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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

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