he healed during his recovery, and how it eventually led him towards a very admirable, fulfilling, and resourceful direction. I admire D.J.'s conviction, ethic, integrity, and determination to use his personal experience in his career as a licensed mental health counselor in order to help others who have also experienced traumatic lifestyles that comes with addiction and dependency. Along with his story, the author also provides the reader with informative and resourceful therapy techniques and information on the twelve step program. 

I Just Wanted Love is an inspirational memoir that everyone can relate to and should read, it is a story that will stir your soul and resonate with you for a very long time. 


RATING: 5 STARS 






About The Author

D.J. Burr


Darrett “D.J.” Burr is a licensed mental health counselor in the Washington State; national certified counselor and a specialist in problematic sexual behavior. He has been in private practice in Seattle, WA for five years. D.J. is the co-founder, owner, and Executive Director of A.B.L.E. Counseling Services, LLC.

D.J. is the creator of ABLE Affirmations, ABLE Life Recovery, and the ABLE Care Clinic. D.J. published Unfinished: A GLBT Domestic Violence Workbook while completing his Masters in Community Counseling at Argosy University-Atlanta in 2009.

Born in raised in Marietta, GA, D.J. has been known to many as a survivor. His childhood was less-than-nurturing. D.J. spent the majority of his early years tending to other’s needs and wants; not knowing what his were. He kept fighting for more–more understanding of himself.

Unfortunately, D.J. lost focus after being targeted by a sexual predator. D.J. lapsed into addiction to numb the pain of the molestation, broken relationships, dysfunctional family of origin, and loss of his childhood. However, the addiction did not stop him.

Over 15 years later, D.J. has learned to live life instead of surviving life. D.J. found answers to his long unanswered questions, primarily, who loves me? Twelve Step recovery and rigorous honesty saved D.J. from a life of addiction. He can now say, “I love myself.” Loving himself allowed D.J. to stop chasing unavailable people, places, and things. He now focuses on his recovery, which impacts every facet of his life.

D.J. enjoys writing, watching movies, especially horror/suspense. His favorite band is Nickelback. His favorite R&B group is Destiny’s Child. D.J. is also a huge fan of old 80s-90s cartoons like Transformers.

You can visit D.J. Burr’s website at www.ijustwantedlove.com

Connect with D.J.:



Book Trailer





Virtual Book Tour


Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey (Book Spotlight)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Our Dried Voices by Author Greg Hickey!


Our Dried Voices Tour Banner




About The Book

Our Dried Voices
 

TitleOur Dried Voices 
Author: Greg Hickey
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Format: Paperback - 234 pages
               Kindle - 2333 KB
ISBN: 978-1940368931
ASIN: B00N272GLO
Genre: Dystopian / Science Fiction


Purchase The Book: Our Dried Voices
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Book Description:

In 2153, cancer was cured. In 2189, AIDS. And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a far distant planet called Pearl to begin the next chapter of humanity. Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence. With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. Aided by his friend Penny, Samuel rises to meet each challenge. But he soon discovers a mysterious group of people behind each of these problems, and he must somehow find and defeat these saboteurs in order to rescue his colony.    


Book Excerpt:

I

The sound of the bells echoed across the colony. They sounded five times, and by the end of the fifth peal everyone had stopped what they were doing and started to walk toward the nearest source of the noise. The bells had a tinny, hollow sound to them. To be sure, it was unmistakably the sound of bells, but it lacked that rich, thunderous, rolling swell once heard in passing by an old church at the top of the hour. Instead, it was as though the sound of real bells had been recorded and re-recorded ad infinitum until only bell-like sounds now remained. The bells called the people to the midday meal. All across the lush meadow, the colonists fell into a kind of reverie. Moments earlier, they had been romping through the meadow or splashing in the river with the joyful abandon of children, while others napped blissfully at the base of a modest hill or fornicated with some momentary lover in the shade of a spreading tree. But now their innocent laughter, their hushed excited voices, their intermittent shrieks of pleasure all ceased for an instant as they moved as one toward the sound of the bells. As soon as the fifth toll had faded in the air, the human noise resumed as though it had never been silenced. The colonists walked eagerly but unhurriedly, small, hairless, brown-skinned people, all barefooted and dressed in simple, cream-colored smocks.

The bell sounds came from the seven meal halls spread throughout the colony—long, tall, rectangular buildings erected from the black, craggy rock characteristic of the mountains of Pearl, now smoothed down and cut into bricks and painted a soothing off-white. Another smaller building abutted one end of each meal hall. Their wan stone fa├žades matched those of the larger halls and there were no discernible entryways in their solid exteriors.

As the colonists entered each meal hall, they lined up along the right-hand wall to wait for their food. The walls were painted a pale sky blue, and on the far wall was a small square hole. One by one, each diner stepped forward in line, a small, red light above the hole flashed, a short clicking and whirring noise sounded and then a round, firm, dark brown cake appeared at the edge of the opening. One by one, each colonist took the proffered meal cake and carried it over to one of the many wooden tables or out into the meadow.

Near the front of the line at one hall, a male colonist turned to face the man behind him.

“Hellohoweryou?” said the first man.

“Goodthankshoweryou?” replied the second man.

“Goodthankshoweryou?”

“Goodthankshoweryou?”

The two men stared blankly at each other for a moment. Then the first man blinked and said “Goodweathertoday.”

The second bobbed his head and grinned. “Betterenyesterday.”

They continued to gaze at each other with vapid expressions until the first man turned around and stepped forward in line. The two men were right. It was Tuesday. It rained on Mondays. And thanks to the colony’s weather modification system, it had rained every Monday, and only on Monday, for hundreds of years.

***

When about half the colonists at this particular meal hall had received their food, an adult woman moved to the front of the line. A young boy, no taller than her waist, stood behind her. The woman stepped up to the wall, the red light above the hole flashed… and nothing happened. There was no clicking, no whirring, and no meal cake emerged from the hole in the milky blue wall. Some people a few places behind the first woman, by now so accustomed to the regular pace of the line, stepped forward in anticipation of her taking the food and continuing on. When the line did not move, they bumped awkwardly into the colonists in front of them, very much surprised that there should be a fleshy, breathing, human body in their path instead of empty space. Those closest to the front of the line fell silent when they saw the woman had not yet received her meal, and then the silence spread evenly and rhythmically down the line, like a row of pillowed dominoes falling to the floor. Yet all the colonists continued to wear the same insipid half-grin on their faces as they waited patiently for the food to be dispensed and the line to creep forward once more.

A long, loud, whining shriek from the young boy waiting with his mother at the front of the line broke through the stillness, and it was this sound, not the actual interruption of the food service, which seemed to have the greatest effect on those in the hall. The boy did not cry. He shed no tears, and the sound which emerged from his mouth was not a breathless and choked sobbing, or even the petulant howl of a child’s tantrum. It was a primal, animal moan that rose from the depths of his unfilled stomach, rushed up his throat with a cold and persistent ferocity and forced its way over his teeth, throwing his head back as it broke from his lips. No one tried to comfort the boy. His mother did not even turn around to look at him. Her weak smile faded, but she continued to stare at the dark hole in the wall, still waiting for her meal to appear. Then a child some dozen places back in the line picked up the boy’s howl, and then a woman farther behind did the same. Soon the entire line was wailing loudly.

Those colonists who had already received their meals hunkered over their cakes and stuffed their last bites into their mouths. One of them stood up, bumping hard into his table. The rest followed. They walked hurriedly to the door, brushing past the onlookers from outside who had gathered to see what all the noise was about. Those still in line stared dazedly at the others around them, at the now half-empty hall, an incipient question forming somewhere deep in their skulls.

A man in the middle of the line broke their unsteady ranks first. He ran, stumbling over tables and chairs bolted to the floor in his maddened dash toward the doorway. The rest of the line scattered in his wake. Out through the door they went, cracking bony limbs on the wooden furniture in their paths, pushing and trampling one another as they all tried to force their way through the doorway at once, like blood cells pumped through a clotted artery.

Those who had already finished their meals stood outside in a loose ring several meters away from the entrance of the food hall, and as the wild runners pushed their way through the door, they began to run as well, picking up the wail of the unfed as they went. They ran in no particular direction, a single mass exodus from the hall, teeming out across the gay green meadows, up and over the soft, undulating hills, and their cries rippled throughout the once-peaceful fields to fill the void left by the cessation of the bells with a sound far more vibrant than those stale chimes which had just called them to their uneaten meal.



About The Author

Greg Hickey
   

Greg Hickey was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1985. After graduating from Pomona College in 2008, he played and coached baseball in Sweden and South Africa. He is now a forensic scientist, endurance athlete and award-winning writer. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

You can visit Greg’s website at www.greghickeywrites.com.  

Connect with Greg:
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley (Book Cover Reveal Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Me, My Shelf and I Blog, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book cover reveal event for Her Sister's Shoes by Author Ashley Farley!




Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley
Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2015
Format: eBook - 313 pages
               Kindle - 3824 KB
               Nook - 721 KB
ISBN: 978-0986167201
ASIN: B00V6KN6FY
BNID: 2940046645057
Genre: Women's Fiction


Pre-order The Book: Her Sister's Shoes


Book Description:

Her Sister’s Shoes is a contemporary women’s novel that proves the healing power of family. Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister’s Shoes is the story of three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.

In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior normal for a woman her age? No one, including Lovie, understands her obsession with a rusty key she wears around her neck.




About The Author



Ashley Farley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save. SAVING BEN is not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.

Look for HER SISTER'S SHOES, a women's novel that proves the healing power of family, scheduled for release on June 24, 2015.

Sign-up for Ashley's Monthly Newsletters for new release information, giveaways, exclusive sneak-peeks and more.

When she's not working on her next novel, Ashley can be found blogging at Chronicles . . . An Avid Reader and Indie Author.


Author Website
Author Blog
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Two Princes by Victoria Danann (Book Cover Reveal Event)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book cover reveal event for Two Princes: The Biker & The Billionaire by Author Victoria Danann!








 About The Book 




Title:  Two Princes: The Biker and The Billionaire
Author: Victoria Danann
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  dba7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC
Publication Date: June 16, 2015


Preorder Book Buy Links:
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Brigid Roan is a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle had started to seem impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with ties to The Sons of Sanctuary.

What she wanted was information to prove a proposition. What she didn’t want was to fall for one of the members of the club. Especially since she had set out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society.

Brash Fornight was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him.

After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his club, The Sons of Sanctuary, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his Jeep at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find the guy who was walking around with his face.

Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a collision course with destiny and a woman who thought she won a prize when she was allowed a look inside the Sons of Sanctuary MC.




About The Author


Victoria Danann


Victoria Danann is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of The Knights of Black Swan, which has won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW (2013, 2014). Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria writes cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. She is making her debut into contemporary romance with publication of the SUMMER FIRE ultimate romance collection anthology. It contains a novella intro to the Sons of Sanctuary MC series. The first full novel of the series will be released June 16, 2015.

Contact Victoria at:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Terror Never Sleeps by Richard Blomberg (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Terror Never Sleeps by Author Richard Blomberg!


Terror Never Sleeps - Updated





Book Review

Terro Never Sleeps (updated)


Terror Never Sleeps by Richard Blomberg
Book 2: Jack Gunn Thriller Series
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press
Publication Date: February 4, 2015 - eBook / February 15, 2015 - PB
Format: Paperback - 337 pages
                   Kindle - 1338 KB
                   Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-1592988952
ASIN: B00T72LVEG
BNID: 2940149981762
Genre: Military Thriller / Suspense


Buy The Book: Terror Never Sleeps
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Buy The Series: Jack Gunn Thriller Series
Book 1: Warpath
Book 2: Terror Never Sleeps
Amazon
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Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE


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


Book Description:

Navy SEAL Jack Gunn’s life is turned upside down when terrorists kidnap his family and disappear without a trace. While Jack and his team search frantically for clues in Virginia, half-way around the world, his wife, Nina struggles to survive the terrorist’s daily persecutions as his hostage.

Terror Never Sleeps is an action-packed tale of Nina’s transformation into a warrior who is fighting for her life, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the terrorists from Mali to Diego Garcia to Pakistan. A military coup, propaganda, dirty bombs, and the launch of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal with one target—Israel—is all part of the terrorist’s master plan, who are hellbent on blowing the world back to the eighth century. The non-stop action keeps the reader constantly off balance with the bizarre and unexpected.


Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Dawley Corners, VA

“I’m scared, Mommy.” Barett sat back up in bed, clutching his dinosaur pillow under one arm and his frayed security blanket under the other.

“Don’t cry, honey. Daddy will be home tomorrow.” Nina brushed her son’s tears aside with her fingers, cupped his tender face in her hands, and gave him a kiss on the forehead. She inhaled the scent of baby shampoo from his tangled wet hair and snuggled him to her chest. Barett’s Mickey Mouse night-light cast a buttery glow across the carpet. A constellation of fluorescent stars and planets were already glued to the ceiling of his brand-new bedroom and floating like luminous jellyfish in the dark above. * “But what if the bad guys kill Daddy?” Barett chewed on the fringe of his blanket.

“Nobody’s going to kill Daddy,” Nina quickly answered for the umpteenth time as she stroked his black hair. Barett nodded, locked on Nina’s eyes. She closed the bedtime storybook and put it back on the nightstand.

Barett’s lower lip quivered. “What if you die, Mommy? I heard you and Daddy talking.” He started crying again.

Nina gasped. “You don’t need to worry anymore, sweetie. Mommy’s cancer is all gone.” She crossed her hands across her chest and threw them up into the air. “Poof! And Daddy is a brave Sioux, just like you.” She poked Barett in the chest. “If the president of the United States trusts Daddy to protect his country, I don’t think we need to worry.”

Sorrow instantly overwhelmed Nina, sad that Barett’s last thoughts before falling asleep were to fear for his mommy’s and daddy’s lives—even though Nina frequently cried herself to sleep with those same fears. Barett, Nina’s angel throughout her chemotherapy, reached up and brushed her tears away with his baby-soft fingers as he had done so many times before.

If Jack was Nina’s soul mate, Barett was her heart mate. Nina’s first pregnancy ended horribly with a devastating and unexpected miscarrage. Her second ended the same way. So after nine months of living on the jittery edge of sanity, wondering what would go wrong the third time around, Barett was her gift from God who miraculously joined the world on Nina’s twenty-sixth birthday. She loved her little bear more than anything. She loved Barett more than Jack.

Trying to stay strong and keep up a good front for Barett while Jack was away, Nina snatched the dreamcatcher hanging from a tack in the wall above Barett’s pillow and fanned his face with its eagle feathers as if she were trying to start a fire.

“Remember, Uncle Travis had a very special medicine man make this to protect you from bad dreams.” She tickled his chest until he giggled.

“He’s funny.”

“Now go to sleep, honey. Daddy will be home tomorrow.” She leaned over and gave him one last kiss.

Nina left his door half open, just how Barett liked, and went downstairs to lock up for the night. Everything in their condominium smelled fresh and new. The paint on the walls, the polish on the floors, and the carpet on the stairs. It was their first home and their first mortgage. Nina smiled, thinking of her husband, Jack, and how he had gone over the top to buy the most expensive door and window locks.

Being a Navy SEAL and the head of the Counterterrorism Task Force (CTF) made it nearly impossible for Jack Gunn to trust anyone. The only people he trusted were the other SEALs on his Ghost Team and Native Americans, like Nina and him.

“I’m not going to be a prisoner in my own home, Jack. Spend all the money on locks and guns and whatever else you think we need, but take a look around. We’re not living in Afghanistan.” Nina had opened the blind so Jack could look out and see their front yard of new sod, their one-inch elm sapling held vertical by three posts and gardening wire, and the empty lots across the street staked out for new construction. No one else had even moved into their building yet. They had first pick in the new ocean-view community in Dawley Corners, south of Virginia Beach.

“This is what I’ve always wanted, Jack,” Nina had told him. “I know it’s not Montana, but there’s no place I’d rather be.”

“The perimeter is secure,” she could almost hear Jack saying.

Her smile vanished as she pulled back a corner of the curtain and watched a windowless panel van slowly cruise past their condo. It was the type of hammer-and-nail-laden van construction crews drove through their neighborhood on a daily basis, but not after dark at nine thirty on a Saturday night.

There was something about the van that sent a shiver up her spine as it crawled around the cul-de-sac and came back. She let the sheer curtain fall back into place and watched the headlights. They stopped at the end of Nina’s driveway. With a growl of the engine, smoke puffed from the tail pipe into the chilled air. Now hiding behind the front door, she began to hyperventilate as she fought off the suffocating feeling of panic.

Nina felt guilty for cowering like a scared little girl. She knew if Jack were home, he would have put one of his patented kill looks on his face, stomped out the front door, and challenged the guys in the truck. He did stuff like that all the time. Most of the time, the other guys took off before he got close enough to do any harm; he looked that intimidating. Far from being politically correct, Jack was the man who backed down to nobody. Who feared nobody. Who suspected everybody.

Nina swallowed hard, checked the lock, and glanced up the stairs to make sure Barett was still in bed. Fingers trembling, she fumbled to get her cell phone out of her pocket to call Jack, but dropped it. Pieces of plastic and glass blasted in every direction, like a grenade exploding in the dark, when it hit the porcelain tile.

“Oh my God!” she gasped. That was her only phone. The van still rumbled in the street, not moving. She made out the silhouette of a stocking-capped, bearded man in the passenger seat. Her brain swelled like an expanding water balloon between her ears.

“Think, dammit. Think.” She heard Jack’s words reverberating in her head. It was late Saturday night, her phone was trashed, their home Internet was not scheduled to be activated until Monday, which had not been a big deal because her smartphone functioned as a mobile hot spot for her laptop. All that had changed the instant her phone crashed.

Her feet felt as if they were stuck in cement, nailing her to the floor behind the door.

“The gun. I’ve got to get the gun.”

She looked through the curtain at the van one last time, then stumbled up the stairs, went into their bedroom closet, and turned on the light. The gun safe still had the manufacturer’s stickers on the anodized steel door.

She dialed three numbers stuck in her head. Nothing. She tried again. Nothing. The combination to the safe lay splayed across the entryway floor downstairs in a worthless cell phone microchip.

A noise outside spooked her. Her fingers trembled on the dial.

She tried the lock one last time and prayed. “Hallelujah!” The door opened. She grabbed the loaded shotgun. Jack always said it was the best gun for home protection. Point the scattergun in the general direction of your target and pull the trigger. It would blow a hole in the door the size of a basketball.

Nina had pulled the trigger on a shotgun once before. She blasted tin cans and beer bottles with her brothers back at the reservation garbage dump in Montana when she was a kid. The gun kicked like a mule and knocked her on her butt. It seemed funny at the time.

She flipped the safety off, racked a shell into the chamber, turned off the light, and tiptoed back out of the closet. The gun went first, with Nina’s slippery finger on the trigger. Her eyes dilated to adjust back to the dark.

The condo was too new. Nothing looked familiar. Every shadow, every noise made her jump. The furnace kicked in. The bedroom curtain fluttered over the heat duct. She heard a noise in the hallway. Nina opened the door with the gun barrel.

“Mommy.”

“Barett. Oh my God. I almost . . .” She covered her mouth, overcome by a sudden wave of nausea. Nina swallowed hard to push the bile back down as she propped the gun up against the wall behind the door, out of Barett’s sight. She grabbed Barett, hugged him hard, and carried him back to his room. “Stay in bed, honey. Mommy will be right back.”

Nina snatched the gun with her shaking, sweaty hands and quickly crept back down the carpeted stairs, trying her best to keep quiet.

The front door was still locked. The van was gone. She held the shotgun against her chest and fixed her eyes on the doorknob, dreading movement of any kind. Her heart raced as she waited in the dark.

The wind blew. The furnace kicked off. The doorknob did nothing.

She turned on the entryway light and scraped together all the pieces of her phone.

I can’t call the police. The phone lines are down till Monday. I can’t call or text Jack. He’ll be pissed. It was probably nothing. No need to get all worked up. Just go to bed. Get a new cell phone in the morning before Jack gets home. And put that stupid gun away before you shoot someone.


My Book Review:

Terror Never Sleeps is a riveting military thriller that takes the reader on an exhilarating roller coaster ride as they follow Jack Gunn, a Navy SEAL and head of the Counterterrorism Task Force (Force) race frantically across the world  in search of his wife Nina and son Barett, who were kidnapped from their Virginia home and taken hostage by a group of Islamic terrorists.

Author Richard Blomberg weaves a realistic, fast paced, and action packed suspenseful tale that easily draws the reader into Jack's relentless pursuit of the terrorist group, while Nina struggles to survive the terrorist's brutal daily infliction of mental and physical torture techniques.

Written in the third person narrative, the reader follows the harrowing trials and tribulations that Jack and Nina endure throughout the story. There is enough drama, intrigue, suspense, and pulse stopping twists and turns that keeps the reader sitting on the edge of their seats wondering what would happen next. I experienced the gamut of emotions as I read this story, and I couldn't help but feel compassion and cheer on Jack, Nina, and Barett as their story unfolded.

Author Richard Blomberg calls upon his prior Navy experience to weave a hauntingly realistic tale that painfully reflects the sign of our times dealing with counter terrorism, the heroism of our Navy SEALS and other military personnel, the horrifying brutality of the terrorist activity, and the trauma that it brings to many families worldwide.

I really enjoyed following Jack Gunn's journey in this second installment of the Jack Gun Thriller Series so much that I am going to have to go back and read Warpath, the first book in the series, just so I can get my Jack Gunn fix!

Terror Never Sleeps is a compelling and powerful military thriller that will keep you captivated with its heart pounding nonstop action, and leave you completely spent at its surprising conclusion!


RATING: 5 STARS 





About The Author

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Dr. Richard Blomberg has practiced anesthesia in the land of 10,000 lakes for twenty years. He grew up in an Iowa farm town, the oldest of ten, before serving as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War. For generations, Richard’s family has proudly served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and currently lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and family, where he is working on his next Jack Gunn thriller.

To learn more about the author, sign up for his newsletter, read his blog, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.






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Terror Never Sleeps - Updated