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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Right Design by Isabella Louise Anderson (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Author Isabella Louise Anderson, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a virtual book event for her debut novel, The Right Design!

Author Guest Post

My "National Novel Writing Month" Adventures

After numerous days of below temperatures, power outages, and countless snow days, it just turned into spring here in Texas. Normally, I’d be okay with this because I enjoy grilling outside with my husband, and having fun with friends. I’m very excited that baseball is finally here (go, Rangers), but I’m already wishing for fall. Why? Well, I’ve always loved cold weather, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I love sipping on hot toddies by the fire. However, what excites me the most is that November is National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is where one writes a book in 30 days. 50,000 words is what the goal that need to have achieved at the end of them month, which averages out to 1,667 words a day. Not bad, I thought to myself. “I can do that!” So, on November 1st, of 2011 I sat down and starting writing The Right Design, which was published March 8th, 2014, and didn’t look back.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I just started writing and voilĂ , it was finished. There were struggles along the way. I had days where I asked myself why I was attempting this challenge. I had days were I really disliked my book, thinking it was too cheesy, and there were days when I simply didn’t feel like writing. And, since it was Thanksgiving and had family in town, I had to manage my time between work and family time. However, that I didn’t stop me. I wanted to give this challenge everything I had, and I’m glad I did. I feel grateful to have endured countless days and nights where dishes were filled to the brim in the sink, laundry was overloaded, and to have my neglected my loving husband who was cheering me on the whole time.

In November of 2013, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo once again. I was crazier this time around. Edits for The Right Design were with my editors, so what else did I have to do? Write, of course! I went about it in a different way the second time around. For my next release, which is titled Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop, I decided to give outlining a shot. I’m normally an organized person, but for everything I’d ever done before, I was a panster, and didn’t plan it out. For Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop, the planning just came natural to me, which made the writing easier. It was a little shocking that I wrote the entire first draft in 17 days, and my average word count was 3,000.

I participated in NaNoWriMo and won two times, and so can you!

If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, but haven’t had the motivation, NaNoWriMo can help. Here are three tips on how to survive it:

NaNoWriMo takes dedication! One of the most important and necessary things an author must have is dedication. If you don’t have an idea for your book, with an average of 1,667 words a day, it’s okay to start slow. Whether you have a day job, kids at home, a spouse who needs your constant attention, as long as you’re focused on your goals to write and “win” NaNoWriMo. It’s not for the rest of your life; it’s only 30 days. You can do it!

Take it a day at a time! Like I mentioned above, I had good days and bad days, but if you take it one day at a time, you will get there. It doesn’t matter how bad the writing or grammar is. You can always edit later, but as long as you get your first draft written, the second, third, or however many come after, you’ll have something to work with. If you don’t make your daily goal, then try giving yourself thirty minutes of extra writing the next day.

Have fun! If you think you have to be chained to your computer for a month, you don’t. I highly recommend you have fun, too! Go out with your family and friends, and look at this as a way to do research for your book. Try to watch and observe. Listen to other people’s conversations, and watch how people act. Maybe try going somewhere you’ve never been, and sit and watch. I’m guaranteed that you’ll be ready to write the second you get back to your WIP.

About The Author

Isabella Louise Anderson grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn’t blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with writing and editing.

Isabella Louise Anderson created Chick Lit Goddess to share the love of the following genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Romance, and Romantic Comedies! She loves featuring authors and their books.

She lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading.

Isabella’s short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design is her first novel.


Book Review

The Right Design by Isabella Louise Anderson
Publisher: Chick Lit Goddess
Publication Date: March 8, 2014
Format: e-Book - 173 pages / Kindle - 1228 KB / Nook - 400 KB
ISBN: 0991416716
BNID: 2940149305407
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: The Right Design

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

Book Description:

Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life.

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job—Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be cad.

But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him—something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.

Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one…?

Book Excerpt:

When Carrie arrived at Nick & Johnnie’s, she felt like a fish out of water compared to the model-like, flirtatious women who were practically draped over men who could pass as their fathers. She spotted three empty seats at the bar and took a seat in the middle, giving herself room between couples.

“What can I get you?” asked the bartender, who had his head down, not looking at her.

Whatever you’re willing to give, was the first thing that came to mind. Instead, she said, “I’ll have a dirty vodka martini, straight up, please,” with a flirty smile across her face.

Oliver gave Carrie a double take. He flashed a wide grin, showing off his dimples. “Hey, you came! I take it you’re not too ‘tired’ after all,” he said, using air quotes. He leaned his forearms alongside the bar. “What kind of vodka?”

When she hesitated, he pointed to the large array behind him.

“Ketel One,” she finally responded, pointing to the only bottle she recognized.

“Are you over twenty-one, young lady?”

“Oh, stop.” Carrie rolled her eyes playfully. She felt her cheeks burn with a type of eagerness she hadn’t felt in years. He was flirting with her, and she liked it.

“No need to be shy. You’re a beautiful woman,” he said, and turned around to start making her drink.

Carrie couldn’t take her eyes off of his arms, his body, his…everything. She hadn’t met anyone who resembled a soap opera star the way he did. She watched him sweep his shoulder-length dark hair away from his eyes and shake the vodka, cooling the liquid in a cocktail shaker. He poured her drink slowly and carefully into her martini glass.

“Regular, or blue cheese olives?”

“Regular,” Carrie said quickly, cringing at her distaste for blue cheese, and moments later, he placed the drink in front of her. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

As she slid her fingers around the stem, she slowly brought the chilled glass to her lips, closing her eyes as the cool vodka slid down her throat.

“Orgasmic, isn’t it?” a seductive voice whispered into her ear.

Startled by the warm breath on her skin, she quickly swallowed and turned to face the man who stood beside her only inches away. She placed her drink on the bar and steadied herself in her chair.

The gorgeous man pointed to the seat beside her, where her purse lay. “Is this seat taken?”

Carrie nodded, with a hard swallow. “No,” she replied, moving her purse from the chair onto the bar in front of her. She faced forward and hugged her purse close to her chest, not saying another word to the stranger. Carrie nervously smiled at Oliver, who had been watching her every move, while still waiting on other patrons, and wondered if he noticed her uneasy expression.

From the corner of her eye, Carrie watched the man take a seat beside her. Her eyes raked over his black suit, gray button-down shirt, and black alligator dress shoes. His short, sun-kissed hair was casually brushed to the left and part of it covered one eye, which gave him a hint of mystery.

“You’re new around here, aren’t you?” the exquisite man asked.

She nodded. “Yes,” she replied, and fiddled with her cocktail napkin.

He held out a hand. “I’m Brad, Brad Larson,” giving the old James Bond-style introduction.

In slow motion, Carrie shook his hand. “Hi,” she said, getting a whiff of way too much alcohol on his breath. “I’m Carrie.”

After Brad ordered a scotch and soda from Oliver, he swiveled his chair and faced her. “So, Kay, tell me about yourself,” he said as he placed his hand on her naked thigh.

Kay? “My name is Carrie,” she repeated, quickly pulling her leg from his grasp. If it weren’t for the strong scent of alcohol on his breath or his forwardness, she wouldn’t have minded his touch. It gave her goose bumps all over her body and made her heart pound faster. She took one last long sip, gathered her purse, and stood up, unsuccessfully waving to get Oliver’s attention to pay her tab.

“Leaving already? Weren’t we getting to know each other?” He pointed a finger back and forth between him and Carrie. “Come on, how ’bout you come back to my place, and—” His voice had lowered and his speech began to slur.

“There is no way in hell that will ever happen,” Carrie said, not giving him a chance to finish his sentence. She opened her purse, pulled out a twenty, and dropped it on the bar.

“Don’t be like that, doll. I’m only trying to be friendly.”

“Yeah, well,” she retorted in a harsh tone, pausing for a moment to admire how alluring he appeared to be, which was sadly marred by the way he was acting. She took a deep breath, and added, “Try being a gentleman. It might get you somewhere.”

Carrie turned her back to him and bolted out of the restaurant. When she stepped outside, she wondered why she’d decided to go out at all, upset that she didn’t get to finish her martini, no matter how orgasmic it, Oliver, or Brad Larson were. As she walked to her car, she felt Brad’s eyes on her, from where he still sat the bar, with a drink in his hand. Carrie got in her car and sped away, hoping she’d never run into him again.

When she arrived home, she locked the door behind her and kicked off her heels, then leaned her head against the door. Living in Florida would certainly be an adventure.

“Dammit!” She cursed herself for not stopping at a liquor store on her way home. While she hadn’t planned on drinking a lot, a couple of drinks would calm her down, especially after meeting Brad Larson. She ran her hands through her hair, wondering why he’d have to be such an intoxicated ass. After turning off the lights, Carrie went upstairs and put sheets on the air mattress, thankful that she had something comfortable and warm to fall into. “Please let tomorrow be better than tonight,” she said to the silent room, and then she closed her eyes.


Carrie woke up at six-thirty to allow herself enough time to get ready for her interview with England Bordeaux. She remembered what Renee had told her about him, and as nervousness gnawed at her, she clenched her jaw. Hoping that Renee had put in a good word for her, she wanted to live up to those expectations. Dressed for success in her favorite navy-blue pantsuit and red platform heels, Carrie took one last look in the mirror, hurried down the stairs, and left for her interview.

As Carrie made her way to meet England, she took in the morning scenery in Palm Beach—brilliant colored flowers, smiles plastered on walkers’ and joggers’ faces, and the bluest ocean she’d ever seen. Sliding on her Chanel sunglasses, she took in the bright sun and wished she were at the beach, enjoying a book and drinking a strawberry daiquiri with a rum floater. “In due time,” she mumbled to herself.

Arriving at Ocean Designs twenty minutes early, Carrie opened the door and went inside, crossing her fingers that she’d get the job.

“Hi, I’m Carrie Newman. I have an interview with Mr. Bordeaux,” she said to the receptionist who looked to be in her early forties, thanks to the magic of plastic surgery. Her thin, aged hands said she was more likely in her mid-sixties.

The woman stood to greet her. “Yes, hi,” she said in a thick New York accent, extending her hand to Carrie. “I’m Elaine Fischer.”

“Nice to meet you.”

“Would you like a cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps a bottled water?”

Carrie shook her head, and Elaine offered her a seat in the area across from her desk.

Carrie sat on the oversized luxury leather sofa, glancing at the frames that hung on the coral-colored walls. Completed projects were photographed and below each one was a gold plaque with a name and date under each picture. Only a few were by Mr. Bordeaux, most were by other employees. Carrie admired several, and there were only a few that she didn’t know what to make of because of hideous color schemes.

With butterflies in her stomach, she flipped through about twelve pages of Architectural Digest without really paying attention to the pictures or reading the articles. When she heard her name, she looked up and saw a man standing a couple of feet away from her.

“Hello, Carrie. I’m England Bordeaux.”

“Hello,” she said cheerfully, jumping up to greet him. “Nice to meet you. I’ve heard a lot about you.” She shook his hand and looked him over. England stood an inch taller than she and wore khaki slacks, a brown collared shirt, and, surprisingly, cowboy boots, which reminded Carrie of back home. England’s thin black hair lay flat on his round head, and his gold, rectangular glasses gave him an air of sophistication. He eerily resembled Benjamin Linus from the TV show Lost.

He put his left hand up to his mouth as he exaggerated the shock. “I’m assuming from Renee, right? I hope it wasn’t all bad,” he joked, and Carrie shook her head. “Well, good. Please, follow me.”

Once they were in his office, he said, “Tell me about yourself,” and took a seat in a high-back, brown leather chair behind a glass desk. He placed his hands on the desk and entwined his fingers. A giant smile spanned across his face as he waited for her answer.Crap, I forgot to bring an extra resume! Jeez, Carrie, pull it together! “Did Renee send you my resume?” She fought against the quiver that insisted on being in her voice.

He nodded. “She did and I looked it over, but I want to know about you, not who you are on paper.”

Carrie crossed her legs and tugged at the hem of her pants, a nervous habit she’d had most of her life. “Well, I graduated from Syracuse and interned at Sawyer Design & Associates, where I’ve been until now.” She thought about explaining why she had moved to Florida, but decided not to add anything personal and hoped her answer would suffice.

He gently leaned back in his chair, still wearing his grin. “What do you like best about design?” he asked her.

Carrie relaxed her shoulders. I can do this! For about five minutes, she told Mr. Bordeaux about how much she loved all facets of design from architecture and furniture to landscape. He questioned her as to what she would do given several different scenarios. Mr. Bordeaux seemed to be impressed as she spoke. “But, most of all, I love introducing people to various types of design, especially interior design. I want people to express their own taste, but I sometimes think people are afraid of change and don’t experiment enough with color and texture, which can often-times be added to their own style. I want to help them discover that.”

“Carrie, you seem like you’d be a wonderful asset to our company. Welcome to Ocean Designs.”

The interview was that easy? “Oh, thank you, Mr. Bordeaux. I really appreciate this opportunity,” she gushed.

“Please, call me England.” He looked down and then asked in a direct business-like voice, “Would you be willing to start today? My lead interior designer is on maternity leave.”

Carrie jumped at the chance. “Absolutely!”

“Good. I had planned to take on a giant task myself, but I think you’d be much better suited for the job.” England gave Carrie a hopeful smile.

“Of course!” She began to wonder just how “giant” this project would be.

After he explained what her first project would involve, he said, “I’m giving you this project because Renee raved on and on about you. If you need help or have any questions, you can come to me about anything. My door is always open.”

“Thank you, England. I will.”

“Now, let me walk you around and introduce you to your new co-workers.”

The tour ended with the arrival at her personal office, a corner space seven doors down from his. With the exception of a desk and chair, a worktable, and a desktop computer, the office was practically empty.

“This is Erin’s office. She’s the one on maternity leave, but it’s yours temporarily. I hope you’ll be comfortable here.”

She assured him that she would and he left. Carrie walked around the desk and sat down, not quite believing the good fortune she’d had since moving to Florida. With the exception of Brad Larson, of course.

As she looked over the file for her first project at Ocean Designs, she felt confident that she could do the job of making over the twenty-thousand-square-foot home. This had to be the biggest project that had ever come her way, but she looked forward to the challenge. While Carrie read what the owner requested on the profile, she took note of the little facts about the house and how long the current owner had possessed it. The words “The house needs a woman’s touch,” caught her eye, piquing curiosity. With the client profile in hand (which mysteriously didn’t have the owner’s name on it), she grabbed her purse and headed to England’s office.

He looked up and waved his hand. “Come on in.”

“I’ve looked everything over, and I think I can do a lot for the house, per the owner’s requests, especially because the house has only been in current possession for a few months.”

Carrie’s mind began rolling with ideas, and she couldn’t hide the excitement pumping through her as she shared her ideas with England.

Before Carrie left his office, England said, “Word of advice: Go with your judgment, but remember that these Palm Beachers aren’t your average homeowner. These people have money, Carrie, and most are willing to practically throw it out. Their homes must look so sophisticated that even,” he searched for a name, “the Queen of England would be impressed.”

“Advice taken.”

Thirty minutes later, Carrie arrived at the address she’d entered into her iPhone, with a little anxiety and much giddiness. “Oh. My. Gosh,” she exclaimed as she pulled up to a security gate surrounding the largest piece of real estate on the ocean block of South Ocean Boulevard. Carrie rolled down her window to press a button under the boxed speaker.

“Can I help you?” asked a man’s voice.

“I’m Carrie Newman, the interior designer. I’m here to see the owner of the home.”

“Please come through,” he said as the large metal gate yawned open.

Carrie drove through slowly and parked in the circular, white rock driveway behind a red Ferrari, and two Mercedes-Benz—a black two-door SL600 and a white four-door S55. What stood out more than anything were three white vans that read Palm Construction parked in a vertical driveway, opposite the highly priced cars. She quickly scanned the owner’s profile one more time before applying lip gloss and getting out of her car.

As she studied the outside of the captivating and historical home that lay in front of her, she noticed a cement porch wrapped around the house. She stood entranced by the beauty before her. The light yellow stucco home appeared to be only two stories, but the profile noted that there was a basement primarily used as a wine cellar. The roof was made of Mexican ceramic tiles; Carrie could tell from looking at the color that it had recently been re-done. Windows surrounded the enormous front door, which was painted white. Carrie drew her attention down to the landscaping and noticed that only grass had been laid, while a large palm tree sat in the center of the driveway, and an array of flamingo plants sprinkled the beds in the yard.

At last, she made her way up the four front steps and rang the doorbell.

“Knock ’em dead, Carrie,” she whispered to herself. While she waited at the door, she contemplated all that had led up to this moment–—Roger and his “tart,” Sara’s pregnancy, and of course, her move. But nothing could’ve prepared her for when the door opened, and she came face to face with the owner of the home.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, The Right Design, author Isabella Louise Anderson weaves a delightful tale that follows a woman's journey of self-discovery and finding an unexpected second chance at love.

Thirty-two year old Carrie Newman is a successful interior designer at a prominent Dallas firm. She has a dream job with a chance at making partner, a loving family, and she has been in a six year relationship with her boyfriend Roger. Carrie's world is turned upside down when she comes home from work excited about intimately celebrating their sixth year anniversary, only to find that Roger has been unfaithful. Determined that she needs a change, Carrie decides to move to Palm Beach, Florida to restart her life. Carrie's journey will lead her on a new adventure of self-discovery, a fulfilling new interior designer position, and an unexpected second chance at love.

This was such a fun novel to read! I enjoyed following Carrie's journey as she restarts her life after a traumatic heartbreak. Carrie's journey is filled with real-life issues mixed with drama, humor, and romance.

Carrie is a strong independent woman whose passion for interior design guides her as she restarts her life thousands of miles away from her hometown. I couldn't help but admire Carrie's determination and independence, coupled with her passion for her dream career, she's a woman after my own heart! The author did a wonderful job of describing Carrie's passion for interior design with a richly detailed description of her design projects, it was like watching an episode of HGTV.

A chance meeting at a bar with a very drunk and sexy Brad Larson, unexpectedly turns into Carrie's first design project client, when she is hired as the interior designer for his home. A strictly business approach barely hides the undeniable attraction between Carrie and Brad. Their business/personal relationship is encouraged by Carrie's nosy matchmaker boss, England Bordeaux! It sure was fun watching Carrie and Brad dance around their attraction with witty banter until they couldn't resist mixing business with pleasure. Just when you think it will be all hearts and roses, the author throws a wrench in the mix with enough drama to keep you turning the pages.

The author adds a really nice subplot to the story involving Carrie's older sister Sara and brother-in-law Sean's struggle to have a child. I thought that this was a nice addition to the story as it showed a loving and supportive family relationship that Carrie had with her sister and brother-in-law. I think Carrie's journey interwoven with Sara's pregnancy issues tied in nicely and flowed smoothly throughout the story.

The Right Design is a wonderful debut novel that has enough romance, humor, and drama that every chick lit fan craves!


Let's Dance by Frances Fyfield (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Let's Dance by Author Frances Fyfield!

Let's Dance by Frances Fyfield
Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins 
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Format: e-Book - 263 pages / Kindle - 442 KB / Nook - 433 KB
ISBN: 9780062301390
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller

BUY THE BOOK: Let's Dance

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

Book Description:

When Isabel Burley returns home to care for her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's, she finds a bemused, angry old woman, prey to the threats of failing memory, the inability to run her household - and the local villains who are eyeing her isolated home. But as the villains close in, Isabel finds herself struggling with her own emotions. She thinks she has come home to do some good, but is she really looking for the love she lacked as a child? Alienated by her mother's growing eccentricity, the two women become locked in a relationship of love, conflict and simmering violence, with roots that go deep into the past.

   Book Excerpt:

He had a torch, ever well-equipped, lay on the ground and pulled himself under the car without a word of protest. She could hear his breathing, a grunt that turned to humming as the light played. The humming stilled her conscience that he should be so willing, but she was still pleased when he emerged, stood and dusted himself off. George never seemed to feel the cold and nothing was ever too much trouble.

“Nothing,” he said. She doubted if he knew anything more about cars than she did, but allowed herself to be reassured.

She moved within three feet of him, never going closer. The sky was clear as water, dark while luminous. They pivoted together, noticed of one accord. A flickering light from the house half a mile away, nothing more than an unnatural glow.

“George,” said Janice, querulously, “what’s that?”

“She’s on fire,” George said, almost admiringly. “That silly old love is on fire.”

  My Book Review:

Let's Dance is an intriguing English mystery - suspense thriller that delves into the complex and dysfunctional family dynamic of the Burley family, and is interwoven with criminal activity when local ex-felons set their sights on the neglected and isolated family home.

Author Frances Fyfield weaves a slow building, richly descriptive, and complex tale of family intrigue, drama, and criminal activity that will keep the reader spellbound.

Isabel Burley returns to her childhood home to look after her mother Serena, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Serena has lived alone with her dog in the once grand home that is now in disrepair. Serena's adult children Robert and Isabel have been distant, and for the last three years a local man named George has looked after the old lady and her dog on a daily basis. Serena and Isabel have had a troubled relationship, and when Isabel returns home to take care of Serena, she hopes to build a relationship with her mother who is slowly slipping away into senility. As mother and daughter struggle with the complexity of their past relationship, local felons are curious about George's daily trip to the isolated house, and set their sights on what is within the house's walls.

Let's Dance is a riveting tale of family, responsibility, aging, and the tragedy of Alzheimer's, interwoven with a sinister criminal activity that is frightening and downright chilling.

Author Frances Fyfield draws the reader into the complexity of the Burley family dynamic with their richly detailed past history, and a fascinating description of Serena's slow descent into senility. The story unfolds in a slow building compelling style that is intriguing, the reader is easily drawn into the complex mother-daughter relationship as they struggle with love and conflict, you can't help but connect with the characters and feel torn with emotion. And if that isn't enough to keep you engaged, add in the danger that lurks when local ex-felons come to the isolated house and threaten their lives.

While this novel is cast under the mystery - suspense - thriller genre, I consider this more of a psychological thriller since the heart of the story is the compelling and complex Burley family dynamic. The author cleverly interweaves the criminal activity into the storyline as an added element of danger and thrilling suspense that she is typically known for writing.

Let's Dance is an intense and fascinating English tale of family intrigue that will keep you turning the pages.


About The Author

"I grew up in rural Derbyshire, but my adult life has been spent mostly in London, with long intervals in Norfolk and Deal, all inspiring places. I was educated mostly in convent schools; then studied English and went on to qualify as a solicitor, working for what is now the Crown Prosecution Service, thus learning a bit about murder at second hand. Years later, writing became the real vocation, although the law and its ramifications still haunt me and inform many of my novels.

I’m a novelist, short story writer for magazines and radio, sometime Radio 4 contributor, (Front Row, Quote Unquote, Night Waves,) and presenter of Tales from the Stave. When I’m not working (which is as often as possible), I can be found in the nearest junk/charity shop or auction, looking for the kind of paintings which enhance my life. Otherwise, with a bit of luck, I’m relaxing by the sea with a bottle of wine and a friend or two."-Frances Fyfield


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

10 individual promo codes for a free download of the book for an entire tour. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download. 

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

3/05 ~ Interview & Showcase @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
3/06 ~ Showcase @ CMash Reads
3/08 ~ Showcase @ Bookalicious Traveladdict
3/10 ~ Showcase & Interview @ The Opinionated Me
3/13 ~ Showcase @ Beagle Book Space
3/14 ~ Showcase @ Beths Book Reviews
3/17 ~ Interview & Showcase @ Deal Sharing Aunt
3/17 ~ Showcase @ The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
3/18 ~ Showcase @ Literary R&R
3/26 ~ Review @ wall-to-wall books
3/29 ~ Showcase @ Hott Books
3/31 ~ Review & Guest Post @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Friday, March 28, 2014

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 3/30 - 4/5/14

Virtual Book Tour Events: Week of 3/30 - 4/5/14

Monday 3/31/14

The Right Design by Isabella Louise Anderson

In association with Author Isabella Louise Anderson

Author Guest Post / Book Review

Book Description: The Right Design

Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life.

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job—Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be cad.

But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him—something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.

Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one…?


Let's Dance by Frances Fyfield

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Book Review

Book Description: Let's Dance

When Isabel Burley returns home to care for her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's, she finds a bemused, angry old woman, prey to the threats of failing memory, the inability to run her household - and the local villains who are eyeing her isolated home. But as the villains close in, Isabel finds herself struggling with her own emotions. She thinks she has come home to do some good, but is she really looking for the love she lacked as a child? Alienated by her mother's growing eccentricity, the two women become locked in a relationship of love, conflict and simmering violence, with roots that go deep into the past.

Friday 4/4/14

Pulled Beneath by Marni Mann

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway

Book Description: Pulled Beneath

What happens when you uncover years of secrets and find out everything you thought to be true was a lie?

Drew Stevens finds her world turned upside down when her parents are brutally murdered. Soon after, she learns she inherited a property in Bar Harbor, Maine, from recently deceased grandparents that she believed had died when she was a baby.

Drew travels north to settle her grandparents' estate, but finds more questions than answers as the truth starts unraveling. What she didn't expect to find was Saint, whose reputation is as tumultuous as his past. But the very thing that brings them together is the same thing that keeps them emotionally caged.

With Saint's scars so deep and Drew's so fresh, can the pair heal from their painful wounds or will they be pulled beneath the darkness of their pasts?


Perfectly Broken by Prescott Lane

In association with Author Prescott Lane

Book Review

Book Description: Perfectly Broken

Even after years of trauma therapy, Peyton still believes she’s broken. She has little desire to date or show off her natural beauty, content simply to hang out with her best friends and run her pie shop in New Orleans. But her world turns upside-down when a handsome architect and self-confessed player shows up in her shop and thinks she’s perfect, much more than the usual hook-up. While Peyton does her best to resist his charms, believing she could never be enough for him, she can’t deny the obvious heat between them. With Reed determined to have her, Peyton must decide whether to continue to hide behind her apron and baggy clothes or take a chance and share her scars with Reed, a man with a playboy reputation and scars of his own -- a dark past he can’t possibly share with Peyton, not after learning the horrors she’s endured. But if they can find a way to trust each other, and themselves, they just might be able to heal, to save each other, to live perfectly broken together.


It's In His Kiss by Variety of Authors

Boxed Set

In association with Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Book Promo Blast Event

Book - Box Set Description: It's In His Kiss

Going on vacation never felt so good! Six steamy stories, six sexy men to take you away from it all and sweep you off your feet. Each sweet and spicy novella is approximately 10,000 words (35 pages) and is available exclusively in this collection. Your vacation getaways include:

Ashley Blake: In Kisses on Fire (Amazing Love #2.5), the last thing broken-hearted Abby Hunter is looking for is a vacation romance with sexy, mysterious Zane Andrews—until she finds the courage to stop running and start healing.

Ava Claire: In Waiting for You, Melissa Foster’s dream getaway to Santa Cruz becomes a solo trip after her boyfriend dumps her. Who would have guessed that wealthy entrepreneur Logan Mason would be part of her vacation package?

Rosalind James: In Just for You (Escape to New Zealand #0.5), rugby star Hemi Ranapia meets a beautiful—and very unimpressed­—blast from his past, and finds his fishing holiday taking a most unexpected turn.

Sabrina Lacey: In The Fall (Throbbing Hearts #0.5), Brendan Clark receives the gift of a weekend in Mendocino to lick some romantic wounds, and discovers an older woman with a broken heart of her own.

Kimball Lee: In Curing Charlotte (The Surrendering Charlotte Chronicles), publishing magnate Alexander Bly hopes that an exotic vacation will help Charlotte Christiansen regain her lost memories of their love. But the real cure may be in his kiss . . .

Ellie Meade: In The Best Man, Maid of Honor Kayley Frost finds herself in sunny Aruba, attending a wedding she should have never agreed to. After meeting the sinfully sexy Best Man, she discovers her long-lost confidence returning—and her world being set on fire.

Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with I Am A Reader, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Imperfect Love by Author Rebecca Talley!

Imperfect Love Tour

Book Review

Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley
Publisher: DuBon Publishing
Publication Date: February 28, 2014
Format: e-Book - 283 pages / Kindle - 2213 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Imperfect Love

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 I Am A Reader.

Book Description:

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She has a career she loves, a husband she adores and a baby on the way, but a devastating diagnosis changes everything. The life she's built suddenly crumbles around her when her husband insists she choose—the baby or him.

Returning to her small hometown to rebuild her shattered life, Lauren crosses paths with Ethan Campbell, the man who stole her teenage heart. The old attraction is still there, but Lauren won't admit it to anyone—least of all herself. Her only priority is providing a life for her child, and she can't afford to get it wrong. Ethan is confusing everything, including stirring up feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will she spend her life raising her baby alone or is the family she's always wanted finally within her reach?

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

A plus sign.

Lauren Wilson blinked the hopeful tears back. Was she seeing it right? She flicked on the bathroom light for a better look and scrutinized the pregnancy test wand.

Definitely a plus sign.

She leaned against the wall. A baby.

Some moments are milestones, and some milestones are moments. Lauren gazed at the wand again. This is definitely both.

After trying for over two years—well, she seemed to be more intent on conceiving than her husband, Paul, but that didn’t matter now. The wondering, hoping, then crying, month after month, didn’t matter. Nothing mattered now. She was pregnant. Excitement bubbled up inside her. She’d finally have a baby and the happily-ever-after she’d dreamed about since she was a little girl.

Lauren rested her hand across her stomach, her fingers tingling. After all this time, it was finally her turn.


She rushed into the bedroom to find her cell phone and call Paul with the news. Her anxious fingers stumbled over the keypad, searching for his speed dial number. What if he’s in a meeting? What if he can’t take the call? I don’t want to leave this on his voicemail.

She ended the call before it could go through and sat on the bed. This wasn’t something she wanted to tell him over the phone. It was too momentous. Too amazing. Too wonderful.

A photo caught her eye. She handled the delicate metal frame, memories of her wedding flooding her mind. What a perfect day it had been at the church on Third Avenue in Durango, her hometown. It was such a beautiful beginning to their life together, and now they’d move to the next step—adding a baby to their family.

Ideas of how to tell Paul swirled around her head. She wanted to make it special for him, so she decided to take some time to come up with just the right way to let him know he was going to be a daddy. Daddy. The word felt sweet and satisfying on her tongue.

Lauren glanced at the clock on the light green wall opposite the bed. Seven thirty. She’d have to hurry—she didn’t want to be late for her first class.

Her hands stroked her stomach. I’m going to have a baby. I can’t wait to tell Paul. He’ll be as thrilled as I am.

My Book Review:

Lauren Wilson has a job that she loves, a loving and successful husband, and after two years of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, she is finally going to have a baby and the happy ever after perfect life that she has dreamed about since she was a little girl. But Lauren's world will turn upside down when an ultrasound reveals a devastating news that makes her husband Paul give her an ultimatum: him or the baby! Forced to make a difficult decision, Lauren chooses to return to her hometown to start her life over with her baby. Struggling to pick up the pieces of her life, a chance encounter with Ethan Campbell, an old high school crush, leads to the rekindling of a friendship and a second chance at love.

Imperfect Love is a breathtakingly beautiful and emotional story of a mother's unconditional love for her child and a second chance at an imperfect but fulfilling love. Author Rebecca Talley does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into Lauren's life as she struggles with real life issues and the disintegration of her marriage when a traumatic test result in her pregnancy that leaves her no choice but to make a difficult life changing decision. Lauren's journey is filled with joy, heartbreak, choices, struggle, courage, friendship, love and redemption.

Imperfect Love takes the reader on an emotional journey where no emotion is left spared, you can't help but get swept away in this powerful and compelling tale of unconditional and imperfect love.


About The Author


Author Rebecca Lynn Talley grew up in the gorgeous seaside city of Santa Barbara, CA. She met, and married, her husband, Del, while attending Brigham Young University. She graduated from BYU with a degree in Communications. She currently lives in rural Colorado on a small ranch with a dog, too many cats to count, and a herd of goats. She and Del are the proud parents of ten wildly-creative, multi-talented children. 

Rebecca is the author of a children’s picture book, Grasshopper Pie (WindRiver 2003), a children’s chapter book, Gabby’s Secret (DuBon Publishing 2011), four novels, Heaven Scent (CFI 2008), Altared Plans (CFI 2009), The Upside of Down (CFI 2011), and Aura (DuBon Publishing 2012). She has also authored numerous children’s stories and articles for both print and online magazines. 

When she isn’t writing, Rebecca loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house. She has folded at least one million loads of laundry, baked hundreds of batches of chocolate chip cookies, and eaten 5,478 gallons of ice cream.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card Or Paypal Cash

Blog Tour Giveaway Details:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/10/14

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 authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

March 19th
I Am A Reader – Spotlight
Victoria Simcox’s Blog – Spotlight
Books Are Sanity!!! – Review
Wall-to-wall books – Review – Spotlight
Musings of Immortals – Spotlight

March 20th
The Wonderings of One Person – Review
Love. Pray. Read. – Spotlight
Bibliophile Mystery – Spotlight
Kindle and Me – Review
I Love to Read and Review Books :) – Review
Bookworm Lisa – Review
Tressa’s Wishful Endings – Review

March 21st
More Than A Review – Spotlight
Gamila’s Review – Review
Literary Time Out – Review
Pink Fluffy Hearts: Diary of a Coffee Addict – Spotlight
readalot – Review
Room With Books – Review

March 22nd
Chronicles . . . An Avid Reader and Indie Author – Interview
The Simple Things in Life – Review

March 23rd
Amethyst Daydreams – Review
b00k r3vi3ws – Spotlight
Literary Winner – Spotlight

March 24th
My Book A Day – Review
Mel’s Shelves – Review
Musings From An Addicted Reader – Review
Flutters and Flails – Review
Extaordinaryreads – Review
A Southern Girls Bookshelf – Spotlight
My Love for Reading Keeps Growing – Review
Vonnie’s Reading Corner – Review

March 25th
Southeast By Midwest – Review
Paulette’s Papers – Spotlight
Maria Hoagland, LDS Novelist – Review
Ranee the wRiter – Review

March 26th
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight
Min Reads and Reviews – Spotlight
BookHounds – Interview
deal sharing aunt – Spotlight
Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review
Cassandra M’s Place – Guest Post
Author Sherry Gammon – Review

March 27th
Doodles, doodles everywhere – Spotlight
Bonnie Gets A Say – Review
Christy’s Cozy Corners – Spotlight
From the Bootheel Cotton Patch – Spotlight
The Written Adventure – Spotlight

March 28th
A Book Lover’s Retreat – Review
Brooklyn Berry Designs – Review
Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review
My Portable Library – Review
Kelly P’s Blog – Spotlight
Why Not? Because I Said So! – Review

Fog City Strangler by Greg Messel (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

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 Fog City Strangler by Author Greg Messel!

Author Guest Post

The Streets Of San Francisco

Since I was a small child, I’ve been in love with San Francisco. I grew up in the East Bay town of Concord, California, which is about 30 miles east of San Francisco.

I’ve spent a good share of my life, going to San Francisco to have fun. Even though I live farther away from this magical city now, I still return and it is a place I dearly love.

One reviewer said of my Sam Slater Mystery books that one of the main characters in the books is the city of San Francisco. I’m excited to have Fog City Strangler published and available to readers. I plan at least two more in the series.

While I’m promoting Fog City Strangler, I’m busy writing my next book in the series-- Shadows In The Fog--which should be out by the end of this year.

Last summer when I returned to the Bay Area I spent a day in San Francisco, drinking in the sites but also imaging different locations for my books. I wanted to refresh my memory in some cases and make sure things are as I remember. I research the locations as best I can, to imagine what they were like in the 1950s compared to now.

In some cases I do remember what it was like in the 1950s. For instance, one of my favorite locations in San Francisco is called the Cannery. My wife and I loved to go there and when we were dating in high school we would go to the Cannery, which is a collection of restaurants, shops and nearby is the old Ghirardelli Chocolate factory.

When Sam Slater walked the streets of San Francisco, the Cannery was still a cannery, for Dole Pineapple. 

Last summer I visited Coit Tower and drove down the steep hills of Telegraph HIll. Coit Tower and the steep streets which surround it, figure prominently in the plot of San Francisco Secrets.

 I also walked up and down Filbert Street where Sam and Amelia have a harrowing ride after the brakes on their car are tampered with in San Francisco Secrets.

I drove out to historic Fort Point at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge which is a key location in the second book in the series Deadly Plunge. One of my favorite places in San Francisco is the Palace of Fine Arts. I walked around the pond on the path where a Russian diplomat is murdered in Deadly Plunge.

On my recent trips to San Francisco I’ve even driven through Sam and Amelia’s old neighborhood in the Mission District. It has changed a lot since the 1950s. For one thing, sadly there is a Safeway store on the hallowed ground once occupied by Seals Stadium. I will always think of Sam Slater and Amelia Ryan when I drive by the corner of 16th and Valencia. It’s the fictional location of Sam’s apartment building.

I love to use the photos from the San Francisco Historical Society in my books. I think they add a lot and hope readers agree. I have to get permission to use them and they have been wonderful to work with. They have copies of my books in their archives.

I’ve always been very fond of Stinson Beach, a beach town north of San Francisco, which is the location of key events in Fog City Strangler. I liked to go to Stinson Beach in the summer when I was a teenager. There were also a few occasions when I cut school with my friends and went to Stinson Beach. I always wondered how we got away with it. Me and my friends would return from our “sick day” with sunburned cheeks after our day at Stinson Beach.

Napa Valley is a beautiful place and world famous for it’s vineyards and wineries. In 1958 the California wine industry was on the cusp of making a name for itself.

I’ve always loved the movies of Alfred Hitchcock as you can probably tell from my books. I discovered a book called Footsteps in the Fog. Hitchcock shot several movies in San Francisco in the 1950s and 1960s. Footsteps in the Fog talks about the locations he used and showed photos of him scouting locations in the City-By-The-Bay.

I hope I’m following his footsteps in the fog.

I had one reader ask if all of the detail in Last of the Seals, Deadly Plunge, San Francisco Secrets and Fog City Strangler is real? My answer is as real as I can possibly make it. The 1950s world of San Francisco, where Sam and Amelia live, in very alive in my memory.

About The Author

Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound with his wife, Carol. Fog City Strangler is his seventh novel and is the fourth in a new series of Sam Slater mystery novels. Greg has lived in Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming and Utah and has always loved writing, including stints as a reporter, columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper.

Follow news about Messel’s writings and books at


Fog City Strangler - Book Trailer

Book Review

Fog City Strangler by Greg Messel
Book 4: Sam Slater Mystery Series
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Publication Date: December 16, 2013
Format: Paperback - 496 pages / Kindle - 5221 KB 
ISBN: 0985485973
Genre: Historical Mystery / Suspense / Thriller / Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Fog City Strangler

BUY THE SERIES: Sam Slater Mystery Series
Book 1: Last of the Seals
Book 2: Deadly Plunge
Book 3: San Francisco Secrets
Book 4: Fog City Strangler

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. 

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE.

Book Description:

As 1958 nears an end San Francisco is being terrorized by a man who calls himself the “Fog City Strangler,” who preys on pretty young blonde women. The strangler announces each murder by sending a note and piece of cloth from the victim’s dresses to the local newspapers.

Private eye Sam Slater is worried that the Fog City Strangler may be eyeing his beautiful blonde wife, stewardess Amelia Ryan. Sam’s angst mounts as the strangler continues to claim more victims. His anxiety is further fueled when TWA launches an advertising campaign with Amelia’s picture on a series of billboards plastered all over the city. Sam fears the billboards may attract too much attention--the wrong kind of attention.

Meanwhile, Sam and Amelia are hired to try to find the missing daughter of a wealthy dowager who fears she has lost her only child. The missing woman went for a walk with her dog on Stinson Beach, near San Francisco, and seemingly vanished into thin air. The woman’s husband arrived at their beach house and found the dog running loose but there was no trace of his wife. The police are stumped in their investigation.

As Sam and Amelia look into the disappearance of the woman on the beach they discover that nothing is as it seems at first glance. On a stormy night a shadowy figure sets fire to the beach house where the couple is staying--hoping to stop their investigation.

Fog City Strangler is a stand-alone thriller but is part of the Sam Slater Mystery Series--Last of the SealsDeadly Plunge and San Francisco Secrets.

Book Excerpt:

First Chapter: 
Stinson Beach 
November 29, 1958

Amelia Slater had only slept a short time before she was startled awake by crashing and banging noises outside the beach house on Stinson Beach where she was staying with her husband Sam Slater.

Shortly after she awoke, another physical sensation hit her as she regained consciousness. She was really cold. She tried to see if Sam was awake but the darkness was so thick that she couldn’t see him even though he was right next to her in the bed.

The house where Sam and Amelia were staying seemed to be right in the bull’s eye of an unusually fierce early winter storm that was zeroing in on the northern California coast. Storm warnings were up for the coast for high winds followed by heavy rains. The fury of the storm raged outside the large window of Sam and Amelia’s bedroom as the winds whistled through the rain gutters of the beach house and rattled the windows.

The two-story beach house was perched on a steep hill which thrust up from the sandy, wide beach below. The master bedroom where Sam and Amelia were sleeping had a large sliding glass door which opened out onto a deck that surrounded the house on the second story offering spectacular vistas of the beach below.

The beach house also had a round turret with a large leaded-glassed window of Neptune, Kind of the Sea, flanked by two large fish with curvy tails. On the roof was a large weather vane of a gray whale which was spinning like a top in the high winds.

Beach access from the house was a wooden stair case which was built on the steep hill that was covered by thick, low-growing masses of blooming ice plant. The staircase had obviously been replaced recently since the wood had not yet become the weathered gray color of the rest of the house. The raging storm was roiling the foamy surf which crashed onto Stinson Beach and was lapping up at the bottom of the wooden stairs.

Their sleep had been brief. In preparation for a stormy night, Sam and Amelia had found flashlights and candles to put on the nightstands on either side of the bed in case they lost power.

Sam detected Amelia stirring next to him in bed and tried to click on the lamp on the nightstand. It was then that he discovered that the house had no power. Sam reached into the darkness until his hand touched the flashlight. He then clicked it on to look at his wristwatch which was on the table. It was 1:15 a.m.

“Amelia,” Sam said softly, “are you awake?”

“Yeah,” came the reply out of the pitch darkness of the bedroom. “How could anyone sleep through this? I’ve been awake for a while. I didn’t want to bother you in case you had been able to get to sleep.”

“No such luck. It’s freezing in the house. I’m going to go check on things. Maybe I can get a fire going in the fireplace. Light the candles. I’m going to go see if the house is okay. I heard some really loud noises earlier.”

Sam didn’t want to unnecessarily alarm Amelia but he’d swear he had heard footsteps earlier, like someone running through the house. He couldn’t be sure because of the sounds of the raging storm.

Sam clicked on his flashlight so Amelia could find the matches. After she lit the first candle, Sam disappeared into the darkness. Amelia watched as the shafts of light from Sam’s flashlight vanished from sight as he began to walk through the house.

Amelia picked up the candle and made her way to a chair to retrieve her coat which she put on over her nightgown to fight off the chill. She listened intently and could hear some thumping noises. She wasn’t sure if source of the banging was Sam or the storm.

“Sam! Sam!” Amelia called. “Where are you? Sam, is that you?”

There was no response.

The large floor-to-ceiling glass doors which opened off of the bedroom were rattling to the point where Amelia wondered if they would be able to withstand the strong winds. Amelia heard noises outside on the deck and saw a shadowy figure throwing a large can which clanked onto the deck. The man then turned and ran. She strained her eyes against the dense darkness.

Amelia instinctively walked towards the glass doors. She wondered if the man on the deck was Sam. If it was, what was he doing?

She held up the candle but could see nothing. She reached for the flashlight on the table and clicked it on. Amelia shined it out the glass door, but she could see nothing but her own reflection. As she walked closer the beam of her flashlight fell on a red gas can lying on it’s side on the deck.

Amelia moved closer towards the door and then to her horror she saw flames racing across the deck outside the doors. Amelia was simultaneously confused and frozen with terror as she watched the deck become a wall of fire being buffeted by the high winds from the storm.

The bewildered Amelia shrieked before turning to run towards the bedroom door with the flashlight illuminating her path. She began shouting Sam’s name as loudly as she could. As she opened the bedroom door two shots rang out and ricocheted off the wall and door frame above her head.

Amelia squealed and retreated into the bedroom, slamming the door. She looked for a way to lock the door to protect her self from the assailant but there was no lock. It was an old fashioned lock that required a skeleton key.

There was so much noise from the fire roaring outside on the deck and that storm, that Amelia couldn’t tell if the shooter was pursuing her further or attempting to break down the bedroom door. She leaned against the door but knew she would be defenseless if the gunman wanted to force his way into the bedroom.

Where was Sam? Was he okay? Who fired the shots at her? Who set the deck on fire?

Amelia was now trapped between an unknown assailant outside her bedroom door and the fire raging on the deck on the other side of the glass doors. She knew she had just moments to make a decision about how to escape.

She decided to take her chance on the deck since the shadowy figure who fired the shots at her was undoubtedly just outside her bedroom.

Amelia tried to grasp the door handle to the sliding glass door but it was getting hot. She couldn’t figure out how to unlock it and didn’t have time in the darkness to deal with it. Amelia decided to take more direct action--she picked up a wooden chair and threw it at the large glass doors onto the deck. 

The chair cracked the glass but mostly bounced off of the door and fell onto the floor. She quickly scanned the room for something heavier that she could throw through the glass door.

Amelia spotted a large metal paperweight on a writing desk in the bedroom. It looked like some kind of navigation tool from a boat. Amelia cocked her arm and threw it as hard as she could at the cracked glass door.

That did the trick, but the glass shards from the door went flying all over the bedroom floor and the deck. The breaking of the door only made her situation worse as the high winds now pushed the flames into the bedroom and closer to Amelia.

The curtains around the large glass door ignited as the fire now snaked it’s way towards Amelia. It was now going to be impossible for Amelia to escape onto the deck because of the intensity of the flames. Amelia let out a blood curdling scream. “Sam! Sam! Help! Sam, help me!”

The storm and the crackling of the fire which exploded into the bedroom onto new sources of fuel drowned out Amelia’s cries for help. She eyed the bedroom door and decided she had to open it and confront whatever was on the other side.

Sam had taken his gun when he left moments ago. She had no idea what had happened to him. The defenseless Amelia stood in front of the closed bedroom door, She glanced over her shoulder at the advancing flames.

Amelia didn’t know what awaited her on the other side of the door but she was going to have to make a break for it.

To her horror when she grabbed the knob and turned it but the door was locked. Someone had used a skeleton key to lock her in the burning bedroom.

She was trapped.

My Book Review:

In Fog City Strangler, the fourth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series, former baseball player turned private investigator Sam Slater is back with a new case to investigate. Sam and wife Amelia, a TWA stewardess are hired by a wealthy San Francisco dowager to find her missing daughter who disappeared while walking her dog on Stinson Beach. And to complicate matters even more, there is a serial killer calling himself the "Fog City Strangler," who preys on beautiful young blonde women, and leaves his calling card by sending a note and a piece of the victim's clothing to the local newspapers. Sam is worried that the serial killer will go after Amelia, his lovely blonde hair wife, who is featured on TWA's latest billboard campaign.

Author Greg Messel once again weaves another action packed tale of romance, mystery and suspense set in 1958 San Francisco. Written in the third person narrative, Sam and Amelia's latest riveting mystery adventure takes the reader on a thrilling ride with enough twists and turns that will keep them guessing. And if that isn't enough to whet your appetite, Sam and Amelia's marriage will be tested when the Fog City Strangler sets his sight on Amelia.

Of the four books in the series, this book is my favorite as the focus on Sam and Amelia's relationship is taken to the next level with their marriage and it is cleverly interwoven with the two mystery investigations. I loved the balance of mystery and romance that the author interweaves throughout the story. Fog City Strangler is rich in detail and vivid description of the authentic 1958 San Francisco time period. The author provides the reader with some really wonderful historical facts, statistics and pictures from that time period, you can't help but become captivated with the amount of interesting information that the author provides the reader throughout the story.

With a cast of characters who are interesting and draw the reader into their lives with their witty dialogue and dramatic interactions; and a riveting storyline that has enough intrigue, suspense, twist and turns, and a steamy romance that keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages, Fog City Strangler is one heck of an entertaining romantic mystery novel.

Fog City Strangler will captivate your imagination, while the mystery and will keep you guessing as you follow Sam and Amelia on their latest investigative adventure.

Fog City Strangler is the fourth book in the Sam Slater Mystery Series, but can be read as a stand alone story. The author does reference characters and storyline plots from the other three books in the series, but he interweaves them so smoothly that the reader won't get lost or feel like they have missed anything. However, I would recommend that you follow the sequence of the books in the series, because once you have been drawn into Sam Slater's latest investigative adventures, you will be hooked and want to follow him onto his next adventure!


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Author Greg Messel is giving away a 3 book set of his Sam Slater Mystery Series (Last of the Seals, Deadly Plunge and San Francisco Secrets) AND a $25 Amazon Gift Card! 

• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the 3 book set and $25 Amazon Gift Card. • This giveaway begins February 3 and ends on March 28. 
• Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, March 31, 2014. 
• Winner has 48 hours to reply. 

Good luck everyone! 


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 3 
Interview at Examiner 

Tuesday, February 4 
Book Trailer Reveal at The Book Connection 

Wednesday, February 5 
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Vic’s Media Room 

Thursday, February 6 
Interview at Mia Downing 

Friday, February 7 
Book Featured at Margay Leah Justice 

Sunday, February 9 
Book Review at Memories in a Box 

Monday, February 10 
Book Review at Miki’s Hope 

Tuesday, February 11 
Book Review at Carol’s Notebook 

Wednesday, February 12 
Book Review at Not Everyone’s Mama 

Friday, February 14 
Book Featured at Raven Reviews 

Monday, February 17 
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Queen of All She Reads 

Tuesday, February 18 
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner 

Wednesday, February 19 
Book Review at Emeraldfire’s Bookmarkmark 

Thursday, February 20 
Book Featured at Emeraldfire’s Bookmark 

Friday, February 21 
Book Review at Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense 

Saturday, February 22 
Book Review at Bound 4 Escape 

Monday, February 24 
Book Featured at Literary Winner 

Tuesday, February 25 
Guest Blogging at My Reading Table 

Wednesday, February 26 
Book Trailer Reveal at The Dark Phantom 

Thursday, February 27 \
Book Featured at My Reading Table 

Friday, February 28 
Book Review at Celtic Lady’s Reviews 

Monday, March 3 
Interview at Authors to Watch 

Tuesday, March 4 
Interview at As the Page Turns 
Book Trailer Reveal at Confessions of a Reader 

Wednesday, March 5 
Book Review at Books, Reviews, ETC. 
Guest Blogging at Alaskan Book Cafe 

Thursday, March 6 
Book Featured at Bookalicious Travel Addict 

Friday, March 7 
Book Review at My Reading Table 

Monday, March 10 
Book Trailer Reveal at Emeraldfire’s Bookmark 

Tuesday, March 11 
Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt 

Wednesday, March 12 
Guest Blogging at Bookingly Yours 

Thursday, March 13 
Book Review at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews 

Friday, March 14 
Book Review at Bibliotica 

Monday, March 17 
Book Review at Bless Their Hearts Moms 
Guest Blogging at Books Books the Magical Fruit 

Tuesday, March 18 
Book Review at Southeast by Midwest 
Book Review at Every Free Chance Book Reviews 

Wednesday, March 19 
Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life 

Thursday, March 20 
Book Featured at My Devotional Thoughts 

Friday, March 21 
Book Review & Guest Blogging at My Book Addiction and More 
Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader 
Guest Blogging at I Heart Reading 

Monday, March 24 
Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club 

Tuesday, March 25 
Book Trailer Reveal at Literarily Speaking 

Wednesday, March 26 
Book Featured at Authors & Readers Book Corner 

Thursday, March 27 
Book Review at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks 
Guest Blogging at Cherry Mischievous 

Friday, March 28 
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews 
Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings 
Book Review at From the TBR Pile