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 2, 2014

Hold Her Down by Kathryn R. Biel (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Hold Her Down by Author Kathryn R. Biel!

Author Guest Post

Hey all! Thanks to Kathleen at Jersey Girl Book Reviews for allowing me to crash her blog today. I'm here in Upstate New York, wishing that I was down by her on the beach. Someday, when I sell millions and millions of books, I will buy a home in Cape May and write staring out at the ocean every day. But until that day, I'm landlocked up here and have to watch the passing cars instead of dolphins.

One of the questions that I often get asked is how I come up with ideas for my books and how I plot them all out. The answer is, that I don't. I get an idea or two and just sit down and start writing. Sometimes, when I'm trying to fall asleep at night, I think about the scene I'm on and what happens next. I think scene by scene, and am often surprised at what happens next. I write by the seat of my pants. When writing Hold Her Down, I tried a bit of plotting, but it didn't work for me. I thought I knew where I wanted to go with the story, but when I got there, that ending was no longer right for the story.

I also tend to have vivid dreams which inspire my writing. There are at least two scenes in Hold Her Down which are almost literal transcriptions of dreams I have had. The odd thing is that when I wake up and remember the dream, I know immediately that it is part of a book. Considering that I can still remember some dreams I had as a child, this is an unusual skill that I am fortunate enough to have.

Because my mind is now working overtime with story ideas, I have started keeping a notebook of some of these dreams or ideas that I have. My plan is to visit the notebook, especially when I don't know where the story is going. In addition to my dreams, I write down random ideas or scenarios that may cross my mind. Sometimes it is something I hear on the radio. Sometimes a conversation that I have. The main character in my third novel got her name from a spam e-mail my friend's husband received. I've also been known to use the occasional writing prompt if I get a bit stuck.

I think there is some degree of irony that I write without planning and that my stories flow organically from me. In my everyday life, I am a meticulous planner, Type A and a bit on the OCD side. I could never, ever approach my day job or running my house how I approach my writing. It does boggle my mind a bit that I have this secret, spontaneous side that comes out when I'm writing. Perhaps, someday I'll find the answer in a dream set on the backdrop of my beautiful Cape May.

About The Author

Kathryn Biel hails from Upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients' needs and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her debut novel, Good Intentions, was released in 2013, and her second novel, Hold Her Down was released in 2014. Her musings and rants can also be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather.


Book Review

Hold Her Down by Kathryn R. Biel
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: February 27, 2014
Format: Paperback - 260 pages
             Kindle - 3901 KB
             Nook - 294 KB
ISBN: 0991391705
BNID: 2940045729475
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Hold Her Down

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 Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description: 

Elizabeth Zurlo is lost. She's a wife, a mother, a teacher, a PTA volunteer—but somewhere along the way, she's lost herself. Depression and despair can lead to desperate measures and when she is pulled back from the brink of suicide, Elizabeth slowly tries to rebuild her marriage and reclaim her life. Just as she has finally started to put herself back together, a scandalous novel rocks her small town ... and costs Elizabeth her social standing, friendships and ultimately, her marriage. However, the man who seemingly destroyed Elizabeth's life, helps her realize who she is and what she needs to do to become the woman she's not only capable of being, but the woman she used to be.

Book Excerpt:

The marriage seemed to work out well for Peter, but not so much for Elizabeth. Peter got up every morning, showered and went to work. Every so often, he would pop a frozen waffle in the toaster, or pour a cup of juice for one of the kids at breakfast. Sometimes he would put the food away from the dinner Elizabeth cooked at night. Sometimes not. He would stack the dishes up next to the sink, rather than in it, which drove Elizabeth mad. About once a month he would load the dishwasher, although he seemed incapable of actually running it. As his business travel was increasing, Elizabeth was left alone more and more. When he was home, Peter played the doting father role perfectly. He attended school and sporting events. He hung out with the children in the evening. He was a fun daddy. Things were generally amicable between Peter and Elizabeth with the kids there, as long as she was not yelling.

But there were occasional biting comments that criticized the way Elizabeth handled things. Small, but pointed, remarks that one really had to pay attention to hear. But she always heard them and took them to heart. And of course there were the fights about money. Always about money. When the kids were not around, Elizabeth and Peter were either bickering about how the household was run or ignoring each other. When she really thought about it, it was almost worse when Peter was home. He loved the kids as best he could, and was great with them, but paid little attention to Elizabeth. It was one thing to sleep alone every night when your husband was away. It was quite another to sleep next to someone who refused to touch you. On the nights he even bothered to come upstairs to share her bed. She could not remember the last time they had had sex.

But Elizabeth didn't know how to define herself outside of the context of wife and mother. She knew she was not happy but could not see herself ever really making a move to leave Peter. She knew she didn't have the guts to do it. After all, in her experience, she was the one who was left, not the one who did the leaving. And her mother had assured her over and over that no one would want a divorced, middle-aged mother of two. She asked Peter to go for counseling in the past. His response was to laugh at her, telling her that she could go if she wanted, but he was perfectly fine the way he was. Agnes' advice on the situation was that Elizabeth should try harder to meet Peter's needs better. That was the job of a wife.

Elizabeth was failing as a wife and probably failing as a mother. She knew she had failed as a daughter, never able to live up to Agnes' high standards. No matter how hard Elizabeth tried, it seemed that she was doing nothing but failing. She tried to hold back the tears that accompanied this realization. The sky was quickly growing dark and sleet had started to fall. Elizabeth was thankful for her GPS, a voice in the darkness, telling her where to go. If only she had a GPS for her life.

It looked as though she had about forty-five minutes left before she would reach her destination. She was in a rather remote area with narrow, winding roads, and the houses were farther and farther apart. Often the houses were not even visible from the road, just dots of light peeking through the trees. The smell of wood burning stoves was permeating through the vents of the mini-van. Elizabeth was praying that a deer would not run out across the road. She had hit a deer when she was first married. Actually, the deer had hit her, but Peter never thought that way. She was so focused on watching out for a deer that she didn't see the very large pothole ahead and struck it square on the front-passenger-side tire.

Within an instant, with the tell-tale thumping from the front wheel well, she could tell that she had a flat tire. She cursed as she guided the van to the side of the road. The road was very narrow with very little discernible shoulder. The embankment sloped steeply down. Brush speckled the hill. Elizabeth couldn't see the bottom of the hill or how far down it was. She put the van in park and turned the key so that power was left to the vehicle, but the engine was no longer running. She screamed, banging the steering wheel with her fists. Dammit. She had known it was going to be one of those days.

My Book Review:

Through nine years of marriage, Elizabeth Zurlo has slowly lost her self-identity to the one of wife, mother, and teacher. Elizabeth feels like her chaotic life has swallowed her up, she desperately tries to balance the demands in her life, but she never gets a chance to breathe, leaving her burned out, empty, depressed, at the end of her rope, and seriously on the verge of losing it. With a failing marriage to an unfeeling and controlling man, to the always needy demands from her family and work, Elizabeth is resentful and feels disconnected from the world, she is on auto pilot and in survival mode. All Elizabeth wants is to feel beautiful, appreciated, alive, to be the woman she used to be so long ago.

Hold Her Down is an intriguing story about a woman who has lost her identity to her everyday life commitments and responsibilities. Author Kathryn R. Biel weaves a realistic tale that engages the reader to follow Elizabeth's journey as she struggles to maintain a balance in the daily grind of life while dealing with her self doubts and insecurities, which eventually leads her to rediscovering the woman who she used to be. While Elizabeth's story starts out slow with a painful and realistic look of her daily life, the author slowly gains momentum and takes the reader along for the ride as Elizabeth struggles to take control of her life, making changes that will lead her become a strong and independent woman.

Hold Her Down is a refreshing story of one woman's journey of self-discovery that every woman should read. It is a realistic story that any woman can relate to and sympathize with, ponder, find inspiration, and celebrate their true inner-selves and the women that they can be.


Contest Giveaway

Win A Print Copy Of Hold Her Down

Everyone who leaves a comment on Hold Her Down by Kathryn R. Biel Tour Page will be entered to win a print copy of the book! Open to US residents only.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

May 19 – Tabby’s Tantalizing Reviews – Review
May 21 – Chick Lit Goddess – Guest Post
May 22 – Authors to Watch – Review
May 26 – The East Village – Review
May 28 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Excerpt
May 30 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Guest Post
May 30 – Books in the Burbs – Review
June 2 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 3 – Cupcake’s Book Cupboard – Review, Guest Post Q&A & Excerpt
June 4 – Two Children and a Migraine – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 5 - Every Free Chance Book Reviews - Review
June 6 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Guest Post
June 9 – Chick Lit Plus – Review


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

  2. Thanks for the great review! I'm so glad you liked the book. I truly appreciate the chance to write a guest post as well. It was a lot of fun!

    1. Hi Kathryn! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I really enjoyed reading Hold Her Down. :)