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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tic Tac Love by A.M. Willard (Book Cover Reveal / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Foreword PR & Marketing, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book cover reveal event for Tic Tac Love by A.M. Willard!

Release Date: March 14, 2018
Cover Design: MadHat Books

Book Synopsis

For as long as I can remember, I've been in love with Paxton West. I've planned our wedding in my head a million times. What our babies would look like. How we would grow old together and still play our favorite game— Tic-Tac-Toe.

However, we have one problem. Paxton doesn't believe in true love, soul mates, or happily ever after. Oh, did I also tell you he doesn't want kids? It also means I can't explain to him that he's the only guy for me, or about my—our—current situation. The past started with a game of X's and O's. Then came the miles and miles that kept us apart. Next came tequila shots... They're never a great idea. Now, more than ever, the future scares the crap out of me. If my plan backfires, I could not only lose my best friend but the love of my life. Dang those tequila shots.

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Book Excerpt

Stepping out into the hallway, I head toward my door with my shoes and keys in my hand. All I can think of at this moment is stripping down out of these clothes and face-planting into my pillow where I can sleep the many drinks off. Right as I open the door, I hear the faint ding echoing down from the elevators. Shrugging it off, I enter my apartment and lock up behind me. I guess I find it odd that someone else would be wandering the halls this late or early. I’m never out at this time and have no idea what the neighbors do after I fall asleep. A new male neighbor moved in a few weeks ago. I already had the pleasure of bumping into him while trying to not spill my coffee one morning. I still deny that it was his looks that threw me off.
I drop my keys into the bowl next to the door before heading straight to my room where I lose my heels and strip out of my shirt and bra. Right as I unbuckle my jeans, I hear a faint knock, so low that I’m not sure if it’s my door or a bump against the wall from next door. Knock… knock… echoes again. I grab my shirt from the floor, slide it over my head, and go to investigate the sound that’s causing the hairs on my neck to stand. Rounding the kitchen island, my feet dig into the ceramic tile as the lock on my door twists. I’m frozen in place… Unable to move anything on my body as I hold my breath waiting to see what’s happening. It’s now that my mind races with all the horror movies I’ve screamed at over the years. The ones where the girl is either running up the stairs to hide from the intruder instead of outside to safety. Or where they just stand there as if a target is placed on their chest. Just pick one, because I’m that girl at this moment. My face is frozen, ice coursing through my veins. The hairs on the back of my neck are at full attention as if we are standing to pledge to the flag. My eyes stare straight ahead as the door opens in slow motion. Saying a little prayer, I close my eyes and wait for what’s going to happen next. Fear overtakes me, consuming my body, mind—everything.
“Belle, what are you doing?” I hear his voice, but then I’m afraid to open my eyes. Could it be possible that two people in this world have the same husky voice that makes me weak in the knees?
With my eyes still squeezed shut, my other senses go on high alert. The drop of a bag, the tap-taps of a set of shoes against the tile grow louder and louder as the person gets closer to me. “Belle, open your eyes and breathe before you pass out.”
Slowly, I do as he instructed. That’s the moment that I lean against the counter for support as I thank God that it wasn’t a killer that had a key to my place. Paxton’s face scrunches up as he reaches over for me.
“What were you doing?”
“I thought you were here to kill me; I was bracing myself for the worst.”
“What have I told you about watching those horror movies, huh? You let them get to you, and why would a killer use a key?”
“I don’t know; they could’ve made a copy when I wasn’t paying attention, or it could’ve been the security guard—who knows… What are you doing here?”
“Not the welcome I thought I’d receive, but my plans changed. You were more important to come see.”
I let Paxton’s statement set in before I smile up at him. Stepping closer, I wrap my arms around his neck and breathe him in. The faint hint of the stale airport, his earthy spice, and lemon soothes my nerves.
“Are you just getting home?” he inquires, and I notice his voice hints to a bit of jealousy. That confuses me as he’s never been the jealous type. One to worry about my well-being—yes, but not curious about where I’ve been or with whom.
“I am,” I answer as I pull away from him and step over to the fridge. Opening it up, I grab a bottle of water before glancing back over to Paxton. His hands are gripping the edge of the countertop, face blank not revealing any indication of what he’s thinking. “Want something to drink or eat?” is the only thing that I can think to ask.
“No, I’m good. I think I’m just going to head to bed.”
“Paxton,” I let his name slip from my mouth to stop him. He slows his stride over to his bags, turns to look at me and, before I can say anything else, wanders over to me.
“Belle, get some sleep, and we’ll chat in the morning,” is all he says before placing a kiss on top of my head. I stand here in the middle of my kitchen with a bottle of water in my hand, watching his back retreat from me to the spare bedroom. I’m not sure how long I stand here, confused and unable to move. It’s the sound of the shower turning on that breaks me from my thoughts. Causing me to realize that this isn’t a dream. Instead of sulking from the blow off that I just received from Paxton, I force myself to go to my room. Closing the door behind me, I pad over to my dresser, pulling out a pair of boxers and a top to change into. The sound of the water still running through the pipes on the other side of my bedroom causes my heart to beat faster. I can’t explain the way I feel right now. How I’m confused about what I should be feeling. I’m blaming the amount of alcohol that’s in my system. It’s not like he’s never showered here before. It’s more the fact that he blew off an assignment to come see me. That’s something Paxton’s never done. Work has always come first for him. No matter what, he’s never turned down a job; well, for as long as I known him. My head hits the pillow, but my eyes refuse to close. The wheel’s spinning a million times faster than it ever does. With the water off, the apartment is quiet, and I can hear his footsteps down the hall and how they stop outside my door before going to his. The door clicks shut, finalizing that there won’t be a conversation tonight. Unless I pull a trick out of the old handbook.
I roll over, grab my phone from the nightstand, and power it up for the first time since I shut it off in the elevator. It’s then that I notice the messages from Paxton. I listen to his voicemail and read through his text. I can’t scroll up to where I left the short, clipped response to him canceling this weekend.
Me: Are you okay? I know you’re tired, but something seems off.
I could crawl into bed and lie next to him, but taking the chicken way out of this is better tonight. I don’t trust my mouth, and I’m pretty sure that I’d slip up and say something that I’d regret tomorrow. I’m sobering up, but the way he made my heart restrict tonight from the pain that was washed over his face out of concern for me is causing me to expect the worse. Did he come here to tell me something’s wrong? Was that why he canceled his trip?

Contest Giveaway

Win One of Five ARC's for Tic Tac Love

About the Author

Bestselling Author, A.M. Willard resides in Savannah, Georgia. She joined the Peach State many years ago after leaving the crystal blue waters and sugary white sand behind from the Panhandle of Florida. She's also known for being a wife, mother, and caretaker for her farm animals. A.M. loves anything sassy, glittery, and is a sucker for the Hallmark Channel. That last one might be the reason she believes in soulmates or it could be because she married her high school sweetheart for twenty years ago.

After releasing her first novella series back in 2014, A.M. set out on a new goal to bring her readers a broad range of romantic stories from her desk. This includes Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance, and from time to time some Sexy Romance. A.M. is an active member of RWA (Romance Writers of America).

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Twenty-One Steps Of Courage by Sarah Bates (VBT: Book Review)

In association with Virtual Author Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Twenty-One Steps Of Courage by Sarah Bates!

Book Review

Twenty-One Steps Of Courage by Sarah Bates
Publication Date: March 31, 2012
Book Format: Paperback - 280 pages
                         Audiobook - 7 Hours 23 minutes
                         Kindle - 550 KB
                         Nook - 664 KB
ISBN: 978-1614349570
ASIN: B007V98EU6
BNID: 2940014524605
Genre: Literary Fiction / Military Fiction

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 Virtual Author Book Tours.

Book Description:

In 2006, with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raging, Rod Strong enlists in the Army to achieve the goal his father sought before he tragically died in the Gulf War. His objective: The Old Guard regiment, the elite Soldiers who stand as Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery. Rod overcomes the obstacles that litter his path until an unexpected firefight in Afghanistan changes his life forever.

Praise Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

“Sarah Bates professes not to know much about the military yet she tells an inspiring story that captures the true essence of what the military is all about — love of country — unit esprit de corps — family values — personal courage. Every high school student, every parent and all of the politicians in this country should read this book.”- Lloyd N. Cosby, retired Tomb Guard (Alexandria, VA, US)

“I…read the book and I cried A LOT–it was very heartwarming and extremely interesting. When you described the part about him fighting and saving his brother–I felt I was there–a sure movie deal I hope.”- Detra Hoffman (Los Angeles, CA)

“The book covers a lot: what to expect in boot camp and after, the amount of control that the military has over your life once you join, and the responsiblities and hardships that your decision to join places on your loved ones. It also explores camaraderie between soldiers, the pride that attends possessing a strong sense of duty and of self, and the rewards of follow-through. Twenty-One Steps of Courage is a well balanced story about military life. Not too left or right, it’s a good read, one that I would recommend to anyone.”- Caradae Linore (San Diego, CA)

“The author did a wonderful job portraying the feelings of an 18-year-old man. Although I’ve seen the soldiers marching at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I was unfamiliar with the training and precision involved. I didn’t understand a lot of the military acronyms but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this story.”-Midnight Reader, Amazon Review

Book Excerpt:

The moon was high when they reached the site of the accident. The Humvee lay on its side across the road. Rod approached it cautiously, tracing the burned out carcass with the small mag light he carried. Every bit of debris from the blast had been picked clean.

"Listen!" Murphy said, holding up his hand.

The two men ducked into the protection of the blackened metal, their ears tuning out the sounds of the earth settling. Faint voices were coming from the hills beyond.

"Someone's laughing," Rod whispered. "Taliban or ANP?" he asked.

"Wanna find out?" Murphy asked then took a long swig of water from his canteen.

Rod nodded. The two men were almost totally visible in the light of the full moon, their shadows disappearing into the wreck. It had grown cooler, and Rod pulled his handkerchief up over his mouth to keep warm.

Rod and Murphy started in the direction of the sounds drifting from a copse of low trees nestled against the mountainside, carefully picking their way around the boulders and scrub that dotted the landscape. Soon the sounds of voices became louder, and the smell of horses wafted toward them. Beyond a low hill, the light of a small bonfire flickered, throwing shadows of many men against a wall of rock protecting their encampment. Murphy motioned for Rod to drop down, then waved him forward to crawl nearer on their bellies.

Standing close to a group of ten or so people in Afghan robes and baggy pants, a tall bearded man with his head wrapped in a black turban hectored loudly. Murphy frowned.

"Taliban?" Rod murmured.

"Think so." Murphy nodded.

Rod pulled out his binoculars and inched closer to get a better look. Off to the side, near a group of horses tethered to a stake, a soldier sprawled, his head down. A dirty bandana wrapped around his face hid his eyes but the top of his head glowed copper-bright in the light of the fire. The man's filthy Army uniform appeared torn, as if he'd been dragged.

With a shock Rod recognized the soldier.

He turned and motioned frantically for Murphy.

"My brother!" he whispered.

Murphy's mouth gaped.

"We gotta get help," he murmured.

Rod nodded, then looked again. Mike hadn't moved.

The two men scrambled back toward the road, keeping low to the ground, moving as silently as possible. They reached the wreckage of the Humvee in a crouched run, and then stopped to lean against it, their chests heaving from the effort.

"I'm going to call in," Rod said, grabbing his radio.

"Wait!" Murphy warned. "Who you gonna get? We're not supposed to be here."

"Sarn't Morgan. I trust her. She'll know how to contact the 82nd patrol. They may be near," Rod replied.

He began to speak into the radio, muffling the sound of his voice with his sleeve.

Before he got a response, Murphy grabbed his shoulder, spinning him around.

"Look!" He pointed in the direction of the road they'd just traveled.

Moonlight shimmering on a line of darkened vehicles indicated a convoy moving in their direction.

Rod punched the radio OFF and the two men knelt down in the shadows. Murphy flipped down his night vision goggles and motioned Rod to do the same.

Slowly the convoy rumbled closer. When the front end of the lead vehicle reached the Humvee, it stopped. Two men exited the vehicle, popped open a cyalume stick and held the infa-red light close to a map.

"Patrol. Maybe the 82nd," Rod whispered.

"Yeah, and if we can see them, Hajji can too," Murphy said, heading out of the shadows toward the convoy.

Rod followed. Behind the up-armored armament carrier Humvee in the front, three more of the 13,000-pound vehicles emerged.

Murphy nudged Rod.

"Lookee there, lots a fire power."

Rod stared hard to make out the silhouettes of the big machine guns. Looming low against the banked sides of the road, the battered camouflaged vehicles resembled craggy elephants on their knees. From a distance they could easily be mistaken for rock outcroppings.

"Who goes there?" Rod heard first, then the click of an M-16 safety latch releasing.

"Murphy and Strong, 25th MPs," Murphy called out.

When they reached the two men standing in front of the vehicle, Rod recognized their Airborne insignias.

"You looking for a missing soldier?" Rod asked.

"Affirmative. And why are you here?" The man who spoke moved closer. "Sarn't Devore. Corporal Emerson, my RTO," he continued, gesturing to the radiotelephone operator who stood beside him.

"The man you're looking for is my brother, Sarn't," Rod said. "We know where he is."

"I asked why you're out here," Devore repeated.

"Looking for him too," Rod admitted.

"Your Sarn't know where you are?"

Murphy broke in. "We're sort of on our own."

"I see," the sergeant said, shaking his head.

Murphy pulled the crumpled trip ticket from his sleeve pocket and flashed it quickly in front of Devore's face.

"Damn!" the sergeant said, and then turned to Rod. "You know where he is, huh?

"Over there," Rod said pointing in the direction of the rock outcropping. "Hajji's got him." Rod glanced quickly at Murphy.

Devore motioned Rod and Murphy into the shadows beside him and told the driver to kill the cyalume. At once the string of vehicles and men seemed to blend into the landscape.

In a hushed tone the sergeant questioned Rod and Murphy, focusing on specific details.

"Let me show you," Rod said, kneeling.

He pulled out his knife and drew a map in the soft dirt. In the moonlight, the rough lines cast shadows in sharp relief against the pale sand.

"Twenty minutes ago, tops," Murphy said. 

"Weapons?" Devore asked.

"AK-47s, a few 74s that I could see," Rod said.

"Everyone had a weapon," Murphy added.

"There's probably a watcher keeping tabs on the camp," Devore said. "You see anyone near the trail?"

Murphy shook his head.

The ambient light surrounding the convoy grew brighter and Devore looked up at the moon with its bright halo and frowned.

He turned to the RTO standing by his side waiting for orders. "Radio the 25th MPs at FOB Miracle and let 'em know we've got their two weekend visitors here. Tell 'em we're short and we're going to keep them."

"You two stay up here with me," Devore said. "You'll scout." He turned his head and muttered into his radio. Within seconds two soldiers joined their small circle.

"Corporal Ruiz, Corporal LaRussa, team leaders", Devore explained. 

Devore turned his binoculars toward the clutch of mountains where the Taliban hid.

"They've likely seen us," he said. "If they haven't scattered, we'll have to move fast."

Devore and the team leaders squatted to look at Rod's crude map.

"Alpha team," Devore said, pointing right, then "Bravo, there," he said, indicating his left.

Ruiz and LaRussa disappeared into the shadows. The whisper of desert boots rose as gunners scuffled to security positions at the trucks. The rest of the two squads, bristling with weapons, vanished in a tumble of activity. SAW Gunners and riflemen along with grenadiers shouldering M-4s with 40mm grenade launchers scattered into position.

"Move out," Devore said, motioning Rod and Murphy forward along with the radioman, like ducks in a row.

The troops advanced along the rocky terrain, crouched, keeping low, blending with the brush and scrub.

Rod's heart raced as he ran, open mouthed, gulping air.

The four men rolled onto their stomachs at the ridgeline where Rod and Murphy first saw Mike's captors.

Rod rested his chin in the soft dirt then pushed his helmet back to get a closer look. 

"Some of the men and horses are gone, Sarn't," Rod said. Alarm tinged his voice. He swallowed hard. In the shadows he spotted Mike's crumpled form.

Devore leveled his binoculars and scanned the scene below, then motioned for the men to deploy their night vision goggles. Once again the landscape took on an eerie green glow.

Just then Rod spotted a glint against the rocky cliff above the campground.

"Look!" he pointed.

"Guard!" Devore murmured, nodding to the men behind him in the direction where Rod had seen a reflection off the barrel of a weapon in the green luminescence.

"Pull back," Devore whispered, then summoned his team leaders.

Rod scrambled back down the slope to find the two soldiers waiting. 

"Okay, here's what we're doin'," Devore said. "Ruiz, put your Alpha SAW gunners beside LaRussa's at the south. LaRussa, you take your medic and one of the grenadiers, secure the rear. Keep your radio open. You're going to control the SAWS. I'll take six of your men with me; we'll sweep the camp from the west and go get our guy."

Ruiz and LaRussa nodded, then melted into the night.

A bullet screamed past them and ricocheted off a boulder behind Devore, followed by a loud crack.

Rod hit the ground, his helmet smacking a rocky outcropping.

"Shit!" he said, dragging his weapon up to his shoulder.

To his right, Murphy flattened against the ground, weapon poised.

"They see us! CONTACT! 100 METERS 12 O'CLOCK!" Devore yelled.

My Book Review:

In Twenty-One Steps Of Courageauthor Sarah Bates weaves a riveting military story that follows Rod Strong's journey as he follows in his late father's footsteps and enlists in the Army with the intention to achieve his father's goal to become a Sentinel of the Old Guard.

The author's thorough, realistic and authentic research into the Army process from enlistment to the elite Old Guard Regiment that guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, provides the reader with a captivating story about one man's vow to uphold his deceased father's legacy by achieving the commission as a Sentinel of the Old Guard.

Rod is a driven young man determined to achieve his lofty military goals. From enlisting on his eighteenth birthday through basic, Infantry, Ranger and Old Guard training, the reader can't help but cheer on Rod as he embarks on a personal journey full of courage, determination, pride, and a sense of duty.

Twenty-One Steps Of Courage is a well-written story that flows smoothly from the beginning; it is realistic and full of riveting suspenseful twists and turns that easily draws the reader into Rod's admirable and courageous military journey. I would highly recommend this book for those readers interested in the military literature genre.


About The Author

Award winning author, Sarah Bates’ fiction has appeared in the Greenwich Village Literary Review, the San Diego North County Times (now the Union-Tribune) and the literary magazine Bravura.

She is the author of ‘The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’, published in 2016, and co-author of the 2005 short story collection, ‘Out of Our Minds, Wild Stories’ by Wild Women. Bates was an English Department writing tutor at Palomar College in California for ten years. She privately tutors academic and creative writing students and is writing a new novel.

She is a Military Category Finalist for ‘Twenty-One Steps of Courage’, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, (2013) and 2nd Place Finalist, for ‘The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’, Unpublished Novel-Category, San Diego Book Awards (2015). It has since been published.

Sarah Bates lives in Fallbrook, California.

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Feb 2 Review & Giveaway

Chris Amazon Review Feb 5 Review

Beverly’s Book Blog Feb 6 Review, Interview, & Giveaway

Beppe La libreria di Beppe Feb 8 Guest Review by Betty & Excerpt

Jas International Book Reviews Feb 9 Review

Darlene Amazon Review Feb 13 Review

Katy Amazon Review Feb 15 Review

Kathleen Jersey Girl Book Reviews Feb 16 Review & Excerpt

Indie Authors Behind the Scenes WebTV Feb 20 1 pm est Video Interview

Dawn Bound 4 Escape Feb 20 Guest Review by Kate

Dawn Bound 2 Escape  Feb 20 Excerpt

Donna M My Life. One Story at a Time Feb 21 Review, Excerpt,  & Giveaway

Donna H. Girl Who Reads Feb 22 Guest Review by Sal &  Guest Post

Raymond Amazon Review Feb 23 Review

Elisha Rainy Day Reviews Feb 28 Review, Interview, & Giveaway

Sherry The Journey Back Mar 19 Review & Excerpt

Leslie StoreyBook Reviews Mar 21 Guest Review by Laura & Ex

Robert Amazon Review Mar 26 Review

Lori Amazon Review Mar 29 Review

Chuck Amazon Review Mar 30 Review

Charles Ray’s Ramblings Mar 30 Review 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Six Tinder Weeks by Bena Roberts (VBT: Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Six Tinder Weeks by author Bena Roberts!

Book Review

Six Tinder Weeks by Bena Roberts
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: December 9, 2017
Format: Paperback - 177 pages
               Kindle - 1786 KB
ISBN: 978-1973494232
Genre: Chick Lit / Romantic Comedy / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:
Amazon - US (Buy for $.99 or Free on Kindle Unlimited)

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

Book Description:

Forty-something scientist Helen leaves her husband after twenty uninspired years of marriage. Plagued with making the wrong decisions she looks towards holistic therapy and the universe to guide her choices. She meets hairdresser Alex and takes his advice to download the dating app SPRK.

Helen embarks on a voyage of self-discovery, paganism, hedonism, and desire. What could go wrong? Well for one secret agent CJ is convinced that Helen is part of a notorious Romanian smuggling gang.

Six Tinder Weeks is not the usual romantic novel; it is realistic fiction full of twists, turns that will make you laugh out loud. If you like something different, then you will enjoy this Pandora's box of love, action and the unexpected.

My Book Review:

If you are looking for a sassy romantic comedy to while away a cold winter afternoon, then look no further, Six Tinder Weeks by author Bena Roberts is just what you need!

In Six Tinder Weeks, the reader is transported to Frankfurt, Germany where they meet forty-year-old Helen, who has decided to leave her husband and their twenty miserable years of marriage. Helen takes the reader along for the ride as she goes on a journey of self-discovery filled with humor and quirky trials and errors that will keep the reader in stitches. From changing her hairstyle to following her hair stylist's suggestion to join the online dating site SPKR filled with hilarious hookups, to getting a holistic treatment, Helen is a hot mess but along the way she learns a lot about herself and discovers what she really wants.

I really enjoyed reading this fun story, it's relatable and you can't help but get what Helen is going through in her life. The author does a great job of providing the reader with richly vivid descriptions of various European cities (Frankfurt, Barcelona, and Prague) while inserting a lot of quirky humor into the trials and tribulations that Helen endures during a six-week timeframe of finding herself. Add in the mix a host of characters (younger sister Portia, ex-husband Edward, hairstylist Alex, secret agent and SPKR member CJ Ramsey, and the other crazy SPKR dudes), and you have a truly fun romantic comedy that will have you laughing out loud and leave a smile on your face ... well except for the cliffhanger ending that involves CJ and leaves you wondering if a sequel is in the works.

I would be remiss if I didn't applaud the author for weaving a realistic tale that anyone can relate to when it comes to the ups and downs of life and relationships. From middle age changes of hairstyles, to attempting to navigate the slippery slope of online dating sites, to figuring out who you are and what you want out of life and relationships, author Bena Roberts knocks this story out of the park!


About The Author

Bena is an expat British woman living with her family in Germany. She was a journalist, blogger, and analyst as well as CEO of quite a few geeky companies. She is a bookworm, gym bunny and partial to dry Italian red wine.

Bena's passion for writing began as a child in the cozy corner of her parent's bookshop in London. She grew up reading Sidney Sheldon, Judy Blume, and Marian Keyes. Six Tinder Weeks is her debut novel and is realistic fiction that will appeal to women, mums and especially those just divorced.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

January 15 – Chick Lit Plus - Review
January 16 – Chick Lit Goddess – Novel Spotlight
January 17 – Book Lover in Florida – Review
January 18 – Beauty Books and Cats With Brooke – Review
January 18 – Tranquil Reader – Review
January 19 – Rainy Day Reviews – Review
January 19 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Cardinal Cabin by Joanne DeMaio (Book Review)

Cardinal Cabin by Joanne DeMaio
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: PB - September 10, 2017 / eBook - September 12, 2017
Format: Paperback - 268 pages
               Kindle - 2035 KB
               Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 978-1548161712
BNID: 2940158587443
Genre: Holiday Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes a heartwarming novel as merry and bright as a red-feathered cardinal taking flight.

Frank Lombardo's never been spontaneous. The closest he's come was accepting a side job chopping firewood for a lakeside community of rustic cabins. But with another lonely holiday season imminent, Frank's sister urges him to be spontaneous because, seriously, who does he ever expect to meet out in the woods?

With a suitcase in hand and a bit of reluctance, too, Penny Hart arrives at Cardinal Cabin on Snowflake Lake. It's only for a brief stay, though nobody knows where she is. Not her boss, not her friends...

Only Frank Lombardo. As the two unexpectedly meet at Addison's hidden hideaway, a spontaneous kiss sets everything amiss. But can the magic of this quaint New England town keep these snowy sweethearts together?

Cardinal Cabin is an enchanting tale about finding love where you least expect it. So come on inside. A cozy fire crackles, lights twinkle on the evergreen tree, snowflakes tap at the windowpanes, and little redbirds bring cheer this time of year.

Book Excerpt:

Click on the link to read an excerpt from Cardinal Cabin

My Book Review:

In Cardinal Cabin, author Joanne DeMaio transports the reader to the tranquil small New England town of Addison, Connecticut for a heartwarming Christmas tale of family, friendship, and finding unexpected love.

Penny Hart is a travel agent at Suitcase Escapes in Addison. She is a reluctant travel agent who doesn't like to leave the comfort of her home. But when her boss Ross recruits her for a holiday travel mystery promotion called "Where in New England is Penny?" Penny finds herself renting a bird-themed cabin (Cardinal Cabin), providing photo clues of her mystery location for two weeks leading up to Christmas at Snowflake Lake, a secluded lakeside community that is Addison's well-kept and treasured secret.

Frank Lombardo and his sister Gina own Addison Boathouse, which serves a dual purpose of boat storage on the lower level and a banquet hall on the upper level that has become the town's premier waterfront venue. Between the duties at the boathouse and a side job as a handyman at the lakeside cabin community of Snowflake Lake, Frank has no time for romance. But Gina wants her brother to loosen up, be spontaneous, and take a chance at finding love.

A walk in the snow-covered woods of Snowflake Lake provides an unexpected meeting between Penny and Frank that ends in a spontaneous kiss. Who would guess that this secluded lakeside community would help their relationship blossom into something more as a secretive travel promotion, the magic of cardinals and the mystique of little cardinal themed cabin by the lake, and Addison's holiday spirit gives them an unexpected chance at finding love?

Cardinal Cabin 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 Cove, Connecticut, that captivates the reader's attention with a heartwarming romance. This delightful holiday tale has a rich description of the breathtaking small town setting, holiday tradition, lovely cardinals, Christmas decorations, and delicate swirls of snowflakes. Penny and Frank's 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 and 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 wonderful heartwarming and multi-layered stories that are filled with a mixture of love, friendship, family, and life's unexpected special moments, it is simply breathtaking. As the readers follow Penny and Frank's story, they will discover the delightful secluded lakeside hideaway cardinal cabin, it is simply magical!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much this wonderful story spoke to my heart, especially because of my love of cardinals. When I saw that the author wrote a holiday novel with a cardinal theme, I knew it would become my favorite story, and I wasn't disappointed. The richly vivid description of the town of Addison and the hidden hideaway beauty of the bird-themed cabin lakeside community of Snowflake Lake is phenomenal, you'll yearn to visit the area and watch the lovely cardinals flit among the snow-capped tree branches. Ms. DeMaio has a special gift for transporting the readers into every story that she weaves while leaving them yearning for more!

Cardinal Cabin 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.


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. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

Joanne's novels include the New York Times Bestseller Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans; Whole Latte Life, a Kirkus Reviews Critics' Pick; Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes, a USA Today Bestseller; True Blend; The Denim Blue Sea; and Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer. Her latest summer books are Beach Blues, Beach Breeze, and The Beach Inn. Her latest wintry novel is Cardinal Cabin.

For a complete list of books and to learn more about the author, visit She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Friday, January 5, 2018

Hothouse Flower by Taylor Dean (Virtual Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with I Am A Reader, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book blast event for Hothouse Flower by Author Taylor Dean!

About The Book

Hothouse Flower by Taylor Dean 
Book 3: Sound of Silence Series
Publisher: Taylor Dean Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2018
Format: Paperback - 236 pages
               Kindle - 949 KB
ISBN: 978-1548351229
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy The Book: 

Buy The Series:
Book 1: Stone Silence
Book 2: Jailbird
Book 3: Hothouse Flower (Pub Date: January 1, 2018)

Book Description:

I loved Jace Faraday with all my heart.

I loved everything about him, from his huge smile to his fabulous laugh. Another man never caught my eye. It was always Jace and Shay, together forever.

Until it wasn’t.

He devastated me, he ruined me. I’ve never gotten over it.

But, I’m a survivor. I’m not a precious flower that can only thrive if kept safe from the perils of the outside world.

Except now Jace has returned home. He’s just across the street from me, so close I swear I can actually feel his presence.

I can’t avoid him forever. At some point I have to face him. And when I do, I know sparks will fly.

To redeem himself for his past actions, I need major remorse. I need a profuse apology and maybe even a little begging for forgiveness. I won’t settle for anything less.

However, when the truth behind our break-up is revealed, I’m stunned. It leaves me reeling—and yearning for the six years that have been lost to us.

The thing is, once the truth is known, there’s nothing to keep us apart.

Absolutely nothing.

Dear Reader: This book deals with a sensitive issue.

The Sound of Silence Series is a three book series:

Book One: Stone Silence, Spencer’s Story 
Book Two: Jailbird, Mia’s Story 
Book Three: Hothouse Flower, Shay’s Story

Each book has a happy ending and there are no cliffhangers. 
They are not standalone and should be read in order.

Book Excerpt:

Read an excerpt from HOTHOUSE FLOWER:

Excerpt #1:

I'LL BE RIGHT down to help with dinner, Mom,” I holler. It will just be a few minutes because I’m busy staring out the window at the man I’ve loved nearly all my life.

He’s home. He’s actually home—just across the street from me, only yards away. I swear I can physically feel his presence and it’s killing me.

Jace Faraday. The love of my youth.

He just arrived at his mother’s house across the street. It’s early evening and I’m watching from my upstairs bedroom window just like I used to do as a teenager. All those old feelings I had for him are rushing over me just as strong as ever. Except now I’m a twenty-six year old woman and, sadly, I feel as though I’m too old to feel giddy over a man.

He is the one man in my life that I have ever truly loved. I loved everything about him from his huge smile to his soft voice to his fabulous laugh. I loved his brawny physique, yet the fact that he had such a gentle touch.

I loved his sense of humor the most of all. When we first started to say I love you to each other, they were serious moments and I knew he meant it as much as I did. As time went by, I would whisper I love you to him and he’d respond in a silly voice, “And I’ve grown fond of you.” It reduced me to a writhing mass of giggles every time.

I was young when I first met him. His family moved in across the street when I was in kindergarten. By the time I was in fifth grade, I was sure he was the man I would marry. I was just a little girl with stars in her eyes, someone who was in love with love. By then Jace was in the eighth grade and seemed larger than life to me.

That feeling of hero worship I felt as a little girl has never left me.

Excerpt #2:

“I apologize if that embarrassed you. That’s what creepy ex-boyfriends are for though. If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll find that I’m right.”

“That’s the exact definition?” I ask.

“In a nutshell. I believe it reads: A hideous creature made to embarrass and humiliate his former girlfriend during every single moment of her life. Warning: They should all be hunted down and killed.”

A half smile escapes. “That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?”

“Maybe. I promise to try my best to not stand outside of your window in the middle of the night with a boom box over my head.”

This time he makes me laugh aloud. “Just out of curiosity, what would the song be?”

“Oh, you know, a rousing rendition of George Michael belting out Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. After all, I’d have to wake you up before getting all romantic with my song choice.”

“So . . . what would the romantic song be?” I have to know.

“Don’t make me say it.”

“You brought it up. Don’t leave me hanging.”

“It would have to be . . . I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Not many know it, but it’s a gem of a song. It says everything that’s in my heart.”

It’s his ability to say silly things with a deadpan voice that makes him so funny. To me, at least. No one else ever laughs at his jokes quite like I do. I slap his arm playfully and Brit burrows deeper into his shoulder. “I’d go back to bed.”

“I’d resort to drastic measures then.”

“What drastic measures?”

“I’d have to pull out the Barry Manilow. He’s only to be used in rare moments and with extreme caution.”

About The Author

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

Contest Giveaway

Blast Giveaway Details: $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/21/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

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Virtual Book Blast Event