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.

Monday, June 30, 2014

In The Mirror by Kaira Rouda (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for In The Mirror by Author Kaira Rouda!

Author Guest Post

A chat with author Kaira Rouda celebrating the release of In The Mirror

Thank you for having me here! I am actually multi-published! My first book was a nonfiction title, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. I am thrilled women entrepreneurs are reading and connecting with the book and its message – a message that, ironically, fits well in today’s publishing industry where authors must become entrepreneurs, too. I followed that work with my first fiction novel, Here, Home, Hope – a story about a mom having a midlife crisis. My next novel, All the Difference, is a romantic suspense novel with a murder mystery and more. In the Mirror is my third novel and it asks the question: If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?

My first book was mainstream/large publisher, my next was small press and my last two are published by my publishing company, Real You Publishing Group. Authors today have a lot of choices, at least the lucky ones do. I’m proud to be a hybrid author. I have a great literary agent who helps me navigate the process and most importantly, a loyal readership who in most cases doesn’t care who publishes the books as long as more keep arriving on their virtual or real bookshelves. That’s why I believe entrepreneurial authors will continue to asses all of the options available to them – and make choices based on what the market dictates and what the author feels comfortable with. Things are changing quickly, that’s for sure.

But one thing that will never change: Holding the finished book in your hand for the first time is a surreal experience. I remember, too, walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf, facing out, and it was probably one of the best moments of my life. It’s something I’d always dreamed about – and it came true. A really fun moment was finding my novel at the airport bookstore.

I celebrate each new release by reminding myself how lucky I am to be living the life of my dreams.

The supportive writing community is amazing. I am constantly in awe of the generosity of most authors. It’s exciting the support out there. And eventually, those divisive distinctions – Indie vs. Traditional – will disappear and we’ll all hold hands and support each other as an author community. (Seriously, it’s going to happen. And, the New York Times will review more women authors and ….)

But truly, I love the writing life. I published my first novel in my 40s. It’s never to late. So if it’s your dream too, get going!

About The Author

Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, HopeAll the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother's Day. She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel.

Her latest novel is the women’s fiction, In the Mirror.


Book Review

In The Mirror by Kaira Rouda
Publisher: Real You Publishing Group
Publication Date: March 5, 2014
Format: Paperback - 214 pages
             Kindle - 1514 KB
             Nook - 520 KB
ISBN: 978-0984915163
BNID: 2940149545650
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: In The Mirror

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 Pump Up Your Book Tours.

Book Description: 

What choices would you make if you knew you might die soon?

From the multi award-winning, best-selling author of four books, including Here, Home, Hope, a gripping and heart wrenching novel about a young mother who has it all. The only problem is she may be dying.

In her previous works including All the Difference, Rouda's characters "sparkle with humor and heart," and the stories are "told with honest insight and humor" (Booklist). "Inspirational and engaging" (ForeWord), these are the novels you'll turn to for strong female characters and an "engaging read" (Kirkus).

In the Mirror is the story of Jennifer Benson, a woman who seems to have it all. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her disease the same way she tackled her life - head on. But while she's busy fighting for a cure, running her business, planning a party, staying connected with her kids, and trying to keep her sanity, she ignores her own intuition and warnings from others and reignites an old relationship best left behind.

If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? And how would you say no to the one who got away?

Book Excerpt:

Rolling over to get out of bed, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and cringed. My reflection said it all. Everything had changed.

I looked like death.

I blinked, moving my gaze from the mirror, and noticed the calendar. It was Monday again. That meant everything in the real world. It meant groaning about the morning and getting the kids off to school. It meant struggling to get to the office on time and then forcing yourself to move through the day. It meant the start of something new and fresh and undetermined. But Mondays meant nothing at Shady Valley. We lived in the “pause” world, between “play” and “stop.” Suspension was the toughest part for me. And loneliness. Sure, I had visitors, but it wasn’t the same as being surrounded by people in motion. I’d been on fast-forward in the real world, juggling two kids and my business, struggling to stay connected to my husband, my friends. At Shady Valley, with beige-colored day after cottage-cheese-tasting day, my pace was, well –

I had to get moving.

I supposed my longing for activity was behind my rather childish wish to throw a party for myself. At least it gave me a mission of sorts. A delineation of time beyond what the latest in a long line of cancer treatments dictated. It had been more than 18 months of treatments, doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations and the like. I embraced the solidity of a deadline. The finality of putting a date on the calendar and knowing that at least this, my party, was something I could control.

I noticed the veins standing tall and blue and bubbly atop my pale, bony hands. I felt a swell of gratitude for the snakelike signs of life, the entry points for experimental treatments; without them, I’d be worse than on pause by now.

I pulled my favorite blue sweatshirt over my head and tugged on my matching blue sweatpants.

Moving at last, I brushed my teeth and then headed next door to Ralph’s. He was my best friend at Shady Valley—a special all-suite, last-ditch-effort experimental facility for the sick and dying—or at least he had been until I began planning my party. I was on his last nerve with this, but he’d welcome the company, if not the topic. He was paused too.

My thick cotton socks helped me shuffle across my fake wood floor, but it was slow going once I reached the grassy knoll—the leaf-green carpet that had overgrown the hallway. An institutional attempt at Eden, I supposed. On our good days, Ralph and I sometimes sneaked my son’s plastic bowling set out there to partake in vicious matches. We had both been highly competitive, type-A people in the “real” world and the suspended reality of hushed voices and tiptoeing relatives was unbearable at times.

“I’ve narrowed it down to three choices,” I said, reaching Ralph’s open door. “’Please come celebrate my life on the eve of my death. RSVP immediately. I’m running out of time.’”

“Oh, honestly,” Ralph said, rolling his head back onto the pillows propping him up. I knew my time in Shady Valley was only bearable because of this man, his humanizing presence. Even though we both looked like shadows of our outside, real-world selves, we carried on a relationship as if we were healthy, alive. I ignored the surgery scars on his bald, now misshapen head. He constantly told me I was beautiful. It worked for us.

“Too morbid? How about: ‘Only two months left. Come see the incredible, shrinking woman. Learn diet secrets of the doomed,’” I said, smiling then, hoping he’d join in.

“Jennifer, give it a rest would you?” Ralph said.

“You don’t have to be so testy. Do you want me to leave?” I asked, ready to retreat back to my room.

“No, come in. Let’s just talk about something else, OK, beautiful?”

Ralph was lonely, too. Friends from his days as the city’s most promising young investment banker had turned their backs—they didn’t or couldn’t make time for his death. His wife, Barbara, and their three teenage kids were his only regular visitors. Some days, I felt closer to Ralph than to my own family, who seemed increasingly more absorbed in their own lives despite weekly flowers from Daddy and dutiful visits from Henry, my husband of six years. Poor Henry. It was hard to have meaningful visits at Shady Valley, with nurses and treatments and all manner of interruptions. We still held hands and kissed, but intimacy—even when I was feeling up to it—was impossible.

So, there we were, Ralph and I, two near-death invalids fighting for our lives and planning a party to celebrate that fact. It seemed perfectly reasonable, at least to me, because while I knew I should be living in the moment, the future seemed a little hazy without a party to focus on.

“Seriously, I need input on my party invitations. It’s got to be right before I hand it over to Mother. I value your judgment, Ralph; is that too much to ask?”

“For God’s sake, let me see them.” Ralph snatched the paper out of my hand. After a moment, he handed it back to me. “The last one’s the best. The others are too, well, self-pitying and stupid. Are you sure you can’t just have a funeral like the rest of us?”

I glared at him, but agreed, “That’s my favorite, too.”

Mr. & Mrs. E. David Wells 
request your presence at a 
celebration in honor of their daughter 
Jennifer Wells Benson 
Please see insert for your party time 
Shady Valley Center 
2700 Hocking Ridge Road 
RSVP to Mrs. Juliana Duncan Wells 
No gifts please—donations to breast cancer research appreciated.

At first, I had been incredibly angry about the cancer. Hannah’s birth, so joyous, had marked the end of my life as a “normal” person. Apparently, it happened a lot. While a baby’s cells multiplied, the mom’s got into the act, mutating, turning on each other. Hannah was barely two weeks old when I became violently ill. My fever was 105 degrees when we arrived in the ER. I think the ER doctors suspected a retained placenta or even some sort of infectious disease, although I was so feverish I can’t remember much from that time. All I remember was the feeling of being cut off from my family—Henry, two-year-old Hank, and newborn Hannah—and marooned on the maternity ward, a place for mothers-to-be on bed rest until their due dates. That was hell.

At 33, I was a pathetic sight. My headache was so intense the curtains were drawn at all times. I didn’t look pregnant anymore, so all the nurses thought my baby had died. That first shift tip-toed around me, murmuring. By the second night, one of them posted a sign: “The baby is fine. Mother is sick.” It answered their questions since I couldn’t. It hurt my head too much to try.

By the third day, my headache had receded to a dull roar. Surgery revealed that there was no retained placenta after all. I was ready to go home to my newborn and my life. So with a slight fever and no answers, I escaped from the hospital and went home to a grateful Henry and a chaotic household. I was weak and tired, but everyone agreed that was to be expected. I thanked God for the millionth time for two healthy kids and my blessed, if busy, life.

And then, not two weeks later, I found the lump.

My Book Review:

Every once in a while an emotionally powerful and compelling story comes along that completely pulls at the heartstrings, stirs the soul, and makes you stop and ponder what would you do if you were in the main character's shoes. For me, the story that has left an indelible imprint on my mind is the beautifully written novel, In The Mirror by author Kaira Rouda.

In The Mirror is an emotional story that follows Jennifer Benson, a young wife, mother, daughter, and business owner, who at the age of 34 is dying from an aggressive form of breast cancer. Set in Grandville, Ohio and told in the first person narrative, Jennifer takes the reader on an emotional journey as she reflects upon her life while coping with her diagnosis and pending death. While living at Shady Valley, an experimental treatment / hospice facility, Jennifer struggles through the pain of having terminal cancer, while holding onto the hope that the latest round of experimental drug therapy will change the course of the disease. With the help of her supportive family and friends, especially Ralph Erickson, her best friend and fellow terminal cancer patient at the facility, Jennifer decides to plan a life celebration party so that she can reconnect with the people who have touched her life in some way. Jennifer wants to provide them with a fond lasting memory of her alive, instead of one of her in a casket at her funeral.

This is a thought provoking story that will have the reader questioning what they would do if they were in Jennifer's shoes. As Jennifer reflected upon the choices and decisions that she has made in her life, I couldn't help but wonder how I would reflect upon my own life if I had terminal cancer and knew I was going to die. The author thoughtfully draws the reader into Jennifer's story and does a wonderful job of taking the reader through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, while infusing this tragic and heartbreaking story with a balance of humor and lightheartedness. I loved how each chapter began with a drug warning label, I thought it was a witty way of using a gallows sense of humor that made me snicker and lightened my mood. I easily connected with the characters in the story, and couldn't help but become emotionally invested.

In The Mirror is a touching, inspirational, and powerful story that will have the reader experiencing the full gamut of emotions, while providing them with a chance to reflect upon and celebrate what is really important in their lives, with a gentle reminder to count their blessings everyday.


Book Trailer

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, June 2
Interview at Blogcritics

Tuesday, June 3
Book Featured at The Literary Nook

Wednesday, June 4
Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Thursday, June 5
Book Featured at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem

Friday, June 6
Guest Blogging at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Monday, June 9
Interview at As the Page Turns

Tuesday, June 10
Book Featured at Jody’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 11
Guest Blogging at Book Reviews by Dee

Thursday, June 12
Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape

Monday, June 16
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, June 18
Book Featured at I Heart Reading

Thursday, June 19
Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader

Monday, June 23
Interview at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, June 24
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Wednesday, June 25
Book Review at Sincerely Stacie

Friday, June 27
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Monday, July 7
Interview at Examiner

Tuesday, July 8
Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Wednesday, July 9
Guest Blogging at Mina’s Bookshelf

Thursday, July 10
First Chapter Reveal at Review From Here

Monday, July 14
First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter

Tuesday, July 15
Interview at The Book Connection

Wednesday, July 16
First Chapter Reveal at As the Page Turns

Thursday, July 17
Book Review at Books and Needlepoint

Monday, July 21
Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Tuesday, July 22
Book Review at Bottles and Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 23
Interview at CBY Book Club

Thursday, July 24
Book Review at Create With Joy

Monday, July 28
Interview at I’m Shelf-ish

Tuesday, July 29
Book Review at Authors and Readers Book Corner

Wednesday, July 30
Book Feature at Lauri Here-Contemporary Fiction and MORE-Book Reviews

Thursday, July 31
Guest Blogging at The Busy Mom’s Daily

Monday, August 4
Character Interview at The Literary Nook

Tuesday, August 5
Book Review at Our Families Adventure

Wednesday, August 6
Book Review at The Phantom Paragrapher

Thursday, August 7
Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life

Monday, August 11
Character Guest Blogging at As the Pages Turn

Tuesday, August 12
Book Review at Booklover Sue

Wednesday, August 13
Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Thursday, August 14
Book Review at Steph the Bookworm

Monday, August 18
First Chapter Reveal at SheWrites

Tuesday, August 19
Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings

Wednesday, August 20
Book Review & Guest Blogging at I’d Rather Be At The Beach

Thursday, August 21
Book Featured at Wanted Readers

Monday, August 25
Book Review at Sweet Southern Home

Tuesday, August 26
Book Review at Melina’s Book Blog

Wednesday, August 27
Book Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Thursday, August 28
Book Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, August 29
Book Review at The Literary Nook
Book Tour Highlights at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 6/30-7/5/14

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 6/30-7/5/14

Monday 6/30/14

Public Battles, Private Wars by Laura Wilkinson

In association with Author Laura Wilkinson

Book Review

Book Description: Public Battles, Private Wars

What lines would you cross for the ones you love?

Yorkshire 1983.

Miner’s wife Mandy is stuck in a rut. At twenty-three, and trapped by domesticity, her future looks set and she wants more from life. Husband Rob is a good-looking drinker, content to spend his days in the small town where they’ve always lived – where Mandy can’t do anything other than bake cakes and raise her children.

When Mandy’s childhood friend – beautiful, clever Ruth – and Ruth’s Falklands war hero husband, Dan, return to town, their homecoming is shrouded in mystery. Like in their schooldays, Mandy looks to Ruth for inspiration – but Ruth isn’t all she appears.

As conflict with the Coal Board turns into war, the men come out on strike. The community and its whole way of life is threatened. Mandy abandons her dreams of liberation from the kitchen sink and joins a support group. As the strike rumbles on, relationships are pushed to the brink, and Mandy finds out just who she is – and who her true friends are.

Tuesday 7/1/14

Searing Lies by Marie Astor

In association with Author Marie Astor

Book Review

Book Description: Searing Lies

Allyson Roberts has it all: love, fortune, and a promising career. Her perfect life goes up in smoke when she sees her father's name in the papers next to horrible accusations. In a blink of an eye she loses her fiance, her employment, and her fortune. Just when she seems to have hit the bottom, Ally is recruited by an undercover agency that is interested in her skills. She takes the job with only one goal in mind: to clear her father's name. Vengeance is the only thought on her mind as she convinces herself that her heart has no room for love-or does it?

A former top agent in his field, Jake Morrissey has inner demons he can't put to rest. Now he bides his time as a training instructor. He's sworn off women, but try as he might he can't keep his eyes off Allyson Roberts. When he's asked to partner up with Ally on a new assignment, Jake is tempted to end his retirement. Will he keep running from his fears or will he find the strength to become the man he once was?


Fast Series by Ryan Ringbloom

In association with Reading Addiction Book Tours

Virtual Book Promo Blitz Event / Contest Giveaway

Book Descriptions: Fast ~ Wait ~ Flaw ~ Panic

Okay, FAST. - Basically you have Robin who has a thing for Kent (the boy next door). Good News! Kent likes her back. Problem - Robin is a shy timid pain in the ass who needs a wake up call. Hmm, Kent needs a way to fix this. AHA - A plan! Make Robin jealous with the popular and oh-so slutty, Ashley. How can that plan fail? Well, for starters Robin is not the only one jealous by Kent and Ashley's new-found friendship. 

Enter the hot younger brother, Patrick. By the end you have one very happy couple and one not so happy couple. Yikes! 

Can you WAIT? - Tessa is looking for love...BUT that's it! At least for now. Why does it seem like everybody else is just out for a good time? Isn't anyone willing to wait for sex that actually means something? It sure doesn't seem like it to the curly haired prude. Hello Tucker! 

Then you have Cassie. She waited just a bit too long to let her real feelings be known for her friend -turned- faux brother, Mark. Now seeing him with someone else is making her see red! Whoops. Who could've seen that coming? Oh, that's right...everyone!!! 

Everyone has FLAWs. - Oh Josh! You killed my girls in the first two books with your man-whore ways. But I loved ya anyway. You just needed to work a little harder for that special someone! And Aidan, my dear sweet Aidan, you most certainly deserve the gift of love. Just be careful, sometimes under that pretty wrapping paper is something ugly. 

Becca and Jordyn realize they need to work through some of their own flaws before either of them can find that happy ending. 

Time to PANIC. - Kent and Robin are reunited and ready for that perfect HEA. Too bad Robin doesn't believe she can ever give it to Kent. But hey, time to grow up and realize that perfect comes in a lot of different ways. 

Bailey gave Shayna twinkling lights, a night at the beach and then a little something extra. Now what should they do? Ummmmm....PANIC!!!!!


The Big Disrupter by Paul Markun

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours

Virtual Book Release Day Blitz Event

Book Description: The Big Disrupter

An anonymous donor creates a prize for One Billion Dollars to inspire social entrepreneurs to promote world change. Lionel Lane, an idealistic entrepreneur, partners with his brilliant ex-girlfriend Maxine Gold to turn around his struggling San Francisco-based company Double Vision Beverages to compete for the Big Disrupter Award.

With the help of a venture capitalist and an eccentric financier, Double Vision expands into energy drinks using the pure water from the mountains of Telluride, Colorado. Talented 21-year-old extreme skier, Reddi Christiansen, becomes the face of their quest for the youth market.

One by one the leading competitors in the Big Disrupter fall victim to unexplained tragedies. The police are mystified. The prize for social good becomes a death trap, but too rich to resist. Desperate for protection, Lionel, Maxine and Reddi enlist a former Navy SEAL cyber guru. The faster they race towards the approaching award deadline, the more the escalating dangers threaten to spin them off a cliff.

It's a short week for virtual book tour events, enjoy the long 4th of July Holiday Weekend! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Coming Home by Holly Kerr (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Coming Home by Author Holly Kerr!

Author Guest Post

12 Favourite Books To Have With You 
When Planning On Being Stranded On A Deserted Island

A few weeks ago I saw a picture of an author’s 10 favourite books – she had taken a photograph of them and then an artist had painted a watercolour of it. It was beautiful, and I would LOVE for someone to do that for me! (Hint hint, painting friends!)

But then I got thinking – what ARE my favourite books?

It’s impossible to pick just one. That’s like asking a mother to pick their favourite child! Ten seemed more doable, but still tough…

So I asked myself this question – if I knew I was going to be stranded on a deserted island, what books would I take with me?

(I’m not sure if you noticed, but there are 12, not 10 books in my pic!)

All these books are well-read and well-loved. I’m the type who rereads books and some of these books do look a little worse for wear! If I do get a painting out of it, I hope the artist can make them look a little less read!

Here’s my list of 12 favourite reads and reasons why:

In no particular order ...

Michael Grant – Gone

I know in the picture it’s called Hunger, but that’s because I let a friend borrow Gone and she hasn’t given it back yet.

This is my latest addition to my top list. I found it last summer at a toystore while we were at the cottage, and it took me a day to read it, in between looking after kids and packing up for home! I seriously couldn’t put the book down, and on the 3 hour drive home, I stopped in the first Indigo I could find and bought the next 2 books in the series!

It’s a YA book about a town where everyone older 15 just disappears one day, and the kids that are left must fend for themselves and deal with their newly discovered powers. There’s also a sinister evil apparition that is hell-bent on acquiring these powers.

It was the tag-line that sold me – If Stephen King had wrote Lord of the Flies. ‘Nuff said.

A.C. Crispin – V

They made a miniseries out of this in the 1980s, about the lizard aliens who invade Earth to steal our water, hiding behind human faces. Remember the scene of the lizard baby being born? Or the alien commander eating a guinea pig?

This was the first sci-fi book I ever read when I was a teenager and it still has a big place in my heart. So does Mike Donovan – the anti-hero hero of the book!

Emily Giffin – Something Borrowed

Even though I wrote a chick-lit book, (Baby! Baby? Baby?!), I was finding so much of the genre focused on characters that were really annoying and self-serving and selfish and…it’s difficult for me to read a book when I am constantly irritated by the main character. So I stopped reading chick-lit for a while. And then I picked up this book at an airport and it restored my faith in the chick-lit genre!

Rachel sleeps with her best friend’s fiancĂ© and it turns out to be a good thing.

J.K.Rowling – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The only deliberation I had was whether to include this one or number 4 – Goblet of Fire. I told myself only to pick one Harry Potter book. If I was planning on being stranded on a deserted island, I would do my best to sneak the entire series into my bag!

Jilly Cooper – Rivals

Jilly Cooper is a British writer whose books are ‘gripping yarns’, set in glamorous settings and are chock full of adultery, infidelity and general betrayals. My favourite of her books are the Rutshire Chronicles, featuring the devastating Rupert Campbell – Black. Rivals is my top pick of Cooper’s books but any one of them are the ultimate beach read.

Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice

I don’t feel I need to explain. If you haven’t read it, it’s a must! Plus, Mr. Bennett reminds me so much of my father-in-law!

Stephen King – The Stand

This is more thriller than horror and one of Stephen’s King’s best. A plague has decimated the human population and small groups of survivors make their way to Colorado where there is an epic fight between good and evil. Classic.

George R.R. Martin – Game of Thrones

If you’ve seen the show you’ll understand why I picked this one. It’s fantasy with dragons and gods and the three best characters are a little girl, a witty dwarf and a Kingslayer who is involved in an incestuous relationship. And the main character is killed off before the end of the book. If it’s not for you, than I won’t bother trying to persuade you to try, but it’s good!

Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games

The first one is the series is the best

Michael Critchon – Timeline

Time-travel, quantum physics and thirteen century France. The movie was pretty sad, but the book is really cool

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale

I first read this in high school and it’s been a favourite ever since. It was my first time reading about dystopian society and my first time focusing in the status of women in literature; two things that remain an interest of mine to this day

Katherine Neville – The Eight

It’s a mixture of historical fiction, medieval mystery and modern romance. It’s hard to explain, but definitely a cool read.

So there are my 12 favourite books. What about you?

About The Author

Ask any writer and they’ll tell you they have always wrote and Holly Kerr is no exception. She’s written stories about bunnies dodging cars and sisters dying, distracting the cute boy in class and dark plots to kill your best friend’s husband. Coming Home is her latest novel, a story about sisters who can’t get along and living in a small town, two things she knows more than a little about! A self-professed geek, she loves anything to do with Star Wars, super heroes, Joss Whedon and Harry Potter. She also enjoys running, playing in the dirt and sharing a glass of wine with friends.

Her latest book is the women’s fiction, Coming Home.


Book Review

Coming Home by Holly Kerr
Publisher: Etopia Press
Publication Date: February 5, 2014
Format: eBook - 495 pages
             Kindle - 568 KB
             Nook - 795 KB
BNID: 2940148190585
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Coming Home

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 Tours.

Book Description:

Loving your sisters is easy. Liking them is the hard part.

Brenna Ebans always wanted more than what Hill n’Valley could give her, so it seemed a simple decision to follow her black-sheep sister Dory’s footsteps and leave Hill n’Valley in her rearview, hoping to locate their missing father. Leaving her sisters and her first love Seamus was harder than she thought, but she’s made a life for herself in Vancouver, started her career at a prestigious law firm, and has found the man of her dreams. But when she finds her husband Toby in a compromising position at work, she loses both her love and her job, and has nowhere to go but home.

Youngest sister Cat has remained in Hill n’Valley, leaving a string of broken hearts—and ex-husbands—in her wake. She’s happy living in the family home, with the ghost of their dead mother to keep her company during the day, and her latest conquest—Brenna’s old boyfriend, Seamus—to keep her warm at night. And she’s less than thrilled to hear about Brenna’s return.

But when tragedy strikes, it brings their father back to Hill n’Valley, and the sisters will have a lot of issues to resolve…

Book Excerpt:

One little decision changed my life.

The choice I made to follow my husband into the supply closet at work was it for me.

I was in the middle of finalizing the paperwork of a 2.5 billion dollar acquisition for one of my most problematic clients when my sister Cayleigh called. I almost didn’t take the call. I loved my sister dearly but talking to her on the phone meant a certain guilt trip about why I couldn’t find the time to come home for a visit. I much preferred our weekly email communications. Yes, it’d been fourteen years since I’d left home at eighteen and no, I hadn’t managed to come home even once since then. At first it was because I couldn’t afford the ticket to fly home halfway across the country and then it was because of being swamped with school and then work and then…

Instead of trying to justify it to myself, I picked up the phone with a last longing look at the neat file on my desk. I’d been surviving on pure adrenaline for the past three days trying to get the deal done and to everyone’s amazement, but mine, I had done it. I had found the one little loophole that had changed everything and put the power back in my client’s hands. Complicated yes, tedious to some, but I loved my work. It left me no time or inclination for a social life and my hours spent at work both in the office and at home aggravated my husband Toby to no end, but I loved it.

At least I told myself I loved it.

I was listening to Cayleigh tell me some story when my assistant Krystal poked her head into my office to drop another file on my desk with a big smile. There were two yellow post-it notes: “Call them ASAP” with a happy face and “I’m leaving in 10 mins”, with an even bigger happy face. It was already five thirty on a Monday and I wasn’t getting out of here anytime soon. I was going to have to cancel yet another dinner with Toby. We both worked for Davis and Daniels, Attorneys at Law, so it was possible he was as swamped as I was.

Doubtful. My hours at the firm were so long these days that Toby had given up driving me home from work, forcing me to take the bus if I worked late because I didn’t have my own car. I should have really found time to buy a car.

“Are you coming home for Addison’s wedding?” Cayleigh asked, over the phone. I pulled myself back to the reason Cayleigh had called. “Maggie said you haven’t sent your RSVP back.” Addison was the oldest daughter of my oldest sister Maggie and I didn’t remember being told she was engaged let alone being invited to the wedding. I definitely had no clue who she was marrying. I rummaged through my inbox as Cayleigh tried to guilt me into going home for the wedding. I had two inboxes on my desk—one for personal matters and one for work. The contents of the work one were spread over my desk in an orderly manner while the personal one was overflowing and neglected. I spent the majority of my time in my office so I had begun to get my mail forwarded there about a year ago.

“Oh, Cay…work is just so crazy and—” There was the invitation; still unopened in the middle of the pile with my name written in sparkly green ink, along with a credit card bill and an invitation to join the newest fitness center in the area. “It’s been really bad—really busy,” I corrected. “I’m doing this deal and no one thought it was going to come together but I managed it and—”

“You’re always busy. You work over Christmas and you never take vacations. Look at how late it is and you’re still there. It’s been years since you’ve been home, Brenna, and if it wasn’t for your Facebook page, which you never update anyway, I wouldn’t remember what you look like. Come home.” I was readying my arguments but Cayleigh didn’t give me the chance. “Addison’s wedding is in two weeks. Maggie needs you to be there. It’s her daughter. It’s Maggie.”

My Book Review:

So whoever said coming home can't be a blessing in disguise?

In Coming Home, author Holly Kerr weaves an enjoyable story that follows the family drama and trials and tribulations of five sisters, and how after a tragedy strikes, it brings them back together.

Set in the Canadian small town of Hill n' Valley, the reader is easily drawn into the story that is mainly surrounded around the family dynamics of three of the sisters: Brenna, Maggie, and Cat. Their family has had a difficult time with the death of their mother and disappearance of their father, and when you add in the tension, drama, strong personalities and sisterly squabbles, it's not always easy to maintain a strong family bond. But when tragedy strikes and their dad comes back home, it's time for the sisters to resolve their issues and get back to being a family.

Coming Home is an engaging story that has a realistic feel for life in a small town and the real life issues that occurs within a family. There is a nice mixture of drama and humor interwoven within the story, it is easy to follow along as the sisters work out the issues that has permeated through their family dynamic for a long time. No family is perfect, but when times of trouble and tragedy come along, it is heartwarming to see how the issues and personalities can be put aside and bring a family back together again, strengthening their family bond.

Coming Home is an enjoyable women's fiction novel about sisterly relationships that will give you a warm fuzzy feeling and will leave a smile on your face.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, June 2
Interview at Virginia Beach Publishing Examiner

Tuesday, June 3
Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape

Wednesday, June 4
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, June 5
Guest Blogging at What Is That Book About

Friday, June 6
Guest Blogging at As the Page Turns

Tuesday, June 10
Book Feature at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

Wednesday, June 11
Guest Blogging at Bookingly Yours

Thursday, June 12
Book Featured at I Heart Reading

Friday, June 13
Interview at Blogcritics

Monday, June 16
Character Interview at The Literary Nook

Tuesday, June 17
Book Review at Miki’s Hope

Wednesday, June 18
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Deal Sharing Aunt

Thursday, June 19
Guest Blogging at My Life. One Story at a Time.

Monday, June 23
Guest Blogging at Confessions of a Reader

Tuesday, June 24
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Melina’s Book Blog

Wednesday, June 25
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Thursday, June 26
Interview at Booklover Sue
Book Featured at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Friday, June 27
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Ten Brides For Ten Heroes - Boxed Set (Virtual Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Ten Brides For Ten Heroes (Boxed Set)!

Book Blast

Ten Brides for Ten Heroes spans the gamut of the ever-popular wedding romance genre—from heartwarming laughter to thrilling adventure, from sweet to steamy. This 10-book bundle features novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. So get ready to toss the bouquet and say, "I do!" as ten brides risk it all to find their happy ever after.

About the stories:

Wedding Fever by Patrice Wilton 
- The romantic comedy series, Serendipity Falls.

Mila O’Reilley owns Wedding Fever, a bridal boutique in Serendipity Falls Mall. She sells more than dresses, she sells dreams along with the belief in happily-ever-after – a sentiment she personally doesn’t share. Can a jaded bridal consultant and a cynical news reporter uncover the true mystery of Serendipity Falls without being swept away in the madness?

Find Patrice at:

The Army Doctor's Wedding by Helen Scott Taylor 
- The Army Doctor's Series

Major Cameron Knight throws himself into the danger of front-line, battlefield medicine to keep the demons from his past away. When he rescues an injured charity worker who's saved a tiny newborn baby, he marries her so they can take the orphan back home for surgery. With this brave woman he finally has the chance to redeem himself and find love.

Find Helen at:

Wedding Surprise by Mona Risk 
– The Holiday Babies Series

Claire and David faced many challenges over the years. Finally, Claire's dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she loves is about to come true. Two weeks before the wedding, Adriana, the high-school classmate who’s tried to snatch David several times, makes an announcement that threatens to destroy the couple's happiness. Is Claire and David’s love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

Find Mona at:

Tomboy Bride by Alicia Street 
– The Dance 'n' Luv Series

Kendra returns home for her brother’s wedding determined to get her age-old crush to finally see her as more than a tomboy. But will her game of making him jealous with a hot and handsome faux-beau make him fall for her—or backfire and leave her in ashes?

Find Alicia at:

Destination Wedding, by Rebecca York 
– The Decorah Security Series

From the moment Nick Cassidy signed on as one one of Camille Norland’s bodyguards, sexual sparks flew between them. Although determined to keep his emotional distance from her, Nick is forced to admit his real feelings when she’s kidnapped by a ruthless Russian mobster with matrimony in mind. Can Nick rescue her before the wedding night? Can they escape from Victor Zanov’s tropical island death trap? And can they come to terms with their complicated relationship?

Find Rebecca at:

Summer of Love by Annie Jones

Brides, Beehives and Barbecue! Can mother daughter mayhem be far behind? Bless her heart, it's 1967 and a determined southern bride isn't sure love is really all she needs.

Find Annie at:

Return of the Runaway Bride by Donna Fasano

Savanna returns to her hometown to explain why she fled on her wedding day, but she never imagined how her escape all those years ago changed Daniel. Can she make him understand—and forgive?

Find Donna at:

Single and Searching by Rita Herron

A woman looking for love... A reporter looking for a story... A mad rush to find a criminal... When the truth comes out and danger strikes, will they succumb to the passion burning between them?

Find Rita at:

Here Comes the Bride by Theresa Ragan

Samantha Johnston, a reporter for the LA Beat, attends the wedding of one of America’s hottest actors in hopes of learning the identity of his mystery bride, and ends up saying, “I do.”

Find Theresa at:

Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour 
– The “Elvis” Series

After her year in Texas as an exchange student, Annie leaves pregnant and heartbroken. Nine years later she returns to introduce her eight-year-old son to his American family. And to the man who still haunts her dreams – the handsome, embittered rancher who never knew he’d fathered a son.

Find Mimi at:



Amazon Link:

Apple Link:

Contest Giveaway

The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to TWO randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Ten Brides For Ten Heroes (Boxed Set) ~ Virtual Book Blast Event Link

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Harte's Peak by Maria Michaels (Virtual Book Blast / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Book Promotions By Literary Nook, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Harte's Peak by Author Maria Michaels!

Book Review

Harte's Peak by Maria Michaels
Publisher: White Rose Publishing / Pelican Ventures Book Group
Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Format: eBook - 168 pages
             Kindle - 2681 KB
             Nook - 894 KB
BNID: 2940149721894
Genre: Christian Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Harte's Peak

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 Book Promotions By Literary Nook.

Book Description:

Vera Carrington loves her newly renovated home and her cafe, The Bean, but with a balloon mortgage looming over head and a man from her past ready to bounce on her misfortune, she may have to face the agonizing decision of keeping one and selling the other.

Deputy Sheriff, Ryan Colton, is a new man in Christ. His days as a flamboyant pro-circuit skier are behind him, but to help Vera keep her home and her business, he agrees to coach her for an upcoming open ski tournament. He even agrees to hand over the purse if he should win.

Can Vera beat the odds and win the tournament? Will Ryan save the day, or will they both learn to trust God, no matter the outcome?

Book Excerpt:

Vera served dinner at the counter, and they ate on the kitchen stools. No need to get fancy with Ryan. This wasn’t a date, and she wanted to make that clear.

Men like Ryan, church-going men, were to be her friends and nothing more. Even if those brown eyes, that devastating smile, and his athletic form reminded her that once she’d thought him a very attractive man.

A little too handsome maybe. She’d quickly placed him in the compete-with mirror-time category, but tonight it seemed she might have been wrong all along.

“This is delicious,” Ryan said.

He must have meant it because he cleaned his plate. She’d forgotten how satisfying it was to cook a meal for someone who appreciated it. “Thanks.”

“Maybe you should open that restaurant.” Ryan rose and took his plate to the sink.

In the sudden, gaping silence, Ryan seemed to regret his words. “I’m sorry. I know times are hard for everyone. Every business owner in town is struggling.”

Vera winced. She could ski with the wind and cook like a chef. “I don’t need your pity. The cafĂ© is doing great.”

“That’s kind of what I thought. So tell me, why this urgency to get your hands on the top prize of twenty-five thousand dollars?”

My Book Review:

Harte's Peak is an enjoyable Christian Romance story that follows the trials and tribulations of two people who are trying to rebuild their lives.

Vera Carrington is struggling to balance the financing of her renovated home and her cafe, The Bean. This sassy lady is determined to make ends meet and grow her business.

Ryan Colton is a former pro-circuit skier turned Deputy Sheriff. He has changed his lifestyle and has found his faith.

Ryan tries to help Vera keep her home and business when he offers to coach her on skiing for an upcoming ski tournament that has a top prize of $25,000. He is even willing to give her the prize money if he wins the ski tournament. But when opposites attract and misunderstandings abound, can Ryan and Vera find a common ground, race their way to the top of Harte's Peak, and accept the outcome?

Author Maria Michaels weaves a wonderful tale set in the picturesque small California Sierra Mountain town of Harte's Peak. The reader is easily drawn into Vera and Ryan's story as they struggle to find their way in life filled with trials and tribulations. You can't help but embrace Vera's determination and Ryan's patience, and root for them as they stumble down the path on their life's journey.

Harte's Peak is a warmhearted and inspirational story that has a nice balance of humor and romance. It is a quick easy read that will leave a smile on your face.


About The Author

When her dreams of achieving Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status were dashed, Maria Michaels tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave.

She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).

Maria lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say ‘hello’ and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $25 Starbucks Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Blast Schedule

Event Schedule:

Ali’s Books (a review)

Queen of All She Reads
Deal Sharing Aunt
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
Inspire to Read

Pink Fluffy Hearts
Jersey Girl Book Reviews
The World As I See It
The Phantom Paragrapher
My Devotional Thoughts