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Monday, October 27, 2014

To The Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald (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 To The Breaking Pointe by Author Cindy McDonald!

Author Guest Post

WHOA! That Guy On My Cover Is H-H-HOT!

The response to the cover of To the Breaking Pointe has been nothing less than entertaining. Every time I show the book to any woman I get the exact same reaction. First their eyes widen—sometimes I think I’m going to have to pick their eyeballs off the floor for them, then their jaw drops open, they suck in a little air—let it out slowly, and then they all say the same thing: “Oh my God, he is sooo hot!” 

Yep, and that’s when the questions start. “Who is he?” 

They are always amazed when I say that I know who he is and I have talked with him through Facebook, and made arrangements for the photograph through the same social network. That’s right, I found Stuart Tomlinson on Facebook. I also found Stuart Reardon—from the cover of Into the Crossfire (book #1 from First Force) on FB. 

See? Social networking does work! 

Mr. Tomlinson was a pro footballer in the UK until a knee injury. Most recently he has taken on another career (quite successfully) as a model. He has been featured on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine several times. He is also part of the WWF and WFC in Orlando. I’m not absolutely certain, but I believe that he is available, ladies! 

Anyway, Stuart is always posting his latest modeling photos on his FB page, and when this particular picture came through my feeds I immediately thought it would be perfect for the cover of To the Breaking Pointe. That’s not to say that the photograph didn’t have to be “edited”. Stuart has a huge tattoo that stretches across his expansive chest and all the way down his right arm. Because the First Force storylines are about special operatives, the tattoo could not be left in the picture. Special ops are not permitted to have large tattoos such as the one that Stuart wears because of identification purposes. My graphic designer worked for several hours to remove the tattoo from the photograph and to blend the skin tones. We also had to make my name on the cover larger and add some shading to hide… stuff. 

So, is the story within the pages of To the Breaking Pointe as hot as the cover? I think so. My first book series, Unbridled, has suggestive scenes within its storylines, but for the First Force Series I have tossed my inhibitions into the wind to write those bedroom scenes that I’ve longed to pen but was too shy while working with my first series. The Unbridled Series will continue to have suggestive material for those who prefer the love scenes to be a little less descriptive, but in the First Force Series I won’t be slamming the bedroom door in the reader’s face. That said the storylines will carry all the suspense, twists, and turns that I love to write, and characters that you will miss after you’ve finished reading the book, and have you clamoring for the next book: Into the Dark—coming in 2015. 

For more information on To the Breaking Pointe or Into the Crossfire/First Force Series and all of Cindy McDonald’s books please visit her website at:

About The Author

For twenty-six years Cindy McDonald's life whirled around a song and a dance: she was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered!) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born—there are four books to that series so far.

Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series, and although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write oneInto the Crossfire is the first book for her new series, First Force.

People are always asking Cindy: do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books, and I love sharing them with you.

Her latest book is the romantic suspense, To the Breaking Pointe.

Book Trailer

Book Review

To the Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald
Book 2: First Force Series
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Publication Date: September 12, 2014
Format: Paperback - 250 pages
              Kindle - 1449 KB
ISBN: 978-0991368020
Genre: Romantic Suspense 

BUY THE BOOK: To The Breaking Pointe

BUY THE SERIES: First Force Series
Book 1: Into The Crossfire
Book 2: To The Breaking Pointe
Book 3: Into The Dark - Coming in 2015

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

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:

Pushed to the breaking pointe!

Five years ago First Force operative, Grant Ketchum, let the ballerina of his dreams dance right of his life. Silja Ramsay returned to her birthplace, Russia, to take the position of principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company.

The owner and director of the ballet company, Natalia Novikov, has a dark secret: her beloved ballet company is almost broke. Natalia forces her dancers to prostitute themselves to financial contributors at exclusive after-show parties. Silja has been exempt and kept in the dark about the parties—until an American financier offers to bail the failing ballet company out. His prerequisite: Silja must become his personal companion, live in his home, and fulfill his every desire. Against her will, Silja is taken to the American's mansion, but before she goes she manages to send a text to the only man who can save her, Grant: HELP!

Now Grant is on a mission to find his lost ballerina and rescue her from this powerful man's subjugation. He will do anything to get her out alive. If they survive, will he let her chasse out of his life again?

Book Excerpt:
“Where is Silja?” Ballard Crafton asked Natalia as he searched the reception room in the basement of the theatre. The room wasn’t particularly large, yet it was quite elegant with red velvet swags hung in the archways, gilded crown moldings, and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A bar was set up in one corner while a violinist played softly in another. The room was filled with men, a few older women, and most of the dancers from the Novikov Ballet Company. Only one dancer in particular was missing... Silja Ramsay.

Natalia picked up her glass of wine from the bar. “Silja is not ready to attend our little soiree yet. She hasn’t been informed of my... financial situation.” Ballard pulled a bracelet from his suit jacket. “Silja doesn’t like diamonds?” Natalia huffed at the sight of the bracelet that she thought she had convinced Silja to keep. He continued, “She had this returned to me by messenger this afternoon. Doesn’t she...don’t you understand just how wealthy I am?” Natalia took a sip of her cabernet. “She still believes in love, Ballard—“ “I am in love with her!” he bellowed.

Taken aback by the sudden outburst, the crowd hushed, looking in their direction. Natalia forced a laugh, waving her hands carelessly at the crowd. She spoke to them in Russian, “Mingle, mingle, get to know our beautiful dancers.” With hesitant glances at Ballard, the crowd returned to their conversations. The women in attendance ran their hands up and down the male dancers’ muscled arms, while the men flirted mercilessly with the ballerinas.

“You told me that she would be here tonight, Natalia.” Ballard said, more hushed.

“As always, there are plenty of lovely ballerinas here to choose from this evening, Ballard. Forget Silja for now. I will keep working to make her come around. She still... how do you say... pines for another.”


“I do not know this. Be patient. Pick another for this evening. Here...” Natalia gestured to the bartender. He retrieved a box from behind the bar. Natalia took the box and offered it to Ballard. Lifting a brow, she said, “You may have first pick tonight, yes?”

“No. I am tired of spending time with ballerinas that I don’t want. I only fantasize that she is Silja. I want Silja!” Ballard said.

Natalia set the box on the bar. Slowly she dragged her gaze to meet his. He was like a spoiled child who had not received the gift that he desired on Christmas morning. No, he was worse—much worse. Finally she decided to put Ballard Crafton in his place. “I am quite aware of what it is that you want, Ballard. But I must wonder...will Silja meet the same fate as your other lovers?” His eyes widened in raw indignation, except Natalia did not allow his glare to dissuade her. “The opera singer from New York who no longer sings—instead she sits in a home with head injuries so severe that she can barely speak, or the concert pianist whose fingers are now crippled from the hammer that was used on them? What could these women have done to make you so angry, Ballard? What kind of monster lies within? I am desperate to save The Novikov Ballet Company, this is true. But I won’t let you destroy a beautiful dancer in her prime. How do you Americans say...we understand each other, yes?”

Ballard’s hands curled into fists of righteous agitation. The red flush started above the Armani tie that he wore around his neck and crept to his cheeks. He spun on his heels and marched out of the gathering.

Letting out a relieved breath, Natalia looked into the box which was filled with pointe shoes. Each shoe had the signature of the dancer from the Novikov Company to whom it had belonged. Her nerves tightened the knot in her stomach and shame swelled in her chest. She took another long drink of the wine, and then she managed a faux smile for the crowd, who anxiously anticipated the beginning of the evening’s event.

Natalia called out in Russian, “Who will be first to choose a pair of shoes tonight?” She held the box up high, shaking it. “Edvar! Where is Edvar?” From the far corner of the room the ballet company’s dance instructor and choreographer, Edvar Kozlovski, brushed his fingers through ballet dancer Dominik Potrovic’s hair. After a whispered promise of return, he raised his hand calling back in their native Russian, “Here I am! Are you ready, Natalia?” The crowd buzzed with excitement. The dancers exchanged nervous glances. All eyes were on Natalia. She said, “Yes! Who is our highest bidder this evening? Who will get first pick of the shoes?”

Edvar fished a paper from the pocket of his jacket, and then he announced, “Ballard Crafton!”

Everyone searched the room waiting for Ballard to come forward to choose a shoe for his evening of sultry delight, with the ballerina whose name was on the shoe.

Natalia shook her head. “No. He had to leave. Who is the second?” Edvar squinted in a big show of reading the next name on the list. He proclaimed, “Belsky!”

From the back of the crowd, a tubby man merrily trotted forward to where Natalia stood. He could barely contain his excitement. He danced in place from one foot to the other. The ballerinas were now exchanging curled lips of derision hoping that he would not pull their shoe from the box.

He wiggled his fingers in anticipation of what lovely, well-toned ballerina would be his for the night. Belsky reached into the box and snatched a pair of worn European pink pointe shoes. The crowd tensed waiting for a name to be called as he handed the shoe to Natalia.

“Anna Antkowiak!” Natalia called out. The young girl from Poland shoulders drooped. Her face dropped. She was the newest member of the company. She hadn’t signed on for this. She had heard whispers among the dancers that Natalia’s ballet company was almost broke and about the after-performance requirements: prostituting the dancers for contributions to keep the ballet company above water. Tonight was her fist time to be summoned by Natalia to the contributors’ party. She could barely breathe as she watched Belsky’s eyes scanning the crowd for her.

Locking eyes with the innocent girl, Natalia crooked her index finger at the ballerina to come forward to claim her date. Trepidation filled Anna’s face. Her stomach twisted into a tangle of knots as she looked at the other dancers, who silently urged her to do as Natalia requested. When Anna suddenly noticed the bulge in Belsky’s trousers, she kept her head bowed, as she slowly crept through the crowd. Belsky grabbed her by the hand to hurry her out the door.

Natalia clapped her hands. “Another happy contributor to the Novikov Ballet Company! I’m sure Anna will make his night!” She shook the box again. “Who will be next to choose, Edvar?”

My Book Review:

To The Breaking Pointe is a riveting romantic suspense story that takes the reader on one hell of an exhilarating roller coaster ride. Author Cindy McDonald weaves an intriguing suspense thriller that transports the reader between Russia and the US as they follow First Force operative Grant Ketchum, as he tries to rescue his lost love Silja Ramsay, a Russian principal ballerina with the Novikov Ballet Company, from the clutches of a ruthless wealthy American financier.

This is a gripping tale that easily draws the reader in from the beginning, and keeps them captivated and in suspense until the dramatic conclusion. This complex and multi-layered story follows Grant, who with the help and protection from his First Force team, travels to the other side of the world to rescue his unrequited love.

To The Breaking Pointe
 is the second book in the First Force Series. This is an exciting and fast-paced page-turner of a tale that has enough suspense, murder and romance, intriguing characters, and so many surprising twists and turns that will keep the reader on their toes. You can't help but get drawn into the story, the author provides a richly descriptive and compelling tale that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat guessing what will happen next. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I loved how the author called upon her past dancing experience to weave a lovely romantic tale that takes the reader behind the curtains of the ballet world and mixed it with intrigue and suspense that is sure to keep the reader riveted until the surprising conclusion!

If you are looking for a riveting romantic suspense novel that will take you on a heart pumping adrenaline rush of a thrill ride, than look no further ... To The Breaking Pointe is a powerful story that will leave you breathless!


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

Monday, October 6
Character Interview at The Literary Nook

Tuesday, October 7
Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape

Wednesday, October 8
Book Featured at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem

Thursday, October 9
Guest Blogging at I Heart Reading

Friday, October 10
Book Featured at The Dark Phantom

Monday, October 13
Book Featured at The Writer's Life

Tuesday, October 14
Guest Blogging at Bookingly Yours
Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader

Thursday, October 16
Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Monday, October 20
Interview at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, October 21
Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner
Character Guest Post at Booklover Sue

Wednesday, October 22
Book Featured at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, October 23
Book Review at My Book Retreat

Monday, October 27
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Tuesday, October 28
Book Review at Bookingly Yours

Wednesday, October 29
Book Featured at Maureen's Musings

Thursday, October 30
Guest Blogging at The Book Faery Reviews

Friday, October 31
Book Review at Undercover Book Reviews


  1. Thanks sooo much for this FAB review, Kathleen. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story and hope you will consider reviewing Into the Dark next year! Be well.

    1. Hi Cindy! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. :)

  2. Wow Kathleen wonderful review! Thank you!

  3. I think it's cool that the author does know the people who went and shot for her covers. Usually I try not to read books with steamy covers because it's not what I represent. But this was a good review nonetheless! Looking forward to more.

    Check out my double giveaway and review: