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, August 30, 2014

Cracks In The Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby (Book Spotlight / $.99 Sale Promotion Event)

In association with Author Bette Lee Crosby, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book spotlight / $.99 sale promotion event for Cracks In The Sidewalk!







Book Spotlight



Cracks In The Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing
Publication Date: September 22, 2011
Format: Paperback - 332 pages
              Kindle - 541 KB
              Nook - 459 KB
ISBN: 978-0983887928
ASIN: B005IGOVVU
BNID: 2940013393615
Genre: Women's Fiction


BUY THE BOOK: Cracks In The Sidewalk
***** $.99 Sale *****


Book Description:

A powerful story that is a heart-wrenching reminder of how fragile relationships can be. Cracks in the Sidewalk is based on a true story.

Claire McDermott is a wife, a mother, a grandmother... Her only daughter is gravely ill... Her son-in-law is resentful and angry... Her grandchildren are missing...

After years of writing letters, hoping to find the children, hoping to bring them back, Claire receives a reply...a dog-eared gray envelope is stuffed into her mailbox, but will it bring hope or simply put an end to the waiting?

Can a single letter change the lives of four people? Claire McDermott and her grandchildren are about to discover letters are a journey of the heart which can ultimately deliver people to their destination.


Book Excerpt:


April, 2006

The dream came back the day I received the letter, I hadn’t thought about it in decades but I suppose it was always there. A thing you’ve carried inside your heart for the better part of a lifetime doesn’t disappear so easily, it slides behind the everyday worries calling for your attention and waits—waits until your heart opens up to let it fly loose again. You never expect that something you’ve prayed for hundreds of thousands of times will come to you in a weathered gray envelope.

‘Dear Mr. and Mrs. McDermott,’ the letter began—addressing me as if I were a total stranger and not taking into account that my sweet Charles had gone to join Our Heavenly Father some five years ago. ‘I don’t know if you remember me,’ it said, ‘because my family left New Jersey when I was only two years old.’ The moment I saw those words, my heart began pounding so hard I could feel the whole of my body shaking; I grabbed onto the arm of Charlie’s old recliner and lowered myself into the seat. After all those years of waiting, I couldn’t spare time for a cry, so I continued reading through the waterfall of tears—‘Recently, I came across some information which leads me to believe that my birth mother, Elizabeth Caruthers, was your daughter. I understand my mother’s maiden name was McDermott, and that she passed away in 1986. Other than these few details, I know very little. If perchance we are related, I would certainly like to meet you and learn more about my mother.’

With the letter still clutched in my hand, I closed my eyes and whispered, “Thank you, Lord,” then I repeated myself another half-dozen times to make sure He got the message. After so many years, I’d given up praying for such a thing to happen—probably settled into believing it simply wasn’t part of the Lord’s plan for my life. But I suppose that once you’ve asked for a certain miracle, the Heavenly Father keeps your request on file and sends it when the time is right. He understood that I had things to do, things I might never have done had I not been so filled up with sadness, but I’ll get to that in time.

‘My name is Christian Caruthers,’ the letter went on, ‘I live in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, I have an older brother David and a sister Kimberly…’

He asked if I would be willing to see him—imagine that, willing to see him? For the past twenty years, I’ve prayed just such a thing would happen. Every child I’d pass by, I’d wonder if that was what he’d grown to look like. Time and time again I’d see some blue-eyed boy and swear by the heavens above it was him—“Excuse me,” I’d say to the child and then ask what his name might be. Willing to see him? Why, I’d go to my grave a happy woman if I could just tell my grandchildren how much I love them and hug them to my chest.

Without waiting for another minute to pass by, I took hold of a pen and answered the boy’s letter. ‘Elizabeth most certainly was my daughter,’ I wrote, ‘and I was right alongside of her the day she gave birth to you.’ I went on to say nothing in the entire world would give me greater pleasure than a visit from him, David and Kimberly. I wanted to say Kimmie, which was what her mother called her, but seeing as how Christian had referred to her as Kimberly I was hesitant to do anything that might change his mind about coming for a visit. I signed my name ‘Your Loving Grandma, Claire McDermott,’ wrote my telephone number big and bold at the bottom of the letter, folded it inside a bright yellow envelope and drove to the post office so it would be sure to go that very same day.

That afternoon I tried to busy myself with some housework that needed doing, but it was useless; my brain couldn’t focus on something as simple as folding laundry. I’d start off sorting a basket of linens and before I knew what happened, I’d find myself standing there with my eyes closed and pictures of those little babies running through my mind. Finally, I settled myself in Charlie’s recliner—which, although it’s an eyesore, has always been a place of particular comfort for me—then I leaned my head into the pillow and gave way to my memories. I can’t say when I drifted off to sleep or even if I was partly awake, but all of a sudden there it was, the dream that has lived inside of me for as long as my memory reaches back.

Everyone was gathered around, all the imaginary people—sisters and brothers of my youth, aunts and uncles, babies that never were—we crowded elbow to elbow around a dining room table, all talking at one time and no one minding. This was my imaginary family—my wonderful imaginary family, huge, noisy, happy, filled with the love of each other and tied together for life. Of course they’re not real, they never were. But they’re all part of my dream, the dream I’ve had since I was nine years old.

A full to overflowing family, that’s always been my fondest wish—brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and more kids than a person can count—but instead I grew up an only child. All I had was Mama and Daddy, two loners who married up and had one baby, me. Dozens upon dozens of times I begged Mama for a baby sister or brother, but she’d push her nose up like she was smelling something bad and say, “Claire, I don’t know where you get these crazy notions, certainly not from your father or me, we’re practical people.”

After I came to realize that I was an only child and would remain an only child, I began creating an imaginary family. I pictured their faces, knew all their secrets and anticipated just what each of them would do in any given situation. First came a sister named Nora; she was sensitive, gentle-hearted and had the soft brown eyes of a puppy dog. Then it was a tall, lanky brother, Paul. After that there was a lengthy succession of cousins, aunts and uncles. Finally, Charlie happened along. Fortunately, he was not a figment of my imagination, he was real, flesh and blood—a person who loved me as I did him, a man who agreed that a dozen babies was just about the right number.

We were married in 1955 and one year later I gave birth to Elizabeth. She was just a tiny little thing when I began to hemorrhage and woke up in the hospital with Doctor Kerrigan explaining how Elizabeth was to be the only child I would ever have. But enough about me, she’s the one I should be telling about.

I know every mother claims their child is beautiful, but Elizabeth really was. Lying there in her crib she reminded me of a golden-haired angel, pink and dewy as a rosebud, with the tiniest, most perfect fingers I’d ever seen. Many a night I climbed out of my own bed and stood alongside her crib watching the tiny breaths cause her chest to rise and fall. “It’s not fair,” I told Charlie, “that she should be an only child.” I suggested that we consider adopting a few brothers and sisters for her, but somehow Charlie could never wrap his arms around that suggestion.

“You never know,” he’d answer, “it could be that Doctor Kerrigan is wrong. Let’s not rush into something. Give it time. Wait and see.”

So we waited, and Lord knows we tried, but we never did have another baby. Elizabeth had to travel the same road I’d gone down. Knowing how lonely such a thing can be, I tried to make things better for her by filling the house with bunches of playmates. When she was still so small she had to stand on a stool to reach the counter, we began having cookie-making parties and we’d invite all the neighborhood kids. After that it was the Brownie Troop, then Girl Scout meetings, pajama parties, and almost anything else I could think of. Looking back, I think those things probably did help, because Elizabeth’s face was never etched with that look of loneliness I had seen in my own.

Our little girl always had an ample share of friends, not because of what I’d done, but because she was chock full of laughter and kindness. And, thanks to the Good Lord, she was also blessed with eyes the color of a summer sky and a smile that made other people feel like smiling back. I’m not stretching things one bit when I tell you Elizabeth was one of the most popular girls in Westfield High and could have dated any boy in town. But wouldn’t you know the one she liked was Jeffrey Caruthers—a lanky string bean with the personality of my left foot. He latched onto her like money in the bank and everywhere she went, he went. Early in the morning, before we were fully awake, the telephone would start ringing and it would be him calling to ask if she wanted to go swimming or picnicking. They’d go off and spend the entire day together then an hour after he brought her home, the telephone would start ringing again because he had a desperate need to say good night. I tell you, that boy went way beyond making a pest of himself. It’s regrettable that Charlie and I didn’t do a thing to squelch it, but at the time we were pleased our little girl was having fun. We figured Jeffrey was a passing fancy and since Elizabeth was barely sixteen, the likelihood was she’d have a dozens of boyfriends before she decided to settle down. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what happened.

They continued to date all through high school—Elizabeth not the least bit interested in any other boy and Jeffrey attached to her like a Siamese twin. Four or five nights a week he’d eat dinner at our house and on those nights he stayed home, he’d telephone her every hour or so. “Doesn’t your family object to your not coming home for dinner?” I asked. “Not at all,” he answered, then he and Elizabeth exchanged one of those lovesick puppy dog looks they’d begun sharing. After a few years of that, Charlie and I began to realize that Jeffrey, who by now had decided to call himself JT, was probably destined to be our son-in-law.

On Elizabeth’s twentieth birthday they went out to dinner together; that night she came home wearing the happiest smile I’ve ever seen and a two-karat diamond ring. That was that—they were engaged and there was no looking back. Every time Elizabeth glanced at that ring on her finger, she’d start talking about what a wonderful husband Jeffrey was going to be. “A wonderful husband,” she’d sigh, “and a wonderful father.”

At the time I was inclined to agree, figuring that a man had to be crazy in love to spend his last dime on such an engagement ring. And spend his last dime Jeffrey did, without one bit of thought as to what they were going to live on—that’s when I should have realized he considered money the measurement of a person’s worth. For someone with such an appetite for the gathering of material possessions, it’s odd that he turned out to be a poor businessman. Money—that’s partly to blame for what eventually happened.

When Elizabeth married Jeffrey T. Caruthers, who now answered only to JT, I honestly believed they’d live happily ever after. I had no reason to think otherwise, she was head-over-heels in love with him and he was just as crazy about her. I’ve never seen anyone act more devoted than that boy. He was always touching Elizabeth, wrapping his arm around her shoulder or twining his fingers through hers. And he’d tell anyone who’d listen how beautiful and smart she was. A man who does things like that is simply not the sort you have cause to doubt.

Charlie, given his masculine point-of-view felt otherwise—he had misgivings about a lad who seldom looked a person square in the eye and labeled himself with initials instead of using his Christian name. “You can’t do a thing about it,” I told Charlie. “Elizabeth loves that boy just as much as he loves her.”

Of course, he grumbled and groused a bit, but I think it had more to do with his losing a daughter than about Jeffrey himself. Once Charlie learned to live with the thought, he treated JT just as he would a son.

Three nights before the wedding, when we were all at their rehearsal dinner, Elizabeth announced, “JT and I are planning to have nine kids,” then she gave Jeffrey a beaming smile and said, “Right, JT?”

When he gave a nod of agreement, I could almost feel the happiness bursting out of me—grandchildren, now what could be sweeter! “See, you were wrong about the boy,” I whispered into Charlie’s ear, then started settling into my new role—Grandma. Nine kids—those words were like the song of angels in my ear, angels promising I’d soon be blessed with the big family I’d always dreamed of.

I figured they planned to start a family right away, but month after month went by and there was no further mention of babies. I bit down on my tongue to keep from prying into issues that were private between a wife and her husband, but Elizabeth was my daughter and I couldn’t help but worry. Then eighteen months after the wedding, on an ordinary Tuesday evening when they’d come for a meatloaf dinner, I noticed something different about Liz—she was bubbly as a glass of champagne. After dinner she exploded with the news that they were expecting their first child. “Isn’t it wonderful, Mama?” she said rubbing little circles around her still flat tummy.

I had dozens of questions; was she feeling alright? Any morning sickness? When was the baby due? Were they hoping for a boy or girl? “Boy or girl,” she laughed, “why, I’m hoping for twins!”

I expected at least a chuckle from Jeffrey, but he was busy watching an NBC newscaster tell about how some stock had gone up thirty-nine points in a single day.

“I knew I should have bought that,” he grumbled, “See Liz, I told you we ought to be putting our money where there’s growth potential!”

“There’s plenty of growth potential right here,” she answered, still rubbing those little circles around her stomach.

After that Elizabeth and I slipped off to the kitchen and sat with a hot cup of tea. “I’ve already started knitting a sweater for the baby,” she confided. “It’s white, with yellow edging. You know…good for a boy or girl.”

It’s been some twenty-seven years, but I remember that evening as if it took place yesterday. We talked for hours, talked about little things, such as how she’d decorate the nursery and what clothes a newborn baby might need. She was busy writing a list when she stopped and looked up, “You know Mom,” she sighed, “I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want this baby. JT’s not much on prayers, but every single night I pray for this precious baby, that he or she will be healthy and have lots of brothers and sisters.” She hesitated a moment then said, “I also pray that I’ll be a good mom, the sort of mom you were.”

It’s funny how hearing your child say something like that can cause a lump to rise up in your throat, a lump so huge you can barely breathe. Elizabeth must have noticed because she reached over and wiped a tear from my eye, then we both started grinning like we had cheeks full of cherries. There are moments in life when you feel your cup is full to overflowing—that was just such a moment and it’s stayed in my heart all these years. Elizabeth didn’t mention the fertility doctor that night but I don’t suppose there was any reason for her to do so.

David was born six months later and two years after that Elizabeth gave birth to a beautiful little girl who she named Kimberly. I loved both of those babies as if they were my own and I could barely wait from one day until the next to do some babysitting. “If you’ve got errands to do,” I’d say, “I’ll be happy to take the children.”

“I know, Mom,” Elizabeth would answer laughingly, “I know.”

Back then, when life seemed to be about as good as it could possibly get, I never imagined the sadness that would take hold of our lives.

Neither did Elizabeth.


Literary Awards for Cracks In The Sidewalk:

Amazon Family Saga Bestseller
FPA President’s Book Award
Royal Palm Literary Award


Reviews for Cracks In The Sidewalk

• Reviewed By Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite
 Elizabeth is a woman whose sole purpose in life is to be a good wife and mother. She has no care in the world but to accomplish these goals and she works hard at them despite the treatment she is given at the hands of her husband. When Elizabeth falls ill suddenly during her pregnancy with their last child, her husband determines to have nothing to do with her. Unfortunately that means her children (including her newborn son) will also have nothing to do with her. It's almost a year before Elizabeth is finally able to see her young children again, but even then things are not what they might seem in Cracks In The Sidewalk.

Cracks In The Sidewalk is the type of book that you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down. Elizabeth is a woman that any woman would be proud to be. She is able to roll with the punches and even when people behave in a reprehensible way towards her she is incapable of truly hating them and can only feel sorry for the love they don't have. Her plight is one no mother would ever want to find herself in, but at the same time it is one that will draw you in. This is a heart-wrenching story but it is also a beautiful one of love and devotion and forgiveness. For Elizabeth's children and her mother it is also a story of miracles and of overcoming any obstacle life may put in your way. An excellent book by Bette Lee Crosby.

• A moving, emotional story...when I read this book I felt so moved, I was crying at the end...writing flowed beautifully...depth of characters and insight kept me turning pages.-Bria Burton

• A compelling story...Well written, with a realistic, compassionate telling, Cracks In The Sidewalk will bring readers into the family, happy to be a part of it.-Angie Mangino




About The Author




USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction--the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

Born in Detroit and raised in a plethora of states scattered across the South and Northeast, Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back. "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write."

Crosby's work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since that, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, Royal Palm Literary Awards, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal and Reviewer's Choice Award and Reader's View Southeast Fiction Literary Award.

Her published works to date are: Blueberry Hill: A Sister's Story (2014), Jubilee's Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Cupid's Christmas (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011), and Life in the Land of IS (2012). Life in the Land of IS is a memoir written for Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world's longest living quadriplegic.


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Friday, August 29, 2014

Waiting for Heaven by Heather Gillis (Virtual Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Waiting for Heaven by Author Heather Gillis!


Waiting For Heaven Banner 2




About The Book

Waiting For Heaven 2


Waiting for Heaven by Heather Gillis
Publisher: WestBow Press
Publication Date: March 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover & Paperback - 228 pages
              Kindle - 452 KB
              Nook - 800 KB
ISBN: 978-1490827865
ASIN: B00JHHLZBK
Genre: Memoir / Religion / Spirituality


BUY THE BOOK: Waiting for Heaven


Book Description:

Life can sometimes lead us to unexpected places, to only leave us broken, desperate, and hurting. Heather Gillis and her husband, Mac, waited in anticipation for the birth of their third child. Like many Christian couples, their dreams and expectations in marriage, parenthood, and daily life developed differently than they’d planned, and left them grieving a life that would never be. Their journey gives insight into a new normal and uncovers the stepping stones of the healing process. In their process, they re- discovered God’s abounding love through their experiences of joy, heartbreak, and purpose. Heather reaches out to parents around the globe to speak openly about being a wife, mother, friend, relative, or stranger during life-changing trials and devastating struggles. In God’s love, she has found beauty in the midst of pain and struggle, as well as peace in His presence on Earth while waiting for Heaven.


Book Excerpt: 

Life is not about how comfortable I can be; to expect life to be comfortable is unrealistic. I’m not exempt from the harshness or pain of this world. I have realized since Bowen’s passing that there are no guarantees in life; to think otherwise leads to disappointment. When I was pregnant, I assumed Bowen would be healthy. I assumed that when I left the house, I would return, unharmed. I assumed for some reason I would make it through life unscathed; I never thought I would be writing these words.

We can do all the right things in life, but that doesn’t guarantee us rewards or benefits in this life. We did not choose the path we are walking, but God willing, we will endure what comes our way and to where God wants us to go. We can have all the plans in the world but God is in the driver’s seat, and God knows what he is doing; we just have to trust him. Uncomfortable situations have taught me to trust in God, and I have learned more than I ever thought I would; and still am.





About The Author

View More: http://shannonallenphotography.pass.us/2014


Meet Heather Gillis. In her book, Waiting for Heaven, Heather recalls the story of her infant son, Bowen, and her family's journey with polycystic kidney disease. Through Bowen's short life and death, she and her husband, Mac, discovered the true meaning of God’s love and grace. By telling her poignant story in the book and speaking to groups, Heather hopes she can help others through the challenges of loss and devastation; giving hope that their can be joy and happiness again. After Bowen's death, Heather founded Bowen's Hope, a ministry serving kidney disease kids and their families, especially those getting dialysis treatments at Phoenix Children's Hospital. She's also involved with Camp Maska for dialysis patients in Arizona, and has raised over $50,000 for the PKD Foundation. In addition, Heather volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, an organization serving meals and providing temporary housing to families with children in the hospital. Heather works part time as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She and Mac have two living children, Brooklyn and Blake. With a serving heart, Heather’s passions are her family and helping others.

Visit Heather online at www.bowenshope.com 


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Contest Giveaway

Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card



Pump Up Your Book and Author Heather Gillis are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
  • This giveaway begins August 1 and ends on August 29, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 1, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Virtual Book Blast Event



Book Blast Event Schedule:

Friday, August 1
Fandom Monthly Magazine

Monday, August 4
3 Partners In Shopping, Nana, Mommy & Sissy Too!

Tuesday, August 5
Inside BJ’s Head My Life Loves and Passion

Wednesday, August 6
My Life One Story At A Time
Authors & Readers Book Corner

Thursday, August 7
The Book Connection

Friday, August 8
Blooming with Books

Tuesday, August 12
A Book Lover’s Retreat
The Busy Mom’s Daily

Wednesday, August 13
Home On Deranged

Thursday, August 14
Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Tuesday, August 19
Books Direct Online

Friday, August 22
My Devotional Thoughts

Monday, August 25
Undercover Book Reviews

Tuesday, August 26
Maureen’s Musings

Thursday, August 28
Book Reviews From A Christian Gal

Friday, August 29
Jersey Girl Book Reviews




Sister Surrendered by Darla M. Grese (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Sister Surrendered by Author Darla M. Grese!







Author Guest Post

Dying Sister Made It Clear: Tell My Story


It was after coming across my sister’s journal that I knew without question that I had to share her story. It took me months to actually read the journal in its entirety, it was simply too hard. I could almost hear Kelli’s voice as I read her written words. Her entries were raw, at times incredibly disturbing, but for the most part, painfully sad. Each and every time that I read it, my heart breaks just a little bit more. It always will.

Kelli made it clear throughout her journal that she wanted me to tell her story, hoping that it could hopefully prevent other veterans from dying within the same system. Clearly she was losing her battle and knew it. But instead of battling in the trenches alone, silently, she documented her torment, knowing one day that she’d leave it behind for me to read.

Kelli referenced several times that she was surrendering to God, which is why I chose the title Sister Surrendered. Kelli had an extremely strong faith in God which is something that I ironically struggle to find.

I opted to include some of the actual journal entries within the book, not knowing of a better way to convey Kelli’s messages’. But what I didn’t anticipate was me commencing in an almost dual- dialogue between Kelli and me, which ended up setting the tone throughout the entire book from start to finish.

Sister Surrendered was actually written as a screenplay early on. I wrote it prior to the lawsuit even coming to light. Writing screenplays were familiar and I found solace in writing them. But it was after the settling of the case, a couple of years later, that I knew writing a book was the right answer, it just was. I began writing the book on Jan 1st, 2014 and finished in mid-March. It was fast, it had to be. I struggled to begin writing it, nervous of the emotional roller-coaster that I was about to embark on. So when I finally committed to putting my thoughts to the keyboard, I had to do it as quickly as possible, at times, hyperventilating between sentences. It was a painful journey, peeling back layers of grief that I’d prefer to stuff away. It’s easier that way isn’t it? At least it is for me.




About The Author




Darla M. Grese is a twin sister who lost her better half to side effects from prescribed medication. As a U.S. Navy Veteran, she is an advocate of Veteran X and Veteran Hope programs that address mental illness, PTSD, and unintentional addiction issues. Both programs are sponsored by the Veteran Affairs Medical Center and focus on Veteran recovery and independence. She raises money for “Team Kelli” and annually participates in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach (http://www.sos-walk.org/sos/). While continuing to bring awareness to this cause, being a loving parent is her favorite passion and the main focus of her life. Darla’s love for the arts has been expressed as a talented actress with appearances in The F.B.I. files, The New Detectives, Diagnosis Unknown, Wicked Attraction, Discovery Channel’s The Haunting, and the movie Atlantis Down. She currently works full time as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in Norfolk, Virginia.

Her memoir, Sister Surrendered, is her latest release.


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Book Review



Sister Surrendered by Darla M. Grese
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: April 10, 2014
Format: Paperback - 212 pages
              Kindle - 2314 KB
ISBN: 978-1497541207
ASIN: B00JMFPBJO
Genre: Memoir


BUY THE BOOK: Sister Surrendered


Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Visit the book’s Facebook Page.


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 Tours.


Book Description:

When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances. I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace. This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death. This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco. I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do. Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met. I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day. Kelli, we did it.


Book Excerpt:


It’s been three years now since Kelli’s been gone, but for me three minutes. At times, I feel stuck. And as time has passed, the personal messages and phone calls have lessened, people have moved on and that’s understandable. I’ve had many moments of loneliness, longing for my sister’s backing. Unless you’re a twin, it’s hard to understand what twin-loss is, but trust me when I say, it’s debilitating at times. It’s like learning to walk again, one step at a time, without your crutch that keeps you from falling. Even local musician Jessica Doran, being a twin herself, was inspired to write a song after hearing about Kelli's story. The fact is, I don’t know how to live as an individual and I need some help working through this. I’ve actually decided to look into a facility, that ironically Kelli and I looked into for her, located in Arizona. According to my therapist, The Meadows’s reputation in dealing with trauma goes unmatched. Through the help of intensive weekly counseling, which I highly recommend by the way, I’ve learned that I too suffer from PTSD, caused by the years leading up to Kelli’s death, and her death in and of itself. I need to process her death, something I’m pretty sure I’ve not done yet. Instead, I’ve focused my energy on parenting, working, the lawsuit, writing, part-time acting, keeping up the house, and anything else I could distract myself with. And proudly, I’ve done a decent job with the exception of acting. I haven’t landed a significant role since Kelli’s death which I attribute to low self-confidence and anxiety. Just auditioning for me now, is at times, very uncomfortable. But I’ll continue my pursuit in following my dream, regardless.

Brady and I have an amazing relationship. I’m not great at a lot of things, but parenting, I’m great at. As a matter of fact, I’m great at worrying about everything and everyone else except me. After all, I’ve never had to deal with myself because I’ve always concentrated on helping everyone else in my life. So taking care of me is a foreign concept. But I have to learn. I just do. So hopefully soon, I’ll leave home for a month, maybe longer, and work with professionals who can teach me the tools that I need to continue on twin-less.

This memoir was initially a screenplay which I did in fact complete only a month after Kelli’s passing. It sits on my nightstand. It wasn’t long before Kelli died that she jokingly suggested that I write a screenplay about us and then we would play ourselves. I laughed it off, reminding her that she couldn’t act and hated being on camera. But after losing her, I wished I would have responded by saying, “Kel, let’s write it together, and once it’s finished, we’ll figure the rest out.”

Although I feel strongly that the VA Hospital was responsible for Kelli’s death and years of anguish, I must also say that I feel just as strongly that the VA does in fact have great doctors, who in fact, care about their patients, mine included. I do not believe that any Veteran, ever, should hesitate in going to a Veterans Affairs Hospital because of what I’ve written. However, I do believe by telling Kelli’s story that certain practices the VA Hospitals adhere to will be looked at, hopefully. I believe that when appropriately prescribed, medicines are necessary and they’re proven to work. But it’s when they’re prescribed irresponsibly that they can result in dire consequences, including death and suicide.



Read Chapter One and Two HERE.



My Book Review:

Sister Surrendered is the poignant memoir about twin sisters Darla and Kelli, bonded by love and friendship, and their heart wrenching journey through childhood to adulthood. Through Kelli's personal journal entries, Darla weaves an emotional account of their shared lives, and the heartbreaking loss of Kelli due to the negligence of the VA healthcare system that failed to properly oversee her medical condition and needs.

This is a beautifully written and touching tribute that demonstrates the love and strong bond for a twin sister that will pull at the heartstrings and stir your soul. Through the determination and dedication to make sure that Kelli's life was not in vain or forgotten, Darla keeps her twin's memory alive through the sharing of Kelli's journal entries, and the documenting of her difficult life journey dealing with mental illness and addiction that tragically ended her life. Darla brings to light awareness for a VA healthcare system that is wrought with mismanagement, medical negligence, and utter disregard and failure to properly provide the appropriate medical service to the veterans and helpful caregivers resources for their loved ones. You can't help but feel the full gamut of emotions as Kelli and Darla's story unfolds, this is definitely an inspirational and compelling story that must be told in the hope that it will help other veterans and the general public who are in need of proper medical care.

Kudos Darla for having the strength, courage, love, and determination to let Kelli's voice be heard.



RATING: 5 STARS 
                                   




Virtual Book Tour Event




Tour Schedule:

Monday, August 4
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, August 5
Guest Blogging at Bookingly Yours

Wednesday, August 6
Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape

Thursday, August 7
Guest Blogging at Confessions of a Reader

Tuesday, August 12
Guest Blogging at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, August 14
Book Review at My Life. One Story at a Time.
Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings

Monday, August 18
Book Review at Authors & Readers Book Corner

Tuesday, August 19
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, August 25
Interview at Blogcritics

Tuesday, August 26
Guest Blogging at Pink Fluffy Hearts

Wednesday, August 27
Book Featured at My Book Addiction and More

Friday, August 29
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews




Blue Midnight by Tess Thompson (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 Blue Midnight by Author Tess Thompson!







Book Review



Blue Midnight by Tess Thompson
Book 1: Blue Mountain Collection
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: June 26, 2014
Format: Paperback - 266 pages
              Kindle - 5097 KB
              Nook - 686 KB
ISBN: 978-1620154601
ASIN: B00LC9137C
BNID: 2940149726790
Genre: Romance Suspense / Women's Fiction


BUY THE BOOK: Blue Midnight


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:

“If you change your mind, here’s this.” Finn Lanigan kissed a young Blythe Heywood one last time under a star-scattered Idaho sky. It was the last kiss that ever weakened her knees, the last sky she noticed for over a dozen years. Then she left, returning to her fiancĂ©, the wedding she’d committed to, and the secure life she’d yearned for since she was a little girl.

Thirteen years later, her husband leaves Blythe for his young associate. Devastated, she’s unable to imagine the next chapter of her life as she packs her family’s belongings to move across town. Unexpectedly, she finds the forgotten slip of paper bearing Finn’s phone number in the back of a drawer.

Hadn’t she tossed it years before as a newlywed, when she vowed to be the perfect wife and mother? Apparently not. Here it remained. Her road not taken.

Facing three weeks without her young daughters, Blythe sets out to find the man she left behind so long ago. With only the name of the small town where he once lived, Peregrine, Idaho, and the memory of their last kiss under a starry sky, she heads across the Pacific Northwest in search of him. 

What she finds in the foothills of Blue Mountain challenges everything she thought she knew and is the very last thing she expected. Within days, her life changes forever. But it is her destiny and destinies cannot be denied.

The first book of the Blue Mountain Collection, laced with Thompson’s lovable but complex characters, Blue Midnight is a mature love story about second chances, family, and the complexities of trust and vulnerability after betrayal.


Book Excerpt:


Chapter 1

I found it at the very back of my bedside table drawer, next to a forgotten bottle of nail polish. I’d forgotten to empty the drawers in preparation for the movers that morning and was doing so now, shoving most of the neglected or forsaken contents into trash bags. But this scrap of paper, it stopped me. Shaped like a duck’s beak and wedged between the bottom of the drawer and the back panel, with just its tip exposed, it wasn’t enough, really, to indicate something of any significance. But I knew. I knew in an instant. I stood motionless, taking in every jagged detail. Then, I tugged; it came loose easily. This small slip of paper with a man’s name and number scrawled in blue ink seemed benign enough. Finn Lanigan 208-555-2004. And yet, the pulse at my neck quickened. Heat traveled from my center to every limb. I sank on molten legs to the stripped mattress. I held this scrap of paper, torn from a bar receipt, between damp fingers and stared at it like the ghost it was.

I’d tossed it years before, hadn’t I? Surely I had, in one of my moments that first year of marriage when my loyalty was resolute. Hadn’t I disposed of it when I embraced my choice? Apparently not. Here it lived. My temptation. My road not taken.

My daughters’ voices floated up the winding staircase from where they chased one another like wanton puppies in the now nearly empty 4,500 square feet of custom floors, intricate finish work, and marble countertops. I went to the window that faced the street and looked out onto our neighborhood park, empty this morning of children. Today was the first day of summer vacation and children and their mothers were sleeping late. How many hours of my life had I spent in that park, pushing my babies in swings, chasing after them as toddlers, and, when they were old enough to climb the play structures by themselves, chatting with other mothers about this milestone or that? The hours could not be calculated, of course, nor the wages lost by choosing to stay at home with my children instead of continuing my career.

The windows were open to let the fresh June air cleanse away all remnants of the scents of my family before the new owners claimed it with their own smells. Outside, the movers shouted to one another as they loaded the family room couch into the moving truck. My neighbor from two doors down walked by the truck, her eyes averted. Her manicured hands grasped the leash of her Labradoodle. She couldn’t look. It was easier to pretend the collective nightmare for almost every woman in our affluent Seattle neighborhood had not happened to someone in their circle, someone with whom they exercised, had dinner parties, and volunteered at private school. Someone they liked. A stay-at-home mom, almost forty-five, left by her husband for another woman and forced to leave her beautiful home and sought-after neighborhood. I was everyone’s worst-case scenario.

My eyes went back to the slip of paper in my hand.

If you change your mind, here’s this. Then he’d kissed me one last time under an Idaho star-scattered sky larger than any other. After the kiss I wished would last forever ended, as all good things must, I turned away, back to the life I’d agreed to, the wedding I’d committed to. It was the last kiss that ever weakened my knees, the last sky I noticed for thirteen years.

Now, Clementine, my seven-year-old, pounded up the stairs, followed by the tip-tap of her older sister Lola in her flip-flops. I shoved the slip of paper in the pocket of my shorts. I couldn’t know then why I didn’t just toss it in the garbage like I had so many memories and possessions in the weeks preceding. I know now. It was my destiny, and destinies cannot be denied.



My Book Review:

After forty-five year old Blythe Heywood's thirteen year marriage ends in divorce when her husband leaves her for a younger woman, she is left devastated and uncertain of what to do next with her life. While packing up the remainder of her belongings from the marital home that was sold, Blythe finds a scrap of paper stuck in the back of her bedside table. The paper takes Blythe back to the past ... thirteen years ... when she traveled a month before her wedding to Peregrine, Idaho to attend the Sun Valley Folk Music Festival. While at the festival Blythe met thirty-six year old Finn Lanigan, and spent a three-day weekend with him. While the affair was innocent, they only shared a few kisses, there was something between them, a connection that Blythe never felt before or since, but Finn was her road not taken, and when their shared weekend came to an end, Blythe returned home to honor her commitment to marry Michael Graham. But Finn's last words stayed with her all these years ... "if you change your mind, here's this..." a note with his name and number, and one last kiss under an Idaho star-filled night ... When Michael remarries and takes their two children on his honeymoon to Hawaii for three weeks, Blythe's sister Bliss convinces her to take a road trip back to Peregrine, to that road not taken, and find Flinn. Blythe's road trip to Peregrine will be a journey of self-discovery that will change her life and even bring an unexpected second chance at love.

Blue Midnight is a wonderful story of self-discovery and second chances. Author Tess Thompson weaves a magical tale of romance with a mixture of mysticism, mystery and suspense that easily draws the reader into Blythe Heywood's story. Set in Seattle, Washington and Peregrine, Idaho, the reader follows Blythe on her emotional journey back to the road not taken, a journey of self-discovery and unexpected second chances that will change her life.

I love author Tess Thompson's smooth flowing style of storytelling. She easily draws the reader in as she weaves a spellbinding tale of romance with a touch of mystery and suspense. As this complex and multi-layered story unfolds with elements of lost love, disappointment, betrayal, heartbreak, family drama, secrets, loss, forgiveness, and unexpected second chances, the reader is swept away with the raw emotions, drama, and intriguing twists and turns that will keep them captivated and turning the pages.

Blue Midnight is a captivating story of taking an emotional journey back to the road not taken and truly finding oneself.


RATING: 5 STARS 
                                  





About The Author



Tess Thompson is a mother before all else, and a writer after that. She’s also a Zumba dancing queen, though the wearing of the crown is reserved for invitation-only appearances. After honing her craft in theater with a prize-winning play titled My Lady’s Hand, her heart was called to a different storytelling medium: the great American novel.

But, as she recently said to a friend, "Well, maybe not 'great' but certainly American."

The first of these, Riversong (Booktrope Editions), went on to become #1 on Barnes and Noble’s Nook Book chart in October 2011. Two years after its release, readership of Riversong continues to grow, spending weeks in the top 100 Kindle bestsellers; it’s known amongst her friends and family as “the little book that could.”

Caramel and Magnolias, the first in the Legley Bay Collection was released in the fall of 2012. In May of 2013 Tess released the sequel to Riversong called Riverbend and the third in the collection, Riverstar, in August 2013. Tea and Primroses, the second in the Legley Bay Collection was released February 16, 2014. The first in the Blue Mountain Collection, Blue Midnight was released June 30, 2014.

She's currently working on her first historical fiction, Duet For Three Hands, which will be released December 2014.

Like her characters in the River Valley Collection, Tess hails from a small town in southern Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, ages 11 and 8, the loves of her life.

Although currently single, Tess has not given up on finding a love story of her own. Until her prince arrives, she's content creating what she hopes are epic, page-turning love stories with a little suspense and mystery for additional spice. She writes in her home office six days a week, sipping countless cups of herbal tea, with two naughty but adorable kittens, (Christmas presents for her daughters) Mittens and Midnight, at her feet. But hopefully said Prince arrives soon to save her from becoming a bitter, crazy cat lady. Did she mention how adorable the kittens are?

Tess loves to hear from you. Drop her a line or visit her Facebook Fan Page or follow her on twitter: @tesswrites.


AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS



Contest Giveaway

Win An eBook Copy of The Legley Bay Collection





a Rafflecopter giveaway




Virtual Book Tour Event



Tour Schedule:

August 25 – Second Bookshelf on the Right – Q&A
August 26 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review & Q&A 
August 27 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A
August 27 – Crooks on Books – Review
August 28 – Ski-Wee’s Book Corner – Review
August 29 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
September 1 – Chick Lit Plus – Review



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Please, Pretty Lights by Ina Zajac (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 Please, Pretty Lights by Author Ina Zajac!







Book Review



Please, Pretty Lights by Ina Zajac
Book 1: Pretty Lights Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: July 21, 2014
Format: Paperback - 314 pages 
             Kindle - 880 KB
             Nook - 609 KB
ISBN: 978-1620154588
ASIN: B00M0GHGEA
BNID: 2940149714308
Genre: New Adult Fiction


BUY THE BOOK: Please, Pretty Lights


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:

It's September when good girl Via Sorenson stumbles into a Seattle strip club, drunk and alone on her twenty-first birthday. Matt and Nick--best friends, bandmates, and bouncers--do their best to shield her from their sadistic cocaine-trafficking boss, Carlos. They don't realize her daddy issues come with a forty-million-dollar trust fund and a legacy she would do anything to escape.

She is actually Violetta Rabbotino, who had been all over the news ten years earlier when her father, an acclaimed abstract artist, came home in a rage, murdered her mother, then turned the gun on himself. Young Violetta was spared, hidden behind the family Christmas tree, veiled by the mysticism of its pretty lights whose unadulterated love captivated and calmed her.

Now, desperate to shed her role as orphaned victim, Via stage dives into a one-hundred-day adventure with Matt and Nick, the bassist and drummer of popular nineties cover band Obliviot. The rock-and-roll lifestyle is the perfect distraction--until she is rattled by true love. As Christmas looms closer, her notorious past becomes undeniable. How will she ever untangle herself from her twisted string of pretty lights?


Praise for Please, Pretty Lights:

Dark, gritty, and intoxicating...exactly how I like it. Please, Pretty Lights, a poignant portrait of music, drugs and relationships, is harrowing at times and masterly written. It's easily one of my favorite books of the year. – Marni Mann, author of Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales

Zajac is a strong, STRONG writer with a touch that can be poetic or gritty, as the situation requires. —Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios, Nirvana and Dirt Bikes, Drones,and Other Ways to Fly


Book Excerpt:


Chapter 1 

SoHo, New York City, December 21, 2004

*** Via

Back to the wall, Via shuffled through the candy cane wilderness, careful not to displace piles of presents or disturb crystal angels. It was so close. Branches prickled against her chin and neck as she stretched into the corner. Needles latched onto her green St. Anne Elementary School sweater. After months of waiting and wondering, there it was—white with a gold bow. She reached out. Her fingertips grazed the paper, the tag. It would have her name on it.

“No peeking,” her mother called from the kitchen. “Cookies are almost ready. Come and help.”

Guilt settled in and crowded out her naughty curiosity. Mama’s feathery voice lingered in the air, and mingled with the smell of gingersnaps.

The front door slammed shut. Her body tensed against the wall as it recognized the rumble of her father’s approach. Her arm retreated to the safety of her side. The hardwood floor vibrated his location in the foyer. He wasn’t supposed to be home from the country yet. He needed his rest.

“Ingrid!” he yelled. “Violetta!”

He called her Violetta when he was angry. When he was happy, he said she was the heartbeat of the universe. Now that she was eleven, she wasn’t a little kid anymore, but she still called him Daddy. He made her promise she would always call him Daddy.

His voice was muffled. The floor was still. He must have stopped to check the front bedrooms, but for how long? That tummy pain was back, the one that burned from the inside out; the one Dr. Peyton said fifth graders shouldn’t have. Being the daughter of Joseph Antonio Rabbotino wasn’t easy. Kids at school called her Rabbit and were never allowed to come over and play. The floor trembled more and more. He must be standing nearby, maybe next to the piano, she thought. She couldn’t see past the tree’s festive colors, and prayed he couldn’t either. She had promised to be a good girl.

Her mother’s voice rushed over from the kitchen. It was shrill. “Oh, my God,” she said. “Put that down. You’re not yourself right now.”

Put what down? She wondered. Sometimes he brought home presents or pets.

“You think I’m crazy?” He let out a harsh laugh she had never heard before. “You think you can drug me and leave me in Connecticut to rot?”

A bell near her elbow began to jingle. Don’t be a spaz, she told herself. She had to stop shaking; she just had to. Being invisible meant being silent, so she leaned to the right and smothered it. Her other arm met up with something pointy.

“But, you wanted to go, remember?” Her mother was talking really fast. “Dr. Goldman said you should rest, give the new meds some time.”

Daddy had a lot of doctors. Daddy took a lot of pills.

“I know what you think of me,” he said. “That the critics are right. That I’ll never paint again.”

“It’s okay, it’s all going to be okay,” her mother insisted. “But you’ve been drinking. We’ve gotten through this before. Remember?”

“Why do you do this to me?” he asked. “Evil little actress. Acting like you love me.”

“I do. You know I do.”

“Liar.”

“Please, put that down. We’ll call Dr. Goldman.”

“You sent me away. Do you know what it was like there? Knowing you betrayed me? All you had to do was love me, but you’ve ruined me!”

“No, you wanted to go. You needed to rest. Please remember. Please.”

“Where’s my Violetta?”

“Still at school.”

“She should be home by now—home with us. We should be together now. She hiding under her bed again?” His words turned and trailed back toward the front bedrooms. “Violetta! Come when I call you!”

“Mama?” She called through the branches.

Her mother didn’t seem surprised at all to hear her. “Shh,” she said, faint but firm. It was not her normal ‘shh.’ Something was wrong.

Her father’s voice was already growing louder again. “Violetta!”

“I’m right here,” she tried to say. She decided that she would come out; then he would be angry with her, not her mother. But, a strange sound surrounded her, like baby birds and chimes. It seemed to come through the Christmas tree lights. She blinked. They were such pretty lights—colors she had never seen before. Buzzing into a haze around her, they were mesmerizing.

Shh, it’s all okay, the lights told her, but not in words.

She felt their meaning in her teeth and bones.

Come and play with us, they urged. Come play pretend.

They flurried about. She tried to speak, but they settled against her tongue like candy-coated snow. They loved her. She watched them spin and shine and gleam and glow. They were everything she needed in that moment, and so she relaxed into the soft aura of Christmas.

Her mother was screaming, “She’s not here! She’s not here!”

The purest colors were born and danced within reflections of those who had come before. You’re not here, they echoed. You’re with us. They snuggled in and tucked themselves around her. Be still, they insisted. This isn’t real. She knew they were right. Nothing was real. She was everywhere and nowhere at all, safe between worlds. Her mother’s golden wall clock started to ding its hourly announcement—once, twice.

“You did this,” her father said.

A third ding.

“You made me do this.”

Four.

Mama’s voice fluttered. “Remember who you are.”

A loud noise exploded throughout the apartment. Ornaments rattled and slipped from their homes, and Via with them. Her hands came up to cover her ears, but his voice soon rode the wave of ringing and broke on through.

“Why?” he cried. “Why did you make me do this?”

Another explosion ripped away the space around her. She sank down overcome by the bells ringing around her. Why? Why were the bells so loud? It was a gun, she realized. The sound vibrating through her was gunfire. Her shoulder came to rest against the edge of the big box—white with a gold bow. Air came into her lungs in notches, each tighter than the last. She didn’t know what to do. Her trembling hand grasped a branch with a candy cane hanging from it. She began to pull it back.

“Mama?”

Don’t look, the pretty lights urged her. It’s not real. It’s not her.

But it was too late. She had already peered past the angels—and through to the other side.

“Ma—”

Mouth open, heart lost, she released the branch and it sprang back into place. Its candy cane held strong. The pretty lights spoke no more, but hummed and tingled. The murmur of their adoration grew faint and she began to panic. She curled up into herself, tight and small, desperate to disappear back into their protection.

“Please, pretty lights. Please don’t go.”

She blinked and the lights were just lights. The floors roared. New voices overtook the fading bells. People were yelling. People were coming. An alarm shrieked overhead. The taste of gingersnap dust burnt through the air.

“Please, pretty lights,” she called out again, even though she knew they were gone.



My Book Review:

Please, Pretty Lights is a compelling dark story about a young woman who tries to escape from her traumatic childhood past, only to drastically swing the pendulum to the other side down a dangerous path of self-destruction into the life of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.

Author Ina Zajac weaves a realistic and gritty tale of tragedy and self-destruction that easily captivates the reader's attention and sends them on an emotional roller coaster ride as the harsh reality of twenty-one year old Via Sorenson's tragic life story unfolds.

The author has created a cast of realistic, flawed, and believable characters who draw the reader into their complex world with intensity, drama, and even a touch of humor. Set in the Seattle music scene, the author masterfully interweaves Via's present life with flashbacks to her traumatic childhood past. It is a riveting, gritty, multi-layered yet poignant story that will simply take your breath away. As I delved into Via's life story, I found myself experiencing the full gamut of emotions, for someone so young, she has lived a truly hard life filled with tragedy and bad decisions, yet the author has portrayed Via's life in a beautifully tragic way that is simply stunning.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the author's awesome backdrop of the Seattle music scene and the references to the music groups and the style of music that so vividly describes the sounds of the city.

Please, Pretty Lights is an amazing story of tragedy and redemption. It is a story that will resonate with you long after the last words have been read.


RATING: 5 STARS 
                                





About The Author



Ina Zajac is an award-winning journalist, avid people watcher, and lover of quirk and contrast. Her writing is heavily influenced by her fascination with music, art, and her hometown of Seattle.


AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
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GOODREADS



Contest Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Virtual Book Tour Schedule



Tour Schedule:

August 25 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
August 26 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
August 27 – Ski- Wee’s Book Corner – Excerpt
August 28 – Chick Lit Plus – Review 
August 29 – Little Miss Drama Queen – Review & Excerpt
September 1 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt