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, January 31, 2014

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 2/2-8/14

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 2/2-8/14

Monday 2/3/14

Come To Me Quietly by A.L. Jackson

In association with Author A.L. Jackson

Book Review / Contest Giveaway

Book Description: Come To Me Quietly

Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.


A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher

In association with Litfuse Publicity

Book Review / Contest Giveaway

Book Description: A Promise Kept

God was going to save her marriage, Allison was sure of it. But neither her husband nor her marriage had been saved.

What had become of His promise?

Tony Kavanagh had been Allison’s dream-come-true. They were in love within days, engaged within weeks, married and pregnant within a year. Her cup bubbled over with joy . . . but years later, that joy had been extinguished by unexpected trials.

The day Allison issued her husband an ultimatum, she thought it might save him. She never expected he would actually leave. She was certain God had promised to heal; it was clear that she’d misunderstood.

Now, living in the quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single, self-reliant Great Aunt Emma, Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small town life. But when she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic, a portrait of her aunt emerges that takes Allison completely by surprise: a portrait of a heartbroken woman surprisingly like herself.

As Allison reads the incredible story of Emma’s life in the 1920s and 1930s, she is forced to ask a difficult question: Does she really surrender every piece of her life to the Lord?

Drawing from her own heart-wrenching story of redemption, A Promise Kept is Robin Lee Hatcher’s emotionally charged thanksgiving to a God who answers prayers—in His own time and His own ways.

Wed 2/5/14

Smitten Book Club 
by: Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, 
Denise Hunter & Diann Hunt

In association with Litfuse Publicity

Book Review / Contest Giveaway

Book Description: Smitten Book Club

The century-old Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship is no ordinary book club choice. But for the little book club in Smitten, Vermont, it might be their best pick yet!

The thick, leathery tome Heather pulled out of the dusty cardboard box was definitely coming home with her. Not only was The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship an appealing curiosity by virtue of its title; it was also written by Smitten, Vermont native Pearl Chambers, a local gentlewoman from three generations back.

Little did Heather know the repercussions this little curiosity would have on her and her friends’ romantic exploits.

When Heather and her fellow book club members begin passing the book around, their respective interpretations are unleashed on their respective love lives . . . for better or for worse. Is it a mystery? An idealist fantasy? An intimation of Jane Austen? As romantic love finds its way to each woman, the Guide proves itself both surprisingly prescient and hilariously irrelevant.

What’s more, a handwritten inscription indicates that the arcane book might hold the only extant clues leading to buried gold—exactly what one of the members needs to keep her house. How could they not go treasure hunting?

In this remarkable collaborative novel, besties Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt tackle the tale of the Gentlewoman’s Guide by writing for one book club member apiece. Smitten Book Club is a hopeful, hilarious story of friendship and healing, written by friends for friends.

Friday 2/7/14

The Latecomers Fan Club by Diane V. Mulligan

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions

Book Review / Contest Giveaway

Book Description: The Latecomers Fan Club

What is it about guys with guitars in their hands that makes them so irresistible, even when they are obviously self-centered jerks? If Abby and Maggie could answer that question, maybe they could finally get over Nathaniel. There’s just something about him when he picks up his guitar and gets behind the microphone, something that makes sensible women act like teeny-boppers instead of rational, self-respecting adults.

Abby was first sucked in by Nathaniel’s rock ’n roll swagger four years ago when a drunken fling turned into a series of drunken hook-ups that became something like a relationship. Now, as New Year’s Eve promises a fresh start, she wants to believe he’s finally going to grow up and take their relationship seriously.

What does Nathaniel hope the new year will bring? An escape from the disappointing realities of his life. He’s thirty-four years old and he’s barely making ends meet as an adjunct philosophy professor, which was always only a back up plan anyway. Nathaniel's real goal was always to make his living as a musician, but his band, The Latecomers, broke up a couple of years ago, and he hasn’t picked up his guitar in months. When he decides to spend the holiday with some high school friends instead of hanging out at the bar where Abby works, he gets the happy surprise of reuniting with his long-lost friend Maggie. Newly divorced, Maggie has just moved back to her mother’s house to regroup.

Nathaniel and Maggie were supposed to be the ones who left Worcester forever to conquer the world. He was going to be a rock star. She was going to take the world of art by storm. He’s never gotten farther than Boston, and her best effots only left her broke and heartbroken. As they ring in the New Year together, Nathaniel decides it’s time to take control of his life and to start making his dreams come true. He thinks the first step will be easy. All he needs to do is break up with Abby and finally admit his feelings for Maggie. But the new year has more surprises in store, and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.


'Til I Find You by Greta Bondieumaitre

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

Author Guest Post / Book Review

Book Description: 'Til I Find You

No one knows how bumpy the road to love is more than Tisha Cole. After years of excruciatingly embarrassing dates, the 25-year-old receptionist is ready to hand in her dating license, but her cynical cousin, Drew, will not let her. She knows that finding Mr. Right has always been Tisha’s ultimate goal in life and short of joining the search herself, Drew plans on doing whatever it is in her power to help Tisha find him. When they cross paths with two best friends and a very sexy entrepreneur, there’s a slight change in plans.

Drew who has always been adamant about keeping her single status begins to doubt her immunity to Tisha’s lovesickness.

Tisha has hit the jackpot with not one but two perfect dates! Where next will her quest for love take her when she decides to upgrade her relationship—with both men!

Two not-so-sweet cousins, three not-so-honest men. With the many potholes and crossroads along the way, will Tisha ever reach her destination?

The Professor by Robert Bailey (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with JKSCommunications, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Professor by Author Robert Bailey!

Author Guest Post

My Writing Process

I typically get up every weekday morning between 4:00 and 4:30 in the morning. I like to get at least six hours of sleep, so sometimes I may have to give myself until 4:30 if I’ve had to work late at my job. On the weekends, I get up a little later, usually between 5:30 and 6.

Once I’m up, I make coffee and I’ll read The Upper Room Bible devotion, which is a nice kick start to the day and I can usually read it while the coffee brews. Then I take a shower and get dressed in my writing clothes, which have to be comfortable. Corduroy pants and a long sleeve t-shirt usually fit the bill. After I’m dressed and have my first cup of coffee down the hatch, I eat breakfast and allow myself to read a few pages of whatever book I’m currently reading. Right now, it’s John Grisham’s Sycamore Row.

After I’m done eating, I pour half a pot of coffee into a thermos and head upstairs to my writing studio. Before a couple of weeks ago, I would have set my laptop up at the kitchen table and done my writing there. The studio is something that has been in the works since November, and it is finally done. When you hear “studio,” you probably think of something big, but my writing room is essentially a converted attic. The ceiling slopes with the roof, and there are only a few feet of space to stand up straight. However, the studio has turned out perfect. The walls are made of cedar, so the feel I get when I step through the door is that of walking into a cabin. In fact, the person who built the studio modeled the wood on the walls after my sister in law’s lake house, which has the same wonderful smell. Anyway, every time I walk in the door, the smell of cedar hits me and I’m ready to work.

I turn on the laptop and pull up the novel I’m currently working on. I pour a cup of coffee from the thermos and carefully read the notes I typed in bold and all capital letters at my stopping point the day before. When I end a session, I always jot a few ideas for the next day’s session in bold and all caps so I have something to go on. After I read those thoughts, I carefully go over what I wrote the previous day, fixing any typographical errors and reading for pace. How is the beat? Does it flow? Could it flow better? If I’m beginning with a new chapter, I’ll make sure my transition was smooth. If I’m still in the middle of a chapter, I’ll read what came before it, and try to have my hands on the keyboard, ready to go, when I get to the end so that I’ll be ready to pick back up.

Then, whether I’m starting a new chapter or picking up in the middle of one…it just happens. The story flows into my mind, and I start typing. Sometimes I get five pages, sometimes only one, but I write something. Usually, after an hour and a half, I’ve reached a stopping point or my brain is in need of a break, so I stop. I change from my writing clothes into my attorney clothes, and I’m off to work. Typically, this morning writing session is the only time I can write during the work day, so it is sacred time. I try very hard not to let anything interfere with it, though I am far from perfect and sometimes I do miss a session.

An hour and a half of writing probably does not seem like a whole lot, but it is surprising how quickly the pages begin to pile up when I write every single day.

When I’m writing, I also like to be reading a book (the above-mentioned Sycamore Row is what’s on tap now) as well as listening to one on tape in my car—I am currently listening to John Sandford’s Easy Prey. My happy place is when I am writing a story, reading a story and listening to a story all at once. Constant reading and listening keeps the beat of the story in my mind. The rhythm so to speak that helps so much with transitions and pacing.

Anyway, when I first started writing, I varied my process, but now it is pretty much set in stone. Having a routine helps me relax and concentrate on the story, which is the fun part. The best part of my day is that first hour and a half in the writing studio with the door closed and my imagination running wild.

About The Author

From the time he could walk, Robert Bailey has loved stories, especially those about the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and his beloved Crimson Tide football team at the University of Alabama.

Bailey was born in Huntsville, Ala., in 1973. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Davidson College in North Carolina and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 1999. In law school, Bailey was honored with the Award for Outstanding Achievement at the American Judicature Society Interscholastic Trial Competition. He made Law Review and was a member of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society. Somehow, between studying and preparing for the bar exam, Bailey managed to watch every home football game.

For the past 14 years, Bailey has practiced law as a civil defense trial attorney in Huntsville at the law firm of Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne. In addition to representing health care providers and nursing homes in medical liability cases, he defends trucking companies, insurance carriers, insureds and businesses in injury-related lawsuits.

Bailey is admitted to practice before the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court – Northern and Middle Districts of Alabama and Western District of Tennessee – and in all Alabama state courts.

He is a member of several professional associations including the International Association of Defense Counsel, Defense Research Institute, Alabama Defense Lawyers’ Association, Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association and the Alabama Bar Association.

Bailey’s first novel, The Professor, was published on Jan. 28, 2014 by Exhibit A Books.

Bailey is married with three children. When he’s not writing or practicing law, he’s playing golf, coaching his sons’ little league baseball teams and, of course, cheering on the Crimson Tide.


Book Review

The Professor by Robert Bailey
Book 1: McMurtrie and Drake Investigation Series
Publisher: Exhibit A
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Format: Paperback - 416 pages / Kindle - 838 KB / Nook - 752 KB
ISBN: 1909223581
Genre: Legal Thriller 

BUY THE BOOK: The Professor

BUY THE SERIES: McMurtrie and Drake Investigations
Book 1: The Professor
Book 2: Between Black and White (Publication: TBA)

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 JKSCommunications.

Book Description:

“In trials, like sports, sometimes winning means everything…”

Thomas Jackson McMurtrie is a living legend scorned. Forty years ago, he gave up a promising career as a trial lawyer to become a law professor at the University of Alabama at the request of his mentor, Alabama football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Now Tom is forced into retirement, betrayed by both a powerful colleague and his own failing health.

Meanwhile the young family of one of his oldest friends is killed in a tragic road collision. Believing his career is over, Tom refers the case to a brilliant, yet beleaguered, former student, who begins to uncover the truth behind the tragedy, buried in a tangled web of arson, bribery and greed.

But as the eve of trial approaches, the young attorney’s case begins to unravel. In over his head and at the end of his rope, he realizes there’s only one man who can help…

The Professor is the first in a series of tense legal thrillers featuring the enthralling and brilliant legal team of McMurtrie and Drake, combining the thrills and authenticity of a John Grisham novel for the audience that flocked to Friday Night Lights.

My Book Review:

In his debut novel, The Professor, author Robert Bailey utilizes his extensive legal knowledge and experience interwoven with his passion for his alma mater, University of Alabama, to weave a riveting and unforgettable legal thriller that will captivate the reader's attention from beginning to end.

This is a fast-paced story about greed, bribery, betrayal, and a fight for justice. It is a classic legal chess game set in Alabama between evil big business and corrupt politicians versus a seasoned legal professor and his young protegee, that provides a powerful and compelling story with enough gripping thrills and chills interspersed with drama and suspenseful twists and turns.

What more could a fan of college football and legal thrillers want then to lose themselves in between the pages of this emotional story? The author does a wonderful job of interweaving his legal experience and passion for 'Bama football with richly detailed and descriptive references that easily transports the reader to a small town Alabama courtroom and the Crimson Tide campus where the legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant ruled supreme.

With a complex and realistic cast of characters; witty dialogue and dramatic heart pounding interactions; and a fascinating mystery/crime storyline with an authentic style that flows seamlessly from beginning to end; The Professor is a thoroughly entertaining legal crime story that takes the reader on one hell of a thrilling roller coaster ride!


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

January 12
Q&A Feature at The Page Turners Book Club 

January 22
Interview at Omnimystery News

January 24
Guest Post at Dear Teen Me

January 26
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

January 27
Interview at Infinite House of Books

January 29
Review at Crystal’s Book Reviews

January 30
Interview at Literary Lunes Publications

January 31
Review and Guest Post at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

February 1
Review and Interview at Jorie Loves a Story 
Review at Now is Gone Review at My Bookshelf

February 15
at 4:00pm EST “Read On” Live Web Chat Show at Crossroad Reviews

Also on the Tour:
Review at Now is Gone
Review at My Bookshelf

New Beginnings by Mary Metcalfe (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 New Beginnings by Author Mary Metcalfe!

Author Guest Post

Even The Top Writers Need An Editor And Proofreader
By: Mary Metcalfe

I am a content and copy editor and a published author of three fiction novels. Number four is now under construction. In my day work as an editor and doing editorial evaluations, I come across many wonderful writers. These are people who have spent many long hours to write and publish articles, short stories, fiction, nonfiction and memoirs. These are folks who know how to write and tell a great story.

And every single one of them needs an editor.

I recently evaluated a very engaging manuscript by a writer who opted not to have a professional copy edit done because “I have a degree in English Literature.” Unfortunately, that degree didn’t cover the fact that the Phil Donahue show was broadcast, for most of its record run, from Chicago and not New York, which is where she had situated it. Had she Googled it, she would have had the correct location in seconds.

Another writer, who clearly has a lengthy background in teaching journalistic writing and turned his excellent writing talents to fiction, wrote a wonderfully engaging novel. He too opted not to have it professionally edited. However, he kept changing scenes (including countries and timespans) without setting the scene up. So there I was wondering how a newborn baby in Chapter 9 had suddenly morphed into a 10-year-old going to hockey games with his stepfather in Chapter 10. There was no transition. And let’s not even get into the amazing leap to a bathroom scene in a British hotel after being in Winnipeg talking about a possible summer teaching gig. Or a woman who gave birth without a single grunt or groan and held down a lengthy conversation with her delivery doctor while the baby’s head was crowning.

Another manuscript I recently content edited had a scene where the local law enforcement officers were going off into the bush in snow up past their knees to retrieve a body… with a stretcher. I live in an area where the snow routinely piles up to a foot deep or more. There is no way a stretcher could be used in the woods. Well, it happens that my husband is a retired volunteer firefighter and first responder! They use a rescue sled. Bingo. Problem fixed.

An issue for writers of historical fiction is word use appropriate to the time setting. I recently content edited a manuscript set between 1768-1770 in northern Canada and the American colonies. Imagine my surprise to see words like hypothermia, sniper, foxhole and call girl! None of these words were in use. Call girl came from the 1930s when ‘ladies of the night’ started using telephones to make appointments. Not happening in 1770.

Then there was the semi-erotic manuscript I evaluated. Somehow, the guy was lying back on his elbows in the bed while serving his girlfriend a glass of wine. Something wasn’t quite working with that one.

In the age of e-readers, lengthy paragraphs become black screens of text in smaller formats. In several of the manuscripts I’ve worked on, particularly memoirs, there is a tendency to write long descriptive paragraphs. I tend to break these down for the sake of the e-readers.

I know from personal experience that I need an editor. And then I need a proofreader. All three of my novels were professionally content and copy edited. When that was done, I had my husband proofread them. He’s a technical editor/translator and he caught errors we all missed, including a character name being switched!

Many new authors are flocking to self-publishing without the benefit of a solid copy edit. Unfortunately, they are turning up alongside seasoned authors who recognize the value of a well-edited manuscript. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to sift through and find the polished gems among the rough cut ones. But, such is the nature of publishing in the 21st Century.

About The Author

Mary Metcalfe is the author of three published novels – Winds of Change, New Beginnings, Road to Tomorrow – and currently at work on her fourth. She and her long-time husband live in the foothills of the Laurentians in Quebec, Canada with a small herd of cats and a Canadian Eskimo dog. Their daughter is a published literary non-fiction author.


Book Review

New Beginnings by Mary Metcalfe
Book 2: Look To The Future Series
Publisher: Laskin Publishing
Publication Date: September 30, 2012
Format: Paperback - 250 pages / Kindle - 668 KB
ISBN: 9780987930
Genre: Romance Suspense / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: New Beginnings

BUY THE SERIES: Look To The Future
Book 1: Winds Of Change
Book 2: New Beginnings
Book 3: Road To Tomorrow

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:

Workaholic real estate agent Carol Brock can't seem to find a good man. Her first husband cheated with a law clerk less than half his age. Then she found herself in a string of bad relationships with unscrupulous men, including a con man and art thief, who shredded her professional reputation and strained her relationship with her college-age children. Carol has sworn off men and is determined to reclaim her life and career on her terms. But, when Boston’s most eligible bachelor, restoration specialist Devin Elliott, puts in an offer on a charming Victorian, Carol admits she’s attracted. Devin’s offer unwittingly unleashes a psychopathic rage in an ex-girlfriend that spills into Carol’s life. As she and Devin try to stay one step ahead of violence, Carol must decide whether she's ready to risk her heart again.

Book Excerpt:

“Damn. I don’t have time for this.” Carol Brock stared down at her electric-blue BMW in dismay and growing anger. She’d been completely boxed in by a SUV on one side and a glossy black pickup on the other. Not a chance she could get in either the driver or passenger doors. I’m supposed to show a house in thirty minutes, half way across town. I don’t need this. Then she saw her driver’s side mirror and gasped. It was dangling on a couple of wires.

“What the hell?” Taking out her phone, she pressed on the camera app and started shooting. “Think you can get away with this? Think again.”

She snapped the scene, the vehicles, and their license plates and sent the photos to someone she knew in the Boston Police, with the message: ’Guzzo, you’re my witness. I’m having the pickup towed so I can get in my car.’

As she called for roadside assistance, Carol stamped her feet to try and warm them. It was another cold, wet, gray November day. Gone were the sweet smells and vibrant colors of early fall. While her soft leather boots were beautiful and comfortable to walk in, they were not meant to stand around in. I should call the Fowlers and let them know I’ll be a bit late, she thought and keyed in another number. I can blame it on the traffic.

The tow truck arrived. Within a few minutes, the driver had hitched up the gleaming black pickup and was pulling it onto the truck bed when a loud voice yelled over the grinding whine of the hydraulics.

“Whoa! Wait a minute. What do you think you’re doing? Stop!”

Carol turned to see a very tall, well-dressed man running across the parking lot. She stood her ground and watched his approach, with a smirk on her glossed lips. Great eye candy, but boy, does he look angry. I might enjoy venting on such a magnificent male. If you’re going to have a good mad on, might as well be mad at someone good looking.

As he drew up beside her, Carol looked up into molten hazel eyes that were flashing with anger. She felt a small frisson of fear but brushed it aside. She already had a business card in her hand. Before he could say a word, she held it out to him.

“You ripped off my side mirror. Here’s my card. I’d appreciate yours if you have one. You owe me for the mirror.” She could almost feel the heat of his anger and swallowed a bit nervously. But adrenaline was coursing through her veins. Her emerald green eyes stared straight into his.

“My God, woman.” He looked at her card. “Carol Brock, real estate agent. Well, you’re a real piece of work, Ms. Brock, let me tell you. What gives you the right to move my truck? I could have you charged with theft.”

“Go ahead and try. I’ve already sent photos to the police. I can prove you boxed me in and ripped off my mirror. I’m sure I can have you charged with something too.”

“Well, I’ll be damned. You don’t miss a beat. Photos to the police already.”

Carol watched in amazement as the flashing fire of anger was completely extinguished and replaced with mirth. She was sure the color of his eyes had changed in an instant. Now the brazen man was smiling and laughing at her. Her temper seethed as she fixed him with a look that only a mother could muster.

“I hardly think this is anything to laugh about.” Her voice dripped with disdain as she fixed him with a steely gaze. “I have a full day ahead. You’ve thrown my entire schedule off, and you’ve damaged my car. I’m going to lose valuable time getting it fixed.”

“Okay, Ms. Brock, mea culpa. I did park badly, but I didn’t realize I’d damaged your car. Now I see that I have, and I’m making you late for your next appointment. Can’t argue with you on any of those points. My name is Devin, Devin Elliott.” He held out his hand, which now held a business card.

Carol took the card but refused the offer of a handshake. She couldn’t argue with him. She swallowed her temper reluctantly.

“Devin Elliott, the architect.” Carol knew the name. Anyone in Boston real estate circles knew Elliott and Co., Restoration Specialists. “Well then, at least I know you can afford to pay for the mirror. That honking big truck of yours was a pretty obvious clue, too. The mirror will cost at least eight hundred dollars. It’s articulated, electronic, and heated.” She looked at her phone. “Damn. I really am going to be late. I need to get going.”

“Excuse me?” They both looked over as the tow truck driver leaned his head out of his window. “Where do you want the pickup, sir?”

“Just put it over there, please.” Devin pointed towards the entrance of the lot and then turned back to Carol. “What do you say we get the tow truck to take your car to your dealership? I’ll drive you to your next appointment if they don’t have a loaner for you.”

Carol snorted and put a hand up to smooth her coppery auburn waves. “I do not need a ride, and I am perfectly capable of handling this situation. You’ve been quite enough help already.” She pulled up to her full height. Even with towering heels she couldn’t look him straight in the eye. She thrust her chin up stubbornly.

He smiled down at her. “After seeing you in action just now, I’m quite convinced you can take care of just about anyone or anything. But I don’t think your day will get any better driving around with your side mirror hanging off.” Devin continued his delicate negotiations. “You’ll just get stopped by the police, ticketed, and pulled off the road. Then you’ll be calling for the tow guy again. He’s already here. Why not take advantage of it and save some of that valuable time you just mentioned? Plus, we can get the estimate, and I can pay for it right then and there.”

His small jab of sarcasm was not lost on her, but he did have a good point. “Oh, all right. I accept your offer.”

My Book Review:

Carol Brock is a forty-three year old successful real estate agent who has sworn off men after a series of bad relationships. Carol is determined to take back control of her life and career, that is until she meets Devin Elliott, Boston's most eligible bachelor and restoration specialist. Devin puts in an offer for a Victorian house that Carol has listed, there is mutual attraction and a chance at a new beginning for both of them. But there is just one little problem ... Devin's psychopathic ex-girlfriend Allison, who is hellbent on stopping Devin from buying her mother's house and his growing relationship with Carol. Can Carol and Devin overcome the complications and obstacles that arise from their budding relationship and get a chance at a new beginning?

In New Beginnings, the second book of the Look To The Future series, author Mary Metcalfe weaves an intriguing tale of romance and suspense that will captivate the reader's attention. The reader is transported to picturesque New England as they follow Carol Brock and Devin Elliott's budding professional and personal relationship that is wrought with past emotional baggage, complications, and one seriously psycho ex-girlfriend.

This fast-paced story has a good mixture of romance, drama, tension, intrigue and suspense that easily draws the reader in and keeps them turning the pages. The characters are realistic and well developed with witty dialogue and engaging interactions; the author provides a richly detailed description of the setting; and a fascinating storyline that flows seamlessly as it builds momentum with unpredictable developments and suspenseful twists and turns until the dramatic conclusion.

I enjoyed watching the development of Carol and Devin's relationship, and how they both had to let go of their past emotional baggage, overcome unpredictable obstacles, re-evaluate their lives and take a risk in order to move forward and get a second chance at a new beginning.

New Beginnings is an enjoyable romantic suspense thriller that is simply hard to put down!


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Anyone who leaves a comment on the New Beginnings tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of New Beginnings before January 31 and sends their receipt to will get 5 bonus entries!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

January 13 – The Latchkey Mom – Novel Spotlight
January 15 – Change the Word – Guest Post
January 16 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
January 17 – Everything Books and Authors – Guest Post
January 21 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
January 22 – Musings From an Addicted Reader – Review
January 23 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
January 27 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Q&A
January 28 - Authors and Readers Book Corner - Review
January 28 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
January 29 – Fiction Dreams – Q&A
January 30 – Reader Girls – Excerpt
January 31 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Something Yellow by Laura Templeton (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Something Yellow by Author Laura Templeton!

Author Guest Post

I’m often asked what inspired me to write Something Yellow. The answer is complicated, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to provide more than the passing answer I usually give a reader I meet at a book signing event.

First, I must say that, in general, there is only one thing that inspires me to write: great writing. I was blessed with a wonderful mother who loved to read and who read to me from the time I was born. (I don’t think reading to babies in utero was in vogue at the time, so I can’t claim that advantage!) I read. A lot. Fiction. Poetry. Non-fiction. I appreciate great writers in a number of genres – from Frances Mayes to Barbara Kingsolver to Sue Monk Kidd to Melissa Fay Greene to Thomas Merton, to name just a few. Great writers and great books inspire me. And, yes, they intimidate me, too. I fear my words will never be as good as theirs. Still, I can aspire…

But to discuss why I wrote Something Yellow—a story about a young woman struggling with an ailing parent and a healthy dose of repressed grief—I’ll have to dig a bit deeper. When I started the book, my family was going through a difficult time. Within eight years, I’d lost both my parents and my mother-in-law. My in-laws were living with us, and after my mother-in-law’s death, my father-in-law began a slow decline. He developed dementia (it was never officially deemed Alzheimer’s disease) that led to the erosion of his mind in a painful way. He’d remained sharp and active into his nineties, so the decline was unexpected, sad, and difficult to cope with. My husband—who ran a business from our home—became his primary caregiver.

Our world narrowed to one of nurse’s assistants, sitters, walkers, adult diapers, doctor appointments, and mental anguish. Our home became a hospital room. Our freedom to go out was compromised. It felt as if everyone we loved was dead or dying…and I had a tendency, like Holly, to rail against this inevitable outcome. It’s difficult to lose parents (and siblings, spouses, friends), as I’m sure many of you know.

In the midst of this darkness, I began to write Something Yellow…and there was born Holly’s relationship with her mother, who is dying of breast cancer. Holly’s struggles were our struggles. As I watched my husband lose weight (that he didn’t need to lose) from lack of sleep and bad eating habits, Holly grew thin and tired. Caring for a loved one in this manner is exhausting, and I think if we had it to do over again we’d do things a bit differently. But the point is that writing about Holly and Marilyn, Houston and Jonah, helped me survive this dark and difficult time. I suppose I figured that if I could write about loss and grief being transformed into hope—I could create that hope in my life as well. And in some weird way, it worked.

My wish is that my readers will find hope in Something Yellow’s ending, as Holly puts the past behind her and…well, no spoilers here. You’ll have to read to find out just how Holly’s life turns out once she allows the light back into her heart.

About The Author

Laura Templeton lives near Athens, Georgia, with her husband, son, and a menagerie of animals, mostly rescues. In her day job she serves as Vice President of Operations for a laboratory equipment manufacturer. By night–early morning, actually–she writes fiction. Her first novel, Something Yellow, was released by PageSpring Publishing in October 2013. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, gardening, learning to figure skate—with a very patient instructor, and taking long walks on the quiet country roads near her home.

Laura can be contacted at


Book Review

Something Yellow by Laura Templeton
Publisher: Cup of Tea Books / PageSpring Publishing
Publication Date: September 16, 2013
Format: Paperback - 324 pages / Kindle - 860 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1939403154
Genre: Mystery / Romantic Suspense / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Something Yellow

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:

It has been thirteen years since Holly’s nine-year-old sister, Rachel, disappeared without a trace.

It has been thirteen years since Holly left her hometown.

It has been thirteen years since Holly’s first love and high school boyfriend, Houston, was the only suspect.

Now another nine-year-old girl has disappeared.

Holly is back, and so is Houston—never charged and still proclaiming his innocence.

Can she trust him . . . should she trust him?

Book Excerpt:

Jonah Salter brought bad news—it sat on him like heavy snow on a pine branch. I’d been home less than two weeks, barely time to adjust to the rhythm of the small mountain town, when he knocked on Mother’s front door. I knew right away he was the substitute preacher—from Atlanta, like me—because he wore a nice, camel-colored wool vest and a tie under his overcoat. And because my cousin, Tina Lynn, had already told me about him. “Good looking in a tortured sort of way,” she’d said.

I looked him up and down and decided she was right.

Behind him, the first patchy frost of the season sat on the grass, and the newness of the cold made it feel worse than it was. I introduced myself and invited him in, quickly closing the door to keep out the draft. I hadn’t turned on the furnace yet and relied on the kerosene heater in the kitchen to warm the house. Mother’s ancient, gray cardigan—which I’d thrown on over a T-shirt and faded jeans—hung limp and baggy on my small frame, and I tugged on it self-consciously. I hadn’t expected company.

Mother had lain down after breakfast, so I took Jonah to the kitchen and poured us both a cup of coffee. I doubted the caffeine would dull the impact of whatever he’d come to tell us—it hadn’t helped me cope with everything else that had happened these last few months. I’d resisted the urge to try anything stronger, though a prescription for Prozac lay crumpled in the bottom of my purse. I hadn’t filled it. But I hadn’t thrown it away either.

Jonah sipped the hot coffee and then carefully set the mug on the table. “I came to let you know that Mark and Natalie Hamilton’s daughter is missing.”

My years as a banking executive, negotiating loans and mortgages for major corporate clients in Atlanta, had taught me to temper my reaction to almost any news. I could sit across a table from a CFO and keep even a hint of a frown off my face when she told me her company’s debt ratio had slipped, making it impossible for me to renew their multi-million-dollar line of credit. Control was part of my job. But now all my training went out the window.

“What?” I stared at him in disbelief. “Cailey?” Gripping the table edge with both hands, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that the daughter of my high-school friends had apparently disappeared.

Jonah nodded. I’d braced myself to perhaps learn of the death of some great aunt or uncle, a sad eventuality that would have paled in comparison to the shocking news he delivered. I glanced toward the counter at my purse—I might need that prescription after all.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Something Yellow, author Laura Templeton weaves a wonderful multi-layered story that features an intriguing mixture of mystery, romantic suspense, and women's fiction.

Thirteen years ago, Holly McCann left her Appalachian Mountains hometown of White Cove, Virginia, for Atlanta, vowing never to return. But when she lost her banking executive position to the Great Recession, Holly returned home to take care of her mother, who is dying from breast cancer. Coming home is not easy for Holly, it has been thirteen years since her nine year old sister Rachel disappeared without a trace leaving her family shattered. Now the haunting past filled with old wounds, grief, suspicions, secrets and memories from Rachel's disappearance rise to the surface with the recent eerily similar disappearance of nine year old Cailey Hamilton. As Holly cares for her mother, she also has to face the secrets from her family's past in order to heal and move forward with her life.

Something Yellow is a riveting story that captivated my attention and drew me in from the beginning with its intriguing combination of mystery, romantic suspense, and intricate family dynamics. Written in the first person narrative with alternating flashbacks to the past interwoven with the present, the reader follows Holly's search for the truth surrounding the mysterious disappearance of her sister Rachel, while coming to terms with a complicated love relationship, and the hardship of dealing with a tangled web of family secrets, lies, and heartache from the past that comes to the surface with intriguing links to the recent disappearance of nine year old Cailey Hamilton.

With a richly detailed description of the setting, the author easily transports the reader to the picturesque Appalachian Mountains town of White Cove, Virginia. The author's depiction of the rural small mountain town and its townspeople is a realistic portrait, you can't help but feel like you are there with Holly and the townspeople.

This is an intriguing multi-layered and fast-paced story. The complexity of the characters come alive as the mystery unfolds and the family's past is uncovered. It is a gripping and emotional tale that has a lot of depth and keeps the reader in suspense and guessing with its riveting twists and turns until the surprisingly shocking conclusion.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

January 27 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Q&A
January 28 – A Novel Thought – Review & Q&A
January 29 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
January 29 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
January 30 – Feeling Beachie – Review
January 31 – Chick Lit Plus – Review

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Hole In The Middle by Kate Hilton (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 Hole In The Middle by Author Kate Hilton!

Author Guest Post

What It Takes To Be A Writer

When I started writing my novel, I was truly terrified. This was partly because I had worked briefly in the book business in my twenties and had enough knowledge about the industry to see that the likelihood of publication was remote. Also, I had enough self-knowledge to recognize my intense aversion to failure and rejection, both of which are the constant companions of aspiring writers.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I was rejected a lot, and not always nicely. I was raised right, so I’m not going to name names, but among the many indignities I suffered, one agent declared: “Some people have difficulty writing in the first person. Perhaps you are one of those people.” He then proceeded to read to me (for half an hour) from several first-person writers on his list, in the hope that I might benefit from the example of their superior writing. It’s a measure of how much I wanted to write my book that I persisted.

If you are going to be a writer, you will need to be resilient. You will need to cultivate self-knowledge and as much objectivity about your writing as you can muster, so that you can make wise assessments about the criticism you receive. You will need to have faith – and I use this word deliberately – that your work deserves a wider audience. Many days, this faith will seem irrational and misguided. Nevertheless, you must nurture it.

I am a lawyer by training, so faith is not easy for me. I am, however, good at assignments. As part of my women’s networking group, I was assigned a personal manifesto. The one I created is a collection of statements that remind me how I want to live and who I want to be. I referred back to my manifesto many times throughout my book project, and it reminded me to finish what I’d started, to be courageous, to enjoy the process, to share my writing with others and to be proud of my work. So in that spirit, I share my personal manifesto with you. Use it to create one of your own, and see where it takes you.

1. Do what you say you are going to do.
2. Joy is not a luxury.
3. Be honest, with yourself above all.
4. Count your blessings. They are many. Be grateful.
5. Connect.
6. Remember: Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.
7. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
8. Be generous in all things.
9. If you aren’t scared, you aren’t growing.
10. Breathe.
11. You have time. The rest is still unwritten.
12. There is only one true inner voice. Trust it. It has never let you down.

(What it Takes to be a Writer was first published on Kate Hilton’s blog at

About The Author

Kate Hilton has worked in law, higher education, public relations, fundraising and publishing. She has an English degree from McGill University and a law degree from the University of Toronto. She holds down a day job, volunteers for community organizations, raises two boys, cooks, collects art, reads voraciously and likes her husband. In her free time, she writes. On good days, she thinks she might have it all. On bad days, she wants a nap.

The Hole in the Middle is Kate’s first book. Kate is represented by Beverley Slopen of the Beverley Slopen Literary Agency in Toronto.


Book Review

The Hole In The Middle by Kate Hilton
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Format: Paperback - 352 pages / Kindle - 690 KB
ISBN: 1443429554
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Hole In The Middle

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

Book Description: 

Sophie Whelan is the epitome of the modern superwoman. When she operates at peak performance, she can cajole balky employees, soothe her cranky children, troubleshoot career disasters, throw a dinner party for ten and draft an upbeat Christmas letter — all in the same day.

But as Sophie’s fortieth birthday looms, her seamless life reveals disturbing web-like fractures. Conflict with her boss, blossoming jealousy of her husband’s femme fatale business partner and her feelings of hopeless inadequacy as a mother and daughter are cracking the edifice of her life.

Rescue may be at hand when Lillian Parker, a wealthy widow who befriended Sophie during her university days, makes Sophie an irresistible offer. Why, then, does Sophie hesitate? The answer is the reappearance of Lillian’s nephew, Will Shannon, the great unresolved love of Sophie’s life. As she remembers the vivid drama of their college romance, Sophie confronts the choices she has made in life and in love and looks for the one answer that has always eluded her: what does she really want?

The Hole in the Middle is a heartbreaking love story, a laugh-out loud portrayal of the twin demands of work and family and a fresh take on the hot debate about having it all.

Book Excerpt:

I show up at Sara’s house around eight, and book club is in full swing. I’ve come straight from the office, and my prescription is still in my purse. I’d say that I haven’t had time to fill it, but even I know that for once, lack of time isn’t the issue.

I ring the bell. Zoe answers and steps out onto the porch with me for a moment. “I was hoping it was you,” she says. “I’m not ready to tell anyone else about what’s going on with Richard, OK?” She gestures toward the house, where the rest of the book club is waiting.

“Of course,” I say. And in any event, I feel a little fuzzy on the details of Zoe’s marital crisis. Lunch feels as though it happened a week and not six hours ago.

“How are you feeling?” I ask.

She shrugs. “It helped to see you at lunch,” she says. “But I think this is one of those situations where it’s going to keep feeling worse until something big changes. I’m just not ready to think about what the something big is.” I give her a hug, and we go in. “Look everyone,” she calls. “It’s a special guest appearance by Sophie!” She drags me into the living room, where the rest of the book club bursts into enthusiastic applause.

“I haven’t read the book,” I say.

“Don’t be silly,” says Laura. “No one ever reads the book.”

“I do,” says Sara pointedly. “And it would be great if we could make a tiny effort to talk about it once in a while, even for five minutes. Hi, Soph.” She pauses. “What did you do to your arm?”

“I sprained my wrist,” I say. “It’s nothing.”

“What was the book again?” asks Laura.

Sara raises an eyebrow. “Are you really interested, or are you just trying to humor me?”

Laura laughs. “Was it good?”

“Not especially,” says Sara. “We can stop talking about it now. What’s Megan going on about?”

Like Sara, Megan is one of my old friends from the student newspaper, and I’ve caught her in mid-rant. Nora is leaning back slightly to avoid Megan’s violent gesticulations, which are, as usual, aimed at hapless, absent Bob: “And then he looks into the stroller and says, ‘I’m starting to get to the point where I remember that he’s around. Do you know what I mean?’ And I think, ‘What kind of fucking question is that? It’s kind of hard for me to forget that our baby is around when he’s hanging off my tit 24/7, but I guess you don’t have that problem, do you Bob?’ Honestly! I just looked at him and said ‘I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.’”

Megan takes a breath, looks around, and realizes that she is the main attraction. “Hi, Sophie,” she says. “Good to see you.”

I wave. “Still married?”

Megan snorts. “Barely,” she says, but she smiles a little before turning back to Nora to continue itemizing Bob’s shortcomings as a husband and father.

“What can I get you to drink?” asks Zoe. “Prosecco?” I nod, and she disappears into the kitchen. I sit down next to Sara.

“How have you been?” she asks.

“Bad day to ask,” I say. “I’d say I’ve been stressed to the point of hysteria, while at the same time struggling to find enough meaning in my work to justify my level of anxiety. I mean, shouldn’t you have to care about a job to get this worked up about it?”

“Of course not!” Zoe reappears with my glass and plops down on the sofa with us. “Do you remember the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel are working on an assembly line at a chocolate factory? No? You know the scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere takes Julia Roberts up to the penthouse for the first time, and they have a fight, and then they make up, and then they stay up late watching TV?”

“Oh, yeah,” says Sara. “Right before she gives him the blow job.”

“Exactly. That moment where you think, am I really supposed to be rooting for these two to get together in the end?”

“Totally.” Megan and Nora have finished with Bob and rejoin the group. “But they aren’t watching the chocolate factory episode,” Megan says. “They’re watching the wine-making one, where Lucy runs around in a giant barrel and throws grapes at everyone.”

Zoe rolls her eyes. “The point I’m making,” she says, with the deliberate enunciation of a woman who has had too much Prosecco, “is that the chocolate factory is a perfect example of a job that is both stressful and meaningless. The chocolate starts coming faster and faster and they can’t wrap it quickly enough, and by the end they are stuffing the chocolates down their shirts and in their mouths and looking completely panic-stricken, but to no real end.”

“And this relates to Sophie’s job how?” asks Laura.

Zoe waves her hand vaguely. “Email, voicemail, staff meetings – the whole tedious routine is a modern-day, white-collar version of the conveyor belt.”

“Well, that’s a pretty bleak assessment,” I say.

“Only if you plan to be stuck beside the conveyor belt for the rest of your life,” says Zoe. “But since you don’t actually work in a chocolate factory, you have a few options. And if you would admit that you are having a midlife crisis, you could start looking at ways to change it up.”

“I’m not having a midlife crisis,” I say.

Laura laughs. “Everyone’s having a midlife crisis, Sophie,” she says. “You might as well join the club.”

My Book Review:

There comes a time in a woman's life when they hit the milestone fortieth birthday that causes them to reflect back on their life's journey ... The Hole In The Middle is Sophie Whelan's story.

Sophie Whelan is on the cusp of turning the big 4-0, and as her birthday approaches, this busy professional, wife, and mother struggles to juggle the competing demands of work and family. As Sophie reflects back on her last year of college and the current state of her life, she re-examines an unresolved relationship from her past, and takes a new look at the present circumstances in her life that has made her the woman that she is.

The Hole In The Middle is a refreshing and warm tale that every woman in their thirties and forties can identify with and relate to. You can't help but get drawn into Sophie's story, there is a little bit of her in every single one of us. As Sophie struggles to find a balance within her work and family life, her mid-life angst coupled with an unresolved past threatens to unravel her delicate balancing act. With the help and support of Lillian Parker, a wealthy widow who befriended Sophie in her senior year in college, Sophie's journey will bring her life full circle, allowing her to see who she really is and what she really wants out of life.

Author Kate Hilton has written a witty, intelligent, inspirational, and enjoyable story that makes the reader feel the full gamut of emotions, and gives them pause to reflect upon their own lives. She has captured all the nuances that a woman can experience in her life in a humorous and endearing fashion that is full of funny, honest and candid moments. I thoroughly enjoyed following Sophie on her journey, I saw so much of her in myself that I couldn't help but smile and shake my head in acknowledgment that I have a sister-in-arms who has faced the same challenges and questions that I had in my life as I approached my forties. I really enjoyed the author's witty observations on life, love, marriage, motherhood and careers.

The Hole In The Middle is a poignant and touching story for every woman who has navigated down the tricky path of everyday life.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Anyone who leaves a comment on The Hole In The Middle tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of The Hole in the Middle before January 27 and sends their receipt to will get 5 bonus entries!

Virtual Book Tour Event Schedule

Tour Schedule:

January 6 – Book Mama Blog – Q&A & Excerpt
January 7 – Cindy Arora – Q&A
January 8 – Chick Lit Goddess – Excerpt
January 9 – The Winey Mommy – Review
January 10 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt 
January 13 – Literary Chanteuse – Novel Spotlight
January 14 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
January 16 – Everything Books and Authors – Excerpt 
January 20 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review 
January 21 – The Book Bag – Guest Post & Excerpt 
January 22 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Guest Post & Excerpt
January 23 – Books Reviews by Dee – Excerpt
January 27 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt