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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Super Steve by Doug Cudmore (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Super Steve by Author Doug Cudmore!


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Book Review

Super Steve
  

TitleSuper Steve by Doug Cudmore
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing 
Publication Date: January 5, 2015 
Format: Paperback - 328 pages
               Kindle - 4196 KB
               Nook - 614 KB
ISBN: 978-0993993527
ASIN: B00RW4TNHI
BNID: 2940046515961
Genre: Action / Crime / Thriller


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


Book Description:

It starts like just another in long string of Friday nights: Steve Janson again fools himself into thinking he'll go for a stress-busting, head-clearing run, only to end up at the local Sav-N-Lo picking up a pack of Doritos. But when he ends up bleeding on the floor after a robbery gone wrong, and a mysterious stranger saves his life, he finds himself living every man’s dream. Or is that nightmare? In either case, he’s a superhero. 

The darkly comic Super Steve asks: what if a regular person suddenly found himself stronger, faster, smarter than his fellow mortals? If nothing else (and, increasingly, there is nothing else), Steve is that average man, someone who clings to his sense of stand-up-guyness. He still puts in the overtime, even as the desks around him empty at the soon-to-be-extinct Metroburgh Green Pages. He makes sure his deeply pregnant wife and his baby-to-be live comfortably, even as his mountain of debt grows Himalayan. Sure, being the calm face that keeps everything alright gnaws at his slowly expanding gut some days, but it’s nothing a couple of MetroLagers can’t numb.   

And at first, saving school busses and pulling kittens from trees suits Steve perfectly. But as crime grips the city – an agitated former Occupier freeing the people’s money; a disgruntled ex-geologist with a knife to grind; a military man determined to keep the streets safe, no matter how unsafe they get in the process –the demands grow unbearable. As Steve’s wife grows suspicious of his late-night activities, as his boss threatens his job if the absenteeism doesn’t end, as his finances spin out of control after a gadget-buying spree, he is forced to ask himself: Must he sacrifice Steve Janson to be a hero? Or does he have to sacrifice the city in order to live with himself?  
 

Book Excerpt:


You would even, on your own time, write a report, “How the Green Pages can cash in on geographic technology,” which had been sitting for three months in Bryce’s office.
You would be a man trapped on a small, sandy career island that was eroding away; your only options would be dive into the ocean and hope there was another, larger island somewhere just past the horizon. Or to stay and hope the waves stopped rising. And you were the type to grab a palm tree and pray.
You’d work away at your desk this Friday, save for a sneak next door for a foot-long Tuna Supreme from Senor Sub, with a Coke and Doritos to aid the gentle expansion of your midsection. And finally, after the last AAAA Auto Service ad was laid down, you’d take the commute in reverse, back to your semi-slice of heaven.
Key in the door.
Yes, if you did that, you’d be deep, deep inside the brain of Steve Janson.
Once you turned that key and opened that door, though, you could try Steve’s heart. Because, like usual, you’d see Sally Janson sitting at your little dinner table. She would be sipping a diet iced tea and battling an iPad Sudoku in her pale green scrubs, but as you crossed the threshold she’d get up to meet you in your home’s tiny entryway. She would have had one hell of a day – hauling the kicking person inside her was enough for any woman in this late-summer heat, but she, god bless her, would have found the time to hit Target, grab another carful of unidentified baby gear for you to assemble, and then, as her feet swelled, would have got groceries and done the dishes. And still, when you arrived, she’d rock herself up, walk over and give that kiss. You’d kiss her back and ask, “How was your day?”, smell the clean of her sandy brown hair and, lately, feel the growing bulge of her six-month belly as she pressed against you. Then you’d gulp down the night’s meal together before it was time for her night shift as a paediatrics nurse at Metroburgh West General. You’d give her another good, solid kiss goodbye, not just lips this time, and she would head out the door.
If you took in those 60 minutes, plus the off-nights together and holidays as they came, you’d get inside the heart of Steve Janson.
Then you’d be back on your own until 6:30 crashed down again.
But if you wanted to get into Steve’s lower intestine, gall bladder and fist-sized chunk of the liver, you’d need to be that bullet.
Steve Janson would have the idea – actually Sally Janson would have the idea, which she would repeat so often that it became Steve’s idea, as well – that he was going to be around for a long, long time, if not for himself then for her and your son or daughter. And so, to battle his days of inactivity broken by short bursts of glucose and cheese, Steve would have to exercise.
That early-August Friday at 9:16 p.m., Steve would slam his home’s ill-fitting front door and perform a quick succession of knee bends and hamstring stretches. He would feel fresh, strong – he liked the idea, if not the practice, of late-night summertime runs – so he would take the three porch stairs in one leap, tune into Songza and take the first, too-fast strides of the evening. “The Sign” would blast through the headphones; Sally had left the playlist set on “Early ‘90s Bubblegum”. He would stop, scroll quickly to something more masculine before his ears were hooked, but by the time he found “Jock Anthems”, Ace of Base would have taken over. He’d head down the block to “Life is demanding/without understanding.”
After the first four dozen power strides, Steve’s body would, per usual, start to despise him, a hatred that only grew for the first 10 minutes of each work-out. One of two things always happened after he warmed up: Either he would be ready to push, and his legs would kick, his heart would settle into its familiar pace and the world would float by; or he would not, at which point a pallid film would form across his forehead, his legs would sputter, and he would use the emergency $5 in his pocket to hunt for snacks.
No matter how brilliant he felt at the start, option two was the almost guaranteed winner on Friday nights, leaving him searching for something salty at the local Sav-N-Lo.
That would be the scenario tonight. He would walk through automatic sliding doors, and the sweat he’d worked up would evaporate as the heat was replaced by perfume-laced mid-sized-box air. Steve would walk down Aisle 4, Oral Care and Shaving Supplies, until he reached the pharmacist’s counter at the back. He’d turn right, passing a thick-bearded man with an ER’s worth of home medical supplies crammed into his shopping cart. He’d arrive at the snack aisle, pause in front of the Doritos, trying to decide between Cool Ranch and Zesty Cheese.
That is all he’d have to do.
And hollow-point you? You’d have to coil silently in a handgun, tucked inside a windbreaker pocket, hung on the frame of a more drunk than angry young man riding shotgun in a Black 2001 Honda Accord pulling into the Sav-N-Lo parking lot. You and your gun would sit cozy as your owner and his two associates hopped from the car, threw black balaclavas over their heads and strutted through those sliding doors. Then you’d be running and, as you approached the check-outs, you’d be thrust toward the ceiling, shining in the fluorescent light as your owner yelled:
“This is a robbery! Everybody be cool, nobody gets hurt.”
Back at the chips, Steve would freeze, and slow-motion-drop the fiery orange package he’d selected. He’d think, “What the hell am I supposed to do in this situation?”
“Empty your fuckin’ registers, gimme your fuckin’ wallets and purses, ahright? Quick-Quick-QUICK!” your owner’s friend Jack would yell, pulling out canvas bags and tossing them on the treadmills of the two storefront checkouts. “Get with the fuckin’ program!” The panicked clutch of customers nearby, and the two dowdy checkout ladies in their pale blue Sav-N-Lo pinnies, would start to comply.
Then some woman, a decade past middle age, with large round bifocals and shining burgundy hair, the one clutching an InStyle, would not get with the fuckin’ program. She would defiantly refuse to release her floral-print handbag. There were pictures of loved ones in there. They weren’t going anywhere.
So Jack – and his temper – would whip out a pistol and get involved.
“I said give me your purse, bitch. Your purse,” he’d yell.
“No, please, no, please. My grandkids … ”
“Give me your fuckin’ ” and his pistol would make solid, fleshy contact with her skull. “I said give me your purse, bitch.” Jack would laugh, stoop over her unconscious body, grab the handbag, toss it in his sack.
As the woman lay on the floor, your owner would aim you down for a second. The plan was, as had been discussed at length during the drive here, that the guns were for show. Taking out old ladies was not part of the plan. But your owner couldn’t argue niceties when the shit was going down.
Burgundy Hair’s friend Henrietta would start to scream, looking at the small pool of blood, but – “Shut the fuck up!” – her screams would turn to panicked whimpers. “Anybody else get any ideas, this is what we got for y’all. Now give us our money!”
The loot bags would fill up, from the tills and the pockets of those standing nearby. And then you and your gun would wave at the onlookers, make sure no one got close as your owner and his other accomplice, the non-angry one who was high as hell and just there for the laughs, backed toward the exit. But that pistolwhipping would have riled Jack up. He would be an aisle into the store now, well within sight of the still-frozen Steve, yelling and demanding more money.
And Jack would have the car keys.
“What the fuck you lookin’ at, old dude?” he would yell at the homeless man. Jack would smash the shopping cart over, sending gauze, syringes, ibuprofen everywhere; a roll of medical tape would scoot past Steve’s running shoes. “I said what. The fuck. You lookin’ at. Old dude.”
The homeless man would stand straighter, taller, and calmly ask, “What are you doing?”
“What did you say, motherfucker?”
“I said what are you doing? Coming in here, terrorizing people? Do you know how violence ends, my good man? Do you? Because it doesn’t end well.” Then the old man would grab a clutch of bills from inside his jacket pocket, toss them at Lou. “There, sir, is your money.”
Jack would stand speechless for a half-second. He’d flinch toward the old man with his gun, stop, move to pick up the scattered tens and twenties at his feet. But just as quickly his anger would trump his greed, and he’d slam the butt of his gun into the side of another head. “Fuck you,” he’d yell, as blood splayed off the temple of the old man, who crumpled to his knees. “Fuck you.” And the robber would raise his pistol for one last smack.
But before he would connect
Steve would bolt. If you asked him later, he wouldn’t be able to tell you why, exactly, against three armed men. But he sprinted to his right, in an impossible attempt to save a life.
And this is where you would shoot into action.
Your owner would have almost backed out the front door by now, on his way to freedom, hoping his damn accomplice inside would be out in the 60 seconds left before the police likely arrived. But then he would see some guy, 5’10” or so, black hair and running gear that only drew attention to his small mound of belly, bursting toward your associate. And your trigger would be pulled.
Crack.
And you’d be flying through the air, spinning at a speed imperceptible to the jaw-dropped cashiers. You’d shoot past the magazine covers (People had “Teen Moms of Denver star shares exclusive baby pics”; the Star went with “Darren left me: Teen Mom Post-Partum Heartache”); past the Archie Double Digests; past the salted and unsalted nuts; you’d pass down the aisle, burst into the back of a package of Classic Lays, shatter through dozens of greasy chips, and at almost the same instant explode through the front of the yellow bag.
And then you’d be inside the lower intestine, gall bladder and a baseball-sized chunk of the liver of Steve Janson.
That’s how you’d do it.
And, as you lay there, torn to shrapnel, you’d hear “Oh fuck, oh fuck bro” and the sound of sneakers running, and the rev of the black Accord disappearing into the Metroburgh night.
Steve would grab his bleeding belly and, through the thick haze of shock, would rasp the words to nobody nearby: “Tell Sally I love her.” And he would start to feel the warmth of the death’s arrival.
Then the crazy old man would right his toppled cart, his smooth hands would hoist the fading Steve Janson into its basket, and the two of them, and you, would sprint into the darkness of the Sav-N-Lo Mart parking lot.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Gasp.
As the squeal of tires and the flash of headlights shoved him back into consciousness, Steve bolted upright.
Gasp.
GASP.
He grabbed for his shredded belly, to stanch the deadly flow of blood, to reach in, search for the bullet, dig it out. But he couldn't free his hands; they were pinned to his body, tightly wound in something. He couldn’t tell.
As his mind battled to make sense of the situation, his eyes struggled into focus. Everything was black, save one piercing white light overhead. Its glow flipped left to right as Steve rocked in a bid to free his arms and stop the life from pouring from his gunshot wound.
In the kind of few seconds that seem like forever, he worked both arms free and shot his hands to the bullet hole just above his navel. His fingers prepared to grope intestine and organ; instead, they hit skin. Soft, nacho-fed, lightly haired skin. His digits looked for that fatal gap that must be somewhere … there … on his torso … up … left … right ... but found nothing unusual except for a thin, inch-long cut just below his bottom left rib.
He was certain he had just been shot. Or fairly sure, though he now lacked evidence. Maybe that was just something that had entered his heat-stroked brain after too many wind sprints … no. He didn’t do those anymore. And he was bound, by something, left in the dark. If that much had happened, he had likely been shot. Probably. He concluded that, if he didn't want to get probably shot or bound again, he'd need to get out of here.
He GASPed another big hit of air – the oxygen blended with sinus-pinching taste of anaesthetic and a rusty hint of blood, making him nauseous even as it cleared his brain. He gasped again – each one tasted better – and looked at that light. Its glow turned from formless orb to floating ball to the familiar form of Metroburgh municipal streetlight. Steve followed its pole to the ground – his stare caught onto a string of decorative porch lights as they disappeared down a street in the background – and to the black ground below.
So there was a streetlight here, he thought. What else? His eyes couldn't make that out yet, and his legs didn't have the strength to explore.
So instead, his eyes teamed with his fingers to determine the identity of the restraint: A simple cotton sheet, soft, warming but industrially rough, like you’d find on a low-rent hospital bed, light yellow with pink and white stripes across the top. It had been swaddled around his torso and upper legs; it still bound his calves tight. It felt fresh, clean, except for the part that had once been around his belly but now drooped to the side. That was crusted with something dark, like a giant scab. Blood? His fingernails scraped; he brought a sample up to his nose. Yes, blood. Dried. A lot. Steve's brain panicked again and his hand shot back to his belly; no, still just soft pink flesh and tiny cut.
And then Steve’s brain provided a fresh reason for concern - why was his hand hitting skin? Why not the sweat-wicking runwear Sally bought him last birthday? He looked quickly down, making his head swim again; once he recovered, he got an eyeful of his full, naked self, upper thigh straight on up. He grabbed the folds of blanket off the bench and covered his shame.
So now his panic had a thick overlay of creepy. Steve’s mind shot back through the last few items in his memory. Running. Snack food. Yelling. Gunshot. No “getting naked” on the list. Dear god, what had he, or somebody, done in the interim, he wondered.
As he wrapped the blanket folds around him, ensuring all important bits were covered, Steve forced himself to concentrate. He was shot. Or not. But most likely. Just not wounded. But wrapped. In something bloody. And he was naked. Where? Horizontal brown boards. A bench a park most likely. He looked to the horizon again and objects finally started to clarify ... the sturdy steel A of a swingset... a couple of baby swings hanging down ... a big red corkscrew slide ... by his bare feet, which he now determined were sitting on sand, a broken pink Fisher-Price play kitchen, stacked high with filthy toy pots and pans, buckets and shovels ... a worn yellow Tonka truck … a couple of Frisbees that had been converted into digging devices.
Steve knew this spot. Bryan W. McCain, Sr. Urban Play Parkette, tucked away two blocks from his semi. He was close to home. Thank god. Still, he was in a playground. At night. Naked. Except, of course, for a blanket covered in dry blood.
“C’mon, give me another pull, asshole.”
“Calm down, man … … … alright, here you go.”
“Ah, that’s the shit. Got this from some hopped-up Moldovan dude downtown, bro.”
Steve jumped to his feet, momentarily dropping his blanket. The mumbled conversation of two hoodied just-past-teens hit his ears; it sounded as though they were right next to him. He swung his stuttering gaze 360 degrees, until he spotted them approaching; they were still a good quarter-block away, though, passing under the last streetlight before the parkette. Their smoke wafted up, hung in the humidity.
Steve made himself an impromptu diaper, bunching the blanket around his groin, and darted for the hedge at the parkette’s south end. He crouched between its evergreen prickles and the seven-foot security fence behind, tied the blanket in place. Then he crouched further, into a ball, and waited.
Lucas Stumph, just off his shift at GasMart, and his cousin Nick DeBergh, not currently working nor interested in the concept, slouched into the parkette and dropped onto the bench Steve had occupied just seconds ago. They enjoyed a nice, long joint and the inane conversation that it brought – cars they’d never drive, lingerie models they'd never screw. After five minutes, Nick, his 259 pounds living on the border between husky and obese, was taking one long last pull when something caught his eye.
The park light glimmered off a big, light yellow form behind the bushes.
Nick nudged Lucas, whose sallow cheeks and sunken eyes gave an outpatient impression, nearly knocking him onto the ground. “Bro,” he said, pointing, “What is that?”
“What?”
“Behind the bushes, bro.” Nick got up, pulled down the bottom of his Area 51 t-shirt so his belly was covered. “Check it out. Looks like ... a dude in a diaper!”
“Oh fuck, yeah,” Lucas said, laughing a deep, ganja-laced laugh. “Hey Diaper Dude!” he called. “What’s in the bushes?”
Steve could now see he was hardly hidden. He was cornered, though; the two men stood between him and the parkette’s gate, and as they strolled toward him his escape route was slowly, stumblingly cut off.
“Hey, Diaper Dude!” Nick called, delighted at his discovery. “What you doin’ in there, man?”
“Yeah, uh, hey guys,” Steve responded with an understated wave. “How’s it going?”
“Hey.” Lucas was curious. “Are you one of those dudes who dresses up like a baby and have some chick change your diaper?”
“Yeah, you a perv?”
“Hey, it’s nothing like that —”
But Lucas’s face turned angry. “Yeah, what the fuck, bro. Doesn’t your niece play at this park?”
The two not-quite-teens now walked more quickly toward Steve’s failed hideout. "Yeah, fuck, dude, Brytney plays here all the time. Hey, get the fuck out here, pervy Diaper Dude!” Nick demanded.
Steve stood, put his hands out to the side in a plea. “Look guys, I –” But there was no point in trying to reason. Lucas ran the last 10 steps left between himself and Steve, pulling out a small pocket knife as he did and saying, “Let's fuck this dude up.”
Steve was out of options; couldn’t reason, couldn’t run, couldn’t do much damage against a loser with knife. But in the last millisecond before his torso took its second blow of the night, an electric surge shot through Steve’s legs, while another hit his brain. And he jumped, up, back and, with unknown energy exploding from his quads, he cleared the fence behind him with room to spare, just as the knife sliced the space where he had stood a half-second before.
Steve came down in the ankle-deep sod of the unkempt backyard behind the fence and, in disbelief, stared Lucas in the eye, this time with the safety of a seven-foot sheet of metal diamonds between them. “What the fuck?” Lucas said.
And just as fast as he’d cleared the fence, Steve came to his senses, turned, ran. He needed to get home, back to safety, he couldn’t take the streets and risk the neighbours spotting him. But with this bizarre new strength coursing through his legs, apparently allowing him to clear fences in single leaps, he could take the back route. So he sprinted across the first, dark, 24-foot-wide back yard and hurdled with ease over the five-foot privacy fence at the other side. Stuck the landing. Good, he thought, now there were two fences between himself and the stoners. He could take time to gather his thoughts. Until the motion-sensor light snapped on and the Chihuahua in the rear window began a piercing yip.
Steve hurled himself over the next fence, again with ease, but this time crashed down on an above-ground pool; the sound of his body hitting the water was loud enough, but coupled with the clatter of the now-collapsing structure, and the whoosh as gallons of water poured into the yard, it was enough to stir more neighbours. Backyard lights flicked on almost instantly up and down the block; any second now, annoyed homeowners would come out with their dogs or cats or baseball bats.
As Steve cut through the rushing water, he realized he just needed to cross one more yard and he would hit the back alley that dissected his block, leading straight to his backyard. As the demolished-pool owner slid his screen door open, Steve cleared another fence. And again he stuck the landing, onto an upturned rake.
“Hey!” yelled the pool owner as Steve disappeared.
“What?” yelled the owner of the final yard, who was sitting on his candlelit deck, enjoying a glass of chilled Cabernet with his wife’s best friend.
“Ahh!” yelled the wife’s best friend.
And “Damn it,” yelled Steve as two rake prongs shot into his bare right foot. He leapt over the last fence with such force that he topped it with five feet to spare, and, with the alley on the other side being blessedly empty, he turned right, toward home, and broke into sprint, a dead sprint, faster than he'd ever sprinted before. Then it occurred to him that his bleeding right foot would leave a track leading to his own backyard. So he broke into a hop, a dead hop, faster than he'd ever hopped before, to the safety of his own gate.
As he arrived at the back of his house, Steve realized his key was exactly wherever his running clothes now resided. So he picked up a fist-sized rock from Sally's decorative garden and, as quietly as possible, punched it through a glass pane on his door. He reached through the resulting hole, slicing the side of his hand in the process, and turned the knob from the inside. Then he pushed the door open and allowed himself the sweet, agony-filled relief of a collapse on his kitchen’s cold tile floor. He lay there for 10 minutes at least, panting and seething with the sharp pains in his foot and hand, and flinching, convinced he’d be caught, as he heard a smatter of neighbours searching the alleyway.
But they never came knocking. And so, when his will returned, Steve sat up to survey his damaged body, slid over to the cupboards and pulled out tea towels, wrapping them around his wounds. After a minute or two of applying pressure, he staggered to his feet and, leaning on the faux-marble countertop, tried to think of what he could possibly do next. As he looked around the room, trying to settle on a course of action, he noticed the voicemail light flashing on the kitchen phone; he grabbed the cordless receiver, thinking maybe an answer resided there, in the receiver.
The robot voice told him he had four. Unheard. Messages.
#1 was Sally. “Hey, hon. Just heard from downstairs that some guy was shot at the Sav-N-Lo. I know you were being a good boy and running, but give me a call back at the desk, okay?”
#2 was Sally, a touch more panicked. “Hon, just thought I'd hear back from you by now. Guess you’ve gone for a long one. Good for you. Call back, okay?”
#3 was Sally, really scared. “Steve, please call, okay? Someone just said they heard some runner might have got hurt, but they didn’t bring anyone in. Why don’t you take your stupid phone with you? Call me right now, okay?”
#4 was Sally, on the edge of tears, five minutes ago. “Steve, I'm really scared, okay? I was asking around now, no-one knows anything ... call me, okay? C-” Steve deleted the last message before it played out and dialled the maternity ward.
He stood, the rumpled sheet half-clinging to his waistline, and stared at the wreck of himself in the mirror above the kitchen sink. As the rings progressed, so did this thought process – from “Poor Sally” to “Maybe she'll know someone who can help me” to “What am I going to tell her? That I woke up naked in a park and just ran through our neighbours’ yards?”
“Metroburgh West Maternity.” A too-familiar nurse spoke on the other end of the line.
“Could I speak to Sally Janson, please.”
“Steve?”
“Yes, hi Martina.”
“Oh, thank god. Sally’s worried sick,” his wife’s best work friend replied with her usual agitation. “She was just heading home to check on you, I'll see if I can catch her.” The line clicked, then filled with Latin-tinged classical guitar.
Steve waited, watching his reflection as the flamenco magic filled his right ear, and discovered the line he had felt on his abdomen just minutes ago was gone.
“Honey! Steve, is that you?”
“Yes, hon-” and he noted, just above the non-cutline, a scrap of paper, safetypinned to the top of the blanket near the top of his left thigh, something he’d missed in the madness of the night.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine –” on the paper, the hand-scrawled message read “Call me. 701-565-7232.” 701 ... North Dakota.
Sally buzzed in the background. “Oh, I was so worried. Where were you?” she accused with just-relieved terror. “I called and called. The police said that some runner had been shot, and you never answered the phone, and I …”
North Dakota. A disappearing wound. Naked in a park, a children’s park, with him blacked out and maybe eyewitnesses, to something or anything …
“… but they never found anyone, and I thought maybe you’d just crawled off somewhere, and …” sobs.
Steve wasn’t a lying man, at least not with the people that counted. Once the lies started in a relationship, they never stopped, he’d learned from a rather nasty college girlfriend. But there wasn’t another choice right now. He just needed a small one; he’d figure a way back to the truth later on.
Sob.
“Oh hon, I'm sorry. I am so sorry. I just bailed on the run and crashed upstairs. I must have slept through all your calls. Really, are you okay?”
“Yes,” she said in a smaller voice now. “Don’t ever do that again. Okay? You sleep with a phone on the pillow.”
“I promise.”
“Oh god, I’m so embarrassed,” she said, wiping a mix of tears and eyeliner from her cheek with the back of her hand.
“Don’t be, hon. Do you need me to come over? Get you a decaf?”
“No, no. Really, don't come down here. I just need to get back to work. Be up when I get home, okay?”
“You got it. Love you.”
“Love you, too. And keep that phone on your pillow. Asshole.” Vulgarity meant the fear was gone.
“And pancakes for when you get home.”
They hung up.
“How you doin’, honey?” Martina asked.
“Fine, really,” Sally replied, grabbing a tissue from the nursing station. “I feel so silly.”
“Don’t, Sal. He needs to grow up and treat you right.”
“Oh, he’s just a man,” Sally replied. She let out a sigh and forced herself to her feet, headed out for a night of towelling down birthing mothers and soothing birthing fathers.
And Steve looked back at himself. God, he would need a better story by the end of Sally’s shift. First, he’d have to explain the wounds ... speaking of which, the pain was gone now, all praise endorphins. He unwrapped the tea towel from his hand – not only was the pain gone, the gash was, too. He unwrapped the towel from his foot. No rake holes, either.
His shot, skewered, sliced body was fine. Not just fine. Perfect. He glanced around the kitchen to make sure the wounds had been real, that this wasn’t just a hallucination formed by the leftover vapours of whatever had left him unconscious. But there were still the bloody towels, the bloody sheet, the broken window. Those were real. And, if he was going to keep Sally from asking any more questions, he would have to dispose of them.
But before the sweaty, blood-crusted blanket was trashbagged, he unpinned the note, walked the strange message upstairs, slipped into his pyjamas, and tucked it amidst the nail clippers and spare change and unread novels in his bedside table.
And he pulled it out for one last look. 701. North Dakota. Add that to the top of the night’s pile of what-the-hells.


My Book Review:

What's an average guy to do when he unexpectedly becomes a crime fighting superhero? 

Super Steve is an entertaining crime thriller with a comic book superhero twist. Author Doug Cudmore weaves a intriguing tale of humor and suspense that follows average guy Steve Janson when he awakes from a robbery gone wrong, and suddenly finds himself with superhero powers. The superhero powers thrusts Steve into a brave new world where he has to balance his average everyday life of working and taking care of his very pregnant wife, with the call of fighting crime in his city at night. When the double life he leads gets unbearable, Steve has to decide which is more important: going back to average Steve Janson, or sacrifice it all to live out his superhero dreams.

Super Steve is a fun story that easily draws the reader into Steve's story. You can't help but relate to this typical average guy with everyday life issues, and then cheer him on when he follows his passion to fight crime with his newly acquired superhero powers. Crazy antics and mishaps await when Super Steve is on the prowl, so buckle up and get ready to follow him on his crime fighting adventures!

I must admit that I have never been a real fan of comic book superheros, but Super Steve is such an enjoyable story that I found myself laughing as I read the story. It has a great mixture of real average everyday life experiences, humor, and thrilling suspense, I found myself easily engaged and turning the pages to see what would happen next!

Super Steve is a thoroughly entertaining, fast paced and action packed superhero crime thriller. This is a great book for fans of comic book superhero stories.


RATING: 4 STARS 





About The Author
  
Douglas Cudmore


Doug Cudmore is a veteran journalist who has worked in business, entertainment, and urban affairs and crime. He is also a long-time comic-book lover. You can visit his web site at www.dougcudmore.com   

Connect with Doug:
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery by Paul Flower (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Redeeming Power Of Brain Surgery by Author Paul Flower!


The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery





Book Review

The Redeeeming Power of Brain Surgery


TitleThe Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery: A Suspense Novel by Paul Flower
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 250 pages
               Kindle - 1325 KB
ISBN: 978-0985956271
ASIN: B00DE4CQNS
Genre: Suspense


Buy The Book:
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Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE


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


Book Description:

Jesse Tieter, M.D. has carefully constructed the ideal life. But lately, neither his Chicago-based neurology practice nor his wife and son are enough to suppress the memories that have haunted him since he was a little boy. He can't stop thinking about that summer day in 1967 when his father died.

So Jesse is heading back. Back to the town and the place where a long-repressed horror occurred. Back to make sure his twin keeps the family's secret buried.

But what will he uncover along the way?


Book Excerpt:

His son’s hand felt like a lie. Lately, to him, everything felt this way. The look of sadness on his wife’s face, the burn of a drink in his throat, the whine of a saw in the O.R.; nothing seemed true. Nothing was real anymore. He felt out of balance, too. Even now, the school building, the flag slapping against the heavy fall sky¬¬—everything was tipping away from him. It was as though he’d gotten up that morning and screwed on his head carelessly, as though he hadn’t threaded it good and tight. While shaving, he’d cut himself, a discrete, semi-intentional knick just under the curve of his chin. He’d stood there like an idiot, eyes feeding the message “blood” to his brain, nerve endings responding with “pain” and the logic center unable to formulate a response.

“Dad? Daddy?”

“Uh? Wha’?”

“Pick up the pace. Chop chop. Move out.”

Now, as he snaked through the crush of other parents and children, he had to look down to convince himself the boy was there, attached to the hand, flesh and bone. The red hair, “his mother’s hair” everyone called it, was sliced by a crisp white part; his head bounced in beat with his sneakered feet. The child was so painfully real he couldn’t be a lie.

It amazed him that his son looked so much like his wife, especially the tiny mouth, the way it was set in a crooked, determined line. He was a kid who liked to have fun, but he could be fierce. Today, the challenge of a new school year, of third grade, had brought out the determined streak. This was good. They would need that streak, he and his mother would.

“Whoa.”  The tiny hand now was a road sign, white-pink flesh facing him, commanding him. Far enough. He obeyed. Squatting, arms out for the anticipated embrace, he suddenly wanted to tell everything. Tears swam. His throat thickened. The earth tilted and threatened to send him skittering over its edge. There was the slightest of hugs, the brush of lips on his cheek then the boy was off, skipping toward the steps as though third grade challenged nothing, caused no fear, as though the world was in perfect balance.

He walked back to his Lincoln Navigator with the exaggerated care of a drunk who didn’t want anyone to know his condition. He got behind the wheel and suddenly was no longer in his 50s; he felt 16 and too small, too skinny and insignificant to handle the giant SUV.

He nosed the vehicle toward home, alternately trembling and gripping the wheel as he merged with the morning traffic. The plan struck him now as odd and silly, the challenges too great. His hands, already red and scaly, itched fiercely. Get a grip, he told himself. Get a grip.

His tired mind—when was the last time he’d really slept well?—jumped from one stone of thought to another. Was everything covered at work? The bills—had he paid them all? Did his wife suspect anything? Yes. No. Absolutely. Of course not. Relax. Relax. He left the expressway at the exit that took him past their church and wondered if the church, too, was a lie. What of the wedding there so many years ago?

Through a stoplight and past a Dunkin’ Donuts, his gaze floated around a corner. A flash of inspiration—hit the gas. Let the tires slide and the back-end arc around. Let physics have its way until the big vehicle broke free from the grip of gravity and danced head over end, coming to a stop with him bleeding and mercifully, gratefully dead inside.

No. He had something to do. Had he figured the angles right? Gotten the plan tight enough?

A horn jabbed through his reverie. He had drifted into the turn lane of the five-lane street. He jerked the wheel and cut across traffic into the right lane. Tires screeched, horns screamed. A black Toyota streaked past on his left, the driver’s fist, middle finger erect, thrust out the window.

Rage, sharp and bitter, bubbled in his throat. He hesitated, then jammed his foot on the accelerator, cut the wheel hard, and sent the Navigator careening into the left lane.

A staccato barrage of profanity pounded the inside of his skull. He bit his tongue to keep the words in. His heart hammered and a familiar, dizzying pressure filled his ears. The SUV roared ahead, past one car, past a semi then another car, quickly closing the gap on the speeding Toyota. He couldn’t see the car’s driver but he could imagine him, some stupid, simple-minded schmuck, eyes locked on the rear-view mirror as the lumbering Lincoln grew larger, larger, larger. The instant before he would slam into the smaller vehicle, he jabbed his brake and turned again to the left. There was a squeal of tires and more horns bleating behind him; the semi rig’s air horn bellowed angrily past. Ramrod straight, eyes fixed ahead on the now-slow-moving car disappearing tentatively around a curve, he brought the Navigator to a shuddering stop in the center lane. He tensed and waited for the resounding WHUMP of a crash from behind. None came. Face flushed and eyes gleaming, suddenly rejuvenated, he accelerated quickly then eased the Navigator back into the flow of traffic—no looking back.



My Book Review:


The Redeeming Power Of Brian Surgery is a riveting psychological thriller that will keep the reader in suspense and sitting on the edge of their seats.

Author Paul Flower weaves a gritty dark tale of suspense that follows the complex story of Dr. Jesse Tieter, M.D. and how his ideal life is turned upside down when his attempts to suppress the haunting memories of his past are brought to the surface when he travels back to his small Michigan hometown and faces his estranged fraternal twin brother and deeply buried family secrets.

This is a compelling, intricate, and fast paced story that alternates between the past and the present. It has enough richly vivid descriptions of the devious and haunting events in the family's past that will send chills down your spine. I loved how the author allows the reader to delve into the twisted minds of the twins, the complexity of their dysfunctional relationship is palpable, and it lends credence to the old adage that people are not always what they appear to be.

The Redeeming Power Of Brain Surgery is a gritty dark tale that will take the reader on an exhilarating roller coaster ride. There is enough drama, suspense, and intriguing twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged and guessing what will happen next until the surprising and climatic conclusion.


RATING: 5 STARS 




About The Author

Paul Flower
   

Paul Flower is an author, advertising copywriter/creative director and a journalist.

He has written and produced award-winning advertising for print, radio, television, outdoor, the Web––really, just about every medium––for business-to-consumer and business-to-business accounts.

His news features have appeared in regional and national magazines. His first novel, “The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery,” was published in June 2013 by Scribe Publishing. Visit Paul’s website at paulflower.net.  


Connect with Paul:
Author Website
Author Page / Publisher Website
Facebook 
Twitter
Goodreads

 

Virtual Book Tour



Click on the above link to view the tour schedule.


The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery

Monday, April 27, 2015

That's A Promise & That's A Lie by Victoria Klahr (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 That's A Promise and That's A Lie by Author Victoria Klahr!






Book Review




That's A Promise by Victoria Klahr
Book 1: Promises, Promises Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Format: Paperback - 260 pages
               Kindle - 2413 KB
ISBN: 978-1620155134
ASIN: B00OAUA5XS
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance


Book Description:

Pain isn’t new to me.

I’ve been to hell only to find it never really leaves when you get back. It haunts me through nightmares, unrequited love, lies, broken hearts, and now death.

A monster almost took my life.
My best friend carries half my soul a world away.
My boyfriend broke my heart but refuses to let me go.
And my father is dead.

I don’t believe in fate and I don’t believe in happily-ever-afters, but for some reason, I still hope.

Live, even with a tainted spirit.
Long for my other half to come back to me.
Risk another broken heart, just to feel loved again.
And refuse to let another horror break me.

In the face of my most recent tragedy, I have to decide whether forgiveness is something I can give. But even if that’s an option, can I be forgiven?


That's A Lie by Victoria Klahr
Book 2: Promises, Promises Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Format: Paperback - 318 pages
               Kindle - 997 KB
               Nook - 504 KB
ISBN: 978-1620156421
ASIN: B00U05YLOG
BNID: 2940151659581
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance


Book Description: 

Seth is back.

When he walked back into my life, it almost felt like the pieces of my broken heart could be fixed. I thought we could go back to being best friends, but then I started to feel what I had been blocking out for years. I tried. Boy, did I try! But once I started to let him in, I wanted nothing more than to cross that line from friendship into something more…

Just when I think I can move on and let myself be happy, an ugly reminder from my past comes storming in and threatens to destroy the sliver of hope that’s been growing since Seth came back.

Do I even deserve to be loved?

“I’m not asking to fix your heart. I’m not asking to mend you. I love each and every shattered piece of you. I’m asking that you let me love you. Let me love each piece of your broken heart, and I swear to you I will make up for every heartache you have ever experienced.”

I came back for Josie.

I knew I’d have to fight for her, but with the loss of her dad and the truth about what happened with her and Blake, I quickly realized that making her mine was going to be a lot harder than I first thought. The problem is, I can’t pretend like she’s just my best friend. I can’t pretend I don’t want more.

I’m willing to do anything to get her to admit she has the same passionate feelings for me, because I know once she opens up and stops lying to herself, I can show her what it really means to be loved. It’s a battle of wills, but my love for her is stronger than her will to stop me.

So I fight for her. I fight because I know she deserves it.


Book Excerpt:


I was instantly distracted as I walked into the space. Seth. Shirtless. I don't think I need to explain my lack of focus. Or the drool.

"You lied to me," he said gruffly, sitting on the barstool at my counter. His blond hair flopped in front of his eyes, and my hands itched to push it back. Touching him again the way I wanted to would satisfy only a millimeter of the need I have, but it would relieve some of the pain. I turned around to hide my thoughts.

"Ugh . . . I need coffee," I said vacantly, reaching for my coffee maker. I didn't even hear Seth move, but his hand grabbed mine and he turned me around, placing his hands beside me on the countertop to trap me. My breath caught, and I was positive he could hear my heart pounding in my chest.

His blue-green eyes screamed hurt and anger, but I didn't even care about him being mad. All that mattered was the charge that thumped between us. I was very aware of him.

"You lied, Josie. You're not supposed to lie to me."

"Seth . . . Come on," I said, turning my face away, unable to look at the raw emotion in his expression. His hand dashed out and grabbed my chin.

"How long, Josie?" he asked. I closed my eyes, not wanting to admit anything. "Open your damn eyes, Jos. Stop fucking hiding." His voice was hard, but it was also full of desperation. I opened my eyes and narrowed them at him.

He didn’t understand that I needed to keep him away from me. My life is tainted by darkness, and he doesn't need that. Yes, I lied to the one person who I said I wouldn't deceive again, but it was for his own good!

"It doesn't matter, Seth. I'm fine."

"Like fucking hell it doesn't matter. I haven't heard you scream like that since your nightmares after you were raped!"

The haunting reminder brought back vivid memories of that time. He or one of my dads would come lay with me to help me fall asleep. Every day that Seth wasn't in school, he was there with me, trying to make the nightmares go away.

"Since the engagement party," I whispered, looking down. I don't know why I admitted it, but I think part of me realized I couldn't hold on to all this pain anymore.

That's when my resolve started to break. How long could I go on fighting the feelings that I have for Seth? How long could I act like nothing hurts me?

"Fuck, Jos . . . ," he whispered back, placing his forehead against mine. His signature smell of hay and apple pie drifted around me, and I almost lost my footing from wanting him so bad. "You should have told me."

"I didn't want you to worry."

"I worry about you every second you're not with me, Pussycat. Every second that you hide behind that wall you've built, I wonder when you're going to crack." His hand reached up to caress my face, and I leaned into his touch. It was only an infinitesimal movement, but I still heard Seth's breath hitch. My lapse in self-control made him bold. He brought his mouth to the side of mine, and kissed me. I couldn't stop the whimper before it escaped my mouth.

"There you are," he whispered hoarsely against my lips, always seeing me, even when I didn’t want him to. I wanted to bask in the moment, but I had already opened up to him too much. I pushed through his barricade and ran back to my room.

"I've got to help Dad at the garage today," I threw out as an explanation, and then I went to hide in my shower.


My Book Review:

That's A Promise is the first book in the Promises, Promises Series. It is an emotional story about love lost, found, abandoned, and refound. Author Victoria Klahr weaves an intriguing tale that will captivate the reader's attention from the very beginning, and take them on an emotional roller coaster ride as they follow Blake, Josie and Seth's story.

This story follows Josie Sommers' journey, and her relationship with longtime best friend Seth Montgomery, and Blake Porter who she met in college. The storyline alternates from the past and present, describing the love triangle between Josie, Seth, and Blake. It is a story that is full of secrets, betrayal, sexual tension, learning how to forgive, and coming clean with one another. Josie doesn't live a fairytale life, but her personal journey is about coping with life experiences, surviving, and trying to heal from a terrible traumatic attack that happened to her a few years ago. That's A Promise is full of drama, angst, and intriguing twists and turns that has a cliffhanger ending, and leaves the reader wanting more.

That's A Lie continues Josie, Seth, and Blake's story seamlessly where it left off in That's A Promise. Author Victoria Klahr once again draws the reader back into this trio's emotional story. There is more drama, angst, and intriguing twists and turns told in alternating points of view with a focus on Seth's return and determination to win Josie's heart. If you think the author took the readers on an emotional roller coaster ride in the first book, get ready because you will once again feel the full gamut of emotions as the story unfolds. Josie and Seth's journey is so riveting, you can't help but cheer them on and hope that they can find love and happiness. But alas, the author once again leaves the reader anticipating and wanting more as it has another cliff hanger ending. I can't wait to see what the author has in store for the readers in the third book of the series!

The Promise, Promise Series is an amazing series of new adult romance stories that are full of drama, emotion, and romantic angst that keeps the reader captivated and wanting more!


RATING: 5 STARS 



Disclaimer: I received a copy of the books 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.


Buy The Books: Promises, Promises Series
Book 1: That's A Promise
Book 2: That's A Lie
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads



About The Author




Victoria Klahr (pronounced “Claire”) lives in Elizabeth City, North Carolina with her husband and daughter, Stephen and Alexis. She loves her chug (Pug/Chihuahua), Bandit, and daughter to pieces. She is a huge and proud book nerd who looks at her bookshelf in admiration daily. When she’s not daydreaming about book boyfriends and fantasizing about being a badass heroine like Rose Hathaway, she’s busy doing schoolwork for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and writing the stories that speak to her in her head. She loves peanut butter with Oreos, good friends, amazing gossip, driving in the middle of merge lanes, comedies, crude humor, pretending like she can dance, pretending like she can kick major ass, and a really, really good laugh.


Author Website / Blog
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Win An eBook Copy Of
That's A Promise


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Virtual Book Tour



Tour Schedule:

April 20 - Terry’sBook Addiction -Review & Excerpt
April 20 - Forget the Housework,I’m Reading – Review 
April 21 - ABlue Million Books – Excerpt
April 21 - CafinatedReads – Excerpt
April 22 - Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 23 - Polished& Bubbly – Review
April 23 – Sultry SteamyReading – Review
April 27 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
April 27 - Books, Authors, Blog - Excerpt
April 27 - Jess’s Book Blog – Review



The Other Wife by Kathleen Irene Paterka (Author Interview / 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 The Other Wife by Author Kathleen Irene Paterka!






Author Interview


Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Kathleen Irene!


How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been scribbling stories since the day I learned how to hold a pencil and create words using the alphabet.


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

My ‘day job’ is as staff writer at a real American castle. A beautiful historic site built in 1918, the castle is open for tours, plus hosts numerous weddings. I write for a living, plus I’m surrounded by royalty and romance. Life doesn’t get much better than that.


What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss is the first book I remember from my childhood. That book, more than anything, inspired me to want to work with words. Though I briefly toyed with the notion of being a librarian or an English teacher, I knew what I really wanted to do was dream my life away by telling the stories inside me.


Please give a brief description/storyline about The Other Wife.

Will a husband’s betrayal lead to a woman’s revenge? Eleanor and Claire, two women from two different generations, share a challenge as their lives are forever altered by a single event — their husband Richard’s death. Eleanor was married to Richard for 38 years, while his ‘marriage’ to Claire was brief (4 years)… yet neither woman know of the other’s existence until Richard’s death, which happens on the first page. How does each of them cope when they learn the truth? And what happens when they eventually come together? How does each woman deal with ‘The Other Wife’?


What was the inspiration for this story?

Several years ago, my husband Steve was in the cardiac unit of our local hospital. It was about 5 am, and I was sitting at the end of his bed in the semi-darkness when suddenly Steve made a strange sound. At the time, I thought it was the oddest snore I’d ever heard. Turns out it was the infamous ‘death rattle’. Steve had just died. Since he was in the hospital, all the monitors tripped. They called a Code Blue and the medical team managed to resuscitate him. Steve has since had a triple by-pass and doing well. But that experience started me thinking: What if he’d been at home, asleep in our bed? Would I have thought that horrible sound was merely a loud snore? I probably would have poked him, rolled over in bed, and gone back to sleep… only to wake up the next morning and find him dead beside me. The memory of Steve’s hospital experience sparked my imagination. What happens in a woman’s life when her husband dies? And what if she discovers he’s been hiding a secret… a horrible secret that will change her life forever?


How did it feel to have your first book published?

The Other Wife is my sixth published novel. I’m just as proud to see it sitting in book stores and on a shelf in our public library as I was to see my first novel, Fatty Patty, published.


Do you write books for a specific genre?

I write women’s fiction, which differs from other ‘women’s genres’ (such as romance, chick lit, etc.) in the respect that it is about the emotional journey of the hero/heroine in dealing with a particular issue in their life. There may / may not be romance contained within the plot. In The Other Wife, the issue is specifically how each woman copes with the death of a man she thought was her husband, and how she handles his betrayal.


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

I love reading and writing women’s fiction, specifically because it deals with emotions. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, and a brilliant writer. If you haven’t tried her works, her novel Change of Heart is an excellent place to begin. I also love anything written by Jennifer Weiner. She has a smart, sassy style. Her latest novel, All Fall Down, is a fantastic read.


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

I’m a very structured writer, and tend to work best in my home office. Unlike other authors who can write anywhere (J.K. Rowling wrote reams of Harry Potter materials while riding on the train and sitting in coffee shops), I crave the peace and quiet that surrounds me when I’m at my computer.


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

My husband loves to brainstorm with me, and I bounce lots of ideas off him. Together we came up with the idea for a series centered in a small Northern Michigan fictional town named James Bay. Four of my novels are set in James Bay. Royal Secrets and The Other Wife are both stand-alone titles of women’s fiction. My next book is about Chuck’s Tavern & Grill, a popular eating establishment in James Bay.


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

Like most writers, if inspiration strikes, I immediately scribble things down before the thought or characters’ conversations dissolve in some foggy mist. Normally, however, I write every day. I’m up early, at 5 am, and at my computer by 6:30. I have a little timer which I set for two hours. Then I open up my WIP, and I’m quickly lost in a beautiful daydream that unfolds before me on the computer screen. Thank God for that little timer. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably have been fired from my day job at the castle long ago.


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

I love writing about interpersonal relationships and the struggles of everyday people and their lives (ex: Patty and her overweight hero, Sam, in Fatty Patty). In dealing with social media, it can be a challenge to resist the advice coming at me from so many different channels. “Write in 3rd person… don’t write in 3rd person… add lots of details… streamline the story and don’t add too many details… throw in lots of sex scenes (which I’m not comfortable with)…” The list goes on and on. The best thing to do is sit back and allow the characters to be in control of the story.


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

Like most authors, I love escaping by reading a good book. I also swim laps on a regular basis, and I really enjoy going to the movies.


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

“Don’t give up.” A good friend of mine who is a NYT bestselling author advised years ago: “Work hard, work smart, work tirelessly. Be tough, be brave, and be persistent. All clich├ęs, yes. But when they apply to you and how much you want to realize your dream, they are very apt.” She autographed her email to me, which I have framed and hanging above my computer. I’ve often looked at it throughout the years, and her words have served me well.


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

There’s nothing as delicious as the feeling of typing ‘The End’ and knowing 1) I finished writing a book; 2) I’m satisfied with how everything turned out; and 3) I’ve done my job as an author. Bonus? When readers contact me to let me know how much they enjoyed the book, or how something within the pages changed their perspective on life. The feeling is immensely satisfying.


How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

I like the conversations that evolve on Facebook. I also have a newsletter which comes out on a regular basis (usually every three months or so). Bonus for subscribers: I hold a monthly free book contest. Sign up for my newsletter, and you’re automatically entered in a monthly drawing to win a free print copy of any of my books.


Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

Writing a book is rather like baking a cake. Some of the ingredients (flour and sugar) are necessary items (real life events that spark my imagination, such as my husband Steve and his ‘death rattle’ – see #5 above). Other ingredients (butter, salt, and flavoring) are going to come from the characters themselves. When you stir them all together and bake in a 350° oven for however long it takes, you have a story.


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

Author Julie Campbell began the popular Trixie Belden series, which I first started reading when I was 8 yrs. old. I was always excited when a new book came out, and very disappointed when the series ended. I wanted to grow up and continue writing books so fans of Trixie Belden would have another book to read. As an adult, the works of Jodi Picoult, Jane Porter, and Jennifer Weiner have been a huge influence on my writing style.


What is your definition of success as a writer?

If, at the end of the day, you’ve put words on the page that ring true in your heart; if you’ve finished a scene or chapter that has been giving you fits; if you’ve finally completed a book and know the writing is the best you could have done, then you are a success. You’ve done your job as an author. It’s as simple as that.


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

As I mentioned in #10 above, I’m currently working on the 5th book in my James Bay series. It’s about Chuck’s Tavern & Grill, a popular restaurant in James Bay. Chuck owns the restaurant and his daughter Katie manages it. The story is told through Katie’s point of view. Chapter One starts out with a simmering stew of a story that quickly escalates into a furious rolling boil when a mysterious young woman shows up at Chuck’s and takes a seat at the bar. Who’s the stranger? What’s she doing in James Bay? And why is she so fascinated with Chuck? Katie’s radar is on high alert. She’s very protective of her dad, and she doesn’t appreciate strangers trying to worm their way into his affections. It should be a delicious read, especially since each chapter will feature a favorite recipe from Chuck’s menu.


Kathleen Irene, thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and giving us a glimpse into your life and writing career.




About The Author



Kathleen Irene Paterka is an Amazon Bestselling Author of smart women’s fiction. Her newest novel, The Other Wife, was published in February to critical acclaim. Kathleen’s popular James Bay series, set in Northern Michigan, includes: Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy, and For I Have Sinned. Love weddings? Pick up a copy of her novel Royal Secrets for a fascinating glimpse into the world of royalty, romance and brides. Kathleen is the resident staff writer for a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book For the Love of a Castle. Kathleen and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, where she is busy working on her next James Bay novel.


Author Website
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Book Review



The Other Wife by Kathleen Irene Paterka
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 25, 2015
Format: Paperback - 386 pages
               Kindle - 554 KB
               Nook - 857 KB
ISBN: 978-0989283830
ASIN: B00SYLCV5O
BNID: 2940150127524
Genre: Women's Fiction


Buy The Book: 

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:

Till death do us part…

Eleanor Anderson has a beautiful home, a loving husband, a tranquil life. After thirty-eight years of marriage and her children now grown, she finally has time for herself. She’s not expecting any surprises; certainly not to wake up one morning and find her husband dead in bed beside her from a massive heart attack. It’s a devastating discovery… but not as much as the shock awaiting Eleanor when she learns the truth about her husband’s secret life. And then there’s the damaging document he signed before his death, which threatens to destroy her life.

Claire Anderson isn’t your average thirtysomething. A professor of psychology at a prestigious university, Claire has a successful career, a handsome husband, and two young children at home. But nothing in her background, including her academic accomplishments, prepares Claire for the horrendous reality of discovering that the life she’d led was all a lie… fostered by a husband who’d promised to love and cherish her forever.

Two women from two generations, bound together by denial, anger, and grief. How far will their misery and fear push them? Does compassion rule the day, or will a husband’s betrayal lead to a woman’s revenge?

What happens when each of these women comes face-to-face with the other wife?


Book Excerpt:


Eleanor closed her eyes, blocking out the ugly sight of sibling rivalry. She couldn’t believe she was sitting there listening to her children squabble over their father’s money. Their money. Her money.

“He didn’t leave it to any of you,” Jim admitted. “I haven’t contacted the primary beneficiary yet.”

“Wait a minute. Let me get this straight.” Jeffrey tiredly rubbed his forehead. “You’re telling us that Dad left his money to someone else? Not to Mom, not to either of us, but to someone else? And that he has no idea he’s inherited millions?”

She has no idea.”

She? Eleanor shivered, uncertain whether she’d heard Jim correctly. She shook her head as if by doing so she could dislodge the words rattling around in her brain like loose pennies that somehow had ended up in the bottom of her purse. She? She was certain there must be some mistake. Richard never would have left his money to another woman.

Would he?

“Let’s stop the bullshit,” Jeffrey said. “We’re his family, Jim, and we have a right to know. You said you could release the name to Dad’s personal rep? Well, you’re looking at him. And I’m telling you right now, in my legal capacity as his personal representative: I want to know. I demand to know.”

Genevieve’s eyes narrowed. “Me too.”

“Eleanor?” Jim’s voice was a soothing stream of quiet concern. “Are you all right?”

What a stupid question, she thought to herself as she pulled her sweater tighter around herself. Of course she wasn’t all right. She’d had the oddest feeling when she’d woken that morning that today wouldn’t be a good day. Jim’s revelation was all the confirmation she needed to officially pound the last nail in the casket. Richard’s casket, so to speak. And now, if it wasn’t too much to ask, all she wanted was to be allowed to crawl back into bed, burrow down in the blankets, pull the covers over her head, and go to sleep. And maybe, when she woke up, she would discover all this had simply been a horrible nightmare. Richard would come strolling in the door, as he had countless times in the past, returning from yet another extended trip to the Middle East, his rolling suitcase filled with dirty socks and underwear, and a world-weary look about him. And after planting a kiss on her forehead, he would head upstairs where he would collapse in their bed, once sleeping for nearly sixteen hours straight, before he finally woke. Yes, that would be the way of it. She’d go upstairs and sleep off this nightmare. And when she was awake again, this ghastly business would have drifted away, leaving only mists of misery as a remembrance.

“Mom? Are you okay?”

Eleanor couldn’t remember hearing Jeffrey’s voice sound so distraught save for the day he’d returned from Hawaii, the day after Richard’s death. He’d broken down when he saw her, collapsing in her arms and crying unabashedly like he’d done as a little boy. She’d done the comforting when he was small, and she’d been the one to provide the comfort last week too, never questioning whether he’d been grieving over the loss of a father to whom he’d never been close or the lost opportunity to put things right between them. It hadn’t mattered then, and it didn’t matter now. Somehow she managed to summon the willpower to open her eyes and discovered the three of them staring at her.

“I’m fine.” Eleanor pulled in a deep breath. Much as she didn’t want to hear Jim’s news, she knew in her heart that she didn’t have a choice. “Jeffrey’s right. We need to hear the truth.”

Jim’s face was a cacophony of ethical concern versus friendship, and for a moment, she wondered if he would respect Jeffrey’s command and abide by her wishes. But thirty-plus years of friendship with their family finally won out.

“He left the money to a woman named Claire Anderson,” Jim finally admitted.

Claire Anderson? Eleanor frowned. The first name meant nothing to her, but the last name certainly did. It was the same name listed on her own driver’s license. She’d been Eleanor Anderson since she and Richard had exchanged wedding vows at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago thirty-eight years ago last month.

Claire Anderson. She couldn’t recall ever hearing Richard mention that particular name. He’d been an only child, so she couldn’t be a niece. A long-lost relative? A distant cousin? But if that was the case, surely he would have told her. Wouldn’t he? After all, she was his wife.

Correction, Eleanor reminded herself dully. She had been his wife. She was the one he should have turned to. All those years they were married. You’d think he would have told her something as important as this. She hung her head, hugging herself close, trying to remember the last time Richard had held her close.

On second thought, maybe he wouldn’t have told her.

On third thought, obviously he hadn’t told her.

“Claire Anderson?” Jeffrey’s voice cracked through the black void, trapping her like a clap of thunder. “Who the hell is Claire Anderson?”

“Yes. Who is Claire Anderson?” Eleanor echoed to no one in particular. Though, if Richard happened to be listening from beyond the grave, she would appreciate him providing some answers. She rubbed her forehead, sifting through the memories of those who’d crowded the funeral home, who’d followed them to the cemetery, who’d paid their respects at the house afterward. So many people, so many faces. The crush was overwhelming, yet she couldn’t remember seeing anyone she hadn’t known.

No woman she didn’t know.

“I’ve never met her.” Jim shifted in his chair, his face impassive. “I’ll be able to tell you more once I speak with her. She lives in Hyde Park. From what I understand, she’s a professor at the University of Chicago.”

“Why would Daddy leave his money to some dull old professor?” Genevieve’s bottom lip jutted out in a pretty pout, a trick Eleanor recalled her daughter perfecting as a toddler. “Who is she? What’s her connection to Daddy?”

“I don’t know,” Jim admitted.

She rolled her eyes and turned to her mother. “Do you know her?”

Eleanor shook her head. She couldn’t imagine what Richard had been thinking. Why would he change his insurance policy? They were his family. She was his wife. “No.”

“This is ridiculous,” Genevieve fumed. “I can’t believe no one knows her.”

“Obviously, Dad did,” Jeffrey muttered.

Genevieve slumped back in her chair, her arms forming a barricade across her chest. “Someone had better figure out who she is. I have plenty of questions for her.”

Eleanor stared wordlessly at her daughter. For once, the two of them were in complete agreement. Meanwhile, she had a few questions of her own.

Beginning with who exactly was Claire Anderson, and what kind of hold did she have on Richard?



My Book Review:

The Other Wife is a compelling and emotional story that follows two women whose world is turned upside down when they find out that they have been betrayed by the same man, their husband!

Author Kathleen Irene Paterka weaves an intriguing story told in the alternating point of view of Eleanor Anderson and Claire Anderson, as they deal with the loss of their husband Richard, and how they find out about each other and deal with their loss, betrayal, and the difficulties of moving forward with their lives after the trauma caused by the man that they both loved.

I found myself captivated by this story, it took me on a roller coaster ride where I felt the full gamut of emotions. You just can't help but feel compassion and empathy for both women as their worlds are turned upside down by the traumatic betrayal and selfish actions of a man that they had put their love and trust in. This is a beautifully written story that would be any married woman's nightmare, I couldn't even imagine what I would do if I was in Eleanor or Claire's shoes.

The author does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the story from the beginning, she weaves a thoughtful storyline that easily draws the reader into the womens' lives. It will keep you engaged and turning the pages as both women go through the process of learning about each other, the selfish actions that Richard wrought upon their families, and the internal struggle of picking up the pieces of their lives and moving forward.

The Other Wife is a powerful women's fiction story of loss, betrayal, compassion, forgiveness, and growth. It is a thought provoking and emotional tale that will stay with you long after the last word has been read.


RATING: 5 STARS 






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