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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Author Interview w/Heather Hummel, Author of Whispers From The Heart

In association with Chick Lit Plus (CLP), Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Virtual Book Tour Event: Author Interview w/Heather Hummel, Author of Whispers From The Heart!

Welcome Heather to Jersey Girl Book Reviews!

Before we start the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

In an interview with Victoria Moran, she introduced me to her audience by saying, "Heather Hummel is a writer's writer" because I write in multiple platforms and genres. I've won awards, I've had best-selling books, but at the end of the day, I am a writer's writer who writes because I love it more than anything else (well. other than my dogs). 

How long have you been a writer?

I'm one of those writers who wanted to be a writer my whole life. Finally, for my fortieth birthday, I gave myself the gift of leaving teaching (high school English) to write full time. That was six years ago; shortly thereafter I landed my first big gig with McGraw-Hill and haven't stopped since. 

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

I have a very cool day job - walking, feeding, walking (again), and entertaining my two dogs. They're the best bosses. When we're done, they let me go work on my career, which beyond writing my own books entails ghostwriting, editing and publishing for clients.

What inspired you to become a writer?

My grandmother was a writer, and I spent much of my youth writing stories that I sent to her for review and critique. This was long before e-mail, of course, and she lived in California while I was in Connecticut, so there were lots of envelopes going back and forth.

What was your inspiration for your first book?

My high school students inspired WHISPERS FROM THE HEART. I had a very good rapport with them, and when I incorporated journal writing into my curricula it opened up a whole new world for all of us. When teens trust you, they will be brutally honest and open with you. That speaks volumes about your relationship with them, but also creates a great level of responsibility for the teacher. It's that connection between teacher and student that I wanted to explore, while also showing the real issues teachers face in their daily lives outside of the classroom. In Madison's case, she faced recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship and learning to trust in herself for the first time in her life.

Please give a brief description / storyline about Whispers From The Heart.

The previous answer is what prompted the storyline:

Madison Ragnar is determined to connect with her high school students, to finish her next running race with a respectable time, and to avoid ever falling in love again. 

But life has other plans for Madison. Michael shows up in her life in the most unexpected places, raising questions from her best friend, Olivia, and issues around Madison's last relationship.

When Madison meets Phil, who throws a wrench in her declaration to not fall in love, it seems that her escape through miles of running is the only real footing she has in life. So, I ask the readers which they believe: does fate determine Madison's life? Or does she have a say in its outcome? 

What was the inspiration for the Journal From The Heart series?

Journal writing is an incredibly powerful tool, and it can be used in so many ways. With each novel of the Journal From The Heart series, I explore different uses for journal writing - a high school teacher who incorporates journal writing into her classes (WHISPERS), an aspiring writer who reflects on old journals to see where her life went wrong and then uses positive journal writing to to reinvent a better life (WRITE), and finally, a fourteen year old who learns she was adopted (WISDOM ... forthcoming). 

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

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was my favorite as both a high school student and years later as a teacher. Madison in WHISPERS explores why a mockingbird sings with her students, which leads them to a very powerful lesson.

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

Even though being a full time writer gives the illusion of a lot of freedom with my time, I'm very ritualistic and write from the same coffee shop daily (they have my Arnold Palmer ready for me when I walk in!). At night I write at my grandmother's old writing desk.

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

Cycling is my muse. I ride about 16-22 miles almost daily and while I'm out there the ideas just flow. The problem is trying to remember them all by the time I get home, shower and sit down to write. I've had to train myself to store the thoughts in part of my brain where I can pull from again!

From concept to publication, about how long does it take for you to complete a book and have it released?

Nowadays a writer can write a book and have it on Kindle in a matter of days. Traditional publishing is quite different. With my first release, GRACEFULLY: LOOKING AND BEING YOUR BEST AT ANY AGE, I started the process in November of '06. I landed my agent within two weeks; we secured the publisher (McGraw-Hill) within two months; I wrote the book in three months time: it went through copyediting, layout and design for about seven months, and we celebrated its release in the spring of '08. That was about an 18 month process from landing the agent to release, and for the traditional publishing route, that's pretty much a Cinderella story!

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

Both. Being so routine oriented, I tend to write for several hours from morning to mid-afternoon, then I head out on my bike or for a hike or swimming (motion is my muse), and then after dinner I write until around midnight. Unless Grey's Anatomy is on. All things stop for McDreamy.

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

My novels' characters tend to set up shop in my head and tell me how it's going to be ... how their story is meant to play out. Story writing has always felt as though they're using me as a vehicle to tell their story. It's a great way to write because it takes the pressure off of me, and I have never had writer's block.

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

Cycling, of course. And taking my dogs to Carmel Beach. The sheer joy they have playing on the beach is priceless. It's a dog-friendly beach where dogs can run and play off-leash. My lab especially loves to run in after the waves, but when he sees they're coming at him, he runs back to shore. My mini German Shepherd loves to bask in the sun. It's a win-win-win when we head down there. 

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

"Be the writer," which was told to me by a very wise spiritual counselor. It seems so simple, but if you think about it, talking about "wanting to be a writer (or anything for that matter) is just your lips getting a workout. Sitting down and doing it, being it, is what makes you a writer. 

My cousin, artist Dick Crispo, also once said: "Don't ever let anything get in the way of what you love to do!" complete with Italian finger shaking. Sometimes we need to hear the simplest of words. 

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

Knowing when I wake up that I get to spend my day doing what I love.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

I've connected in a variety of ways. I used to do a lot of book signings, which were always great for connecting directly with readers. These days it's all social media, so I'm on Facebook and Twitter often (probably too often!). I run contests on my fan page often, too. Once in a while I send out an e-announcement to my e-list when I have something big and exciting to report ... in fact, I have one of those coming up soon!

Are anythings in your books based on real life experiences, or are they purely all from your imagination?

WHISPERS is based on my teaching experiences. WRITE is based on my breaking away from a 9-5 office management job and later my aspirations to be a full time writer. But, the forthcoming WISDOM is pure fiction. It's about a fourteen year old who finds out she's adopted. And though my five siblings would probably like to believe I was adopted, alas, we have the same parents.

What author(s) have been your inspiration to become a writer?

I love answering this question because I believe there's a difference between inspiration and influence. So, to answer it fairly, just one author was my inspiration: my grandmother. Yet, I have been influenced subconsciously by many others over the years.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

I pass on George Martin's advice. He was the producer for the Beatles and was once asked the same question about people wanting to break into the music industry.

His response was, "I would discourage them." 

Naturally, the interviewer would respond with, "But, why? It's such a great and exciting life!"

And it's George's follow-up response that holds the truth.

"Because if they can be discouraged, they should be discouraged."

And the same goes for writing or any other career. If it's not your passion, if you can be discouraged, then go find what makes you excited to wake up in the morning. 

I will add that I don't take kindly to people who say they want to "quit their day job so they can do what I do." I've worked incredibly hard to be where I am today and though people see this career as a "luxury career," it's anything but. You have to have the gumption to stick to writing daily, you have to have thick enough skin to handle negative reviews and still keep on writing, you have to be prepared to work twice the hours that your 9-5 job requires of you because it's not just writing - it's marketing and self-promoting, and you have to be a good enough writer. 

Ultimately, answering to yourself about what you did or didn't accomplish that day can be more brutal than answering to a boss. So, if you can do these and have the passion for it, then indeed, it's a fabulous career. 

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

I am. I'm finishing WISDOM FROM THE HEART, the third in the Journals From The Heart series. I'm also really excited about my fourth novel. It's different than any other I've written and will be accompanied by a documentary. Both the novel and the documentary are titled $1 AND $100.

The novel tracks a $1 bill and a $100 bill through the different hands/time/places they pass through, with an emphasis on how each person relates to them when they have them in hand. It starts off in the mid-seventies with a young, widowed waitress working at a diner on Route 66. She receives a $100 bill as a tip from a family who learns she's a widow with a son. Her son, Jack Sampson, is 7 and receives the $1 bill. Jack writes his name on both bills before they find their way out into the world and into others' hands.

For the documentary, I'll be traveling in early 2012 filming interviews with people of all walks of life about how they relate to money: what did their parents teach them? Has their perception changed? Did they have a financial-defining moment? Did they have a financial mentor? What are they teaching their children about money? All of those types of questions that will in essence get to the core of how our society relates to money. I don't know if it's been done before - a novel launched with a theme related documentary - but it's allowing me to incorporate my love for photography and film as well and, of course, to continue to expand my platform and genres. 

I would like to thank Heather for the opportunity to interview her, and for being so gracious to spend some time with us! Good luck with your writing career, I look forward to reading many more of your books! :)

** Leave a comment on Heather's blog tour page to be entered to win a $10 gift card to Amazon: Heather Hummel's Blog Tour Page. If you purchase your copy of WHISPERS FROM THE HEART from October 7-31 and send your receipt to Samantha at, you will get five bonus entries! **

Visit Heather at her Website:

"Like" Heather's Facebook Fan Page:

Follow Heather on Twitter:

Whispers From The Heart by Heather Hummel

Whispers From The Heart by Heather Hummel
Published by PathBinder Publishing
Sold By Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Chick Lit

About The Author (Author Website):

Heather Hummel is the author of the Journal from the Heart series. She is an award winning author and celebrity ghostwriter. her published works include:

Journal from the Heart series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011 eBook)
Write from the Heart (2011 eBook)
Wisdom from the Heart (2012 eBook)

GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011 eBook)

Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best At Any Age (McGraw Hill, 2008) - Merit Award of the 2009 Mature Media Awards

Heather's books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million.

A graduate from the University of Virginia, Heather holds a bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree and is working toward a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences. She currently lives in Carmel, California with her two beloved dogs, Stephan and Julie.

Author Website:

Facebook Fan Page:


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

Virtual Book Tour Event: On Monday, October 31, 2011, in association with Chick Lit Plus, Heather Hummel participated in a virtual book tour event with an Author Interview on Jersey Girl Book Reviews. Book Description: 

Whispers: The heart's way of speaking ...

Madison Ragnar is a high school English teacher determined to connect with her students, to finish the next running race with a respectable time, and to avoid ever falling in love again.

But life has other plans for Madison. A man named Michael shows himself in the most unexpected places, raising questions from her best friend, Olivia, and issues around Madison's last relationship.

In the classroom, the death of a student prompts her grieving ninth graders to depend on her for answers. They turn to journal writing as a form of understanding the weight of what's happened in the walls of their teenage existence.

When Madison meets Phil, who throws a wrench in her declaration to not fall in love, it seems that her escape through miles of running is the only real footing she has in life.

Will fate determine Madison's life? Or will she have a say in its outcome?

My Book Review:

What would you do if you found yourself in an emotionally abusive relationship? Would you stick it out, or would you leave the relationship and start over? What if your spirit was so broken that you vowed never to fall in love again? Could you listen to the whispers from your heart and learn to heal and start living your life again? These are the questions that Madison Ragnar faced ... come along on her journey of healing and self-discovery ... let Whispers From The Heart show you the way ...

Madison Ragnar is in an emotionally abusive relationship with her boyfriend Rick. She makes the decision to leave him and the relationship behind. She leaves the home that they've shared in Carbondale, Colorado, and drives cross-country to Charlottesville, Virginia, where a new life and job as a ninth grade English teacher awaits her. Fast forward three years, Madison still has nightmares about her ex-boyfriend, and questions if he would ever find her. She has vowed to never fall in love again, and has stuck to that plan. Madison fills her days with teaching her high school students how to write a journal and to embrace reading To Kill A Mockingbird. Outside of the school environment, she works out at a gym and runs with her best friend, Olivia. She leads a solitary life ... that is until two men, Michael and Phil, come into her life in unexpected ways. The interactions with Michael and Phil, along with the tragic death of one of her students, has Madison questioning her life, and whether she should listen to the whispers from her heart ... and learn to trust herself and love again.

I absolutely loved Whispers From The Heart! The storyline is captivating, it had me enthralled from the start. I went along with Madison on her emotional journey of healing and self-discovery, and I held on while the roller coaster ride of emotions swept over me. This is a very thoughtful and beautifully written book that will tug at your heart strings. The characters are so engaging, you can't help but feel like you could step into the story and be friends with them. Madison's journey is one that is filled with all the emotions: sadness, fear, uncertainty, hope, healing and finally love. Author Heather Hummel has given the reader so much in this heartfelt book ... but the most important message she gives to her readers are truly lessons to be learned: find the light in your eyes and soul, believe in your convictions and most of all ... follow your heart!

Whispers From The Heart is the first novel in the Journal from the Heart series. The second novel, Write From The Heart is currently available, and the third novel in the series, Wisdom From The Heart will be released in early 2012.


Monday, October 24, 2011

December 2, 2011 Goddess Fish Promotions Virtual Book Tour Event: Book Review of True Surrender by Tracey Cramer-Kelly

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Virtual Book Tour Event: Book Review of True Surrender by Tracey Cramer-Kelly!

Tracey Cramer-Kelly's Bio:

Tracey’s work fuses writing, music and visual imagery whenever possible, and includes novels, short stories, essays and music videos. True Surrender is her second novel. Her first, Last Chance Rescue, is an Indie Award finalist. Her first full-length music video, The Rose (Surrender Version), includes scenes from True Surrender. Her writing draws from her experience as an Army Reserve paramedic and helicopter pilot. When not managing the family business, Leader Motorcycle Accessories, she enjoys motorcycling and outdoor activities with her husband and two young children.

True Surrender (Book Description):

When Major Aaron Bricewick is rescued from Afghanistan terrorists, he thinks the worst is over. But his personal journey is just beginning...

The first surprise is the amputation of one of his legs.

The second is the woman he left behind, now a widow with a 4-year-old son - and his new prosthetist (artificial limb maker).

He vows that losing his leg won't derail his career. But maintaining his outward appearance as a got-it-together officer becomes increasingly difficult as he faces one personal demon after another - and sees his career aspirations slipping away. And though he has no intention of expanding his life to include a woman, his heart has other ideas - and he finds himself questioning the very foundation of his personal beliefs.

When violence - and unexpected redemption - touch his life again, Aaron must make a stand. Which will he choose: duty or love?


Book Trailer

Random Ramblings: Book Reviewer Dilemmas ...

As I find myself getting more and more involved in reading and reviewing books for virtual book tour events and author requests for reviews, I have acquired random thoughts or dilemmas related to the wonderful world of book reviewing, and thought maybe if I shared my thoughts, my fellow book reviewers might care to share their insight.

First, I have found that my personal pile of TBR books is getting longer, and that I haven't read any in quite a while, as I have dedicated more time to reading and reviewing books for the tour events or author requests.  

Second, since I bought my Kindle last year, I have become so spoiled from reading books on that device, that when I read other formats (Paperbacks, Hardcovers, ARCs, Galleys and PDFs), it seems to take me longer to read/finish the book. 

Third, since I want to provide a thorough book review, I take notes as I read and I find that this is also slowing my reading/reviewing rate down.

Finally, I just plain love being immersed in reading good books .... so this has to be a good thing ... right?! lol 

So .... fellow bookworms and book reviewers, what's a girl to do when she has these random thoughts popping up while reading? I would love to know what y'all would do if you found yourself in the same situation! :)

... Just another random rambling from Kathleen @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Author Guest Post: Laura Rodela, Author of Confessions

In association with Virtual Book Tour Cafe (VBTC), Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Laura Rodela, author of Confessions!

Book Marketing Ideas

As I was working on my book and later got it published it didn't hit me that the hardest part was the marketing of my book. I had no disposable income and the marketing packages my publishing company offered, although good, were out of my nearly zero budget. Here are some ideas that I have personally tried and found they worked wonders. Hope they help you with your book marketing efforts.

1. Social Media: If you have a Facebook or Twitter account utilize them to connect with other authors and to market your book. There are writer groups on Facebook you can join and not only can you promote your book but also share ideas with other authors who are also looking to market their books. Create a fan page on Facebook to attract potential readers. Keep your page fun and informative. include other authors work so they can in return promote your work on their fan pages.

2. Blog Talk Radio: do some research on this topic and start sending out requests to radio hosts to have you on their show for an interview. you will be surprised how many do author interviews. this is great exposure for your book.

3. Friends and family: They will be happy you got them involved and should be more than willing to help. writing a review for you on Amazon or other sites where your book is sold is great for your book exposure.

4. Do a virtual book tour: I personally recommend using VBTcafe but you can do research and find what works best for you. this includes guest blogging and author interviews. Imagine the possibilities!.

5. Blog: Create a blog and write about subjects that relate to your book, publishing, marketing and anything related to the industry. it wouldn't hurt to promote other authors. you want to sell your book but you also want to build relationships and network.

A big budget is no longer necessary for effective book marketing. in the virtual world the possibilities are endless. it is all up to you and your imagination. 

                                             ~ Laura Rodela

Confessions by Laura Rodela

Confessions by Laura Rodela
Published by Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Biographies/Memoirs

About The Author:

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.

Laura Rodela's Blog Site

Follow Laura Rodela on Twitter

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

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Virtual Book Tour Event: On Saturday, October 22, 2011, in association with Virtual Book Tour Cafe, Laura Rodela particpated in a virtual book tour event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews. Book Description:

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.

My Book Review:

Laura Rodela is packing the last of her personal belongings while preparing for her move from the USA to Europe, when she comes across a latched box in the corner of one of her closets. She doesn't remember anything about the box, so she gives in to curiosity and pries open the latch of the box, and to her pleasant surprise the box contains letters, pictures, trinkets and other mementos of her and her four lifelong friends. Laura's story takes the reader on a trip down memory lane. It is a story about five lifelong friends: Laura aka Lulu, Badstuff, Diva, Jaime and Charlie; and the various events in their lives that bound them together as friends. It is the author's story of self-discovery, acceptance and mutual love and respect for the most important people in her life.

Confessions was an interesting story to read, I was curious to read about the author and her friends. While I thought the book was full of funny stories, and I could totally relate to the adventures that lifelong friends have together, I really liked how the author had some pretty profound thoughts to share, and I found myself agreeing with her throughout the book. This story had me reminiscing about my own crazy adventures that I had with my lifelong friends, while we were not as daring as Laura and her gang, the memories had me laughing and smiling just the same. What I liked most of all about this book was that all five of the girls were very different, yet they completed each others lives, to me, this is the beauty of true friendship, and it should always be cherished. Laura said it best in these statements: "People can buy material things, but the heart can't be bought. All of my friends have hearts of gold, and that is priceless." "For every life is a story and every story has something we can all learn from." This trip down memory lane gave the author a chance to discover, accept, laugh and love herself for she is, and to do the same for her friends, what a beautiful gift.

I only have one piece of advice to offer as a reader to the author, since this is your first book in a series of memoirs, I would suggest that you have an editor or someone in the literary world proof read the book, as there were many grammar and editorial mistakes throughout the book. So many typos and editorial mistakes tend to annoy and turn off the readers, and that is a shame, because it takes away from the story you are telling.

Confessions is a story for anyone who would love to take that trip down their own memory lane with their lifelong friends. This is a truly funny yet poignant story that will have the reader thinking about their own lives and the special people that occupy a space in their hearts.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Lethal by Sandra Brown

Lethal by Sandra Brown
Published by Grand Central Publishing (September 20, 2011)
Sold By Hatchette Book Group
ISBN: 1455501476
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

About The Author:

Sandra Brown is the author of sixty New York Times bestsellers, including RAINWATER (2010), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), HELLO, DARKNESS (2003), THE CRUSH (2002), ENVY (2001), THE SWITCH (2000), THE ALIBI (1999), UNSPEAKABLE (1998) and FAT TUESDAY (1997), all of which have jumped onto the Times bestseller list in the number one to five spot.
Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into thirty-three languages.
A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program "PM Magazine."
She is much in demand as a speaker and guest television hostess. Her episode on truTV's "Murder by the Book" premiered the series in 2008 and she was one of the launch authors for Investigation Discovery's new series, "Hardcover Mysteries."
In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.
Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer's Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award.



TWITTER Book Description:

When her four year old daughter informs her a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help hi. But that "sick" man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won't be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word.

But Honor soon discovers that even those close to her can't be trusted. Coburn claims that her beloved late husband possessed something extremely valuable that places Honor and her daughter in grave danger. Coburn is there to retrieve it - at any cost. From FBI offices in Washington, D.C., to a rundown shrimp boat in coastal Louisiana, Coburn and Honor run for their lives from the very people sworn to protect them, and unravel a web of corruption and depravity that threatens not only them, but the fabric of our society.

My Book Review:

Seven people have been brutally murdered and the killer is still on the loose ... that is until he shows up at Honor Gillette's remote coastal Louisiana home. Lee Coburn has been accused of being the mass murderer and kidnapper of Honor and her duaghter, Emily, and now they're on the run from the manhunt that is bearing down on them. But is Lee Coburn a mass murderer, or is he really someone else?

Widow Honor Gillette and her four year old daughter, Emily, live on the bayou in remote coastal Louisiana, and their world as they have known it will never be the same when accused mass murderer Lee Coburn shows up at their home. Coburn tells Honor that he is not the mass murderer that law enforcement has made him out to be, that her life and that of her daughter's are in danger, especially from those that they have considered to be close friends. He tells her that she has "something" that the others want, and he needs to find whatever this "something" is in order to solve a corruption case, and that he needs her help. Is he lying, or should she believe him? Their journey to seek the truth and to solve the corruption case have Lethal ramifications ....

Lethal is a novel jammed packed with twists and turns that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. This novel has all the bells and whistles that a true mystery thriller needs to captivate the reader. The storyline is in true Sandra Brown style, it is very well written, the characters are believable and unforgettable, and the intense suspense she gives her readers is worth the ride. I was hooked on this story from the first page, and was completely shocked by the ending, any good mystery thriller than can do that is well worth reading.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

December 6, 2011 CLP Virtual Book Tour Event: Author Guest Post w/Chandra Hoffman, Author of Chosen

In association with Chick Lit Plus (CLP), Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a Virtual Book Tour Event: Author Guest Post on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 with Chandra Hoffman, author of Chosen!

Chandra Hoffman's Bio: 

Since graduating from Cornell University, Chandra has been an orphanage relief worker in Romania, a horse trainer in the Caribbean, a short order cook in a third world hospital, the director of a US adoption program and an event planner for Philadelphia's Main Line elite.

She has lived in eleven international cities and this wanderlust shaped her writing - in each novel, the setting is its own character, flavoring the story. She prefers to write about everyday scenarios, shining a light on the complexities of situations through the voices of multiple characters. Her debut novel, Chosen, uses the domestic adoption scene of Portland, Oregon as a backdrop to pose the questions "What happens when you get what you thought you wanted?" and "How far would you go if it might not be what you want anymore?"

Chandra received her MFA from Antioch University in 2007. She is now settled back in her hometown outside of Philadelphia with her husband, three young children and an ever-changing menagerie.

Chosen (Book Description):

In Chosen, a young caseworker becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the adoptive and birth parents she represents, and who faces life-altering choices when an extortion attempt goes horribly wrong, with devastating results.

It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her "signing paperwork" charcoal suit, paired with beaming parents cradling their adoptive newborn, against a fluorescent-lit delivery room backdrop. It's this blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of The Chosen Child's domestic adoption program, happy juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of parents on both sides.

But the job that offers Chloe refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland's winter rains soon becomes a battleground itself involving three very different couples: the Novas, college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who have nothing - except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what they really want and where it all went wrong.

Told from alternating points of view, Chosen reveals the desperate nature of desire across social backgrounds and how far people will go to get the one thing they think will be the answer.

Visit Chandra's Website
Chandra's Facebook Fan Page
Chandra's Twitter Page

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Author Guest Post: M.R. Cornelius, Author of H10N1

Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes M.R. Cornelius, author of H10N1!

Rejection vs Rewards

Oh the rejection! It comes in so many ways.

First it was my creative writing class, when hastily-written assignments were returned bleeding red ink for poorly constructed sentences, or incomplete ideas.

After college, I dabbled with short stories and poems, but by then, I was writing with much reflection and contemplation. I crafted each sentence with glowing prose, fancy alliteration and thought-provoking metaphors that had me gasping with awe.

For validation, I took these finely-crafted pieces to a critique group, where members took turns cutting my golden words to shreds. I remember feeling like I'd been flayed by jackals. How could those people not find my every word inspiring? Didn't they understand the time and thought I'd devoted? Of course, the deepest wound of all was the realization that maybe they were right, my writing sucked.

Once I had indulged my pride for a couple days, I'd think back on comments that were made. Was my character one-dimensional? Did the dialogue drag? With my vanity out of the way, I was able to create stories that not only entertained my critique group, but drew their praise. 

I decided I was ready for the big time: a novel. The professionals tell us to rewrite and rewrite until we've got that book perfected before sending out the first query letter. And that's what I did. Is it any wonder then, that being told 'no' is so hurtful after all that work? 

And those form letters! Some had been copied so many times the type was faded and the text crooked on the page. The salutation was an impersonal 'Dear sir or madam', or a genderless 'Dear author". I was thrilled when an agent actually used my name. Sometimes they don't even waste a whole sheet of paper, it's just a slip  stapled to your query letter.

On a few occasions, I was rewarded with a personalized letter that not only called me by name but mentioned the title of my book in the text. And the biggest reward of all? I got my agent through a rejection letter. She had so many positive things to say about my book before she ultimately turned me down, that I begged for the chance to rewrite the book (again). 

Through the years, I've thought about quitting. I know there were many times when my husband wished I would; so did my kids. My friends were sure I was wasting my time, acquaintances raised an eyebrow when I said I was a writer, yet I hadn't been published. 

Well now, I do have a published book. And the rewards are quite fulfilling. Getting that first copy in the mail and brushing a hand over the cover is like caressing a newborn. Calling my mom and explaining how to get on Amazon so she can see the book online? Priceless!

But the biggest reward of all? Knowing my two sons have seen how my hard work and persistence have paid off. We tell our children they can do anything they want; they just have to keep at it. In my case, I don't think my kids really believed it until they held my book in their hands. Now they understand. Never give up.

                                                                                       ~ M.R. Cornelius


H10N1 by M.R. Cornelius

H10N1 by M.R. Cornelius
Published by Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Thriller

About The Author (Author Website):

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 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.

Author Website:

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

Virtual Book Tour Event: On Tuesday, October 11, 2011, M.R. Cornelius participated in a virtual book tour event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews. Book Description:

A deadly influenza virus rages out of control. There is no easy-fix vaccine. No eleventh-hour containment. Only death.

With no workforce, power plants are unmanned so there's no means of communication; police and fire departments have collapsed so no one is safe; looters are scavenging everything from big-screen TVs to canned peas.

When Dr. Taeya Sanchez finds herself unceremoniously dismissed from an emergency medical facility in New York, she decides to steal the hospital's armored van for a midnight escape.

Unfortunately, Rick DeAngelo, a driver for the hospital, has already stocked the van for his own getaway.

Thrown into an unfriendly alliance, these two must pick their way across the dangerous wasteland of America in search of a safe haven. And as the miles roll by, they discover that the living should be feared much more than the festering corpses out there.

My Book Review:

What would you do if the world as you have known it no longer exists due to a devastating worldwide pandemic? What if you were among the survivors, and there is nothing but chaos, mayhem and uncertainty left? How would you pick up the pieces and survive in the unknown? These are the questions and circumstances that Dr. Taeya Sanchez and Rick DeAngelo found themselves in H10N1.

A Korean Flu has been intentionally spread among the world's biggest cities ... a pandemic catastrophe that has decimated millions of people worldwide .... and now only packs of survivors remain in a virtual wasteland that used to be thriving cities. For Dr. Taeya Sanchez and Rick DeAngelo, the hospital they work at is no longer their choice of a safe haven from the chaos, mayhem and uncertainty that lies outside its protective walls. Both have their own agenda of where they want to go to start over, neither like each other very much, but they band together to leave the ruins of New York for the west coast. Along the way they learn to adapt to each other's personalities, and help each other to survive when other packs of survivors try to take over their van. How they make out on their journey to survive and create a new life together will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading H10N1! The storyline was very well written, and the characters are so engaging and compelling, that you feel like you can actually step into the story and go along with them on their journey. For anyone who is interested in the world's super powers and their possible secret biological chemical warfare capabilities, this book will have you wondering if this devastating catastrophe could possibly happen. H10N1 is a gripping post-apocalyptic thriller that will have you so engrossed in its riveting action, that it won't let you go until you have read the very last word.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Random Ramblings: Fortune Cookie Quote

My hubby and I had chinese food for dinner the other night and in my fortune cookie was this quote which made me very happy:

"Book lovers never go to bed alone."

This quote is so true, I take my Kindle to bed with me every night, as a matter of fact that device has become an extension of my hand. lol :p

I liked that little quote so much I taped it on the inside of my Kindle cover so I could fondly look at it every now and then. 

So fellow bookworms, what do you think of my fortune cookie quote? :)

... Just another random rambling from Kathleen @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews 

November 30, 2011 Virtual Book Tour Event: Author Guest Post w/Joseph Rinaldo, Author of Hazardous Choices

Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following Virtual Book Tour Event: Author Guest Post on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 with Joseph Rinaldo, author of Hazardous Choices!

Joseph Rinaldo's Bio: 

Joseph Rinaldo, born in Illinois, spent most of his formative years in Kentucky. He currently resides near 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.

Prior Book Review on Jersey Girl Book Reviews: A Spy At Home

Hazardous Choices (Book Description):

After surviving life in a violent Chicago street gang through his high school years, Darnell Jackson's future appears promising. A football scholarship gives him the chance to escape the thug lifestyle.

During his first year in college, Darnell safely resides in a small Kentucky town, playing Division Two college football and trying to make something of himself. Adjusting to the new surroundings proves tough, but a teammate and a girl give him hope that his future will be better than his past.

In the summer after his freshman year, he returns to the old neighborhood to be with his mother. The gang reasserts its hold on him, and the leader orders Darnell to kill a member of a rival gang. Nearly dying in a gang fight, Darnell shoots an enemy gangbanger. This forces Darnell to re-evaluate his future. As a result, he lies to the mercurial leader of his gang, claiming he completed his assignment. After "doing work" for his gang, Darnell receives permission to head back to school and the security of small-town life.

When the head gangbanger learns of Darnell's lie, the small Kentucky town isn't so safe anymore.

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Nov 3-4, 2011 Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tour Event: Author Guest Post w/Heidi Ann Smith, Author of The Clara Ann Burns Story

In association with Pump Up Your Book!, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following Virtual Book Tour Events: Author Guest Post on Thursday, November 3, 2011 and Book Review on Friday, November 4, 2011 with Heidi Ann Smith, author of The Clara Ann Burns Story!

Heidi Ann Smith Bio:

Heidi Ann Smith grew up in the Chicago area and began publishing poems as a child. At a young age, she won various local and academic awards for her writing; based on her writing abilities, she was awarded a scholarship to a private high school and attended college courses during her high school years. After high school she began raising a family and was taken away from her writing, but soon returned to complete a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Illinois University. She then earned a Master of Arts in Humanities from California State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Several of her poems recently found homes in various journals, and she published a scholarly thesis on the German artist George Grosz. Heidi is currently a PhD student studying Creative Writing at Middlesex University in London, England. The Clara Ann Burns Story is her first novel.

The Clara Ann Burns Story (Book Description):

The Clara Ann Burns Story is a short novel, in which a woman who suffered child abuse looks back over her turbulent life as she approaches her fifties. It is a story of a young girl, Clara Ann Burns, who was tortured, abused and neglected by her family. When she was old enough to go out on her own, she got herself into situations that were not always the best. But in the end she raises her own family and holds onto the hope of healing and living without fear.

Book Website: