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, August 31, 2012

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 9/2-8/12

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 9/2-8/12

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following virtual book tour event:

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie

Sunday, September 2 ~ Author Guest Post and Book Review

Book Description: Breaking the Rules

When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef. 

While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about.

Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?

* Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway *

Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card

Click on Cat Lavoie's Breaking the Rules Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus and post a comment to enter the contest to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Breaking the Rules before September 10th and sends their receipt to, will get five (5) bonus entries!

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following virtual book tour event:

River's End by Melody Carlson

Tuesday, September 4 ~ Author Guest Post and Book Review

Book Description: River's End

Anna’s dream of a successful river inn is fully realized, but her family is still fractured—until forgiveness, patience, and unfailing love merge their lives back together again.

In the final story of the Inn at Shining Waters, Anna’s granddaughter Sarah is struggling to find herself. And in an attempt to escape her parents’ dysfunctional lives, Sarah travels away from all that is familiar. But her grandmother’s love and the pull of the river draw Sarah back. Still it’s not an easy journey to find the healing and forgiveness that’s needed to reunite and strengthen this broken family together again.

In association with AToMR Book Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following virtual book tour event:

Breaking Lauren by Jordan Deen

Wednesday, September 5 ~ Book Review

Book Description: Breaking Lauren

Seventeen-year-old Danny Cummings' life is far from a fairytale, but that's okay since he doesn't believe in happy endings. After spending a year in juvenile hall for maliciously beating his sister's boyfriend, Danny embraces his badass image. Spending most nights drinking, fighting and collecting gambling debts for his Uncle, Danny's life is out of control. His addiction to the bad boy lifestyle won't let him do anything about it, even with his family begging him to go straight. But, when fifteen-year-old Lauren McIntosh stumbles into one of his nightly escapades, the self-proclaimed anti-romantic can't concentrate on anything except Lauren and the fact that she's on the same path his sister was on. Danny knows true love happening for the villain is as common as gamblers paying their debt on time, but he's never backed away from a challenge before and he hates the idea that history will repeat itself.

Growing old with the man she loves—in the small town where she was born—is the only dream Lauren McIntosh has ever had; that is until her family is practically run out of town amidst rumors of arson and adultery. So, when she meets Danny at her new school and hears the rumors about his activities from her new friends, she wants nothing to do with him or the gossip that seems to follow Danny everywhere. After a dangerous and ill-fated attempt at sneaking out, she develops unwelcomed feelings for Danny that he seems to reciprocate. But, Danny’s unrelenting pursuit makes Lauren nervous, especially since he's the only one that wants to know the secrets surrounding her family’s move. Lauren can't tell if Danny's intentions are true or if he has other plans for their newfound and unlikely friendship. The only way to figure out is to let him in and that could destroy everything, including the popularity and social acceptance she desperately seeks.

Jersey Girl Book Reviews Virtual Book Tour Events is pleased to host the following virtual book event: 

Olive Branches Don't Grow On Trees by Grace Mattioli

Wednesday, September 5 ~ Author Interview and Book Review

Book Description: Olive Branches Don't Grow On Trees

Imagine you are asked to plan a gathering for a feuding family of six that has not been gathered together in over six years. Add to this the fact that the parents of this family are newly separated and that your own life is falling apart. This is the challenge that befalls 23 year old Silvia Greco when she is drafted into helping her mother plan a party for her younger brother’s high school graduation. She takes it on, and in doing so, must negotiate with each member of her family, appealing to their individual needs and interests, in order to get them to go. Through this process, she learns that peace is not something that is easily achieved or freely existing. It is something that needs to be created, cultivated and nurtured. In other words, she learns that “olive branches don’t grow on trees.”

This story is filled with insight, humor and lovable, quirky characters. The father, Frank, works as a judge in a local courthouse, and spends his spare time drinking, cooking food that no one eats and maintaining the most perfectly manicured yard in town. The mother, Donna, is a college professor, and is giving single life a go after spending almost all of her adult life with Frank. Angie, the eldest child, married rich and devastated her father by moving from south Jersey to north Jersey, which as far as Frank is concerned, might as well be another planet. Silvia’s older brother, Cosmo, is brilliant and great at everything he does, but is also a classic underachiever. Her younger brother, Vince, is bursting with energy and is on his way to save the world.

And then there is Silvia: Energetic, idealistic, and young, striving to bring her family together, while also struggling to settle down and find a career in which she may utilize her artistic talents. She is extremely independent as she can drive across the country and move from place to place alone. She is highly adaptable and does whatever she has to do to get by, whether that be working as a nude model for art schools or a candy store manager at a mall. Last but not least is Grandma Tucci, who Silvia loves fiercely. She has passed away years ago, but remains with Silvia in spirit, almost as if guiding her through her adventures in the lessons of life, love and peace.

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following virtual book tour event:

Stella & Dane By Deanna Roy

Thursday, September 6 ~ Book Review

Book Description: Stella & Dane

Stella is one step from leaving her honky tonk town when bad-boy Dane roars through Main Street on his prized Harley-Davidson. Their dangerous romance keeps the locals talking, but when Dane is sent to prison for manslaughter after a bar fight, the couple discovers their love runs deeper than their reputations.

* Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway *

Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card

Author Deanna Roy will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to one (1) randomly drawn commenter during the virtual book tour. To enter the contest giveaway: comment on each blog stop, the more comments you post, the more chances to win! 

In association with JKSCommunications, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following virtual book tour event:

Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris

Friday, September 7 ~ Author Interview and Book Review

Book Description: Man in the Blue Moon

“He’s a gambler at best. A con artist at worst,” her aunt had said of the handlebar-mustached man who snatched Ella Wallace away from her dreams of studying art in France. Eighteen years later, that man has disappeared, leaving Ella alone and struggling to support her three sons.

While the world is embroiled in World War I, Ella fights her own personal battle to keep the mystical Florida land that has been in her family for generations from the hands of an unscrupulous banker. When a mysterious man arrives at Ella’s door in an unconventional way, he convinces her he can help her avoid foreclosure, and a tenuous trust begins.

But as the fight for Ella’s land intensifies, it becomes evident that things are not as they appear. Hypocrisy and murder soon shake the coastal town of Apalachicola and jeopardize Ella’s family.

In association with Crossroads Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the following virtual book tour event:

Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down by Pauline L. Hawkins

Saturday, September 8 ~ Author Guest Post, Author Interview and Book Review

Book Description: Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down

9/11: The Day That Defined a Generation Where were you on 9/11? That question has become part of the fabric of our lives as Americans. On that bright, sunny day, none of us had any idea what was in store and how it would change our lives. Depending on what part of the country you lived in, you may not have known anything was going on until several hours after the first plane struck. You may not have heard the news until you got to work, turned on your car radio, or received a call from a loved one asking if you had seen or heard the news. Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down is a look at the events of 9/11 from personal and informational perspectives. Author, Pauline Hawkins, who lived in Texas at the time of the attacks, shares her experience of 9/11, and its repercussions for her family, her job, and how she viewed the world. Pauline's story of coping with the news, reframing how she thought about America and the world, and making a conscious decision to become better-informed will resonate with anyone who lived through 9/11. In addition to her personal testimony, Pauline provides a thought-provoking context for the events of 9/11, including political background, social commentary, and reflections on the contributions of everyday heroes. You'll come away from this book both enlightened and comforted by Pauline's honesty and common sense, as well as her heartfelt appreciation of those who sacrificed for our country, and those who continue to work toward healing and rebuilding.

Showbiz by Ruby Preston (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Ruby Preston, author of Showbiz!

Author Guest Post

The Broadway You Never Knew
By Ruby Preston

If you’ve ever seen a musical, you know about the fabulous singing and dancing that you can expect to find on stage. But what you might not know is the drama that you don’t see. What’s really happening behind the scenes? Showbiz, rooted firmly in my personal journey to Broadway is out of necessity, a work of fiction. With names changed and situations adapted, I was able to include some of my juiciest behind the scenes Broadway stories through the adventures of my smart and sassy heroine, Scarlett Savoy.

Scarlett’s nightmare of a boss, fledgling romance, and musical theater projects may be just shy of the actual facts, but within her drama, the truth about show business is very much revealed.

To whet your appetite for the book, here are 3 things you might not know about Broadway:

#1 Once it’s written, a new musical takes, on average, 5 to 7 years to get to Broadway. If you write a musical, you’d better be up for a long haul.

#2 In the Times Square area, the only thing that differentiates a Broadway theater from an Off-Broadway theater is the number of seats.

#3 The average musical costs $2 million dollars A MONTH to run on Broadway. Half of that cost is theater rent alone and the rest is due primarily to union wage minimums. That’s a heck of a lot of tickets to sell each month to stay in business and explains the high ticket prices!

Now you can impress your friends with a little Broadway trivia. But I should be getting back to work... if you find yourself visiting Broadway, look for me at the theater!

About The Author:

Ruby Preston is an up and coming Broadway producer currently working on several new musicals on the Great White Way. She couldn’t be more thrilled to be living her dreams in the Times Square trenches of Manhattan. Ruby loves hearing from readers and Broadway fans so feel free to drop her note via email: or Twitter.

Ruby Preston's Showbiz Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus

Showbiz Book Trailer

Book Review

Showbiz by Ruby Preston
Published By: Dress Circle Publishing
Publication Date: April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback - 244 pages / Kindle - 437 KB / Nook - 667 KB
ISBN: 0985471816
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction / Cozy Mystery


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

After four years in Manhattan, slaving away as the under-appreciated apprentice to the brilliant but ruthless “King of Broadway,” Scarlett Savoy is finally on her way to becoming a Broadway producer in her own right. A chance meeting with an influential gossip columnist sparks romance – but can he be trusted? A shocking suicide turns Broadway on its head and Scarlett finds herself at the center of the storm as everything she thought she knew about the business of Broadway begins to unravel.

Book Excerpt:

The usual cacophony of Broadway gossip and gleeful skewering of the latest shows at the popular hot spot, Joe Allen, went suddenly quiet. Scarlett, who had just moments before snagged the last free bar stool, craned her head to see the one small TV screen that had caught everyone’s attention.

“Long-time New York Banner chief theater critic Ken Kanter was found dead in his townhouse this evening. The often-maligned journalist appears to have taken his own life.”

Scarlett could hear gasps and, uncharitably but not surprisingly, some giggles. She exchanged surprised glances with a couple of other regulars perched further down the bar. As theater critics went, Kanter was famous for how quickly he could close a Broadway show with a few choice words, a dubious honor that previously had been held by his predecessors. It seemed that with each generation of critics, the nastiness-bar was elevated, and Kanter had certainly taken it to new heights.

Scarlett spun on her barstool to watch the reactions as the news of Kanter’s death rippled through the dining room. The industry players were easily identified by their frantic texting, phone calling, and looks of wide eyed disbelief; while tourists continued their pre-show meals, blithely unaware that Broadway, as well as the world’s leading newspaper, had just experienced a seismic shift.

Scarlett's cell phone buzzed on the bar.

Where are you? A text from her boss, Mr. Margolies: an old-school legend in the industry that hadn’t adapted to modern-day sexual-harassment laws but had figured out how to use text messaging to keep Scarlett at his beck and call. She regretted that she hadn’t had time to order her usual drink. She had a feeling she was going to need it. Too late. She hopped off the stool with one last glance at the TV for any updates, but the news cycle had moved on.

Scarlett buttoned up her zebra-print coat and walked up the steps to the street and into the freezing February evening. Pushing her way through the pre-theater crowds, it took only minutes for Scarlett to walk the few blocks to her office in the prestigious, if non-descript, building, above her other favorite post-work haunt, Sardi’s, on 44th and Broadway. Even after four years on the job, she never failed to get a thrill when she walked through the doors of her Broadway office building, where many a theater legend had walked before. If you can make it here... she often thought to herself.

My Book Review:

"Come on along and listen to ... The lullaby of Broadway. The hip hooray and bally hoo ... The lullaby of Broadway." - Lullaby of Broadway from the hit Broadway Musical 42nd Street.

For the past four years, Scarlett Savoy has been the assistant producer for top Broadway producer Margolies, aka the "King of Broadway." She's been honing her skills and slaving away for a ruthless boss that will do anything to stay on top. Ready to spread her wings, Ruby gets her first shot at producing an off-Broadway show at the same time that Margolies announces the production of his biggest blockbuster project on Broadway. When a theater critic commits suicide and leaves behind secrets that could blow the industry wide open, Ruby meets Reilly Mitchell, a handsome theater gossip columnist whose in line for taking over the theater critic's position. Sparks fly between Ruby and Reilly, but is their relationship real, or is Reilly really just interested in finding out the insider secrets from Ruby? With trade secrets, backstabbing, complicated relationships, and a suicide ... this fascinating fictionalized insiders look behind the curtains of the glitter and mystique that is Broadway will have you singing "There's no business, like show business" ... where "anything goes" on Broadway!

Showbiz is an entertaining behind the scenes insiders look at the mystique that is Broadway. Written in the third person narrative, the author weaves a fascinating tale of the inner workings of NY's famed musical theater industry. With enough glitter, glitz, drama, hype, inflated egos, power struggles, schmoozing, and everything Broadway, the reader is transported to the Great White Way with premium orchestra seats to be entertained by an intriguing cast of characters. The cast of characters are engaging and realistic, their flamboyant personalities, larger than life egos, and humorous dialogues and interactions make the story a thoroughly entertaining read. I loved all the characters, their quirky ways and juicy drama kept me engaged and wanting more.

I loved how the chapters are set as scenes, that is a masterful creative style of writing that stays true to the musical theater that is a part of the author's real life profession. Rich in detail and vivid descriptions of the inner workings of the production of the musical theater industry, the insights that the author provides completely satisfied my curiosity.

This page turner of a story will keep you tapping your toes and humming along to famed Broadway musical lyrics as you sit on the edge of your seat guessing at what could possibly happen next. As a fan of Broadway musicals, I have had the pleasure of attending many of the hit shows, and for me, this story pulls out all the stops and provides the excitement and entertainment that is simply Broadway.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

House of Mercy by Erin Healy (Book Review)

In association with The B&B Media Group, Inc., Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Erin Healy, author of House of Mercy!

House of Mercy by Erin Healy
Published By: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Format: Paperback - 384 pages / Kindle - 697 KB / Nook -789 KB
ISBN: 140168551X
ASIN: B007N425P4
Genre: Christian Fiction / Mystery - Suspense - Thriller

About The Author:

Erin Healy
writes supernatural suspense novels from a Christian worldview. Her books explore what it means to be a spiritual being in a physical world, and a physical creature in a spiritual world. She is an award-winning fiction editor who worked with Ted Dekker on more than a dozen of his stories before their collaboration on Kiss and Burn. She owns WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. Her latest novel, House of Mercy. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors. She lives with her family in Colorado.


House of Mercy Book Trailer

Book Review

BUY THE BOOK: House of Mercy

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher via The B&B Media Group, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

What Happens When a Natural Healer Can’t Heal Herself?

Follow Beth through death’s mysterious valley up to God’s mountaintop of mercy.

When a cowgirl makes a fatal mistake that jeopardizes her entire family, making things right will take nothing less than a miracle. When God doesn’t give her the solution she wants, she goes on a journey to find it for herself—in an estranged grandfather, a mysterious wolf, and a supernatural gift of healing that she can’t control.

Beth has a gift of healing, which is why she wants to become a veterinarian and help her family run their fifth-generation cattle ranch. But it only takes one foolish decision for Beth to destroy it all. She quickly scrambles to redeem her devastating mistake, pleading with God for help, even as a disturbing mystery begins to unravel her life. But the repercussions grow even more unbearable—a lawsuit, a death, a divided family and the looming loss of everything she treasures. Can Beth ever truly be whole again?

Best-selling Christian fiction author Erin Healy takes us on a fascinating journey into the stunningly rugged terrain of Southern Colorado in her latest thriller, House of Mercy (Thomas Nelson, August 2012. Confused, grieving, but determined to make amends, she embarks on a horseback journey across the harsh Rocky Mountains guided by a wild, unpredictable wolf named Mercy that may or may not be real.

Book Excerpt:

                                                Chapter One

It wasn't every day that an old saddle could improve a horse's life.

That was what Beth Borzoi was thinking as she stood in the dusty tack room that smelled like her favorite pair of leather boots. In the back corner where the splintering-wood walls met, she tugged the faded leather saddle off the bottommost rung of the heavy-duty rack, where it had sat, unused and forgotten, for years.

Her little brother, Danny, would have said she was stealing the saddle. He might have called her a kleptomaniac. That was too strong a word, but Danny was fifteen and liked to throw bold words around, cocky-like, show-off rodeo ropes aimed at snagging people. She loved that about him. It was a cute phase. Even so, she had formed a mental argument against the characterization of herself as a thief, in case she needed to use it, because Danny was too young to understand the true meaning of even stronger words like sacrifice or situational ethics.

After all, she was working in secret, in the hidden folds of a summer night, so that both she and the saddle could leave the Blazing B unnoticed. In the wrong light, it might look like a theft.

The truth was, it was not her saddle to give away. It was Jacob's saddle, though in the fifteen years Jacob had lived at the ranch, she had never seen him use it. The bigger truth was that this saddle abandoned to tarnish and sawdust could be put to better use. The fenders were plated with silver, pure metal that could be melted down and converted into money to save a horse from suffering. Decorative silver bordered the round skirt and framed the rear housing. The precious metal had been hammered to conform to the gentle rise of the cantle in the back and the swell in the front. The lovely round conchos were studded with turquoise. Hand-tooled impressions of wild mountain flowers covered the leather everywhere that silver didn't.

In its day, it must have been a fine show saddle. And if Jacob valued that at all, he wouldn't have stored it like this.

Under the naked-bulb beams of the tack room, Beth's body cast a shadow over the pretty piece as she hefted it. She blew the dirt and dander off the horn, swiped off the cracked seat with the flat of her hand, then turned away her head and sneezed. Colorado's dry climate had not been kind to the leather.

She wasn't stealing. She was saving an animal's life.

The latch on the barn door released Beth to the midnight air with a click like a stolen kiss. The saddle weighed about thirty-five pounds, which was easy to manage when snatching it off a rack and tossing it onto a horse's back. But it would feel much heavier by the time she reached her destination. She'd parked her truck a ways off where the rumbling old clunker wouldn't raise questions or family members sleeping in the nearby ranch house. She'd left her dog at the foot of Danny's bed with clear orders to stay. She hoped the animal would mind.

Energized, she crossed the horses' yard. A few of them nickered greetings at her, including Hastings, who nuzzled her empty pockets for treats. The horses never slept in the barn's stalls unless they were sick. Even in winter they stayed in the pasture, preferring the outdoor lean-to shelters. 

The Blazing B, a 6,500-acre working cattle ranch, lay to the northwest of Colorado's San Luis Valley. The region was called a valley because this portion of the state was a Rocky Mountain hammock that swung between the San Juans to the west and the Sangre de Cristos to the east. But at more than seven thousand feet, it was no low-lying flatland. It was, in fact, the highest alpine valley in the world. And it was the only place in the world that Beth ever wanted to live. Having graduated from the local community college with honors and saved enough additional money for her continuing education, she planned to leave in the fall to begin her first year of veterinary school. She would be gone as long as it took to earn her license, but her long-term plan was to return as a more valuable person. Her skills would save the family thousands of dollars every year, freeing up funds for their most important task—providing a home and a hard day's work to discarded men who needed the peace the Blazing B had to offer.

On this late May night, a light breeze stirred the alfalfa growing in the pasturelands while the cattle grazed miles away. The herds always spent their summers on public lands in the mountains while their winter feed grew in the valley. They were watched over by a pool rider, a hired man who was a bit like a cow's version of a shepherd. He stayed with them through the summer and would bring them home in the fall.

With the winter calving and spring branding a distant memory, the streams and irrigation wells amply supplied by good mountain runoff, and the healthy alfalfa fields thickening with a June cutting in mind, the mood at the Blazing B was peaceful.

When Beth was a quarter mile beyond the barn, a bobbing light drew her attention to the west side of the pasture, where ancient cottonwood trees formed a barrier against seasonal winds and snows. She paused, her eyes searching the darkness beyond this path that she could walk blindfolded. The light rippled over cottonwood trunks, casting shadows that were indistinguishable from the real thing.

A man was muttering in a low voice, jabbing his light around as if it were a stick. She couldn't make out his words. Then the yellow beam stilled low to the ground, and she heard a metallic thrust, the scraping ring of a shovel's blade being jammed into the dirt.

Beth worried. It had to be Wally, but what was he doing out at this hour, and at this place? The bunkhouse was two miles away, and the men had curfews, not to mention strict rules about their access to horses and vehicles.

She left the path and approached the trees without a misstep. The moonlight was enough to guide her over the uneven terrain.


The cutting of the shovel ceased. "Who wants to know?"

"It's Beth."

"Beth who?" 

"Beth Borzoi. Abel's daughter. I'm the one who rides Hastings."

"Well, sure! Right, right. Beth. I'm sorry you have to keep telling me. You're awfully nice about it."

The light that Wally had set on the ground rose and pointed itself at her, as if to confirm her claims, then dropped to the saddle resting against her thighs. Wally had been at the ranch for three years, since a stroke left his body unaffected but struck his brain with a short-term memory disorder. It was called anterograde amnesia, a forgetfulness of experiences but not skills. He could work hard but couldn't hold a job because he was always forgetting where and when he was supposed to show up. Here at the ranch he didn't have to worry about those details. He had psychologists and strategies to guide him through his days, a community of brothers who reminded him of everything he really needed to know. Well, most things. He had been on more than one occasion the butt of hurtful pranks orchestrated by the men who shared the bunkhouse with him. It was both a curse and a blessing that he was able to forget such incidents so easily.

Beth was the only Beth at the Blazing B, and the only female resident besides her mother, but these facts regularly eluded Wally. He never forgot her father, though, and he knew the names of all the horses, so this was how Beth had learned to keep putting herself back into the context of his life.

"You're working hard," she said. "You know it's after eleven."

"Looking for my lockbox. I saw him take it. I followed him here just an hour ago, but now it's gone."

Sometimes it was money that had gone missing. Sometimes it was a glove or a photograph, or a piece of cake from her mother's dinner table that was already in his belly. All the schedules and organizational systems in the world were not enough to help Wally with this bizarre side effect of his disorder: whenever a piece of his mind went missing, he would search for it by digging. Dr. Roy Davis, Wally's psychiatrist, had curtailed much of Wally's compulsive need to overturn the earth by having him perform many of the Blazing B's endless irrigation tasks. Even so, the ten square miles of ranch were riddled with the chinks of Wally's efforts to find what he had lost.

"That must be really frustrating," she said. "I hate it when I lose my stuff."

"I didn't lose it. A gray wolf ran off with it. I had it safe in a secret spot, and he dug it up and carried off the box in his teeth. Hauled it all the way up here and reburied it. Now tell me, what's a wolf gonna do with my legal tender? Buy himself a turkey leg down at the supermarket?"

Wally must have kept a little cash in his box. She could understand his frustration. But this claim stirred up disquiet at the back of her mind. Dr. Roy would need to know if Wally was seeing things. First off, gray wolves were hardly ever spotted in Colorado. They'd been run out of the state before World War II by poachers and hostile ranchers, and their return in recent years was little more than a rumor. Wally might have seen a coyote. But for another thing, no wild animal dug up a man's buried treasure and relocated it. Except maybe a raccoon.

A raccoon trying to run off with a heavy lockbox might actually be entertaining.

"Tell you what, Wally. If he's buried it here we'll have a better chance of finding it in the morning. When the sun comes up, I'll help you. But they'll be missing you at the bunkhouse about now. Let me take you back so no one gets upset when they see you're gone." Jacob or Dr. Roy would do bunk checks at midnight.

"Upset? No one can be as upset as I am right now." He thrust the shovel into the soft dirt at his feet. "I saw the dog do it. I tracked him all the way here, like he thought I wouldn't see him under this full moon. Fool dog—but who'd believe me? It's like a freaky fairy tale, isn't it? Well, I'd have put that box in a local vault if I didn't have to keep so many stinkin' Web addresses and passwords and account numbers and security questions at my fingertips." He withdrew a small notebook from his hip pocket and waved the pages around. It was one of the things he used to keep track of details. "Maybe I'll have to rethink that."

Beth's hands had become sweaty and a little cramped under the saddle's weight. She used her right knee to balance the saddle and fix her grip. The soft leather suddenly felt like heavy gold bricks out of someone else's bank vault. 

"Well, let's go," she said. "I've got my truck right on down the lane."

"What do you have there?" Wally returned the notebook to his pocket, hefted the shovel, and picked his way out of the underbrush, finding his way by flashlight.

"An old saddle. It's been in the tack room for years." She expected Wally to forget the saddle just as quickly as he would forget this night's adventure and her promise to help him dig in the morning.

He lifted one of the fenders and stroked the silver with his thumb. "Pretty thing. Probably worth something. Not as much as that box is worth to me, though." 

"We'll find it," Beth said.

"You bet we will." Wally fell into step beside her. "Thanks for the ride back, Beth. You're a good girl. You got your daddy in you."

My Book Review:

Beth Borzoi is a twenty-two year old girl who has been blessed with the gift of healing. She has dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but poor decisions made one night will have ramifications that could cost her family to lose their fifth generation cattle ranch, The Blazing B, as well as tear her family apart. Dejected by the circumstances that she has brought upon her family, Beth is determined to make amends for her mistakes, and journeys to seek out the assistance of her maternal grandfather that she has never met. Setting out on horseback on her journey, Beth is guided by a mystical grey wolf, who she names Mercy, across the rough mountainous terrain of Colorado. Beth's journey will lead her to discover her faith and trust in God, to learn the profound truth that God is good, and her acceptance of his plan for her redemption through his love, mercy, and goodness.

House of Mercy is a compelling story of a girl's journey of self-discovery to learn that God's mercy and goodness is a powerful truth to live by. The author masterfully weaves a tale written in the third person narrative, that engages the reader to follow along on Beth's spiritual journey of growth, faith and redemption through her discovery of God's grace, goodness and mercy. The themes of mercy and goodness is predominant throughout the story, not in a preachy sort of way, but one that conveys a thoughtful message of putting your faith and trust in God for strength as you learn to deal with life's challenges. This riveting story will captivate you in a thought provoking way, while evoking strong emotions that will move you spiritually.

The author transports the reader to the breathtaking setting of Colorado's rugged mountain terrain and cattle ranch, rich in detail and vivid descriptions, you can close your eyes and feel the beauty of this mid-western area. The characters are realistic and engaging; their diversity, strengths and weaknesses are intriguing; their actions and dialogues contribute to making this story a compelling read. I enjoyed following Beth's growth that evolved from her spiritual journey, it was inspiring to see how she learns to put her faith and trust in God's hands. The addition of the mystical grey wolf into the storyline was intriguing, it provided a supernatural and symbolic element that added to the story's multi-layered mystique.

House of Mercy is story full of mystery, suspense and mystique that will draw you in and engage you on your own spiritual journey. It is a story that teaches a lesson in faith, growth, mercy and acceptance; it will resonate with you long after the last words have been read.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rum Punch Regrets by Anne Kemp (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book reviews welcomes Anne Kemp, author of Rum Punch Regrets!

Author Guest Post

Do you love rejection? I do.

It’s taken me years to understand why it’s good for us, but it truly is. Rejection should be viewed as a lesson or a chance to learn and grow. When we’re rejected, it’s time to expand our worlds or redefine our belief in what surrounds us.

I know, this sounds hokey, right? It’s not. I was rejected by a job in 2008 that didn’t want me anymore. I should send them a thank you note, because I wouldn’t be writing if I had not been laid off. When my agent was shopping my book, Rum Punch Regrets, we got rejections. With each one I would only let myself feel my disappointment for five minutes. Yep, that was all, because any more than that and I was wasting my time.

As with anything else in life, “when one door closes, another one opens.” I refused to hold on to the potential of what could have been in a relationship with a publisher. I only have my potential to draw on and make bigger, bolder, and grander. Did it hurt when an email came through saying “no” or the call came from Cynthia (Manson, my amazing agent)? Yes, it would smart but again…five minutes. No wallowing.

Instead, you keep going, you keep trying. You go back to the drawing board and you make it better, you learn more about yourself, and your writing and you move forward. If you do look back, smile and say thank you. All that stuff in the past doesn’t count.

Eventually, someone says yes. They always do. Just be open to the journey – after all it’s yours.

About The Author:

Anne Kemp is the author behind the Abby George Series, which includes her debut novella, All Fruits Ripe, and first novel, Rum Punch Regrets, which is available in print and as an eBook. She is also the columnist behind “Anne In Progress,” which appears monthly in the Frederick News-Post, a newspaper in the DC-Metro area. As a blogger, she was nominated for a 2012 Bloggers Choice Award for Best Humor Blog, and is known for penning “The Ultimate Late Bloomer.”

Follow her on TWITTER, or join her fans on FACEBOOK for fun contests and giveaways. You can always find her at her AUTHOR WEBSITE

A portion of Anne's proceeds are donated to LUPUS LA.

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $10 Amazon Gift Card

Click on Anne Kemp's Rum Punch Regrets Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus and post a comment to enter the contest to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Rum Punch Regrets before September 3rd and sends their receipt to, will get five (5) bonus entries.

Rum Punch Regrets Trailer

Book Review

Author Anne Kemp's The Abby George Series introduces her readers to Abby George in the novella, All Fruits Ripe, a prequel to Rum Punch Regrets. So I decided to read and review All Fruits Ripe to set the stage for Abby's adventure in Rum Punch Regrets. Note: Rum Punch Regrets can be read as a stand alone book.

All Fruits Ripe by Anne Kemp
Published By: Premier Digital Publishing
Publication Date: April 4, 2012
Format: eBook - 46 pages / Kindle - 482 KB / Nook - 324 KB
ISBN: 1937957683
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction / Chick Lit

BUY THE BOOK: All Fruits Ripe

Disclaimer: I bought a copy of the book in order to read and review it as the prequel to Rum Punch Regrets

Book Description:

All Fruits Ripe is an introductory novella (and first in a series) from author Anne Kemp offering readers a sneak peek into the world of Abby George. This 46-page teaser also includes a preview chapter from the full-length novel, Rum Punch Regrets

All Fruits Ripe introduces the loveable, single and laid-off thirty-something, Abby George.

In just a few short weeks, Abby has endured the death of her mother, was dumped by her fiancé, and got laid off from her job.

Stunned and seeking a shoulder to cry on, she turns to her perfect older sister, Leigh. But instead of comfort, Abby receives a surprise: Leigh needs her in the Caribbean to help with some mysterious personal business. 

Should she go? Will she go? Join Abby as her journey begins...

My Book Review:

All Fruits Ripe is an entertaining short novella that introduces the reader to Abby George, the main character in The Abby George Series. Abby George is a thirty-something LA girl who hasn't had a very good year. She lost her fiance to another woman, her mother passed away from cancer, she was laid off from her job, and she's basically penniless. Abby turned to her older sister Leigh for a sympathetic ear and for moral support, but instead she receives a "chance of a lifetime" proposal. Leigh asks Abby to fly to the Caribbean for a few months to oversee the repairs and sale of her island home. Surprise! Abby didn't know Leigh had a house in the Caribbean, it was a well hidden secret, as Leigh's second hubby, Daryl, doesn't even know the house exists. While Abby relishes a chance to have her own island fantasy adventure, she can't shake her gut feeling that there is a hidden agenda behind her sister's offer. Will Abby accept the proposal and embark on an island adventure? The answer will be revealed in book two of the series, Rum Punch Regrets!

All Fruits Ripe is a great short novella that introduces the reader to Abby George and her older sister Leigh. The novella provides the reader with background information into the lives and family dynamic of Abby and Leigh. Leigh is twenty years older than Abby, a typical Type A personality and all around perfect woman. Abby's birth was needless to say a surprise to her parents, who had begun planning their retirement when they found out that May was pregnant with Abby. Abby and Leigh are complete opposites, where Abby has a sarcastic personality, dry humor and free spirit way; Leigh is the successful businesswoman who has been the "mother" in Abby's life, and has asserted her pushy "been there, did that" advice and assistance on Abby throughout her life.

With the background set, this fun, fast-paced little teaser of a prequel to Rum Punch Regrets whets your appetite and interest to follow Abby on her Caribbean island adventure!


Rum Punch Regrets by Anne Kemp
Published By: Premier Digital Publishing
Publication Date: May 16, 2012
Format: Paperback - 250 pages / Kindle - 421 KB / Nook - 340 KB
ISBN: 1937957713
ASIN: B0085O82BM
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Rum Punch Regrets

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

In just a few short weeks, thirty something Abby George has endured the death of her mother, was dumped by her fiancé, and got laid off from her job.

Stunned and seeking a shoulder to cry on, she turns to her perfect older sister, Leigh. But instead of comfort, Abby receives a surprise: Leigh needs her in the Caribbean to help with some mysterious personal business.

While assisting in the sale and repair of a bed-and-breakfast, Abby uncovers a few huge family secrets as she juggles an unexpected roommate, quirky locals, and nasty centipedes.

Abby's world is further complicated when two potential suitors enter her life. Can Abby get beyond her own psycho drama long enough to open her heart to someone new? Or will she neurotically make her romantic life worse?

Packing nothing but her suitcases and a sense of humor, Abby George travels down an unfamiliar road, but it's all she can do to hang on for the ride...

Or will she wake up with "Rum Punch Regrets?"

Book Excerpt:

Abby smiled to herself, looked directly at Maria and said slowly, “I’m not trying to be a jerk or rude, but you wake me up after a long day of travel to ask me to leave my sister’s home?” Abby waved her hand around the room. “That I’m here to take care of?”

Abby looked Maria in the eye, almost laughing at the thought that this was an issue. Yet Maria was not reacting. In fact, she was just rocking and nodding. 

“No time for limin’. Leigh asked me to be kind in telling you since you traveled so far an’ being her sister an’ all. Just no way to wake someone up to say get out, really.” The big pearly white smile was back. This woman needed to share her Crest Whitestrips with Ziggy.

What is the obsession with picking limes here? Abby thought. Are limes a main source of island income, and do I need to help pick them?

Abby crossed her arms. She could tell that her quizzical stare made Maria melt a little, wanting to explain further. Yet Abby felt like Maria was stopping herself.

“Abby, come. Let me make you some coffee. It seems to me that Miss Leigh may have left something out when she sent you here . . . ”

Oh no. Oh no! Abby’s voices were screaming in her head. Of course there is more to the story. That DAMN Leigh! She never, ever, ever can tell just the truth or tell something like it really is. Oh, hell no. She has to cover up something or . . . instead of lie, “I omitted the truth, Abby,” she says. Humpf. Omits the truth. I always think I know her. All I really know is that I never will know her like I think I do.

Abby was rubbing her forearms and realized her demeanor had shifted from “I’m the Queen of the Manor” to “I think I’m lost.” Maria took note of this, too, as she lifted herself from the rocker.

“Abby, come. Coffee and food. It does wonders for the body and the mind, not to mention the surprise of all this. And then I can explain to you the things you need to be hearing. It’s gonna be a bit to take in, oh yes. But Leigh wants you to know it for some reason. Otherwise, it would not be you doing this, right?” And with that, Maria began to walk out of the room, stopping at the door to turn around and wait for Abby.

Okay, strange Kittian woman with the bright smile, Abby thought as she slid into her flip-flops and shuffled out of the room behind Maria. You have a point. I need coffee. Let’s do this.

My Book Review:

Author Anne Kemp introduces The Abby George Series with the short prequel novella, All Fruits Ripe, where the reader is introduced to main character Abby George and her sister Leigh. This fun little novella provides the reader with background information into the family dynamic and lives of Abby and Leigh, that whets the reader's appetite and interest into following Abby's Caribbean island adventure on St Kitts in the second book of the series, Rum Punch Regrets. With that being said, the reader can follow the series by reading the books in sequence, or they can just start by reading Rum Punch Regrets, as it is also a book that can stand alone. I personally like to read the books that are a part of a series in sequence, as I want as much background information as possible, and I prefer the flow and continuation of the story from book to book.

Rum Punch Regrets picks up the story where All Fruits Ripe left off: Abby George is a thirty-something LA girl who hasn't had a very good year. She lost her fiance to another woman, her mother passed away from cancer, she was laid off from her job, and she's basically penniless. Abby turned to her older sister Leigh for a sympathetic ear and for moral support, but instead she receives a "chance of a lifetime" proposal. Leigh asks Abby to fly to the Caribbean for a few months to oversee the repairs and sale of her island home. Surprise! Abby didn't know Leigh had a house in the Caribbean, it was a well hidden secret, as Leigh's second hubby, Daryl, doesn't even know the house exists. While Abby relishes a chance to have her own island fantasy adventure, she can't shake her gut feeling that there is a hidden agenda behind her sister's offer. Abby accepts her sister's proposal and embarks on a Caribbean island adventure on the island of St Kitts, only to find out that the Leigh's island "house" is really a Bed and Breakfast! And that's just the beginning of what Abby discovers on her island adventure: family dynamic with drama and secrets, new friendships, reasserting sibling relationships, romance, and a journey of self-discovery all waits her on the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Kitts!

Rum Punch Regrets is an entertaining fast-paced story that has enough drama, mystery and a touch of romance to captivate your interest. Written in a witty third person narrative, the reader is transported to beautiful Caribbean island setting of St Kitts, where they follow Abby on her island adventure full of drama, mystery, and romance. Rich in vivid details and descriptions, the reader can feel the warm island breeze sway through the palm trees as they lay on the sandy beach and sip a cool island rum punch! Abby's adventure will reveal more family secrets and drama, while also leading her on a journey of self-discovery that will change the way she lives her life.

With an engaging cast of characters that are realistic and fun, their antics, dialogues and interactions will keep you in stitches. Abby, Leigh and Ben (who is a renter at the B&B) are all complex individuals, the author does a really fine job of developing the characters, I found them to be intriguing and loved their different personalities. The supporting cast of characters: Maria, Ziggy, Tracey, Cutty and Buddy are a bunch of fun people whose crazy antics and interactions makes the story that much more of an entertaining read.

I loved how the author weaves a captivating tale of mystery, drama and romance, she builds the story up to a cliff-hanger where she leaves the reader wanting more, knowing that she has once again whets their appetite for the next book in the series!

Rum Punch Regrets and The Abby George Series is a fun series that will captivate you from the beginning and leave you wanting more just like the refreshing island drink of rum punch does, knowing that you just can't have one!