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

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for A Peach of a Pair by author Kim Boykin!

Author Guest Post


Last year, I was having a glass of wine with my editor who wanted to know what was next for me. I told her, I’d thought about writing a sequel to The Wisdom of Hair, but I wasn’t thrilled with the storyline that had my protagonist barefoot and pregnant when the first novel had ended when she’d just had her first child. “So, what else do you have?” my editor asked.

I wanted to wow her with another quirky tale and a great original title, so I pitched a story I’d started several years ago about two elderly spinster sisters called A Peach of a Pair. The idea for the story came from my great great aunt who traveled from the bottom of southwest Georgia to Arkansas to see a faith healer in the late 1940’s. Women didn’t travel alone, and there weren’t a lot of women on the buses. So, to be on the safe side, she rode the whole way to Little Rock with her arms crossed and a hatpin under each arm. If a man got too close to her or fell asleep and his head flopped onto her shoulder, she’d jab him with the pin. Unfortunately, when she got to her destination, she found out the faith healer had been run out of the state, and she got back on the bus and went home.

While the hatpin incident isn’t in A Peach of a Pair, the idea of traveling a great distance for healing is. I loved the idea of setting out on an arduous journey full of hope and faith that there is healing on the other end. That’s what happens to poor Lurleen, the eldest sister, who is dying of congestive heart failure, but not because she wants to go on this trip. Her sister Emily, took something from her when they were barely twenty.

As Emily says, “What happened to Teddy was Emily’s fault, and she’d paid for it a thousand times over, losing her mother to a broken heart. And the seven years Lurleen lived in the same house as Emily but didn’t speak to her, didn’t take anything from her hand. The shunning wasn’t a religious edict. Goodness no, they were raised Presbyterian. But Lurleen had taken right to the practice. Even with the gravity of events, Emily was sure it couldn’t last, but she’d been wrong.” Even fifty years later, Emily wants to right the scales so badly, she badgers poor Lurleen into getting on a Greyhound bus and riding all the way from Camden, South Carolina to Palestine, Texas to see a faith healer.

My editor loved the title, loved the story so much, I thought she would buy it on the spot, but then she said, “Where’s your young protagonist?” The truth is, when you publish you’re put into a box. All authors are because it’s easier for publishers to sell us that way. We can’t just be storytellers, which is what I wanted to be. I was so excited about my pitch to her, I’d forgotten Penguin put me in the sweet Southern box complete with a young protagonist.

So I did what every author does; I made her up on the fly. “Uh. Her name is Nettie Gilbert and she’s a ‘Bama belle in her last semester at Columbia College, and, uh, she receives an invitation to her baby sister’s wedding back home. BUT her own fiancĂ© is the groom. So she quits school and goes to work for two old maids in Camden, South Carolina and the bus trip for healing ensues.”

The interesting thing about this is, in the original version of the story, Nettie was a young girl on the bus, but she was also a plot device to hear the sister’s stories, to understand the riff, and their complex sisterhood. When I started to write, I was a little concerned that Nettie would be overpowered by Emily and Lurleen’s great big voices, but it turned out Nettie held her own and then some, even though Emily and Lurleen do hijack the story from time to time. But the story worked and turned out to be an examination of an indestructible sisterhood and a wild ride to forgiveness.

About The Author

Kim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of A Peach of a Pair, Palmetto Moon and The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley/NAL/Penguin; Flirting with Forever, She’s the One, Just in Time for Christmas, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

Her latest book is the southern women’s fiction, A Peach of a Pair.

Author Website

Book Review

A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin
Publisher: Berkley / Penguin Group
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Format: Paperback - 304 pages
               Kindle - 784 KB
               Nook - 609 KB
ISBN: 978-0425281994
Genre: Southern Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Discuss the book at PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads

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.

Book Description:

Palmetto Moon inspired The Huffington Post to rave, "It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find. Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina."

April, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can’t wait to return to her family and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks, in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.

Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she’ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home.

Book Excerpt Teaser:

Book Excerpt:

Dear Nettie,

It might seem cruel to send this letter along with a proper invitation, but I couldn’t bring myself to call you, and I wasn’t given much notice regarding this matter. I also know you well enough to know you would have to see the invitation to truly believe it. Although I do regret not having enough time to have them engraved.

I’m sorry to be the one to give you the news about Brooks and Sissy. I love you, Nettie, and I love your sister. I’m not condoning her behavior or the fact that she is in the family way, but you are blood. You are sisters. No man can break that bond, not even Brooks.

There’s money and a bus ticket paper-clipped to the invitation. I’ve checked the schedules. You should be able to leave Columbia on Thursday the week of the wedding after your morning classes and get back by Sunday night. I know how you hate to miss class, and if you are also missing some wonderful end-of-the-year party, I’m sorry. So very sorry.

But the milk has been spilled, Nettie. Come home and stand up with your sister. She needs you. She’s a wreck, and it makes me worry about the baby.

Just come home.


My Book Review:

A Peach of a Pair is a captivating story of the strength of sisterly bonds, family, friendship, self-discovery, love and forgiveness.

I am a huge fan of Southern Women's Fiction, and in A Peach of a Pair, author Kim Boykin weaves a thoroughly enjoyable tale that fulfilled all of my expectations. It is a delightful tale filled with plenty of Southern charm and sass that easily draws the reader into the engaging story of a young woman's quest to heal and forgive with the help of a pair of sassy elderly sisters.

Set in the South in 1953 and written in the first person narrative, Nettie Gilbert takes the reader along for the ride on her emotional journey of self-discovery. The reader meets Nettie in the southern town of Columbia, South Carolina, where she is eight weeks away from graduating from Columbia College with a degree in music, and is eagerly waiting to return home to Satsuma, Alabama. Nettie's world is turned upside down when she receives a letter from her mother informing her of the unexpected wedding of her younger sister Jemma Renee to Nettie's childhood sweetheart Brooks Carter. To add insult to injury, her mother included their wedding invitation in the letter! Heartbroken and feeling betrayed by her sister and ex-boyfriend, Nettie leaves college before graduation and accepts a live-in caregiver position with the elderly Eldridge sisters (Emily and Lurleen) in Camden, South Carolina. The elderly "peach of a pair" Eldridge sisters will help redefine, shape, and change Nettie's life in a profound way.

A Peach of a Pair is a beautifully written and captivating story that engages the reader to follow along as Nettie's journey leads her on a path of self discovery and healing forgiveness. Author Kim Boykin weaves a poignant tale of the complexities of sisterly and family bonds that flows smoothly, and alternates between the first person narrative of Nettie, with the third person narratives of  Emily, Lurleen, and Dr. Remmy Wilkes. I couldn't help but get swept away and lose myself in the unfolding of the multi-layered story. I absolutely loved how both the author parallels the different generational but very similar stories of the complexity of sisterly bonds between Nettie and Jemma with Emily and Lurleen, while adding in the blossoming of a special friendship/relationship with Remmy. Embarking on a quirky adventure with these sassy elderly sisters, Nettie discovers that the special sisterly bond is a strong one that can be preserved, even after a heartbreaking betrayal, and that the road to love and forgiveness will ultimately lead you back home.

Author Kim Boykin weaves a delightful tale full of humor, emotion, drama, and southern sassiness intertwined with a sweet poignancy that easily keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages. I absolutely loved the fiesty Eldridge sisters, they reminded me of the Baldwin sisters from the television show, The Waltons. As Nettie and the sisters embark on their faith healing adventure, Nettie learns life lessons that will bring forgiveness, healing, and a second chance at finding love.

With a quirky cast of characters; witty dialogue and interactions; a richly descriptive setting; and a storyline that delves into the complexities of family, friendships, love and life;  A Peach of a Pair is a touching southern women's fiction tale that will leave a smile on your face.


Virtual Book Tour

Click on the above link for the schedule of tour participants.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Peri In Progress by Cat Lavoie (Book Release Day Promo Event)

In association with Marching Ink, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book release day promo event for Peri in Progress by author Cat Lavoie !

Peri In Progress by Cat Lavoie
Publisher: Marching Ink, LLC 
Publication Date: October 28, 2015
Format: eBook - 206 pages
               Kindle - 567 KB
               Nook - 339 KB
BNID: 2940151219945
Genre: Chick Lit

Buy The Book:
Amazon - CA
Amazon - US
Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

You know what they say about best-laid plans…

After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof.

It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’

But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated.

Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning.

But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?

Other Books By Cat Lavoie:

Breaking the Rules – On Sale for 99 Cents! 

Barnes & Noble

Zoey & The Moment of Zen – Discounted to $2.99! 
Barnes & Noble

About The Author

Cat Lavoie lives in Montreal, Canada with her tempestuous cat, Abbie. Her debut novel, BREAKING THE RULES, was published in August 2012 by Marching Ink. ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN was published in October 2013. PERI IN PROGRESS will be published in October 2015.

If Cat isn't reading or writing, she's most likely watching too much TV or daydreaming about her next trip to London.

Author Website
Author Amazon Page

Monday, October 26, 2015

Unravelled In New York by Suzanne Nicole (Author Interview / 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 Unravelled In New York by author Suzanne Nicole!

Author interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Suzanne!

Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

I am a graduate from IMEB (Aus) and a member of Romance Writers, Australia, I’m also a qualified and registered dance and drama teacher. When I’m not bombarding family and friends with story ideas I love to be curled up with a good book. I love romantic stories, angsty reads and dark-haired heroes. I live in Sydney, Australia with my husband and three gorgeous boys.

How long have you been a writer? 

Unravelled in New York is my first book, although in one form or another I’ve been writing for a while.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career? 

I’m also a dancing teacher and a mum to three boys. I try and set time aside to write each week.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer. 

I’ve always been inspired to write and love making up stories. My mum is also my inspiration – she is an author of three published books for children as well as a playwright. When I was at school I used to write stories for my girlfriends for fun. Coinciding with the writing of Unravelled in New York I also took two writing courses, which I really enjoyed.

Please give a brief description/storyline about Unravelled in New York

Unravelled in New York is the story of Charli Cooper a young journalist who moves to New York from Australia looking for a fresh start. She meets businessman Jack Manning, who is not interested in anything but advancing his own self-interest. They don’t get off to the best start and Charli senses there may be more to Jack Manning than he lets on. As she begins to unlock the truth about him, she realizes she might just find the front-page story she’s been looking for leaving her with a difficult choice between her ambition and her heart. There are plenty of turns and twists throughout but of course I can’t give away the ending.

What was the inspiration for this story? 

My sister gave me the inspiration when she rang me after a business lunch she had been on and quite literally her description of the lunch triggered the idea for Unravelled in New York. She is a journalist so I was able to do some first hand research. I had originally been playing around with another idea which was an historical romance based on the life of my great, great grandmother.

How did it feel to have your first book published? 

I was really nervous and excited at the same time. At one point I woke up at 3.00 am in the morning and thought “What am I doing? Am I crazy putting my story out there for other people to read?”

Do you write books for a specific genre? 

Contemporary romance / Chick-lit because this is my favourite genre to read.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

I love to read contemporary romance, although I’m also very partial to a good historical romance and I like some paranormal / time-travel, but generally if it has a good romance then I will read it.

Some of my favourite books? Hmm there are so many … I guess my favourite books tend to be books I have read and re-read … so recently I have re-read Below Unforgiven by Kimberley Stedronsky (Adams), I loved the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldron (I read the first four books, three times back to back) and classics like North and South Elizabeth Gaskell and my all time favourite would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?

I love to write in bed either early in the morning or late at night when the house is really peaceful.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books? 

When I’m going to sleep I think about the next development of the story and also when I’m doing mundane tasks like housework or driving the car.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes? 

So far when inspiration strikes … although sometimes inspiration doesn’t chose the best times … like when I’m really busy doing something else and I suddenly come up with an idea – I’ve literally got to drop everything and find a pen and piece of paper. Last week I had my son type my idea down as I was driving the car dictating to him - it was quite funny!

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most? 

I really love dialogue between characters. Some times I struggle with description because I want to race ahead to the next part of the story.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing? 


What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received? 

Keep at it and don’t give up.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer? 

For someone to tell me they have enjoyed the story. During the writing process you have to be able to accept criticism to improve the MS – so I think to have some one enjoy it after all the hard work is really gratifying and a big thrill as well.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans? 

I have a Facebook page and also a Goodreads page.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination? 

Well there are a few real life experiences in there … when I was in New York my sister and I did get in a cab where the cabbie drove five metres before telling us it was quicker if we walked, we had no clue where we were going and nervously wrote down his instructions. We had been in New York less than 24 hours and were running late – it was quite funny actually. I am also a little bit of a nervous flyer.

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer? 

There are so many writers that I’m inspired by, everyday I read I’m inspired.

What is your definition of success as a writer? 

I think to write a book that someone enjoys is the ultimate high as a writer and maybe that is also a definition of success as well.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us? 

Sure, I’m working on a new story set in Australia, this time I’m going with a role reversal and bringing an American out here … I will say he is not too happy about moving but I hope he gets use to it.

Thank you Suzanne for stopping by and sharing with us a bit about yourself and your writing career! 

About The Author

With a passion for reading and writing Suzanne Nicole has been creating stories all her life through both her writing and dance teaching. Suzanne is a graduate from IMEB (Aus) and is a member of Romance Writers, Australia, she is also a qualified and registered dance and drama teacher. When she is not bombarding family and friends with story ideas she can be found in front of a class of students teaching dance or curled up with a good book. She loves romantic stories, angsty reads and dark-haired heroes. She also loves travelling, her recent highlights have been her trips to Los Angeles, New York and Boston and she dreams about going back there soon. Suzanne lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and three gorgeous boys.


Book Review

Unravelled In New York by Suzanne Nicole
Publisher: Independent Self Publisher
Publication Date: July 4, 2015
Format: eBook - 261 pages
               Kindle - 1285 KB
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:
On sale for $.99 during the virtual book tour!

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

Book Description:

Sydney journalist Charli Cooper is making major changes in her life. She has no idea what destiny has in store for her as she moves half way around the world for a fresh start.

Jack Manning is everything Charli shouldn't want. He is arrogant, cocky and use to getting what he wants. He has no time to deal with an inexperienced journalist who has no idea of the New York social hierarchy.

As she unlocks the truth about Manning and his empire, she realises all is not as it seems and if she digs deep enough, she might just find the story she has been looking for. She has to make a decision between her ambition and her heart.

Will the secrets they both hold cause their delicately poised relationship to crumble?

Can one mistake unravel their lives?

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 4

“Mr. Manning, Charli Cooper, New York Herald. I would like to ask you a few questions.” I hold out my hand confidently to shake his, hoping he doesn’t notice my slightly shallow breathing and trembling hands.
“So,” he says, taking my hand and slowly raking his gaze obnoxiously down my body. He seems so much taller and broader than I remember and I suddenly feel small and out of place. “Marla sends the international office junior to ask me a ‘few questions’ after the allotted time for interviews is over. An unusual move by Marla, I must say.” His voice is rich and strong. I’m momentarily paralysed by his statement and have to quickly gather myself. Set times for interviews? I mentally search for something that I’ve missed. I shuffle my papers nervously and watch in horror as they lazily flutter to the ground between us.
“Excuse me?” I say. I bend down quickly to retrieve my papers and take a moment to gather myself.
He pointedly looks at his big, ridiculously expensive watch, then at his phone, and finally lifts his eyes back to mine with a maddening smirk. “I’m sorry, Miss…Cooper, was it?” I give a small nod. “I’m sorry but had you read your brief properly you would have seen that interview times are finished for the evening.” He points to a tiny line at the end of the programme I’m holding. “Why don’t you call during business hours and see if a more appropriate time can be arranged.” And with that, he turns his back on me and saunters over to a tall flaxen-haired beauty. I’m left standing alone with my papers, mouth agape, mortified. I turn when I realise Pete has stepped in behind me.
“Pete, did that just happen?” I feel the familiar tightening around my ribcage. “It would have only taken him a few minutes. What’s his problem?”
“Yeah, sorry, I only caught the end of it.”
I want the floor to open up and swallow me. Embarrassment crawls its ugly red stain up my chest and onto my face. I fumble through my notes again, peeved when I see other guests still giving interviews.
“What’d I tell you, asshole, right? Don’t worry kid, leave it with me, we’ll get something before the night is out.”
I quietly slink back to the press corner to lick my wounds and pull myself together. Tears threaten but I will not cry. Arrogant bastard. I busy myself checking through the notes I’ve already made. I’m grateful to Pete who introduces me to associates from other papers before he moves away to take more shots. Wrapped up in my foggy brain, I excuse myself and drift across the gallery looking for the restroom and a chance to escape when his resonant voice accosts me from behind.
“You gave up very easily, Miss Cooper. I was led to believe you would be more tenacious.”
“Pardon?” I turn and see his ocean-blue eyes staring at me through his dark thick lashes. Why does his mere presence rattle me? My mouth loses all moisture and I swallow nervously. The worst thing is, I sense he knows the effect he has on me and he’s enjoying it.
“Well, Miss International Roving Reporter, you can’t work in this city if you can’t secure a story. If you don’t mind me saying so, you seem a bit out of your depth, sweetheart. Next time, I suggest you get your priorities right.” He puts his hands into his pockets.
Okay, so this guy is a patronising jerk. Did he really just say ‘sweetheart’? Who the hell does he think he is?
“I have to say that in the time you’ve stood there reprimanding me, I could have completed the whole interview and we could’ve moved on. But I’m guessing this is some sort of revenge for the other night, am I right, Mr. Manning? It’s not very professional.”
“Professional? A professional would know what order to run the interviews in, Miss Cooper. A professional would have read all the details about the evening. And the other night?” He raises his eyebrow and arrogantly leans against the wall. “Do tell? Sounds like a good story.”
“The other night when you…when you…ran into me.” I glare up at him and he purses his lips, deep in thought, then lets out a hearty laugh.
“Ah that. I remember it very differently, Miss Cooper. I remember it as a young lady too busy flirting with a barman to notice where she was going,” he says with a wink, enjoying antagonising me. “You are amusing, Charlotte, I will give you that.”
I search my brain for a witty retort, which I’m usually so good at, but come up empty. The silence spills out between us, before I finally find my voice. “Charli, it’s Charli Cooper, Mr. err…” I fidget with my notes on the pretence of searching for his name, scanning the list slowly. “Mr. Grainger-Smythe?” I blame jet-lag or a long day for my momentary lack of judgement.
“Very amusing,” he says, “I am looking forward to seeing what you can salvage from tonight’s debacle.” He looks down at his watch again, making ready to move on.
“Please don’t concern yourself over my story, I have plenty of quotes. Some more interesting than others.” I smile sweetly up at him, while inside my blood is boiling. He walks away in his big shiny shoes with his hands in his pockets, and I can see his shoulders moving. Is he laughing at me? He turns around and looks back at me over his shoulder, then saunters back towards me. I crane my neck to look up at him.
“It’s Manning, as you know full well. And I assume you do know I am the major sponsor tonight, Miss Cooper? So write what you will, I’ll look forward to reading it.” He lifts his eyebrows, daring me to challenge him before walking away again.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Unravelled in New York, author Suzanne Nicole weaves an entertaining chick lit tale with an intriguing mystery twist.

The reader follows the journey of Aussie journalist Charli Cooper as she leaves Sydney after a heartbreak for a new start in New York City. Told in the first person narrative, Charli takes the readers along for the ride as she embarks on a new adventure in New York City as a society page journalist for the New York Herald. With her best friend Mia Benson as her support system, Mia is ready for a new start in the city that never sleeps, but she doesn't expect the challenge that she faces when she meets Jack Manning, the arrogant and wealthy heir to a property development company. Jack is all about advancing his own self-interests, but there are family secrets he wants to keep hidden. As Charli's interest in Jack grows, she begins to investigate the mystery behind the Manning family, and a dilemma arises when she has to choose between her ambition and her heart!

Unravelled In New York was such a fun read, the author easily draws the reader into the story with its wonderful mixture of drama, humor, romance, and mystery. I love a story that features a sassy woman and alpha male, and the author doesn't disappoint the readers with Charli and Jack. I loved following the development of their relationship from its rocky start to the spark that ignited their romantic chemistry. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed their witty banter intertwined with the mystery twists behind Jack's family's secrets, it easily kept me captivated and turning the pages.

With an engaging cast of characters, a richly vivid description of the sights and sounds of New York City, and a smooth flowing romantic storyline with an interesting mystery, Unravelled In New York is an enjoyable chick lit tale that will keep the reader thoroughly entertained and wanting more!


Contest Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

October 13 – Living Life With Joy – Q&A & Excerpt
October 14 – CDyess Writes – Excerpt
October 15 – Charline Ratcliff – Q&A
October 15 – Caroline Fardig – Q&A
October 16 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
October 19 – Hey Said Renee – Review & Q&A
October 20 – Change the Word – Q&A 
October 20 – myhomemadelibrary – Review & Excerpt 
October 21 – I Love My Authors – Excerpt
October 21 – Hello Chick Lit – Q&A & Excerpt
October 22 – The Book Sirens – Excerpt
October 23 – Love For Books and Java – Review
October 26 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
October 26 – Polished and Bubbly – Review & Q&A 
October 27 – Texas Book-a-Holic – Review 
October 29 – The Phantom Paragrapher – Review
October 30- Granny Loves to Read – Review & Excerpt

Clutch by Lisa Becker (Book Release Promo Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book release promo event for Clutch by author Lisa Becker!

About The Book

Clutch by Lisa Becker
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: October 26, 2015
Format: Paperback - 214 pages
               Kindle - 329 KB
ISBN: 978-0692489895
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Book Description:

clutch: a novel is the laugh-out-loud, chick lit romance chronicling the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer who compares her unsuccessful romantic relationships to styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc. With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks a lot of Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to discover the “Clutch” or someone she wants to hold onto.

About The Author

In addition to clutch: a novel, Lisa Becker is the author of the Click Trilogy, a contemporary romance series comprised of Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. She’s written bylined articles about dating and relationships for “Cupid’s Pulse,” “The Perfect Soulmate,” “GalTime,” “Single Edition,” “Healthy B Daily” and “Chick Lit Central” among others. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband and two daughters.

Author Website

Contest Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Release Day Promo Event 

Event Participants:

Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Bookaholic Babe
Chick Lit Goddess
Evocative Book Reviews
Charline’s Blog & More
I Love My Authors
The Book Bag
Two Children and a Migraine
Love for Books and Java
Mallory Heart Reviews
Change the Word
Granny Loves to Read
Curling Up With a Good Book
The Phantom Paragapher
Dirty Nerdy & Flirty
Caroline Fardig
Chick Lit Plus
Love Chick Lit

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lotus by Kay W. Smith (Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Lotus by author Kay W. Smith!

Book Review

Lotus by Kay W. Smith
Publisher: LuLu Publishing Services
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Format: Paperback - 248 pages
               Kindle - 275 KB
ISBN: 978-1483434131
Genre: Chick Lit / Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

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

Book Description:

Newlywed Lotus Price has everything that she should have ever wanted: a great husband and a dream job as an executive of a prominent Chicago philanthropic foundation. Her life is going exactly as she planned—until she discovers she is pregnant and then unexpectedly encounters her first love. Despite his offer to be friends, Lotus wants to keep the past where it belongs. As the pregnancy begins to interrupt the dream that Lotus envisioned for her marriage, she is forced to rethink everything she thought she knew about her path to this point, including the single day that led her to her husband and away from the man she saw herself spending forever with. Now, as long-buried scars resurface, only time will tell what direction Lotus will take in the future—and who will be willing to give up what they have in order to get what they have always desired?

My Book Review:

In her debut novel Lotus, author Kay W. Smith weaves a captivating tale that follows the story of Lotus Price, a newlywed whose life is turned upside down by an unexpected pregnancy and a chance meeting with a past love, both which causes her to question the choices and decisions that she has made in the direction of her life.

Set in Chicago, and told in the first person narrative by Lotus, the reader is easily drawn into her story as she finds herself at an unexpected crossroads in her life. What should have been a wonderful start to her life married to her best friend Nick takes a sudden turn when she becomes pregnant six months into their marriage, and the unexpected crossing of paths with her first love, Dr. Gabriel Lincoln, brings complications and an unraveling to her life, that causes Lotus to question the choices, decisions, and what ifs from the past, against the desires of the present.

You can't help but feel empathy and compassion as Lotus struggles with daily life challenges, her inner demons, and complications from the affairs of the heart. The author weaves a well written and compelling story that flows smoothly from the present to flashbacks from the past, with a complex and multi-layered cast of characters, to a realistic and poignant storyline about a person re-examining her life choices and second chances, that is easily relatable and engages the reader to ponder the choices and direction of their own lives.

In reading Lotus, anyone can step into Lotus' shoes when it comes to their first love, especially when it comes to taking a walk down memory lane which brings with it the questioning of life choices, the wondering of what ifs, and the imagined possible opportunities of second chances.

Lotus is a riveting and realistic portrayal of the complications of life and love. This book was so hard to put down. There is a wonderful mixture of drama, emotion, and humor interwoven throughout the story, you can't help but get caught up in the in depth and complex dynamics of Lotus, Nick, and Gabe's story as it unfolds. This is a wonderful must read story that will simply leave you wanting more.


About The Author

Kay W. Smith
is a writer and blogger living in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two sons. She worked in public policy for several years before pursuing her passion to write full-time. She is a graduate of Spelman College and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

Author Website

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

October 19 – Shelly Back Books
October 20 – Polished & Bubbly
October 20 – This Side of Paradise
October 22 – Cindy Arora
October 23 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews
October 26 – Granny Loves to Read
October 26 – Two Children and a Migraine

Monday, October 19, 2015

Between The Cracks She Fell by Lisa de Nikolits (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Between The Cracks She Fell by author Lisa de Nikolits!

Book Review

Between The Cracks She Fell by Lisa de Nikolits
Publisher: Inanna Publications
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Format: Paperback - 350 pages
ISBN:  978-1771332255
Genre: Suspense Thriller

Buy The Book: 

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

Book Trailer:

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.

Book Description:

The award-winning author of The Hungry MirrorWest of WawaGlittering Chaos and The Witchdoctor’s Bones delivers an original and riveting new novel about societal betrayal, familial loss and religious jihad. A suspenseful and lyrical read, Between The Cracks She Fell is a powerful-first person narrative about the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times and the pervasiveness of religious domination.

When Joss finds herself having to make mortgage payments without help from her depressed, stoner boyfriend who has just moved out, and the company she works for folds leaving her suddenly unemployed, she is forced to sell her house, on which she takes a financial loss. She decides to camp out in a vacant complex of school buildings to give herself time to decide what to do next. It turns out the building is used by a gang of teenagers for wild, drug-fueled parties and Joss soon finds herself both repelled by their charismatic evil leader, as well as sexually attracted to him. She knows he is dangerous even before she finds his girlfriend's dead and violently abused body in the school library. During this time, she meets and befriends two other people in difficulty: Emma, a narcissistic thief living with her dog in a stolen car and Ashley, a young homosexual who is heartbroken by the fact that he has been expelled from the Jehovah's Witness church because he is gay. When her former boyfriend reappears as a born again Christian, Joss is immersed in a journal she found that contains the thoughts of a Muslim teenager who becomes increasingly radicalized. Her struggle to understand her former boyfriend and this young man's spiritual quests prepare her to make some hard decisions about her future. Between The Cracks She Fell is about a woman who falls off the grid and the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times, and the pervasiveness of religious domination.

Book Excerpt:


I reached my destination with no great sense of joy but at least I wasn’t crying.

A purple, red and black pentagram marked the path ahead of me and the sea of grass rolled this way and that and my throat closed and my eyes stung but I swallowed the tears.

I tried to pretend I was Gibreel Farishta, a hero bigger than me; that tuneless soloist tumbling out of thin air; what an entrance, yaar.

First you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! How to ever smile again, if first you won’t cry?

But there would be no more crying for me. My former life was dead. I needed to escape for a while, hide out and then, once I got my energy back, I would figure out what came next.

Right now all I could say was that I was alive, and that is the point I guess, much like Gibreel, standing, with pigs falling out of his face and no God to help him.

I held my arms aloft and waded through the knotty field, as if paddling through an upward flowing river, pushing forward against the current.

The summer offered shoulder-high fragrant grasses laced with thistles and weeds and despite the misfortunes of past events, I was not blind to the beauty of the tiny lilac flowers or the red roses that grew wild and free.

I could see the buildings in the distance. It had been a while since I had seen them but they sprawled low at the other end of the playing fields, just as I remembered.

I had packed for the task at hand; knife, bottled water, flashlight, pillow. Kind of funny really, how natural this solution felt, like it was some kind of okay. It wasn’t the first time I’d purposefully left the grid; my first solo adventure had taken place when I was eleven. Tired of school, friends, mother, swimming lessons and tuck shop lunches, I hid out in a farmer’s shed, armed with books and apples and bars of chocolate. I stayed for two nights and two days, sleeping in a hairy horse blanket that I shook free of cobwebs and drew close around me, breathing in that rich scent of dry sage, dust, leather, sweat and all the other good things that horses smell of. I returned home when I ran out of food and reading material. Mum was furious but I wasn’t sorry; I’d done what I needed to do and it
was the same this time, although there was less choice in a sense, as I had in fact lost my house to the bank and my job to the recession and my boyfriend to a nervous breakdown.

I could think of no other way to heal, to regroup and to find the solo me that I could rely on. I had made a mistake, relying on Shayne but I would get over that. I would get over everything.

My Book Review:

If you are looking for a riveting suspense thriller that will keep you turning the pages, then Between The Cracks She Fell by author Lisa de Nikolits is the book for you!

Author Lisa de Nikolits weaves an intriguing dark tale of suspense that delves into family, societal, and religious issues. The reader is easily drawn into Joscelyn's personal journey of discovery as she goes off the grid to recover after her life is turned upside down. Joss is no stranger to going off the grid, her need to escape from daily living is a coping mechanism that she uses to heal, regroup, and figure out what to do with her life, after the recession has caused her to lose her job, house, and boyfriend. But when Joss decides to camp out in a vacant complex of of school buildings, her journey becomes a dark and emotional odyssey, when she encounters a gang of street people and dangerous elements that make survival after falling through society's cracks that much harder.

Between The Cracks She Fell is a compelling and complex tale that delves into the dark and gritty soul of reality that keeps the reader engaged and wondering what would happen next. Joss' journey is a testament to the strength of an individual's will power and determination to survive. I couldn't help but feel compassion for Joss as she struggled to deal with the challenging issues that life threw her way. But I also felt fearful for her as she went off the grid into an underground world of lost souls and danger lurking around each corner.

I found it fascinating how the author intertwined the social issues of faith, crime, and organized religion, it provided a lot of food for thought. Between The Cracks She Fell is the kind of thought provoking and realistic story that makes you sit up and take notice, it will stir the soul, and stay with you long after the last word has been read.


 About The Author

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women's Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine's four Editor's Picks. West of Wawa is available in bookstores and online.

Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to reader and review acclaim, and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry.

Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones was launched Spring 2014 to reader and literary acclaim. The Witchdoctor’s Bones is a thriller about the darkest secrets of African evil; the novel seamlessly weaves witchcraft and ancient folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue and a holiday becomes a test of moral character.

Her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell, will be published in Fall 2015 and has been called “a whirligig-ride into the dark recesses of “what-next? It is compelling and multi-layered penetrating and twisty tale of insurrection.”

“A lyrical and deeply moving examination of emotional pain and faith on a collision course with organized religion.  Lisa de Nikolits highly believable and human characters are outsiders struggling to find meaning, and perhaps hope, in contemporary urban society.  With a deft and confident clarity of style, she explores the complex interplay of faith, crime and social isolation. Highly recommended.” - M. H. Callway, award-winning author of Windigo Fire (Seraphim Editions).

Virtual Book Tour Event Page

Click on the above link for a schedule of the tour participants.