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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

He Belongs To Me by Theresa Rizzo (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with JKSCommunications, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for He Belongs To Me by author Theresa Rizzo!

Author Guest Post

Who Knows Best?

Parenting is a tough job that stresses even for the most stable, healthy relationship. When a teenager has a child, that rocket-propels her into adulthood. Ready or not, that girl is suddenly a mom and responsible for the financial and emotional well being of another tiny human being--for the next eighteen to twenty-two years. This isn’t like a hamster whose lifespan is only a couple of years. 

Yet a teenager is still growing up and maturing herself. Hopefully she has the support of the baby’s father—and even, more often than not, the couple needs the help and support of family. Trying to grow up while raising a child is a daunting challenge that some young people and their family are able to cope with more gracefully than others. Certainly more gracefully than they managed in He Belongs to Me

Catherine’s parents tried to do the right thing in the beginning. The gave Catherine and Thomas a wedding, welcomed Thomas into their home and even gave him a job, but all the help came with unspoken expectations and conditions. But is that really so unreasonable? So unbearable? 

I mean, after all, their Eric and Sarah’s lives were affected by the unexpected, young pregnancy too. And then a tragedy happened that blew the family apart, but one thing that they all had in common was the desire to give Drew, Catherine and Thomas’s son, a happy, stable home. It was a really difficult situation, and when they felt their back was to the wall, Drew’s grandparents felt compelled to do everything they could to protect their grandson from potential harm. 

They weren’t evil grandparents. They didn’t want to hurt or punish their daughter, but they were reluctantly willing to sacrifice their Catherine in an effort to do what they were convinced was best for both their daughter and grandson. They weren’t malicious people, just firm believers in tough love. 

Did your parents always think they knew what was best for you? Do you know anybody whose parents made tough-love decisions for them under the guise that they were doing it for their “best interest”? I wonder how often the domineering parents do know what was best. 

About The Author

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

He Belongs To Me by Theresa Rizzo ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: JKSCommunications

Book Review

He Belongs To Me by Theresa Rizzo
Publisher: Self Independent Publishing
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 394 pages / Kindle - 665 KB / Nook - 1024 KB
ISBN: 0989045013
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: He Belongs To Me

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 JKSCommunications.

Book Description:

He Belongs to Me is a love story . . . a tale of betrayal and deception and of a young mother's determination to recover what belongs to her.

Catherine Boyd will do anything to regain custody of her young son… Even reconcile with the husband accused of killing their son’s twin.

Catherine graduates from college, eager to start a new life with her six-year-old son, Drew. But when she tries to bring him home, her parents refuse to relinquish control of the grandson they’d raised.

Wrongly accused of a horrible crime, Thomas Boyd has buried himself in his career, determined to forget his painful past and the family he lost. But now, five years later, Catherine is back, requesting his help to regain custody of their son — custody he thought she had.

Though older and wiser, when courtroom battles reveal lies and secrets and generations of pain, will Thomas and Catherine find more tragedy and loss, or will old wounds finally heal?

Book Excerpt: 

The lawyer handed her and Thomas identical sheets of paper. “These are restraining orders against both you and your husband. Neither of you may take Andrew away from this house. You may not visit him without the expressed consent of either grandparent, pending the court’s review of your case.”

Restraining orders? Catherine glared at her parents. Her mother refused to meet her gaze, and her father’s expression was sad. Catherine scanned the formal document in her hand and then frowned at Mr. Fitzsimons. “Case? What case?”

“In light of your, uh, turbulent past together, your parents are concerned that Andrew’s well-being and mental health would be jeopardized in your care.” He took a breath and laced his fingers together. “I’m sorry, but they will be petitioning the court to terminate both your parental rights.” He hurried on. “You should know that they only have Andrew’s best interest at heart.”

The weight of his announcement slammed into her, dulling her senses. Catherine’s hand blindly sought Thomas. They were terminating her rights? She’d considered the possibility of having to sue them for custody, but she’d never dreamt of having to defend herself.

The lawyer’s voice became deceptively gentle. “I see this comes as a shock, but it really is for the best,” he said. “There is something I could do to maybe make this easier on you. If you want to avoid the humiliation and expense of a court battle you can’t possibly win, it would only take me a few minutes to prepare the necessary documents to give your parents permanent custody, right here and now.”

Indignation warred with common sense. Eyes wide, Catherine turned to Fitzsimons. She let go of Thomas’s hand and took a step forward. “You have got to be kidding. You think I’m just going to walk away from my son that easily?”

“You did before.”

Catherine gasped and reared back, bumping into Thomas. His arms closed on her shoulders. The quiet insult punctured her righteous anger and confidence, as it surely was intended to. She had not willingly walked away from her son—and he knew it.

Thomas stared steadily at the older man. He rubbed her shoulders. “I didn’t.”

“No,” Fitzsimons agreed, his voice hardening. “You abandoned your wife and infant.”

“I didn’t abandon anyone.”

“That’s for the judge to decide.”

My Book Review:

He Belongs To Me is an intriguing story about family secrets, deception and betrayal ...  a couple's love story  ... and a young mother's determination to get her son back at any cost.

Author Theresa Rizzo weaves a riveting story set in Chicago and written in the third person narrative, that engages the reader to follow the emotional journey of Catherine Boyd as she battles her parents with the help of her estranged husband Thomas to regain custody of their young son Drew.

The story opens with Catherine Boyd graduating from Stanford University. While Catherine attended college in California, she gave temporary custody of her son Drew to her parents in Chicago ... or so she thought. Now with degree in hand, Catherine is eager to reunite with Drew and begin the next phase of their lives in California. But Catherine's plans are turned upside down when she learns that the temporary custody of her son that she had signed four years earlier was in fact a permanent custody ... she has given her child away. Catherine's parents won't give up custody of their grandson, they believe that they can provide a better life for him. Faced with two options, Catherine has to decide whether to live with her parents and Drew in Chicago, or reconcile with her estranged husband Thomas and prove that they can provide a good life for their son.

Flashback to Catherine and Thomas' past ... they fell in love, Catherine became pregnant, and they married very young. After a tragic accident that took the life of Bobby, one of their twin sons, Thomas was falsely accused of causing the death of their baby boy, and is forced out of Catherine and Drew's life. Catherine and Thomas separate but vow to reunite after they finish college, but they did not stay in contact with each other over the past four years. Thomas graduated from the University of Michigan and is now a rising financial analyst.

After being estranged for four years, can Catherine and Thomas reconcile and convince the social workers and judge that they are a loving married couple capable of providing their young son with a good life?

He Belongs To Me is a heart wrenching story that captivated me from the beginning, and took me on an emotional roller coaster ride that left me completely spent. This story is filled with enough family secrets, lies, deception and betrayal; mixed in with riveting courtroom drama and suspenseful twists and turns; and a passionate love story that keeps the reader thoroughly engaged and turning the pages. You can't help but get drawn into Catherine and Thomas' story, the emotions are palpable and raw, you feel their loss, grief, anger, love and determination as their journey to regain custody of their son is fraught with heartbreaking trials and tribulations. And if the fight for their son isn't enough to keep the reader enthralled, their passionate love story will reel you in, their relationship is filled with so much emotion and intensity, they have been through so much, but their sexual chemistry and love for each other is undeniable.

With a cast of characters who are realistic and flawed; raw and emotional dialogue; intense and dramatic interactions; and a gut wrenching storyline that mixes the complexities of a dysfunctional family dynamic with a couple's love story; He Belongs To Me is an amazing story that will pull at your heartstrings, and prove that love can overcome the most traumatic situations in life. This is a must read story that will resonate with you for a very long time.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

June 2
Interview, Review and eBook Giveaway at Jenee’s Book Blog

June 4
Review at Will Read for Books

June 5
Book Spotlight at My Fiction Nook

June 6
Guest Post and eBook Giveaway at Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf 

June 7
Review at The Kari AnnAlysis

June 9
Review at Owl Tell You About It

June 10
Review at The Booi3
Review at Novels on the Run

June 12
Author Interview and eBook Giveaway at Books a la Mode

June 14 & 15
Author Interview and Review at Therian

June 16
Book Spotlight and eBook Giveaway at CMash Loves To Read

June 17 & 18
Review and Guest Post at The Book Bag

June 18
Excerpt, Author Bio and Review at Book-Loving

June 23
Review and Author Interview at The Reading Cafe

June 24
Guest Post at RR&H Novel Thoughts & Book Talk
Guest Post and eBook Giveaway at Jessica Loves Books

June 25
Excerpt and Book Feature at Little Library Muse
Review at Crystal’s Random Thoughts
Interview at Literary Lunes
Review at Offbeat Vagabond

June 26
Review and Book Feature at J Barrett Reviews

June 27
Guest Post, Book Excerpt and Review at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

June 28
Book Feature at Manic Readers

June 29
Review from Terra Kelly

June 30
Review at Cocktails and Books
Review at Thoughts and Reflections

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