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, February 28, 2017

End Of The Road by LS Hawker (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for End Of The Road by author LS Hawker!

Book Review

End Of The Road by LS Hawker
Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins Publisher
Publication Date: eBook - January 31, 2017 / PB - March 21, 2017
Format: Paperback - 320 pages 
               Kindle - 1413 KB
               Nook - 1MB
ISBN: 978-0062435248
BNID: 978-0062435231
Genre: Thriller

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of the book to read and provide an honest review and participate in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

Great minds can change the world or leave it in ruins . . .

When tech prodigy Jade Veverka creates a program to communicate with her autistic sister, she’s tapped by a startup to explore the potential applications of her technology. But Jade quickly begins to notice some strange things about the small Kansas town just beyond the company’s campus—why are there no children anywhere to be seen, and for that matter, anyone over the age of forty? Why do all of the people living here act uncomfortable and jumpy?

On the way home one night, Jade and her co-worker are run off the road, and their lab and living spaces are suddenly overrun with armed guards, purportedly for their safety. Confined to the compound and questioning what her employers might be hiding from her, Jade fears she’s losing control not only of her invention, but of her very life. It soon becomes clear that the threat reaches far beyond Jade and her family, and the real danger is much closer than she’d ever imagined.

Book Excerpt:

September 7
Jade Veverka unwrapped the frozen bomb pop she'd bought from the gas station on the corner of Main and 3rd and took a bite. She sat gazing at the pile of magazines on the barbershop coffee table while a rhythmic alarm-clock buzz went off in her head. Not an urgent warning, just buzz buzz buzz.

Her friend and coworker Elias Palomo sat in the barber chair, getting his customary fade crew cut, the same one he'd presumably sported since his plebe days at the Naval Academy. So the background to her mental alarm clock was an actual buzzing from the electric razor punctuated now by a sharp yip of pain from Elias.

"Sorry about that," the barber said.

Elias rubbed his ear, and Jade attempted to keep her face neutral, looking at his scowl in the mirror.

Buzz buzz buzz.

She leaned forward and fanned the magazines—Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated, ESPN—all this month's issues. Jade took another bite of bomb pop and grinned.

"What are you smiling at?" Elias grumbled, rubbing his nicked ear.

"I don't know how to tell you this," Jade said, "but you are not the center of my universe. I do occasionally react to things outside of you. I know it comes as a shock."

"Shut up," he said, his dark eyes flashing.

Jade stared now in fascination as the razor tracked upwards on Elias's skull, his glossy black hair—or what was left of it—uneven, his scalp an angry pink. This guy was the worst hair dresser Jade had ever seen. And the least talkative. In her experience, growing up in rural Ephesus, Kansas, barbers had always fit the stereotype—gregarious and gossipy.

Elias was the shop's lone customer, and only a few folks walked by outside the window, through which Jade could see the hardware store and the occasional slow passing car.

Buzz buzz buzz.

It struck Jade now that this was less a barbershop than what amounted to a barbershop museum, complete with an actor playing the part of the barber. She wanted to point this out to Elias, but it would mean nothing to him. He'd grown up in Reno, Nevada, a vast metropolis compared to Jade's 1200-population hometown an hour southeast of this one, which was called Miranda, Kansas.

Not only was this man not a barber, he wasn't a Kansan either, Jade would have bet money.

"Hey," she said to him. "What's your name?"

The man went on butchering as if she hadn't spoken. Elias's eyes met Jade's in the mirror, and his dark thick brows met on either side of a vertical crease, his WTF? wrinkle. He leaned his head away from the razor, finally making the barber pay attention.

"The lady asked you a question," Elias said.

Jade had to hold in a guffaw. This never failed to tickle her, him referring to her as a lady. No one other than him had ever done that before. Plus she loved the authoritative rumble of his voice, a trait he'd probably developed at Annapolis.

The barber froze, his eyes locked with Elias's. Weird.

"Need a prompt?" Elias said. "Your name."

The man cleared his throat.

"Is it classified?"

Jade did guffaw this time, and she watched the barber's jaw muscles compress as she clapped a hand over her mouth.

"My name's Richard."

"Hello, Richard, I'm Elias. This is Jade. We work out at SiPraTech."

Jade could see from Richard's face he knew very well where they worked. He nodded and got back to destroying the remains of Elias's hair.

"Whereabouts you from, Richard?" Jade said.

He pulled the razor away from Elias's head and blinked at her.

What in the world was this guy's problem?

Buzz buzz buzz.

Elias emitted a loud sigh, clearly exasperated by the guy's reticence, and waved a hand as if to say, "Carry on, barber-not-barber."

Jade laughed again.

"Here," Richard mumbled. "I'm from here."

Like hell. What was he, in the witness protection program or something?

And then it hit her. The magazines, every last one of them, was a current issue. In a barbershop. The place where back issues of magazines go to die.

She'd worked for SiPraTech just over three months now, and Miranda, the closest town, had always given her an itch. Something about it was slightly off, but she couldn't say what. She'd brought it up to her team members—Elias, Berko Deloatch, and Olivia Harman, and each of them had looked at her like she was schitzy. They all came from big cities, so Miranda struck them as weird in general.

Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz.

As if drawn by static electricity, her eyes tracked to the window where a man in mirrored shades peered into the barbershop. The man had a dark mustache and wore a blue baseball cap pulled low over the sunglasses.

What was he staring at? She glanced behind her, but there was nothing to see but a white wall.
When she turned back, the man mouthed something at her, his exaggerated soundless enunciation wringing a sharp intake of breath from her.

"What?" Elias said in response to her gasp.

Was it her imagination, or did this man she'd never seen before say her name?

Jade Veverka.

She looked at Elias, and said, "There's a man out there—"

My Book Review:

In End Of The Road, author L.S. Hawker weaves another riveting thriller that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, secrets, and murder.

The author takes the reader on a wild roller coaster ride as tech researcher / programmer Jade Veverka tries to protect and maintain control of her invention, a computer program that communicates with Autistic people, but secretive dealings by her employers, and a strangeness about the surrounding small Kansas town, has Jade realizing that things aren't what they seem, and danger lurks around every corner.

As the reader follows Jade's dilemma, the multitude of suspenseful plot twists and turns will give them goosebumps, and keep them sitting on the edge of their seats.

End Of The Road is a fascinating thriller that you won't be able to put down, it will leave you wanting more!



Book Trailer

About The Author

L.S. Hawker grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.

Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called “People Are So Stupid,” edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.

She’s got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland. She is the author of The Drowning Game, a USA Today Bestseller, and Body and Bone.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Contest Giveaway

Win An eBook Copy Of 
End Of The Road

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and William Morrow. 
There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook Coupon for End of the Road by LS Hawker. 
The giveaway begins on January 24th and runs through March 2nd, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

01/30 Showcase @ Books, Dreams, Life

01/31 Guest Post @ BooksChatter

02/01 Guest post @ Books Direct

02/02 Interview @ Mythical Books

02/03 Showcase @ A Bookaholic Swede

02/07 Review & Guest psot @ Must Read Faster

02/09 Guest post @ Suspense Magazine

02/12 Showcase @ A Dream Within A Dream

02/13 Review @ Wall-to-wall books

02/17 Showcase w/excerpt @ Writers and Authors

02/21 Review @ fundinmental

02/20 Review @ Bookishly me

02/22 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads

02/23 Interview @ The Way I See It

02/24 Review/Interview/Showcase @ CMash Reads

02/28 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Cardiac by author Jeffrey Monaghan!

Author Guest Post

The 7 Things You Must Have in Place to Successfully Publish Your Own Novel

When I decided to write a novel, I didn’t put much thought into how I was going to publish it. I just assumed I would figure that part out once I got there. And I learned that there is some serious figuring out to do. 

Initially, I went with the traditional publishing approach. I sent out query letters to literary agents (and boy did I send out query letters), waited for responses (still waiting on some of them), and kept my fingers crossed. But the more I repeated this process, the more disillusioned with the traditional model I became. 

The traditional publishing process is VERY slow. If you can find an agent, it can still take years to get your novel published. You also lose complete ownership and control of your novel. That wasn’t appealing to me. Not to mention the financial side of things is extremely different when you compare traditional publishing to independent publishing. When you take these factors into account and also consider that in 2016, for the first time, independently published books outsold books published by the Big Five publishers, going it alone becomes more appealing. Make no mistake, you will need help along the way, but if you keep these 7 things in mind your chance at success is much greater.

A Good Novel

Nothing else matters unless you have a good novel. In the beginning, focus solely on writing the best novel that you can. Take as much time as you need and don’t worry about anything else. It’s better to have a great novel after five years than a mediocre novel after one. Without a good novel, your efforts to market and sell your book will be difficult if not impossible. And there is no going back once you publish your book and start soliciting reviews.

Content Editor

You will need to find someone who can read your novel and provide detailed feedback. A content editor will check your novel for contradictions, plot holes, factual errors, character issues, and opportunities to improve dialogue. A good content editor will read your novel multiple times and provide a page-by-page markup as well as a two to three page overview of the strengths and weaknesses of your novel. This will be the most expensive part of publishing your book should you choose to hire a professional. A top-notch content editor can cost up to $2500, although you can find them for less. Be sure to ask for references before investing in a content editor. I have heard stories of authors getting less than they expected from a content editor. 

Trusted Critics

You will need a small group of people who are willing to read what you have written and provide general feedback. These are often friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. Prepare them ahead of time and make it clear what you are looking for. Emphasize the need for honesty. Complements are great to hear, but they don’t make your novel better.

Copy Editor

You may have gone through your novel multiple times and think you’ve caught every punctuation and grammar error possible. But I am here to tell you, there are more. And once you find those. There are still more. One of the knocks on self-published authors is the large number of errors in their books. Don’t be one of the authors. Spend a few hundred dollars and hire a professional. This step comes near the end after the story itself is structurally sound and ready to publish.

Good Cover

While the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a nice thought, it’s far from an accurate description of how people actually respond to seeing a book for the first time. And for good reason. The time, effort, and thoughtfulness that goes into a book cover often reflects what a reader will find inside. Spend time looking at covers for books that are similar to yours and use them as inspiration. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Many of the top selling books hire experts to design their covers and they design them in a way that works. Follow their lead or hire an expert. You should be able to find someone to make you a cover for under $500.  


Soliciting advice from trusted resources is important. But that doesn’t mean their advice is always correct. Having the judgment to know when to take advice and when not to is a must. It’s your novel. You need to make the final decision as to what goes in it and what doesn’t


This 2-minute video says more about perseverance and the creative process than I ever could.

About The Author

Jeffrey Monaghan is a Silicon Valley executive with an unhealthy obsession for technology. He grew up in Southern California and currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children. Cardiac is his debut novel.


Book Review

Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan
Book 1: A Jack Getty Thriller Series
Publisher: DLW Publishing
Publication Date: eBook - May 23, 2016 / PB - July 21, 2016
Format: Paperback - 296 pages
               Kindle - 660 KB
ISBN: 978-1533641465
ASIN: B01G448C1E
Genre: Thriller

Buy The Book:

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 Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

Embattled CEO Jack Getty is nervous. This is his final chance to save his company. He is announcing his firm's breakthrough discovery at the world’s largest annual biotech conference. A discovery that trials show will extend human life by 75%. But as Jack approaches the podium, he suffers a major heart attack and collapses on the stage, stunning the conference attendees.

Jack is rushed to the emergency room where surgeons implant the latest Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker, saving his life in the process. What Jack doesn’t know, however, is that an underground hacking group has its sights set on manipulating his “secure” pacemaker to get information only he can provide. Despite the hackers unrelenting terror, Jack refuses to give them what they want and soon starts to uncover the true motives of this mysterious and powerful group.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Jack dropped his cell phone into his pocket, took a deep breath and focused on the moment at hand. The lights on stage were intense, their heat radiating to the dark spot where he stood just behind a thick, dark curtain off stage. A deep, musty odor floated off. A smell that reminded him of his grandmother’s sewing room. It was comforting during such an anxiety filled moment. He leaned closer, unaware, and took a deep breath. Then the stage exploded with light.

The energy and murmurs of the enormous crowd filled the auditorium. Jack’s heart began to race with a nervous excitement. He had done this a dozen times, but this time he was literally going to change the world, and hopefully save his company at the same time. He closed his eyes and took a deep, slow breath. Deep inhale. Deep exhale. And again. Slow, deep inhale. Slow, deep exhale, pushing the recent phone conversation to the back of his mind. The moisture on his palms felt cool and the tips of his fingers, cold.

He concentrated on the moment as thoughts of his pending presentation repeated in his head. Introduction...industry direction...announce test results of groundbreaking new drug...then Algen’s plans for the future...closing. Introduction...industry direction...announce DD13...Algen’s plans for the future...closing. With this announcement, he was about to push his company to the forefront of the biotech industry, and garner worldwide recognition and influence for himself and Algen.

The waiting was the torturous part. Once he started speaking it always came together. In fact, once he began, he usually slipped his notes into his pocket after the first few minutes. It was a rush having the attention of thousands waiting on every word. In fact, he enjoyed speaking in front of large crowds far more than speaking in small groups. He could avoid questions in a large crowd by simply not asking for them. He could just keep speaking. Small groups were more intimate and Jack was not good at small talk. He did his best to avoid talking to others about his personal life.

The announcer’s voice reverberated through the vast hall, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to thank you all for attending our 10th Annual ASR International Life Sciences and Biotechnology Conference." Jack rubbed his palms on his pants, standing just out of reach of the bright lights.
"As many of you know, this is a very exciting time in our industry. A time that has shown extraordinary advancement in our understanding of the fundamental biological mechanisms of human life. A time when major discoveries are coming at an increasingly accelerated rate. And a time that will be looked back on as the dawning of a new age in meeting the needs of patients and doctors across the globe.”

Jack fiddled with the knot in his tie, wiggling it to make sure it was straight. He ran his palms down the front of his suit and tugged at the bottom of his jacket to eliminate imaginary creases. He stood waiting for his cue. As he waited, two sharp buzzes stung his thigh. He fumbled for the phone in his pocket.


He slid the cool metal phone from his pocket and braced for more bad news. Instead, it was a text from his wife.

‘Are you free? I have more questions about Miller’

‘can’t right now. about to go on stage’

‘OK. Good luck. You’ll do great.’ ‘will call you later’

Jack grinned and wished he could talk to his wife now, but there wasn’t time. He allowed himself a moment. A moment to remember how lucky he was. His heart rate slowed and he felt calm. He reread the exchange with Cynthia as he noticed the subtle aroma of the stage curtains again. His eyes closed and he tipped his head back. She had always believed in him. Even when he told her about the times when he drank too much and ended up on the streets. Even when he didn’t believe in himself. She was the talented one, an amazing writer. But it was always she that insisted he was the one who capable of doing big things. Jack was not so sure back then. But here he was, about to do something unimaginable.

A light tap on the shoulder startled Jack. A thin, dark-haired young man stood beside him. A large identification badge hanging around his neck. He looked like a local college kid, called to work at the convention center whenever there was a big conference in town. He wore the basic conference employee uniform. A black t-shirt and khakis. The name tag hanging from his neck read Zachary Dietrich, 10th Annual ASR Conference Employee.

“Don’t forget this, Mr. Getty. You know how to use it, right?” The young man handed Jack a small remote that would allow him to change the slides in his presentation.

“Oh shoot, thank you...” Jack looked at the employee's name tag, “...Zachary. That would have been a little embarrassing getting stuck on the first slide.”

“I’m sure you would have figured something out, sir.”

“Well, I appreciate the thought, but you can’t always save someone from themselves.”

The young man smiled. “Is there anything else I can get for you, Mr. Getty? Would you like some water?”

“I think I’m good for now, thank you.”

“I don’t mean to be pushy, sir, but I highly recommend at least one drink.” Zachary lifted a steel thermos. “It’s warm water with a little lemon. My public speaking professor recommends it. It helps with dry mouth and cuts through any mucus buildup in your throat. It’s awesome.”

“Well, okay, just a quick sip.”

The young stagehand unscrewed the top and handed the thermos to Jack. Jack took it and tipped it to his lips. The young man was right. The warm, slightly sour water provided immediate relief to his parched mouth. Jack took a second drink.

“Thank you, Zachary,” Jack said as he handed the thermos back to the stage hand. “I appreciate your help.”

“No problem, Mr. Getty. Good luck, you’re going to do great,” replied the youthful man, visibly pleased that he was able to help the man of the hour. Jack smiled as he watched the young, go-getter scurry off to attend to other business. He turned his attention back to the stage.

“And we are so thankful to the city of Baltimore for making us feel so welcome." The speaker clapped in appreciation and the crowd joined him with pleasant applause. Without thinking, Jack applauded as well.

"We have a number of excellent speakers over the next few days. And I will get to those in a few moments. But first, I'd like to introduce one of the top leaders in our industry. He's a true innovator and respected member of our community. His company, Algen Incorporated, is leading the way in minimizing and reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s and other age related diseases. Please help me welcome the CEO of Algen, Mister Jack Getty!" The speaker reached his hand out towards the side of the stage, inviting Jack to come out and join him. Jack put on a smile and headed out into the lights; confident, adrenaline pumping through his veins and heart pounding in his chest. He was about to shock the world.

The crowd stood and cheered. Jack raised his right hand in acknowledgement, “thank you” he mouthed, walking onto the stage. The spotlights caused him to squint as the crowd roared in the darkness just beyond their hot, white brilliance. Jack turned back towards the speaker and continued walking, hand extended for a firm handshake. As he moved across the stage, his vision blurred. He opened his eyes wide and then squeezed them closed for a moment.

“What the...” Jack murmured.

When he opened them the speaker split in two, then four, then dozens of images swirled in front of him. Another step and now his chest began to tighten. Jack moaned, putting both hands on his chest. He blinked again. His vision began to fade and the muscles in his chest squeezed ever tighter. A heaviness pulled him towards the floor. Gasping for air, Jack struggled to keep his balance.

His next step became a lunge and he felt himself falling, unsure of when and what he would hit. A desperate reach for the shape of a podium turned into a vain attempt to catch himself. His left hand grasped for the microphone, snagged it with two fingers, and pulled the entire podium to the floor as he fell. It smashed on the stage, breaking into large pieces. The squeal of feedback ripped through the auditorium speakers. Jack slammed into the floor next to the podium with a heavy thud. His vision focused long enough to catch a glimpse of a woman in the front row, hands over her ears grimacing at the screeching microphone. He heard screams in the distance.

A hushed murmur fell over the crowd. Jack fought to stay conscious; the heaviness in his chest forced the air from his lungs. The lights above flooded into his spinning vision. He lay flat on his back, struggling to fight off the darkness that threatened to consume him.

“Someone call an ambulance!”

The pain in Jack’s chest shot down his left arm. I’m dying! The silhouette of a person appeared above him and blocked out the light. “Jack, can you hear me? Jack? Shit!” Jack wanted to respond but couldn’t. He was directing every effort to staying conscious.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Jack heard the frantic, trembling voice say. There was a firm tugging around his neck and a second voice broke into the chaos.

“Loosen it as much as you can. And unbutton his shirt. Make sure he can breathe.”

“I’m trying. Shit! Come on, Jack. Keep breathing.” The tugging at his neck became more frenzied. The voices started to fade and Jack could feel himself losing awareness.

“We’re losing him! We’re losing him! Someone please...”

He could hold on no longer. Jack willingly gave in to the darkness that was pulling him away from the voices. His body relaxed and he felt at peace. He saw his oldest son as a toddler, football grasped with both hands and that lopsided smile that warmed his heart. He saw his youngest son putting on his baseball uniform for the first time. And a vision of his wife on their wedding day pulled him deeper into his memories and away from the desperate voices.

All the commotion provided a distraction for a young, red-headed man seated at the end of the aisle. He was thirty rows back near one of the exits.

“Everyone, please remain seated,” came an announcement over the loudspeakers. The man ignored the instructions. He rose from his seat, doing his best not to draw attention. “Mr. Getty is getting the necessary medical assistance and will be okay.” The red-headed man knew this wasn’t true, at least not the part about Jack being okay. He slipped out the side doors and onto the busy streets of downtown Baltimore, anxious to blend in with the pedestrians. As he walked, he turned on his cell phone. He fought against his shaking fingers as he dialed. The phone rang.

“Yes, it’s done...yes I’m sure...I saw him hit the stage...I don’t know...they were tending to him as I left....I said I don’t know...sorry, I’m not going back in way...I don’t care. I did what you asked and now I’m done.”

The man ended the call, slid the phone back into his pocket, and looked around to see if anyone had listened to his conversation, still disturbed by what had taken place. The people on the street had more important concerns than eavesdropping on a conservatively-dressed college type, so he vanished into the afternoon sun.

After a few blocks, a park appeared on the opposite side of the street. The man looked both ways and careened across the street, horns honking at him as he went. His stomach churned with anxiety and he was not completely aware of his surroundings, focused on creating as much distance as possible between him and the conference hall. He needed to find a calm, secluded place to sit and catch his breath; and his sanity.

He entered the park and saw a worn, stone bench under a large elm tree about fifty yards away. He turned to see if anyone had followed him, then made his way to the tree and settled on the hard, cool bench. He took a deep breath. His right leg bounced, quick and uncontrollable.

“Son of a bitch...”

The man ran his hand up his forehead and grasped a handful of hair between his fingers in a tight fist. He breathed again. His leg stopped bouncing and he began to relax. Then, just as he had begun to calm down, his phone buzzed in his pocket.

“Hello...sorry, I didn’t mean to hang up on you...the whole thing freaked me out. I’ve never seen anything like that in person. There’s a big difference between seeing Darth Vader choke out Admiral Motti and seeing a real human being hit the ground like that. I had to get out of there...yes, I know. All I can tell you is that it worked. I’m guessing we’ll be able to find out by the end of the day...Will do.”

The red-headed man dropped his head, slumped his shoulders, and rested his elbows on his knees. A pleasant breeze rustled the leaves in the tree above.

My Book Review:

In Cardiac, the first book in the Jack Getty Thriller Series, author Jeffrey Monaghan weaves a fast-paced debut medical techno thriller set in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that follows Jack Getty, the CEO of Algen Incorporated, a biotech company, as he tries to protect his company from a hostile takeover, while dealing with a dangerous hacker group called Mentor, who has taken control over his body via manipulating the latest Wi-Fi enabled heart pacemaker implanted in his chest after he suffers a heart attack at a biotechnical conference in Baltimore. Can Jack find a way to stop the dangerous group's intentions, or will he fatally fall victim to their nefarious demands?

Cardiac is a riveting medical techno thriller that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, kidnapping, murder, and blackmail. Jack's story easily draws the reader in and keeps them captivated and turning the pages. As the reader follows Jack's desperate quest to stop the hostile takeover of his company, and the dangerous demands of the hacker group called Mentor, the multitude of plot twists and turns will keep them guessing what will happen next. You can't help but ponder if this futuristic and cutting-edge medical technological device could someday become a reality.

With a multidimensional cast of characters who leap off the pages; gritty dialogue and vivid interactions; richly detailed description of suburban Boston setting; and a no-holds-barred storyline that keeps the reader sitting on the edge of their seats; Cardiac is one hell of a thrilling story that you won't be able to put down!


Book Trailer

Contest Giveaway

Win An eBook Copy Of Cardiac

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeffrey Monaghan. 

There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan. 

The giveaway begins on January 31st and runs through March 3rd, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

02/01 Showcase @ The Pen and Muse Book Reviews

02/02 Interview @ BooksChatter

02/02 Review @ Tome Tender

02/03 Showcase @ Mythical Books

02/05 Guest post @ Suspense Magazine

02/06 Guest post @ Writers and Authors

02/08 Review/showcase @ Books, Dreams, Life

02/10 Review @ just reviews

02/11 Showcase @ Hott Books

02/12 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

02/13 Interview @ Books Direct

02/15 Review/showcase @ CMash Reads

02/17 Review @ Blog Rockin Book Reviews

02/20 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads

02/21 Review @ Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine

02/24 Review @ JBronder Book Reviews

02/27 Review & Guest post @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

02/28 Review @ Celticladys Reviews

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Luna Rising by Selene Castrovilla (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Jen Halligan PR, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Luna Rising by author Selene Castrovilla!

Book Review

Luna Rising by Selene Castrovilla
Publisher: Last Syllable Books
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Format: Paperback - 450 pages
ISBN: 978-0991626199
Genre: Women's Fiction

Buy 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 Jen Halligan PR.

Book Description:

Life begins at thirty-eight for Long Island mom and writer Luna Lampanelli, when she kicks her secretly gay husband to the curb. She's got her freedom, but what she wants is love.

Luna knows she doesn’t need a man to exist, but try telling that to her heart. Against the advice of Sunny, her snarky best friend, and Jiminy, the cautioning voice in Luna’s head that just won’t shut up, Luna sets course to find a mate.

Luna speed and on-line dates her way into several short-lived, surreal relationships. There’s Ari, the humorless Israeli who refuses to assimilate – to America, and to humanity. There’s Alex, the young and handsome ex-crackhead who informs Luna he doesn’t want to be monogamous while they’re in bed. There’s Memphis, the wild-eyed sadomasochist. There’s Red, angry and crippled, who becomes the catalyst for Luna to join Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

But before Luna can proceed to recovery, she meets the elusive but oh so appealing Trip. He’s emotionally unavailable and has the Madonna-Whore Complex, but how can Luna (aka “whore”) let him go when she enjoys his dry wit so much, and his naked body even more?

Humorously haunting and packed with unspeakable truths, Luna Rising follows a woman's funny and heart-breaking struggle to relate with un-relatable men and an un-relatable world, and to figure out something even more un-relatable: herself.

My Book Review:

Luna Rising 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, learning to confront one's past, heal, and move forward. Set in Long Island, the reader can't help but get drawn into thirty-eight year old Luna Lampanelli's story as she discovers that the life that she has been living is not what she wants anymore, so she embarks on a personal journey of self-discovery and search for love and happiness.

Author Selene Castrovilla weaves an intriguing and humorous debut women's fiction story that will easily keep the reader engaged and turning the pages. This wonderfully realistic story provides much food for thought as Luna's tries to figure out what she really wants in life in order to find love and happiness. Luna's story has a great mixture of humor, drama, angst, heartbreak, and crazy trials and tribulations, but her journey of personal discovery is realistic, compelling, and very empowering, it is the kind of story that anyone can relate to, and you can't help but cheer Luna on as she finds her way and embraces her true self.

Luna Rising is a wonderful debut women's fiction story of personal self-discovery and learning to move forward in one's life.


About The Author

Selene Castrovilla
is the award-winning author of multiple narrative nonfiction picture books and young adult novels. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons and too many cats.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Contest Giveaway

Win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or Book Depository (International) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Schedule:

Feb 1st – A Nook for Books

Feb 2nd – Her Book Thoughts

Feb 3rd – A Leisure Moment

Feb 7th – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf

Feb 10th – A Chick Who Reads

Feb 13th – Actin’ Up With Books

Feb 14th – The Invisible Diva

Feb 16th – Reese’s Reviews

Feb 20th – Bookish

Feb 22nd – Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Feb 24th – vvb32 reads

Monday, February 20, 2017

Child's Play by Merry Jones (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Child's Play by author Merry Jones!

Author Guest Post

When You’re Smiling

By: Merry Jones

When I began to write Child’s Play, I intended to focus on the assumptions we make about others. We all do it. A stranger approaches and we make instant judgments about him or her. On sight, knowing nothing about this person, we decide in a nano-second whether to be cautious, friendly or generous. Whether to smile. Whether to run.

These decisions are based in part on instinct, in part on cultural cues. In part on the assumptions we make based on wardrobe, style, cleanliness, health, posture, and, in our society with its prejudices, on gender, age, size, beauty, ethnicity and race.

The assumptions we make about others, though, do not apply just to strangers. We also make them about acquaintances and friends. The assumptions we make about people familiar to us were the ones I intended to write about. What would we assume about a neighbor who’d just been released from prison for murder? About an ice cream man being way too friendly with children? About a business contact who was being persistently flirtatious? Or about a somber and silent janitor who was lurking in a corner watching pretty young girls hurrying down a school hallway?   

My intention in Child’s Play was to show that our assumptions, no matter how logical and time-tested, can mislead us. That the evidence upon which we base our judgments isn’t always correct and can, in fact, lead us to false, even dangerous conclusions.

In the process of writing the book, though, I became aware of some of my own assumptions. Having recently moved from the suburbs to a dense urban area, I was tuned into the “dangers” of city life. I moved quickly down the street, eyes focused straight ahead, avoiding contact with strangers. But, writing the book, I became aware of the assumption that made me behave that way, the assumption that strangers were at best in a rush and focused on their own affairs, at worst dangerous.

Once I became aware of my behavior, I changed it. I began smiling at strangers. Meeting their eyes. Often, though not always, getting smiles in return. Connecting, though just for an instant.

Smiling at people sounds like a simple, even trivial act. But it feels amazing. I get smiles back from all ages, all races, all sizes and shapes. From people with walkers, people with shopping carts. From people hurrying, loitering, jogging, or waiting. People wearing business clothes, walking pit bulls, pushing strollers, or, I suspect, pushing other things.

I suppose Child’s Play was the catalyst for me to extend myself to others in this tiny way, opening my gaze to meet the eyes of passing strangers and offering them a smile.

A smile. It seems innocuous, insignificant. It’s a fleeting thing, enduring for a mere moment. But the smile forces me to overcome the tendency to look away from those around me. It reaches across the city sidewalk with a wordless acknowledgment, a greeting, a shot of good wishes from one stranger to another, no matter what we might assume about each other.

Some days, as I walk, I count the number of smiles I get back. I feel them as small victories against urban loneliness and isolation, against fear, against prejudice. Against false assumptions.

Child’s Play, of course, is about much more than assumptions. But for me, writing it made me aware of the invisible walls surrounding so many of us. And it motivated me to poke at those walls, puncturing a few, even for the duration of a smile.    

Book Review

Child's Play by Merry Jones
Book 3: Elle Harrison Thriller Series
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Format: Paperback - 320 pages
               Kindle - 1566 KB
               Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 978-1608091911
BNID: 978-1608091928
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller

Buy The Book:

Buy The Series: Elle Harrison Thriller Series
Book 1: The Trouble With Charlie
Book 2: Elective Procedures
Book 3: Child's Play

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 Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

Since her husband’s murder two years earlier, life hasn’t been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She’s selling her house and delving into new experiences―like learning trapeze.

Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle’s school principal, who’d tormented Ty as a child, is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty’s former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.

Ty’s younger brother, Seth, is in Elle’s class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?

Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she’s the only adult he’s ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he’s been wrongly condemned. But when she’s assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?

Before Elle discovers the truth, she’s caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.

Book Excerpt:

I was the first one there.
The parking lot was empty, except for Stan’s pickup truck. Stan was the custodian, tall, hair thinning, face pock-marked from long ago acne. He moved silently, popped out of closets and appeared in corners, prowled the halls armed with a mop or a broom. In fourteen years, I couldn’t remember a single time when he’d looked me in the eye.
Wait—fourteen years? I’d been there that long? Faces of kids I’d taught swirled through my head. The oldest of them would now be, what? Twenty-one? Oh man. Soon I’d be one of those old school marms teaching the kids of my former students, a permanent fixture of the school like the faded picture of George Washington mounted outside the principal’s office. Hell, in a few months, I’d be forty. A middle-aged childless widow who taught second grade over and over again, year after year, repeating the cycle like a hamster on its wheel. Which reminded me: I had to pick up new hamsters. Tragically, last year’s hadn’t made it through the summer.
I told myself to stop dawdling. I had a classroom to organize, cubbies to decorate. On Monday, just three days from now, twenty-three glowing faces would show up for the first day of school, and I had to be ready. I climbed out of the car, pulled a box of supplies from the trunk, started for the building. And stopped.
My heart did triple time, as if responding to danger. But there was no danger. What alarmed me, what sent my heart racing was the school itself. But why? Did it look different? Had the windows been replaced, or the doors? Nothing looked new, but something seemed altered. Off balance. The place didn’t look like an elementary school. It looked like a giant factory. A prison.
God, no. It didn’t look like any of those things. The school was the same as it had always been, just a big brick building. It seemed cold and stark simply because it was unadorned by throngs of children. Except for wifi, Logan Elementary hadn’t changed in fifty years, unless you counted several new layers of soot on the bricks.
I stood in the parking lot, observing the school, seeing it fresh. I’d never paid much attention to it before. When it was filled with students, the building itself became all but invisible, just a structure, a backdrop. But now, empty, it was unable to hide behind the children, the smells of sunshine and peanut butter sandwiches, the sounds of chatter and small shoes pounding Stanley’s waxed tiles. The building stood exposed. I watched it, felt it watching me back. Threatening.
Seriously, what was wrong with me? The school was neither watching nor threatening me. It was a benign pile of bricks and steel. I was wasting time, needed to go in and get to work. But I didn’t take a single step. Go on, I told myself. What was I afraid of? Empty halls, vacant rooms? Blank walls? For a long moment, I stood motionless, eyes fixed on the fa├žade. The carved letters: Logan School. The heavy double doors. The dark windows. Maybe I’d wait a while before going inside. Becky would arrive soon, after she picked up her classroom aquarium.
Other teachers would show up, too. I could go in with them, blend safely into their commotion. I hefted the box, turned back to the car. But no, what was I doing? I didn’t want to wait. I’d come early so I could get work done without interruption or distraction before the others arrived. The school wasn’t daring me, nor was I sensing some impending tragedy. I was just jittery about starting a new year.
I turned around again, faced its faded brown bricks. I steeled my shoulders, took a breath and started across the parking lot. With a reverberating metallic clank, the main doors flew open. Reflexively, I stepped back, half expecting a burst of flames or gunfire. Instead, Stan emerged. For the first time in fourteen years, I was glad to see him. Stan surveyed the parking lot, hitched up his pants. Looked in my direction. He didn’t wave or nod a greeting, didn’t follow social conventions. Even so, his presence grounded me, felt familiar.
I took a breath, reminded myself that the school was just a school. That I was prone to mental wandering and embellishing. And that children would stream into my classroom in just three days, whether I was ready or not.

My Book Review:

Second grade school teacher Elle Harrison's life hasn't been the same since the murder of her husband Charlie two years ago. She tries to move forward with her life by putting her house up for sale, but when the first day of the school begins, Elle's life gets a tad bit more complicated when she discovers the dead body of the school's principal. And if that isn't enough, Elle finds out that there is a hit list, and she's next on the list! When dead bodies start to accumulate, Elle is determined to solve the murder mystery, and find the killer before she ends up as the next victim!

In Child's Play, the third book in the Elle Harrison Thriller Series, author Merry Jones weaves an intriguing thriller that engages the reader in solving the mystery all the while keeping them guessing along the way. This is a riveting tale of murder, mystery and suspense set in Philadelphia, and written in the first person narrative with Elle Harrison taking the reader along for the ride on her zany adventure to uncover the mystery surrounding the school murders.

Mixed with humor, danger, paranormal involvement, potential suspects and enough twists and turns that keeps you turning the pages until the surprising conclusion, you'll find yourself recruited as one of Elle's amateur sleuths on a quest to solve the puzzle of the school murders. The author weaves a masterful tale that takes the reader in many directions: between the murder mystery, Elle's psychological backstory, Elle's relationship with her best friends, and the paranormal activity, you can't help but try and keep up with this fast-paced riveting thriller.

With a quirky cast of characters who are very entertaining: from zany Elle and her hilarious best friends Susan, Becky, and Jenny; to ghostly Charlie who communicates with Elle from beyond the grave; to a host of potential suspects who each have a motive for murder; they keep the reader on their toes wondering who really is the murderer.

With witty and humorous dialogue and interactions; an intriguing storyline that takes the reader on a madcap adventure that alternates between the present with Elle's memory flashbacks to the past; and a richly detailed description of familiar Philadelphia landmarks; Child's Play is a tantalizing whodunit mystery thriller that will engage your imagination to the very end!


About The Author

Merry Jones is the author of some twenty critically acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Her previous Elle Harrison novels have been The Trouble With Charlie and Elective Procedures. Jones lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Contest Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Merry Jones. There will be 1 winner of one $15 Gift Cards AND 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Child's Play by Merry Jones. The giveaway begins on January 26th and runs through March 3rd, 2017. 
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Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Schedule:
01/26 Blog Talk Radio w/Fran Lewis
01/26 Review @ Just Reviews
02/01 Review/showcase @ Books, Dreams, Life
02/02 Review @ Wall-to-wall books - Giveaway
02/03 Review/showcase @ CMash Reads
02/04 Showcase @ The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
02/05 Review @ Book Babble
02/06 Review @ Buried Under Books - Giveaway
02/07 Interview/showcase @ BooksChatter
02/08 Guest Post/Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads
02/09 Showcase @ Mythical Books
02/14 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
02/15 Review @ fuonlyknew
02/20 Guest post & Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
02/21 Interview @ Writers and Authors
02/22 Interview @ Jean BookNerd - Giveaway
02/23 Review @ Books Direct
02/23 Review @ JBronder Book Reviews
02/24 Review & Guest post @ Blog Rockin Book Reviews - Giveaway
2/18 Showcase @ Hott Books