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, September 30, 2011

October 22, 2011 VBTC Virtual Book Tour Event - Author Guest Post w/Laura Rodela, Author of Confessions

In association with Virtual Book Tour Cafe (VBTC), Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Virtual Book Tour Event - Author Guest Post on Saturday, October 22, 2011 with Laura Rodela, author of Confessions!

Laura Rodela's Bio: 

Laura Rodela is originally from El Paso, TX. Confessions is the first book of a series of memoirs. Laura is a blogger and writer. She is currently working on a film version of her book.

Confessions is a story of five friends and a journey of self-discovery, the events in their lives that shaped who they have become and a friendship that lasted a lifetime. A true, funny and sometimes sad story about self love and acceptance.

Visit Laura's Blog Site:

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Lonely Mile by Allan Leverone

The Lonely Mile by Allan Leverone
Published by StoneHouse Ink
Sold by Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Mystery Thriller

About The Author: (Author's Website):

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 2011 by StoneHouse Ink, and his novella, Darkness Falls, is set for release in September 2011 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.

Author Website:

Disclaimer: At the request of the author, a Kindle e-book edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review.  

Blog Tour Event: On Tuesday, September 27, 2011, Allan Leverone participated in an author blog tour event, as an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews. Book Description:

When struggling hardware store owner Bill Ferguson witnesses a kidnapping in progress, he reacts instinctively, breaking up the crime and saving a young girl. But the kidnapper, a sociopath known as the "I-90 Killer," escapes and vows revenge, targeting Ferguson's own daughter as his next victim. Now one terrified father must unravel a plot that may go deeper than he realizes, racing against time to save his only child from an unthinkable fate. 

My Book Review:

What would you do if you came upon a situation where a teenage girl was being kidnapped? Would you do something to stop it from happening? What if the psycho who you stopped now sought revenge by kidnapping your own teenage daughter, would you sit passively by while the police and FBI conducted their investigation and search? Put yourself in Bill Ferguson's shoes ... 

The Lonely Mile is a story about an average businessman named Bill Ferguson, who while at a  highway rest area, saw an attempted kidnapping of a teenage girl in progress. None of the other travelers saw what was happening, so Bill takes it upon himself and takes action in order to stop the kidnapping from happening. Bill was successful in his actions, but the would be kidnapper escaped, and there was one major ramification ... the psycho that he just thwarted was the famed "I-90 Killer" who has been kidnapping young women for the past three and half years, and he wants revenge from the busybody who thwarted his attempt at getting his next girl. The "I-90 Killer" plots out his revenge and is successful, Bill's 17 year-old daughter Carli has been kidnapped! What happens next is a father's journey to get his daughter back, at any cost!

The Lonely Mile is the ultimate in a mystery thriller book, the author transports the reader into the story, you will feel like you are right there alongside Bill, Carli and the I-90 Killer. This book is very rich in detail, just close your eyes and you can see the scenes as the author has described them throughout the book. From the very first pages this story drew me in, it grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go until the very surprising and climatic ending. The storyline is very well written, the vivid details are amazing, the characters and dialogue are believable, and most of all the story will just plain hold you captive until the end. There is not one negative thing that I have to say about this book, it was just that good. 

 In writing The Lonely Mile, the author has given mystery thriller fans one hell of a roller coaster ride .... there is nothing better than a gripping suspense story that has the reader begging for more!


Amazon Announces The Pre- Order of its Kindle Tablet: KINDLE FIRE!!!

Pre-order is available for the long awaited tablet, Kindle Fire, scheduled to be released on November 15, 2011. The price of the Kindle Fire is $199.00!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Author Guest Post: Allan Leverone, Author of The Lonely Mile

Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Allan Leverone, author of THE LONELY MILE!

 Talking Your Way Into Trouble

One of the first things you learn as a writer of fiction, at least if you want to stand any chance of developing a readership, is the importance of carrying the reader along, of immersing her in the story, of making her feel as though it's happening around her, that she is a part of the action rather than a static observer. 

As an author, maybe the best compliment I can receive is when a reader says something like, "I couldn't put the book down!" When I hear or read that, I know I've done my job. The last thing I want as a storyteller is to pull the reader out of the story, because then I've lost her. Do it too many times and she's going to abandon my book for another.

In Fiction-Writing 101, authors learn the golden rule for maintaining a reader's interest, which I'm now going to risk expulsion from the union by sharing with you here. And it's a very simple rule: Show, Don't Tell.

"Show, Don't Tell" is a short, quick way of making the point I started off with - that as an author of fiction you had better engage the reader. What's the difference between showing and telling? 

1 - John was devastated when he answered the phone and discovered Mary was breaking up with him. His eyes filled with tears. What the hell was happening?

2 - The phone rang. John glanced at it curiously; he wasn't expecting a call. "Hello?" 

"Hi John, it's Mary."

"Mary, hi, when are you coming over?"

"I'm sorry John, but I won't be visiting any more. This arrangement isn't working for either of us. I ... I'm afraid we need to take a break. I'm sorry, I have to go." John heard a sob on the other end of the line and then the call was disconnected. His eyes filled with tears. He had thought things were going smoothly. What the hell was happening? 


In both scenarios the reader learns the same basic information - Mary is dumping the unfortunate John, who is not at all happy about it - but in the first, she is given a dry description, basically an information dump; whereas in the second, she is (hopefully) placed into the middle of the breakup, where if the author has done his job, it becomes more than just words on a page; it becomes a relatable situation, one in which the reader becomes invested. 

The difference? Dialogue. Properly used, dialogue can become one of the most effective ways for a writer to draw the reader into the action on the page. While this is true for all fiction genres, I believe the effective use of dialogue is particularly important critical in a thriller, especially a thriller like THE LONELY MILE.

The hero in THE LONELY MILE is a regular guy, a divorced small-business owner whose stores are barely staying afloat in a bad economy. He's not Rambo, he's not any kind of superhero, and he certainly doesn't have all the answers when his only child - a high school senior about to graduate and go on to college - disappears as a result of his well-intentioned actions.

This is the type of thriller hero I believe the average person can relate to, and the use of believable dialogue helps thrust the reader into the story. My goal was to make you become Bill Ferguson as his sense of panic and desperation increases.

I didn't want you to picture it, I wanted you to live it, and this is where the use of dialogue becomes critical. No two people speak alike, but certain reactions and certain exchanges between characters would help place you as a reader into the situation, and certain reactions and exchanges would serve to do the opposite, to pull you out of the action, if you were to read them and think, "I would never say that."

The natural tendency is to overreach, to make the characters say overwrought things in an attempt to create drama and tension, when in reality, the situation has already created the drama and tension, my job as a writer is simply to use dialogue which avoids pulling the reader out of that tense situation. 

Here's the scene in THE LONELY MILE when Bill Ferguson learns his child has been kidnapped. Hopefully the dialogue accomplishes the goal of drawing the reader into the scenario:

Inside the air was palpably tense. To the left of the door, Sandra sat on the living room couch, weeping, a damp towel pressed to her forehead by her husband. A police officer stood nearby, uncomfortable and clearly unsure of what to do next. In the kitchen, Agent Canfield stood with a mobile phone pressed to her ear in the center of a cluster of officers and plainclothes people Bill assumed must be other FBI agents. He walked down the hallway, and no one paid him any attention.

Bill shouldered his way through the group of people surrounding Canfield. "What happened? Where's Carli?" 

Canfield mumbled something into her cell phone and snapped it shut. She turned her dark eyes on Bill, and he knew.

"Oh no," he said.

"We'll find her."

"How did he get her?"

"He stole a school bus and impersonated the driver, drove it away from the school grounds filled with kids, then abducted Carli."

Bill stared at her in disbelief. "He stole an entire school bus? Filled with kids? He was parked right outside her school? How is that even possible? Where is the real driver?"

"Slow down," she said, holding up her hands. "We sent a squad car to the home of the bus driver a little while ago, so the officers should be reporting back soon, but beyond that, yes, it appears he waited outside the high school in the line of buses. After it was fully loaded, he simply drove away with the bus full of kids." 


Put yourself in Bill's shoes and ask yourself how you would react if, God forbid, your child were taken away from you. If you can buy into his reaction, then I've done my job.

                                                                           -  Allan Leverone

Sunday, September 25, 2011

December 10, 2011 CLP Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Blog w/ Ella Slayne, Author of High-Heels and Slippers

In association with CLP, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Blog on Saturday, December 10, 2011 with Ella Slayne, author of High-Heels and Slippers!

Ella Slayne's Bio:

Ella is originally from the North of England, where she studied Drama at Manchester University. She went on to study acting at the Webber Douglas Academy before moving to live in Brussels with her family. Ella currently lives in the US where she juggles the joys of motherhood with her passion for writing!

High-Heels And Slippers, Ella's debut novel, is the story of Josie Jenkins, a quirky Brit living in Texas, trying to navigate her way around a modern-day love triangle.

Visit Ella's website at:

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Jenna! by A.H. Schultz

Happy Birthday Jenna! by A.H. Schultz
Published by BookBaby
Sold by Amazon Digital Services
ISBN: 1617927880
ASIN: B005CK4G12
Genre: Mystery Thriller

About The Author (Author's Website): 

A.H. (Andrew Hollister) Schultz was born on July 30, 1964, in Barberton, Ohio, to a brilliant but tortured trial lawyer in a long line of distinguished jurists and politicians in the State of Ohio. As a child, his only escape from the terror that accompanied his family life were reading and basketball. He found that books could take him anywhere, allow him to be anybody and indulge his imagination.

Andrew's career as a novelist and writer was put on hold for 20 years as he became a trial lawyer and raised a family. He has three children in various development. Each one of them more beautiful, more precious, more wonderful than the other.

The written word forms on the author's paper more easily than the spoken words form on his tongue. His inspiration for writing comes from the beauty of the words: the way they look, the way they sound. His first novel, Happy Birthday, Jenna was more than 10 years in the making. His second novel, Manhattan Sunrise, Quieting the Voices of Darkness has made it from idea to formation in less than two years. He is working on a third manuscript (untitled), which has taken on a life of its own.

Andrew currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He is lucky enough to have the love and respect of the most amazing, loving woman in the world.

Author Website:

Disclaimer: At the request of the author, a Kindle e-book edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review. Book Description:

Twenty years is a long time to keep a secret. But an eternity is even longer to pay for it. Happy Birthday Jenna! is a legal thriller that follows Jenna Hayes on her personal journey from horrible loss and betrayal to redemption and freedom from the choices that had imprisoned her.

When Jared Hayes, a prominent Atlanta lawyer, is found dead in a pool of blood, the questions about whether his death was an accident, suicide or murder lead Jenna Hayes into vast criminal conspiracy that threatens Jenna's way of life, her family and her very existence. The mystery surrounding Jared's death widens as people associated with an embezzlement scheme die. A car bomb. A hiking accident. Someone is orchestrating a death sonata, and Jenna fears she will be the next note on the paper. The closer she gets to the truth of a plot to cover up a multi-million dollar insurance scam, the closer she comes to death.

Finally, in order to survive, Jenna learns that she has to conquer the enemy within. Forced to confront her husband's killer and the truth about herself, she sacrifices herself and is reborn in the knowledge that she must live listening to the voices calling her to be.

My Book Review:

Happy Birthday Jenna! is a story told in the first-person narrative by the main character in the story, Jenna Hayes. Jenna takes the reader on a recounting of her journey through major family dysfunction, betrayal, intrigue, murder and self-discovery. Jenna's story spans a timeline from her eighth to her forty-fourth birthday, with accounts of dysfunctional and intriguing events that highlight some of her birthdays. Throughout her life, Jenna has tried to keep her past a secret, to not think about it or dwell on it, but to live in the present, but the inner demons that she tries to keep inside keep coming back to haunt her. Jenna is forced to face her inner struggles when her husband Jared, is found dead in the parking lot of his law office. Jenna knows that Jared's death isn't a suicide or accident, and she embarks on a journey to discover who was behind her husband's murder, and to bring the person to justice. Jenna's story is a memoir about a woman's journey of self-discovery through loss, betrayal, bravery, redemption and freedom.

Happy Birthday Jenna! is the debut novel for A.H. Schultz, an Atlanta lawyer. I am a big fan of mystery thrillers, and I did like reading this legal thriller, it had a lot of intrigue that captivated me. While the first half of the book was a bit slow, from the murder of Jared forward, the story had an engrossing intrigue level of a true mystery thriller, it kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Jenna's journey was very engaging, there were a lot of events that went on in her life, it had me wondering if I could have endured all the dysfunction and upheavals that she had gone through. If you are a fan of mystery thrillers, the surprise ending is well worth reading this book. Note to readers: do not be put off from reading this book because of the cover art. The cover art was the creation of the author's fourteen-year-old daughter, Mischa Kathryn Schultz.

RATING: 3 STARS *** (My rating on my blog site, I liked the book).
                  4 STARS **** ( rating, I liked the book).

Winners of the Welcome Fall 2011 Contest Giveaway!

The winners get their choice between (1) $10.00 or (1) $10.00 Barnes&Noble Giftcards:

Jill -

Amanda -

Congrats! An email is coming your way to confirm the prize!

The winners were selected by random draw using

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest! :)

****** Update: one of the contest winners did not respond with a confirmation email within the 48 hour time frame as stated in the contest rules, so I used to select another winner! The next winner chosen is  An email was sent to your email addy, please respond back to confirm! Thanks! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

October 3, 2011 Author Guest Blog Post Tour Event w/ Jeanne Starr Gater, Author of Bring Back Summertime

Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Post on Monday, October 3, 2011 with Jeanne Starr Gater, Author of Bring Back Summertime!

Jeanne Starr Gater's Bio: 

Jeanne Starr Gater was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, but spent most of her youth in Chicago,Illinois. She is a graduate of Carver High School in Chicago, where she received numerous awards and honors, the highest distinction being: "Most Outstanding Senior Graduate." The author holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education from De Paul University and a Master's Degree in Popular Culture/Broadcast Communications from Governor's State University. Her prolific background includes working as a Teacher and Office Occupations Coordinator at her alma mater, Carver High, in Chicago; and as Teacher/Yearbook Advisor at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, MI. Jeanne also worked as Assistant Editorial Community Affairs Director for WLS-TV in Chicago before her promotion to Detroit to become Director of Editorial/Community Affairs for WXYZ Radio; both ABC owned stations. Ms. Starr Gater won a number of editorial awards before becoming a television reporter at WKZO T.V. in Kalamazoo, MI, and at WDHO Television in Toledo, Ohio where she also hosted, Community Close Up. Her stellar resume includes a modeling and acting career which began while attending De Paul University and working part-time for former Olympian Track Star, Jesse Owens. His public relations firm used her for promotional ads for a number of their clients; and Jeanne after completing her degree was recruited for modeling and acting jobs through the Shirley Hamilton Agency in Chicago, Illinois.Years later, after her husband's near-fatal auto accident, Jeanne Starr Gater chose to stay close to home to monitor his recovery and to keep her family unit stable and moving forward. She was prompted to write her story by many of her colleagues in broadcasting.As an educator and author, Ms. Starr Gater has come full circle. Her willingness to share her inspirational true story, Bring Back Summertime, with others is joined with her work to motivate and inspire children and youth across the United States with her Supa Dupa Babee Anti-Drugs, Anti-Violence Curriculum. Her muscular, multicultural Supa Dupa Babee character was first launched through a public service announcement against drugs and violence through Jeanne's Higher and Higher television program. The flying Supa Dupa Babee later became Castleberry Toy's flagship character reaching kids through his adventure series booklets, music, games, and videos. Jeanne said, as an educator, she learned through the years that you could teach students to excel and truly believe in themselves once they developed 'super duper' mindsets promoting strong character and self esteem. Taking a journey that focused on family and community speaks volumes about this remarkable woman who against all odds was able keep her family together as she fought steadily to Bring Back Summertime. Giving to family and community the greater of her talents is a sincere testament to her faith and belief in the strength of the human spirit which is highlighted throughout her honest discourse shared with readers in Bring Back Summertime. Jeanne Starr Gater's three children fared remarkably well during the family's struggles giving much credence to the underlying theme of triumph over tragedy highlighted throughout her riveting story. Jeanne's ability to bring readers into the fold of Bring Back Summertime will have audiences rooting against all odds for the full recovery of "Dr. J."

Bring Back Summertime Book Description:

When Jeanne Starr Gater picks up the phone one morning, she receives the shock of her life. Her strong, robust, athletic husband, Dr. Julius Gater, is in the hospital! -- comatose, suffering from a stroke, broken bones ... Dr. "J" IS DYING!! A car accident that morning has left her husband unconscious, though still alive and hanging on for dear life! ..And it had been a good life -- full of sunshine! Why this! .. Dear GOD! ... Why this?! She knows she must get to him -- and fast! They had come through too much together. If she gets to the hospital in time, they will come through this awful thing too But she needs all her resources now. In her inner spirit, she petitions her God for mercy and compassion and strength to bring Dr. 'J" back from near death. Next, over time, she contacts her family and friends for their positive thoughts and prayers. She begins her long hard journey to "BRING BACK SUMMERTIME." Thus begins the remarkable true story of one woman's courage and faith in the face of the bitterest of odds, and one man's miraculous recovery despite doctor's dire predictions. Family, and friends, new and old gather round to offer support, faith and love, as the Gaters' begin their trek back to a normal life. They encounter incredible (and numerous) obstacles from resistant medical personnel and uncooperative rehabilitation staff, to other family misfortunes. Their very survival as a family depends on their determination to hold fast to their hopes and faith. BRING BACK SUMMERTIME is a soul searching story of a family's struggle for the restoration of physical strength, grace and human dignity. A story that portrays the power and strength of human bonding, prayer and the belief in the power of god to sustain and revive. This family somehow does not allow itself to be thrown even by this devastating accident. They continue their noteworthy accomplishments, as they struggle to deal with the prolonged recovery of Dr. "J". Their story is truly an inspiration to all.

Bring Back Summertime Book Video Trailer:

Visit Jeanne Starr Gater's website at:

Monday, September 19, 2011

October 11, 2011 Author Guest Blog Post Tour Event w/ M.R. Cornelius, Author of H10N1

Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Post on Tuesday October 11, 2011 with M.R. Cornelius, author of H10N1!

M.R. Cornelius' Bio: 

M.R. Cornelius (aka Marsha Cornelius) got her start as an author by dabbling in freelancing for magazines, and wrote a couple of articles for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Topside Loafing. She moved on to fiction, trying to write screenplays, before finally finding her niche in novels. Like thousands of others, she thought she could write romance, but soon discovered she was a dismal failure. She did increase her repertoire of adjectives such as throbbing, pulsing, thrumming, vibrating, hammering, pumping ...

Her first novel, H10N1, is a post-apocalyptic thriller about a flu pandemic that has already wiped out most of the world's population. Coming up? A fifty-seven-year-old man dying of cancer chooses cryonic preservation over death.

Cornelius lives in the countryside north of Atlanta with her husband, Bill, and two molly-coddled cats. Her two college-aged sons visit regularly for food, clean laundry and cash.

Visit M.R.'s website at:

Facebook Page:


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Sold by Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 0446574465
Genre: Historical / Contemporary Fiction

About The Author (Author's Website):

Rachel Simon is the critically acclaimed author of six books, the best known of which are the novel The Story of Beautiful Girl (2011) and the memoir Riding The Bus With My Sister (2002). Her other books are the memoir The House on Teacher's Lane (2010); an inspirational book for writers, The Writer's Survival Guide (1997); a novel, The Magic Touch (1994); and a collection of short stories, Little Nightmares, Little Dreams (1990). Her work has been adapted for film, stage, radio and television.

Riding The Bus With My Sister, which was a national bestseller, was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Originally airing on CBS in 2005 and frequently rebroadcast on the Hallmark Channel, the film stars Rosie O'Donnell as Beth and Andie McDowell as Rachel, and was directed by Anjelica Huston. The success of the book and film led to Rachel becoming a widely sought-after speaker around the country.

Rachel was born in 1959 in Newark, NJ, and spent most of her first sixteen years in northern New Jersey. She graduated from Solebury School, a boarding school in New Hope, PA, in 1977, and received a degree in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College in 1981. After spending the next few decades in the Philadelphia region and central New Jersey, Rachel moved to her current home of Wilmington, Delaware, where she lives with her husband, the architect Hal Dean. She has been writing full-time since 2007.

Author Website: Book Description:

It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone - Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia - lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

My Book Review:

The Story of Beautiful Girl is a beautifully written and poignant story about four people: Lynnie, Homan, Martha and baby Julia, and how on one cold stormy night in November 1968, they meet and their lives intertwine through a 40 year journey of pain, anguish, hope, despair, sadness, happiness, self-discovery, friendship and ultimately love. The author provides a captivating storyline in which the reader follows the lives of Lynnie, Homan, Martha and baby Julia through the years with alternating chapters. While I did love following each of these characters, there were some slow parts in the middle of the story, specifically Homan's chapters, in which I found my mind wandering because his story seemed to be repetitive, but as the story progressed, I once again became engrossed in finding out what happened next to each of them. The author provides the reader with a very real and hauntingly disturbing account of what life was like for individuals who were placed in these dismal institutions. My emotions ran the gamut, and my heart just ached as I thought about what life must have been like for anyone who was institutionalized during that time period. The most dynamic message that this story provides is how the power of undying love will sustain a person through their most darkest and brightest parts of their life. This story will pull at your heartstrings, it will invoke a range of emotions, and most of all it will provide much food for thought.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nov 26, 2011 CLP Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Blog w/ Irene Woodbury, Author of A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis

In association with CLP, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Blog on Saturday November 26, 2011 with Irene Woodbury, author of A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis!

Irene Woodbury's Bio:

A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, Irene Woodbury's first novel, was inspired by her love of travel writing. Between 2000 and 2006, her stories appeared in many newspapers, including the Washington Post, London Daily Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Toronto Star, and Nevada and The Affluent Traveler magazines.

One of the author's favorite destinations was Las Vegas; she always believed Sin City would be the perfect setting for a novel. In 2006, she came up with the idea for Slot, and, four-and-a-half years, and many visits later, it was finished.

Irene is convinced her book wouldn't work nearly as well in any other city. "Las Vegas has a frenetic energy to it," she says, "and there's plenty of chaos and confusion to go around. Is there a better place for a midlife crisis? I don't think so."

The author has lived in two of the locations featured in her novel: Los Angeles, where she worked at the Los Angeles Times, IBM, and Time Magazine, and Houston, where she graduated from the University of Houston in 1993. She also got married in Houston. (Yes, like Wendy, her lead character, but Irene insists the similarities end there!) Her husband, Richard, a retired Time Magazine correspondent, edited her novel.

Since 1994, the couple have called Denver home. As for midlife crises - his, hers, yours, mine - Irene believes  it's a time for asking questions. "Where am I? Where have I been? Where am I going? That's it in a nutshell," she says. "Writing this novel has been my midlife crisis. And it's not over yet!"

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week! 9/12-16/11

We are celebrating the 4th Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I am sending out kudos to everyone in our Book Blogging Community! Kudos to all the great reviews and blog sites ... it is so awesome to see how we all share our passion for reading by reaching out to readers through our reviews, blog tour events and promotion/awareness of authors!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11/01 ~ 10th Anniversary

As 9/11 begins ... please take the time to say prayers for those who were lost, their families, our troops, Police - Fire - EMS, and our country! God Bless The USA! Never, Ever Forget 9/11/01!

Friday, September 9, 2011

In Memory of Dad by Maranda Russell

In Memory of Dad by Maranda Russell
Published by Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Children's Fiction

About The Author: (Author Page - Author Website):

Maranda is a 28 year old foster parent and writer. She is currently in the process of getting her first picture book published.

Author's Website:

Disclaimer: At the request of the author, a Kindle e-book edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review. Book Description:

Kaley Jergins loved her life. She had it all, the perfect family, good friends, and the talent and passion to be a great basketball player. However, when tragedy strikes and the person she loves most of all is no longer there, will she ever be able to play again?

Told with warmth and feeling this story comes from an author who knows what it is like to deal with loss at a young age. Nothing is ever the same after a tragic loss, but maybe life can go on. Includes an afterword by the author about grief and how to deal with it in a healthy way.

My Book Review:

In Memory of Dad is a beautifully written short story for children dealing with the loss of a loved one, how they are not alone in their grief, and how life can go on with good memories of their loved one always in their heart.

The story is about Kaley Jergins, a fourth grader, who has a special relationship with her father, they both share a passion for playing basketball. Kaley's dad Kyle, used to play basketball when he was in school, and Kaley dreamed of following in his footsteps. One cold January night, Kaley's father suffered a fatal heart attack. Nothing would ever be the same again in her life! She tried to go on with her life, but everything reminded her of her dad. She started skipping basketball practices and games, and after a month went by she officially quit the team. She really missed playing ball and her teammates, but without her dad there to cheer her on, she just couldn't do it anymore, it had always been "their" thing. She felt empty and alone, she kept to herself at school, wishing there was a way she could still be on the team and be around her friends, but without her dad to share it with, it just didn't feel right. She wished she could go back in time to when everything in her life was fine. It took Drea, a friend and captain of the basketball team and her teammates, to show Kaley that she isn't alone, and that she could go forward with her life and still have the memory of her dad in her heart.

The author wrote a beautifully heartfelt story based loosely on her own real experience of losing her dad at the age of twelve. This story was written from her heart, and she so eloquently expresses her message and lesson that through dealing with loss and grief, your life will go on, and that your loved one will always be in your heart. Her message is so easily expressed, that young children will be able to understand and learn from it. She reinforces her message in a very thoughtful and educational way in an Author's Note at the end of the book.


Jennifer's Garden by Dianne Venetta

Jennifer's Garden by Dianne Venetta
Published by Amazon Digital Services
ISBN: 0983246424
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

About The Author (Author Page - Author's website):

Dianne lives in central Florida with her husband, two children and part-time Yellow Lab - Cody boy! When not whacking away at her keyboard crafting her next novel you'll find her in their organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all the while crafting wild analogies between kids and plants and men. Definitely men. A girl's gotta have fun, right?

When she's not knee-deep in dirt or romance, Dianne contributes garden advice for various websites and volunteers in her kids' school garden (a crazy existence to be sure). But at the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses - or rosemary! - kiss their child and spouse good-night, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she's done all right.

Author Website:

Disclaimer: At the request of the author, a Kindle e-book edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review. Book Description:

In a race against time, Cardiologist Jennifer Hamilton is caught between her mother's dying wish and taking the risk of a lifetime with Jackson Montgomery. He's the man hired to complete the landscaping for her new home - the venue for her upcoming wedding. Jackson's everything she never wanted in a man, but as the job progresses, his lure pulls strong. It's an attraction she cannot deny. And one that puts her career on the line.

My Book Review:

Jennifer's Garden is a contemporary romance novel that is well written and jammed packed with romance, desire, internal struggles, sadness and happiness. It is a story about Jennifer Hamilton, an established Florida cardiologist, who has everything going right in her life: a career she loves, she is engaged to a wealthy man that she loves, and she has a beautiful new home. But for all the happiness she has in her life, she also has sadness ... her mom's terminal illness. Jennifer has promised her mom a garden wedding, and time is of the essence since her mom is declining rapidly. Jennifer has to have her garden landscaped before the wedding, which is just weeks away. Enter Jackson Montgomery, a landscape architect, who also does bartending on the side. Jennifer meets Jackson aka Jax at a party unaware that the next day he would appear on her doorstep as the landscaper that was recommended to her by a colleague. In Jennifer's eyes, Jax is not the sort of man that she would fall for, he is not in her social class ... but as time and the landscaping project progresses, she finds herself becoming attracted to Jax. Jennifer is a reserved woman, one who has always been methodical in all her choices, plans and decisions. She has never been one to be spontaneous,carefree, or give in to whimsical desires ... so when she becomes attracted to Jax, her doubts about her pending marriage creates an internal struggle that has her questioning everything in her life. With the help of her good friend Samantha Rawlings, and her mom Beatrice, Jennifer learns that she needs to be free from the shackles of self-discipline that rules her life, give into her true desires .. look beneath the surface and find the true love and happiness that is hers for the taking.

Dianne Venetta weaves a wonderful storyline filled with romance, desire, inner struggles, sadness and happiness. A bonus to the story is the intricate and incredibly detailed description of Jennifer's garden packed full of lush flowers, foliage and waterfalls, that will leave the reader yearning for their own little piece of paradise. As a gardening enthusiast, Ms. Vendetta's description of the landscaped garden was pure ecstasy! The other part of the story that absolutely captivated me was the loving relationship between Jennifer and her mom. This heartwarming yet sad portion of the story reminded me of my own loving relationship that I had with my mom, my emotions ran the gamut just as Jennifer's did in the story, and that made the book even more special in my eyes.

Fans of contemporary romance novels will surely love Jennifer's Garden. I look forward to reading more books from this author.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nov 12, 2011 CLP Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Post w/ Kathleen Kole, Author of Dollars To Donuts

In association with CLP, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Blog Tour Event - Author Guest Blog on November 12, 2011 with Kathleen Kole, author of Dollars to Donuts!

Kathleen Kole's Bio:

Born in Edmonton, AB, Kathleen began storytelling in grade school and has fond memories of passing summer afternoons on the swings in her backyard, creating tales that entertained her childhood friends.

When she finally decided to venture from her backyard, Kathleen pursued a career in storytelling. She graduated from college with a Diploma in Radio and Television Arts and traveled the path of freelance writing for numerous local newspapers. Years later, too many to mention without seeming rude and nosey, Kathleen has channeled her imagination to the pages of her novels. She hopes you enjoy her stories and encourages you to read them on the swing set in your backyard.

Visit Kathleen's website at:

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Spy At Home by Joseph Rinaldo

A Spy At Home by Joseph Rinaldo
Published by Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Mystery Thriller / Contemporary Fiction

About The Author (Author Page -
Joseph Rinaldo, born in Illinois, spent most of his formative years in Kentucky. He currently resides in Nashville, TN. He attended The Ohio State University and is an avid Buckeyes fan. He currently works in finance, is married, and is the father of a wonderful young woman with Down syndrome. He has written nine books, and is self-publishing each through Amazon's KDP program.

Author Website:

Disclaimer: At the request of the author, an ARC PDF edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review. Book Description:

When Dad becomes the lone caregiver for a dependent adult son, Dad has to answer the terrifying question: What happens if I die first?

A retired CIA operative comes to believe he wasted his professional life not only promoting questionable American policies, but missing life with his family. To ease the pain he diverts millions that the CIA expected him to use funding a coup attempt that would establish a pro-American government in an African country. Seeing the coup would fail, Garrison decides to save the money for himself. You, the reader, can decide if he's a villain with evil intent, a hero with altruistic motives, or a regular guy sick of working for peanuts in a dangerous environment.

Back at home he and his wife look forward to their golden years being luxuriously comfortable and opulently relaxed. Unfortunately, after his wife dies in a tragic accident, he must learn all that she knew about caring for Noah, their mentally retarded son. After a life of planning for contingencies, the former spy must deal with the possibility that he may die before his son. Who will care for the son when the dad spent a life out of the country and now has no one to lean on?

My Book Review:

At first glance, you would assume that this book would solely be a suspenseful spy thriller, but I quickly discovered that A Spy At Home is so much more than that. Told in the first person narrative, retired CIA operative Garrison Stonebrook tells his story about the precarious balance he had to maintain between being a CIA operative, and his relationship with his wife Louisa and adopted son Noah, who has Down syndrome. The storyline is very intriguing as it intertwines the suspenseful adventures of his CIA operative experiences, with that of how he had to learn to maintain a stable family life when tragedy strikes, and he is left to take care of his son. Garrison's story is told to readers following his death ... but without giving out any spoiler information, the ending is not what you would think it would be!

Mr. Rinaldo does a great job of grabbing the reader's attention when he describes Garrison's suspenseful  CIA assignments. I was completely hooked and found myself wondering if this fictional storyline could possibly have a ring of truth in it. As citizens of the US, we really don't know what goes on in Washington, especially with the CIA and FBI ... now do we?! Besides being completely intrigued by the spy aspect of the story, what I really liked best about the story was about the Stonebrook's family life, and how they had to deal with very real family issues. As a health care professional, I commend Mr. Rinaldo's description of Down syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, and working in the nursing home industry (LTC - long term care). This story is very powerful on so many levels, it is so much more than a spy novel, it is a story of how a person deals with the most important assignment there is in life, family!