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.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Virtual Author Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Flower Girl Murder by author Keith Hirshland!






Book Review



The Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: eBook February 12, 2018 / PB February 15, 2018
Format: Paperback - 256 pages 
               Kindle - 413 KB
ISBN: 978-0692046685
ASIN: B079T329P3
BNID: 978-0692046685
Genre: Crime - Police Procedural / Mystery / Suspense / Thriller


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 Virtual Author Book Tours. 


Book Description:

Daisy Burns was a likable, devoted wife and mother who spent her spare time volunteering at school events. Everyone loved Daisy. So why would someone shoot her three times and dump her body behind a Planned Parenthood chapter in North Carolina?

With no witnesses and few leads, Raleigh detective Marc Allen turns to the press for help—specifically, veteran news anchor Lancaster Heart. Heart agrees to broadcast the police department’s plea for information in his nightly newscasts.

Elderly viewer and longtime social worker Blanche Avery is positive she recognizes the photograph on the television as an older version of her friend Daisy— the young, heavily pregnant girl she met years before who made the decision to give her child up for adoption.

When Tanner Goochly Jr.—a member of a notorious crime family—becomes the victim of another point-blank shooting, Allen races to discover the connection between the murders. Could it be that Daisy was somehow involved with an illegal enterprise, or was she hiding something else, another secret to be discovered?

The body count is rising, and the suspect pool is widening. As Allen’s investigation reaches a fever pitch, he realizes that a mother’s choice could have killer consequences.


Book Excerpt:



The Flower Girl Murder

Chapter Thirty-five

It was another night of disquieted sleep for Blanche Avery. The visage of the murdered woman seemed to take up permanent residence on the inside of her eyelids, staring sadly back at her whenever the old woman climbed in bed and closed her eyes. Daisy Burns’s death weighed heavily on her mind and even more so on her heart. Blanche was no fool; she knew the world was an unkind place, but she always tried (and sometimes felt she succeeded) to keep the anger, arguments, indignities, and outright violence at arm’s length. Most of it was confined inside the electronic box, and she could watch from the comfort of her favorite living room chair. Her real world was full of sadness; she witnessed it every day. Homeless men and women on the streets, having lost their way and fallen through society’s cracks. Children, some in groups, others alone, on corners or at playgrounds during the time of day when Blanche was certain they should be seated at desks, facing teachers writing on blackboards, in school. Even the dogs and cats she visited on a weekly basis at the shelter near her home. She always stopped in with a smile or a treat, hoping the beagle or the mutt or the calico kitty would be gone, off to a for-real home with loving masters, but it rarely was. But Blanche also knew sadness and strife were not murder. Hardship didn’t have to be permanent. She felt, deep in her heart, there was always hope to be found in life. An opportunity to make the next day better than the last one. But there was no hope in death, no next day for the sorry soul whose life had been stolen. When Blanche prayed, she occasionally even said a prayer for the executioner, but mostly she just wondered how anyone could do such a thing to another living soul. She knew it happened, but having it happen to someone she knew broke her heart. She turned her head to look at the small clock on the bedside table: 3:40 a.m. She knew sleep would not return, but it seemed too early to get up. She got up anyway. After sliding her feet into the new slippers her son had given her for her birthday, she eased into her robe and headed for the kitchen. She flipped on the light and sat down at the small wooden table in the center of the room. A pen and pad of paper, a recent addition, rested on one corner. With a slightly trembling hand, Blanche reached for them both. In the weeks since learning of the young woman’s murder, she had taken to putting pen to paper, finding a place to transfer the jumble of thoughts that disrupted her sleep in the middle of an increasing number of nights. She was surprised, at first, at the sharpness of her mind when it came to recalling the details that were now decades old. She relived the heartbreak of that poor young woman. She harkened back with specific detail to the joy on the faces of the man and especially the woman who would become new parents. And she remembered the child. She could close her eyes and feel the newborn’s soft skin on her cheek, sense the tiny fingers gripping the first two of her left hand. The smell of powder and preciousness invaded her nostrils. Sitting at the kitchen table with hours until sunrise, Blanche Avery cried, and Blanche Avery wrote the words she hoped would explain, then justify, her life while retelling the story of theirs.



My Book Review:

In The Flower Girl Murder, author Keith Hirshland weaves a riveting mystery/police procedural tale that follows Raleigh N.C. Detective Marc Allen, and veteran news anchor Lancaster Heart as they investigate the unexplained murders that start to pile up in their town.

Author Keith Hirshland provides a multi-layered storyline that has enough mystery, suspense, drama, treachery, secrets, and intriguing twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing, while weaving an intricate and complicated web of what the motive of the murders could have been, and the spectrum of possible participants who could have been involved in committing them. And if that isn't enough to captivate the reader, the author adds a wonderful touch of humor and a bit of romance into the mix to keep them entertained.

The Flower Girl Murder is an exciting police procedural/crime mystery story that has realistic characters; witty dialogue and interactions; rich descriptions of the setting that transports the reader to Raleigh, NC, Reno, NV, and Aspen, CO; a fascinating behind the scenes intertwining of police procedural and investigative techniques and the news station on-air news stories and CTA (call to action) segments; and a multi-layered storyline that draws the reader into the interconnection between the main characters as the pieces of the murder investigations puzzle comes together and is solved.

The Flower Girl Murder is the kind of mystery that easily keeps the reader captivated, guessing, on their toes, and wanting more!


RATING: 5 STARS 
                                  






About The Author



Award-winning author, Keith Hirshland is an Emmy Award-winning sports television producer with more than three decades of experience producing shows that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Among the first forty people to be hired by the Golf Channel in 1994, Hirshland was in the middle of the action when it premiered in 1995. He provided his talents for the golf network for close to two decades.

The Flower Girl Murder is Hirshland’s second novel and third book. Big Flies, his first mystery novel, was published in 2016. It is the winner of the New Apple Awards: Solo Medalist Award and runner-up for the 2016 Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book of the Year.  Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat is a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. It was Book Talk Radio Club’s Memoir of the Year”.

Hirshland lives in New Jersey with his wife and Bernese mountain dog.






Contest Giveaway

Win An eBook Or PB Copy Of
The Flower Girl Murder
By: Keith Hirshland




Giveaway: The Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland This giveaway is for one print copy or ebook copy of the book. The print copy is available to the U.S. only but the ebook is available worldwide. This giveaway ends on June 29, 2018 at midnight Pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Virtual Book Tour



Tour Schedule:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 1 Interview

Dawn Bound 2 Escape May 2 Excerpt

Aurora  Amazon Review May 3 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews May 4 Review

Lillie Amazon Review May 7 Review

Sherry My Reading Journeys May 10 Review

Stephan Amazon Review May 14 Review

Kathleen Jersey Girl Book Reviews May 18 Review

Carl Brookins Books LLC May 23 review

Liz Devoted Mommy of 3 May 24 Review & Excerpt

Sal Bound 4 Escape June 7 Guest Review

Shannon The Pulp and Mystery Shelf June 11 Interview

Jess JBronder Book Reviews June 22 Review

Mindy A Room Without Books is Empty June 28 Review







Monday, May 14, 2018

Hungry For Love by Maya Sacher (Book Review)




Hungry For Love by Maya Sacher
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: PB - February 27, 2018 / eBook - March 1, 2018
Format: Paperback - 234 pages
               Kindle - 1961 KB
ISBN: 978-1973428626
ASIN: B077XHH4VD
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction


Buy The Book:
Amazon (Free Under Kindle Unlimited)
Goodreads


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.


Book Description:


Elizabeth, a dentist in her late thirties, doesn’t have it all. She is coping with her husband’s coma, her unresolved grief over her mother’s death, her mixed feelings toward her stepmother, dissatisfaction with her job.

Unexpectedly, she falls in love with a musical zoo curator from Australia. He is divorced, he has a dog and a tween daughter who doesn’t want Elizabeth around.

When her husband wakes up, Elizabeth’s life is thrown into chaos. The choice before her is unbearable because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone, yet she wants to do the right thing, whatever that is. The expectations of her family and her men don’t make it any easier. What should she do? Can she have her cookie and eat it too?


Book Teasers:













My Book Review:

Can you be in love with two people at the same time, and have it be successful? This is the dilemma that thirty-six-year-old Elizabeth Evans-Klein finds herself in when she can't help but love two men at the same time.

In Hungry For Love, Elizabeth Klein is at a crossroads in her life. Elizabeth's husband Jesse, a fashion designer, has been in a coma for close to two years after a freak accident, leaving her feeling all alone and resentful that she can't move forward with her life. She also is fed up with being a dentist in her father's practice, they have a tense relationship, and what she really wants to do is become a cookie baker. Then there is the trauma of her mother's death due to breast cancer when Elizabeth was seven years old that has her in therapy sessions for hypochondria. Add in the family drama with her younger step-sister Jodie, and Elizabeth's therapist tells her that she needs to make a change in her life, she needs to take a break from everything and do something for herself. Who would have thought that a trip to the local zoo and a chance meeting with Australian zoo curator and divorced dad Aidan Sparks would lead to friendship and love? Just when Elizabeth was beginning to feel loved and happy again, Jesse comes out of the coma ... leaving her with a dilemma: she's in love with two men at the same time! Unable to decide who to choose to give her heart to, Elizabeth thinks that maybe she needs both men to love her because she is just that hungry for love.

Hungry For Love is an intriguing women's fiction story about the complexity of a woman's personal and professional life. Author Maya Sacher takes the reader into the inner workings of Elizabeth's life and the intertwining dilemmas that she faces. From flashbacks to Elizabeth and Jesse's relationship/marriage, to her ongoing family drama with her father, step-mother, and step-sister, to the exciting new relationship with Aidan, the reader goes along for the ride on the emotional roller coaster ride as Elizabeth deals with a variety of life dilemmas, choices, and decisions that not only will affect her but the other people in her life as well.

I really enjoyed reading this multi-layered story. I couldn't help but become intrigued by the love triangle, and how Elizabeth, Jesse, and Aidan each dealt with their emotional relationship arrangement. Add in the intensity of Elizabeth's family drama and the origin of her hypochondria, this is a realistic story that will make you wonder how you would handle these inner life dilemma's if you were in Elizabeth's shoes.


RATING: 4 STARS 







About The Author




Maya Sacher is a writer, a law school graduate, an activist, and the author of a short story collection, God’s Sins, and a novel, Horny Girl, both published in Croatia. She travels on occasion, she watches a lot of movies, and she loves a good book, especially books that make her laugh and teach her new things.


Amazon Author Page
Facebook
Goodreads



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

White Heat by Paul D. Marks (Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book blast event for White Heat by author Paul D. Marks!







About The Book



White Heat by Paul D. Marks
Book 1: A Duke Rogers PI Thriller Series
Publisher: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: May 21, 2018
Format: Paperback - 340 pages 
               Kindle - 2994 KB
               Nook - 579 KB
ISBN: 978-1946502735
ASIN: B07C9CJ4V9
BNID: 2940159059727
Genre: Mystery / Crime / Thriller


Buy The Book:


Book Description:

P.I. Duke Rogers finds himself in a combustible situation in this racially charged thriller. His case might have to wait…

The immediate problem: getting out of South Central Los Angeles in one piece during the 1992 “Rodney King” riots and that’s just the beginning of his problems.

Duke finds an old “friend” for a client. The client’s “friend,” an up and coming African-American actress, ends up dead. Duke knows his client did it. Feeling guilty that he inadvertently helped the killer find the victim, he wants to track down the client/killer. He starts his mission by going to the dead actress’ family in South Central L.A.—and while there the “Rodney King” riots ignite.

While Duke searches for the killer he must also deal with the racism of his partner, Jack, and from Warren, the murder victim’s brother, who is a mirror image of Jack in that department. He must also confront his own possible latent racism—even as he’s in an interracial relationship with the dead woman’s sister.


Book Excerpt:



We came to Florence and Normandie. Half a block away the cops were regrouping. Or retreating. Or hiding out. It was hard to tell. There was a swarm of them, but they weren’t doing much of anything. People were looting, throwing rocks, bottles and the like right under their noses. As we left the intersection, I glanced back. A large semi was pulling into the intersection. We continued away from the intersection. Later I learned that this was where Reginald Denny, the driver of the semi, was pulled from the truck. Beaten within an inch of his life. We were gone before it happened. But I still have pangs of guilt for having been so close and having done so little. Now I know how lucky we were.
In a sense it was a quid pro quo situation. Tiny’s black face was my passport among his people. My white face was his insurance that the cops might just leave him alone—if they knew he was with me. That might have been why he wanted to help me out. Protection. But it wasn’t an uneasy truce. I felt comfortable with him. Like we’d known each other all our lives. Maybe we had. The last thirty minutes had been a lifetime.
We crouched behind a low wall at a service station, surveying the situation. He watched two sides. I watched the other two, covering each other’s backs. We were both armed; neither of us wanted to use our guns.
Noise barked from every direction. Sirens. Shouts. Choppers hovering. Shots. Too many shots. It all blended into a cacophony of confusion. The din was ear-shattering and lifeless, inert, all at the same time.
“Why’re you helping me?” I asked Tiny as we scoped the street out. He never answered my question, though I asked several more times.
There was an explosion in the distance, then the shock wave. A new column of black smoke appeared every few minutes. Slow-motion funnel clouds.
“Man, don’t they know they’re tearing down their own goddamn neighborhoods,” he said, scanning the horizon. “Where’re they gonna get food and clothes when all this burns to the ground?
***
Excerpt from White Heat by Paul D. Marks. Copyright © 2018 by Paul D. Marks. Reproduced with permission from Paul D. Marks. All rights reserved.






About The Author




Paul D. Marks is the author of the Shamus Award-Winning mystery-thriller White Heat. Publishers Weekly calls White Heat a “taut crime yarn.” His story Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. Howling at the Moon (EQMM 11/14) was short-listed for both the 2015 Anthony and Macavity Awards. Midwest Review calls his novella Vortex “…a nonstop staccato action noir.” Marks’ story Windward, from the Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea anthology, has been selected for the 2018 Best American Mystery Stories (fall 2018), edited by Louise Penny & Otto Penzler.


Author Website
Amazon Author Page
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Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Paul D. Marks. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 8 and runs through May 14, 2018. Void where prohibited.


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Book Blast Event




Event Participants:

Tome Tender

Mythical Books

Celticladys Reviews

Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Quiet Fury Books

FUONLYKNEW

A Bookaholic Swede

tfaulcbookreviews

Aurora Bs Book Blog

Brooke Blogs

The Bookworm Lodge

Cozy Up WIth Kathy

Stacking My Book Shelves!

Mystery Suspense Reviews

Hott Books

BooksChatter

Cheryl's Book Nook

Bound 2 Escape

411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News

CMash Reads

JBronder Book Reviews







Thursday, May 3, 2018

Willow's Way by Sharon Struth (VBRT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book review tour for Willow's Way by author Sharon Struth!






Book Review



Willow's Way by Sharon Struth
Book 2: A Sweet Life Series
Publisher: Kensington / Penguin Random House / Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
Format: Paperback - 226 pages
               Kindle - 1559 KB
               Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 978-1516103591
ASIN: B07465L9HP
BNID: 978-1516103560
Genre: Women's Fiction


Buy The Book:

Buy The Series: A Sweet Life Series
Book 1: The Sweet Life
Book 2: Willow's Way


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author/publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book review tour event hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions. 


Book Description:

Willow Armstrong, the once-famous “Queen of Weight Loss” and president of Pound Busters, succumbed to stress eating after her divorce. Now the scandal of getting caught on camera binging on pizza, and the internet-wide mocking of her new curves, may destroy her career. Add in a business advisor who drained her finances, and Willow is out of options—until she learns she’s inherited a house in England’s most picturesque locale, The Cotswolds.

Willow’s trip across the pond to sell the property and salvage her company soon becomes its own adventure: the house, once owned by grandparents she never met, needs major work. Plus, single dad Owen Hughes, the estate’s resident groundskeeper and owner of a local tour outfit, isn’t thrilled about the idea of leaving . . . Yet as Willow proceeds with her plans, she’s sidetracked by surprising discoveries about her family’s history--and with Owen’s help, the area’s distinctive attractions. Soon, she’s even retracing her roots—and testing her endurance—amid the region’s natural beauty. And the more she delves into the past, the more clearly she sees herself, her future, and the way home . . .


Book Excerpt:

Willow Armstrong could hardly breathe as she stared at the video playing on her laptop. Stupid. She’d been so stupid. Once again, she’d let urges rule her choices, and this time, she’d been exposed.

Willow squinted at the blurred image. Maybe that wasn’t even her. Heck, she’d seen clearer pictures of Sasquatch. “Are you sure that’s me, Becky? I mean, lots of people in Manhattan could own a black Lexus.”

Her assistant remained silent on the other end of the phone for a little too long then said, “Give it a sec. Keep your eyes on the rearview mirror.”

The camera zoomed on the inside of the car and the front mirror came into focus. Willow paused the tape and leaned on the marble kitchen counter to get a closer look. A shiny object hung off the car’s rearview mirror. Was that…?

Nooooo!

Dread wormed through her, twisting and turning like a knife in her gut. The silver folded-fork symbol associated with Willow’s weight-loss empire, Pound Busters, dangled off the mirror.

She groaned. “I can’t believe this.”

“I’m sorry. I figured you’d want to know.”

“You made the right call.”

“Now I’m not sure. Why don’t you shut it off?” Becky couldn’t hide her worried tone.

Willow’s heart warmed for her concerned assistant, who had given Willow ten dedicated years of service. Loyal right to the end. And this could be the end.

On the screen, the arrow hovered over the play button. Terrified to see what the rest of the world would, she froze, her hand stilled on the computer mouse.

Thirty minutes and four thousand “likes” ago, Celebrity Secrets had posted the video to their Facebook page. Dear God! Over seven hundred comments she didn’t dare read, and some three hundred shares, all over a slip into Tony’s Slice of Heaven. The mouth-watering goodness of the slice barreled toward her with a vengeance. Just a few moments of cheesy bliss. Was it too much to ask for?

“You there, Willow?”

“Yes.” She drew in a breath that somehow boosted her courage. “I really should watch this.”

She hit the play button. The camera moved and refocused, closing in on the shadowy figure in the driver’s seat until the picture became perfectly clear.






Book Teaser:





My Book Review:

In Willow's Way, author Sharon Struth weaves a wonderful women's fiction story about a woman's personal journey of rediscovering herself.

Willow Armstrong is a forty-year-old divorced woman and founder/CEO of Pound Busters, a successful weight loss company. Willow has always struggled with insecurity and has been self-conscious about her weight since childhood. She had lived in the shadow of a mother who had been a model, and a step-father who ridiculed her. Twenty years ago, at the end of college, Willow started Pound Busters, and became known as "The Queen of Weight Loss." But two years ago after a very embarrassing and publicly humiliating divorce from her ex-husband, Richard Carter, Lieutenant Governor of New York, Willow had a significant weight gain which led to public fat-shaming and an unsure future with the Board of Directors of Pound Busters. 

Desperate to figure out how to change her life around, Willow discovers that she has inherited property in Bitton, England, which had originally been bequeathed to her mother who had passed away in a car accident. Willow travels to England to check out the property and is surprised to uncover long-held family secrets. Along the way, Willow gets a second chance of rediscovering herself with the help of Owen Hughes, a single father and estate groundskeeper and owner of a tour company. 

Willow's Way is a delightful story that transports the reader across the pond to the picturesque English Cotswolds countryside. You can't help but empathize with Willow as her trip to England leads her on a personal journey to find her way after going through some very traumatic and painful situations in her life. With the help of Owen Hughes, Willow learns about her family's past history and gets a second chance to learn how to love herself as she is. You can't help but cheer Willow on as her adventure in England gives her a chance to move forward with her life, and a little bit of romance added to the mix! 

With an enjoyable cast of characters, a richly vivid English countryside setting, and a realistic story of struggle and rediscovery, Willow's Way is a heartwarming women's fiction tale that will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end! 

Willow's Way is the second book in the Sweet Life Series but is a standalone read.


RATING: 5 Stars 






About The Author




Sharon Struth
believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, was a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best First Book. She is the author of the popular Blue Moon Lake Novels, which include Share the Moon.

When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut.

For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More at www.sharonstruth.wordpress.com.


Author Website
Amazon Author Page
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Pinterest
Goodreads



Contest Giveaway

Win A $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card





Sharon Struth will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Virtual Book Review Tour



Tour Participants:

April 19: Long and Short Reviews
April 26: My Reading Journeys
April 26: Andi's Book Reviews
May 3: Kimmi Love
May 3: Jersey Girl Book Reviews
May 10: Locks, Hooks and Books
May 10: Bookaholic