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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year ~ Welcome 2012!

















My Year In Review: The Top 10 Books I Read In 2011

As the last few hours of 2011 start to wind down, this has been a great year for reading some very good books! I started the year with the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and my goal was to read 100 books. I surpassed that goal, the final count for books read for 2011 is 112! So from the 112 books that I have read this year, here is my Top 10 favorites:







So what were your Top 10 Books Read for 2011? 

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope that 2012 will bring you many reading pleasures throughout the year! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 1/1-7/12 ~ No Story To Tell by KJ Steele ~ In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long





~ Virtual Book Tour Events for the Week of Jan 1-7, 2012 ~


In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following Virtual Book Tour Events:


No Story To Tell by KJ Steele


Thursday, January 5, 2012 ~ Book Review
Friday, January 6, 2012 ~ Author Guest Post


Book Description: No Story To Tell

Have you ever wondered if you can be born into the wrong life?

This is a question Victoria Lackey, a once promising dance, tries to hard not to ask herself as seh wanders through her days, tending her secrets and burying her past. 

It is a question that begins to whisper to her after a chance meeting with Elliot, a sensual artist from the city, who recognizes the dancer's spirit within her.

A question that presses for an answer after softly seductive anonymous telephone calls encourage her forward into a life of her own.

A question that demands an answer when the woman she is explodes inside the woman she has become. 

Buried dreams, anonymous telephone calls, and a heart full of secrets. No Story To Tell is a story that demanded to be told.






In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long


Friday, January 6, 2012 ~ Author Guest Post and Book Review


Book Description: In Leah's Wake

The Tyler family had the perfect life - until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn't want to be perfect anymore. 

While Leah's parent's fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. 

Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough?

Jodi Picoult fans will love In Leah's Wake - a heartbreaking, ultimately redemptive story about family, connection and our responsibility to those we love. 



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker




The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker
Published & Sold By: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: September 16, 2011
ISBN: 1414348282
ASIN: B005TL1Z0Y
Genre: Christian Living / Devotional / Inspirational / Nonfiction


About The Authors






Tony Dungy is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Quiet Strength, Uncommon, and The Mentor Leader. He led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007, the first such win for an African American head coach. Dungy established another NFL first by becoming the first head coach to lead his teams to the playoffs for ten consecutive years. Before becoming a coach, Dungy played three seasons in the NFL. He retired from coaching in 2009 and now serves as a studio analyst for NBC's Football Night in America. He and his wife, Lauren, are the parents of seven children.





Nathan Whitaker is an attorney who lives in Florida with her wife and two daughters. He graduated from Harvard Law School and has worked in football administration for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His firm currently represents NFL and college coaches. He is the coauthor of Quiet Strength, Uncommon, and The Mentor Leader.




AUTHOR WEBSITE: Tony Dungy
FACEBOOK: Tony Dungy
TWITTER: Tony Dungy
GOODREADS: Tony Dungy
GOODREADS: Nathan Whitaker
GOODREADS: The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge


The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge ~ Author Video


The Uncommon Life Daily Challenge


** BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST** 

The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge

Contest Dates: 12/28-31/11

Are you ready to accept The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge? Would you like to win a copy of Coach Dungy's book? 
Leave a comment with your name and email address at the bottom of this blog post to enter the contest! One lucky winner will be randomly selected using Random.org. You will have 48 hours to respond to the winner's email notification, and a coupon for the book from Tyndale House Publishers will be sent to you! 


BUY THE BOOK: 
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE



Disclaimer:  At the request of the authors and Tyndale House Publishers, a Paperback edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review and participation in the virtual book tour event.


Amazon.com Book Description:


Strengthen the core of your life and faith on a year-long journey with beloved Super Bowl winning former head coach Tony Dungy! The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge contains 365 reflections from the #1 New York Times bestselling author on living an "uncommon life" of integrity, honoring your family and friends, creating a life of real significance and impact, and walking with the Lord. This year, step up to the challenge - and dare to be uncommon every day.



My Book Review:


Are you ready to start the New Year with a challenge to live an "uncommon life?" Join Coach Tony Dungy on this year long journey with this daily devotional that will help you create a life that is more fulfilling and inspiring.

This daily devotional focuses on seven themes, with each theme repeating every seven days. Therefore, every week you will read one devotion from each of the following themes: Core, Family, Friends, Potential, Mission, Influence and Faith.

Each devotion includes Scripture and an Uncommon Key, which is an application or action to implement based on what you've just read. This isn't just a "read-it-and-you're-done" type of devotional. The goal is to not only engage your mind, but to also challenge your heart.

I love devotionals, and when I saw that Tyndale House Publishers was offering book reviewers the chance to review Tony Dungy's The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge, I knew that I wanted to be apart of this virtual book tour and to also accept this worthy challenge for 2012. As I skimmed through the book, I loved how the authors chose the seven themes, the Scriptures and the Uncommon Keys that are part of the daily devotional for the year. Each theme and accompanying Scriptures and Uncommon Keys are so inspirational, how could you not want to step up and accept this challenge? I look forward to starting the challenge on January 1, 2012 ... I look at it as a new chance to enhance my life to one that will be more fulfilling and spiritual. So are you ready to accept this challenge?

RATING: 4 STARS ****

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank



The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank
Published & Sold By: HarperCollins Publishers
Release Date: October 23, 2007
ISBN: 0061438448
ASIN: B001RTS99C
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Fiction, Contemporary Women's Fiction, Chick Lit


About The Author




Dorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times best selling author of eleven novels.

She has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Parker Ladd's Book Talk and many local network affiliated television stations. she is a frequent speaker on creative writing and the creative process for students of all ages and in private venues as the National Arts Club, the Junior League of New York, Friends of the Library organizations and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She has also been a guest speaker at the South Carolina Book Festival, Novello, North Carolina's festival of books and the Book and Author annual event in Charleston, SC, sponsored by the Post & Courier.

Before she began her writing career, Dorothea was involved extensively in the arts and education, and in raising awareness and funding for various non profits in New Jersey and New York.

Dorothea, who was born and raised on Sullivan's Island in South Carolina, along with her husband, currently divides their time between the Lowcountry of South Carolina and New Jersey.


AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
GOODREADS



GET THE BOOK: The Christmas Pearl
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE



Amazon.com Book Description:


Theodora is the spry ninety-three year old matriarch of a family that has grown into a bunch of truculent knuckleheads. While she's finally gotten the whole bickering brood together for the holidays at her home in South Carolina, the grand matriarch pines wistfully for those extravagant, homey Christmases of her childhood, this Christmas looks nothing like the holidays of her childhood.

What happened to the days when Christmas meant tables groaning with home-cooked goodies, over-the-top decorations, and long chats in front of the fire with Pearl, her grandmother's beloved housekeeper and closest confidante?

Luckily for Theodora, a special someone who heard her plea for help arrives, with pockets full of enough Gullah magic and common sense to make Theodora's Christmas the loved-filled miracle it's meant to be.



My Book Review:


Do you cherish the Christmas traditions of your childhood? Have you kept those holiday traditions alive, or have they gone to the wayside because family values have disintegrated? What would you do to recreate the Christmases of your childhood? These are the questions and dilemma that ninety-three year old matriarch Theodora faced in The Christmas Pearl.

Ninety-three year old matriarch Theodora is pining for the Christmas traditions of her childhood. Back then, she believed anything was possible, Christmas was a charmed time, and the holiday preparations leading up to Christmas created so much excitement and joy. Unfortunately, the younger generation of her family, daughter Barbara's kids and their families, don't hold the same excitement and joy for Christmas. Their thoughtless and haphazard holiday decorations have allowed the whole spirit of the Christmas season to erode into blatant commercialism. The pitiful production of their family Christmas celebration leaves her feeling disheartened, she has tried to tell them plenty of ways to revive the beauty of Christmas past, but they have fallen on deaf ears, who wants to listen to an old woman's thoughts anyway? As she dreams of past Christmases, her long-dead housekeeper, Pearl, has been on her mind. With Pearl guiding the holiday preparations, the Christmas holidays were a revered time. Dreams of Pearl leaves Theodora wishing that Pearl was still alive and in charge, oh how that old house would rock with holiday cheer. Is she dreaming ... can it be ... oh my goodness ... Pearl's ghost comes back to assist Theodora in recreating her cherished Christmas traditions, and to teach the family what the true meaning of Christmas really is ... the importance to love and cherish one another.

As a longtime fan of Dorothea Benton Frank, I was not left disappointed by this heartfelt story. Told from the perspective of Theodora, the story reads as if you are sitting at your grandmother's knee listening to interesting stories of days gone by. The storyline was captivating, it made me think back to my own childhood memories of Christmases past, and yearn for those fun filled joyful times once again. In a time when long held generational family traditions and values are being swept aside for the hustle and bustle of rushing to prepare for the holiday season, the joy and excitement has given way to family drama, and the preparations have become a burden and bother, which is so sad. The author gives her readers a reason to take a good look at their own holiday traditions and values, in addition to encouraging their families to remember that the true meaning of the holiday is to be together, and to love and cherish one another. And if that isn't enough to make you want to read the book, the holiday food and goodies that Pearl makes is mouth watering ... the recipes are included in the book! This book is well worth being added to the annual list of Christmas books that you read ... you won't be disappointed!

RATING: 4 STARS ****

Monday, December 26, 2011

Year Of The Indie Celebration!



Celebrate The Year Of The Indie!

Independent authors have come a long way in 2011 and WLC wants to show the world just how far we've come! We're going to feature our members' books in an end-of-year celebration.

For 7 days we are going to CELEBRATE THE INDIE INITIATIVE, featuring WLC authors, bringing our readers hidden talents and household names side-by-side. This is not a 99 cent event. We want to promote great literature that celebrates a fair and equitable value for readers and authors. This is a Kindle ebook celebration!








Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! May the blessings of the season bring you and yours love, happiness, peace and joy! Happy Birthday Jesus!














Friday, December 23, 2011

Author Guest Post: Kimberly Lin, Author of Recession Proof

In association with Chick Lit Plus (CLP), Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Kimberly Lin, author of Recession Proof!






Inspiration
Kimberly Lin



What inspires me to write ...

The ultimate goal of my writing and every other project I take on is to empower women to never settle in their lives. Whether it be in their careers, relationships or anything else I believe that we deserve to have it all and can have it all. 

It doesn't mean that there aren't very real issues and challenges to face especially because the roles for women have changed drastically. Our world is far more complex than it was before. In Recession Proof, I chose to write about the economy and the difficulties of being a working professional woman trying to juggle relationships, friendships and family all the while trying to find and fulfill your life's passion. Of course it wouldn't be chick-lit if it wasn't simultaneously witty and fun but through the humor I wanted to be as honest and true to the feelings and thoughts women have nowadays. Many readers have said it's been like reading a page out of their own diaries or a conversation that they've had with a girlfriend or two over coffee. And as a writer and artist, I feel humbled and really fulfilled to be able to paint this picture with words about what we're going through.

I believe women are incredibly intelligent, competent and multifaceted and it's kind of been my life's passion to showcase just how great we can be.






BUY THE BOOK: Recession Proof








Recession Proof by Kimberly Lin



Recession Proof by Kimberly Lin
Published By: CreateSpace
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: June 10, 2011
ISBN: 1463584520
ASIN: B005DI49L0
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction / Chick Lit


About The Author:




Kimberly Lin is a Southern California native, graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in Economics. After college, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a financial writer and hedge fund analyst but always dreamed of becoming a women's fiction author.

Utilizing her experiences, she writes stories that are witty, heartwarming and relatable to the modern woman.

She now resides in Orange County, CA. Recession Proof is her debut novel, and she is now working on her second novel and is the Publisher of Minted Magazine.


AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
BLOG: THE CHEAP
MINTED MAGAZINE


VIDEO: RECESSION PROOF


GET THE BOOK: Recession Proof
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
SMASHWORDS



Disclaimer: At the request of the author and Chick Lit Plus (CLP), a Paperback edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review and participation in the virtual book tour event.


Virtual Book Tour Events: On Thursday and Friday, December 22-23, 2011, in association with Chick Lit Plus (CLP), Kimberly participated in the virtual book tour events with an Author Interview and Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.
http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/12/author-interview-with-kimberly-lin.html
http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/12/author-guest-post-kimberly-lin-author.html

Amazon.com Book Description:


Sometimes going after what you want is the hardest thing you will ever do ...

Meet Helen. Smart, successful and obviously trapped. For the past six years, Helen has given her life and her heart to her cushy corporate job and to Mark without question. However as the Recession sweeps the Nation, she is one of many left unemployed and with the burning question of what does she really want in life.

Recession Proof is a debut novel for anyone that has settled in their career and relationship, but has discovered that what really matters in life is living it.



My Book Review:


Is living your life without passion in your career or relationship worth it? Would you be happy settling for less than what you really want? Is other people's views of your dreams as being unrealistic holding you back from fulfilling them and leaving you with self-doubt? What if everything you had and worked hard for suddenly disappeared, would you be able to pick up the pieces, and have the desire and drive to live your life the way you really want to? These are the questions that Helen Jennings faced in Recession Proof.

For the past six years, Helen Jennings has lived the successful professional career woman's lifestyle as a financial fund analyst in Los Angeles. For the same time period, she has been in an awkward relationship with her boyfriend Mark. In reality, she has been settling, and she is now feeling unfulfilled with her life choices. Her true passion has always been writing, but self-doubt led her to choose finance as her career choice. As for her relationship, she is unsure if Mark is really "The One." She's not really in love with him, and she suspects that he really isn't in love with her either, what keeps them together is that they are basically comfortable with each other. At a time when the nation is in the midst of a recession, life throws Helen a curve ball and turns her life upside down when she loses her job, and she realizes that being with Mark isn't enough, so they break up. Helen moves in with her best friend Sophie, and for a while she falls into a depression, she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, but she does know that she wants to be happy and have a fulfilling life. It is torture waking up everyday without a sense of purpose, the hours are spent filled with uncertainty. Finally, she picks herself up and decides that she is going to give writing a shot, even if it doesn't pan out, she wants to see where her dream is going to take her. What ensues is a two year journey of self-discovery for Helen. Along the way she has discovered that she finally knows herself, and has become that independent woman that she always wanted to be, and even though the road to happiness and life's fulfillment isn't a bed of roses, maybe she'll be able to have her dream career and find a man that just might be "The One."

At a time when our nation's economy has been in the midst of a prolonged recession, and times have been hard for so many people, Recession Proof is a novel that everyone can relate to. The storyline is very well written and gives so much food for thought, it begs the readers to take a good look at their own lives and question if they are really happy and fulfilled in the choices that they have made. I really loved Helen's story, as she went on her journey of self-discovery, I came along for the ride and saw so much of myself in her, it was like looking in the mirror. There is so much that the reader can learn from reading this debut novel by author Kimberly Lin. I think the ultimate message that one can take away from reading this novel is to NEVER SETTLE, and the following quote quite nicely sums up the title of this novel: "I suppose it's always scarier to risk pursuing something you really love and want because failure and rejection could be completely devastating. However, what makes life worth living is taking a stand for what you love and want whether it results in measurable success - a high-salaried career, a marriage or a new house with all the trimmings. There is no singular way to complete a task or solve a problem; in the same, there is no one way to live life. I have learned that I am the only supply of me, which is the most recession proof job I can possibly ever have." What a profound quote, thank you Ms. Lim for sharing Recession Proof with the world.


RATING: 4 STARS ****


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Author Interview with Kimberly Lin, Author of Recession Proof

In association with Chick Lit Plus (CLP), Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Kimberly Lin, author of Recession Proof!




Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I'm 27. A Gemini (that should tell you a lot). I love surfing and swimming, indie music and nice people.
Born and raised in Southern California. Favorite places to travel are Mykonos in Greece, Koh Lanta in Thailand, NYC and Kauai.
I have a 4 year old yorkie named Taeji (Korean for Prince) who is quite nearly the love of my life. 
Love Thai, Japanese and Taiwanese food but I'd wolf down a really good burger any day.


How long have you been a writer?

Hmm. My earliest memory of writing is probably the second grade. I had wrote a book of poetry that I was particularly fond of. But professionally, probably 1.5 years.


Do you have a "day job," or is being an author your career?

Being an author is my career. I am also the publisher and writer of Minted Magazine, a career / lifestyle digital magazine for women.


What inspired you to become a writer?

I don't think you can be inspired to be a writer since I think it's something you're born to do. Also, I think if you write, then you're a writer. But I would say, I was inspired to make writing my career because before I pursued it professionally, I was stuck in a finance career path that I didn't find fulfilling. 


Please give a brief description of the storyline about Recession Proof.

Sometimes going after what you want is the hardest thing you will ever do ... Meet Helen. Smart, successful and obliviously trapped. For the past six years, Helen has given her life and her heart to her cushy corporate finance job and to Mark without question. However as the Recession sweeps the Nation, she is one of many left unemployed and with the burning question of what she really wants in life. 




What was the inspiration for this story?

I wrote Recession Proof as a way to express how I felt as a young female working professional during these current economic times. At the time, I felt I was settling in my career and my relationship and writing the book was almost therapeutic for me. In my heart, I knew that life was about truly living it. 


How did it feel to have Recession Proof, your first novel, published?

Relieved. It was a two-year process and 80,000+ words. 


What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

Philosophy and chick lit. haha.


Favorite books: Something Borrowed, Emily Giffin. Fountainhead, Ayn Rand. Essays on Work and Culture, Hamilton Wright Mabie.


Do you have a special "spot/area" where you like to do your writing?

Anywhere that serves coffee.


How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

I get my inspiration from my girlfriends and from issues I'm going through. I suppose that's why many readers find that my work is very "real."


From concept to publication, about how long does it take for you to complete a book and have it released?

It took me two years to release Recession Proof. I'm hoping it won't take that long for my second book but I do believe in letting a piece "breathe."


When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

It's a little bit of both. I try to dedicate at least 3 hours to writing everyday but if nothing comes then I can't and shouldn't force it.
Then there are times I get a spurt of inspiration - it usually comes at 3:30-4:30am (my boyfriend is usually quite fond of those moments) :p


What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

Editing is a pain. The best part is people's reactions to it. 
I love when someone says that they've read the book and couldn't put it down and that it was exactly what they were thinking and feeling.
Also, getting to know my characters. I love reading people in real life so it's fun creating characters and picking apart their neuroses.


What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

Being out in nature and experiencing new things. And being with people I love of course.


What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

If you write, then you're a writer - Emily Giffin. 


What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

When it resonates with the reader.


How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

Primarily through FACEBOOK


I also write a blog called The Cheap.


Also through my AUTHOR WEBSITE.


They can also contact me through my magazine Minted Magazine.


Are any things in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

It's a bit of both. some of the settings are real, some fictional. some experiences are real but exaggerated. But it's the funniest thing - some of the things I wrote about in the book have actually come to be. 


What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

Emily Giffin, Ayn Rand, Hamilton Wright Mabie.


What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Writing is only half the battle. Learn how to market yourself and your book. It's reality. 


Are you currently writing a new book> If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

My second book that I'm working on is called Thirty-Something. It's about this phenomenon that I've observed amongst my thirty-something girlfriends: they're in long-term relationships that they know they're settling for but they rationalize why they don't leave (aka "at least I have my career,"  "true love doesn't exist" ...etc). My work always leads back to this theme: "Never settle."




I would like to thank Kimberly for the opportunity to interview her, and for being so gracious to spend some time with us! Good luck with your writing career, I look forward to reading many more of your books!



AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
BLOG: THE CHEAP
MINTED MAGAZINE


VIDEO: Recession Proof


BUY THE BOOK: Recession Proof
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
SMASHWORDS


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson



The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson
Published By: Little, Brown and Company
Sold By: Hatchette Book Group
Release Date: October 17, 2011
ISBN: 1846059582
ASIN: B005LJWS4Q
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Contemporary Christmas Holiday Fiction


About The Author:




In the past three years, James Patterson has sold more books than any other author (according to Bookscan),  and in total, James's books have sold an estimated 220 million copies worldwide. Since 2006, one out of every seventeen hardcover fiction books sold was a Patterson title. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year - a record-breaking feat he's accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling titles by a single author (63 total), which is also a Guinness World Record. 




AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS


GET THE BOOK: The Christmas Wedding
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE



Amazon.com Book Description:


The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married - and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day - she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise - she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever.



My Book Review:


Family is important to Gaby Summerhill, and since her husband Peter's death three years before, her family hasn't spent Christmas together. Christmas is the season for Believing and Family is the reason for the season ... Gaby is bound and determined to get her four adult children and their families back to the family home in Massachusetts to celebrate a good old family Christmas like they had in the past. Come step into Gaby's world and see how she gets her wayward family to come home for the holidays in The Christmas Wedding.

Widow Gaby Summerhill feels like her family has lost touch with each other ... her four adult children have all gotten caught up in their own lives, and family get togethers have stopped since the death of her husband Peter, three years before. Determined to bring her family back together again for the Christmas holiday, Gaby hatches a plan that will bring her wayward children back to the family farm in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Using her zany creativity, she starts to send her children videos 24 days before Christmas announcing that she is getting married, and that the groom will not be revealed until the wedding on Christmas Day. Each video she sends documents the updates of the pending nuptials, she is whetting their appetite to solve the mystery of who the groom will be ... funny thing is ... the three men that have asked for her hand in marriage don't even know which one of them will be the lucky groom! Is this enough to bring her children and their families home for the holidays? Will there be a Christmas Day wedding, or is Gaby just using that as an excuse to get them back together again as a closer family? Will each of her four children be able to leave their daily lives full of ups and downs to go home for a family Christmas celebration? Can you really ever go back home? These questions and so much more will be answered in The Christmas Wedding. 


As a diehard fan of James Patterson's books, he has written another book that simply made me ride the emotional roller coaster once again. The storyline is so intriguing, I loved how the story is narrated by Gaby, and how the chapters alternate between Gaby's videotapes and on each of her four adult children: Claire, Lizzie, Emily and Seth. In Gaby's chapters, she documents the updates of the pending nuptials for her children, and introduces the reader to the three potential grooms: Tom Hayden, Jacob Coleman and Brother-in-Law Martin Summerhill. In each of the children's chapters, the reader learns about each of them and their families, and the lives that they each lead. In true James Patterson form, the story keeps you guessing until the end who the groom will be, if there will be a wedding, and what happens in each of the Summerhill childrens' lives. This fascinating weaving and intertwining of the Summerhill family's life stories is a heartwarming holiday read that will leave you tingling with the sentimentality that comes along with the Christmas holiday season. Most of all you will come away with a very important message that is such an integral part of the Christmas season: the importance of family ... that families always stick together and will always have each other through the good and bad times!


RATING: 5 STARS *****



Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Cowboy For Christmas by Kristen James



A Cowboy For Christmas by Kristen James
Published By: Brilliant Book Press
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: November 9, 2009
ISBN: 0982175590
ASIN: B0032JTTI0
Genre: Contemporary Romance


About The Author:






Kristen James is a Pacific Northwest author who loves the coast and the mountains. A few of her hobbies includes picking wild berries and mushrooms, cycling, running, fishing, reading, and sharing fun adventures with her husband and kids. Kristen began writing in grade school and found a life long passion. Her works include romance, Native American Fiction, and general fiction.


AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS


GET THE BOOK: A Cowboy For Christmas
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
SMASHWORDS


Disclaimer: At the request of the author, a Kindle edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review.


Amazon.com Book Description:


When her estranged brother passes, Missy is suddenly an unwanted co-owner to Ocean View Stables by Florence, Oregon. Missy wants to start over somewhere new after her old boss burned her. She's jobless and has a wrongly ruined reputation, so this works out perfectly ... until she meets the cowboy running the place.

Brent built his dream with determination and his two hands; he's responsible for everything that happens there. secretly, he feels responsible that his former partner died. He also doesn't hide his belief that Missy won't stick around. Women tend to take off on him so why would she be any different?

They both have a past that can ruin their future. Can he trust her to stay? Can she trust him with her heart?


My Book Review:

Mix a city girl ... a cowboy ... horses and a ranch together.... and you will have combustible sparks of romance all over the place!

Missy Nelson had worked in advertising in Las Vegas until an unfortunate scene with her boss left her jobless and with a damaged reputation. When a call from her estranged late brother Ben's attorney summoned her to Oregon, she knew this was going to be her chance for a new start. Unfortunately, sexy cowboy rancher and Ben's business partner, Brent Williams thought otherwise. Each had their secrets and mistrust for each other when they first met, but there was undeniable attraction and sexual tension in the air. Determined to learn the ropes and be an equal partner in the ranch with Brent, Missy wants to prove that she belongs at Ocean View Stables. Brent thinks the city girl won't be able to keep up with the ranch lifestyle, other women hightailed it out of there, so what would make her any different? Step inside Ocean View Stables and see if Missy can leave the city behind, and if she can tame her wild cowboy in A Cowboy For Christmas. 


A Cowboy For Christmas was a fun, easy book to read leading into the holiday season. The storyline was well written, and the characters were so much fun to follow. I found myself unable to put the book down, I just had to find out if Missy and Brent could let go of their pasts, and trust each other with their deep held secrets, and learn to just let go and love each other. The sparks that flew between them was very entertaining, I loved how the storyline developed, it had a nice mix of romance and cowboy / ranch lifestyle ... it let my imagination run wild. I wouldn't mind if Santa put a sexy cowboy under my Christmas tree! This is definitely a book that fans of contemporary romance and cowboy romance will surely enjoy!

RATING: 4 STARS ****

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teed Up For Love by Barbara Weitz




Teed Up For Love by Barbara Weitz
Published by: The Wild Rose Press / Champagne Rose
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: April 28, 2011
ISBN: 1601549040
ASIN: B0051BIP7I
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit


About The Author:




Barbara Weitz lives in a quiet suburb of Chicago with her husband and a mischievous German sheperd, Heiko. She writes contemporary romantic comedy with heart and sizzle. Her career as an executive secretary has helped shape the characters she brings to life. 




GET THE BOOK: Teed Up For Love


Disclaimer: At the request of the author and Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, a Kindle edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review and participation in the virtual book tour event. 


Virtual Book Tour Event: On Wednesday, December 14, 2011, in association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Barbara participated in a virtual book tour event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews. 







Amazon.com Book Description:


A WORKING GIRL JUST HAS TO BLOW HER LID ... Using her quick wit and take-charge attitude, Miranda Stiltgaard lands a marketing job for Stuart Golf Enterprises in Chicago determined to prove a well-educated girl raised in a small Alaskan town can succeed in a big city.

WHEN ACCUSED OF A CRIME SHE DIDN'T DO ... Embezzlement of company funds sends aloof London Bachelor, Keegan Stuart, roaring into Chicago to ferret out a thief and protect the family business. 

THEN RISKS HEARTBREAK TO BOOT ... Miranda hates that this unreadable Brit sees her as a backwoods frontierswoman dragging bear home for dinner. Or that she's capable of a crime. But if it's a fight he wants, she'll show him how it's done. Never does Keegan expect a woman of fortitude to rock his resolve and steal his heart ... a heart he doesn't intend to lose. 



My Book Review:


What if you moved from a small town to the big city and wanted to prove that you could make it on your own ... could you do it? Now add into the mix an anonymous letter sent to the company owners suggesting that there is a company thief, and you and your boss are under suspicion by the company owners, who also happens to be your boss's half-brothers? And if that isn't enough, not only do you have to prove that you and your boss are innocent of the company theft, but you also find yourself becoming attracted to one of the half-brothers? Come take a stroll into Miranda Stiltgaard's life, and see if she is able to solve the mystery of the company theft, and capture the heart of Keegan Stuart in Teed Up For Love!

Miranda Stiltgaard left the small fishing town of Seward, Alaska to become the marketing coordinator at Stuart Golf Enterprises in Chicago, Illinois. This was her chance to strike out on her own, and gain the independence that she was determined to achieve. Six months into her position, she maintains everything in the marketing department, including covering for her boss, Bill Perry. Bill has her doing personal errands for him, and dog sitting his small white West Highland Terrier named Malcolm, while he flies off for a weekend of gambling in Las Vegas. Miranda has a surprise waiting for her when she goes to Bill's apartment to stay for the weekend, she comes upon two men and a woman staying in the apartment! She has come face to face with Stuart Golf Enterprises' co-owners, Bill's half-brothers, Nigel and Keegan Stuart. The Stuart brothers' corporate headquarters is in London, England, and these two Brits are stodgy and no-nonsense type of guys. They came to Chicago to look into a new venture, and check on rumors circulating around Bill's business ethics and gambling, after they received an anonymous letter implicating that someone in the company was embezzling money from the company Stonehenge Fund (pension fund). 

The Stuart brothers fire Bill and send him home to the UK for some "rehab," and Keegan takes over control of the marketing department. He comes up against a very feisty and angry Miranda, when she finds out that both Bill and herself are implicated and being investigated for the theft of the missing funds, and they have called in the FBI to help in the investigation! Determined to clear both their names, Miranda will stop at nothing to solve this case! She also has become attracted to Keegan, and the attraction is mutual, what ensues is a sizzling sexual tension that is befitting the historical romance books that she is addicted to reading, but will it last? Step into Miranda and Keegan's world, see how the pension fund theft mystery is solved, and if they can build a lasting relationship that stretches across the pond. 

Teed Up For Love is a fast-paced fun contemporary romance novel, that has a mixture of mystery and sizzling romance that will keep a romance fan turning the pages. I really enjoyed the storyline, I thought it was well written and entertaining. I loved the characters, their different personalities were very engaging and easy to relate to. The sizzling chemistry between Miranda and Keegan had me captured, I loved reading how their mutual lustful attraction led them on a steamy romantic dance towards each other, it was sigh worthy. This is an enjoyable book that has humor, passion and even some sad emotional parts that will tug at your heartstrings. For romance and chick-lit fans, this book is a must read that will fulfill your expectations!


RATING: 4 STARS ****




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Author Guest Post: Barbara Weitz, Author of Teed Up For Love

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Barbara Weitz, author of Teed Up For Love!




ANIMALS IN NOVELS
BARBARA WEITZ


Before I get started, I want to thank Jersey Girl Book Reviews for hosting me today. Since she is allowing me to blather on about any subject I choose, I've decided to share a couple of thoughts about the use of animals in novels. A subject that came to mind after a writer friend pointed out my penchant to include animals in my storytelling. By the way, I write contemporary romance with light humor and mystery.

In my current release, Teed Up For Love, the reader meets a West Highland Terrier, Malcolm. He's cute and little but I give him a big job. He gets my story rolling and is instrumental in the happy ending. Although he's not central to the story, when he does appear, he helps reveal the personalities of my characters in a humorous light.

My next release, due out in February 2012, includes a male cat named Tinkerbelle. He's macho but has a young female owner oblivious to any gender trauma such a name might cause him, as is the cat. You have to love that about animals. You can scratch their ears while cooing "Kitty Witty Dumbo Ears" in baby talk and be rewarded with affection. The story I'm presently developing has a Betta fish, Sampson. He's my heroine's confidant, is there a more perfect male than one who doesn't offer his opinion? Uh, for my heroine, I mean.

What all this has me wondering is whether readers who prefer an "animal free" lifestyle are able to enjoy novels that incorporate animals into the storyline? Does an animal on the cover deter you from picking up the book? I'm not talking about a book that uses the animal as its main focus, I am talking about "cameo" or "small presence" ... BUT, and I capped this for a reason, please know that I don't throw in an animal because he/she is cute on the cover. My animal characters must have a purpose and personality or they won't walk, slink or chirp onto the page.

In closing, Id like to share one of my pet peeves (yeah, just had to go there). Although admittedly frivolous, it disappoints me when there's a cute critter on the cover, but you'll not find him/her anywhere in the story. What's up with that? Maybe it's because I'm hopelessly drawn to creatures, big or small, providing color and interest to my life as well as the characters in my books. Hence, I'm disappointed when their cute factor is nothing more than an empty lure.

Do you have any thoughts about the use of animals in novels? Or tell me what your pet will find under the tree from Santa and why ... let's have a little fun as we head into the hustle and bustle of the coming holidays. 








BUY THE BOOK: Teed Up For Love