Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"The Weekend Bucket List" by Mia Kerick


REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
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.


Description
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?

Excerpt
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.
FRIENDSHIP:
*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.

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

Links

Monday, April 23, 2018

Love in Bloom featuring Brooke St. James


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
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.


Description
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.

Excerpt
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:

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


Links


Friday, April 20, 2018

Love in Bloom featuring Donna Hatch


EXCERPTS and GIVEAWAY
Rogue Hearts Series
by Donna Hatch

Love in Bloom featuring Donna Hatch


Throughout the month of April, we will be featuring 10 fabulous authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Donna Hatch with her Rogue Hearts Series.
This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by I Am A Reader.


The Stranger She Married
(Rogue Hearts Series Book 1)
by Donna Hatch


Description
When her parents and twin brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor's prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.
Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he'd thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer's attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart. And Cole must protect Alicia from the killer who has been exterminating her family before she is the next target.

Book Video

Excerpt
As Cole looked down into Alicia Palmer’s face, he knew of a surety she was worth any risk. She touched him in a place he’d thought long dead.
A younger man wearing a saucy grin approached Miss Palmer. “Did you save me a dance, Lissie?”
Cole’s initial irritation for the man’s cheekiness faded to puzzlement. He knew him from somewhere. A vague unease arose.
When the young man’s gaze moved to Cole, he paled visibly. “You!”
Miss Palmer gasped. “Robert Palmer, where are your manners?”
Of course. Robert Palmer. From London. Cold dread trickled across his heart as he considered the ramifications.
Palmer pinned him with a dangerous glare. “Stay away from my cousin.”
“Your cousin?” Cole looked from him to the lovely Miss Palmer and understanding dawned. He cursed under his breath. He hadn’t been aware Armand Palmer had a sister. Not that he’d bothered to find out. The possible ramifications took a more serious turn.
Miss Palmer sent Cole a look of apology and turned to her cousin. “Robert, explain yourself.”
In a cold sweat, Cole waited for her condemning stare.
Palmer trembled in rage. He spoke quietly, but each word shot through Cole like bullets fired at close range. “He’s the scoundrel who shot your twin.”

Book Links


The Guise of a Gentleman
(Rogue Hearts Series Book 2)
by Donna Hatch


Description
The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.
A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment from the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared's past ... or still love him when the truth is revealed.

Book Video

Excerpt
“You are a woman of great courage to face those cutthroats alone.”
His fingers closed around hers as if she were a lifeline. Her late husband’s hands had always been smooth and soft, the hands of a gentleman, so unlike this man’s calluses which bespoke hard work. She marveled at the strength in those hands, not to mention the tingles that traveled up her arm.
A flush crept over her face and she struggled to retain her composure. “I saw a cruel act and felt compelled to intervene. I could do nothing less.”
His eyes darted over her face and he said in a stronger voice, “Those men might have turned on you.”
“I’m an excellent shot.”
“And did you not consider that you may have been in danger from me?”
She suspected many women found him a very great danger, but not for the reason he spoke.
Swallowing against a dry mouth, she lifted her chin. “You hardly looked dangerous at the time. And I daresay you lack the strength to offer any threat now.”
The barest hint of a smile twitched his lips and a wicked light glinted in his sea-green eyes.

Book Links

A Perfect Secret
(Rogue Hearts Series Book 3)
by Donna Hatch


Description
Desperate to protect her father from trial and death, Genevieve breaks off her engagement with Christian Amesbury and marries a blackmailer. After a year of marriage, she flees her husband's violent domination only to have fate bring her back to Christian. Just when she thinks she's started a new life of safety and solitude, her husband tracks her down, stalks her, and threatens everyone she loves.
Still brokenhearted over Genevieve's betrayal a year ago, Christian can't believe she's come back into his life--and worse, that she's done it on the anniversary of his brother's death, a death that haunts him. Though tempted to throw her back into the river where he found her, he can't leave her at the mercy of the terrifying man she married.
When her husband torments Genevieve and puts his family in danger, Christian will do anything to protect those he loves ... anything except give Genevieve another chance to break his heart.

Book Video

Excerpt
“I’ll be right there with you,” he said huskily into her hair.
She buried her face into his shirtfront. “I know you will. I’m not afraid.”
Heaven help him, he loved this woman so much that it physically hurt. He drew back and held her at arm’s length. “Do you have your gun?”
She nodded. “It’s in my pocket.” She patted the front of her pelisse.
“And the dagger?”
She lifted her skirts to show her riding boots with the hilt peeping out from inside.
“If anything goes wrong, run.”
She nodded.
He gripped her shoulders. “I mean, it, Genevieve; don’t stay and play heroine.”

Book Links

The Suspect’s Daughter
(Rogue Hearts Series Book 4)
by Donna Hatch


Description
Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Grant Amesbury, her dreams of true love reawaken. But his secrets put her family in peril.
Grant goes undercover to capture conspirators avowed to murder the prime minister, but his only suspect is the father of a courageous lady who is growing increasingly hard to ignore. He can’t allow Jocelyn to distract him from the case, nor will he taint her with his war-darkened soul. She seems to see past the barriers surrounding his heart, which makes her all the more dangerous to his vow of remaining forever alone.
Jocelyn will do anything to clear her father’s name, even if that means working with Grant. Time is running out. The future of England hangs in the balance ... and so does their love.

Book Video

Excerpt
She smiled, that persistent sunshine returning like a ray spearing the clouds. He’d seen her frightened and sad, but always quickly recovering to a state of joy.
Grant bowed. “Good night, Miss Fairley.”
He turned to go, but she touched his arm, a light touch, no more than the feathering brush of a butterfly. Still, he stiffened at the contact and withdrew. She blinked down at the thwarted contact as if searching for the source of his abruptness.
“Yes?” he prompted.
She faltered but seemed to draw from that endless well of happiness, and managed a sincere smile. “I look forward to seeing you at our house party.”
If Miss Fairley knew her father was his prime suspect, she wouldn’t be treating him with such kindness and familiarity. Her devotion to her father was clear. She’d be devastated when he brought her father to justice for conspiring to murder and treason. That Grant might play a part in dimming that ray of sun felt a tragedy. But better that than allowing a group of radicals commit murder.

Book Links

Unmasking the Duke
(Rogue Hearts Series Book 5)
by Donna Hatch


Description
The last thing Hannah Palmer wants to do is flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister, the Countess of Tarrington, throws a Masquerade Ball, Hannah can’t say no to the invitation. Taking comfort behind her disguise, she dances with a charming masked gentleman, matching him wit for wit. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and the two remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover the man she’s been flirting with all night is her most despised neighbor, the Duke of Suttenberg. No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she could ever love.

Book Links

Praise for the Author
“Written with heart and depth, Donna Hatch’s books are absolute must-reads for any fan of swoon-worthy historical romance.” ~ Sarah M. Eden, USA Today best-selling historical romance author
“Donna Hatch is one of the masters of clean romance with electric tension and smokin’ hot kisses.” ~ Reading is My Super Power Reviews
“The intrigue held me spellbound until the very end and it was an unexpected ending. I will definitely be looking for more…” ~ Night Owl Romance

About the Author
Donna Hatch
Best-selling author, Donna Hatch, is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, the force that drove her to write and publish more than twenty historical romance titles, including the award-winning “Rogue Hearts Series.” She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six (yes, that is 6) children. Also a music lover, she sings and plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Donna and her family recently transplanted from her native Arizona to the Pacific Northwest where she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.


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