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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hometown Heroes Boxed Set (Virtual Book Release Day Blitz Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book release day blitz event for Hometown Heroes Boxed Set!

Hometown Heroes - Hotter Ever After
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 9/30/14

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Available for a limited time at a discount of $1.99. All proceeds from this bundle benefit the Pets for Vets charity. The Pets for Vets program is dedicated to providing a second chance for shelter pets by rescuing, training and pairing them with America’s veterans who can benefit from a companion animal.

They’re all hometown heroes, guys from small towns who’ve made a name for themselves, big or small, who’ve withstood the odds and risen to the challenge, who are heroes in their own right.

Presenting a contemporary romance bundle of 16 novels with happily ever after endings, including previously published readers' favorites and brand-new material by USA Today Bestselling Authors: Melissa Schroeder, Lucy Monroe, and Nancy Warren
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Sabrina York. Along with bestselling and award-winning authors Allie K. Adams, Destiny Blaine, Cathryn Cade, Jami Davenport, Kate Davies, Taryn Elliott &Cari Quinn, Rachel Grant, Sandy James, Adrianne Lee, Hildie McQueen, Katy Regnery, Sandy Sullivan.

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A LITTLE HARMLESS SEX (Harmless, Book 1) by USA Today bestselling author Melissa Schroeder--When Anna falls for her best friend Max, it might be true love, or the biggest mistake of her life.

CHANGE THE GAME by USA Today bestselling author Lucy Monroe--Alex is looking for revenge.  Isabel is looking for a relationship without those pesky things called emotions.  Neither will get what they're looking for, but a whole lot more!

WILD RIDE (Changing Gears, Book 1) by USA Today bestselling author Nancy Warren--Trouble is piling up in the small town of Swiftcurrent, Oregon with hints of a treasure missing since WWII, a motorcycle riding bad boy history prof, a sexy librarian and a murder. It all adds up to a very Wild Ride.

HEARTBREAK ON A STICK by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Sabrina York--When the man who broke her heart ten years ago suddenly returns to town—a hot shot movie star—Gina Fox is determined to avoid him. But for some reason, Jason Sherwood is pursuing her again. It is all she can do to resist his seductive wiles. But she must. Sexy Jason always has been heartbreak on a stick.

MADRONA SUNSET (Madrona Island) by bestselling author Jami Davenport--Meet a wounded warrior suffering from paralyzing guilt and a woman pining for her dead husband--both damaged souls craving comfort for a moment or a lifetime.

BRACE FOR IMPACT by bestselling author Allie K. Adams--Bush pilot Reid Cavanaugh’s life is turned upside down when he takes a fare that ends up driving his plane into the ground and him into the danger surrounding her. When he discovers that she’s a doctor—the only profession he hates more than lawyers—he knows better than to trust anything that falls from her sexy lips.

HONORABLE SACRIFICE by bestselling author Destiny Blaine--Hired to protect an affluent family with embarrassing secrets, Audra McAllister doesn’t believe in love until she reconnects with a small-town hero willing to risk everything to win Audra’s heart.

SHE'S WORTH IT ALL (Club 3, Book 4) by bestselling author Cathryn Cade--Mase Barnett is a hometown hero with a secret. Natalie Cusco has a broken heart only a strong man can heal. Will this wounded hero risk everything to show her she's worth it all?

DECEIVING DANTE by award-winning author Kate Davies--A stolen car on her front lawn. A sexy cop - looking to arrest her favorite student. A principal ready to fire her. Could Ellie's Monday get any worse?

ROCK, RATTLE AND ROLL (Lost in Oblivion, Book 1.5) by USA Today bestselling author Cari Quinn and bestselling author Taryn Elliott--A beachfront cottage, hours of alone time, and plenty of skin-on-skin action is just what the rock star and his new wife ordered. Until the future comes much quicker than they expected, threatening to crumble not only their perfect honeymoon but also their brand new marriage.

GRAVE DANGER by Golden Heart finalist Rachel Grant--An archaeologist digs up a murder victim in a Northwest archaeological site and must help the hunky local police chief solve the crime before she becomes the next victim.

TURNING THIRTY-TWELVE by award-winning author Sandy James--Jackie Delgado didn't want a new man in her life until a dreaded blind date with police detective Mark Brennan turns out to be more exciting than she'd ever imagined.

HIS ONLY DESIRE by Adrianne Lee-- Nick Rossetti married the wrong twin sister. Will the right one ever forgive him?  Not if her stalker has his way.

EVEN HEROES CRY by Hildie McQueen--War widow Tesha Washington slowly draws Adam Ford out of the shell that used to be a man, and learns there really is such a thing as starting over.

THE VIXEN & THE VET by bestselling author Katy Regnery--In a Beauty & the Beast reboot, an ambitious reporter tracks down a wounded war vet for a scoop and ends up falling in love with him instead.

TROUBLE WITH A COWBOY by Sandy Sullivan--Can some slashed tires and an ornery bull bring two hard-headed people together for some fun in the sun...and a little more?

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Buy Links


$20 Amazon gift card, and one of Jami Davenport’s ebooks of choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual boo tour event for Appaloosa Summer by Author Tudor Robins!

Author Guest Post

“There's nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.”

I’d love to be able to tell you who first said that, but the quote’s origin is a source of much debate. What I can say, is that from the first time I read it, it made sense to me.

Horses are good for people in so many ways. It would be impossible to cover all of them in one blog post, but here are some of the reasons I love horses so much:

(1) Horses are healing. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to observe or participate in a therapeutic riding program, you’ll know the results are phenomenal. Disabled people literally straighten up after riding a horse. Traumatized people gain confidence. These are big picture results, but it works on a day-to-day basis as well. Stressed about work? Fought with your best friend? Go to the barn and you’ll completely forget about all that for a few hours, at least. And, when you get home, things will seem a little more manageable.

(2) Horses are fair. In response to a recent writing contest I ran, a young reader wrote the following: “… they listen when you have a problem and don’t judge. They also don’t care what kind of clothes you wear and whether or not you have friends …” This is so true. Like most animals, calmness, kindness, and respect, are all a horse asks for. And maybe an occasional carrot …

(3) Horses have a mind of their own. I like skiing. I like sailing. Many other people enjoy driving cars or motorcycles, or riding skateboards, or cycling. These are all great activities, but riding a horse adds an extra personality and brain to the mix. Making it through a smooth dressage test, completing a course of jumps, or cutting a calf from a herd, are incredibly rewarding because of the horse-rider partnership that’s required.

(4) Horses are beautiful. This is, perhaps, the most basic meaning you can take from the quote above. From the cute (newborn foals, Shetland ponies), to the athletic (endurance horses, three-day eventers), to the mighty (think the Budweiser Clydesdales); horses are stunning to look at.

I don’t love horses for any one reason. I love being privileged to be able to work with, and ride – and learn from – these animals.

I also love what horses have given to me; quite literally the world. Being able to write about horses has allowed me to reach people in places all over the globe. My readers may not have ever been to my country, nor I to theirs, but we have something in common.

It’s a real gift, and one I’m very grateful for.

About The Author

Tudor Robins is an Ottawa-based young adult author whose first novel, Objects in Mirror, was named a Best Book for Kids and Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

She gathered publishing-related experience in her roles as a magazine editor and publishing sales representative, as well as working in offset and digital printing. Tudor currently teaches writing workshops for adults and children, as well as developing writing contests and programming to motivate young writers.

Tudor loves reading, writing, and horseback riding, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Appaloosa Summer is now available in paperback through Amazon (link), and can also be purchased in the Kindle store.

Receiving messages from readers is one of Tudor’s favourite things, so please feel free to visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.


Book Review

Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins
Book 1: Island Trilogy
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Format: Paperback - 230 pages
              Kindle - 953 KB
ISBN: 978-0993683701
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult / Coming Of Age / Horse Themed / Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Appaloosa Summer

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.

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

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring. Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident. Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B. Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing. When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by summer’s end.

Appaloosa Summer can be compared to Heartland TV show -

Book Excerpt:

Chapter One
I’m staring down a line of jumps that should scare my brand-new show breeches right off me.
But it doesn’t. Major and I know our jobs here. His is to read the combination, determine the perfect take-off spot, and adjust his stride accordingly. Mine is to stay out of his way, and let him jump.
We hit the first jump just right. He clears it with an effortless arc, and all I have to do is go through my mental checklist. Heels down. Back straight. Follow his mouth.
“Good boy, Major.” One ear flicks halfway back to acknowledge my comment, but not enough to make him lose focus. A strong, easy stride to jump two, and he’s up, working for both of us, holding me perfectly balanced as we fly through the air.
He lands with extra momentum; normal at the end of a long, straight line. He self-corrects, shifting his weight back over his hocks. Next will come the surge from his muscled hind end; powering us both up, and over, the final tall vertical.
It doesn’t come, though. How can it not? “Come on!” I cluck, scuff my heels along his side. No response from my rock solid jumper.
The rails are right in front of us, but I have no horsepower – nothing – under me. By the time I think of going for my stick, it’s too late. We slam into several closely spaced rails topping a solid gate. Oh God. Oh no. Be ready, be ready, be ready. But how? There’s no good way. There are poles everywhere, and leather tangling, and dirt. In my eyes, in my nose, in my mouth.
There’s no sound from my horse. Is he as winded as me? I can’t speak, or yell, or scream. Major? Is that him on my leg? Is that why it’s numb? People come, kneel around me. I can’t see past them. I can’t sit up. My ears rush and my head spins. I’m going to throw up. “I’m going to …”
I flush the toilet. Swish out my mouth. Avoid looking in the mirror. Light hurts, my reflection hurts, everything hurts at this point in the afternoon, when the headache builds to its peak.
Why me?
I’ve never lost anybody close to me. My grandpa died before I was born, and my widowed grandma’s still going strong at ninety-four. She has an eighty-nine-year-old boyfriend. They go to the racetrack; play the slots.
If I had to predict who would die first in my life, I would never, in a million years, have guessed it would be my fit, strong, seven-year-old thoroughbred.
But he did.
Thinking about it just sharpens the headache, so I press a towel against my face, blink into the soft fluffiness.
“Are you OK?” Slate’s voice comes through the door. With my mom and dad at work, Slate’s been the one to spend the last three days distracting me when I’m awake, and waking me up whenever I get into a sound sleep. Or that’s what it feels like.
“Fine.” I push the bathroom door open.
I nod. Stupid move. It hurts. Whisper instead. “Yes.”
“Well, that’s a big improvement. Just the once today.”
She follows me back to my room. She’s not a pillow-plumper or quilt-smoother – I have to struggle into my rumpled bed – but it’s nice to have her around. “I’m glad you’re here, Slatey.” I sniffle, and taste salt in the back of my throat.
I’m close to tears all the time these days. “Normal,” the doctor said. Apparently tears aren’t unreasonable after suffering a knock to the head hard enough to split my helmet in two, with my horse dropping stone cold dead underneath me in the show ring. I’m still sick of crying, though. And puking, too.
“Don’t be stupid, Meg; being here is heaven. My mom and Agate are going completely over the top organizing Aggie’s sweet sixteen. There are party planning boards everywhere, and her dance friends are always over giggling about it too.”
“Just as long as it’s not about me. I don’t want to owe you.”

“’Course not; you’re not that great of a best friend.”

My Book Review:

Appaloosa Summer is a beautifully written young adult novel that will easily captivate the horse enthusiast hearts.

Author Tudor Robins weaves a heartwarming and touching tale that follows the healing journey of two young adults who meet during the summer at a B&B on a Canadian island on the St. Lawrence River, where they connect and become friends, and with the help of a scruffy appaloosa mare, both learn to heal after suffering recent tragedies in their lives.

The story takes the reader on an inspirational journey with Meg and Jared, it starts with traumatic heartbreak that will stir your soul, but it leads to a lovely friendship, sweet summer romance, and redemptive healing. The author provides the reader with a story that is uplifting and memorable, has a rich description of an idyllic island setting, friendly characters that you can't help but fall in love with, and her personal equestrian knowledge and the world of show horse jumping competition is told with great detail that easily keeps the reader engaged.

Appaloosa Summer is a wonderful and lighthearted young adult novel that will leave a smile on your face.


Virtual Book Tour 

Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, Sept 2 Manga Maniac Cafe – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt Wednesday, Sept 3 Books, Reviews, Etc. – Book Review 
Thursday, Sept 4 Keely Brooke Keith – Author Guest Post 
Friday, Sept 5 FictionZeal – Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt 
Monday, Sept 8 Wonderland Novels – Book Spotlight / Book Review 
Wednesday, Sept 10 My Life, Loves and Passion – Book Spotlight 
Thursday, Sept 11 Confessions Of A Bookaholic – Book Review 
Friday, Sept 12 The Writer’s Life – Author Interview 
Monday, Sept 15 A Simple Life – really?! – Book Review 
Tuesday, Sept 16 Read My First Chapter: First Chapter Book Excerpt 
Wednesday, Sept 17 Mom Loves 2 Read – Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt / Book Review 
Friday, Sept 19 Book by Book – Book Review 
Monday, Sept 22 As The Page Turns – Author Interview 
Tuesday, Sept 23 Book Reviews from a Christian Gal – Author Interview / Book Spotlight / Book Review 
Thursday, Sept 25 Genuine Jenn – Book Review 
Friday, Sept 26 The Story Behind The Book - Author Guest Post 
Monday, Sept 29 Undercover Book Reviews – Book Review 
Tuesday, Sept 30 Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight / Book Review

Monday, September 29, 2014

Plan Overboard by Heather Wardell (Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Plan Overboard by Author Heather Wardell!

Book Review

Plan Overboard by Heather Wardell
Book 14: Toronto Series
Publisher: Holly Leaf Press
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback - 242 pages
              Kindle - 1510 KB 
              Nook - 689 KB
ISBN: 978-1499580747
BNID: 2940149212002
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Plan Overboard

BUY THE SERIES: Toronto Series

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

Book Description:

The much-anticipated sequel to ALL AT SEA brings back Melissa and the trio of brothers that vied for her heart, and a brand new heroine to root for in Corinne Kostopoulos.

All Corinne has ever wanted was the role of clarinetist for the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. The clarinet, and working to master it, is all she has left of her father, who abandoned the family when she was a little girl. But after failing to clinch an open spot in a heated audition, her life-plan soon goes overboard. Not only does she break up with her longtime boyfriend, Clay, she also makes a decision that will alter her destiny in ways she never imagined...

After a medical procedure and a couple of months of changing everything in her life, a pregnant Corinne meets Melissa and her gorgeous flirt of a brother-in-law, Austin, on a cruise. The heat of the Caribbean sun soon combines with a mutual attraction to create a sizzling connection neither Corinne nor Austin can deny. But when the truth comes out about Corinne's condition, will lifelong playboy Austin man up? Or will Corinne's hope for a future beyond a shipboard romance prove yet another PLAN OVERBOARD?

Book Excerpt:


I am standing on the stage, glad my long skirt hides my shaking knees, awaiting the announcement. I can barely breathe. For the last two decades I have put everything I have into reaching this moment, and if I don't succeed I'll...

As I realize that I have no idea what I'll do, or what I'll have in my life, if I don't win, the committee leader gets to her feet. "As you know, ladies and gentlemen," she says, looking around at her fellow orchestra members and the friends and family of the other finalists, "it's extremely rare for us to need a new clarinetist. In fact, this is the first time in the thirty-four years I've been principal clarinetist with the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra that we have undergone this search. Before we announce the name of our newest member, I'd like to ask you to pause in memory of Doug Crosby, whose record of sixty years of orchestra service might never be equaled."

I bow my head and try to look suitably serious, but all I feel is annoyance that she's dragging this out even further and gratitude to the man for passing away peacefully in his sleep and finally opening a clarinet vacancy in the orchestra. I know this is inappropriate but I can't help it. He had sixty years in the position I've been desperate to reach for twenty years, and now it's my turn.

It has to be. The woman to my right, Tammy, told me tearfully backstage that she'd messed up on her sight reading exercises so was sure she wouldn't win, and the guy on my left, Barry, tore through the slow movement of the Weber concerto like his parking meter was about to expire. I didn't do any of that. I did it right. I worked so hard, I studied so many other people's performances, I made plans and followed them and missed out on so many other things in my life so I'd be perfect. And I was. I was note-perfect. I've been dreaming of playing clarinet in this particular orchestra since the day my dad took me to see them twenty years ago. I have to win. I just have to.

Nora Drucker raises her head and continues to speak. "Doug was a great friend and I miss him tremendously. I know he'd be pleased, though, at who the committee has chosen. This person plays with amazing heart and elegance and will be a wonderful addition to the Toronto Philharmonic family. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present our new associate clarinetist..."

My heart is going faster than Barry in the Weber and my lungs feel like I've played the entire Nutcracker Suite without taking a single breath. If I pass out, will they forget about me and go on to--

"Barry Cavanaugh!"

If she'd smacked me in the face with a tuba it would have hurt less. Fighting to hide my agony, I make myself smile and turn to Barry and shake his hand without digging my nails into it. "Congratulations," I say, trying to sound pleased for him but knowing I haven't come close to managing it. He's stolen my dream. I was perfect and he wasn't and somehow he won anyhow. And he's younger than me so waiting for him to die isn't much of a plan.

"Thanks," he says, already looking past me. "And good luck in whatever you do next."

I can't think of anything to say to this, and he's not waiting for a reply anyhow. He accepts his congratulations from Tammy, who looks as miserable as I feel, then goes to shake hands with Nora and her committee members and bow to the orchestra's conductor.

Nobody's paying attention to me any more, so I stumble off-stage and gather my stuff and head for the door while biting the raw place on the inside of my lower lip where the clarinet presses my teeth against my flesh so I can't scream.

That should have been me shaking hands and bowing. Back in grade four I saw the Philharmonic play "Peter and the Wolf" and fell hopelessly in love with the clarinet, and since then I've done nothing but work toward the moment when I would finally take my place in the orchestra.

And now that moment has arrived, but for Barry. Not for me.

Out on the street in the cool September air, I stand holding my clarinet case in one hand and the bag containing my audition-planning book in the other. I hate both of them right now. I've given them everything, scheduled my life full of practices and lessons and studying other people's performances, and for what? I am thirty years old. I have nothing in my life that doesn't revolve around clarinet. I have given the last two decades of my life to this one dream, and now I have nothing but calluses on my fingers and a bleeding lip.

I have nothing.

What the hell am I going to do now?

My Book Review:

As a fan of author Heather Wardell, I was not surprised that I would love reading the Toronto Series novels, All At Sea and its sequel Plan Overboard! Heather weaves a fun tale that easily draws the reader into the characters' lives and relationships.

The storylines in this series flow smoothly from one book to the next, they feature past characters and new characters who are realistic, quirky, and easy to relate to; each has an enjoyable mixture of romance, humor, and relationship drama that keeps the reader engaged and thoroughly entertained; and if you haven't read them in sequence, don't worry they are just as good as a stand alone read.

In true Heather Wardell style, she creates stories that are so much more than your normal romance novel. She interweaves life's challenges and relationship quirks that are realistic; you can't help but make a connection with the down-to-earth characters; and she even makes you ponder the story's message that sometimes life won't always go as you have planned, but it's definitely worth the journey.

If you check out Author Heather Wardell's entire Toronto Series, don't pass up the chance to read these thoroughly entertaining romance stories, you can thank me later!


About The Author

Heather Wardell is a natural 1200 wpm speed reader and the author of fifteen self-published novels including the free ebook Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo which has had over 375,000 downloads.

She came to writing after careers as a software developer and elementary school computer teacher and has no plans to leave it.

In her spare time, she reads, runs, swims, crochets, takes care of her aquarium and her cat Trinity, and plays drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.

To receive a free monthly short story from Heather, visit


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

September 15 – Chick Lit Plus
September 16 – Authors to Watch
September 19 – Random Redheaded Ramblings
September 22 – Keep Calm and Blog On
September 24 – Two Children and a Migraine
September 24 – The World as I See It
September 25 – Reading in Black and White
September 26 – Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews 
September 26 – The Autumn Review
September 29 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Friday, September 26, 2014

Song From The Ashes by Megan Whitson Lee (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 Song From The Ashes by Author Megan Whitson Lee!

Author Guest Post

The Story Behind Song From The Ashes

In 1993 I saw a movie called The Age of Innocence starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder. The movie was based on Edith Wharton’s classic novel of the same title, directed by Martin Scorsese, nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes (winning several that year). I was drawn to the tortured-love triangle—the idea that these two people (Newland and Countess Olenska) desperately wanted to be together, but because of Newland’s prior commitment to his fiancée May, the relationship was impossible. The story was set in 1870s New York City amidst rigid social conventions and expectations.

Over the years I watched the film several more times, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago I actually read the novel. Even though the book was written in 1920, the issues and themes (the quest for love, honoring commitments, infidelity, the struggle between personal happiness and doing the right thing) are relevant to the modern reader. I’d been thinking for some time about modernizing a classic novel, and one Sunday while I was sitting in church, the idea popped into my head: contemporary version of The Age of Innocence—set it in Kingsport, Tennessee (which is my hometown incidentally), and transform the tragic Countess Olenska into a failed Nashville music star. Kingsport is a small town and one prone to gossip—everybody knows everybody’s business. Even today there would be finger pointing and talk because of Ella Casey’s affair with a married music producer in Nashville.

On a side note, the subplot of the baby with Trisomy 18 was inspired by a cause near and dear to my heart. Trisomy is a chromosomal abnormality that takes place during conception when three, rather than two, chromosomes meet at a particular chromosome site (such as the 15th, 16th , 18th or 21st chromosome). I’ve personally lost five babies to Trisomy 15 and 16 (miscarrying before the 10th week).

In children with Trisomy 18, some of these children are not born alive; others do not live but a few hours or days. Some live for years. A close friend of mine lost her daughter to Trisomy 18 at 17 months, and her strength in the midst of such a terrifying ordeal was truly inspiring.

About The Author

Megan Whitson Lee grew up in Tennessee but moved to the Washington, D.C. area as a teenager. She worked for criminal attorneys before earning her master’s degree from George Mason University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. Previously she received a Bachelor of Arts in Music followed by a year-long residence in London where she worked as a Literary Assistant. Her self-published first novel All That is Right and Holy won second place in the 2009 Christian Choice Book Awards. Megan teaches high school English in Fairfax County, Virginia where she lives with her husband and two Greyhounds.

Her latest book is the Christian fiction, Song From the Ashes.


Book Review

Song From The Ashes by Megan Whitson Lee
Publisher: eLectio Publishing
Publication Date: July 31, 2014
Format: Paperback - 350 pages
              Kindle - 1959 KB
              Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-1632130426
Genre: Christian Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Song From The Ashes

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.

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Book Description:

Attorney Landon Kingsley craves order and normalcy, and aside from his well-hidden vice of smoking, he lives the life that everyone expects from him in his hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee. Recently engaged to beautiful nursing student, April May, Landon’s new fiancée is everything he could want in a wife. She is devoted to her faith and family and truly loves him.

April’s cousin, Ella Casey, has returned to Kingsport after ten years of pursuing a career as a country music singer in Nashville. Ella’s failed career and affair with a married music producer scandalizes her in the eyes of the town, but her legal troubles drive her to Landon for help. Landon finds himself increasingly attracted to Ella and more discontent than ever with the path he has chosen for his life. Amid a firestorm of family and town gossip, Landon is tormented by his past and the complicated decision of whether to listen to God’s voice or follow his own desires.

Song From The Ashes, a modern retelling of the classic Edith Wharton novel The Age of Innocence, explores the dilemma between the pursuit of dreams and personal happiness versus contentment in God’s plan for marriage and love.

Book Excerpt:

The snow was already forming crusts on the unsalted parts of the road that January evening. The weathermen had talked of a dusting, or perhaps even showers, but the severity of the precipitation was wholly unexpected. It was only a high school event—a talent show held at the local civic center. Even so, Landon Kingsley was upset with himself and his late arrival. Landon always made a point of being on time, but tonight he had lingered over the reading of a brief. At least that was how he rationalized it. In all honestly, he hadn’t wanted to stub out his cigarette prematurely. He always enjoyed a smoke when his mind was preoccupied.

Landon knew his girlfriend and her parents would be waiting for him. He slipped into the rear of the auditorium and scanned the mass of people for April and her family. She had texted that they were sitting near the front, and he cringed thinking that would make his entrance all the more embarrassing—everyone would see him entering late.

April’s two younger sisters were both in high school, and although he had not heard them sing, Landon understood they were talented. In fact, April’s Aunt Julia informed him that the entire family possessed great musical talent.

“On her daddy’s side of the family, everyone tends toward musical talent in piano and guitar. On her mama’s side, nearly everyone has beautiful singing voices—especially that Ella—she’s out in Nashville right now, you know. She’s been out there for years singing country music. I guess she does all right.”

Landon had never met Ella, but he had heard about her, and he understood that through some circumstance or other she would actually be attending the talent show that night.

As he made his way down the sloping aisle, he saw familiar faces—many of them flashing him a smile and a wave. In a town of this size, people knew each other or at least knew of one another. Part of the tri-cities area in Northeastern Tennessee consisting of Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol, Kingsport was the second largest of the three—a town of around fifty-thousand that had grown a little over the years but was no booming metropolis either. It retained a small-town feel, a place where people still smiled and greeted one another on the streets. A town where people spent their whole lives. Retirees from up north settled down there, and people who had lived there most or all of their lives called it home and heaven. The downside was that gossip spread like wildfire, and no one was ever free from the scrutiny of folks who wanted what you had or who didn’t think you had enough.

My Book Review:

Song From The Ashes is a compelling story about one man's struggle with the dilemma to do the right thing, when he is faced with choices in his life. Author Megan Whitson Lee weaves a wonderful modern adaptation of the classic Edith Wharton novel, The Age of Innocence.

Set in Kingston, Tennessee, the reader follows the riveting story of thirty-seven year old attorney Landon Kingsley, who marries twenty-five year old April May. It is a marriage that is seen as ideal by their families and local townspeople. Landon had a checkered past filled with chasing many women, but after he finds his faith, he turns a new leaf and meets April, a wonderful Christian girl who has all the qualities that he is looking for in a wife. Just when Landon has chosen April to be his bride, April's thirty-five year old cousin Ella Casey returns home after her country music career in Nashville has failed, and Landon finds himself unexpectedly attracted to Ella. Landon struggles with the dilemma to stay in his marriage to April or leave for a chance to be with Ella. Temptation, responsibility, and faith play a huge role in what happens between Landon, April, and Ella ... but a heartbreaking twist and life's hardest challenge is the deciding factor that will change everything in their lives.

Song From The Ashes is a powerful story that delves into the depth of faith and the struggle to make the right choices and decisions in life. Author Megan Whitson Lee weaves a tale that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride as Landon, April, and Ella's story unfolds. You can't help but feel compassion and understanding for the dilemmas that the characters find themselves in. Life has a way of making a person face the challenges in their life, and find the strength and faith to make the right decisions. In Song From The Ashes, the author weaves a seamless tale that flows smoothly and intertwines the perspectives of all three characters into a captivating story that is both heart wrenching and redemptive.


Book Trailer

Virtual Book Tour 

Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, September 2
Interview at Examiner

Wednesday, September 3
Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Monday, September 8
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, September 9
Book Feature at Bound 2 Escape

Wednesday, September 10
Book Review at A Simple Life, Really?

Thursday, September 11
Book Feature at Reading, Writing & Ruckus

Monday, September 15
Character Interview at The Literary Nook

Wednesday, September 17
Book Review at Undercover Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 23
Character Guest Post at Written Love

Wednesday, September 24
Book Review at Seasons of Opportunities

Thursday, September 25
Book Review at Books, Reviews, ETC

Friday, September 26
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Chaperoning Paris by Victoria Pinder (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 Chaperoning Paris by Author Victoria Pinder!

Book Review

Chaperoning Paris by Victoria Pinder
Book 1: Collins Brothers Series
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: June 11, 2014
Format: eBook - 220 pages
              Kindle - 3567 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Chaperoning Paris

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 hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Gigi Dumont never forgot how she walked away from the only man she ever loved.

She’s a teacher who has led her students to the finals of an international French competition to be held in Paris. The night before the trip, the principal tries to cancel the trip before he, in turn, loses his job to her high school boyfriend, Sean Collins.

Sean Collins has survived cancer, a divorce, and Gigi having aborted their child back in high school. He assumed he’d hate her, if they ever crossed paths again. But he discovers she’s exactly what he wants.

When Gigi and Sean are stuck together for a week in Paris, Gigi feels she has lost all her control. How can she survive her attraction to Sean? The man’s sexier now than he was back in the day, and once upon a time, he’d had her heart. She finds herself falling for him, even knowing forever is impossible.

Book Excerpt:

Payback time. Standing in his mother’s kitchen, Sean Collins smiled as he hung up the phone.

He hovered at the phone for a moment, then charged along the carpeted hallway to his bedroom. In a flash, he changed from his T-shirt and jeans into his black pin stripe king-of-the-business-world suit complete with black tie and shiny black shoes.

Finished dressing, Sean jittered at the door and listened to his son talking nonstop to his mother upstairs. His skin tingled and he closed his eyes. At least moving to his parents’ country estate where he had grown up on Cape Cod had been good for everyone.

Breakfast could wait. He grabbed the keys on the counter downstairs, and he called upstairs, “I’m leaving. I won’t be gone long.”

Last year, the school principal had fired him with bogus charges. Sean had sworn on every holy book that he’d been fired because his doctors had discovered cancer in a routine physical exam.

The sickness sucked. But he’d survived. And now he used his vast wealth to get what he wanted. No teacher should be treated so callously. He had taken the job at the time to prove to himself he had more choices than being the chief financial officer of his father’s corporation.

He set his jaw and walked outside to his car, where the smell of freshly cut grass hit his senses.

The moment he stepped outside and headed toward the garage, Sean stared at the vast forested area on the property for a moment and pressed his lips together. Trees made sense. Women never had. His luck with women had been bad from the start. His first girlfriend, Gigi Dumont, had left him for parts unknown, and then later his wife, now his ex, Jennifer, had also left. She’d played with a whole set of loose scruples. But Jennifer hadn’t hurt him, not like Gigi had. Sean rolled his shoulders. Why did everything in his life always seem to go back to Gigi leaving?

He fished out his keys from his pocket. And now Gigi had moved back into the house next door.

Sean opened the garage door. A quick click of a button and the gate lifted.

Last night he hadn’t slept. Today his shoulders were straight. This moment had nothing to do with women and everything to do with justice. His fingers traced the shiny finish of his brother Gerard’s Aston Martin. Without blinking, he opted to borrow the car. He’d be early and outshine everyone else. Gerard had offered to loan it to him specifically for today. Sean licked his lips and turned the key, igniting the engine, and took off.

A daydream flashed in his eyes. Principal Murray’s jaw dropped to the ground in shock the second Sean stepped inside the office with the papers.

Sean clutched the wheel. He intended to twist the knife even further. People like Mr. Murray gave businessmen around the world the reputation of cold, heartless automatons, especially when he claimed the firing had been over “job performance.” Every one of Sean’s students had passed the state assessments.

Now, Sean ran the finances for his parents, his father’s company, and his brothers. The support of his family to get him through cancer treatments had been phenomenal, but what if he hadn’t had that support? What if he’d had no money to pay for treatments? He’d be dead because the principal had fired him due to the insurance increases. Well, now Sean had a better solution.

He sped down the country road for the half-hour trip. During his horrible marriage to Jennifer, he’d worked as a teacher, and his students had achieved both academic and social successes. Jennifer had been the nightmare that drove Sean away from Collins Industries, Collins Enterprises, Collins Investments, and Collins Mutual, to list a few of his father’s multiple companies. Post divorce and cancer, Sean had made the decision to offer employees packages in cases of sickness. Anyone who worked for him would now receive a payoff equal to the job performance done over the years as part of a settlement. Money paid hospital bills.

Sean’s stomach clenched as he gazed at the sign for the Barnstable Charter High School parking lot. Sean parked Gerard’s fancy lawyer wheels that screamed “out to impress” right next to the about-to-be-sacked principal’s BMW sedan. The Aston Martin made the perfect goodbye gesture. Murray had been outclassed.

Sean leaned forward in his seat, refusing to feel guilty. He waited for the school bell to ring and watched students bounding outside.

Unlike most people, his family had money, and normally he wouldn’t like flaunting wealth. His Jeep Wrangler suited him just fine, but today he needed to look like the elite businessman he was. He stepped out a minute later, and in a fast walk, he strode down the halls. Sean winked the second he saw the school guard’s shocked face.

“You had cancer?” asked the older African American lady who coached the wrestling team.

“Yes, I did. I’m better now,” Sean said, smiling.

He inclined his head and passed the security desk then Sean turned right toward the principal’s office.

In his briefcase he carried the school board’s ruling and the proof of sale of the school to Collins Enterprises. Barnstable was a private school that followed school board law. The sale to his company had been finalized, but Sean had insisted on telling Murray in person. The minutes of the meeting would be posted at one that day. Victory waited for him, and justice tasted better than homemade chocolate chip cookies.

In the office, the overqualified secretary, Mattie, dropped her pencil on the floor. Sean made eye contact with her and the older woman smiled back. Then he picked up the pencil in stride, and handed it back to her. She opened her mouth to speak, and he shook his head, placing his finger over his lips to silently request her silence.

She smiled her response and swiveled her chair back to her computer.

He had seen Mattie in action and understood the older woman had known how to treat people more than anyone else in the office.

Outside the principal’s door, Sean straightened his tie into perfect alignment. His heart rate sped up and his entire body became alert then he heard her voice.

Gigi, or should he say, Giovanna Dumont. Her quiet, sweet voice unmanned him, making his palms sweat. Why would she be here? And how could she still steal his breath away?

My Book Review:

Chaperoning Paris is a delightful story about lost love, reconnecting, forgiveness, and getting a second chance at love. Author Victoria Pinder weaves a sweet romantic tale that follows Gigi Dumont and Sean Collins as they chaperone their students on a school trip to Paris, and discover that reuniting and overcoming the trauma and obstacles from their past relationship can bring a reconnection and second chance at finding true love.

This is a wonderful tale that has a nice mixture of romance, drama and humor that easily draws the reader into Gigi and Sean's story. The reader is transported to the beautiful Paris setting as Gigi and Sean are reunited years after their high school relationship has traumatically come to an end. Circumstances puts them together to chaperone Gigi's French class trip to Paris, and along the way they face their past and learn to work through the obstacles that stand in their way to getting a second chance at love. When you add in the humorous antics of their students, this trip to Paris is sure to be a memorable one for Gigi and Sean!

I loved how the author intertwines flashbacks to Gigi and Sean's past with the drama of the present, she captures the essence of their relationship, and the emotional trials and tribulations that they face as their story unfolds. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the author's rich description of Paris and its famous scenic landmarks, it made me wish that I could take a once in a lifetime trip to see the city of light.

Chaperoning Paris is a captivating romantic story of a couple's chance at facing their past, reconnecting with the hope of forgiveness and redemption for a second chance at true love, and getting a happily ever after ending.


About The Author

Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston then moved to Miami. Eventually, found that writing is her passion.

She always wrote stories to entertain herself. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, but when she sat down to see what she enjoyed doing, writing became obvious.

The Zoastra Affair, Chaperoning Paris, Borrowing the Doctor, Electing Love, Mything the Throne and Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush will be published in 2014.

Now she is represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

Also she’s the Vice President for the Florida Romance Writers.


Book Trailer

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Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

September 22 – Carol Clarke Blogs
September 24 – Chick Lit Plus
September 25 – Chicks That Read
September 26 – The Phantom Paragrapher
September 26 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews
September 29 – Keep Calm and Blog On
September 29 – Two Children and a Migraine