Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jersey Girl Book Reviews Top 10 Books Read In 2013

2013 has been an awesome year of reading, reviewing and hosting virtual book tour events for Jersey Girl Book Reviews. From NY Times Bestselling Authors to Indie Authors, I have read 276 wonderful books, and trying to narrow it down to my Top 10 favorites has not been easy. While I have enjoyed every book, here is the Top 10 Books I Read in 2013 that simply moved me the most.

1) The Rockin' Chair by Steven Manchester 

2) Leaves by Michael Baron

3) Goodnight Brian by Steven Manchester

4) The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

5) Tara's Cross: A 9/11 Memoir by G.J. Bachmann

6) Sara's Promise by Deanna Lynn Sletten

7) What She Wants by Sheila Roberts

8) Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans by Joanne DeMaio

9) Snowflakes & Coffee Cakes by Joanne DeMaio

10) Cocktail Hour by Tara McTiernan

And there you have it, my Top 10 Books that I read in 2013! 

Stayed tuned to see what fabulous books are in store for 2014 on Jersey Girl Book Reviews! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Driving Me To You by Julie Farrell (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Driving Me To You by Author Julie Farrell!

Author Guest Post

Top Ten Facts About Julie Farrell

1. I started writing romance eight years ago, when I worked as a receptionist in a very quiet building. I took years to hone my craft, and decided to finally self-publish in 2013. It’s very empowering and liberating to have my books on sale, rather than having them festering on my computer!

2. There was a time, only a few years ago, when all I wanted was to get through the day without the fear of having a panic attack. I overcame panic attacks by confronting my fears, practising yoga regularly, and joining my local Toastmasters public speaking club! The phrase ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ is etched in my brain forever!

3. I love a good cuppa! Assam is my favourite tea. Throw in a bar of chocolate and a snuggly armchair, and I’m in paradise!

4. When I was in my early twenties, I wanted to be a rock star! I’ve always loved music and I enjoy playing the guitar and writing my own songs. Why did I stop playing gigs? Partly because of panic attacks getting in the way (which I’ve now kicked to the kerb!) and mainly because I don’t like late nights! ;o) You can see me singing one of my songs here: 

5. I dabble with stand-up comedy. As part of my self-development drive in 2012, I decided to go for the scariest thing I could think of – doing a stand-up comedy course! This culminated in a showcase in front of 120 people, at a London comedy club. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done, but I survived, and learnt a valuable lesson – ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!’ I still like to do the odd comedy gig here and there, and it gets easier every time.

6. Sam, the female protagonist in Driving Me to You, is the character most like me out of all my characters. When I was in my late-twenties, I travelled in India, where I contracted dysentery, and came home a changed woman. The mindfulness app that Sam invents is based on my own experiences of mindfulness meditation, and, like her, I also love the band Television!

7. I sponsor a child in India through World Vision, which makes me feel connected with others less fortunate than myself, and reminds me of how lucky I am to have all I have here in the UK.

8. My mum is an amateur astronomer, meaning I’ve always been fascinated with science. I read New Scientist magazine every week, which inspires me when it comes to writing about the latest technology (eg: the app in Driving Me to You).

9. My favourite film is Alien! A bit strange for a romance writer, I know! But I love how powerful and cool Ripley is. She really inspired me as a teenager. As did Sarah Conner from Terminator!

10. If I could magically be transported into any time in history, anywhere in the world, I would choose right here and right now! It’s perfect!

~ J

About The Author

Julie Farrell is a chick lit / contemporary romance author from England. She’s published two novels on Amazon – Driving Me to You and Ruby in the Dust – with a third on the way.

When not reading or writing, she loves yoga, meditation, and playing her guitar. Bob Dylan has had a huge influence on her – he’s really someone who can make magic with words!

I spent my twenties losing myself in light-hearted romantic fiction novels, which sparked my imagination with a desire to write my own stories. I'm happiest when I'm creating plots, characters, and dialogue - it's like watching my very own Richard Curtis film inside my head, and I get to control the action and outcome!

My books are uplifting and empowering, character-driven contemporary romances. Lose yourself in a Julie Farrell romance, and find yourself transformed forever! Inside, you’ll discover everyday characters reconnecting with the joys of life, the joys of themselves, and of each other.


Book Review

Driving Me To You by Julie Farrell
Publisher: D Z Publishing
Publication Date: October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback - 374 pages / Kindle - 1703 KB 
ISBN: 0992629322
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

BUY THE BOOK: Driving Me To You

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 Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

When Sam meets her sister’s sexy mechanic, Verlaine, she instantly falls for those gorgeous brown eyes and rugged charms, and a secret romance begins. Unfortunately, there’s unfinished business between Sam and her monstrous childhood nemesis. No, not her sister Gemma, but her late-father’s beloved Bentley.

Gemma is struggling to save the family vintage-car business, and it doesn’t help that little sis has just swanned back home, with no intention of helping. Gemma knows the only solution is to involve Sam’s old flame, the charismatic venture capitalist, Marcus Priestley. But Marcus is compelled to win Sam back, and he certainly won’t let the hired help muscle-in.

Verlaine is Gemma’s sexy mechanic, who’s trying to blag it as a chauffeur. But he’s so bad at tying his necktie, he looks like a stripper at a hen night. Working with Gemma’s vintage cars is his dream job, but things get complicated when he falls for the boss’s sister and sets himself up as rival to Marcus. Then the road trip adventure from London to Brighton beach begins!

Who will Sam choose in the love triangle? The penniless new love or the wealthy ex? And how will she tame the Bentley, to become the strong and powerful woman that she’s always known she could be?

This charming comedy covers modern issues for modern women, such as dating, relationships, careers, friendship, and, of course, love.

Book Excerpt:

Sam shook herself back to the present, with the sense that someone was watching her. She turned her head and discovered that there was a man outside the café window, staring in. A fluffy feeling flurried in her chest. The man wasn’t conventionally handsome, but he was quirky, and quirky – by definition – didn’t tend to crop up every day.

Sam saw that he was dressed in a suit and shirt, and he seemed to be on his way to work. But somehow these clothes didn’t seem right on him; he looked agitated and uncomfortable. He pouted in concentration, frowning like a peeved punk rocker. Ah, right, he wasn’t staring at Sam: he was using the window as a mirror, while attempting to do up his tie. His attempts were futile, though – his top button was undone and his technique was abysmal.

Every byte of processing power in Sam’s mind focused on finding an excuse to go out there. Just to have a conversation. It’s better to regret something you’ve done than something you haven’t.

“Would you like another cup of tea, my love?”

Sam dragged her eyes away from the man and frowned at the waitress. “Maybe in a minute. I’ll come to the counter.”

She darted her eyes to the window, willing the waitress to go away. Frustration twisted inside her, as the waitress opened her mouth to speak. Please bugger off, I’m trying to make eye contact with the hunk outside!

The waitress didn’t get the hint. “I’ll just clear these things away.”

“There’s really no need!”

The waitress creaked into life and gathered up the empty cup, then the milk jug, then the teapot, and finally the little bowl of sugar-cubes – which Sam hadn’t even used.

“Let me know if you want anything else, my love.”

“I will. Thank you.”

The waitress trundled off, and Sam swivelled back to the window. Excitement twinkled through her like sunlight on the sea – the tie-tying escapade continued outside.

The man finished, and studied his handiwork. He looked pleased with it, but Sam wouldn’t be satisfied with a knot like that – it was as crumpled as Gemma’s knickers when she got them in a twist.

Sam decided to seize the moment and go and help the man, so she started to stand up. But, to her dismay, he stepped away from the window and sauntered into the crowd. No! She lowered herself onto the chair, feeling her internal organs congeal with disappointment. Like a rubbernecker at a traffic accident, she watched the man stroll around the corner, and disappear from sight. Too late.

Sam held her breath. The silence rang in her ears. Time ticked on as usual, but Sam’s existence had snagged itself on a rusty nail of regret. Maybe it wasn’t too late to run after him? She considered pushing back her chair and sprinting down the road. But then, delight! The café door was pushed open from the outside. Sam glanced over her shoulder, and, yes! He innocently ambled in, unaware that Sam was monitoring his every footstep.

He halted at the counter and spoke in a faint American accent. “Hi, could I get a coffee to go, please?”

My Book Review:

Driving Me To You is an enjoyable romantic tale about family, friendship and love. Set in London, the readers follow the trials and tribulations of sisters Samantha and Gemma as they struggle to save their family's classic car business.

After the death of their father, younger sister Sam spent the last five months travelling in India, while Gemma tried to deal with the family's financial mess. Returning home to London, Sam briefly meets Verlaine, an American guy in a cafe, unbeknownst to her that Gemma will hire him as a chauffeur/mechanic for their family business. When Sam and Verlaine meet for the second time, they become friends and keep their budding relationship a secret. But when Gemma gets Marcus Priestley, a venture capitalist and Sam's ex-boyfriend, to invest in the family business, Sam and Verlaine's relationship becomes complicated and a rivalry ensues when Marcus becomes determined to win back Sam's heart. And if that isn't enough, strained family relations between Gemma and Sam, and underhanded dealings within the family business will provide enough intrigue and suspense that will easily keep the reader turning the pages.

Author Julie Farrell weaves an entertaining tale that is packed with humor, family drama, quirky friendships, adventure, suspenseful twists and turns, and a lighthearted romance. I really enjoyed the narration of the story from the various characters' points of view, it made the characters come to life, and in my opinion it made the story that much more entertaining and enjoyable. It is easy to get drawn into this multi-layered story: from Sam and Gemma working on their strained family relationship; to the love triangle between Sam, Verlaine and Marcus; to Verlaine's quirky group of friends; to the intrigue involving the family business; Driving Me To You is a fun contemporary romance novel that has a great mixture of humor, romance and suspense, what more could a reader ask for?


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Anyone who leaves a comment on the Driving Me To You tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Driving Me To You before January 6 and sends their receipt to will get 5 bonus entries!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

December 30 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews - Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
December 30 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post
December 31 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
January 2 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
January 2 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review 
January 6 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Review
January 6 – Literary Chanteuse – Excerpt

Friday, December 27, 2013

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 12/29/13 - 1/4/14

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week Of 12/29/13 - 1/4/14

Monday 1/30/13

Driving Me To You By Julie Farrell

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway

Book Description: Driving Me To You

When Sam meets her sister’s sexy mechanic, Verlaine, she instantly falls for those gorgeous brown eyes and rugged charms, and a secret romance begins. Unfortunately, there’s unfinished business between Sam and her monstrous childhood nemesis. No, not her sister Gemma, but her late-father’s beloved Bentley.

Gemma is struggling to save the family vintage-car business, and it doesn’t help that little sis has just swanned back home, with no intention of helping. Gemma knows the only solution is to involve Sam’s old flame, the charismatic venture capitalist, Marcus Priestley. But Marcus is compelled to win Sam back, and he certainly won’t let the hired help muscle-in.

Verlaine is Gemma’s sexy mechanic, who’s trying to blag it as a chauffeur. But he’s so bad at tying his necktie, he looks like a stripper at a hen night. Working with Gemma’s vintage cars is his dream job, but things get complicated when he falls for the boss’s sister and sets himself up as rival to Marcus. Then the road trip adventure from London to Brighton beach begins!

Who will Sam choose in the love triangle? The penniless new love or the wealthy ex? And how will she tame the Bentley, to become the strong and powerful woman that she’s always known she could be?

This charming comedy covers modern issues for modern women, such as dating, relationships, careers, friendship, and, of course, love.

Tuesday - Wednesday 
12/31/13 - 1/1/14

Happy New Year!

Friday 1/3/14

Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway

Book Description: Bitter Pill

Rennie Harlow is having a bad year. She had a handsome husband, a good job, and a renovated condo in Chicago. Now, thanks to one "exotically beautiful" paralegal, she’s divorced, faking her way through a writing career, and living above her hypochondriac mother's garage back in Morrisville, the small town she couldn't leave fast enough at eighteen. On top of all of that, she just found Doc Hallacy, the local pharmacist, dead behind his counter. And the worst part is, he's the third body she’s stumbled across this year.

Jake Bristol has lived in Morrisville his whole life. A former bad boy turned sheriff, he doesn’t believe it’s just Rennie’s luck or timing that’s the problem. He thinks she’s too nosy for her own good. The last thing he needs is her messing around with his murder investigation so that she can freelance for the Morrisville Gazette. But as they both delve deeper into Doc's death, they find that things don't add up. This isn't a robbery gone wrong or the work of a desperate junkie. Someone has a secret they're killing to keep. The only question is—who's next?

The Hunting by Kerry Peresta (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Hunting by Author Kerry Peresta!

Author Guest Post 

There Should Be More To Chick Lit Than Getting The Guy

When I was younger, I devoured every long, steamy romance novel I could get my hands on. A week, tops, and I was done and on to the next. I graduated to epic, historical novels; quickly grew bored with them, and moved on to sterner stuff: Grisham, Patterson, Lee Child. Murder mysteries gave my brain something to do, plus they always seemed to have a little satisfying romance thrown in for my feminine soul. 

However, as far as genre went, I yearned for more. The light-hearted novels, Sex in the City, or The Devil Wears Prada didn't quite do it for me. Ditto to erotic, graphic, Danielle Steele books. Also the literary books - you know the ones – plodding along, outlining each detail in savory prose, describing characters, window treatments and countryside so completely entire chapters were devoted to each. 

I just could not seem to find something deeply satisfying. Give me a quick, fast, fun read with a great story, but please ditch the borderline erotica and gratuitous profanity in much of women's fiction. To make matters worse, many books were written at eighth-grade level, which I found a bit insulting. In fact, writers are told to write at this level, supposedly a reflection of the average reading level of most book enthusiasts. I respectfully disagree. 

After reading thousands of books, I decided to write my own. My first novel in 2009, currently tucked away on one of my computers under "PRACTICE NOVEL," was a tedious exercise, and not very good, so I decided to start with something shorter. I developed a humor column that was published weekly in a local newspaper. It helped me develop a great sense of timing, taught me how to write under pressure, and write concisely. I have to admit, the local notoriety was unexpected and somewhat addicting. After several conversations with my readers as people approached me in grocery stores or various places around town, I realized I had actually made people laugh and ponder at the same time. Freshly encouraged, I wrote another novel. 

My book, which was picked up by a publisher and released on in December, is a fast-paced mix of classic Chick Lit, Romance and Suspense with a side serving of irony. As an agent told me at a writers' conference in Baltimore, "Chick Lit is about women dealing with women's issues. Period." I thought that was a great summation of the genre, and my book, The Hunting, definitely falls within the parameters of this definition - minus steamy erotica, minus profanity, minus emphasis on an ill-fated but resurrected love affair. Add major snark, real-life, single mom issues, pressure-driven career stuff, and a hefty dose of inspiration. 

Most of the Chick Lit stuff I've read included (metaphorically) beaming, heart-shaped rainbows along the path of angst-ridden relationship that ultimately concluded with hand-in-hand silhouette moving slowly down the beach toward a perfect life together. Not-so-subtle message: Find the perfect guy and your problems will be over! Life is all about the perfect marriage – not even that, the perfect relationship! Moving in together is the ultimate commitment, right? The Unmarriage. 


I felt, as an alternative to the somewhat predictable Chick Lit formula, I might write a fast-paced, suspense-filled story tackling difficult issues women face: single parenthood, dealing with bizarre bosses, juggling client relationships, friendship. For instance, does a real friend dare to say the hard stuff, or let you fall and say I told you so? Where is the line between right and wrong? Is there a line? Why? Tough stuff. 

In a way, I wrote the book I'd love to read. I wrote the book I would want to talk about with a friend over a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It's Chick Lit on steroids. The sub-plot bursts through the final chapters in a messy ode to classic Chick Lit that goes something like this: 

It's okay to prioritize getting the perfect guy – as long as we are becoming the right kind of women along the way.

About The Author

Kerry Peresta's publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, The Lighter Side, and short stories in the published anthology, That One Left Shoe, and her debut novel, recently released by Pen-L Publishing, The Hunting, contemporary women's fiction. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter before deciding to devote more of her time to writing. She is currently working on her second novel, participating in writing conferences, and serving on the leadership team of the Maryland Writers' Association. Kerry was a single mother for many years to four great kids, all grown and successfully carving out their own unique paths. She and her husband live in the Baltimore metro area. Her novel, The Hunting, is available in Kindle version and hard copy on, and her website. Visit Kerry at


Book Review

The Hunting by Kerry Peresta
Publisher: Pen-L Publishing
Publication Date: November 24, 2013
Format: Paperback - 258 pages / Kindle - 1206 KB
ISBN: 1940222125
ASIN: B00H25O958
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Hunting

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 Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Isabelle Lewis, top advertising salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel newspaper, has a habit of falling in and out of marriage. After her last divorce, she shoved the emotional pain into a compartment in her brain to deal with later. With three teenagers to raise, bills to pay, and sales quotas to meet, introspection was a luxury she couldn't afford. Her mind needed a happy place.

When Isabelle (Izzy) discovered online dating, it immediately became her favorite stress reliever and best friend. Often, she'd steal into the night after her kids were asleep to meet someone new. One fateful evening, the hunt for the perfect guy took a sinister turn when the mystery man she met turned out to be her worst nightmare! Reluctantly pulled into a web of lies, Izzy is forced to confront her demons. 

Snarky, suspense-filled, and real, The Hunting is an exquisite entwining of the crippling emotional fallout of divorce with the quest for a healthy, fulfilling relationship. This inspirational story rivets!

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt from THE HUNTING By Kerry Peresta

I sit in my car a minute, adjusting to the darkness of the garage. My eyes land on the kids' car tucked in already, and I know they are inside the house, either asleep or going that direction, because I'd talked to them on the way home. I shake off the feeling that something is wrong, get out of the car, start up the stairs to the kitchen, reconsider and click on the overhead light in the garage to sniff around.

Brightness illuminates the area. Rakes, loppers, an air pump, and various gadgetry cling to a pegboard nailed to one wall; an aging lawnmower sits in a far corner with its best friend, the gas trimmer. Metal shelving climbs the back wall, loaded with fairly common family paraphernalia. My eyes scan the cement floor and the kids' car, searching for signs of inappropriate activity. I smell old grass, a little oil that has leaked from one of the cars, gas, paint thinner.

My heels striking the cement garage floor in the middle of the night remind me of old Law and Order episodes, where Eames and Goren discover a body in the garage, draped halfway out of a car, drenched in blood. I should stop watching those shows. Then I see it. Not tonight, my mind screams. Tonight? After this horribly long day? My stomach clenches in fear.

A tightly folded, small, white square mocks me from the windshield of my kids' car. What time is it, anyway, I mutter to myself as I cautiously approach the car, lift the windshield wiper, and hold the small square gingerly between thumb and forefinger. I grab my phone from my purse with my free hand and click the screen on. Almost midnight. Self-pity, despair, and several other emotions I have no energy to identify zip through me at warp speed. I turn off the garage light and climb the three stairs into the kitchen, firmly locking the door behind me. The note sails through the air and lands on the kitchen table.

I scroll quickly through my contacts to find Detective Faraday. His phone rings several times, a groggy voice answers. “Yeah?” Cough. “What?”

“Detective Faraday?” I whisper.

“You got him. What’s up?” I picture him wiping his eyes and focusing on a clock by his bed. Maybe a lovely wife by his side, sleeping. I feel awful for interrupting him at home.

“I got another note,” my voice is hushed, and has begun to warble. I am whispering because I don’t want to alarm the kids, but the stress has rushed to every extremity and overtaken my vocal cords. I cannot stop shaking. Detective Faraday is instantly alert.

“Okay. This is Izzy, right?”

I shake my head, realize someone on the other end of a phone call cannot see a head shake, and murmur “Yes.”

“All right, I'm going to call and get a patrol car out there immediately. What does the note say? By the way, we have analyzed fingerprints on the note, and it is definitely the man you indicated, so he is not using an alias. That’s good news, because it means he’s not trying to hide, and it’s probably not pre-meditated. Probably just a reaction to a personal crisis. Which, unfortunately, you seem to be triggering.”

“So what should I do?” I whisper.

“Read me the note, Izzy,” he says, calmly.

“It was on my kids' car.” I feel tears forming. One trails slowly down my cheek. I slap it away.

“Oh, man,” Detective Faraday whooshes out a long sigh. “You weren’t home, then? But your kids were?”

“Yeah, and I'm pretty sure the garage was locked. They know they are supposed to shut the garage door when they get home, no matter what.”

“Izzy, is there a window in your garage?” I think a minute. Yes! There is one in the small storage room at the back of the garage, one we never use.

“Well, yes, there is one in a storage room, but – ”

“Is it locked?” he barks. I start to cry.

“I don’t know! Why is this happening?”

“Go check, Izzy, right now. Keep me on the phone while you do it. Take a flashlight or a bat or something with you. I'll wait.”

The implication hits me that he wants me to find a weapon before I check the window. Seriously? I quietly enter my sons' room and pluck up the bat that is leaning against their bookshelf. They stir, but do not wake.

“Okay,” I whisper. “Got a bat. Heading for the garage.”

“I'm with you, Izzy. Be careful.”

His voice is reassuring and I am thinking how grateful I am for our police force. Funny. I am grateful now, but just let me get a speeding ticket. I enter the garage, and tiptoe toward the closed storage room door, my heart beating violently. I hold the bat in my right hand and turn the knob slowly with my left. The darkened room emerges bit by bit as the door creaks open. Light from the garage spills into the room, illuminating old cans of paint, a broken lamp, basketballs, a football, boxes. I push the door open further, and see the window, which is located high on the wall, shards of cobwebs hanging from the edges.

I lift the bat in pre-strike position as I push the door all the way open. I hear Detective Faraday’s breathing on the phone.

“What’s happening, Izzy?” he says, causing me to nearly jump out of my skin.

I locate the string that turns on the lone light bulb in the room, and pull. The forty-watt bulb creates an eerie glow. To my utter and profound relief, the room appears empty.

“I am in the storage room. It’s empty.”

I lean the bat against one of the boxes and look around.

“How often are you in that room, Izzy?”

“Rarely. It’s for stuff we don’t have room for. Kind of forget sometimes, that it’s here.”

“Okay,” he says, “go to the window and check the lock.”

My nose wrinkles in disgust. “Okay,” I say and move aside two squashed storage boxes. Looking around, I locate something to stand on, and reach up to check the latch. Push up on the window, which holds. Try again, and it reluctantly slides open. “It’s not locked,” I say, miserably.

“Lock it,” Detective Faraday says. “Don’t worry, Izzy, we'll get him."

My Book Review:

In author Kerry Peresta's debut women's fiction novel, The Hunting, the reader follows the daily life challenges that newspaper retail advertising sales rep Isabelle "Izzy" Lewis faces as a single mother of three teenage children.

After three failed marriages, Izzy becomes addicted to hunting online dating sites, searching for a man who will be interested in a serious and committed relationship. As Izzy pursues an obsessive online search for a suitable man, she encounters daily trials and tribulations of balancing life as a single mom with a high-pressure job of meeting retail advertising sales quotas at a popular newspaper while dealing with office drama and a sleazy new boss. Izzy's life takes a life-changing turn when her online dating habits gets her into serious trouble when she attracts a mysterious man who turns into an online stalker and her worse nightmare. The daily challenges and online dating drama forces Izzy to face the frenetic circumstances in her life.

Author Kerry Peresta weaves an intriguing tale set in Chatbrook Springs, Georgia, that follows the first person narrative of Izzy Lewis, as her quest to find a fulfilling relationship is interwoven with the challenges of being a single mother and career woman. You can't help but get drawn into Izzy's story as she gives a realistic depiction of her life and daily challenges. Told in the present time and interwoven with flashbacks to her past failed marriages, the reader gets to know this sassy capable single mother, and is able to easily relate to her life circumstances. The story has a great mixture of humor, drama and suspense that keeps the reader engaged and guessing what will become of Izzy's life and family, as they follow her quest to find love and happiness. Izzy's journey is filled with grit, emotions, and realistic trials and tribulations, you can't help but cheer her on as she discovers what matters most in life.

The Hunting is a fast-paced entertaining and uplifting story that you won't be able to put down.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Everyone who leaves a comment on The Hunting tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of The Hunting before January 6 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule 

Tour Schedule:

December 16 – The Book Tart – Guest Post 
December 17 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
December 18 – Fiction Dreams – Excerpt 
December 19 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Excerpt
December 23 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post & Excerpt
December 27 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
December 30 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt 
December 31 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Excerpt
January 2 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
January 3 – Books in the Burbs – Review & Excerpt
January 3- Authors and Readers Book Corner – Review
January 6 – Me, Bookshelf & I – Excerpt

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Saving Jackie K by L.D.C. Fitzgerald (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Saving Jackie K by Author L.D.C. Fitzgerald!

Author Guest Post

The Lee Harvey Oswald Contradiction:
A Presidential Assassin Whose Getaway Car Was A City Bus
By: L.D.C. Fitzgerald

Welcome! Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m author L.D.C. Fitzgerald, and I’m delighted to be your guest blogger today. My novel, SAVING JACKIE K, is a thrilling adventure to rescue the First Lady, a story with a twist on the Kennedy Conspiracy.

In my novel, Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in the assassination plot, but the scheme was masterminded by an unexpected figurehead. Who was Oswald in real life?

On October 18, 1939, a boy who would become infamous was born in New Orleans to a recent widow. Lee Harvey Oswald’s father had died two months before his birth, forsaking him to a virtually unsupervised childhood as the youngest of three brothers. In his own autobiographical notes, Oswald described himself as “the son of a Insurance Salesman whose early death left a mean streak of independence brought on by neglect.”

Days after his seventeenth birthday, Oswald dropped out of school to enlist in the US Marine Corps, following in the footsteps of his idolized brother, Robert. The young military enlistee was deployed in Japan and islands in the South Pacific. Like all marines, he learned to shoot, and earned the distinction of Marksman, a level below that of Sharpshooter, on a scale of Marksman-Sharpshooter-Expert.

Oswald had already declared himself to be a Marxist by the age of fifteen, and while in military service he dedicated his free time to the unusual hobby of learning to speak and read Russian. In September 1959 he received a hardship discharge from active service, claiming his ailing mother needed his assistance. 

His self-taught rudimentary Russian skills proved to be part of a longer-term plan when in October 1959, the twenty-year-old defected to the USSR. After an apparent suicide attempt, he was granted a menial job at the Gorizont Electronics plant in Minsk. He received a stipend and an apartment. He married a Russian girl he had known for six weeks, Marina Prusakova, in an effort to make another girlfriend jealous. In Oswald’s Historic Diary penned in the Soviet Union, he wrote, “In spite of [the] fact I married Marina to hurt Ella, I found myself in love with Marina.”

Less than two years later, Oswald grew bored with the Spartan life in Russia, writing, “I am starting to reconsider my desire about staying. The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent. No nightclubs or bowling alleys, no places of recreation except the trade union dances. I have had enough.” Together with his wife and infant daughter, he began the long process of returning to the US.

In America, Oswald bounced around, living in various locations in Texas and Louisiana. After gaining some notoriety by passing out leaflets in New Orleans for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, he was interviewed by local press. He announced his political affiliations: “I will very definitely say that I am a Marxist, that is correct. But that does not mean, however, that I am a communist.”

The Oswalds wound up in the Dallas area, where Lee found work at the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza. Another daughter was born to the young couple, but Lee did not live with his family. He rented an elfin room in Oak Cliff, while Marina resided in Irving with her friend, Mrs. Ruth Paine.

According to the Warren Commission Report, Lee Harvey Oswald brought his bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to work on the morning of November 22, 1963. As the president’s motorcade passed in front of the Book Depository, Oswald fired three shots out of the sixth floor window, injuring Texas Governor John Connally, and mortally wounding President John F. Kennedy. The alleged assassin then engaged in an ill-conceived escape plan. Since Oswald didn’t have a license, nor could he drive, he boarded a bus that headed back toward the scene of the crime. After getting ensnarled in crime-scene traffic, he hopped off and hailed a taxi which took him to the vicinity of his boarding house. He retrieved a pistol, and gunned down a police officer in cold blood several blocks away. He then hid out in a movie theater where he was arrested.

In custody, Oswald denied any wrongdoing. “I didn’t shoot anybody.” He blamed his arrest on his defection to Russia. “They’ve taken me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union. I’m just a patsy!” While being transferred to the county jail two days later, Oswald himself was fatally shot by nightclub owner, Jack Ruby, silencing him forever.

Lee Harvey Oswald was a passionate young man who followed his dream to defect to Communist Russia, and then became bitterly disillusioned when he recognized the utter drudgery of his life, and the imperfections of the political system he idealized.

Oswald was an oddball, a malcontent, and a lone nut. A man smart enough to teach himself to read and speak Russian, he was incapable of holding down even menial jobs. A self-declared Marxist, he executed his fanatical defection to Russia with foresight and tenacity, but he never learned the simple skill of driving a car. 

Did Oswald kill President Kennedy? I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusion.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out my novel SAVING JACKIE K for a thrilling fictional account of Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK conspiracy.

The story begins in present day, in a world where fifty years ago Soviet assassins missed President Kennedy, killing his wife Jackie by mistake. The death of Jackie K engenders a chronic devastating war with Russia, the country purportedly responsible for the attack. In 2013, a team of renegades accidentally discovers time travel and decides to return to 1963 to save the First Lady. Learn more at

Thanks for joining me today!

About The Author

L.D.C. Fitzgerald is the author of SAVING JACKIE K, a thrilling adventure to rescue the First Lady. In writing a story with an unexpected twist on the Kennedy Conspiracy, Fitzgerald relentlessly researched the facts regarding the JFK assassination, and wove them into a fictional world.

The author name L.D.C. Fitzgerald is, in fact, a pseudonym representing the combined talents of two writers: Lisa D. and Dave C. Lisa is a recovering Marketing Executive, having spent two decades researching consumer insights. Dave, a self-educated computer geek, has been selling his soul to corporate America for over a quarter century.

You can visit their book’s website at


Saving Jackie K - Video Trailer

Book Review

Saving Jackie K by L.D.C. Fitzgerald
Publisher: Ursa Minor Publishing
Publication Date: July 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover / Paperback - 382 pages / Kindle - 1036 KB 
ISBN: 0983747318
Genre: Historical Fiction / Action Thriller / Conspiracy Theories / Time Travel

BUY THE BOOK: Saving Jackie K

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 Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

The First Lady in Danger?

Jump into the past to save her!

Enter an upside-down world where Soviet henchmen botched their mission to eliminate John F. Kennedy fifty years ago, slaying his wife Jackie instead. The unthinkable crime incites Americans and triggers an unending war with Russia.

In present day, as the two superpowers teeter on the brink of mutual destruction, a team of outlaws discovers a way to jump through time. The wisecracking felons decide to take matters into their own hands by traveling back to 1963 to save Jackie K. To fix the future, they must right the wrongs of the past.

But, their mission may go awry . . .

Book Excerpt:

Chapter Twenty-Three 

Monday, September 23, 2013 

1:00 pm – PDT

After lunch, Dee corralled the team around the diorama on the workbench. “First, some background for context. Let’s travel to the past to November 1963. President Kennedy has embarked on a tour of five Texas cities, including San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin. Tragically, he’ll never make it to his final destination. The tour’s objective is to garner support for his ’64 reelection campaign, which is already heating up. Although JFK won the Lone Star State in 1960, his popularity as a Democrat in the South is waning. Thus, various speeches, appearances, and motorcades are planned in each location to give the incumbent maximum exposure to the population. No one could fathom the tragic outcome in Dallas.”

Dee gestured to the foam board. “Here is our rendition of Dealey Plaza. Perhaps surprisingly, the park has not changed much in the past fifty years. If we visited in present day, we’d be hard pressed to notice the minor differences such as signs and lampposts. The map is oriented with north pointing up. Main Street runs east-west along the bottom, while Houston is on the right-hand edge going north-south. Houston is lined on the east by the Dallas County Criminal Courts Building and the Dallas County Records Building.” She touched the tissue boxes representing the structures. “At the top right, Elm Street intersects Houston. The Texas School Book Depository Building with its fabled Hertz billboard and clock on the roof sits on their northwest corner. Elm bisects the plaza in a southwesterly arc to the left, forming a triangular expanse between Main and Elm known as the infield.” Dee swiped her hand across the green area.

“Note that we show only half of the park. A mirror image exists to the south, with Commerce Street forming the bottom of the triangle arc. The three thoroughfares—Elm, Main, and Commerce—converge to the west under a railroad trestle known as the Triple Underpass. North of Elm is a concrete structure called the Pergola, a round archway facing forward. The back wall and top are semi-enclosed, with large rectangular openings allowing sunlight to stream inside. In front are concrete columns and a few steps leading down the sloping hill known as the Grassy Knoll. A longer staircase on the left proceeds from the railroad parking lot in the northwest down to the sidewalk.” She pointed to the magic marker walkway near the flimsy construction paper half-moon.

“Now, let’s time travel to Friday, November 22, 1963. Picture a gorgeous day with sunny skies and mild temperatures. Air Force One touches down at Love Field Airport in Dallas at 11:40 am Central Standard Time. The President and First Lady exit the plane to the cheers of the waiting crowd, while city officials present Jacqueline with a bouquet of a dozen red roses. Mr. Kennedy’s charcoal gray suit is unmemorable. However, Mrs. Kennedy is wearing a custom-made, double-breasted pink Chanel suit with matching pillbox hat. Her dark navy silk blouse dramatically contrasts with the ensemble. It’s no exaggeration to claim that spectators were as excited to see Jackie as they were to see Jack. The couple walks along a chain-link fence greeting their well-wishers. To the dismay of his Secret Service agents, JFK stops on enumerable occasions to chat and shake hands. Ten minutes later, he finally boards his limousine for the parade through the heart of downtown, with the intention of heading to the Trade Mart for a luncheon speech.”

Dee began to place Lilliputian vehicles on Houston Street. “The motorcade consists of twenty-odd automobiles and an assortment of motorcycle police.” 

“Wait.” Jay held up an index finger. “Your grandfather was in the motorcade, right?”

“Unfortunately, no. The detail primarily included city officers, and granddad’s beat was in the suburbs. He would have loved to be part of it, though. He had voted for Kennedy and admired him, at least up until then.” Dee gave a wry shrug before continuing. “Okay, so a phalanx of Dallas motorcycle cops start the procession, followed by the pilot car and four more motorcycles. Their chief purpose is to keep spectators from spilling into the road. Next is the lead car carrying police and Secret Service tasked with scanning observers and buildings for anything suspicious. Here is the presidential limousine.” She placed a replica on the board. “Imagine American and presidential flags billowing from the front quarter panels. A specially designed 1961 Lincoln convertible, it has two collapsible jump seats between the front and back seats. A narrow foothold on the bumper and two inverted U-shaped bars on the trunk allow Secret Service members to climb aboard and hold on when necessary. In the rearmost bench seat, Kennedy rides on the passenger side with his wife beside him.”

“What the hell were they thinking?” Bick thumped his fist on the table, causing the models to quiver. “It’s inconceivable that the president was out in the open like a sitting duck. Today’s agents would never permit it.”

“I know. It’s not like presidents hadn’t been targeted before.” Dee shook her head at the senselessness. “Anyway, passengers in the jump seats are Texas Governor John Connally Jr. in front of JFK, and his wife Nellie in front of Jackie. Secret Service Agent William Greer drives, while his colleague Roy Kellerman rides shotgun. Two motorcycle cops flank the rear of the Commander-in-Chief’s limo. The follow-up car trails behind, overflowing with Secret Service, including two each on the side running boards. The vice president’s car comes next, carrying Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson.”

“Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute.” Quin emphasized his drawl. “How does some fancy southern belle wind up with the name Lady Bird?” “Nickname, to be exact. She was born Claudia Alta Taylor, after her Uncle Claud. When she was a baby, her nursemaid proclaimed her ‘purty as a ladybird’ and it stuck. No one seems to remember her birth name. Doubly unlucky for Mrs. Johnson, a ladybird is more commonly called a ladybug.”

“Sheesh. An insect.”

“Yeah.” Dee raised her eyebrows, proud of the depth of her knowledge. “The remainder of the caravan consists of various dignitaries, White House communications, reporters, photographers, police, and an official party bus for White House staff.”

“Official party bus?” Sera scoffed.

“Yes, believe it or not. I’m led to believe the designation was fairly accurate, too, with a lot of drinking and smoking going on.”

Dee motioned to the diorama. “Back to the lay of the land. Our home movie buff, dressmaker Abraham Zapruder, is perched on a concrete abutment in front of the left side of the Pergola, with his receptionist Marilyn Sitzman standing behind him.” She pointed to the tiny figures.

“Mr. Zapruder simply wanted to record a piece of history.” Jay scratched his head. “He had no idea his eight millimeter camera would capture the most sensational assassination of the century. We’re fortunate Dee owns a rare copy of the infamous reel.”

“Now, the KGB. There are three operatives: Ivan Grekovich, Dmitriy Sokolov, and Viktor Vladimirsky. They used American aliases for documents, of course, but we will use their proper Russian names for simplicity. I’ll provide you with their photos and dossiers later. Ivan is prowling in front of the Pergola to the right of Zapruder. Dmitriy and Viktor are skulking on the other side of Elm Street in the infield. They are spread out so Viktor will be the first that JFK will pass.” Dee put red soldiers on the board indicating their positions. “We used toy militia to differentiate them from ordinary citizens.” She blushed at the odd method of demarcation.

Frank hefted up the Dmitriy figure in his palm. “You mean they were standing out in the open in the middle of all those people? I thought KGB spies were supposed to be the best-trained covert assassins in the world. But these guys don’t sound too bright to me.”

“Frank, you make an excellent point.” Iggy held out her hand for Dmitriy. “From what I recall there was a lot of speculation as to why they blatantly tried to gun down the president in public. Many concluded the three spies were patsies who were meant to be caught. That way, the US would strike first in the war and the USSR could claim it responded in defense. But nobody will ever know the true story. It’s just a conspiracy theory.” She placed the character back in position.

“Let’s concentrate on the key cars involved.” Dee pushed the other vehicles aside. “It’s 12:29 in the afternoon when the entourage heads north on Houston and makes a sharp left onto Elm, passing the gathering crowds on both sides.” She started rolling the matchbox presidential limo on the diorama and butted the motorcycles up behind it. “Fewer onlookers show up in Dealey than elsewhere; they line the curb only one person deep. Perhaps that helps explain the KGB’s brazenness.” She glanced up, astonished to see the whole crew riveted to her narrative.

“At 12:30 pm, the open-top black sedan nears Viktor on the infield. He is supposed to shoot the driver to slow the vehicle. But he draws early and misses, the bullet lodging in Agent Greer’s door. Governor Connally hears the deafening crack, sees the shiny weapon, and cries, ‘My God, they’re gonna kill us all!’ In heroic fashion, this former Navy lieutenant commander—who won a Bronze Star for bravery in World War II—turns to the president, tackles him, and tries to wrestle him to the floor. Obviously, he assumes JFK is in danger. By the Pergola, Ivan concurrently aims at Kennedy, but by now Connally is in the direct line of fire. His shot goes through the governor’s neck and lodges in the president’s shoulder. Neither wound is fatal. The noise and chaos cause driver Greer to brake in confusion, giving the KGB more opportunity. Witnessing Connally’s actions, a terrified Jackie turns toward her husband as Dmitriy pulls the trigger from further down the infield. The bullet rips into Mrs. Kennedy’s back, shattering a lung.” Swallowing with a gulp, Dee paused. 

Sam took advantage of the hesitation. “What a colossal screw-up. I can’t believe the ineptitude of the KGB. A single target and they missed? I’ll wager it shouldn’t be too hard to stop these clowns.”

“One step at a time, Sam.” Dee turned back to the model. “Secret Service members in the follow-up car react immediately. Clinton J. Hill races toward the Lincoln convertible and mounts the bumper footstep. George W. Hickey Jr. cocks his rifle from the rear seat, while the other agents simultaneously draw their weapons. Right after the third shot, Special Agent John D. Ready leaps off the passenger side running board, and gallops up to the Pergola, where Ivan aims back at him. Ready shoots the commie in the head, killing him instantly. Meanwhile, Greer accelerates out of Dealey through the Triple Underpass with Agent Hill lying across the top of the back seat as a shield. Bobby Hargis, a motorcycle cop who flanked the driver’s side of the president’s car, guns his bike and jumps the curb onto the infield, chasing Viktor as he sprints after Dmitriy. While steering one-handed, Hargis manages to pull his gun with his free hand and nails Viktor in the behind as he tries to escape.”

Quin exclaimed, “He shot him in the ass?”

“Yes.” Dee smiled shyly. “Although wounded, Viktor continues to lope ahead, so Hargis hops off the bike to give chase. He catches up and body slams Viktor. Dmitriy bolts to the getaway car they left on Main Street and peels away. As you can predict, pandemonium reigns in the plaza as citizens duck and cover or flee for their lives.” She pantomimed her fingers running up the staircase next to the Pergola toward the railway parking lot.

“With sirens wailing, the motorcade races to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where JFK and Connally are treated. With severe injuries, the governor needs six hours of surgery to repair the damage, while the president is patched up with minimal intervention. Sadly, the First Lady is pronounced dead on arrival.” Dee sniffed.

“A Roman Catholic, the slain mother is given a public viewing in the rotunda of the Capitol Building in DC on Sunday. On Monday, she is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. I’m sure you remember the disturbing photo of daughter Caroline placing her teddy bear on the casket at the gravesite.” Dee dabbed the corner of her eyes with a tissue.

Iggy patted her shoulder. “I watched the coverage live. Seven years old, I sat in front of the TV playing with my dolls, mesmerized and frightened. Every station broadcast the footage; you couldn’t escape it. I identified with Caroline, who was just shy of her sixth birthday. I worried that someone would hurt my mommy as well.”

Dee cleared her throat. “Afterwards, captive Viktor remains loyal to the homeland and never talks. It isn’t until his comrade Dmitriy is caught at the Russian embassy in Mexico City that we uncover the truth. Under duress, he sells out his superior, Leonid Novikov, who was the mastermind of the operation.”

Sam interjected, “And that’s when Kennedy makes his notorious speech threatening the Soviets with retaliation. He unashamedly cries for his loss and parades his motherless children before the media.”

Dee furrowed her forehead. “I guess you could look at it that way.” She switched on the old-fashioned projector they had purchased at the Hobby Hut. “Now, let me show you the Zapruder film.” She turned off the lights and the grainy, hand-held movie flickered on the wall. The reel thrummed its spinning cadence as they watched in silence.

No one spoke for a few moments.

Bick finally stated the obvious. “Okay. We know what happened. How do we prevent it?”

Dee sighed. “I’m working on it.”

My Book Review:

Saving Jackie K is a riveting historical fiction story that delves into the JFK assassination and conspiracy theories through an intriguing interweaving of historical factual accounts extensively researched from public records with a fictional time travel action thriller. The authors weaves a fascinating story that transports the readers from the present time back to 1963 with an exciting storyline that will captivate the reader's attention from the beginning  and keep them guessing and turning the pages.

I loved the blending of fact and fiction throughout the storyline, it makes the reader ponder "what if" in a realistic and believable way. This is an action packed story that takes the reader on an exhilarating thrill ride, it has a large cast of real life characters (Kennedy, Johnson, Hoover, Nixon Oswald, Ruby ... even a surprise one in Oliver North) and fictional characters, intriguing twists and turns, and a touch of sci-fi via time travel and futuristic technology that turns the story up a notch.

The authors have extensively researched the JFK assassination and the relative conspiracy theories, they provide the reader with a fascinating mini history lesson within the auspices of the storyline, and the interweaving of truths and theories will keep the reader engrossed until the end.

Saving Jackie K is a thought-provoking story that JFK assassination conspiracy buffs will definitely enjoy.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, December 2 – Interview & Book Giveaway at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Tuesday, December 3 – Book Trailer Reveal at Confessions of a Reader
Wednesday, December 4 – Book Review, First Chapter Reveal & Book Trailer Reveal at Miki’s Hope
Thursday, December 5 – Guest Blogging, First Chapter Reveal & Book Trailer Reveal at Lori’s Reading Corner
Friday, December 6 – Book Featured at Virginia Beach Publishing Examiner
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Friday, December 13 – Book Review at Blooming With Books
Monday, December 16 – First Chapter Reveal at The Book Connection
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Tuesday, December 17 – Book Featured at IceFairy’s Treasure Chest
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Thursday, December 19 – Book Featured at Authors & Readers Book Corner
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Monday, December 23 – Book Review at Hanging Off the Wire
Thursday, December 26 – Book Review, Guest Blogging, First Chapter Reveal & Book Trailer Reveal at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Friday, December 27 – Guest Blogging & First Chapter Reveal at Crystal’s Many Reviews