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Monday, November 30, 2020

The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb (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 The Venturi Effect by author Sage Webb!

Book Review

The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb
Publisher: Stoneman House Press, LLC
Publication Date: November 13, 2020
Format: Paperback - 337 pages
               Kindle - 1640 KB / 300 pages
ISBN: 978-1733737944
BNID: 978-1733737944
Genre: Legal Procedure / Legal Thriller

Buy The Book:
Amazon (Free On Kindle Unlimited Program)

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:

After fleeing the crush of a partnership at a large Chicago criminal-defense firm and the humiliation of a professional breakdown, Devlin Winters just wants to be left alone with a couple sundowners on the deck of her dilapidated mahogany trawler on Galveston Bay. But when an old flame shows up on the boardwalk with a mysterious little boy in tow and an indictment on his heels, fate has other plans, and Devlin finds herself thrust onto a sailboat bound for St. Kitts and staring down her demons in the courtroom, as she squares off against an obsessed prosecutor with a secret of his own.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Red metal boxes lined the wood-railed tourist boardwalk, giving children access to fish food if the kids could finagle quarters from parents wilted and forlorn in the triple-digit Gulf Coast heat. With the food, kids could create great frenzies of red drum, snook, spotted sea trout, or whatever fish species gathered at the boardwalk’s pilings in agitated silver vortices. Devlin Winters lifted her ballcap and wiped a sleeve across her brow. She favored long-sleeved t-shirts for just this reason—their mopping properties . . . and to protect her from the Galveston Bay sun in its unrelenting effort to grill her and the other boardwalk barkers. In the two years she’d been on the boardwalk, she’d never fed the fish.

A kid stopped beside one of the boxes.

“Can I have a quarter, mommy?” the boy asked.

He looked about eight or nine, though Devlin had little interest in guessing accurately the ages of the pint-sized patrons fueling her income stream.

“I’m not sure I have one,” the mom replied.

She appeared a bit younger than Devlin, maybe late twenties.

Once upon a time, Devlin would have looked at a mother like that and made a snide remark about crib lizards and dead ends, but nine bucks an hour in the sun makes it awfully hard for a carny to judge others. Lacking a more interesting subject, Devlin watched the woman paw through a backpack-sized purse. The chick produced a quarter and handed it to the kid, who dropped it into the box’s payment slot and ground the dial, catching in his miniature palm a limited portion of the fish food that spilled out of the machine when he lifted the metal flap. The majority of the pellets rained down onto the wooden boardwalk planks, bounced, and disappeared through the cracks between the planks.

Devlin fancied she could hear the tiny fish-food BBs hitting brown water: plink, plink, plink. Once upon another time, when she was still at Sondheim Baker, but toward the end, she would go outside in the middle of the day. Instead of sitting at her desk, drafting appellate briefs for the Seventh Circuit, she would ride the elevator down to La Salle, down seven hundred feet of glass and stainless steel and terribly expensive architecture. She would drop down those elevator cables at random times, at times rich, successful attorneys should have been at their desks. And she would turn left out of that great glass building the color of the sky and walk over to the river, that nothing-like-the-Styx river that mankind had turned back on itself, contrary to nature.

She would stand and look down into the water, which was sometimes emerald, sometimes the color of jeans before they are ever washed. Once or twice, she had reached into her purse (expensive purses, Magnificent Mile purses from Burberry and Gucci and Hermès) and she had dug around until she’d found a penny. She’d dropped the penny into the river and, even now, on the sauna-hot boardwalk with the whistle of the kid-sized train behind her and the pulses of unimpressive pop music overhead, she was sure she could hear those pennies hit the Chicago River, hit and sink down, down, and farther down.

Plink. Plink. Pli—

“You want to try this one?”

The fish-feeding entertainment had run its course and the mother stood in front of the water-gun game Devlin guarded. She gestured toward Devlin and the row of stools in front of their narrow-barreled water guns.

“Is it hard?” The kid looked up at his mom, and the mom turned to Devlin.

“He can do it, right?” she asked. “I mean, he can figure it out, right?”

“Sure, it’s easy.” Devlin lifted her cap for another mop across her hairline, and then wiped perspiration away from her eyes under her sunglasses. “It’s fun, little dude,” she said to the kid in his obviously secondhand clothes.

She wanted to care, wanted to be “affable” or whatever it is a carny should be toward summer’s ice-cream-eating cash-crop flux of kids. But wanting alone, without effort, is never enough.

The mom held out a five-dollar bill.

“You both wanna do it? I gotta have more than one person to run it for a prize.” Devlin rubbed the top of her right flip flop and foot against her left calf.

“Oh,” the woman said, “I wasn’t planning to play. I’m no good at these things.”

“Um,” Devlin stepped out of the shade of the game’s nook and cast her eyes up and down the boardwalk, “we’ll find some more kids.” She took the woman’s money without looking away from the walkway and the beggarly seabirds.

A young couple, likely playing hooky from jobs in Houston, held the hands of a girl sporting jet-black pigtails and lopsided glasses.

“Step right up, princess. You wanna win a unicorn, right?” Devlin reached back into her game nook and snatched a pink toy from the wall of unicorns, butterflies, bees, and unlicensed lookalikes of characters from movies Devlin had never heard of. She dangled the thing in the girl’s direction.

“Would you like to play, habibti?” The mom jiggled the girl’s arm.

“Tell ya what.” Devlin turned to the mom. “The whole family can play for five bucks. We’re just trying to get some games going, give away some prizes to these cuties.” She turned back to the first mother. “And don’t worry, I’ll give him three games for the fiver.”

“Hear that, Vince? You’ll get to play a few times. Is that cool?”

Vince picked at his crotch. Devlin looked away.

“Yes, we’ll all play,” the second mother said. The dad pulled a twenty out of a pocket and Devlin started to make change while Vince’s mom hefted Vince onto a stool.

“Just a five back,” the father said. “We’ll play a few times.”

“Sure thing,” Devlin replied. Then she raised her voice to run through the rules of the game, to explain how the water guns spraying and hitting the targets would raise plastic boats in a boat race to buzzers at the top of the game contraption. She offered some tired words of encouragement, got nods from everyone, and counted down. “Three, two, one.”

She pushed the button and the game loosed a bell sound across the boardwalk.

A guy in waiter’s livery hurried past, hustling toward one of the boardwalk’s various restaurants, with their patios overlooking the channel and Galveston Bay. He’d be serving people margaritas and gimlets in just a few more steps and minutes. Devlin wanted a gimlet.

She drew a deep breath, turned back to her charges. “Close race here, friends.”

An ’80s-vintage Hunter sailboat slid past in the channel, leaving Galveston Bay and making its way back to one of the marinas up the waterway on Clear Lake.

When Devlin turned back to her marksmen, the girl’s mother’s boat had almost reached the buzzer.

“Looks like we’ve got a leader here. Come on, madam. You’re almost there.”

Devlin checked her watch. She’d be off in less than an hour. She’d be back on her own boat fifteen minutes after that, with an unopened bottle of Bombay Sapphire and a net full of limes rocking above the galley sink.

The buzzer blared.

“Looks like we have a winner. Congratulations, madam.” Devlin clapped three times. “Now would you like a unicorn, a butterfly, or,” Devlin pulled a four-inch-tall creature from the wall, not knowing how to describe it, “this little guy?” She held it out for the woman’s inspection.

Habibti, you pick.” The mom patted her daughter’s back. The kid didn’t say anything, just pointed at the butterfly.

“Butterfly it is, beautiful.” Devlin unclipped the toy from the wall of plush junk and handed it to the girl. “Well, we’ve got some competition for this next one, folks, now that you’re all warmed up. Take a breather. We’ll start the next game when you’re ready.”

“Can I try?” A boy pulled at a broad-shouldered man’s hand, leading the guy toward the row of stools. It was hard to tell parentage with these kids and their mixed-up step- and half- and melded-in-other-ways families, and with this one, the kid’s dark curls and earnest eyes contrasted with the dude’s Nordic features and reminded Devlin of a roommate she’d had in undergrad, a girl from Haiti who’d taught Devlin about pikliz. Devlin hadn’t thought about Haitian food in ages. She decided she would google it later and see what she could find in Houston. A drive to discover somewhere new to eat would do her good.

Any chance at plantains and pikliz would have to wait, though. The kid and the dude now stood in front of Devlin. Ultra-dark sunglasses hid the guy’s eyes, and a ballcap with a local yacht brokerage’s logo embroidered on it cast a shadow over his face. Devlin cocked her head. She narrowed her eyes and hoped her own sunglasses were doing as good a job of being barriers. He reminded her of—

“Still time to add another player?” The dude pulled out a wallet and handed Devlin a ten.

“Sure,” she said. “Is this for both of you? You should give it a try, too. This’ll get you both in on the next two games.”

She didn’t wait for confirmation. She shoved the money in the box beside her control board of buzzer buttons and waved the guy and his kid toward stools on the far side of the now-veteran players already seated.

“Uh, sure,” the guy said, putting a hand on the kid’s back and guiding him to a seat.

Running through the rules again, Devlin envisioned those gimlets awaiting her. With Bombay Sapphire dancing before her, she counted down and then pushed the button to blast the bell and launch the game. The buzzer over the newcomer father’s boat’s track rang moments later. What kind of scummy guy just trounces a kid like that? Devlin rolled her eyes behind the obscuring lenses.

“Looks like our new guy is the winner, ladies and gentlemen. Now, would you like a unicorn, a butterfly, or this little dude?” Devlin again proffered the hard-to-describe creature, walking it over for the fellow to examine.

“What is it?” the guy asked.

Devlin shrugged. “What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino?”

The guy’s sunglasses gave away nothing. But something she couldn’t articulate made her feel like he was studying her.

“An ’el-if-I-know,” she said.

Still nothing . . . except that feeling of scrutiny.

“Dude, I’ve got no idea,” she replied to her reflection in the lenses.

“Grant, which one do you want?” The guy turned away and handed the unnamed creature to the kid, and then gestured at the identifiable unicorns and butterflies hanging on the wall over Devlin’s control station.

“Those are for girls,” Grant said, waving at the recognizable plushes on the wall.

“So is this one okay?” The guy patted the thing in the kid’s hand.

Grant wrinkled his nose. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“All right, folks. You’ve all got another game coming here. Competition is fierce. Who’s gonna take this last one?” Devlin strode back to her place at the control board.

“Deep inhale, everyone. Relax. All right, here we go. Three, two, one.” She pushed the starting button.

Up shot the new guy’s boat again. What a bastard. Poor Grant. This patriarchal showmanship would be worth about five or ten grand at the therapist’s in twenty-five years.

Out in the channel, two jetskis purred past, headed toward the bay. The day’s heat had cracked and the sky hinted at evening. Behind her, the victory whistle sounded. She turned. The dude with the sunglasses sat patting Grant’s shoulder, with Grant’s boat at the top of its track. So the guy wasn’t a complete fool.

“A new winner here, ladies and gentlemen.” She walked to Grant’s stool. “Now, little man, because you’ve won two prizes today, you can trade that one you’ve got and this one you’re going to get for one bigger one. You can pick from these if you want.”

She pointed at a row with only-slightly-bigger caterpillars, ambiguous characters, and a dog in a purple vest.

“That one,” Grant said, pointing at the dog.

“That one it is, good sir.” Devlin retrieved the dog, taking back the first creature and returning it to the wall in the process.

As she retraced her steps to Grant, the dog in her hand, fuzzy pictures coalesced in a fog and mist of bygone memories.

Devlin handed the dog to Grant. “There you go.”

She looked at the guy again, focusing on him for longer than she should have, feeling him perhaps doing the same to her. Yes, she had it right: it was him. She pushed a flyaway strand of bleached hair back into place beneath her cap and turned away.

“Thanks for playing this afternoon, folks,” she called. “Enjoy your evening on the boardwalk.”

The parents gathered their kids, and Devlin walked back toward her control board. Waiting for Grant and him to head off down the row of games and rides, she fussed with the cashbox and then lifted her water bottle to her lips. She could feel him and the kid lingering, feel them failing to move along, failing to leave her to forget what once was and to focus on thoughts of gimlets at sunset on the deck of a rotten old trawler.

“Um.” His voice sounded low and halting behind her. A vacuum, all heat and silence, followed and then a masculine inhale . . . and then the awkward pause.

He cleared his throat.

“Sorry to interrupt, but are you from Chicago?”


Excerpt from The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb. Copyright 2020 by Sage Webb. Reproduced with permission from Sage Webb. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In The Venturi Effect, author Sage Webb draws upon her professional legal experience to weave a riveting legal procedural thriller that captivates the reader's attention from beginning to end. Set in the multiple locales of Kemah and Galveston Bay, in the Gulf Coast of Texas; the tropical island of St. Kitts; and Grand Rapids, Michigan, the reader follows ex-Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Devlin Winters, as she is drawn in to help an old friend and his brother fight a federal tax fraud case brought against them by an aggressive United States Assistant Attorney, who is determined to send the brothers to federal prison.

For the past two years, ex-Chicago based attorney Devlin Winters has been seeking solitude living on a sailboat, and working as a boardwalk carny barker on the Galveston Bay Gulf Coast of Texas. She had once been on the fast-track to becoming the youngest partner at Sondhein Baker, but the long hours and fast pace took an emotional toll on her, leaving her burned out and with a suspended license after a physical encounter with her client during a federal fraud trial. Her stress-free life takes a turn when an old friend from her past unexpectedly arrives seeking her help.

Viggo and Nils Bryson grew up with Devlin in Chicago, but they haven't seen each other in years. Viggo is the owner of Blue Tide, LLC, a company that provides insurance policies. He has been accused of federal tax fraud against the IRS, and has sent his nine year old son Grant to stay with his younger brother Nils, a yacht broker in Kemah, Texas. 

Devlin is surprised when Nils and Grant come up to her boardwalk game, neither knew that they both live in the same town, and Nils' unexpected appearance brings their shared past back to the surface. Nils asks Devlin to help Viggo's defense team prepare for the fraud case, and when Nils is targeted as a secondary defendant, Devlin has to overcome her courtroom and personal demons to help the man who broke her heart. 

The Venturi Effect is a slow-building, multi-layered, gripping, and complex story that has a great mixture of intrigue, secrets, romance, dark pasts, suspenseful twists and turns, and enough tension and drama that will keep the reader thoroughly engaged and riveted until the surprising conclusion. The reader is taken on one hell of a roller coaster ride as they follow Devlin as she is determined to overcome her past courtroom demons in order to pursue the exoneration of brothers Xavier and Nils Bryson from the aggressive and obsessed pursuit of justice by the US Assistant Attorey Xavier Charles. The reader will love the drama of the sailing adventure to St. Kitts that Devlin and crew embarked on, as well as the unfolding tense and dramatic legal procedure of the federal tax fraud case brought against the Bryson brothers. I loved getting to know all of the characters' secrets and pasts, and how it all tied them together, but I would be remiss if I didn't admit that I did not like Xavier, I thought he was a blood-thirsty and pompous jerk, who needed to be taken down a peg or two. I loved how the story unfolded, but I have to admit that I am a sucker for legal procedure, and the way that the author drew the reader in as the court case unfolded was phenomenal, it couldn't get any better than that! I look forward to reading about Devlin and Nil's next adventure in The Cult Of Mammon

If you are a fan of legal thrillers, then I would highly recommend reading The Venrturi Effect, and stayed tuned as Devlin and the Bryson brothers return in The Cult Of Mammon, that will be published in 2021!



About The Author

Sage Webb practiced criminal defense for over a decade before turning to fiction. She is the author of two novels and the recipient of numerous literary awards in the U.S. and U.K., including second place in the Hackney Literary Awards. Her short stories have appeared in Texas anthologies and literary reviews. In 2020, Michigan’s Mackinac State Historic Parks named her an artist in residence. She belongs to International Thriller Writers and PEN America, and lives with her husband, a ship’s cat, and a boat dog on a sailboat in Galveston Bay.

Contest Giveaway

Win A $15 Amazon Gift Card
A Paperback Copy of The Venturi Effect

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sage Webb. There will be Fourteen (14) winners for this tour. Seven (7) winners will each receive a $15 Gift Card and Seven (7) winners will each receive a physical copy of The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb (US addresses only). The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Schedule:

11/02 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads

11/03 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books

11/04 Interview @ BooksChatter

11/06 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

11/09 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

11/10 Review @ sunny island breezes

11/11 Review @ Books and Zebras @ jypsylynn

11/12 Guest post @ Novels Alive

11/15 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods

11/16 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

11/17 Interview @ A Blue Million Books

11/18 Review/showcase @ Avonna Loves Genres

11/19 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

11/27/ Review @ The Review Crew

11/28 Showcase @ bookalicious traveladdict

11/30 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

12/01 Showcase @ nanasbookreviews

12/02 Interview @ Blogtalk Radio

12/02 Review @ Just Reviews

12/03 Interview @ Reading A Page Turner

12/04 Review/showcase @ Totally Addicted to Reading

12/10 Review @ Celticladys Reviews

12/14 Review @ Nesies Place

12/15 Review @ One More Book To Read


12/17 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads

12/27 Showcase @ EienCafe

12/30 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

Friday, November 27, 2020

Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde (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 Winter Witness by author Tina deBellegarde!

Book Review

Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde
Book 1: Batavia-On-Hudson Mystery Series
Publisher: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: Paperback - 298 pages
               Kindle - 6586 KB
               Nook - 10 MB
ISBN: 978-1947915763
BNID: 978-1947915770
Genre: Mystery

Buy The Book:

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

Book Description:

When a beloved nun is murdered in a sleepy Catskill Mountain town, a grieving young widow finds herself at the center of the turmoil. Bianca St. Denis is searching for a job and seeking acceptance in her new home of Batavia-on-Hudson. Agatha Miller, the nun’s closest friend and the ailing local historian everyone loves to hate, shares her painful personal history and long-buried village secrets with Bianca. Armed with this knowledge, Bianca unravels the mysteries surrounding the death while dealing with the suspicions of her eccentric neighbors.

However, Bianca’s meddling complicates the sheriff’s investigation as well as his marriage. Can Sheriff Mike Riley escape his painful past in a town where murder and infighting over a new casino vie for his attention?

Danger stalks Bianca as she gets closer to the truth. Can the sheriff solve the mystery before the killer strikes again? Can the town heal its wounds once the truth has been uncovered?

Book Excerpt:


Thursday, December 15

She could have been sleeping, were it not for the gaping gash in the back of her head and the bloody stone next to her limp body.

Sheriff Mike Riley stood alone on the shore of the near-frozen lake. At his feet, Sister Elaine Fisher lay face down, ice crystals forming around her body where it met the shoreline. The murmuring water of the nearby stream imparted a peacefulness at odds with the scene. In the waning winter light, he paused ankle deep in the snow illuminated by the beat of red strobe lights.

Murder seemed so extreme. The villagers would be baffled. Murder didn’t happen in sleepy Batavia-on-Hudson. An occasional stolen bicycle, some were paid off the books, but that was hardly worth mentioning. Lately, there had been a handful of amateur burglaries. Murder was another story altogether.

But there was no denying it. Elaine’s body was there before him, lifeless on a cushion of snow at the edge of the lake.

Sheriff Riley ran his chapped hands through his salt and pepper hair. A knowing person might have noticed that he used this motion to disguise a quick brush at his cheek, to eliminate the one tear that slipped through.

He feared this day, the day his lazy job would bring him face to face once again with the ugly underbelly he knew existed even in a quiet place like Batavia-on-Hudson. Mike Riley wasn’t afraid of death. He was afraid of the transformation a village like this was bound to go through after an act of murder.

He cried for Elaine; though he barely knew her. But also, he cried for the village that died with her that morning. A place where children still wandered freely. A village that didn’t lock doors, and trusted everyone, even the ones they gossiped about. Now, inevitably, the villagers would be guarded around each other, never quite sure anymore if someone could be trusted.

He thought he could already hear the locks snapping shut in cars and homes as word of the murder got out. Mothers yanking children indoors, hand-in-hand lovers escaping the once-romantic shadows of the wooded pathways, and old ladies turning into shut-ins instead of walking their dogs across the windy bluff.

Sheriff Riley steeled himself not just to confront the damaged body of the first murder victim of Batavia in over seventy years, but to confront the worried faces of mothers, the defeated faces of fathers and the vulnerable faces of the elderly.

He squatted in the slush, wincing as his bad knee rebelled, and laid his hands on Elaine’s rough canvas jacket, two-sizes too big—one of her thrift shop purchases, no doubt. As reverently as was possible in the muddy snow, Mike Riley turned over her body to examine the face of a changing village.

Sister Elaine had no one left, she had no known siblings and of course, no spouse or children. Only Agatha Miller, her childhood companion, could have been considered next of kin. How Elaine had tolerated her grumpy old friend was a mystery to everyone.

The sheriff knew that Elaine’s death would rock the community. Even a relative outsider like Mike understood that Elaine had been an anchor in Batavia. Her kindness had given the village heart, and her compassion had given it soul. No one would be prepared for this.

Mike knew from experience that preparation for death eases the grief. You start getting ready emotionally and psychologically. You make arrangements. You imagine your life without someone. But Mike also knew that when the time comes it still slaps you in the face, cold and bracing. And you realize you were only fooling yourself. Then somehow, in short order, work becomes demanding, bills need to be paid and something on the radio steals a chuckle right out of your throat. For a brief second you realize that there are moments of respite from your grief and perhaps someday those moments will expand and you may be able to experience joy once again.

But for now, Elaine’s death will be a shock. No one had prepared for her death, let alone her murder.


Excerpt from Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde. Copyright 2020 by Tina deBellegarde. Reproduced with permission from Tina deBellegarde. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In Winter Witness, book one of the Batavia-On-Hudson Mystery Series, author Tina deBellegarde transports the reader to the tranquil Catskill Mountains lakeside village of Batavia-On-Hudson, New York, for an intriguing mystery story that will keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.

The past year has been difficult for Bianca St. Denis as she grieves her husband's death, while also trying to transition from an outsider and gain the acceptance of the villagers, even though she has lived in the village for the past 3 years.

When local beloved nun Sister Elaine Fisher is found murdered on the shore of the frozen lake, and her childhood friend and local village historian Agatha Miller dies two days later, Bianca thinks that there is a connection between both deaths, and decides to be an amateur sleuth and delve into investigating the deaths on her own. In a small village where the villagers seem to know everything about each other, Bianca remembers what Agatha told her while visiting her: the village is full of secrets hidden from the public eye. One never really knows what burdens each carries, what battles they are fighting, and that things are not always as they appear. With that in mind, Bianca decides to bear witness to the comings and goings of the villagers, noting down observations, but the more she learns about the villagers, the more she discovers that the more danger, potential motives, and suspects are added to the list, while her meddling also adds to the burden of Sheriff Mike Riley's investigation. Will Sheriff Riley listen to Bianca's information and find the killer before the killer strikes again? 

In her debut novel, Author Tina deBellegarde weaves a fast-paced and suspenseful tale that follows Bianca's amateur sleuth investigation to uncover the truth behind the deaths of longtime friends Sister Elaine Fisher and Agatha Miller.

I loved reading this action-packed story. Bianca's observations of the villagers and her personal investigation into the deaths kept me intrigued as she slowly put the pieces of the mystery puzzle together and uncovered the truth. The reader will be easily drawn into this richly descriptive plot that will keep them guessing as long hidden secrets, family dramas, a growing list of possible suspects, motives, and clues are uncovered. And if that's not enough, Bianca also has to deal with personal issues of grieving her husband's death, loneliness, and desperately wanting to gain the acceptance of the villagers.  

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I loved reading snippets of the quirky villagers' individual secrets, and the richly vivid description of the tranquil lakeside village in the Catskills Mountains, that makes me want to take a roadtrip to the picturesque Hudson Valley region.

I look forward to reading the next book in the Batavia-On-Hudson Mystery Series.

Winter Witness has enough drama, tension, action, dark secrets, intrigue, and unexpected twists and turns that will take the reader on one heck of a thrilling roller coaster ride.


About The Author

Tina deBellegarde lives in Catskill, New York with her husband Denis and their cat Shelby. Winter Witness is the first book in the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery Series. Tina also writes short stories and flash fiction. When she isn’t writing, she is helping Denis tend their beehives, harvest shiitake mushrooms, and cultivate their vegetable garden. She travels to Japan regularly to visit her son, Alessandro. Tina did her graduate studies in history. She is a former exporter, paralegal, teacher, and library clerk.

Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card


Paperback / eBook Copy of Winter Witness

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tina deBellegarde. There will be 6 winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) physical copy of Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde (U.S. addresses only) and two (2) winners will each win one (1) eBook of Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through December 2, 2020. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Participants:

01/27/21 Podcast w/Fran Lewis

01/27/21 Review @ Just Reviews

11/02 Review @ Quiet Fury Books

11/03 Review @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

11/04 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads

11/05 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

11/06 Review @ Buried Under Books

11/07 Review @ Jane Pettit Reviews

11/08 Review @ Miss W Book Reviews

11/09 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

11/10 Review @ It’s All About the Book

11/11 Review @ Celticladys Reviews

11/12 Showcase @ Lisa-Queen of Random

11/13 Guest post @ Novels Alive

11/15 Showcase @ nanasbookreviews

11/16 Review/showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews

11/18 Review/Showcase @ Novels N Latte

11/19 Interview @ Reading A Page Turner

11/19 Review @ On the Page Pa services

11/20 Review @ 5 Minutes for Books

11/22 Showcase @ EienCafe

11/23 Interview @ A Blue Million Books

11/24 Review @ Sunny island breezes

11/25 Showcase @ Nesies Place

11/26 Guest post @ BooksChatter

11/27 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

11/28 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

11/29 Review @ The World As I See It

11/30 Review @ Scrapping & Playing

Friday, November 20, 2020

Inside Passage by Burt Weissbourd (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 Inside Passage by author Burt Weissbourd!

Inside Passage by Burt Weissbourd
Book 1: Corey Logan Thriller Trilogy
Publisher: Blue City Press
Publication Date: October 14, 2020
Format: Hardcover - 268 pages
               Paperback - 288 pages
               Audiobook - 10 Hours 23 Minutes
               Kindle - 5954 KB / 289 pages
               Nook - 3 MB / 268 pages
ISBN (Hardcover): 978-0985490232
ISBN (Paperback): 978-1733438247
ASIN (Audiobook): B08NTZ2FW2
ASIN (Kindle): B08CQHFNZ1
BNID: 978-0988931213
Genre: Crime Thriller

Buy The Book:
Amazon (Free On Kindle Unlimited)

Buy The Trilogy: Corey Logan Trilogy
Book 1: Inside Passage
Book 2: Teaser
Book 3: Minos

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:

Corey Logan was set up. She knows Nick Season’s terrible secret. Coming home from prison, all Corey wants is to be with her son. To get him back, she needs to make a good impression on the psychiatrist evaluating her. Dr. Abe Stein doesn’t believe she was framed — until his well-heeled mother falls for the charming state attorney general candidate, Nick Season. As the dogs of war are unleashed, Corey and her son run for their lives — taking her boat up the Pacific Northwest’s remote Inside Passage. 

“A stunning, fast paced thriller that took me on an intense ride and kept me on the edge of myseat the entire way through … If you love beautifully executed thrillers that will play with your mind as well as your heart, this is the book for you.” ~ Midwest Book Review

Book Excerpt:

“Wouldn’t you like to get married in your own backyard?”

“Of course I would. You know that,” she snapped. “But I can’t.”

“Why not? Because Nick Season says you can’t. You have the right to live the life you want to live. Don’t give it up for that son of a bitch. Hell no. You don’t have to do that.” Abe leaned closer. There it was, those laser-like light blue eyes. “It won’t be easy, but together, we can figure out what to do. You and I can do this. We have to.”

“My God, what are you thinking? This isn’t like psycho-therapy.” She held his eyes. “We can’t ‘figure it out’ or ‘work on it.’ It’s not a head game. We have no evidence. Nothing. Nick’s a foolproof liar and a stone-cold killer. And he’s going to be Washington’s state attorney general.”

“And he has to be stopped.” Abe looked into their fire. “It’s not just about what you’d have to give up … think about what he’ll do if he ever finds out that you and Billy are alive. And though you might be okay for a year, or even two, eventually, he’ll start to wonder. And then to worry. It’s who he is. You’ve told me that. And then he’ll never stop checking. He’ll have me followed. Every year, he’ll run your prints, and Billy’s, through some Canadian database. And that’s just the beginning … unless we stop him.”

“And how do you propose to do that?”

Abe’s bushy brows furrowed in a “V” until they almost touched. “I understand the problem now.” They touched. Corey had never seen that. Very cool. He meant business. He turned to her, full face. “To begin, I’ll comb my hair and look this devil in his shiny black eyes.”

What? What was that? Corey was dumbstruck. Eventually, she softly mouthed, “What?” And louder, before he could answer, “Aren’t you afraid of him?”

“He’s very frightening, and I’m painfully aware of what’s at stake. And of course I see how very dangerous he is and yes, that scares me.” He scowled. “But I have other feelings that are even stronger than my fear.”

“What does that mean?”

“What I’m afraid of, what keeps me up at night, is losing you. Nick wants to kill the person I love most in the world. That makes him my archenemy, my nemesis. What I feel for Nick is inexhaustible rage.” He tapped his pipe against the log, emptying it into the sand, then he carefully set it down. When he looked up, his expression had turned fierce. Abe took both of her hands. “Nick Season be damned!”

“You’re being crazy.” She had never seen Abe like this.

“No, I’m telling you how I feel. I want to marry you Corey. I want to live with you and Billy in Seattle. I want to go to parent night at Billy’s school. I want to take you guys to dinner at Tulio and for pizza at Via Tribunali. I want to fish at your favorite spots near Bainbridge —”

“He’ll kill us all.” And Abe was really scaring her.

“I have to keep that from happening.”

“This isn’t a storybook. Nick isn’t like anyone you know. And this isn’t an insight kind of deal. Look what happened the last time you tried to help. They almost got Billy, and I had to kill someone. Look what almost happened last night. This time you and Billy and I, we could all die. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, I do. But I won’t let that happen.”

“Won’t let that happen?”

“No, I won’t.”


“I’m working on that. “

“Working on it? How? You’re going to comb your hair? Look this devil in his shiny black eyes? What is that about?”

Abe considered her question. “It’s a way of starting.”

Corey put her head in her hands. She didn’t know what to say.


Excerpt from Inside Passage by Burt Weissbourd. Copyright 2020 by Burt Weissbourd. Reproduced with permission from Burt Weissbourd. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In Inside Passage, book one of A Corey Logan Thriller Trilogy, author Burt Weissbourd takes the reader behind the scenes of a riveting thriller as single mom Corey Logan engages in a dangerous cat-n-mouse game with a ruthless and powerful man from her past, who is determined to permanently silence her.

Inside Passage is a riveting thriller that easily draws the reader in from the start. The author provides the reader with a fascinating, multi-layered, and richly detailed story set in panoramic Seattle and the Pacific Northwest Inside Passage. This exciting story takes the reader on an exhilarating roller coaster ride as Corey engages in a very dangerous cat-n-mouse game with Nick Season, a very powerful and ruthless man from her past, who is determined to stop at nothing to silence Corey permanently before she shares his dark secret from the past, and ruins his chance of being elected State Attorney General. When Corey comes face-to-face with Nick's attempt to silence her through his henchmen, Corey and her fifteen year old son Billy run for their lives sailing up the Pacific Northwest Inside Passage, but she didn't realize that her psychiatrist Dr. Abe Stein has other plans, he is determined to help Corey overcome her past and rebuild her relationship with her son. 

There is enough drama, secrets, deception, tension, humor, and surprising twists and turns that definitely will keep the reader sitting on the edge of their seat, and guessing how this story will turn out. I loved the drama and budding relationship that Corey and Abe shared, it was a great way of interweaving the tension and drama of teaming up together to confront Corey's past, with a touch of unexpected romance added into the mix.

Inside Passage is a well-written, fast paced story that left me interested in finding out what Corey's next adventure will be in Teaser, the second book in the trilogy.


About The Author

Burt Weissbourd is a novelist, screenwriter and producer of feature films. He was born in 1949 and graduated cum laude from Yale University, with honors in psychology. During his student years, he volunteered at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and taught English to college students in Thailand. After he graduated, he wrote, directed, and produced educational films for Gilbert Altschul Productions. He began a finance program at the Northwestern University Graduate School of Business, but left to start his own film production company in Los Angeles. He managed that company from 1977 until 1986, producing films including Ghost Story starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Patricia Neal, and Raggedy Man starring Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, which The New York Times called “a movie of sweet, low-keyed charm.” In 1987, he founded an investment business, which he still runs. Burt’s novels include the thrillers Danger in Plain Sight, The Corey Logan Trilogy (Inside Passage, Teaser and Minos), and In Velvet, a thriller set in Yellowstone National Park.

Contest Giveaway

Win A $10 Amazon Gift Card

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Burt Weissbourd. There will be 5 winners of one (1) Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through December 2, 2020. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Participants:

11/01 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

11/02 Showcase @ Reading A Page Turner

11/03 Showcase @ Tome Tender

11/04 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

11/05 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

11/07 Interview @ A Blue Million Books

11/08 Showcase @ EienCafe

11/09 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

11/10 Guest post/showcase @ Novels Alive

11/11 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads

11/14 Review @ all_books_great_and_small

11/19 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads

11/20 Review @ rozierreadsandwine

11/20 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

11/23 Guest post @ BooksChatter

11/24 Showcase @ Im Into Books

11/25 Review @ Nesies Place

11/26 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews

11/27 Review @ Brooke Blogs

11/28 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

11/28 Showcase @ nanasbookreviews

11/29 Review @ Katis Bookaholic Rambling Reviews

11/30 Review @ Sunny Island Breezes

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Bird In Hand by Nikki Stern (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased tp host the virtual book tour event for Bird In Hand by author Nikki Stern!

Book Review

Bird In Hand by Nikki Stern
Book 2: A Sam Tate Mystery Series
Publisher: Ruthenia Press
Publication Date: PB - September 2, 2020 / eBook - September 3, 2020
Format: Paperback - 295 pages
               Kindle - 2585 KB
               Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 978-0999548745
BNID: 978-0999548752
Genre: Mystery

Buy The Book:

Buy The Series: A Sam Tate Mystery Series
Book 1: The Wedding Crasher
Book 2: Bird In Hand

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:

When the body of popular local guide Arley Fitchett washes up onto Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Lieutenant Sam Tate, just two months at her new job, is charged with investigating his death. She learns the dead man was searching for a carving he believed had been hidden in the area by pirates in 1718. He’s not the only one. Several others shared Fitchett’s obsession with the bird with the sapphire eye. But which one of them is the murderer—or the next victim? And how long does Sam have to catch a killer before her own past catches up with her?

“The book… allows Tate to more fully come into herown as a formidable character on whose shoulders future procedurals could confidentially be placed.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Bird in Hand will have prior Sam fans and newcomers thoroughly engrossed, all the way to the unexpected end.” ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Even better than the first…leaving this reader eager for a third.” ~Teri Case, author of the award-winning TIGER DRIVE

Book Excerpt:

“Lieutenant,” he called out. “Sorry to bring you out on such a soggy night.” He suppressed an involuntary shiver.

“Duty calls, Deputy. You did the right thing.” She looked around. “Where’s the person who called it in?”

McCready cleared his throat. “I’m guessing he took off.”

She understood the young deputy’s discomfort. Poaching was a serious offense. On the other hand, the watermen who flouted the law were friends and neighbors to people with whom she worked.

“Never mind. Let’s see what he found. Grab your flashlight.”

Sam pulled a handheld marine searchlight out of the trunk of her cruiser.

“You got anything specific we can use as a starting point?” she asked.

“Dispatch said the caller mentioned sand. The shoreline is mostly rocky around here, but maybe there’s a sliver of open space right up at the point.”

Sam pulled out her phone and pulled up Google Maps. “I see it,” she said. “We’ve got to pass between these trees and the water to get to it.”

“Careful, then,” McCready said. “We’ll probably run into some pretty slippery going what with the mist and all.”

They headed towards a copse of trees adjacent to the manicured lawn. Dawn hadn’t shown itself. Absent any other illumination, they relied on their beams as they picked their way over the uneven surface.

“This is probably about the only piece of land left undeveloped around here,” McCready observed. “You wouldn’t believe how much building has gone on just in the last fifteen years.” He stumbled. “Shit! Sorry, Lieutenant.”

“Nothing I haven’t heard before, Deputy.”

They came upon a slip of sand about a hundred feet long and perhaps fifteen feet wide.

There it was, a body, face up, the left arm extended over the head as if to ward off a blow. The right arm rested on the chest as if in benediction. Both hands were blackened.

She set her searchlight down and crouched by the corpse. The beam coming from McCready’s flashlight wavered.

“You okay, Pat?” she asked.

She heard him swallow. The light steadied. “Yeah, it’s just that, damn, that's Arley Fitchett.”

"You know him?" Sam asked.

"Everybody knows Arley Fitchett."


Excerpt from Bird in Hand by Nikki Stern. Copyright 2020 by Nikki Stern. Reproduced with permission from Nikki Stern. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In Bird In Hand, the second book in the Sam Tate Mystery series, author Nikki Stern transports the reader to Maryland's Eastern Shore, to catch up with Samantha Tate's latest investigative adventure.

After 3 years as the Sheriff of Pickett County, Tennessee, Sam takes a new job as a Lieutenant and Commander of the Criminal Investigative Bureau in the Talbot County Sheriff's Department, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, in order to be near her invalid mother who resides in a private institution. You'd think that it would be a slow pace on the picturesque small Chesapeake Bay town, but ten weeks into her new job, Sam finds herself investigating the suspicious murder of local tour guide and treasure hunter, Arley Fitchett. The murder has the characteristics of a hit by the Sinaloa Mexican Drug Cartel who has taken control of the East Coast drug trade, but Sam thinks Arley's murder may have something to do with his passion for treasure hunting. And just when you think Sam has enough on her plate, her traumatic past from twenty-six years ago keeps haunting her dreams, and suddenly she finds herself having to balance her own private demons, along with finding the killer before more murders are committed. 

Author Nikki Stern provides a multi-layered storyline that has enough mystery, suspense, drama, treachery, secrets, dark traumatic pasts, and intriguing twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing, while weaving an intricate and complicated web of what the motive of the treasure hunter murder could have been, along with finding the killer among a growing list of possible suspects. And if that isn't enough to captivate the reader, the author adds a wonderful touch of humor, wit, grit, and a complicated long-distance romance between Sam and FBI Special Agent Terry Sloan, into the mix to keep them entertained.

Bird In Hand is an exciting mystery story intertwined with enough police procedural aspects and realistic characters; witty dialogue and interactions; and a rich description of the setting that transports the reader to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This fascinating multi-layered storyline draws the reader into the murder investigation that has Sam and the Sheriff Department with the assistance of the Maryland State Police CSI department engage in a frustrating cat-n-mouse game with the treasure hunter killer, until the pieces of the investigation puzzle comes together and is dramatically solved. But alas, just when you think Sam's investigative adventure is over, the author leaves the reader with a cliffhanger ending that will keep them in limbo when Sam comes face-to-face with her traumatic past, leaving a suggestion that perhaps there will be a third book in the Sam Tate Mystery Series.

Bird In Hand is the kind of mystery that easily keeps the reader captivated, guessing, on their toes, and wanting more!


About The Author

Nikki Stern is the author of five books, all of which have earned critical praise. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, and Humanist Magazine as well as in three anthologies. She collaborated on a series of interactive murder mystery musicals that make up the Café Noir series, published by Samuel French.

Contest Giveaway

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nikki Stern. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through November 16, 2020. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Participants:

11/01 Showcase @ CMash Reads

11/01 Showcase @ Tome Tender

11/02 Showcase @ BooksChatter

11/03 Review @ Books with Bircky

11/04 Review @ EienCafe

11/04 Showcase @ The Book Connection

11/05 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

11/05 Showcase @ Reading A Page Turner

11/06 Review @ On the Page Pa services

11/06 Showcase @ Rozierreadsandwine

11/07 Showcase @ Quiet Fury Books

11/09 Showcase @ Novels Alive

11/10 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

11/11 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

11/12 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

11/13 Review @ Nesies Place