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.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Eighty-Eight Keys by Catherine Lavender (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Catherine Lavender, author of Eighty-Eight Keys!

Author Guest Post

Staying Positive

Have you ever met a person who just seemed to radiate positive energy regardless of what situation they were going through? Even when facing serious life challenges, they were still happy and smiling. This is an example of a person who has learned that having a positive attitude towards life will help overcome any fear and anxiety.

Everyone faces challenges, heartaches, disappointments, and shattered dreams at different points in life. Some people dwell on negative situations and cannot seem to find any peace during these difficult times. They become stressed out, sad, and burden down by negative energy.

Other people adopt a more optimistic perspective when challenges arise. They refuse to allow situations and people to dictate their moods and outlook. They do not allow negative thoughts to control their lives and they surround themselves with positive people. They may also invest in their own spiritual growth by listening to positive people and reading inspiring and motivational literature.

Catherine Pulsifer once said, “Your attitude can take you forward or your attitude can take you down. The choice is always yours!” She understood that our attitude is something that we can learn to have control over regardless of the situation. Most people who have an optimistic perspective on life believe that valuable lessons can be learned from the obstacles that we face in life. For example, I know a woman who got laid off from a mental health position and instead of complaining and stressing about it; she took the opportunity to begin her own business as a Life Coach. She could have surrounded herself with negativity and complained about how life was unfair but she chose to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome.

If you struggle with negativity, you should try re-training your thought process by observing your thoughts. When a negative thought comes, immediately change it to a positive thought. If the thought, “I’m nothing but a failure” comes, simply change it to, “I’m successful in many areas”. Using positive affirmations daily will help you filter away negative thoughts within time. Remember having a positive attitude will make a huge difference in your life and can help you achieve incredible things.

About The Author

Catherine Lavender is from Baltimore, Maryland but now resides in Tampa, Florida with her miniature schnauzer name Ripken. She is an animal activist, as well as a supporter of the organization First Book which helps supply literature for underprivileged children. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys reading classic literature and playing the acoustic guitar.

Eighty-Eight Keys by Catherine Lavender ~ Virtual Book Tour Event: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

Eighty-Eight Keys by Catherine Lavender
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Publication Date: January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback - 174 pages / Kindle - 368 KB / Nook - 526 KB
ISBN: 1936167832
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: Eighty-Eight Keys

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

Book Description: 

Leah is a young woman who is trying to break free from a strict religious background and pursue her dream as a pianist in the world of show business. While trying to find her independence her heart is held captive by Jason Rowe, a local basketball star who established an organization to help troubled youth. When Jason is found murdered in his home, Leah is determined to get answers from a closed investigation. During her state of emotional turmoil, Leah finds comfort not only in the melody of her music, but in the arms of a married man named Calvin. With her dreams at her fingertips, Leah is tangled in a web of lies and deceit. Despite the fear of learning the truth, Leah has to realize that only the truth can set her free.

A dead lover, with a trail of broken hearts...
A married man, with a double-life...
A dream chaser, with a killer at her heels...
A piano, with eighty-eight keys...

Book Excerpt:


Theresa Jordan walked quickly along her route, chastising herself for running behind. She silently cursed the Wilsons’ dog for scaring her out of five precious minutes. “Maintain the schedule,” she muttered, marching up the walkway. “Respect the schedule!”

Her hand was poised to rap hard, but the door slowly swung open on the first knock. “Hello?” She yelled loudly, “I have a delivery here.”

When there was no answer, she reached for the Sorry I Missed You pad when the sound of rushing water stopped her. “Hello?”

She called again, her senses on high alert. “Is anybody home?” Stepping cautiously into the front room, Theresa looked around. “Hello?” She called out again, “Mail carrier, I have a delivery.”

The living room seemed to be in order, decently decorated, she supposed, but there was something in the air. A scent that made her hackles rise.

Slowly, she followed the sound of running water in the large, gourmet kitchen. Theresa came around the counter and found the tap in the sink flowing into a glass vase of white lilies. She reached over to turn the tap off, opened her mouth to yell again, and then saw drops of red dripping off the stainless steel sink. Her heart began to beat faster. A splash of green caught her eye, and as she looked over, she spotted a bloody knife lying next to a wicker bowl that was neatly piled with green apples.

The voice in her head told her to run away fast, but she never did what the voice in her head told her.

Moving slowly toward the back of the house, the air shifted and changed. It felt surprisingly empty, as empty as a heart that refused to love. The air was thick, stuffy, and suffocating any real emotion. But there was something else.

Once in the bedroom, she knew what the smell was, what the feeling was. Death. There was also an unmistakable hint of Channel No. 5. The scent tiptoed around the room, a seemingly innocent bystander, but strong enough to own the space.

Sheets on the bed, once a dazzling white, pure as newly fallen snow, were splattered in crimson, a horrific sinful crimson that had set in and made itself at home. Theresa stood frozen out of fear, waiting for the mangled body to speak to her. To tell her who did this unspeakable act. Instead the silence was broken by the ringing of a cell phone that was out of reach on a nightstand.

The ghastly look in the corpse eyes broke Theresa’s trance. She ran as fast as she could away from the sight and the smell of murder.

My Book Review:

Eighty-Eight Keys is an intriguing romantic suspense novel about the complexity of relationships in the midst of murder, blackmail, threats, betrayal and hidden secrets. In her debut novel, author Catherine Lavender weaves an intense tale of mystery and suspense written in the third person narrative that alternates between the present with flashbacks of the past. The reader follows along as Leah tries to forge a life away from her restrictive upbringing in a Pentecostal family. She aspires to become a pianist, but along the way she faces turmoil and danger from the complicated entanglements in her relationships.

This story has a large cast of characters who are realistic and flawed, their individual perspectives, intense dialogue and interactions keeps the reader on their toes. There is a lot that goes on in this multi-layered storyline, it is an action-packed story that is full of drama, murder, mystery and suspense mixed in with complicated romantic relationships. It has intriguing clues, secrets and twists and turns that keeps the reader engaged and guessing what will happen next. I have to admit that because there was so much going on in the story, I had to keep a list of the characters and take notes in order to keep up with them and their involvement throughout the story. Nonetheless, I found Eighty-Eight Keys to be a riveting romantic suspense story, it has a little bit of everything, what more could a reader ask for?!

Eighty-Eight Keys is a fine debut novel for author Catherine Lavender. I look forward to seeing what future novels she has in store for her readers.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: April 8-22

Everyone who leaves a comment on Eighty-Eight Keys by Catherine Lavender ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Eighty-Eight Keys before April 22 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Tour Participants

April 8 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 9 – Amie’s Reviews – Review & Guest Post
April 10 – A Tale of Many Book Reviews – Promo Post
April 11- Free eBooks Daily – Guest Post
April 11- Chick Lit Chit Chat – Review
April 12- Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & QA
April 16 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
April 18 – Evolved World – Review
April 20 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review & Q&A
April 22- Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post