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.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Dear Internet, It's Me Avery by Jennifer Ammoscato (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Lus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Dear Internet, It's Me Avery by Author Jennifer Ammoscato!

Author Guest Post

Go ahead: Make my day, Avery!

“Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery” debuts on May 27. What follows is author Jennifer Ammoscato’s imagined scene when the inevitable film adaptation occurs.

Setting: A movie set in Hollywood. Director Clint Eastwood has assembled the cast of the much-anticipated comedy Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery for a pre-production meeting.

“Mornin’ everyone,” growls the director. Mumbled responses from sleep-deprived stars and crew. “That was sarcasm in case you didn’t know it. It’s two o’clock in the goddamned afternoon. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks.”

He squints at the lovely blonde to his left. “Reese, we’re all thrilled you’ve signed on to play Avery. Call up Vuitton for your Oscar dress, sweetheart. I hear last year’s Academy Awards goodie bag had bath salts, free Audi rentals for a year, and the Orgasm Shot in it.”

The Oscar winner daintily nibbles on a bite of melon. “Do you think we’ll get Apple Watches next time?”

“No goddammed idea.” The grizzled director turns to his right and addresses the other dazzling beauty in the room. “Ryan Gosling—you being cast as Ryan was just goddamned serendipity. I mean, look at you: you’re a stud. You’re funny. You’re sensitive. Women want you. Men want to be you. Just goddamned perfect.”

“I’m humbled to accept this role,” come the words from perfect lips. “Though, I admit, I hate leaving my darling Eva and our beautiful baby.”

Zooey Deschanel, cast as Avery’s best friend Jordan, smiles brilliantly at the young actor. “Wasn’t your daughter voted the cutest child ever conceived in the history of the world in a recent poll?”

Ryan blushes. “Aww. I was afraid someone might mention that. And, to be fair, there was a formal protest lodged by the Jolie-Pitts on Shiloh’s behalf. But I’m much more concerned that our devastatingly adorable child grows up to be a responsible citizen who makes positive change in the world and drives an eco-friendly car.”

Eastwood glances down the long table at the group. “Where’s Charlize? Oh, there you are, you gorgeous woman. We are just so goddamned excited to have you as that evil bitch Victoria Van Horne. I mean, you can play anything. Your talent. Your range.”

Ms. Oscar-winner Theron peers through stylish reading glasses at a sheaf of papers in front of her. “My contract specifies that filming has to be done in ninety days. Sean and I have some charity work to do in Haiti. And a Dior shoot in Paris after that.” She directs her flinty gaze at the director. “Not a problem, right, Clint?”

“Of course not, beautiful. I’ll take out anyone who screws around with our production schedule. You know me: Just make my goddamned day, punk. Get the film in the can or I’ll blow you away with my Magnum 44.”

An assistant whispers in the director’s ear, who scratches his head in response. “Um. Yes, apparently Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery isn’t that kind of film. It’s a chick flick. What the hell is chick flick?”

Reese rolls her eyes. “My God! Haven’t you seen Bridget Jones? Confessions of a Shopaholic?” The director shakes his head. Her cornflower blue eyes narrow with suspicion. “Tell me you’ve seen Legally Blonde!”

Clint looks at his shoes, guilt written across his lined face. “I, uh…”

The small but mighty actress leaps to her feet in indignation. “I am so outta here!”

A lawyer lurking nearby tugs on Reese’s sleeve before she can stalk away and whispers in her ear. She frowns. “Fine! I’ll do the goddamned movie. You don’t have to explain contracts to me. I was in goddamned Legally Blonde, you know!”

Clint clears his throat in an effort to regain control of the meeting and the attention of his high-priced cast. He smiles. “I’ve been in this business a long time. You’re one of the best groups of goddamned actors I’ve ever worked with. This movie is going to make history. We’re going to make history. Dear Abby: It’s Avery will make people laugh—and cry.”

A production assistant whispers in his ear. Clint scratches his head again. “What do you mean that’s not the goddamned name of the movie? What the hell is the title?”

Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery,” pipes up Ryan Gosling, a warm twinkle in his blue eyes. “Eva and I read it to each other while she nursed the baby and I wove hemp receiving blankets. It was a transformational reading experience.”

Clint blinks uncomprehendingly. “Okay, whatever the hell it’s called, shooting starts tomorrow. Be here at six a.m. for makeup.”

“Will there be organic coffee?”

“Gosling, you’re getting on my last nerve.”

About The Author

Author Jennifer Ammoscato – solving the world’s problems one cosmo at a time. Jennifer Ammoscato is a paid, productive member of society. Frankly, it’s not enough. Therefore, May 2015 will see the launch of her debut novel, “Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery” (The “Avery Fowler 2.0” series, Book I).

During the day, she is an intrepid writer/editor for the public relations department of a Canadian university. By night, she fights crime and the urge to organize closets and stuff herself with salted chocolate caramels.

Jennifer began writing as a child, producing such classics as “The Occurrence” (she understood the appeal of werewolves long before Stephenie Meyer). She had to search for the courage to write a novel, though. “That’s so F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. I didn’t know if I had the alcohol capacity for it.” However, after being goaded (sorry, encouraged) by a friend, she took the leap. Dreams do not inspire Jennifer’s books. In fact, they tend to terrify her. In particular, the everpopular naked-at-school or I-have-a-final-exam-and-didn’t-study dreams. She usually just makes stuff up.

She is married to her husband, Ezio. As opposed to someone else’s husband (insert name here). She is the proud mom of two very tall sons, Dante and Christian.

Author Website

Book Review

Dear Internet, It's Me Avery by Jennifer Ammoscato
Book 1: The Avery Fowler 2.0 Trilogy
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Publication Date: May 27, 2015
Format: eBook - 294 pages
               Kindle - 2548 KB
ISBN: 978-0993639784
Genre: Chick Lit / Romantic Comedy / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

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

Book Description:

Oh, don’t judge me, people. We all do it. 

Don’t try to tell me that you’ve never checked that weird mole on your thigh on WebMD. Or how to fold meringue on Epicurious. And, there’s no way that I’m the only one who clears her search history after looking up how to give a great bl— (Um, that last one’s not important.) 

When newspaper reporter Avery Fowler discovers her husband is having an affair, the online help site is where she turns to navigate this challenging stage of her life.

If the Internet is Avery’s information god, then is her Holy Grail. Its live chat option is like having a virtual life coach for the low, low price of $14.95 a month:

When I joined, it assigned me “Clementine” as my advisor, based on my choice of “British female” in the Preferences panel. That way, I can pretend that a Maggie Smith or Judi Dench type supplies the wisdom, tinged with a sassy touch of malt vinegar. (In reality, it’s most likely a bored, seventeen-year-old boy labouring in a New Delhi call centre.) 

Add into the mix a new boss whose managerial style calls to mind the Wicked Bitch Witch of the West—or the Anti-Christ—and the poor girl needs all the help she can get! The stakes rise and hilarity ensues as our heroine struggles to take control of her personal life and topple her boss after she learns Victoria’s guilty secret.

With Clementine (virtually) in tow, our heroine tackles such tricky situations as dating after divorce, sex once nothing points north anymore, and how to cover attempted murder scenes (despite a paralyzing fear of blood) as the new and improved Avery Fowler 2.0.

Book Excerpt:

“Do you realize that you have a more intimate relationship with your iPhone than you do with me? Avery? Avery, are you listening?”

Shit. How long has he been talking to me? My husband, Michael, scowls across the smudgy, glass-topped restaurant table. “I’m sorry, Michael. What did you say?”

“You really don’t see the irony in that, do you?”

“I’m not a mind reader, Michael. Can you simply repeat the question?”

He rolls his eyes. “Can you put that fucking phone down long enough to order? Jesus, I’ve been ready for five minutes.”

God forbid he’d have to wait six. I place the cell next to my cutlery with great ceremony and pretend to peer intently at the menu.

Oh, don’t judge me, people. We all do it.

Call me “Phone Face”, but don’t try to tell me that you’ve never checked that weird mole on your thigh on WebMD. Or how to fold meringue on Epicurious. And, there’s no way that I’m the only one who clears her search history after looking up how to give a great bl— (Um, that last one’s not important.

If we worship the Internet as our information god, then is my Holy Grail. Its live chat option offers me an immediate, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy solution to any problem I throw at it, 24/7. It’s like having a tiny life coach who lives in my phone for the low, low price of $14.95 a month.

When I joined, it assigned me “Clementine” as my advisor, based on my choice of “British female” in the Preferences panel. That way, I can pretend that a Maggie Smith or Judi Dench type supplies the wisdom, tinged with a sassy touch of malt vinegar. In reality, it’s most likely a bored, seventeen-year-old boy labouring in a New Delhi call centre.

Whatever the case, I wish I could chat with Clem now. You see, I think Michael is fooling around on me.

The sun slants low in the sky and casts a golden glow inside the tiny Thai restaurant on this June evening. My heart feels a chill in spite of it, as though the recent brutish Ottawa winter still lingered. You see, Michael just told me that he has another late night meeting after our meal.

My suspicions aroused, I sneaked a peek at Clementine’s signs of spousal cheating while Michael scoured the daily specials. “Working longer hours,” was right up there with “pays more attention to grooming and fitness,” and “less interested in sex.”

“Are you ready to order?” Our waitress has appeared, a slight sheen of perspiration on her forehead and stray wisps of hair drifting across her cheek. It’s an idyllic June evening and the popular restaurant is busy.

I pretend to study the menu but instead study my husband through my lowered lashes. I look for some magical, telltale confirmation of guilt or innocence.

Other than mild annoyance, Michael’s face betrays nothing: the hazel eyes, full lips, and close-cut, blond hair are the same features I’ve lived with for years. My gaze settles on his polo shirt’s impossibly beautiful shade of Caribbean blue. When did he buy that? As he turns the pages of his menu, I can’t help but notice Michael’s bicep bulge as he does so.

When the hell did he get a bicep? 

I didn’t know Michael had a bicep. I mean I know he has them, but they went missing under years of only using his arm to lift the TV remote. Looking him up and down now, I see that his arms are more muscled and his stomach is trimmer; his cheekbones are more prominent.

In an instant, dozens of tiny suspicions that vaguely teased at the corners of my mind over the past months coalesce into the very real possibility that my husband is having an affair.

In that split second, I know that the signs I’ve brushed aside in the hopes they signify nothing but my own paranoia, add up to something very real.

I believe this is called an “aha moment.”

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Dear Internet, It's Me Avery, author Jennifer Ammoscato weaves a thoroughly entertaining chick lit / romantic comedy tale that follows the trials and tribulations of Avery Fowler.

Avery is your average woman who is trying to live her life the best way she can ... she's attached to her phone (oh come on ... admit it, you are too!), but when she finds out that husband Michael cheats on her with a younger woman, Avery takes to the internet website and her personal online advisor Clementine, for answers to every issue that she encounters in her life from her love life, to her boss from hell, to cooking! So come follow Avery's journey as she muddles through her daily life adventures with the help of her crazy internet advice addiction!

Oh my goodness, Dear Internet, It's Me Avery is a crazy good, laugh-out-loud chick lit tale that will keep the reader in stitches. Author Jennifer Ammoscato uses her wicked sense of humor to weave a witty tale that has a great mixture of humor, drama, and romance that is pure chick lit at its finest.

The reader is easy drawn into Avery's story, you can't help but relate and commiserate with her as she faces the challenges in her life. And talking about realistic storytelling, come on people, we all are guilty of being attached to our cell phones ... and who hasn't googled "how to" everything ... you know you have, so just admit it!

Dear Internet, It's Me Avery is such a fun story that easily kept me engaged and turning the pages, shaking my head in amazement, and snickering so much that my husband thought I was going crazy! I can't wait to read the next installment in The Avery Fowler 2.0 Trilogy! This is the perfect summertime beach read for chick lit fans.


Contest Giveaway

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Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

May 25 - A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt 
May 25 - Second Bookshelf on the Right - Q&A
May 26 - Chick Lit Plus – Review
May 27 - Ai Love Books – Review & Excerpt
May 27 - Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
May 28 - Chick Lit Goddess – Review
May 29 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 1 – Cafinated Reads – Excerpt

A Young Girl's Testimony: From Disastrous To Evangelist by Shana Joseph (Book Blast / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for A Young Girl's Testimony: From Disastrous To Evangelist by Author Shana Joseph!

About The Book


Title: A Young Girl's Testimony: From Disastrous To Evangelist by Shana Joseph
Publisher:   Xulon Press
Pubication Date: September 23, 2013
Format: Paperback - 110 pages
               Kindle - 413 KB
               Nook - 773 KB
ISBN: 978-1628396867
BNID: 2940148424079
Genre: Christian / Non Fiction / Autobiography

Book Description:

In this book is a powerful message that rises out of a true-life story woven in sadness, heartache, pain, joy and God working miracles. You will see lessons learned, wisdom gained, and experiences to share. It's revealing unforgettable moments all in unforgettable testimonies.

Book Excerpt: 

From Page 30:

At the age of fourteen I got tattoos and some piercings.  People always said that I was a beautiful girl.  However, when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see what they saw at all.  When I looked in the mirror, I only saw my painful past and my mother.  I saw people I hurt and someone I hated.  I saw a disastrous person looking back at me.  I got a piercing in my eyebrow and two on the right side of my nose because I thought if I changed how I looked on the outside, then maybe I would like myself.  I had to deal with people labeling me as a conceited person because all they saw was a pretty girl with a nice complexion who had long hair, and who all the boys liked.  I never saw any of that.  Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t have gotten into so many fights and had my long hair pulled and I would’ve been full of myself.  Maybe I wouldn’t have the marks on my face from fights or the bite mark left on my shoulder from a girl whose head I was banging on a car window while fighting her.  I was never into myself because I always thought I was a worthless person.  I thought I would always be a street prisoner, is what I called it.  Would you believe a pretty girl like me pointed a gun at someone and sold drugs for a while? Well, I did.  At times I thought I would end up like my mother.

Purchase Book at: 


Barnes & Noble:


About The Author


Shana Joseph is a young, anointed Evangelist who preaches the undiluted word of God without fear. Surrending her life to the Lord at age 16, she has been preaching for many years and has a passion for the young people, as well as those who have yet to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. Shepherded and molded under the leadership of Bishop Dr. K.D. Collins, founding vessel of The Harvest Army Church International, headquarted in the Bronx, New York, Shana has grown from an ordinary Christian to a powerful warrior for Jesus. Shana is happily married to her husband, Stephan Joseph and together they have three children, Marland, Giovonni, and Vanise.   

Contact Shana at:


Contest Giveaway

Pump Up Your Book and Author Shana Joseph are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on May 30, 2015.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on June 1, 2015.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Girl Of Mine by Taylor Dean (Book Blast / Contest Giveaway)

In association with I Am A Reader Book Blasts And Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Girl Of Mine by Author Taylor Dean!

Taylor Dean's newest book is now available!


Buy The Book:

Book Trailer


The song that inspired me while writing GIRL OF MINE:
(Watch until the end. There's a surprise!)

A interesting tidbit about GIRL OF MINE:

My dad always worried about the cost of the electricity bill. If he walked past my bedroom and noticed that my light had been left on, he would turn it off and holler,
"That's okay, Taylor, I got your light."
It became a bit of a joke in our household. My siblings and I loved to try and catch my dad leaving on a light, just so we could say,
"That's okay, Dad, I got your light."
Now that I'm an adult with my own family, the term takes on new meaning.
The message behind it has worked its way into my new novel, Girl of Mine.
My father brought me into this world, he cared for me, and he taught me well. He gave me my "light," my life.
He nourished my "light" and helped me become the person I am today.
So, Dad, thanks for getting my light.
I'll always be grateful.

About The Author

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it's paranormal, contemporary, or suspense--you'll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.

Contest Giveaway


$100 Blast Giveaway

Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/15/2015

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer Fire: Love When It's Hot Contemporary Romance Boxed Set (Book Blast)

 In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Summer Fire: When It's Hot - Contemporary Romance Boxed Set!

About The Boxed Set

Title:  Summer Fire: Love When It's Hot (Boxed Set) 
Author: Gennita Low, Stacey Mosteller, R.J. Lewis. L. Wilder, Victoria Danann, Kym Grosso, Cat Miller, Mimi Barbour, Clarissa Wild, Teresa Gabelman, Linda Barlow, Helen Scott Taylor, Victoria James, Mona Risk, Patrice Wilton, Joan Reeves, Danielle Jamie, Terri Marie, Lorhainne Eckhart, Brandy L. Rivers, Nicole Blanchard 
Publisher:  dba 7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC 
Publication Date: May 26, 2015 
Format: eBook
                Kindle - 3204 KB
                Nook - 4 MB
ISBN: 978-1507060469 
BNID: 2940151700993
Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Twitter Hashtag: #SUMMERFIRE   

Book Description:

21 ALL NEW contemporary romance stories by New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors.

Limited Time Only!

Love when it’s hot? So do we. 

Especially when we’re writing about gritty alphas, angsty bad boys, sizzling attraction, and unrequited passion. Turn the fan to oscillate, loosen your buttons,  and join us for this groundbreaking bundle of summer tales that are hot hot hot.

1. Gennita Low - Sizzle
2. Stacey Mosteller – Just One Summer
3. R.J. Lewis - Sinful
4. L. Wilder - Summer Storm
5. Victoria Danann – A Season in Gemini
6. Kym Grosso - Solstice Burn
7. Cat Miller – Sun Burnt
8. Mimi Barbour – Big Girls Don’t Cry
9. Clarissa Wild - Killer
10. Teresa Gabelman - Rodeo Romance
11. Helen Scott Taylor - Irish Kisses
12. Victoria James – Sweet Surrender 13. Mona Risk - Husband for a Week
14. Patrice Wilton – A Man for Hire
15. Linda Barlow - My Mile-High Mistake
16. Joan Reeves – Heat Lightning
17. Danielle Jamie – Tan Lines and Salty Kisses
18. Terri Marie - Someone Exactly Like You
19. Lorhainne Eckhart – His Promise
20. Brandy L Rivers - Summer Rhythm
21. Nicole Blanchard - Anchor

Buy The Boxed Set: 



Barnes & Noble:



May 24 - 27, 2015
Join In The Fun!

Summer Fire Book Blast Event

Notorious P-Man Sam by Thomas Barr, Jr (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Notorious P-Man Sam by Author Thomas Barr, Jr.!


Book Review

TitleNotorious P-Man Sam: Miami's Urban Chronicles Vol. 1 by Thomas Barr, Jr.
Vol. 1: Miami's Urban Chronicles
Publisher: VIP INK Publishing Group, Inc. / Printhouse Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2015
Format: Paperback - 270 pages
               Kindle - 835 KB
               Nook - 187 KB
ISBN: 978-0986134012
BNID: 2940151319539
Genre: Urban Fiction  

Purchase The Book:
Barnes & Noble

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.

Book Description:

This book is about the struggle of African American men as they traverse the perils of 20th and twenty first century life in the professional realms of the work place atmosphere. The differences in opportunities are often overlooked in comparison to other classes and among the races.

The American dream is the realization of success in the face of struggle and hard work. Is it relevant that one’s struggle is harder than the other in accomplishment of this goal? P-Man Sam is a hard look at the road to self-empowerment and what it takes to make it in the American society. The entrepreneurial spirit is one of the main roads traveled in realization of the American dream.

It takes knowledge and a fearlessness to take a chance in the ruthless world of business in this society. It’s also important to be able to effectively communicate with the modern diverse society of today through effective people skills.

The P-Man Sam story brings an awareness of how to navigate negative experiences and transform them into motivational learning blocks. Learning from experiences and moving forward is essential in life. One’s eyes must be open and na├»ve thought processes must be conquered in attaining the ultimate prize. The following are useful for application:

• Mentorship
• Net working
• Coalition building
• Broad-mindedness

This book is a good source for inspiration and having hope is a major force in your journey through life. Situations and circumstances should not be viewed as a hindrance, but instead a hurdle in step to the finish line. There are many instances in this story that relay the struggle against forces that present obstacles. Willpower and dedication are true factors that assist the main character in winning out against such forces.

In conclusion, the power of love and support are sustaining factors in the realization of goals in life. The act of goal-setting itself is an important factor in accomplishing anything in pursuant of ambitious dreams. This novel is sprinkled with kernels of knowledge and inspirational wording designed to give the reader insight into the motivations of the main character that can be transcending to experience.

It is beneficial and intended to identify and acquire these gems of knowledge to retain as progressive career tools.  

Book Excerpt: 

In the tenth year of the millennium, on the major Interstate of I-95 cars sped up the roadway and zinged pass construction barriers. Many of the vehicles just barely swipe distressed vehicles’ parked roadside. Sam Silvasteen drove with his windows down taking in the South Florida breeze as his car cruised at a comfortable speed. A black car with a high performance sounding engine screeched up next to Sam’s car. The sound of gunfire erupted and peppered the passenger’s side of Sam’s car with silver dollar sized bullet holes. Sam jerked the steering wheel in an attempt to dodge the spray of bullets. The men in the car continued to pace Sam’s car firing ruthlessly into the frame of the automobile. Hot lead ripped through Sam’s flesh as he was hit with a volley of bullets.

Sam slammed into the median and the men sped off as his car coasted to a halt along the concrete rail. Sam could hear the screaming brakes of other cars on the road and smell the scent of twisted metal as he faded out. The Entrepreneurial President of Bandstand Magazine lay shot along the Miami corridor among twisted metal. His life flashed before his eyes and he thought back on the events that led him to his current predicament.

Sam was a street wise entrepreneur who had escaped the shadows of the crime filled eighties drug environment of Miami. Cocaine was the major drug that circulated thru the community of Dade County. He transformed his life into a respectable businessman and attempted to help other urban youth in becoming productive community citizens. Within the blink of an eye his life was turned upside down and the phantoms of his past attempted to snatch his mortal essence from existence.

Sam was initially raised in a single parent home. When Sam turned ten in the year 1977, he was placed in an orphanage by his grandparents due to his mother’s early dementia among her other mental illness related problems. Sam’s grandparents had six adult kids living in their home and couldn’t afford a proper home for young Sam.


“Who turned the damn T.V.,” yelled a burly kid his hair dripped with Gerri curl juice. His voice echoed through the bare white walled dayroom of the orphanage. Sam sat motionless as the other kids looked around not saying a word in response to the question. The scarcely decorated room remained silent. Most of the juveniles were Cuban exiles and spoke little English. The burly kid steaming with rage yanked the plug out of the wall and kicked the T.V. over. The loud crash and sound of breaking glass alerted the nearby sisters from the hallway entrance.

“What happened to the T.V.?” Asked Sister Alice, she was new to Saint Joseph and relocated from Nicaragua to assist with the influx of prospective exiled children of political patriots. She wore the traditional long flowing robes of her profession. She was a looker and it could be speculated that she had her pick of the litter before being ordained.

“Jose kicked it over,” said the burly kid as he pointed at Jose Marti a skinny pale Cuban teen. Jose possessed long limbs but his skinny frame made him look a bit goofy in appearance.

“Jose is this true?” Replied Sister Alice, as she wheeled in his direction. Jose remained silent as Sister Alice waited for him to respond.

“Jose didn’t do it Sister Alice,” Sam exclaimed. His voice was firm and controlled. “Well it didn’t happen on its on Sam,” replied Sister Alice in a sarcastic tone. The burly kid cut his eyes at Sam and gave him a hard look.

She now turned to the burly kid, “Trey Brownlee if you’re fibbing you get twenty lashes,” She exclaimed.

“I swear….,” replied Trey before he could finish his sentence Sister Alice smacked him in the chest with a ruler. In a heavy Spanish accent she sentenced Trey to spend the rest of the day in time out.

“Sam get this mess cleaned up,” she said as she escorted Trey from the room.

Sam immediately grabbed a garbage can to pick up the shards of glass that covered the floor. Jose found a broom and swept some of the glass in a pile for Sam to scoop into the garbage. The other kids resumed their activities as the hype died down.

Sam made a friend in Jose from the day of the T.V. incident with Trey. They began their friendship working as partners at anything they did together. Sam was a husky twelve year old and Jose was three years his senior. The two got along quite well with no regards to their respective ages. Lucky Barnes was a younger kid who hung around Burt Ramos the only Puerto Rican kid at the orphanage. Lucky was a portly black kid with big hands. Burt often used little Lucky when he was trying to hustle the other boys in marbles.

“Hey Sam,” said Burt. “Trey is going to be pissed that you stuck your nose in his business.”

“Forget Trey,” responded Sam. “If you’re down with Trey than forget you too,” said Sam as he flopped down onto a sofa in the dayroom of the orphanage. A group of boys congregated at the corner of the day room and shot a game of marbles.

“Oh I’m down for myself and I was just making sure you knew what time it was,” said Burt as he made his way to the marbles game. Lucky gave Sam thumbs up as he shuffled close behind Burt. Jose pulled up a chair alongside Sam and said, “Now we have nothing to watch because of Trey.” The boys protested loudly in the corner of the room while Burt tried to convince them he was not cheating. “Hey I got ya back don’t let them get to you about that Trey stuff,” he said.

Sam sat straight up and replied, “I’m not worried about a thing.” He extended his hand and slapped Jose five. Jose watched a lot of T.V. and was hip to the street ways of black culture. He understood the gesture and was happy to have made a friend in a place where watching out for self was paramount. Sam was also careful in not being labeled a rat while sticking up for Jose. He knew in befriending an older kid his chances of survival had increased tenfold.


The females were housed in an entirely different dorm wing as compared with the males. The only times the two would mingle was during mealtimes and that was usually three times a day. All the kids in the orphanage were supervised by nuns and the Mon Senior had final call on all activities. Sam had his eye on this one pigtailed hair girl named Vivian Smart. She was a beautiful vivacious teen who was present at the orphanage upon Sam’s arrival.

“Hi Sam,” she said as she sat down with her lunch at Sam’s table. “I heard what you did for that Cuban kid the other day and I think it was courageous.” Sam shifted in his chair.

“No big thing,” he replied. “The kid looked as if he needed help and I stepped in.” Sam dropped his head and continued to munch on his sandwich. Vivian took a cookie from her tray and placed it on a napkin in front of Sam’s tray. Sam didn’t raise his head but his heart quickened its pace.

“This is for your bravery,” she replied as she slid the napkin in Sam’s direction. Sam was at a loss of words, and before he uttered his faint thank you Vivian had strode off and rejoined her friends.

The cafeteria was a bustle with kids and they were being closely monitored by the nuns for any improprieties. Sam sat brooding as he finished his meal. He missed he mother and siblings, while the orphanage provided a vibrant surrounding it lacked genuine personal connections. Before his mother’s unfortunate problems Sam was often doted on by his family. He was the youngest and the last born of his mother’s children. His siblings were years older than he was and were all away trying to establish a life for themselves. Sam hated being poor but what else could he do he thought to himself.

Sam made his way to the day room after lunch and sat looking at one of the day room windows. He had a second period of classes in which he contemplated cutting. Jose walked up to him and slapped him on the back, “What up Sam!” He said in his best English.

“What’s up Jose,” replied Sam. I got a couple of classes for second period and I do not feel like going,” said Sam with a sigh.

Jose was only a grade higher than Sam although he was fifteen. His problems with the language barrier relegated him to grades lower than his normal level in Cuba. “Let’s hangout in the courtyard or sneak over to the girl’s dorm,” replied Jose.

“Cool,” replied Sam. He stashed his books under a nearby sofa and was out the door along with Jose. 


The girl’s wing was well kept and immaculate in comparison to the facilities the boys maintained. When not in class the girls milled around outside and played dodge ball on the cement courts. The males and females rarely participated in physical activities except when there was a yearly festival occurring. Jose and Sam hid behind a dumpster near the courts of the girl’s dormitory. “Hey there’s Vivian,” said Sam as he ducked so he wouldn’t be seen by her.

“Who is Vivian?” Jose inquired.

“Nobody,” replied Sam.

The girls walked on a nearby court and began their ritual jump rope Double Dutch game. Jose whistled trying to get one of the girls’ attention, Sam nudged him in the side.

“Are you trying to get us busted,” exclaimed Sam.

“No, just trying to get us some trim,” replied Jose.

One of the girls heard the commotion and walked over to where Sam and Jose were held up. She saw them crouched behind the dumpster and immediately began screaming. The boys tore out of their hiding place and ran for the nearest place to hide for cover. Jose laughed hysterically as he tried to catch his breath from the sprint to the dormitory.

“You’re crazy,” remarked Sam bending over in exhaustion.

“That was a rush,” said Jose.


The two boys walked back to the day room and talked about the look on the girls’ faces when they realized they were being spied upon. Classes were ending for the day and the dayroom was filled with students. Music appreciation seminars were usually held by Sister Alice after dinner and Sam really enjoyed the sessions. He profiled the different types of music genre as well as the musicians of past and contemporary times. “I’m going to my room before dinner,” said Jose.

“See you later,” remarked Sam.

Sam remained in the dayroom leafing through his school books as he sat on a bench in the back of the room. Sister Alice entered the dayroom recruiting groups to complete chores. Sister Alice mentioned that the females were also participating and Sam decided to volunteer. One group of males and one group of females were directed to the gymnasium area of the compound. The two groups were instructed to scrub the floors and wash the walls. Sam joined the chore group hoping to get a chance to be around Vivian. Sam began scrubbing and to his dismay saw no sign of Vivian in the other group.

Sam continued to volunteer his services for the chores squad of Sister Alice in hopes of seeing Vivian. On this one particular day the squad was tasked to clean the main administrative offices of parish officials. Vivian was assigned to the task and Sam was delighted his persistence had finally paid off. Sam decided he would work closely with Vivian and learn more about her interests.

“Hey what are you doing here?” said Sam. Vivian stopped what she was doing and put her hands on his hips.

“The same thing you’re doing,” She said. The girls giggled as Vivian smiled at Sam.

Sam thought to himself that was a dumb question to ask. He never knew the right words to say to the members of the opposite sex. She looked so beautiful standing there with a twinkle in her eyes and sass in her voice thought Sam.

“Well I was offering to help but I see you’re good,” Sam replied with a smirk.

“You’re such a good guy,” said Vivian with a wink.

Sam continued to work while the girls chatted about what guys they thought were cute in the boys’ dormitory. Sam pondered his next move on how to get Vivian’s attention without her friends being around. He thought he would have a better chance at an honest conversation on a one on one basis. Sam would have to covertly recruit individuals to help with his plan and a major part of his plan would be Sister Alice.

Sam was exhausted after his chores and he lounged in the dayroom and watched the boys roll marbles. A couple of maintenance men coordinated the installment of a new T.V. in place of the damaged one. Jose walked in and made his way over to a nearby by sofa avoiding the guys on the floor as they shot marbles.

“So you were doing chores,” remarked Jose. “Did you see your sweetheart Vivian,” he remarked with a laugh. Sam ignored Jose’s remark and continued to watch the boys argue over taking a turn to roll marbles.

“When are you going to volunteer to help out around here?” asked Sam. “Maybe you’ll meet a nice female.” Sam remarked.

“My uncles say the best way to get a fine girl is with a lot of money,” said Jose.

“Yeah that works too,” said Sam with a chuckle.

Sam was intent on wining the heart of Vivian and he assured himself that love was his reason for his persistence. Sam had not really known the love of a woman outside of his mother but he could not resist the emotion he felt when he was around Vivian. Sam would be careful about revealing his feelings around the people he interacted with daily, because in his environment this could be a source of perceived weakness.

Trey entered the dayroom and stomped through the circled marbles on the floor where the boys were shooting marbles. The sound of grinding glass against the floor could be heard as Trey twisted his foot on each stomp. Marbles shot out from under Trey’s foot hitting the sides of nearby chairs, tables and walls. The boys scuttled out of Trey’s path dodging flying marbles.

“Man why’d you do that!” One of the enraged boys responded.

“Shut your trap,” retorted Trey.

Sam knew Trey was pissed he had challenged his rule in standing up for Jose. Sam was ready for whatever retaliation Trey would seek to impose. Sam continued to lounge nonchalantly on the sofa as Trey marauded around the dayroom. Jose remained silent as he sat on the other sofa. Sam could see Jose was tense and his demeanor had drastically shifted in relation to his earlier mood. Sister Alice stuck her head through the doorway of the day room.

“We will have no trouble out of you today Trey,” She said as she disappeared down the hallway.

Sam sat at the breakfast table alone and ate his bowl of oatmeal in silence. He soon felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Sister Alice standing over him smiling with her black nun’s head dress draped over her hair.

“Sam don’t mind Trey much,” she said. “Both his parents died of aids when he was just a toddler.” She pulled up a chair and sat next to Sam. Sam paused between spoons full of oatmeal as she continued to talk.

“He was raised by his grandmother until she died a couple of months ago and he seems to have a hard time adjusting.” She said.

Sam thought to himself he was not having an easy time here either and why is she telling this story to someone who loathes Trey. Sam began to fidget with his silverware as Sister Alice told Trey’s life story. He desperately wished Jose would appear and interrupt her oration. Sam could appreciate the concern Sister Alice felt for the kids of the orphanage. He wondered if she spoke of his situation and issues with others as she did of Trey.

Sam’s own home situation was what led to his current occupancy and he felt little empathy for Trey’s story. Sam had few adult role models; however Sister Alice influenced the good in him. Sam dreamed of the day when he could stand on his own without the need of the orphanage. He was tired of being a kid and was ready to venture out into the world. Sam was in his own thoughts now and subconsciously caught bits and pieces of Sister Alice’s conversation. “You know Sam Saint Joseph will seek to be a solid base for your upbringing when you grow up,” she said. Her voice seemed to trail off as her last comment reverberated in his thoughts.

Sam desired to make a good impression to others by making himself who they thought he should be. He would do tasks that made other people happy and would go all out to fit in with others. Sam felt uneasy in the aftermath when he thought of this act of self repression. His true nature was to be himself and explore who the real Sam was as an individual.

Sam viewed Trey as a bully and an enemy to the free spirit of those around him. Trey’s bully tactics blunted the freewill of others stunting their growth. Sam in an attempt to be ordinary like everyone else downplayed his true abilities. He had no desire to be recognized as exceptional in comparison to his colleagues. The Trey types sought to bring out such exceptional abilities which made Sam hate him even more.

Sam’s perceived abandonment issues stoked his desires for the camaraderie of others and he highly valued friendship. Trey bullying tampered with that concept which in turn was a source for instability in Sam’s world. Sam would mesh out any instability that threatened his contentment. Trey would be met with the harsh retaliation whenever he threatened to disrupt Sam’s reality.

Sister Alice realized Sam was not soaking in her words and stopped speaking. She looked at Sam as he sat gazing into the distance. She raised herself from her seated position and stood with her hands on her hips. She shook her head and walked away from Sam as he continued his gaze.

“Kids,” she said.
My Book Review:

Notorious P-Man Sam is an intriguing urban fiction story that is set in Miami and follows the trials and tribulations of Sam Silvasteen as he follows his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Sam Silvasteen is a man from a meager background. He struggles in a low minimum wage job to support his family. He has big ambitions and dreams of a better way of life. As he pursues his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur, he struggles against the temptation of fast money and crime. Sam's story explores the aspirations of an average business person, and the daily pressures, choices, vices, and crucial decisions that lead to his overcoming the odds, and making it as a successful entrepreneur.

According to the author, he was inspired to write the novel by a former Miami music magazine executive, who was tragically killed in a drive-by shooting. He wanted to detail his life experience and portray a fictionalized chronology of the event.  

Notorious P-Man Sam is a fascinating tale about an African-American man's aspirations to become a successful entrepreneur. This fast paced tale easily draws the reader into Sam's story, it is a realistic and engaging in depth look into his personal journey and self-empowerment to achieve the American dream. 


About The Author

Hailing from Miami Florida; Author Thomas Barr was born in Lake City, South Carolina home of the 2nd African American astronaut, killed on the Challenger space mission, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.  He is the grandson of a share cropper whom taught him the value of hard work and education.  At age 17 he began college at Bethune-Cookman University and graduated Cum Laude with honors.  While in college he was inspired to write when he read the novel, Black Boy by Richard Wright.  He began writing short stories for campus publications and won a $500 dollar publication contest in a local campus circular.  He entered the Air Force after college and spent two tours of duty in the gulf during the Persian Gulf War.  Upon leaving the Military he went back to school and completed graduate school at the University of Akron in Ohio earning a master of public administration.  He began a career in government as an Intern with the Ohio legislature and later became employed with the Florida Senate as a legislative assistant.  His current works were inspired by his work with the City of Miami as a civil servant in administration.

Thomas Barr’s writings reflect the everyday struggle of the average individual trying to make something of life.  Every person has a story to tell and the job of an inspirational writer is to bring those stories to life for the good of all.  As an author Thomas Barr desires to be the chronicler of inspirational stories designed to assist dreamers in achieving.   

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