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, November 4, 2016

The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades (Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book tour event for The Thunder Beneath Us by author Nicole Blades!

Book Review

The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades
Publisher: Dafina / Kensington Books / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Format: Paperback - 320 pages
               Kindle - 2006 KB
               Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-1496704597
BNID: 978-1496704603
Genre: Women's Fiction

Buy The Book: 
Amazon - US
Amazon - UK
Amazon - CA
Barnes & Noble
Kensington Publishers

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:

To the world, Best Lightburn is a talented writer rising up the masthead at international style magazine James, girlfriend of a gorgeous up-and-coming actor, and friend to New York City’s fabulous. Then there’s the other Best, the one who has chosen to recast herself as an only child rather than confront the truth.

Ten years ago, on Christmas Eve, Best and her two older brothers took a shortcut over a frozen lake. When the ice cracked, all three went in. Only Best came out. People said she was lucky, but that kind of luck is nothing but a burden. Because Best knows what she had to do to survive. And after years of covering up the past, her guilt is detonating through every facet of her seemingly charmed life. It’s all unraveling so fast: her new boss is undermining and deceitful, her boyfriend is recovering from a breakdown, and a recent investigative story has led to a secret affair with the magazine’s wealthy publisher.

Best is quick-witted and headstrong, but how do you find a way to happiness when you’re sure you haven’t earned it—or embrace a future you feel you don’t deserve? Evocative and emotional, The Thunder Beneath Us is a gripping novel about learning to carry loss without breaking, and to heal and forgive—not least of all, ourselves.

Book Excerpt:

We slid into the car, across the warmed seats, sitting close enough that our heads gently knocked together a couple of times as we skimmed potholes. Then, while we were heading over the Brooklyn Bridge, it started. Hands and lips and gropes everywhere. By the time we got to my floor, we were on the floor, then the couch, on the counter, up against the fridge, bottom of the bed, in the shower. It was hot and sweaty and good. He stayed over. (Not my style.) I called in sick. (Also not my style.) We made breakfast together early that next morning and ate it sitting tucked beneath a pillow fort he made on the living-room floor. We lay there, tangled up like vines, and watched old game shows for hours. It felt good with Grant then. It felt normal. But it was never going to work. I’m not built for that.

When he called me the next week I was a little surprised. I was sure that he had only put my number in his phone because his Canadian insides would not allow him to treat me like some throwaway hookup. Appearances.

“Hey. It’s Grant.”


“I know. I didn’t wait the customary—what?—ten days before calling, but I want to see you again. So, I’m calling today.”

I smiled, but slid the phone speaker away from my mouth. He’s an actor. They’re trained to pick up on even the slightest nuance. “Yeah?”

“Yeah. Do you want to come hang out?”


“Okay. We’re doing this, we’re playing that game?”

“Not a game. I don’t know what you’re going to propose; I’m maintaining a holding pattern. Can’t fault a girl. You Hollywood types are freaky.”

“Right. There’s always the creep factor to consider. I get it. Me being a Hollywood type and everything, it’s probably not going to help with what I’m about to propose. I mean, it’s kind of far-out.”

“Why, are you about to propose propose?”

Yo. Not that far-out. But it does involve a hotel.”

“A hotel.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s a long story and it’s boring. Studio shit. Courtship for contract re-ups. My agent, Shawna, only told me about it two hours ago. Look, it’s ridiculous and excessive and whatever the opposite of flattery is, but I’m doing it, apparently, to keep the waters calm.”

“Wait, are they naming a penthouse suite after you or something?”

He laughed—a giggle, really, covered over in a breathy chuckle that slipped through his nose. It was cute, wiggling its way through the phone to the soft middle part of me just below my heart, and I knew I was about to say yes to whatever he was about to say next. I was in the net, trapped. That laugh of his—infectious doesn’t quite describe it. The way it would start, in the base of his throat, tickling him as it rose up to his nose and then dancing on his lips. I liked when he would let it fly, loose and wild, his mouth open, actual ha-ha’s tumbling out, his shoulders shaking and his head flopping off to the side. There was something so honest and joyful in it that left you surrendered, open, willing.

When I got to the hotel, Grant answered the door wearing the classic plush bathrobe along with a pair of thick, black-rimmed glasses.

“Are you seriously answering the hotel room door naked?” I said, stepping into the room despite my clear disapproval. “If there’s a half-drunk bottle of Jack and some small coke mountain piled on a glass-top table in here…then congratulations on being a total cliché, sir.”

Grant smiled, big and crooked. “You don’t mince a word, do you?”

“Well, do you blame me? You invite me to your publicist-arranged, studio contract, carrot-on-a-stick thing and then answer the door nude.”

“Bathrobe,” he said and tightened the sash around his middle like a miffed housewife.

“Fine. Almost nude, in a bathrobe.” I stepped in a little farther and scoped the grand suite. Whatever wasn’t white was chrome, and the windows were as tall as the walls. It was the picture of luxury and excess, and it was inviting.

“I think once you slip this robe over yourself, you’re going to want to be nude—sorry, almost nude too.”

“Is that right? Just a complete panty-dropper, huh?”

“Feeling is believing, homie. I even took out my contacts—like my eyes wanted to be on that freedom flow too. Go in there,” he said, making an easy motion with his head toward the wide bathroom. “There’s another one—it’s your size, smaller. I hung it on a hanger behind the door. Just slip it on, even over your clothes, and—you know what? No spoilers. You’re your own woman. Go in there. Take responsibility for your life. I’m going to order up some French fries since that’s kind of the only way you can really enjoy cocaine and Jack Daniel’s. That’s what I read in my Hollywood Clichés Handbook,” he said, his face straight and staring right at me.

I shook my head and bit back my grin. “All right, then. Let me investigate this overpowering terry cloth.”

“Actually, it’s bamboo.”

I narrowed my eyes at Grant and he broke. His giggle-chuckle pushed its way out and attached its cheerful self to my sleeve. And that was it: the marked moment when this man, with his singular laugh and movie-star chisel and helpless heart, descended into my brain, into my being, and started to build a home there.

My Book Review:

The Thunder Beneath Us is a compelling women's fiction story that easily draws the reader into the drama and emotions that come with the complexity of life, the dynamics of relationships, and learning to confront one's past, heal, and move forward. Set in New York, the reader can't help but get drawn into magazine writer Best Lightburn's story as she discovers that the perfect life that she has been living may not be so perfect after all, especially when her traumatic hidden past comes to the surface, and threatens her carefully reinvented life.

Author Nicole Blades weaves an intriguing and complex women's fiction story that will easily keep the reader engaged and turning the pages. This dramatic story provides much food for thought as Best's life begins to crumble, and is forced to confront her painful past in order to embrace happiness in life. Best's traumatic back story is heartbreaking and pulls at the heartstrings, but her journey of personal discovery and healing is realistic, compelling, and empowering.

The Thunder Beneath Us is an emotional story about loss, forgiveness, healing, and learning to move forward in one's life.


About The Author

Nicole Blades
is a novelist and journalist who has been putting her stories on paper since the third grade. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, by Caribbean parents, Nicole moved to New York City and launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine. She later co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks, and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health.

Now a freelance writer, her features and essays have appeared in MORE magazine, Cosmopolitan,,,, BuzzFeed, SELF, and BlogHer. Nicole has been a speaker and panelist at BlogHer and MA Conference for Women. She also created Ms. Mary Mack, a blog that aims to bring compassion and common sense back to parenthood.

Nicole lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:
October 24 – Chick Lit Plus – Novel Spotlight
October 25 – Books Dream Life – Review & Excerpt
October 26 – Nana Prah’s Blog – Novel Spotlight
October 27 – Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Novel Spotlight
October 28 – I Love My Authors – Excerpt
November 1 – Reading on the Rocks – Review & Excerpt
November 3 – Spunky N Sassy – Excerpt
November 4 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
November 7 – Book Lover in Florida – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

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