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, March 17, 2014

I Know You're There by Susan Allison-Dean (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for I Know You're There by Author Susan Allison-Dean!

Author Guest Post

Get Your Book Club Jammin!

It’s your turn to host your book club meeting. You’re looking to do something different. Fun. You choose I Know You’re There as the book you and your group will read.

The night of your book club arrives; you’ve prepared an assortment of Caribbean treats, the curry aroma is intoxicating. The pineapple slices drip their juice into the bowl surrounded by round slices of kiwi on top. The blender has a full bowl of ice next to it, mango and of course, plenty of rum. The stage is set, now for the music.

When your guests enter your home whether it is on a snowy, cold February night or a hot, sweltering day in July, you want them to instantly pick up the Caribbean vibe you are trying to create. You want them to leave their troubles behind, just as Jill Bradley, the protagonist in the story, did and experience a place of letting go and feeling irie.

So what tunes do you play? The King of Reggae, Bob Marley, immediately comes to mind. Some favorites include Is This Love, Three Little Birds and Jamming. Mix that with a little American Tropicana, Jimmy Buffett. Songs like Boat Drinks, Margaritaville, and the new duet with Zac Brown, Knee Deep make escaping their worries sound plausible. From across the pond, UB40, has some classics they’ll remember. Red, Red, Wine, Reggae Music, Kingston Town, and I Got You Babe will have them jamming in no time.

Once you’ve set the mood, your guests have had a drink, a bite to eat, their ready to relax and chat about the book. What issues in the book did they relate to? When they feel the need to escape from their problems, what do they do? Did they learn anything new about nursing? They laugh, they share, maybe even some end up shedding tears. It’s all good.

The evening ends with coffee and rum coconut cake. Your friends rave that this was the best book club ever! How are they going to top this? You hug the last guest as she leaves through your front door. You close it, go to the music and turn it on loud and dance in your living room.

About The Author

Sue Allison-Dean is a nurse who retired from traditional practice in 1999, after working 13 years as a Wound, Ostomy, Continence Clinical Nurse Specialist. She found a second career in gardening after working in a garden center and completing an organic gardening internship at Highgrove Garden in England. She now co-owns Naturescapes with her landscape designer husband, Robert. She has authored several clinical and horticulture articles and was a contributing author to the bestselling book, Touched By A Nurse. She is passionate about the sea and loves exploring tropical islands. She extends this passion by doing volunteer work benefitting dolphins and whales. Sue splits her time between Armonk, New York and Cary, North Carolina, with her husband and English bulldog, Bubba.


Book Review

I Know You're There by Susan Allison-Dean
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 234 pages / Kindle - 366 KB / Nook - 323 KB
ISBN: 0578121417
Genre: Contemporary Women's Ficiton

BUY THE BOOK: I Know You're There

*Be sure to look for the sequel coming out sometime in the Spring of 2014*

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 Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description: 

Jill Bradley is a twenty-four-year-old nurse whose life is going great; she has established herself in her new career and she’s looking forward to getting engaged to her high school sweetheart. But faced with a watershed moment, she has to deal with simultaneous family tragedy, injury, and betrayal, and feels it’s way too much to cope with. In a moment of despair, Jill books a trip to a Caribbean island in an effort to escape. While she finds respite and romance, her problems have also packed their own suitcase.

Helen Bradley, Jill’s mother dedicated her entire life to her family like many mothers in the 1970’s and 80’s. Despite her best efforts, however, she hasn’t always been able to be the type of mother she wished she could be. She has a secret she was hoping would just go away, but it won’t. If she doesn’t share it with Jill it might bring her daughter more harm.

I Know You’re There is a mother-daughter journey, celebrating the highs and delving into the lows of family life. Can the power of love heal all things?

Book Excerpt:

It was a long day and I was looking forward to going home as we prepared our reports to give to the second shift in the nurse’s conference room.

“I need someone to stay for the evening shift; Barb called in sick.” Marie leaned on the door entryway, rubbed the back of her neck, as she broke the news in a tone deeper than usual. This was the third time this month Barb called in sick.

“Can’t nursing administration send us a float nurse?” Natasha moaned.

“No, the floats are already assigned.”

We each looked anywhere but at our nurse manager. We were all tired. Mrs. Swanson’s death, two new admissions from the ER, four fresh patients from the Operating Room, and one more coming, a fresh total hip replacement. It would be a busy evening monitoring all these new patients, getting to know them, getting them settled in. Not to mention the regular patients we had on what would now be a full unit. At least there would be no more patients to admit, but the evening would add visiting family members. Most of them required care and explanations sometimes more than the patients did.

The silence was unnerving. Marie just stood in the door, feet planted firmly, and waited for someone to volunteer. We knew she didn’t want to do it, but she had no choice. An inner voice warned me, “Let someone else do it,” but my mouth opened and the words came out, “OK, I’ll stay.”

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, author Susan Allison-Dean weaves an intriguing story that delves into the intricacies of a mother-daughter relationship and family dynamics, the experiences of life's ups and downs, and a journey of self-discovery.

Jill Bradley is a nurse in the adult medical-surgical unit at Riverview Hospital in NYC. After working a double shift, Jill is involved in a car accident on her way home. She hit a car head on with a young couple who were on their way to the hospital to deliver their baby. The couple was fatally injured in the collision, but their newborn baby was delivered and survived. The guilt from the tragedy of the car accident coupled with finding out hidden family secrets, and a devastating loss within her family will change Jill's life forever. Unable to cope with life's traumatic ups and downs, Jill escapes to the Caribbean Island of Triton where she seeks refuge and embarks on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and romance.

Set in NYC and the Caribbean Island of Triton, this poignant story is told in an alternating first person narrative by Jill and her mother Helen. As their story moves between the past and the present, Jill and Helen easily draws the reader into their lives, you can't help but become captivated and embark on a emotional roller coaster ride as their life stories unfold. Dealing with tragedy and guilt, family secrets and betrayal, loss and self-doubt, Jill's journey on the Caribbean island is aided by the spirit of her mother via her journal, and a romantic encounter that will guide Jill in her self-discovery, healing, and enable her to move forward with her life.

The story is broken down into two parts: the first section deals with the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship between Jill and Helen, while the second section describes Jill's internal journey on the Caribbean island. I thought that the story flowed seamlessly between the alternating timelines and the unfolding of the mother-daughter internal stories. I connected with both Jill and Helen, their relationship took me back to the relationship that I had with my mother. I could relate to their complicated relationship and family dynamic, the painful loss of the mother had me in tears.

The author draws upon her previous nursing experience to describe a realistic picture of the medical field and nursing in particular. As a nursing home administrator, I completely agree with the author's depiction of the issues that nurses face on a daily basis as caregivers, they really are the unsung heroes in the medical field.

What I enjoyed most of all about this story was Jill's journey on Triton Island. It was filled with wonderful descriptions of the island setting, and it had a more lighthearted feel as Jill's inner journey to self-discovery and healing is aided by a sweet island romance.

I Know You're There is a touching and emotional story about the power of love and the ability to heal and move forward after life has thrown unexpected curves.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $35 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

February 24 – Authors to Watch – Review
February 25 – To Taste Life Twice – Review
February 27 – The East Village – Review
March 3 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Q&A
March 6 – Sweets Books – Novel Spotlight
March 7 - Sweets Books - Q&A
March 10 – Book Mama Blog – Review 
March 11 – The Book Bag – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
March 12 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt
March 17 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
March 18 – Steph the Bookworm – Review
March 18 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
March 19 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
March 19 – Ai Love Books – Review & Excerpt
March 24 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
March 24 – Christy’s Written Word Love – Review


  1. Thanks for being in the tour and happy Monday!

    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. :)

  2. Happy St. Patty's Day! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Elise-Maria! Thank you for stopping by my blog, I appreciate it. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you too! :)