Showing posts with label contemporary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label contemporary. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"The Weekend Bucket List" by Mia Kerick

The Weekend Bucket List
by Mia Kerick

The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick

The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line - they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.
There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another - feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

She acts as if this was my big idea, but The Weekend Bucket List has got Cady LaBrie’s name written all over it. She’s persuasive, though—the girl has almost got me believing I came up with the idea to do everything we never did that “normal” kids do in high school, all in the forty-eight hours before graduation. We have a lot of lost time to make up for.
“These fries are so good.” Cady’s eyes are closed like she’s in goddamned ecstasy. I’m not sure why, but I look away.
“How can you eat so freaking much and stay so freaking skinny?” I ask, as Cady starts in on her second large order of french fries. And these are just appetizers.
“I’m petite, Cooper. Not skinny... and you’re skinny, too.”
I shrug and suck futilely on the straw that stands straight in my vanilla shake.
“Whatever.” It doesn’t matter how thick the shake is; I’m in no rush to suck it down. Cady’s the talker in this relationship, so all I’ve got to do is sit here and listen.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
The Weekend Bucket List is without artifice, showing readers of any age, why genuineness is the core of happiness. The novel reaches for a lot and exceeded my expectations; a fun, clear-eyed view of three headstrong souls who come of age by supporting one another.” ~ Anniemaus
“… this is a wonderful book by the always amazing Mia Kerick. Brava, Mia … you entertained me, you broke my heart, and then you lifted me up in glorious fashion … BUY THE BOOK, people!!!! btw you will need the Kleenex I’m just saying.” ~ Kevin Casey
“This was a lovely, quiet book about friendship. Lifelong friends Cooper and Cady are about to leave for college and decide to make a bucket list to cross off all of the things they wish they had done, but didn't, in high school. Crossing things off in one jam-packed weekend, introduces them to Eli, a young man who manages to quickly work his way into their lives, and teach them more than they thought they would learn about love, leaving, and the power of loyalty.” ~ Samantha
The Weekend Bucket List is one of those coming of age books that can be read and enjoyed by anyone. A perfect read for teenagers who are still having a hard time finding themselves. I would definitely read the other books of Kerick as I enjoyed reading this one.” ~ Tin
“Aside from a kiss or two and some understandable raging teenage hormones, there is no sex in this book - and frankly I didn’t miss it at all. In fact, I would go as far to say that the power of this novel lies in the relationships it examines and in the love that friendships can bring into our lives and, as the story points out, that is the strongest type of bond and love that one can experience.” ~ Joyfully Jay

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

Cady and Cooper are best friends determined to complete their Weekend Bucket List before they graduate from high school the following Monday. Everyone thinks Cooper is gay, but the truth is they’re both struggling with their feelings for each other, fearing they will ruin their friendship if they take things to the next level. Then they run into Eli, the cute carnie, and everything changes.
This book asks the question: is romantic love more important than friendship? The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Cady, Cooper, and Eli. It’s fun to see how they each perceive the same situation. All three characters have authentic teenage voices and flawed personalities. The bucket list takes up the first half of the book, while the second half deals with graduation and beyond. My heart broke for Eli following the graduation ceremony. Thankfully, things are resolved in a positive manner.
A wonderful story about growing up and cherishing what’s really important.
Favorite line: “Right now, we’re on totally different pages, maybe different chapters, in our lives. I just hope we’re still in the same book.”

Guest Post by the Author
The Weekend Bucket List: A Different Kind of Love Story

In The Weekend Bucket List, I have crafted a love story, which will not come as a surprise to my loyal base of readers, or to new readers who look its way. As the story starts, high school seniors Cooper and Cady aren’t sure whether it’s best-friendship or the first stirrings of romantic love that has them dwelling on nothing but each other twenty-four/seven. Difficult questions about Cooper’s sexuality also come into play, causing insecurity and emotional distance. And yes … I’ve crafted stories with similar themes in previous YA novels. But this one is different … so keep on reading.

On the weekend prior to high school graduation, under the guise of crossing risky items off a carefully constructed bucket list to make them feel more “cool” and ready for college, the teens more truly set out to discover the truth of their feelings for each other. Are we in love or just good friends? Is Cooper gay or straight, or something else entirely? Awkward!! And this is when Eli, a high school drop-out who works at the traveling carnival they visit - dreamily handsome and oh, so tempting to both Cooper and Cady - enters the picture. He joins their journey of self-discovery, which turns out to be a voyage that transports all three teens to new and uncomfortable places in both the physical and emotional realms, where they learn the truth of their feelings for each other.

At the risk of dropping a spoiler in the promotion of my very own book, I will say this: Compelling love comes in different forms. And by compelling, I mean the kind of love that is magical and soul-driven, packed with enough ups and downs to make a reader’s palms sweat. I’m talking about the kind of love that you truly give a damn about … in which the characters endure raw emotion sufficient to cause withdrawal symptoms when they lose sight of it, and long sighs of relief when they find a chance to reach for it again. Cooper, Cady, and Eli must earn their reward - the bond of loving friendship.

I wrote The Weekend Bucket List with the above quotation in mind because friendship is an exquisitely fine art, even if in our society is incredibly undervalued. Maybe romantic love is frilly and lacy and jeweled, and is supposed to be what all teens should want - the be-all and end-all of relationships. But a committed bond of friendship is not a consolation prize; in fact, it can be a more meaningful target for emotional investment.

Friendship is a worthwhile vessel for deep feeling.

Friendship offers opportunity that romance often can’t.
*can tolerate complete honesty
*is dependable, especially in times of trouble
*allows you total freedom
*calls you out when you are wrong
*celebrates your success without reservation
*grows stronger with disagreements
*is able to forgive and overlook
*helps you live longer
*makes you want to be a better person

Shouldn’t there be an extensive list of gripping YA books that celebrate the unique and necessary and loving bond of friendship? The Weekend Bucket List is every bit this kind of love story. Best friends Cady and Cooper and Eli can no more live apart than could Romeo and Juliet! Aristotle said, “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” (In the case of The Weekend Bucket List, three teenage souls live their best lives when they’re together.) Cooper, Cady, and Eli must struggle to understand their individual sexualities and to discover the roles they will play in each other’s lives, but they find a way to be together. They learn to be honest. They decide to forgive each other’s mistakes. They complete each other. And if this isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

My April 19th, 2018 release of YA LGBTQ fiction, The Weekend Bucket List, strays from my usual path of romance, but not from the direction of love.

(And it’s pretty funny too.)

About the Author
Mia Kerick
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children - all named after saints - and five nonpedigreed cats - all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Love in Bloom featuring Brooke St. James

Summer of ‘65
(Bishop Family Book 1)
by Brooke St. James

Summer of ‘65 (Bishop Family Book 1) by Brooke St. James

Throughout the month of April, we will be featuring 10 fabulous authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Brooke St. James with Summer of ‘65, the first book in the Bishop Family series, which will be FREE on 23 and 24 April.

This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by I Am A Reader.

Ivy Lewis went home to Memphis in the summer of 1965 unaware of the adventure that awaited her. She was content to go through the motions of her predictable routines back home while safeguarding a few little secrets about her life in Nashville. In her mind, the two worlds weren’t meant to intersect.
Then Michael Bishop entered the picture. He had just moved to Memphis from Detroit in hopes of expanding his motorcycle company. He appeared to be nothing more than an outlaw and a menace to the community. Any type of relationship between them was sure to be met with resistance from Ivy’s family and friends.
But Michael Bishop was too great of a temptation for Ivy.
The summer of 1965 would be one of first impressions, first dances, and forbidden love.

I glanced at Alice who gave me a wide-eyed smile. I heard the noise of shifting gravel, and I looked up to find that Michael was getting off of his motorcycle.
“Ivy Lewis,” he said, closing the distance between us.
“Michael Bishop,” I returned.
“You came back to look for a hairpin,” he said as more of a statement than a question.
The other waiters came closer to help me look, which caused their shadows to block the light. “I think it was over here,” Alice said, redirecting them. She had, thank goodness, caught on to the fact that I might want to say a couple of words to Michael and was helping me out.
“I really liked that song,” he said.
He must have known I wasn’t really there to look for a hairpin, because he didn’t even bother looking down.
“When can I hear you play again?”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Just like her other books, you get everything a good book provides. It has a beautiful love story, nostalgia and a bit of mystery without repeating things over and over. Love it and will read it again I’m sure.” ~ Deb R
“I’m always anxious to see what Brooke writes and this book didn’t disappoint. Michael and Ivy experienced typical 1965 prejudices and problems but the fun and flirty dialogue is still there. Motorcycles and the preacher’s kid, misunderstood music and parental expectations … this story had it all. Can’t wait for the next generation!” ~ Barbara
“What an amazing new book by an incredible author! The story was sincere and well-paced with adorable dialogue, poignant moments and surprises along the way. I can’t get enough of these charming and realistic main characters and eagerly await the next book in this series.” ~ C. Marshall
“Wow! This was my first time reading this author. What a sweet romance and the beginning of a family of characters that I already love. I highly recommend this captivating story.” ~ T Cramer
“Love this series, couldn't put them down once I got started. Good wholesome family with a Christian romance tied to each one of the books in the series.” ~ LSanders

About the Author
Brooke St. James
Brooke St. James is an author of contemporary romance novels with Christian and inspirational themes and happy endings. She was born and raised in south Louisiana but has had the opportunity to travel and live throughout the U.S. An avid reader, writer, audio book addict, and fan of all things artistic, Brooke constantly has her hands in some creative activity. She’s currently back home in Louisiana enjoying life with her husband, children, and two lazy dogs.

Also by the author:

Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Love in Bloom featuring Delaney Cameron

Love at Last
(Finding Love Book 6)
by Delaney Cameron

Love at Last (Finding Love Book 6) by Delaney Cameron

Throughout the month of April, we will be featuring 10 fabulous authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Delaney Cameron with Love at Last, the sixth book in the Finding Love series.
This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by I Am A Reader.

Working on her grandmother’s house gives Rosemary a reason to escape the media attention of a very public broken engagement. In St. Marys, she hopes to rekindle the music that used to flow easily from her mind to paper and rediscover the girl who’s somehow lost her way. Instead she finds someone who challenges her beliefs about love and tests her resolve to guard her heart.
Fresh from a writer’s convention in New York, Jase is excited to return home and start putting into practice all the things he’s learned. He has no idea that his gesture of kindness to a mysterious woman on a plane will turn his life upside down and give him his first tantalizing glimpse of true love. But unlike the fiction he spends his days writing, he can’t simply remove all the obstacles in his path to happiness. Love comes in its own time and on its own terms.

Rosemary sat down on the steps and waited for Jase to do the same. She loved this time of day when the last rays of the setting sun bathed the backyard in a mellow glow and the crickets in the bushes began their nightly roll call. “Last time we did this, my legs were longer than yours.” His chuckle brought her glance to his face.
“I bet mine are longer now.” To prove his point, he proceeded to stretch out his leg next to hers. “By at least three inches.”
Her legs might be almost as long, but they looked like a child’s in comparison. His thighs were thick with muscles and easily double the width of hers. When she realized she was staring, she rushed into speech. “This is something of a novelty for me. I’m taller than most of the people I work with.”
His grin told her that he’d noticed her perusal of his legs. She waited to see if, like most men, he would make a comment about it, but he didn’t.
“I spent the majority of my teenage years worried that I’d never grow. Every few months, my dad would give me a pep talk about growth plates and being a late bloomer. He’d remind me that Quinn had been the same way. I wanted to tell him that all of that was fine and good, but I needed those extra inches right then, not five years down the road.”
Rosemary leaned against the balustrade and tilted her face toward the darkening sky. “My biggest hang-up was wearing glasses. By the time I was fourteen, my lenses were as thick as the bottom of a glass soda bottle. My mother finally let me get contacts, but by then my eyes were so bad I still had to wear glasses to read or drive. After I left home, I saved enough money to have laser surgery. That took care of the problem.”
“I’ve compared high school to a refined sort of torture. At a time when you’re the most insecure about your appearance is when you look your worst. I remember the horror of waking up in the morning to see a huge pimple on the end of my nose, but that wasn’t nearly as bad as the time I was standing at my locker right after P.E. and realized I’d forgotten to put on deodorant. Before I could make my escape, the girl who had the locker next to me showed up. I had a major crush on her at the time, so it was even more mortifying when she kept asking me what the smell was. I wanted to crawl into a hole.”
At least his embarrassing moments were confined to high school. Rosemary had tripped over her own feet while walking around on stage during a concert. “Did you ever get together with her?”
“Sadly, I did not. I really thought that being given lockers next to each other was the universe’s way of telling me to go for it. My ability to quote the periodic table backwards and forwards wasn’t nearly as impressive to her as the muscles on the man-among-boys who had the locker on the other side of her.”
Rosemary sent him a quick sideways glance. “You don’t appear to be doing too badly in that area now.”
He shrugged. “I sold out to the myth that a guy with a six-pack can get any woman he wants.”
A smile tugged at her lips. “So women are the reason you spend your days in the gym staring at yourself in those floor-to-ceiling mirrors.”
“That was my motivation at first. Now I do it because writing is sedentary. I need the exercise. But I don’t stare at myself in the mirror. I use it to see if there are any pretty girls working out that I might like to talk to.”
“So you use the mirror to check out girls? That’s even worse.” She reached over and pinched one of the legs she’d been admiring. The shocked look on his face was priceless.
“What was that for?”
“I don’t know. I just felt like doing it.”
One eyebrow went up. “Does that rule apply to me, too? There might be something I want to do some time.”
It wasn’t so much his words as the gleam in his eyes that made her heart skip a beat. “I took a self-defense class. Proceed at your own risk.”
He laughed. “Thanks for the warning.”
Rosemary heard Ambrose pawing at the door. Before she could move, Jase reached behind them and let the cat outside. Ambrose surveyed the situation and made his move, placing himself in the six inches of space between her and Jase.
“Ambrose is giving me the same look I used to get from the fathers of the high school girls I dated.”
She stroked the cat’s head. “He’s a little protective of me. Are you going to tell me why you’re willing to take care of him?”
“Is the other subject getting too hot for you?”
“Do you want another pinch on the leg?”
“Sure, but could you switch to the other leg? I bruise easily. As for Ambrose, why wouldn’t I want to help you? That’s what friends do for each other.”
“I haven’t been too lucky with my friends lately.”
“You have to get back on the friendship horse and try again. I’m a good place to start. You have some history with me.”
“Why do you care?”
He smiled, and Rosemary’s breath lodged in her throat and refused to budge.
“Isn’t it obvious? I like you.”
She liked him, too. Much more than seemed possible after only a few hours together and definitely more than was wise considering she couldn’t see him again.
“Is something wrong, Rosemary?”
“Wrong? Not at all.” She rose to her feet with a quickness that belied her words. It was the rabbit bolting into the nearest hole all over again. “I’m in the mood for some pudding. How about you?”
“I’m game.”
By the time they were eating their dessert in the living room, the momentary panic that had seized her on the porch had faded. She was making too much of too little.
Jase pointed to the dark wood paneling on the walls. “Have you thought about just painting over it?”
“Can I do that?”
“I don’t see why not. If you get the primer tinted to match the paint, you’d probably only have to use one coat.”
“So you know about painting, too?”
“I know a little about a lot of things; you know, a jack of all trades, master of none.” He sat up and reached for his wallet. “Do you have a pen I could borrow?”
“Sure. Let me get one out of my purse.”
After she handed it to him, he wrote something on a business card. “If you decide you want to go with Winnie and me on Wednesday evening, you can reach me at this number.” He laid the card on the coffee table and rose to his feet. “I should get going. I have an errand to run for Quinn before I go home.”
“Thanks again for fixing the sink. I really appreciate it.”
“It was my pleasure. Goodnight, Rosemary.”
“Goodnight, Jase.”
Only after he pulled out of the driveway did she return to the living room and pick up the card he left her. The front of it had a picture of a bouquet of flowers along with the contact information for a florist shop called Violets are Blue. On the back, along with his name and number, he’d written, “We don’t lose friends; we just learn who our real ones are.”
His words touched her and at the same time made her feel guilty. Why did he have to be so thoughtful and funny and nice and sweet and charming? It made closing the book on her reunion with him that much more difficult.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“While I loved all the books so far in the Finding Love series I think this was my favorite. […] Read this book and the entire series you won't be disappointed.” ~ Mary Rhonda Marquez
“This is my first Delaney Cameron book but it won't be the last. I loved how she wove ordinary life into a tale of great love. There wasn't the drama of misunderstandings and heartache. Instead it was a sweet story of love in a mostly linear progression. No soap operaesque details involved, just genuine characters finding their way to life together. Jase and Rosemary are inspirational.” ~ Granna C
“I wholeheartedly recommend this story. Actually, you can't go wrong with any of Delaney 's books.” ~ Dacia W.
“This was a New author for me. Loved her book and style. The book was clean. No sex and no swear words. Loved the H and h. Good read for all ages. Will definitely read more by this author.” ~ Avid Reader
“I have loved this whole series ... each book has had great characters but Jase is probably my favorite. He was definitely swoon worthy to me!!! He was so romantic and sweet ... definitely my favorite book boyfriend in this series” ~ booklover

About the Author
Delaney Cameron
I’m a Georgia girl at heart if not by birth. I love to read, watch college football, and spend time with my husband. I’m a hopeless romantic so there will always be a happily ever after in my stories. I also like to write about second chances because love doesn’t always work out the first time.
My books are sweet romances set in both contemporary and regency settings featuring stories about the journey to love, from that first meeting to the point where two people know their hearts are no longer their own. My characters aren’t perfect. They make mistakes and have faults like the rest of us. They learn the sometimes painful truth that the path to love isn’t always smooth, but it’s a road worth traveling.

Also by the author:

Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.