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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

One Good Dog by Susan Wilson
Published by St. Martin's Press
Sold by Macmillan
ISBN: 0312571259
ASIN: B003A7I22S
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

About The Author (Author Page -
Susan Wilson is the best selling author of books including Cameo Lake and Beauty, a modern retelling of "Beauty and The Beast," which was made into a CBS-TV movie. She lives on Martha's Vineyard.

Author Website: Book Description: 

One Good Dog is a wonderful novel: a moving, tender, and brilliantly crafted story about two fighters—one a man, one a dog— hoping to leave the fight behind, who ultimately find their salvation in each other. Susan Wilson’s clear and unflinching style is perfectly suited for her story that strips away the trappings and toys we all hide behind, and exposes our essential need to give and accept love in order to thrive.”—Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
Adam March is a self-made “Master of the Universe.” He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. But there is a price to be paid for all these trappings, and the pressure is mounting—until the day Adam makes a fatal mistake. His assistant leaves him a message with three words: your sister called. What no one knows is that Adam’s sister has been missing for decades. That she represents the excruciatingly painful past he has left behind. And that her absence has secretly tormented him all these years. When his assistant brushes off his request for an explanation in favor of her more pressing personal call, Adam loses it. And all hell breaks loose.

Adam is escorted from the building. He loses his job. He loses his wife. He loses the life he’s worked so hard to achieve. He doesn’t believe it is possible to sink any lower when he is assigned to work in a soup kitchen as a form of community service. But unbeknownst to Adam, this is where his life will intersect with Chance. 

Chance is a mixed breed Pit Bull. He’s been born and raised to fight and seldom leaves the dirty basement where he is kept between fights. But Chance is not a victim or a monster. It is Chance’s unique spirit that helps him escape and puts him in the path of Adam.

What transpires is the story of one man, one dog, and how they save each other—in ways they never could have expected.

My Book Review:

As a dog lover, I knew that this book was going to be one of my favorite books that I have read this summer, and I wasn't disappointed! Susan Wilson provides the reader with a storyline about Adam March and Chance, a mixed breed pit bull, who both have to overcome the ups-and-downs that life threw their way. While trying to rebuild what is left of their lives, a "chance" meeting leads to their lives intertwining, and they both learn the most important lesson there is .. that they need each other! I loved how the author had alternating chapters with the one-person (Adam) and one-dog (Chance) perspective. I really really really wanted to hate Adam because of his pompous and arrogant personality, but as I got further into the story, I began to feel for him and actually ended up being a cheerleader at the end. As for Chance, I just loved this dog to pieces from the start, and I was a huge cheerleader for him all the way through the story. This is one of those books that has you riding the emotional roller coaster from beginning to end, so buckle up it's a bumpy ride, and oh yeah ... don't forget to bring your tissues!


September's Event: Author Guest Post - Allan Leverone, Author of The Lonely Mile

On September 27, 2011, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is proud to announce that we will be hosting our first author guest post! Author Allan Leverone will be on a national book tour during the month of September promoting his book The Lonely Mile! So stop on by and say hi to Allan and read all about his new book!

Allan Leverone's Bio:

Allan Leverone is a Pushcart Prize nominee as well as a three-time Derringer Award Finalist for excellence in short mystery fiction whose debut thriller, Final Vector, was released by Medallion Press in February 2011.

Allan's next thriller, The Lonely Mile, was released in July by StoneHouse Ink, and his novella, Darkness Falls, is set for release in September by Delirium Books.

Allan lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sue, three children, one beautiful granddaughter and a cat who has  used up eight lives.

Visit Allan's website at:

"Like" Allan's Fan Page on Facebook: Kindle Daily Deal!

Did you know that Amazon Kindle now has a Kindle Daily Deal? Each day Amazon unveils a new Kindle book at a specially discounted price! Check back daily to see which book is chosen as the Daily Deal! The Daily Deal is posted at approximately 12:00am PST.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Feature -> @author has launched a new feature for authors and readers to interact with each other. It is in beta format right now, and can also be accessed via your Kindle's "public notes." Very cool ... check it out! :)

Hurricane Irene Aftermath ...

After going through the hurricane on Saturday night with no problems and enjoying a beautiful Sunday morning, the power went out on Sunday afternoon at 5pm for 30 hours! We finally got our power back last night (Monday 8/29) at 11pm ... Got the Kindle recharged and it's time to get back to reading, reviewing and blogging! lol :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Exciting News!

I have been given the chance to read and review my very first book reviews from two authors! I am so excited to be given this opportunity! :) The authors and the books I am going to read and review are listed below:

A Spy At Home by Joseph Rinaldo

Jennifer's Garden by Dianne Venetta

Thank you Joseph and Dianne for this opportunity! :)

*Disclaimer: I have received these books free from the authors in exchange for an honest book review. I have  not accepted any money for my book review.

Hurricane Irene

Just sending out a little note to all my followers on the east coast of the US ... stay safe this weekend! We'll be riding it out here in NJ ... go away Irene ... I have my Kindle charged and ready for some good reading time just in case we lose power! lol :p

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cool New Items Added To The Blog Site!

Hey everyone! I have been making the blog site a really cool site to visit when you're looking for a book to read or a new author to like!

Just a few additions for y'all to take a look at:

1) A Contact Me box for any book review requests, book blog tours, etc ...

2) A new e-mail addy just for the blogsite:

3) Lots of links for e-book finds

4) I joined the Associate Program, so I added direct links to for all your book  and accessory needs! If you click the direct link and make a purchase, I get credit for your purchase and receive a commission - an giftcard!

5) Book Blog community site links ... come join the fun!

Hope y'all like the new additions to Jersey Girl Book Review blog site!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Folly Beach: A Lowcountry Tale by Dorothea Benton Frank Book Description:

Experience the wild beauty and sultry magic of New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank's Carolina Lowcountry - where the pull of family is as powerful as the ocean tides and love can strike faster than lightning in summer ...

Folly Beach ...

Home is the place that knows us best ...

A woman returns to the past to find her future in this enchanting new tale of loss, acceptance, family and love. With its sandy beaches and bohemian charms, surfers and suits alike consider Folly Beach to be one of South Carolina's most historic and romantic spots. It is also the land of Cate Cooper's childhood, the place where all the ghosts of her past roam freely. Cate never thought she'd wind up in this tiny cottage named Porgy House on this breathtakingly lovely strip of coast. But circumstances have changed, thanks to her newly dead husband whose financial and emotional bull and mendacity have left Cate homeless, broke, and unmoored.

Yet Folly Beach holds more than just memories. Once upon a time another woman found unexpected bliss and comfort within its welcoming arms. An artist, writer, and colleague of the revered George Gershwin, Dorothy Heyward enjoyed the greatest moments of her life at Folly Beach with her beloved husband, DuBose. And though the Heywards are long gone, their passion and spirit lingers in every mango sunset and gentle ocean breeze.

And for Cate, Folly Beach, too, holds the promise of unexpected fulfillment when she is forced to look at her life and the zany characters that are her family anew. To her surprise, she will discover that you can go home again. Folly Beach doesn't just hold the girl she once was ... it also holds the promise of the woman she's always wanted, and is finally ready to become.

My Book Review:

As a loyal fan of Dorothea Benton Frank's Lowcountry novels, I was excited when Folly Beach: A Lowcountry Tale was released in June and couldn't wait to read the book, and once again she didn't disappoint me. In Folly Beach, the author provides the reader with not one, but two storylines that intertwine, which is a departure from her usual writing style.

The storyline begins in NJ, where Cate Cooper's comfortable world has been turned completely upside down with the suicide of her husband due to his financial problems. Kept in the dark, the tragedy just gets worse when Cate discovers all of her husband's ugly dark secrets, and she finds herself financially destitute and homeless. With nothing but a used car and a few boxes of what is left of her worldly belongings, Cate heads back to her childhood home in Folly Beach, SC to regroup.

This is where the second storyline comes into play, Cate's aunt owns Porgy House, once the home of the famous Porgy and Bess playwrights Dorothy and DuBose Heyward. It is at Porgy House in the summer of 1934, where the Heywards and the famous composer George Gershwin create the songs for Porgy and Bess. When Cate moves into Porgy House, she meets college professor John Risley, who encourages her to research the history of the Heywards, and write a play based on their lives. During her research, Cate finds fascinating similarities between Dorothy and herself, which adds to the mystique of residing at Porgy House.

What I loved most about Cate's story is that her coming home to Folly Beach was a blessing in disguise. She discovered what it meant to be surrounded by a loving family; she learned to stand up on her own two feet and rebuild her life; she took the chance to find love again; and most of all she finds out that dreams can still come true, no matter how old a person may be.

The author weaves and intertwines the two storylines in a unique way: she alternates chapters with Cate's story and the other is acts of a one-woman play based on Dorothy Heyward's life. While I did find the intertwining storylines to be intriguing, I must admit that I would have preferred to have just read Cate's story, and have the story of Dorothy Heyward added as part of Cate's research. I found the alternating chapters (storylines) to be a bit annoying, because just when I was really getting into Cate's story, I had to turn around and shift gears and get back into the acts of the play. That being said, I loved Cate's story and the wonderful interactions between her family members. I also did enjoy reading about the Heywards' lives and the creation of Porgy and Bess, but just not in the context in which it was written about in the book. Finally, as a fan of southern fiction, especially of Lowcountry tales, the little annoyances I had with this book were greatly overshadowed by the author's wonderful description of the beautiful Lowcountry areas of SC, reading about them always makes me yearn to visit or live there.

Dorothea Benton Frank fans, this book is worth the reading!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Book Description:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a collection of very curious photographs. As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh Island of Cairnholm where his grandfather grew up. Jacob discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here, one of whom was his own grandfather, were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. What Jacob finds are the children from the photographs alive and well despite the islanders' assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather's childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see. A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is told in a first-person narrative that is convincing and absorbing, and every detail is interspersed with photos and letters throughout the book, this novel has plot twists, turns and surprises that will delight readers of any age.

My Book Review:

At first glance, I thought that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children would be a horror story, and I do love a good book that can scare the daylights out of me, but when I started to read the book, I realized that the storyline was from the fantasy genre which I admit is not one of my favorites. That being said, I thought the first half of the book was strange, as in really weird! Trying to follow the author's direction with the storyline was a bit slow for me, it just couldn't hold my attention and I kept thinking about not finishing it. What kept me wanting to go the distance and finish the book were the freakishly bizarre photos of the "peculiar" children and the letters that are interspersed throughout the book, they were so intriguing that I knew I had to suck it up and continue. I am so glad that I did continue, because once I got into the middle of the storyline where Jacob meets Miss Peregrine and the children, the twists and turns and the suspense had me hooked! That is when I realized that this book may be from the fantasy genre, but it had so many characteristics of a horror book, that it fulfilled the scare ratio for me. The author does quite a good job of weaving a story of time travel with a mixture of a freak show via the "peculiar children" and a touch of murder and mayhem thrown in too. There is only two things that disappointed me: first, if you read this book on the Kindle, the photographs and letters are not really clear enough, so consider buying the hardcover or paperback editions; second, the ending left the reader hanging with no closure, perhaps the author is writing a sequel that will continue the story ... only time will tell. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To Finish .. Or Not To Finish ... That Is The Question!

I have been pondering this question a lot lately! I have recently read some books that have just dragged on sooooooooooo long that I muddled through them just to get to the end, and I question myself over and over is it worth the torture? I guess I feel guilty if I quit a book in the middle of reading it, but it seems like it takes forever to finish it when it just doesn't hold my interest. So while I go back and forth debating this in my head, what do you fellow bookworms do when this happens to you? Do you stop reading the book, do you put it aside to try reading it some other time, or do you do what I do - muddle through to the bitter end ... inquiring minds want to know! :p

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We Interrupt This Date by L.C. Evans Book Description:

Since her divorce a year ago, Susan Caraway has gone through the motions of life. Now she is finally coming out of her shell. Just when she decides on a makeover and a new career, her family members decide she's crisis central. First there's her sister DeLorean who has come back from California with a baby, a designer dog, and no prospects for child support or a job. As soon as DeLorean settles in at Susan's home, Susan's son Christian returns from college trailing what Susan's mama refers to as "an androgynous little tart." Then there's Mama herself, a southern lady who wrote the book on bossy. A secret from Mama's past threatens to unravel her own peace. But not before Mama hurts her ankle and has to move into Susan's home with her two babies - two chihuahuas with attitude. Susan would like to start her new job as a ghost tour operator. She would like to renew her relationship with Jack Maxwell, a man from her past. But Jack isn't going to stand in line behind her needy family.

My Book Review:

Divorcee Susan Caraway is at a crossroads in her life and she needs to decide in which direction the next stage of her life needs to go, but she has one major problem, she is a doormat for her family! We Interrupt This Date is filled with lighthearted humor, it will strike a chord with everyone who has had to pick up the pieces of their life and start anew, while still attempting to manage the juggling act of balancing family, work and still attempt to have a personal life too!

We Interrupt This Date did provide some laughs, but the overall storyline of this book was just too slow and drawn out for my taste. The constant doormat characterization of Susan bored me halfway through the book, and I found myself wondering when the story would pick up, unfortunately the author didn't allow Susan to stand up for herself until the last few chapters when she reached her breaking point which is a shame. I found myself wanting to reach into the book and smack Susan silly and put her demanding selfish family in their place! The author does a wonderful job of describing the southern way of life, and her authentic depiction of the beautiful town of Charleston, SC was spot on. The other thing that dampened my enthusiasm for the book was the ending was abrupt, there was not enough romance between Susan and Jack, which was very disappointing. While I generally thought that this book was okay, it is not among my favorite southern fiction books that I love to read. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan Book Description:

For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials "A.H." At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.

By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.

My Book Review:

From the cover and description of this book you would think that it would be a fun and lighthearted summer read, it is anything but that! This is a story about three generations of women from the Boston Irish Catholic Kelleher family, who go to the family's summer beach retreat in Maine immersed in their own problems and secrets only to have their generations of family dysfunction towards each other added on top of it. Told from the perspective of each of the four Kelleher women, the author does a good job of telling the individual story of each of the women and how their lives intertwine with each other, however she does not bring them all together in Maine until three quarters of the way into the story which is a shame. I thought that their interaction with each other would have been carried throughout the story as the book description claimed, and I was very disappointed that it wasn't this way. While I can appreciate the family dynamic of the Irish Catholic family, for I come from one of those, and the crazy dysfunction that goes along with it, I thought that the author made the characters so dark and negative, and there was very little mention of any real family warmth shared in prior years at the Maine property. Once the author brings the women together in Maine, one would think that the story would have described how they confronted and dealt with their issues, but that was not the case either. While at the end of the story the author does give closure to 3 of the 4 women, the way she does not give a clear closure to Alice's story leaves the readers shaking their heads and saying "huh?" It is unfortunate that the story ends so abruptly, while I generally did like the story, it did leave me unfulfilled. 


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alchemy by Mike Wood Book Description:

When a migrating manatee makes a prolonged stop off the coast of Cape Cod, his unexpected arrival (and the beautiful daughter of the marine biologist who is following him) sets into motion a charming chain of events that will result in 15-year old Al learning the truth about his missing father, the joy and pain of first love, and ultimately even the fate of Hugh Manatee!

The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.

My Book Review:

This debut novel by author Mike Wood was a fun summer read and a very cool trip down the 1980s memory lane for me. The story is set in the summer of 1984 in Cape Cod, MA, and is told in the 1st person narrative by 15 year old Al Newman. During this coming of age summer, Al struggles with the unanswered disappearance of his father, and he is determined to find out what happened to him. Along comes a pretty teenage girl, Cammie, who along with her marine biologist father have tracked a wayward manatee, Hugh, from Florida to Cape Cod. When Al meets Cammie, they become friends which quickly turns into Al's 1st crush and kiss, and together they set out on an adventure to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Al's father. During this summer, Al learns to deal with the fickleness of teenage friendships and young love, the ups and downs of family life and life's lessons in general. The author weaves an enjoyable story mixed with many nostalgic memories of the 1980s that will keep the reader smiling throughout the book.