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 27, 2022

The Rising by Kerry Peresta (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Rising by author Kerry Peresta!






Book Review




The Rising by Kerry Peresta
Book 2: Olivia Callahan Suspense Series
Publisher: Level Best Books 
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Format: Paperback - 304 pages
               Kindle - 1658 KB 
               Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-1685120924
ASIN: B09WDXLM72
BNID: 978-1685120931
Genre: Psychological Suspense


Buy The Book:


Buy The Series: Olivia Callahan Suspense Series
Book 1: The Deadening
Book 2: The Rising



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 Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.



Book Description:

After an assault that landed her in a hospital as a Jane Doe two years earlier, Olivia Callahan has regained her speech, movement, and much of the memory she lost due to a traumatic brain injury. The media hype about the incident has faded away, and Olivia is ready to rebuild her life, but her therapist insists she must continue to look back in order to move forward. The only person that can help her recall specifics is her abusive ex-husband, Monty, who is in prison for murder. The thought of talking to Monty makes her skin crawl, but for her daughters’ sake and her own sanity, she must learn more about who she was before the attack.

Just as the pieces of her life start falling into place, she stumbles across the still-warm body of an old friend who has been gruesomely murdered. Her dream of pursuing a peaceful existence is shattered when she learns the killer left evidence behind to implicate her in the murder. The only person that would want to sabotage her is Monty—but he’s in prison! Something sinister is going on, and Olivia is desperate to uncover the truth before another senseless murder is committed.



Book Excerpt:


“How low you fall points to how high you’ll rise.”
~Matshona Dhliwayo

The stark buildings and barbed-wire-topped walls surrounding the correctional facility reminded me of a Hitchcock movie.

My fingers tightened on the steering wheel. I found a parking spot, and waited in the car a minute, taking in the starkness and finality of a prison compound. My heart did a little lurch when I thought about Monty—my ex-husband and the father of my two daughters—inside. Incarcerated. I guess since I hadn’t seen him since his indictment, it didn’t seem real.

However, I’d learned that having sympathy for Monty was like having sympathy for a snake just before it sank its fangs. “It’s been eighteen months. You can keep it together with this psycho,” I hissed to myself. I hiked my purse onto my shoulder and walked out into the buttery sunshine toward the visitors’ entrance.

I presented my driver’s license, endured a frisk, offered my hand for the fingerprint process, and walked through the metal detector, which of course, went off. With stoic resignation, I endured another frisk, a few hard glances from the guards, and eventually pulled the culprit from the pocket of my pants, an aluminum foil candy bar wrapper.

While I waited for Monty at one of the small, circular tables in the visitors’ room, I scanned the list of do’s and don’ts. Hands must be visible at all times. Vulgar language not allowed. No passing anything to the prisoner. No jewelry other than a wedding band or religious necklace.

I stared at my hands, sticky with sweat. My heart beat in my throat.

I lifted my curls off my forehead and fanned my face with one hand. Three other visitors sat at tables. One woman with graying hair piled like a crown on her head stared at the floor. When she noticed that I was looking at her, she raised her head and threw me a sad smile. A younger woman at another table struggled to keep two young children under control, and an older couple with stress-lined faces whispered to each other as they waited. The room had tan, cinder block walls, a drop-in ceiling with grid tiles that probably hid video cameras, and a single door. No windows. A scrawny, fake plant in one corner made a half-hearted attempt at civility.

The metal door opened. My thoughts were mush, a blender on high. Could I do this? After two years of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and every other kind of therapy the docs could throw at me, shouldn’t I react better than this?

Remember, they’re only feelings.

I squared my shoulders. Wiped my palms on my pants.

As Monty offered his cuffed wrists to the corrections officer, he scanned the room under lowered eyelids. When he saw me, he gave me a scorched- earth glare. After the guard removed his handcuffs, he shook out his arms and rubbed his wrists. The raven-black hair was longer, and brushed his shoulders. He’d been working out. A lot. He wore a loose-fitting top and pants. Orange. As usual, he was larger than life, and in the bright white of the visiting space, surrounded by matching plastic tables and chairs, he was a raven-haired Schwarzenegger in a room full of Danny DeVito’s. I’d once had hope for reconciliation. The thought gave me the shakes now.

He dropped into the chair across from me and plopped his hands on the table. “What do you want?”

I spent a few seconds examining his face—this man I’d spent twenty, long years trying to please, and the reason I’d been assaulted and left for dead by Niles Peterson, a wreck of a man whose life Monty had destroyed as well.

The man responsible for my convoluted recovery from a brain injury that stole my past. Even after two years, I still had huge gaps in my memory, and staring at him felt like staring at a stranger instead of an ex-husband. “My therapist says I need to look back to move forward. I wanted to ask you a few questions, that’s all.”

“Okay,” he grumbled. “I’ll give you a few minutes. Oh, and you’ll love this. I have to attend counseling sessions about how to keep my ‘darker dispositions’ under control, and I have one of those in thirty minutes.”

Resisting a smile, I quipped, “Are they helping?” He rolled his eyes. “What are the questions?”

“I still have problems remembering stuff. There are things I need to… figure out about who I was before—”

“Before you hooked up with my ole’ buddy Niles?” he interrupted, with a smirk. “Before you threw away everything we had? Before you got yourself in a situation that could’ve gotten you killed? Before you started treating me like a piece of shit?”

I was careful not to react. I’d had enough therapy to understand how to treat a control freak that tried to make me the reason he ended up in prison. That part of my life—the part where Monty had been in charge and his spouse had to obey or else—was over. “Are you done?” I asked.

He clamped his lips together.

I folded my hands on the table and leaned in. “I’ll get right to the point. What drew you to me in the first place? What was I like before the accident, from your perspective?”

Monty tried to get comfortable in the plastic chair. Beneath his immense bulk, it seemed like a child’s chair. “Is that how you’re dealing with it?” His lips twisted in disgust. “It was an assault, Olivia. He tried to rape you, for God’s sake.”

I looked away. “It’s over, and he’s in the ground, thanks to you.”

He crossed his arms and glared. A corrections officer lifted his hand. With a grunt, Monty slapped both hands on the small table where the officer could see them.

After a few beats, he sneered, “You mean besides the obvious attraction of an older guy to a high school girl?” “Give me a break, Monty.”

He chuckled. “You were kind of…I don’t know…scared. I was drawn to you in a protective way. You were shy.”

I frowned. “What was I scared of?”

“Your crazy mom had married some jerk that kept you off balance all the time. Don’t you remember him?”

I thought for a few seconds. Nothing came.

“That coma still messes with you, doesn’t it? Well…might be good not to remember. Maybe he did things to you that he shouldn’t have.” Monty raised his eyebrows up and down.

I wanted to slap him, but I kept my expression neutral.

“A brain injury recovery is unpredictable. I still lose memories, even if someone has drilled them into me. I’m trying to use visualization. I have this feeling…that if I can see it, the rest will be like dominos.”

“So you may not ever remember? Even the good things about our marriage?”

I laughed. “We must have very different perspectives about the word ‘good’, Monty.”

Monty’s jaw muscles flexed. “Next?”

“Was I a capable mother? Was I available and…loving to the kids?”

Maybe it was my imagination, but his lower lip quivered. Did the guy have a heart after all? I’d always believed he loved our daughters. I hoped this was true.

“Olivia, you were a good mother. We had our problems, but you made a good home, and took excellent care of the kids. You were at every freakin’ event, every school fundraiser, everything.” He scowled. “I took a big back seat to the kids.”

“What problems did we have? When did they start?”

He leaned in. “You don’t remember our sex life? How terrible it was? Nothing I could do would get you to….” He shook his head. “You couldn’t even fix a decent meal. You should have been grateful you married someone like me so I could…teach you things.”

CHAPTER ONE

“Keep your voice down!” I insisted, embarrassed.

He cocked his head and grinned. “You always had this…desperate need for my approval or whatever. And when you conveniently avoided telling me you weren’t taking birth control it caused a lot of issues that could’ve been avoided.” He snorted. “Like being in here.”

I tried to rein in my disgust.

“So, let me get this straight. Your priority in our marriage was sex and good food and to pin all our issues on your child bride?” My tone hardened. “A young woman who came from a single-parent home? Who had no understanding what a good and normal guy was like?”

He gave me a look that could peel the skin off my face.

“How did you react when I didn’t do things the way you wanted?” I continued.

“Like any man who’d been disrespected. I corrected the issue.”

“How? By yelling? Physical force? Kicking your pregnant wife in the stomach?” This was a memory I had recovered.

A vein pulsed in his neck.

“How often, Monty? Were these reactions a…a lifestyle in our marriage?” “Look,” he snarled, “I don’t know that this is productive.”

“It is for me,” I said, brightly.

I glanced at the closest officer. He had his hands full with an issue at one of the other tables.

“Mom told me that Serena and Lilly floated out to sea one time, on a rubber raft. Do you remember that?”

His eyes found a spot on the wall.

“So you do remember. What happened?”

“Look, they were, I don’t know, four and six or so. I didn’t think it would be a problem for me to run grab a drink from our bag, and come back. I was gone less than five minutes. How could I know they’d lose control of the raft?”

An earthquake of anger shot through me. “You turned your back on a four-year-old and a six-year-old and expected them to have control of a raft? They were babies!”

“Yeah. Well.” He rose. “Looks like this question thing of yours isn’t working for me.” He pushed his chair in with a bang. The correctional officer gave him a look. Monty strode to the officer’s station and held out his wrists. Adrenaline made me a little shaky after he’d gone, but it wasn’t from fear of the man. My therapist would call this real progress.

I left the room and gathered my things from the visitors’ processing center. As I walked out of the prison facility, all I could think about was…why? Why had I married this guy? And stayed for twenty years? I couldn’t even remember myself as a person who could do that.

At least I’d dragged more information out of him. I was determined to piece together the puzzle of the past I’d lost.

***

Excerpt from The Rising by Kerry L Peresta. Copyright 2022 by Kerry L Peresta. Reproduced with permission from Kerry L Peresta. All rights reserved.




My Book Review:

In The Rising, the second book in the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series, author Kerry Peresta weaves a suspenseful tale that follows the challenges that Olivia Callahan faces as she continues to put the pieces of her life back together after a traumatic assault.

Two years ago, Olivia was assaulted and suffered a traumatic brain injury in Richmond, Virginia. Fast-forward, Olivia's journey of recovering and reclaiming her life is ongoing but there are still gaps in the memory of her past. Her therapist told her that she needs to look back into her past in order to move forward with her life, unfortunately that means visiting her ex-husband Monty in prison, and asking him questions about who she was before the assault. But her path to reclaiming her life is not so easy, because someone is trying to implicate Olivia in the murder of her attorney, and she is determined to find out who that person is, and uncover the reason behind the murder. 

Author Kerry Peresta weaves an intriguing and suspenseful tale set in the alternating locales of Richmond, Virginia, and Glyndon, Maryland, that follows Olivia Callahan on her quest to reclaim her life after a vicious assault left her with a traumatic brain injury, and gaps in the memory of her past. You can't help but get drawn into Olivia's story as she gives a realistic depiction of the challenges she faced as she puts her life back together, especially when she becomes entangled in the murder of her attorney. 

Told in the present time and interwoven with flashbacks to her past, the reader gets to follow Olivia as her memories return via triggers. Olivia is no longer the person she used to be, and with the help of Detective Hunter Faraday, she wants to find the person who murdered her attorney, and finally move on with her life. 

The story has a great mixture of drama and suspense that keeps the reader engaged and guessing what will happen in this slow-building, cat-n-mouse game that Olivia gets caught up in. Olivia's journey to reclaim her life is filled with grit, emotions, family drama, deceit, heartbreak, and realistic trials and tribulations, you can't help but take that journey with Olivia as she discovers the truth behind her assault and her attorney's murder, it will simply leave the reader stunned. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed the "rising" quotes that began each chapter. In the author's note at the end of the book, she states that the book is about overcoming challenges, and making the choice to rise above them, that is an amazing statement that really resonated with me. 

I can't wait to read the third book in the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series

The Rising is a riveting and suspenseful story that you won't be able to put down.


RATING: 5 STARS 




About The Author






Kerry Peresta’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper column, “The Lighter Side,” 2009-2011; and magazine articles in Local Life Magazine, The Bluffton Breeze, Lady Lowcountry, and Island Events Magazine. She is the author of two novels, The Hunting, women’s fiction, released by Pen-L Publishing in 2013, and The Deadening, Book One of the Olivia Callahan Suspense series, and The Rising, Book Two. Book Three in this series releases in 2023 by Level Best Books. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter. She is past chapter president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and a current member and presenter of Hilton Head Island Writers’ Network, and the Sisters in Crime organization. Recently, she worked as editor and contributor for Island Communications, a local publishing house. Kerry and her husband moved to Hilton Head, SC, in 2015. She is the mother of four adult children, and has a bunch of wonderful grandkids who keep life interesting and remind her what life is all about.
This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for The Rising by Kerry L Peresta. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

 



Virtual Book Tour Event



Tour Participants:


05/02 Interview @ I Read What You Write

05/03 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea

05/04 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

05/05 Interview @ The Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn

05/06 Review @ Books and Zebras @ jypsylynn

05/09 Review @ Lynchburg Reads

05/11 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads

05/13 Review @ nanasbookreviews

05/14 Showcase @ Books to the Ceiling

05/16 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews

05/16 Showcase @ The Bookwyrm

05/17 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

05/17 Review @ Lisa Wetzel

05/18 Review Novels Alive

05/21 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing

05/25 Showcase @ 411 On Books, Authors, And Publishing News

05/25 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor

05/26 Showcase @ Book Reviews by Linda Moore

05/27 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

05/29 Review @ Nesies Place

05/30 Review @ I Read What You Write

05/30 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews

05/31 Review @ Nikkis Bookstagram

05/31 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books





Saturday, May 21, 2022

Weekly Book Mail: 5/15-21/2022

 




This Week's Book Mail




May - Harlequin Romance And Suspense Collection







May - The Book Drop 







May - Harlequin Special Edition Collection








April - Once Upon A Book Club - Adult Box







Monday, May 16, 2022

The Wait by Joanne DeMaio (Book Review)

In association with Author Joanne DeMaio, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Wait!






Book Review




The Wait by Joanne DeMaio
Book 15: The Seaside Saga Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: PB - May 2, 2022 / eBook - May 9, 2022
Format: Paperback - 312 pages 
               Kindle - 1860 KB / 273 pages
               Audiobook - 9 Hours 1 Minute
               Nook - 606 KB 
ISBN: 979-8408491018
ASIN (Audiobook): B09SM5KKCS
ASIN (Kindle): B09NJC2PNB
BNID: 2940160937816
Genre: Women's Fiction


Buy The Book:


Buy The Series: The Seaside Saga Series
Book 1: Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans 
Book 2: The Denim Blue Sea
Book 3: Beach Blues
Book 4: Beach Breeze
Book 5: The Beach Inn
Book 6: Beach Bliss
Book 7: Castaway Cottage
Book 8: Night Beach
Book 9: Little Beach Bungalow 
Book 10: Every Summer
Book 11: Salt Air Secrets 
Book 12: Stony Point Summer 
Book 13: The Beachgoers 
Book 14: Shore Road 
Book 15: The Wait 
Book 16: The Goodbye (Pub Date: Aug 1, 2022)



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



Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes The Wait, Book 15 of The Seaside Saga.

In the New England beach town of Stony Point, everyone is waiting for something. Or someone. They're waiting for an answer. Waiting for something to believe in. Waiting for the right time. Waiting for a friend. Some are waiting to come home. Others are waiting to make a move. Then there's that shabby coastal table at twilight awaiting a secret dinner guest.

And The Seaside Saga continues.



Book Excerpt:



My Book Review:

In The Wait, the beach friends' story continues where Shore Road left off. Author Joanne DeMaio transports the reader back to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where the summer season is coming to a close. The story picks up during the Labor Day weekend, where our beach friends lives are like the tides, sometimes they keep moving and changing, but sometimes they are kept waiting. 

In The Wait, Author Joanne DeMaio easily captivates her readers' attention with this beautifully written tale through a seamless and flowing storyline, and with a wonderful description of a tranquil beach setting that wraps itself around the reader like a sun-warmed beach towel. The characters draw you into their lives with a strong emotional pull, their complexities and flaws are true-to-life, it is easy to relate to them with compassion, empathy, and hope.

The Wait is an intricate story of interweaving friendships, life events, and deeply held secrets and drama. It is a wonderful story that continues to demonstrate the power of the magical sweet salt air that will cure what ails you. In this installment in The Seaside Saga Series, the author continues to weave a story that focuses on the ongoing marital strife between Jason and Maris; Elsa's stalled opening of The Ocean Star Inn and a possible love triangle with Cliff Raines and Mitch Fenwick; and the blossoming attraction between Celia Gray and Shane Bradford.

In this installment in the series the author keeps the reader engaged as the beach friends continue to deal with ongoing and new issues: you can't help but hope that Maris and Jason can find their way back to each other; while becoming intrigued by the possible love triangle between Elsa, Cliff, and Mitch; and feel the angst between Shane and Celia as they deal with the reality of a possible long-distance romance. At the end of the book, the author teases her readers with another cliffhanger ending: waiting on how each of these relationships turn out. We'll just have to wait and see what is revealed in The Goodbye, the sixteenth installment of the series ... sigh. 

In this installment in the series, the reader follows along with the beach friends' lives that are full of friendship, love, secrets, regrets, challenges, heartbreak, grief, surprises, and second chances. As you read this installment, the beach friends continue along in their life journey in Stony Point.

So now that I have whet your interest in the beach friends latest comings and goings, drive under the railroad trestle and enter the enchanting beach town of Stony Point ... pull up a beach chair ... and visit with the close-knit longtime friends in author Joanne DeMaio's delightful novel, The Wait.

The Seaside Saga Series is a heartwarming series of stories of friendship, family, painful secrets, new beginnings and second chances. Author Joanne DeMaio weaves a wonderful tale written in the third person narrative, that is set in the present with flashbacks to the past. The reader is transported to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where they follow along with Celia, Maris, Eva, Matt, Jason, Kyle, Lauren, Nick, Elsa, Cliff, and Shane as their lives change like the tide's ebb and flow on their little tranquil coastal town.




RATING: 5 STARS 




About The Author






Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. The Wait is her newest novel. She is currently at work on her next novel. Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.


Author Website
Amazon Author Page

















From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes The Wait, Book 15 of The Seaside Saga. In the New England beach town of Stony Point, everyone is waiting for something. Or someone. They're waiting for an answer. Waiting for something to believe in. Waiting for the right time. Waiting for a friend. Some are waiting to come home. Others are waiting to make a move. Then there's that shabby coastal table at twilight awaiting a secret dinner guest. And The Seaside Saga continues.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Weekly Book Mail: 5/8-14/2022

 






This Week's Book Mail



May - Books & Treasures





May - Unplugged Book Box - Adult Box






April - Once Upon A Book Club - YA Book Box










Saturday, May 7, 2022

Weekly Book Mail: 5/1-7/2022

 





This Week's Book Mail 



May - Bookcase Club 








May - Book Of The Month Club










April - The Bookworm Box






May - Harlequin Love Inspired Romance & Suspense Collection









May - Harlequin Amish Romance Collection








April - Down The Rabbit Hole Book Box