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, December 27, 2013

The Hunting by Kerry Peresta (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Hunting by Author Kerry Peresta!

Author Guest Post 

There Should Be More To Chick Lit Than Getting The Guy

When I was younger, I devoured every long, steamy romance novel I could get my hands on. A week, tops, and I was done and on to the next. I graduated to epic, historical novels; quickly grew bored with them, and moved on to sterner stuff: Grisham, Patterson, Lee Child. Murder mysteries gave my brain something to do, plus they always seemed to have a little satisfying romance thrown in for my feminine soul. 

However, as far as genre went, I yearned for more. The light-hearted novels, Sex in the City, or The Devil Wears Prada didn't quite do it for me. Ditto to erotic, graphic, Danielle Steele books. Also the literary books - you know the ones – plodding along, outlining each detail in savory prose, describing characters, window treatments and countryside so completely entire chapters were devoted to each. 

I just could not seem to find something deeply satisfying. Give me a quick, fast, fun read with a great story, but please ditch the borderline erotica and gratuitous profanity in much of women's fiction. To make matters worse, many books were written at eighth-grade level, which I found a bit insulting. In fact, writers are told to write at this level, supposedly a reflection of the average reading level of most book enthusiasts. I respectfully disagree. 

After reading thousands of books, I decided to write my own. My first novel in 2009, currently tucked away on one of my computers under "PRACTICE NOVEL," was a tedious exercise, and not very good, so I decided to start with something shorter. I developed a humor column that was published weekly in a local newspaper. It helped me develop a great sense of timing, taught me how to write under pressure, and write concisely. I have to admit, the local notoriety was unexpected and somewhat addicting. After several conversations with my readers as people approached me in grocery stores or various places around town, I realized I had actually made people laugh and ponder at the same time. Freshly encouraged, I wrote another novel. 

My book, which was picked up by a publisher and released on in December, is a fast-paced mix of classic Chick Lit, Romance and Suspense with a side serving of irony. As an agent told me at a writers' conference in Baltimore, "Chick Lit is about women dealing with women's issues. Period." I thought that was a great summation of the genre, and my book, The Hunting, definitely falls within the parameters of this definition - minus steamy erotica, minus profanity, minus emphasis on an ill-fated but resurrected love affair. Add major snark, real-life, single mom issues, pressure-driven career stuff, and a hefty dose of inspiration. 

Most of the Chick Lit stuff I've read included (metaphorically) beaming, heart-shaped rainbows along the path of angst-ridden relationship that ultimately concluded with hand-in-hand silhouette moving slowly down the beach toward a perfect life together. Not-so-subtle message: Find the perfect guy and your problems will be over! Life is all about the perfect marriage – not even that, the perfect relationship! Moving in together is the ultimate commitment, right? The Unmarriage. 


I felt, as an alternative to the somewhat predictable Chick Lit formula, I might write a fast-paced, suspense-filled story tackling difficult issues women face: single parenthood, dealing with bizarre bosses, juggling client relationships, friendship. For instance, does a real friend dare to say the hard stuff, or let you fall and say I told you so? Where is the line between right and wrong? Is there a line? Why? Tough stuff. 

In a way, I wrote the book I'd love to read. I wrote the book I would want to talk about with a friend over a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It's Chick Lit on steroids. The sub-plot bursts through the final chapters in a messy ode to classic Chick Lit that goes something like this: 

It's okay to prioritize getting the perfect guy – as long as we are becoming the right kind of women along the way.

About The Author

Kerry Peresta's publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, The Lighter Side, and short stories in the published anthology, That One Left Shoe, and her debut novel, recently released by Pen-L Publishing, The Hunting, contemporary women's fiction. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter before deciding to devote more of her time to writing. She is currently working on her second novel, participating in writing conferences, and serving on the leadership team of the Maryland Writers' Association. Kerry was a single mother for many years to four great kids, all grown and successfully carving out their own unique paths. She and her husband live in the Baltimore metro area. Her novel, The Hunting, is available in Kindle version and hard copy on, and her website. Visit Kerry at


Book Review

The Hunting by Kerry Peresta
Publisher: Pen-L Publishing
Publication Date: November 24, 2013
Format: Paperback - 258 pages / Kindle - 1206 KB
ISBN: 1940222125
ASIN: B00H25O958
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Hunting

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

Book Description:

Isabelle Lewis, top advertising salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel newspaper, has a habit of falling in and out of marriage. After her last divorce, she shoved the emotional pain into a compartment in her brain to deal with later. With three teenagers to raise, bills to pay, and sales quotas to meet, introspection was a luxury she couldn't afford. Her mind needed a happy place.

When Isabelle (Izzy) discovered online dating, it immediately became her favorite stress reliever and best friend. Often, she'd steal into the night after her kids were asleep to meet someone new. One fateful evening, the hunt for the perfect guy took a sinister turn when the mystery man she met turned out to be her worst nightmare! Reluctantly pulled into a web of lies, Izzy is forced to confront her demons. 

Snarky, suspense-filled, and real, The Hunting is an exquisite entwining of the crippling emotional fallout of divorce with the quest for a healthy, fulfilling relationship. This inspirational story rivets!

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt from THE HUNTING By Kerry Peresta

I sit in my car a minute, adjusting to the darkness of the garage. My eyes land on the kids' car tucked in already, and I know they are inside the house, either asleep or going that direction, because I'd talked to them on the way home. I shake off the feeling that something is wrong, get out of the car, start up the stairs to the kitchen, reconsider and click on the overhead light in the garage to sniff around.

Brightness illuminates the area. Rakes, loppers, an air pump, and various gadgetry cling to a pegboard nailed to one wall; an aging lawnmower sits in a far corner with its best friend, the gas trimmer. Metal shelving climbs the back wall, loaded with fairly common family paraphernalia. My eyes scan the cement floor and the kids' car, searching for signs of inappropriate activity. I smell old grass, a little oil that has leaked from one of the cars, gas, paint thinner.

My heels striking the cement garage floor in the middle of the night remind me of old Law and Order episodes, where Eames and Goren discover a body in the garage, draped halfway out of a car, drenched in blood. I should stop watching those shows. Then I see it. Not tonight, my mind screams. Tonight? After this horribly long day? My stomach clenches in fear.

A tightly folded, small, white square mocks me from the windshield of my kids' car. What time is it, anyway, I mutter to myself as I cautiously approach the car, lift the windshield wiper, and hold the small square gingerly between thumb and forefinger. I grab my phone from my purse with my free hand and click the screen on. Almost midnight. Self-pity, despair, and several other emotions I have no energy to identify zip through me at warp speed. I turn off the garage light and climb the three stairs into the kitchen, firmly locking the door behind me. The note sails through the air and lands on the kitchen table.

I scroll quickly through my contacts to find Detective Faraday. His phone rings several times, a groggy voice answers. “Yeah?” Cough. “What?”

“Detective Faraday?” I whisper.

“You got him. What’s up?” I picture him wiping his eyes and focusing on a clock by his bed. Maybe a lovely wife by his side, sleeping. I feel awful for interrupting him at home.

“I got another note,” my voice is hushed, and has begun to warble. I am whispering because I don’t want to alarm the kids, but the stress has rushed to every extremity and overtaken my vocal cords. I cannot stop shaking. Detective Faraday is instantly alert.

“Okay. This is Izzy, right?”

I shake my head, realize someone on the other end of a phone call cannot see a head shake, and murmur “Yes.”

“All right, I'm going to call and get a patrol car out there immediately. What does the note say? By the way, we have analyzed fingerprints on the note, and it is definitely the man you indicated, so he is not using an alias. That’s good news, because it means he’s not trying to hide, and it’s probably not pre-meditated. Probably just a reaction to a personal crisis. Which, unfortunately, you seem to be triggering.”

“So what should I do?” I whisper.

“Read me the note, Izzy,” he says, calmly.

“It was on my kids' car.” I feel tears forming. One trails slowly down my cheek. I slap it away.

“Oh, man,” Detective Faraday whooshes out a long sigh. “You weren’t home, then? But your kids were?”

“Yeah, and I'm pretty sure the garage was locked. They know they are supposed to shut the garage door when they get home, no matter what.”

“Izzy, is there a window in your garage?” I think a minute. Yes! There is one in the small storage room at the back of the garage, one we never use.

“Well, yes, there is one in a storage room, but – ”

“Is it locked?” he barks. I start to cry.

“I don’t know! Why is this happening?”

“Go check, Izzy, right now. Keep me on the phone while you do it. Take a flashlight or a bat or something with you. I'll wait.”

The implication hits me that he wants me to find a weapon before I check the window. Seriously? I quietly enter my sons' room and pluck up the bat that is leaning against their bookshelf. They stir, but do not wake.

“Okay,” I whisper. “Got a bat. Heading for the garage.”

“I'm with you, Izzy. Be careful.”

His voice is reassuring and I am thinking how grateful I am for our police force. Funny. I am grateful now, but just let me get a speeding ticket. I enter the garage, and tiptoe toward the closed storage room door, my heart beating violently. I hold the bat in my right hand and turn the knob slowly with my left. The darkened room emerges bit by bit as the door creaks open. Light from the garage spills into the room, illuminating old cans of paint, a broken lamp, basketballs, a football, boxes. I push the door open further, and see the window, which is located high on the wall, shards of cobwebs hanging from the edges.

I lift the bat in pre-strike position as I push the door all the way open. I hear Detective Faraday’s breathing on the phone.

“What’s happening, Izzy?” he says, causing me to nearly jump out of my skin.

I locate the string that turns on the lone light bulb in the room, and pull. The forty-watt bulb creates an eerie glow. To my utter and profound relief, the room appears empty.

“I am in the storage room. It’s empty.”

I lean the bat against one of the boxes and look around.

“How often are you in that room, Izzy?”

“Rarely. It’s for stuff we don’t have room for. Kind of forget sometimes, that it’s here.”

“Okay,” he says, “go to the window and check the lock.”

My nose wrinkles in disgust. “Okay,” I say and move aside two squashed storage boxes. Looking around, I locate something to stand on, and reach up to check the latch. Push up on the window, which holds. Try again, and it reluctantly slides open. “It’s not locked,” I say, miserably.

“Lock it,” Detective Faraday says. “Don’t worry, Izzy, we'll get him."

My Book Review:

In author Kerry Peresta's debut women's fiction novel, The Hunting, the reader follows the daily life challenges that newspaper retail advertising sales rep Isabelle "Izzy" Lewis faces as a single mother of three teenage children.

After three failed marriages, Izzy becomes addicted to hunting online dating sites, searching for a man who will be interested in a serious and committed relationship. As Izzy pursues an obsessive online search for a suitable man, she encounters daily trials and tribulations of balancing life as a single mom with a high-pressure job of meeting retail advertising sales quotas at a popular newspaper while dealing with office drama and a sleazy new boss. Izzy's life takes a life-changing turn when her online dating habits gets her into serious trouble when she attracts a mysterious man who turns into an online stalker and her worse nightmare. The daily challenges and online dating drama forces Izzy to face the frenetic circumstances in her life.

Author Kerry Peresta weaves an intriguing tale set in Chatbrook Springs, Georgia, that follows the first person narrative of Izzy Lewis, as her quest to find a fulfilling relationship is interwoven with the challenges of being a single mother and career woman. You can't help but get drawn into Izzy's story as she gives a realistic depiction of her life and daily challenges. Told in the present time and interwoven with flashbacks to her past failed marriages, the reader gets to know this sassy capable single mother, and is able to easily relate to her life circumstances. The story has a great mixture of humor, drama and suspense that keeps the reader engaged and guessing what will become of Izzy's life and family, as they follow her quest to find love and happiness. Izzy's journey is filled with grit, emotions, and realistic trials and tribulations, you can't help but cheer her on as she discovers what matters most in life.

The Hunting is a fast-paced entertaining and uplifting story that you won't be able to put down.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Everyone who leaves a comment on The Hunting tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of The Hunting before January 6 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule 

Tour Schedule:

December 16 – The Book Tart – Guest Post 
December 17 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
December 18 – Fiction Dreams – Excerpt 
December 19 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Excerpt
December 23 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post & Excerpt
December 27 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
December 30 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt 
December 31 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Excerpt
January 2 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
January 3 – Books in the Burbs – Review & Excerpt
January 3- Authors and Readers Book Corner – Review
January 6 – Me, Bookshelf & I – Excerpt


  1. Thanks for being in the tour and Happy Holidays!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Thanks for the great review!!! xxxooo

    1. Hi Kerry! I really enjoyed reading The Hunting, congrats a on a wonderful debut novel. Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)