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, October 18, 2019

Eighteen Winters by Joanne DeMaio (VBT: Book Review)

In association with Author Joanne DeMaio, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Eighteen Winters!

Book Review

Eighteen Winters by Joanne DeMaio
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: PB - September 5, 2019 / eBook - September 17, 2019 
Format: Paperback - 254 pages
                Audible - 6 Hours 32 Minutes
               Kindle - 5295 KB
               Nook - 860 KB
ISBN: 978-1079270457
ASIN (Audio Book): B07X44X3ZM
ASIN (Kindle): B07W14K8D4
BNID: 2940161492536
Genre: Holiday Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Buy The Winter Novels:
Book 1: Snowflakes And Coffee Cakes 
Book 2: Snow Deer And Cocoa Cheer
Book 3: Cardinal Cabin
Book 4: First Flurries
Book 5: Eighteen Winters

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes a beautiful novel about a little town you'll want to visit, and a love story you won't soon forget.

Harry Dane lives an ordinary life. From his days working alongside his father at a New England general store, to Harry's endearing and heartbreaking relationships, to sudden snowstorms, to quirky fiascos of found kittens and spilled jam jars, always ... always there is a curious constant.

Through it all, each and every winter, a Christmas card arrives at Harry's Craftsman bungalow from a mysterious woman named Sadie Welles. And when the two of them unexpectedly meet, Harry Dane soon finds himself in an intricate love story spanning Eighteen Winters .

Book Excerpt:

Click on the link to read an excerpt from Eighteen Winters

My Book Review:

In Eighteen Winters, author Joanne DeMaio transports the reader to the quaint small New England lakeside town of Addison, Connecticut for a heartwarming Christmas tale of family, friendship, life events and milestones, and finding a chance at unexpected love.

Eighteen Winters is a wonderful Christmas story that will tug at the heartstrings and fill the reader with seasonal joy. Author Joanne DeMaio weaves a spellbinding tale set in the quaint New England town of Addison, Connecticut, that captivates the reader's attention with the latest heartwarming holiday romance from her Winter Novels collection.

This delightful holiday tale is told over eighteen December winters that captures snippets of events and milestones in Harry Dane's life. As the readers visit with Harry each December, he reminisces about his life journey filled with ordinary and unexpected events and changes. Each Christmas season, Harry receives a Christmas card addressed to the previous owners of his bungalow from a Sadie Welles. In the annual Christmas cards, Sadie shares a snippet of what is currently going on in her life, and Harry feels like he is getting to know this mysterious woman from afar. That is until Harry and Sadie unexpectedly meet, can the Eighteen Winters of their life journeys bring these two hearts together?

Eighteen Winters is a wonderful story that has a rich description of the breathtaking holiday decorated small town setting filled with holiday traditions. Harry and Sadie find an unexpected chance at love as their story unfolds in a magical way that will make the reader believe in the power of love, family, friendship, and the joy of the holiday season.

There are not enough words that I can express about the simplicity and beauty in which author Joanne DeMaio weaves her heartwarming and multi-layered stories filled with a mixture of love, friendship, family, and life's milestones and unexpected special moments, it is simply breathtaking. As the reader follows Harry and Sadie's story, the author cleverly interweaves characters and events from the previous books in the collection that provides a seamless continuation of their stories from winter to winter. And that's not all, as Harry receives Sadie's annual Christmas card, it is so much fun to find out what the card's cover picture is from year to year!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how the richly vivid description of the town of Addison is phenomenal, you'll yearn to visit the area and experience the quaint lakeside town's holiday tradition and friendly townspeople. Ms. DeMaio has a special gift for transporting the readers into every story that she weaves while leaving them yearning for more!

Eighteen Winters is an enchanting holiday story full of warmth and comfort that will remind the reader of the magic, joy, cheer, and spirit of Christmas. It is a lovely story that will resonate with the reader for a very long time.

Eighteen Winters is the latest installment in The Winter Novels collection, each book is a stand alone read, but each book does have intertwining snippets from the previous books, so you'll want to read the whole collection!


About The Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love, and choices while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Eighteen Winters is her newest novel. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (VBT: 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 One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski!

Book Review

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski
Publisher: Graydon House Books / Harlequin
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Format: Paperback - 352 pages
               Kindle - 917 KB
               Nook - 835 KB
               Audio Book - 10 Hours 22 Minutes
ISBN: 978-1525832192
ASIN (Kindle): B07KN67XBT
ASIN (Audible Audio Book): B07S1XD2YS
BNID: 978-1488053672
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest book review and particiption in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

“A heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel of betrayal and revenge. Stunning!” —Carol Goodman, award-winning author of The Night Visitors

“Featuring a brilliantly executed dual timeline with two unforgettable narrators, One Night Gone is a timely and timeless mystery that will keep you obsessively reading well past your bedtime.” —Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

Book Excerpt:

Opal Beach was about a two-hour drive without traffic from downtown Philadelphia. It was somewhere halfway between Ocean City and Atlantic City and way less touristy. The beach always reminded me of vacations as a kid, running barefoot on hot sand, creating lopsided sand castles with plastic buckets, breaking crab legs and sucking out the meat. But there was also a sense of slowing down, of taking it all in, and I needed that now. I could feel the air change, the way it clung, coated, opened everything up.
Through the car windows, the Oc¬tober air was shockingly cold but also reviving. The salty air had always bothered my mother and sister, who complained it was too humid and their tongues felt strange, but I loved the way it worked its fingers into my hair and curled around the tendrils. It made me feel a little wild, a little different. Untamed. Like anything could happen.
Was I really doing this? Was I really pressing on this pedal, steering, guiding these four wheels to a stranger’s beach house, where I would live for the next three months alone? It had all happened so fast. A blur, really. Annie’s friend Sharon, with that same nurse-like efficiency that Annie had, set it all up so quickly that I’d barely had time to adjust to the idea before it was actually happening.
But I was used to life messing with me now, used to tripping over a curb or forgetting to eat breakfast or chipping a nail, waking up only to discover that everything I’d known to be true was suddenly different. So in some ways this journey, the picking up and leaving behind, felt like an emerging. Like Rockefeller, the hermit crab I’d bought on our family vacation one year at a boardwalk shack, I was crawling out of a dingy shell and moving into a shinier, larger home. (Unlike Rockefeller, though, I hoped I wouldn’t die from the soap residue that was left inside the new shell when someone tried to clean it too vigorously before setting him inside the cage.)
I drove down a two-lane road just off the ocean, the main drag for all the beachfront houses. I could imagine that on a weekend in July it looked like a parking lot as families navigated in or out of town, canoes and coolers tied up on their roof racks. But now it was eerily vacant, and I had the sense I was the last woman on earth, that in my quiet drive alone the rest of humanity had vanished. I was trying to decide if that was a good thing or not when a giant orange Hummer zoomed into view behind me and passed without slowing down. “Well, so much for that. Asshole,” I said.
The houses were dramatically large and looming, blocking what otherwise would’ve been a magnificent view. You could tell which ones were just rentals—the monstrosities with thirteen bedrooms and a six-car garage that five families could rent out at once. But further down the road, the houses had more style and character. The kind of places—lots of windows, big porches, nice landscaping—that would make your mouth water even without the lush ocean backdrop as icing on the cake.
I slowed as my GPS indicated I was getting close, but even so I almost missed the tiny driveway and its faded, weather-beaten road sign declaring my new mailing address: Piper Sand Road.
I had made it.
The long gravel drive split off halfway up, with one side leading to the Worthington house and the other side to their neighbor’s. When I’d first met the Worthingtons for my “job interview” just a few weeks before, I’d been so nervous about the whole thing that I’d taken the wrong driveway and parked in the neighbor’s lot and stared at it for a good minute before realizing the house number was wrong.
But now, pulling into the correct driveway slowly, it felt like an adventure movie soundtrack should be swelling. And our heroine finds her destiny.
I could imagine Annie’s reaction when she finally saw the house in person. It was stunning. The surrounding homes were propped up on beams, like old ladies hitching up their skirts so they wouldn’t get wet in the surf, but that just gave the Worthingtons’ house an understated effect. It stood confident and modest between them, a beach gingerbread house right out of a fairy tale, with light blue curtains and sweeping eaves.
I parked right at the porch steps and got out, wrapping my cardigan around me to stave off the whipping wind. The front porch was small but quaint, with two wooden rocking chairs and a small white table with flaking paint. I ran my palm along the back of one of the tall chairs, and it creaked from my touch. The chairs seemed to be more for decoration than sitting.
Dolores, Sharon’s sister who lived in town, was supposed to be meeting me to hand over the keys. Yet it seemed I’d arrived first. I’d had to come one week sooner than planned, as Patty and John had been whisked away to her mysterious assignment in Eastern Europe a little earlier than expected. Patty had called me from the airport with the news. I’d pictured her in her white visor and tennis sneakers rushing through the terminals, bags bouncing off her lower back as she breathlessly gave me instructions.
Still, I half expected Patty to appear in the window as I squatted down and peered inside the house. It was hard to see with the bright sun glaring at my back, but I could make out the shadowy silhouette of the large island counter in the middle of the kitchen. Beyond that room, I remembered, was the living room, with doors and stairs leading to all the many nooks of the house.
All empty now, waiting for me. A shiver curled from my spine up to my neck, unwinding inside me. Calm down, you idiot, I told myself. Not everything is a trap. Think positively, and positive things will come.
Excerpt from One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski. Copyright © 2019 by Tara Laskowski. Reproduced with permission from Graydon House Books (Harlequin). All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, One Night Gone, author Tara Laskowski transports the reader to the seaside town of Opal Beach for an intriguing mystery / suspense / thriller story that will keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.

In June of 1985, Maureen Haddaway came to Opal Beach with a travelling carnival looking to start over. Maureen's dreams of a fresh start in this beautiful seaside town comes to an unexpected end when she suddenly disappears without a trace.

Thirty years later in October of 2015, forty year old disgraced meteorologist Allison Simpson is fired for calling out her cheating husband Dennis "Duke" Shetland while on the air. Now divorced, Allison seeks a fresh start in life, and agrees to house-sit in Opal Beach for a couple working abroad. Allison hears about the missing girl from thirty years ago, and becomes interested in the mystery and finding out what happened to the girl. Will Allison solve the mystery of the missing girl, or will someone do just about anything to keep their dirty little secrets hidden?

Author Tara Laskowski weaves a fast-paced and suspenseful tale written in an alternating first person narrative that follows Maureen's story leading up to her disappearance, and Allison's journey to start her life over while investigating Maureen's disappearance.

I loved reading this action-packed story, it had a little bit of everything that immediately drew me in from the start, and kept me intrigued and guessing. You can't help but become engrossed in the story as the alternating dual storylines / timelines revealed dark pasts, hidden secrets, possible motives, danger, and clues that are uncovered as Allison investigates Maureen's mysterious disappearance.

One Night Gone is an intriguing and suspenseful story that has enough drama, tension, action, dark secrets, betrayals, revenge, and unexpected twists and turns that fans of mystery / suspense stories will surely enjoy!


About The Author

TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which was named a best book of 2017 by Jennifer Egan in The Guardian. She has had stories published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and the Norton anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, among others. Her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “States of Matter,” was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology, and her short story “The Case of the Vanishing Professor” is a finalist for the 2019 Agatha Award. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, has been the editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010, and is a member of Sisters in Crime. She earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. Tara grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia. One Night Gone is her first novel.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page
Barnes & Noble Author Page

Contest Giveaway

Win A Paperback Copy 

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harlequin and Tara Laskowski. There will be 1 winner of one (1) copy of One Night Gone (print). The giveaway begins on September 23, 2019 and runs through October 6, 2019. Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Participants:

09/23 Review @ Colloquium

09/23 Review @ The World As I See It

09/24 Review @ Jessica Belmont

09/25 Review @ 5 Minutes for Books

09/25 Showcase @ CMash Reads

09/26 Review @ Novels N Latte

09/26 Showcase @ The Bookworm Lodge

09/27 Review @ Book Club Librarian

09/30 Review @ Booked on a Feeling

10/01 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook

10/01 Review @ Thats What Shes Reading

10/02 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

10/03 Review @ Brooke Blogs

10/03 Review @ Nesies Place

10/03 Review @ Shalinis Books & Reviews

10/04 Review @ Book Fidelity

10/04 Showcase @ Teatime and Books