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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Comedy of Erinn by Celia Bonaduce (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for A Comedy of Erinn by Author Celia Bonaduce!

Book Review

A Comedy of Erinn by Celia Bonaduce
Book 2: A Venice Beach Romance Series
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Company
Publication Date: September 1, 2013 paperback / September 19, 2013 eBook
Format: Paperback - 242 pages / Kindle - 436 KB / Nook - 628 KB
ISBN: 1601831250
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: A Comedy of Erinn

BUY THE SERIES: A Venice Beach Romance Series
Book 1: The Merchant of Venice Beach
Book 2: A Comedy of Erinn
Book 3: Much Ado About Mother

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 Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description: 

Erinn Wolf needs to reinvent herself. A once celebrated playwright turned photographer, she’s almost broke, a little lonely, and tired of her sister’s constant worry. When a job on a reality TV show falls into her lap, she’s thrilled to be making a paycheck–and when a hot Italian actor named Massimo rents her guesthouse, she’s certain her life is getting a romantic subplot. But with the director, brash, gorgeous young Jude, dogging her every step, she can’t help but look at herself through his lens–and wonder if she’s been reading the wrong script all along…

Book Excerpt:

“You’ve made your point. Now let’s go,” Jude said, trying to take the camera case out of her hands.

"Oh? And exactly what is my point?”

“That you’re the teacher’s pet…the good little camera girl who won’t let a blizzard stop her. Now let’s get out of here!”

The wind picked up and Erinn almost lost her balance. She realized that the ground was starting to freeze underneath them. She admitted to herself that there was no point in being out – she’d never get a shot worth having, even if they didn’t freeze to death.

“When defeat is inevitable, it is wisest to yield,” Erinn yelled to Jude.

“Whatever, dude. Let’s bounce.”

Jude threw the gear in the back and felt his way to the passenger side. They both got in and Erinn started the car. She hoped Jude would stay quiet. She was feeling so shaky. Not from the cold, but from the realization that she was not being a good producer. To put it in Jude’s vernacular, she sucked!

Erinn tried to pull out onto the road, but the wheels just spun on the ice. Erinn and Jude looked at each other.

“Are we stuck?” Jude asked.

“We can’t be,” Erinn said. “This is an SUV. It must be four wheel drive.”

“Not necessarily,” Jude said. “Do you see any kind of lever or button or anything that would let you switch to four wheel drive?”

“No. There isn’t anything. Are we doomed?”

Doomed? Jesus, Erinn. You are a glass empty kind of girl, aren’t ya?”

“Actually, I’m a “the glass is the wrong size” kind of girl…woman…but I think that’s beside the point right now. What should I do?”

“Start rocking the car. Put it in first, then reverse, then first, then reverse. Then give it a little gas and see if we can get out of this.”

Erinn started shifting gears and made a mental note. Next time, she wouldn’t settle for anything less than an SUV with four wheel drive.

Miraculously, the car shot forward. Erinn gasped and Jude slapped her on the shoulder approvingly. Erinn turned slightly towards what she hoped was the road…it was so covered in snow that she couldn’t actually see a road, but it must be there. Making sure no one was coming – fat chance, she thought – she started inching the Explorer through the ice and snow. She was creeping forward, when the car became completely unresponsive and started sliding towards the right. Pushing the gas did nothing. Turning the steering wheel did nothing.

“Oh, no,” Erinn said.


“The car has lost traction. We’re skating on the ice.”

Erinn frantically turned the wheel to right and then to the left. The car continued to slide.

“Stay cool, Erinn. We’re on flat ground. Nothing can happen. Just chill.”

Erinn tried to relax, but the car kept sliding sideways, the weight of the vehicle causing it to pick up speed. Clearly, they weren’t on completely flat ground or the SUV wouldn’t be hurling itself sideways, but Erinn decided now was not the time to argue this point.

Erinn felt the vehicle tipping. She was jolted violently sideways and caught, suspended, by the seatbelt. She craned her neck to look at Jude, who was looking UP at her from the passenger seat. The SUV was completely on its side, like a gigantic dead beast. “Now, we’re doomed,” he said.

Erinn tried without success to free herself from the seatbelt. With every gyration, the belt tightened around her neck. She tried to hold still. She craned her neck and watched Jude brace himself against the passenger door with his right arm. This gave his seatbelt some slack and he was able to release the lever. He thudded against the passenger door, but at least he was free. Erinn felt her breastbone pressing into the seatbelt as she hung sideways. She watched as Jude twisted himself around, crablike, and faced her. She looked into his eyes.

“The camera case,” she said.

Jude sat back on his heels.

“Dude,” he said. “Seriously? Forget the gear right now. We’re in deep shit.”

“The camera…” Erinn breathed heavily. “Check the camera…”

“What are you…one of those freaks who needs to record their own death?

“His or her own death,” Erinn corrected, gasping. “ ‘One freak’ is singular.”

“You are so pushing your luck, lady,” Jude said.

Erinn was running out of breath, and she hung limply forward.

“Come on, Tin Lizzy,” Jude said, wedging his back against her.

He must look like Atlas with me on his back instead of the world.

She had her eyes closed, but she vaguely sensed that he must be standing on the passenger window…or the passenger arm rest. What if he broke one of them? Would the rental company charge them? Did she buy the right insurance? Weren’t they in enough trouble having skidded into a ditch?

Erinn heard Jude’s voice through the fog. His back was to her.

“When I lift you up, you need to unhook your seatbelt. Come on, Erinn, you can do this.”

Jude gave the faintest of pushes, but not enough to lift her.

“Crap,” Jude said. “I can’t get enough traction with the console in the way.”

Jude turned around so that he was facing her. Their eyes met.

“The camera case,” she said.

Jude ignored her, and tried to lift her off the seat belt, but there was no way around the console.

“Shit! Crap!” Jude said.

“Jude…there’s a knife…” Erinn croaked.

“…in the camera case!” he said.

Erinn could hear him scramble to the back of the SUV and unlock the camera case. Erinn was reminded of sounds one hears when one is drifting off to sleep. Every noise sounds strangely amplified – and yet the sound is of no interest. She had the vague sensation of falling and when her head cleared, she was laying on Jude, up against the passenger window. Jude was panting for breath, knife held aloft. She could hear the slit seatbelt clanking behind her.

She reached around Jude’s neck. His expression changed, softening. She touched the passenger window behind his head.

“Thank God it’s not broken.”

“Lady, I have a knife.”

Erinn was suddenly very aware that she was pressed up against Jude. She tried to lift herself off him, but each time she thudded back against him.

My Book Review:

A Comedy of Erinn is a sassy lighthearted romantic comedy about a once celebrated playwrite in her forties who is struggling to reinvent herself. Written in the third person narrative, the reader follows Erinn Wolf's journey of self-discovery that takes her out of her comfort zone when she is challenged with a new career producing reality TV and finding herself in a May-December romance that she least expected.

Author Celia Bonaduce calls upon her professional experience as a TV producer to provide the reader with an in-depth detailed description of the behind the scenes look into the NU theater industry, television production industry, fascinating American history information, and the makings of a History Channel show.

The author weaves a fast paced entertaining story with a witty fresh style and a quirky sense of humor that will keep the reader in stitches. I loved the infusion of historical and trivia information that was laced throughout the story, especially as it made up a big part of Erinn's personality. Erinn maybe a smart lady in her profession, but when it comes to romance she stumbles along the way and gets herself into some pretty funny situations.

A Comedy of Erinn is the second book in the Venice Beach Romance series. Some characters from the first book, The Merchant of Venice Beach make reoccurring cameo appearances in this book. If you are looking for a fun and easy romantic comedy to read, then A Comedy of Erinn is the book for you!


About The Author

Celia Bonaduce is an award-winning producer whose credits cover a lot of ground – everything from field-producing ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to writing for many of Nickelodeon’s animated series, including Hey, Arnold and Chalkzone. If Celia Bonaduce’s last name is any indication, she is proof that TV talent runs in the family.

An avid reader, entering the world of books has always been a lifelong ambition. The Merchant of Venice Beach is book one of her three-book deal with eKensington, a digital imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp. The follow up novel, A Comedy of Erinn, has also been released, and book three, Much Ado About Mother, will be coming out on May 14, 2014.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, April 7 
Book Review at Babbling About Books and More 
Book Review at Margay Leah Justice’s Blog 

Tuesday April 8 
Book Review at Carol’s Notebook 

Friday, April 11 
Interview at Raven Reviews 

Thursday, April 17 
Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings 

Monday, April 21 
Book Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers 

Tuesday, April 22 
Book Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews 

Wednesday, April 23 
Book Featured at CBY Book Club 

Thursday, April 24 
Book Review at Book Club Sisters 

Monday, April 28 
Book Review at Emeraldfire’s Bookmark 
Interview at Lori’s Reading Corner 
Book Review at My Devotional Thoughts 

Tuesday, April 29 
Book Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views 

Wednesday, April 30 
Book Review at The Book Connection 
Book Review at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Author Training Manual by Author Nina Amir!

Author Guest Post

How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea that Sells

Most aspiring authors believe their ideas are unique and readers absolutely need to read their books. Like these writers, you may feel convinced your book idea is new, fresh, timely, different, and essential.

It’s great to feel passionate, enthusiastic and confident when the proverbial light bulb goes off, but those feelings—and your conviction—simply aren’t enough reason to write and publish a book. You must have facts that unequivocally prove your idea is unique and necessary in the marketplace. These facts must convince a literary agent, first, and an acquisitions editor, second, that your book is marketable. They also must convince you as an indie publisher that you have crafted a viable product—on with a chance of succeeding, which means selling.

Create a Marketable Book

If you want to write a commercially marketable book that stands out in its category—the shelf where you find it in a physical bookstore or where it is catalogued in a virtual bookstore, you must develop an idea that is unique and necessary. That means you not only need to provide a book with a high degree of value to readers in your target market, but you also need to write a nonfiction book that offers new information or a different angle on old information. It should “fill a hole” in that category, which means you have to write a book no one else has written yet and that is needed in that particular subject area.

How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea

One of the ways this is accomplished is by determining if the book is unique and necessary compared to competing books—other books like it that have previously been published. To accomplish this, you must conduct what is called a “competitive analysis” of books in the same category as your book. Then you evaluate how to make your book better than the competition.

To complete the analysis, first, determine your book’s category. Is it a business, body-mind-spirit, travel, reference, history, or craft book, for example? Second, use the internet, or go to your favorite local bookstore, and examine books you feel are direct competition to yours. These are books someone might buy instead of yours because the content is so similar.

When you have 5-10 bestselling books (preferably traditionally published) released in the last three years, study:

* the table of contents
* the foreword and who wrote it
* the front cover
* the back cover
* the first chapter or two
* the index
* the author’s biography
* number of pages
* whether the book is available in paper back, ebook or both
* category choice
* publisher
* price
* year published

Next, take a look at your own idea and compare it to the top five competitive titles you have analyzed. Ask yourself:

* How can I create a better book?
* How can I create a book that better serves readers?
* How have these authors underserved readers in such a way that opens up an opportunity for me?
* How do these books fall short of readers’ expectations or needs?
* How is my book the same as these (and how must I change my book to make it different)?

In other words, use these books to spark ideas that will help you hone your idea into the best possible book in the category or topic area.

Brief statements that describe the pros and cons of the competition should be included a book proposal, should you want to pursue traditional publishing. For a business plan for a self-published book, you can include all the detail you like. For more information on how to write a business plan for your book, click here.

About The Author

Nina Amir, the Inspiration to Creation Coach and author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, transforms writers into authors. She inspires people from all walks of life to create books that positively impact readers and to develop careers as authors, achieve their goals, and fulfill their potential. Nina is a sought-after nonfiction developmental editor, proposal consultant, and author, book, blog-to-book, blog, and results coach. Some of her clients have gone on to sell 300,000+ copies of their books and to land deals with major publishing houses. She writes four blogs, has self-published 12 books and is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.


Book Review

The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books
Publication Date: February 18, 2014 eBook / March 18, 2014 Paperback
Format: Paperback - 248 pages / Kindle - 1291 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1599631458
Genre: Nonfiction / Writing / Publishing / Reference

BUY THE BOOK: The Author Training Manual

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 Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Anyone can publish a book and become an “author,” but if you want to become a successful author with a profitable publishing career, you need a clear, step-by-step guide to help you develop book ideas that sell. In The Author Training Manual, expert editor and book coach Nina Amir reveals the exact process successful authors have used to create business plans and proposals for their books and teaches you how to view your ideas through the eyes of acquisition editors and literary agents.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, plan to traditionally publish or self-publish, The Author Training Manual provides you with the tools you need to achieve your goals and become the author publishers and readers want. Inside you’ll find concrete steps, evaluations, sample business plans, in-depth training activities, editor and agent commentaries, and much more – all designed to help you stand out, from the slush pile to the shelf.

Book Excerpt:

Millions of aspiring authors around the world dream of self-publishing or traditionally publishing a successful book. If you’ve picked up this book, you likely share that dream.

Today, almost any writer can change his or her status from aspiring to published author.

More ways exist to self-publish a book than ever before, which means you have many options should you choose to go that route. You’ll find it harder to change your status from aspiring to published author if you want to be traditionally published, but it’s not impossible. You just need to convince a publishing company to produce your book for you by following the steps presented in this book.

No matter which path to publication you choose, the most difficult task before you involves creating a book that sells. According to Publishers Weekly, the average book sells three thousand copies in its lifetime—not per year. The publishing industry deems a book “success- ful” when it sells large numbers of copies—usually many more than three thousand copies per year. Bestsellers, for example, outsell other books in their categories.

Since you are reading this book, I’m going to assume from this point forward that you want to produce a book that sells an above-average number of copies per year or reaches bestseller status. That means you want to be a successful author by publishing industry standards, so keep the average books sales noted earlier mind as you work through this process.

Many aspiring authors think all they need to produce a successful book is an outstanding idea, a sound story structure, and a well-crafted manuscript. Indeed, these elements sometimes suffice, but more often creating a bestseller or a book with above-average sales involves much more.

In particular, it takes a certain type of attitude. I call this an Author Attitude.

The Cold, Hard Facts of the Publishing Industry

To develop Author Attitude, you must make yourself aware of the cold, hard facts about the publishing industry. These facts are meant to help you understand the difference between simply becoming an author and succeeding as an author.

While the number of books published each year increases—Bowker projected a staggering four thousand books per day were published in 2011—the number of people and publishers who buy them decreases annually. That means the marketplace has become increasingly competitive, making it harder to find readers and publishers. Yet, out of a U.S. population of 317,132,631 people (as of November 2013), 81 percent still want to write a book, according to The New York Times.

Many writers produce manuscripts or books only to discover later that their creations aren’t viable. After spending months or years writing and honing their craft, these authors then suffer great heartbreak and disappointment when they discover traditional publishers don’t want to publish their manuscripts or readers don’t want to purchase their self-published books. Maybe the writing isn’t up to par, or the book isn’t unique or helpful to readers; the author might not have a “platform,” promotion plan, or expertise in the subject area, among many other things. Platform is visibility, authority, and engagement with your book’s target audience that gives you influences in that market.

Today, many readers simply cannot find most books. Bowker reported that in 2011, three million books were published in the United States. Marketing expert and bestselling author Seth Godin predicted that fifteen million ISBN numbers were purchased in 2012. If all of those ISBN numbers were used, it is possible that at least as many books were published that same year. That’s a lot of books for readers to sift through when deciding to make a purchase. It’s easy for yours to get lost among them all.

Not only that, if your book is traditionally published, it stands less than a one percent chance of being stocked in an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore, according to Berrett- Koehler Publishers. Self-published books almost never make it onto bookstore shelves. And if your book is not in brick-and-mortar bookstores, you miss another chance for readers to discover you or your book.

Even authors like Godin, with fourteen bestselling books, including Permission Marketing and Tribes, normally get only one or two copies of their books into each physical bookstore. In fact, Godin conducted a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign for his newest book, The Icarus Deception, primarily to prove to publishers that his books should be promoted inside bookstores. Even his publisher needed proof that booksellers should carry large quantities of his books and display them prominently. If a successful author like Godin has trouble getting books into a bookstore, you can imagine how hard this task proves for the average traditionally published author.

Once you get your book into either physical or online stores, you have to find ways to get it noticed. You have to ensure its cover makes readers feel they must not leave the store without it. The average nonfiction book sells 250 copies per year, reports Publishers Weekly—and nonfiction outsells fiction, so we can assume the average novel sells fewer copies per year. Taking into account the cost of editing and design, that’s hardly enough for any traditional publisher or self-publisher to earn back the cost of producing and promoting a printed book, let alone make much money. (Average yearly e-book sales are about the same as print book sales, possibly just a tad higher. According to novelist Mike Cooper, the average Amazon e- book author earns under $300 per year.)

With these facts in mind, it’s no wonder that along the way some writers discover they aren’t cut out to produce successful books—ones that do sell to lots of readers and to publishers. They might discover this after they’ve self-published or traditionally published their books or maybe while they are trying to publish them (or even while exploring their options). Maybe they are unwilling to learn the necessary tasks, they can’t or don’t want to hire someone to help them do those tasks, or they simply don’t want to compete in the industry or the marketplace. Maybe they have other commitments, like family or a “real” job. So these writers may decide they feel comfortable writing books that sell a below-average number of copies.

Others decide the path to publication is just too long and arduous. They leave their dreams of becoming authors behind and choose different paths. They give up.

Then there are the aspiring writers left wondering how—despite the above facts, their situations, and the often harsh and competitive publishing industry environment—they can change their status from aspiring to successful published author. They are not put off by the obstacles in the facts presented or by what life has thrown their way. Full of optimism, they cling to something else they have heard: “Now is the best time in history to become an author.” They are willing to do whatever it takes to produce a salable book and to publish and promote it until it sells well. They are determined, persistent, and perseverant. In fact, they have the essential characteristic of successful authors: an Author Attitude.

I hope you have it, too.

If you aren’t sure whether you have this attitude, no worries. This manual, and the training process it includes, will teach you how to develop an Author Attitude.

Of course, some writers have this attitude naturally; most, I believe, have worked at developing it. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen come to mind. They received over 140 rejections prior to getting Chicken Soup for the Soul accepted by Health Communications. The book has sold over 200 million copies due to the authors’ commitment to promoting the book in every way possible—including sending free copies to the sequestered jurors serving on the nationally broadcast first O.J. Simpson murder trial. The jurors were then pictured on national television carrying the books! The authors promoted the book in five ways every single day after its release. Now that is Author Attitude.

My Book Review:

In The Author Training Manual, author and expert editor and book coach Nina Amir provides aspiring writers with a clear step-by-step guide loaded with important tools and practical techniques that will guide them to achieve their goal of becoming a successfully published author.

Nina stresses that in order to succeed, the author has to view their book as a business, not just a creative endeavor, and as such it is important to create a business plan and proposals for their books that will get them out of the slush file, noticed by literary agents and acquisition editors, and on the bookstore shelf.

The Author Training Manual is the ultimate reference guide with sample business plans, nine important steps to create, publish, market, and promote your book, evaluations and training activities, current publishing trends, and in-depth editor and agent feedback.

The author stresses that the author has to develop an author attitude with essential characteristics: WOOT!
* Willingness
* Optimism
* Objectivity
* Tenacity

Finally, if the author follows the nine steps on their journey, they'll be on their way to becoming a successfully published author!

* Develop Author Attitude and Plan for Success.
* Know Your Book and Why Someone Would Want To Buy It.
* Analyze How Many People Really Might Buy Your Book.
* Compare the Competition and Discover If Your Idea is Unique.
* Examine the Structure of the Book.
* Decide if Your Book's Content Matches Your Initial Vision.
* Discover Ways to Brand Yourself and Earn More Money.
* Weigh Whether You are the Best Person to Write This Book
* Gauge If You Make a Good Publishing Partner or Indie Publisher.

The Author Training Manual is a must have reference guide for all aspiring and established authors!


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Wednesday, April 2
Guest Blogging at The Book Designer

Thursday, April 3
Interviewed LIVE at Professional Content Creation

Monday, April 7
Interview at Virginia Beach Publishing Examiner
Guest Blogging at Obsessed with Progress – Motivation for Goal Getters

Tuesday, April 8
Interview at As the Page Turns
Guest Blogging at The Future of Ink

Wednesday, April 9
Interview at Blogcritics

Thursday, April 10
Book Review at A Simple Life, Really?

Friday, April 11
Guest Blogging at Literarily Speaking

Monday, April 14
Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, April 15
Book Review at Blooming with Books
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Heart {619}

Wednesday, April 16
Book Review at Digital Pubbing

Thursday, April 17
Book Review at Reader Girls
Guest Blogging at Write Now Coach

Friday, April 18
Guest Blogging at Writers Helping Writers

Monday, April 21
Book Review at Bound 4 Escape

Tuesday, April 22
Book Review at Lov Romance Books
Book Review & Guest Blogging at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, April 23
Book Review at I Heart Reading

Thursday, April 24
Book Featured at Authors & Readers Book Corner (review coming soon)
Book Review at My Book Retreat

Friday, April 25
Q&A + Giveaway at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Monday, April 28
Book Review at The Book Connection

Tuesday, April 29
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Guest Blogging at Sharing with Writers

Wednesday, April 30
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Book Review at Teena in Toronto
Book Featured at The Opinionated Me
Book Review at The Literary Nook Book
Review at Deal Sharing Aunt
Book Review at Like a Bump on a Blog

Monday, April 28, 2014

Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Crimson Cloud by Author Claude Nougat!

Book Review

Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat
Publisher: Independent Self-Publishing 
Publication Date: January 16, 2014 
(1st Published: September 10, 2012 - titled A Hook in the Sky)
Format: Paperback - 222 pages / Kindle - 1042 KB / Nook - 313 KB
ISBN: 1495262049
BNID: 2940044588936
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Crimson Clouds

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 Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:

Robert is at a crossroads. Just retired from a brilliant career as a UN manager in humanitarian aid, he could work as a high-level consultant or pursue his childhood dream of becoming an artist. He chooses the latter to the dismay of his wife Kay. Twenty years his junior, Kay is a lover of Contemporary Art, deeply involved in her work as the owner of a trendy art gallery in New York. She is horrified by his academic paintings. They fight over Art - he's square, she's cool - but more separates them than diverging views on Art. A secret Kay has never revealed weighs on their marriage and threatens to break it apart...

This contemporary romance resonates with the complexities and wistfulness of mature passion the second time around.

Book Excerpt:

Opening, Chapter 1: Napoleon in Tears (told from Robert’s point of view):

Julie stuck her head of curly red hair through the door. “Robert, it’s time to go. You’ve got less than five minutes before the start of the meeting.”

She pronounced my name the French way: Rob-air, without sounding the “t”. I liked the way she said it. She drew out the “air”, rolling it softly in her English mouth. I was going to miss her, my ever-so-efficient secretary. The round face, the freckles, the constant smile and her mothering me, always reminding me of my next appointment.

It was odd how much space Julie had taken in my life – many more hours than my wife. Maybe, on reflection, it was not so strange. Think about it; add up your waking hours. You spend more time with people in the office than with your own wife. Especially if she happens to be like Kay, always busy doing her own stuff, always on the go. And I travel for my work too. I often come home late at night. Over the years, it has added up to much less time with Kay and much more with Julie, though I’d been married to Kay for twenty years. And now that I was retiring and coming home for good, what would happen? We had no children; our marriage was all about each other. I started speculating how Kay would take my homecoming when I was interrupted.

“Robert, you are going to be late.” That was Julie again.

I checked my watch, five minutes left. I glanced one last time at my speech. No, it was no good.

My Book Review:

Crimson Clouds is a poignant romance story about a mature man at a crossroads in his life, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, while his younger wife desperately wants to save their neglected marriage. It is a timeless story about finding the meaning of one's life, relationships, and second chances.

Robert is a man retiring from his career at the UN. With retirement, Robert suddenly finds himself at a crossroads in his life when he discovers that his life is now lacking importance and cracks in his marriage become more apparent. He and his younger wife, Kay, were once in love, but for years they have been married more to their careers than to each other. After living separate lives for twenty years, they both want what they once had in their marriage, but every attempt to find common ground is met with many trials and tribulations, is it too late for them to salvage their marriage?

Author Claude Nougat weaves a wonderful story written in the first person narrative that draws the reader into Robert and Kay's journey of self-discovery as they struggle to find themselves, their passions, and what is left of their dormant marriage.

Crimson Clouds is an intriguing story that depicts the multi layers of a relationship, its joys and pitfalls, and discovering the many opportunities in life that are possible when given a second chance.



Crimson Clouds - Book Trailer
(Originally Titled: A Hook in the Sky)

About The Author

Claude Nougat is a writer, economist, painter and poet. A graduate of Columbia University, Claude has dabbled in a wide variety of jobs before starting a 25 year career at the United Nations (Food and Agriculture), ending as Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

Claude is the author of many books, including two in Italian that won several awards in Italy, and seven in English, all fiction except one essay on development aid; she is considered a prime exponent of Boomer literature.

Her poetry has been included in Freeze Frame, an international poetry anthology curated by British poet Oscar Sparrow, published by Gallo Romano Media in 2012.

Claude is married and lives in Italy.


Contest Giveaway

Win A Paperback Copy of Crimson Clouds

Author Claude Nougat will be awarding a print copy of Crimson Clouds to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US ONLY) 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. 

The tour dates can be found here:

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson (Virtual Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with I Am A Reader, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Prejudice Meets Pride by Author Rachael Anderson!

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson Book Cover

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
Book 1: Meet Your Match Series
Publisher: HEA Publishing
Publication Date: April 28, 2014
Format: Paperback - 246 pages
ISBN: 1941363075
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Prejudice Meets Pride

Book Description: 

After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Fun, compelling, and romantic, Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

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Coming Next in the Meet Your Match Series

About The Author


Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

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Previously Loved Treasures by Bette Lee Crosby (Virtual Book Cover Reveal Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Author Bette Lee Crosby, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book cover reveal for Previously Loved Treasures!

Previously Loved Treasures by Bette Lee Crosby
Book 2: The Serendipity Series
Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing
Publication Date: April 28, 2014
Format: Paperback - 242 pages / Kindle - 1268 KB / Nook - 769 KB
ISBN: 0989128954
BNID: 2940149228355
Genre: Mystery / Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: Previously Loved Treasures

BUY THE SERIES: The Serendipity Series
Book 1: The Twelfth Child
Book 2: Previously Loved Treasures

Book Description:

In Previously Loved Treasures recently widowed Ida Sweetwater and her granddaughter come together in a heartwarming mystery rich with imagination and magic.

Struggling to make ends meet, Ida turns her home into a boarding house and goes in search of used furniture. This quest leads to the Previously Loved Treasures shop and Peter Pennington, a delightfully strange proprietor who anticipates people’s needs. In addition to bargains, Peter hands out sage advice. When a pocket watch belonging to one of the residents goes missing for a second time he warns of danger—but will Ida’s granddaughter listen and will she heed his advice?

This is a story that resonates with Crosby’s heartwarming albeit quirky characters and the joy of a pay-it-forward philosophy.

Book Excerpt:

In the weeks following Big Jim’s funeral Ida began making plans for what would be her future. Even though Jim was gone, she could set things right by finding James.

The last time she heard from him he was living in Plainview, a town ninety-seven miles north of Rose Hill; a place she’d never before been to. Plainview is where she would start her search. No major highway ran by the town, but there was a back road that wound across a seemingly endless stretch of flat land; land that was barren and without a gas station or roadside stand where you could stop for a sandwich or cold drink. Ida took a bottle of Pepsi Cola from the refrigerator, tucked it into her purse, then pulled on her sensible walking shoes and climbed into the car.

When she started out, Ida felt optimistic, certain she’d find James and just as certain that he’d welcome the thought of returning home. Never mind that thirty years had passed, never mind that he was now a man in his fifties; Ida pictured him as only slightly older than the nineteen year old lad who left home, his hair still dark, his face without the creases of age. She even imagined the possibility he could be married and she delighted in thoughts of a grandchild, a feisty little tyke who would scatter toys throughout the rooms and bring the sound of laughter back to the empty house. In her handbag Ida carried the picture of James. It was the one she had taken the week after graduation, the one where he was leaning against the side of his green Pontiac and smiling the smile of a man without a care in the world.

Ida arrived in Plainview shortly before noon, drove to the center of town and parked the car on Market Street. Once she stepped out onto the street, the thought of ‘what next’ settled on her and ripped loose a bit of the optimism she’d started out with. The town was bigger than she thought it would be. And busier. Much busier.

A few doors down Ida spied a coffee shop where people hustled in and out. That seemed as good a place as any to start. She walked in, sat on a counter stool and waited. Her thought was to start up a casual conversation with the waitress and then work her way around to asking if the girl knew James; but she never got the chance. Before she could pull the picture from her purse, a group of businessmen came in, hungry for lunch and in a hurry. Moments later three ladies followed and before long every seat in the luncheonette was filled. Ida waited, thinking the rush would slow and the girl would have time to talk. But it didn’t. As soon as one group left, another took its place. After lingering over a single cup of coffee for nearly a half hour, she climbed off the stool and left.

Her next stop was the drug store, where the pharmacist shook his head and said that he couldn’t recall ever seeing such a man. It was the same at the dry cleaner, the hardware store, and the library. Ida had considered the library a long shot anyway since James wasn’t one for reading. After she’d thumbed through the Plainview telephone directory, and stopped in every store on Market Street, Ida drove crosstown to the Post Office. She handed the elderly clerk the last postcard she’d received from James. On the face of the card was a picture of the three-story Elgin Hotel, but no street address.

“I’m looking for a young man who may have been living at this hotel,” Ida said. “Of course by now he’s most likely moved into a more permanent residence, so I was wondering if you might—“

“The Elgin burned to the ground years ago.” the clerk replied.

“Years ago?” Ida repeated sadly.

He nodded. “In fifty-eight, or maybe it was fifty-nine.”

That postcard was the last time she’d heard from James, maybe it was because— “Oh my God,” she gasped. “Did anyone die in the fire?”

The clerk shook his head. “Not to my recollection.”

“What about injuries? Was anyone severely injured?” Ida conjured up a picture of James, still a young man but sitting in a wheelchair, incapable of speech, unable to call out for her.

“Un-uh, the place was empty, it closed down a year or so before the fire. When Hilda Wilkins owned the Elgin it was a nice hotel, but after she died it pretty much went to ruin.”

After a good fifteen minutes of chit chat about how the town had changed and not for the better, the clerk agreed to check and see it they had a listing or change of address for James Sweetwater. He disappeared into the back room and after a lengthy absence returned only to say there was nothing.

“Nothing?” Ida repeated. “No address? No change of address?”

It was late in the day when Ida left the post office. By then her legs were tired, her feet ached and her heart was weighted with more than thirty years of worrying about James.

On the drive home the sky turned from day to dark, and the road seemed to grow longer. The weariness of the years spread throughout Ida’s body. It made her arms heavy and her legs feel as though they had turned to stone. The sorrow of all that had been lost plucked her heart from its rightful place and dropped it into the pit of her stomach; that’s when she began to sob. She’d been so determined, so convinced she could find James, that the disappointment now felt unbearable. When she pulled into the graveled driveway, the house appeared even larger than it had when she left. Larger and emptier. She climbed from the car and walked toward the door, her shoulders hunched forward, pushing her into a slow step by step movement. Once Ida opened the door, the only sound to be heard was that of a grandfather clock ticking—counting off the seconds, minutes and hours of loneliness that lay ahead.

Not thinking of food, she climbed the stairs and fell across the bed she’d shared with Big Jim. In the fifty-six years they’d been married, she had never once slept apart from him, and now apart was all there was. While the sky filled with stars, and the moon rose, Ida wept. She thought back on the night it all began…

It was in the spring of 1954, when Big Jim told the boy if he wasn’t going to college, he’d have to get a job and pay ten dollars a week for board. There’d been a big row over it and James, in that cavalier way he had of talking down to his daddy, said life was too short for nothing but work.

“There’s a lot of fancy living outside of this little peapod town,” James said, “and that’s what I’m after.” Then he continued on with the statement that ultimately pierced his daddy’s heart. “I’m too smart to end up like you Daddy, way too smart.”

Such an attitude rankled Jim to the core; he’d grown up poor and gone to work when he was not yet thirteen. As a boy he loaded trucks during the day, tended a gas station at night and worked in the print room of the Rose Hill Chronicle on weekends. It mattered not that it was long hours or demeaning work, what mattered was that in time he’d made something of himself. Now, when Jim owned the largest house in Rose Hill and had enough money to send his son off to college, the boy looked down his nose at such an opportunity.

Angry words flew back and forth for nearly two hours then James turned and walked out the door. He stopped for one brief second, looked back, and said, “Bye Mama.”

That fleeting moment was the one that Ida had held onto all these years. She told herself James hadn’t wanted to go and for a long while she blamed Jim for allowing such a thing to happen.

During the first year or two Ida searched for James numerous times. She called the friends he’d known, places he’d frequented, even a few young ladies who occasionally came knocking on the door. It was always the same story—James had been there and gone. When there was no longer a trace of where he’d been, she held to the belief that he would sow his wild oats and then return home. The months became years and years turned into decades but still there was no word. With the passing of time, Ida settled into the unhappy realization that the boy did not want to be found. Although in many ways they were different, Big Jim and his son were very much alike—both of them proud and stubborn. On bad days when the sky was black and her heart heavy, Ida told herself that in time even the most stubborn heart would grow weary of carrying such a grudge, but it never happened.

About The Author

Bette Lee Crosby, originally from New Jersey now living in Southern Florida, has written seven novels, won fourteen literary awards and with well over 2,000 reviews her average rating is 4.5. Her 2011 novel Spare Change is a USA Today Bestseller, a #1 Barnes and Noble Bestseller and an Amazon #1 Literary Fiction Bestseller. Her other novels consistently rank in the Amazon top 100 for their genre. An active public speaker who makes frequent appearances to support various charities and women's groups. Schedule permitting she will join the discussion of book clubs by phone or by computer teleconference. Contact


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Previously Loved Treasures