Blog Tour + Giveaway: Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux Book Review

Title: Gold Rush
Author: Jennifer Comeaux
Publication date: January 9th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Xpresso Book Tour
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Liza Petrov’s entire life has been about skating and winning her sport’s top prize – Olympic gold. She’s stayed sheltered inside her bubble, not daring to stray from her destined path.

Until she meets Braden Patrick.

He makes her heart flutter with possibility, and for the first time she gets a taste of a normal teenage life. She longs to have both the boy and the gold, but stepping outside her bubble comes with a price. As Liza begins to question both her future and her past, can she stay focused on the present and realize her ultimate dream?

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book-review

I read Gold Rush in one-sitting, and I loved it so much!

I’m a fan of competitive figure skating, and I love reading books about it, and I have to admit that it was the main reason why I decided to participate in this tour. I didn’t expect to love it this much.

When I reached the part about the first time Liza and Braden met, I thought it would be like all the other cliché YA contemporary romance books, where the two main characters meet, fall in love, throw in some misunderstandings here and there, maybe a break in the relationship before making up and their happy ending. I was wrong. Well, okay, some of those did happen, but most didn’t. The whole story was a big ball of fluff, and you’ll only feel a teeny bit of frustrations. There’s also an element of mystery (only a tiny bit though) in the book that caught me off guard.

I like Braden so much— well, I like Liza too, but I like Braden the most. He is just too sweet. And I love the relationship between him and Liza. I love the interaction between them when they first met (the awkward flirting!), I love their interactions before they became official, and I love their interactions after. I just love them. I love Braden’s family too. I just love relationships like that, like when Liza became friends with Braden, she didn’t just became friends with Braden but also with his family.

Me loving Braden’s family didn’t mean Liza’s own family wasn’t great. I love them too. Her father came off strict at first in regards of Braden, but he’s just an overprotective papa bear. I love Liza’s younger siblings, and the relationship she has with her stepmom was great. There are lots of stories where stepmoms are made into this wicked, evil person, and it’s just nice to read about a stepmom who is so nice for a change.

Also, just because this book is sweet and fluffy, doesn’t mean it didn’t have its sad moments. I didn’t bawl my eyes out, but I think a few tears escaped here and there. This is where the lil bit of mystery came. I’m not going to say what so that I don’t spoil anyone. But I’ll just have to warn you readers who are so emotional like me, maybe you’ll have to prepare some tissue papers when you read this book.

To sum it up, this is the perfect book for readers who are looking for a light YA romance book to read. I like how Jennifer Comeaux managed to make me so invested in these characters. And I think fans of figure skating might enjoy this book too. I think the figure skating parts were described perfectly.

I rate this book 4 / 5 stars.


Author bio:

Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. When she’s not writing, traveling, or calculating taxes, you can find her feeding her television addiction.

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My Friends Are All Strange Blog Tour + Giveaway

Title: My Friends Are All Strange
Author: Margaret Lesh
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

My friends are all strange.

Right now I’m living at Brookside, a place for people like me. I’ve met a kitty girl, a brooding beautiful boy, one who can’t be touched, and others. My new friends. Strange people. People like me.

I’ve always been different, but lately, more so. My hands sometimes don’t seem to be attached to the rest of me. I cut up all of my clothes. I’m hot, so hot, all of the time. If I sleep, a wizard haunts every dream. I don’t sleep. Sometimes I want to run, but where do you run to when you’re trying to escape your own mind? I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I’m smart. I’m nice, sometimes. I just want to be normal(ish). But, right now, my friends are all strange… Like me.

Dark, funny, snarky, seventeen-year-old Becca struggles to cope with mental illness in My Friends Are All Strange, the gripping contemporary young adult companion novel to Normalish.

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book-review

This. Book. Was. Amazing!

Lately, I am really interested in reading YA books with mental illness thrown in the mix, and I guess I’ve come to have a high standard on the theme because of all the other books I’ve read, and lucky for me, this book didn’t disappoint.

In fact, this book is kind of refreshing, because I like Becca so much better than the whiny main character from the book I read before this one.

This book managed to bring me through a roller coaster of emotions since the very beginning, which surprised me. It’s rare that a book made me emotionally invested since the very beginning. But it did; it made me laugh and cry. And it made me frustrated and angry and annoyed (yes, Troy, I’m talking to you. Or about you. Whatever). Becca’s journey as she struggles with her sanity, the friendship she made along the way… it is just beautiful.

I’ve mentioned that I like Becca. But the one I love the most is probably Roman. He is so sweet. And that’s not just because I have this soft spot for an artist…who happened to be a social outcast.

To sum it up, this book was a beautiful coming of age story, with beautiful friendship and romance thrown in the mix. (Yes, I realize I used ‘beautiful’ a lot). I think fans of Am I Normal Yet would enjoy this, as well as readers who love YA books with a touch of mental illness.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.


Author Bio:

California native Margaret Lesh lives in a narrow canyon populated by herds of wild burro and packs of coyote. The canyon is also populated with her creative, handsome husband, her feisty mother-in-law, her not-brave-at-all Border Collie, Echo, and sometimes her son (who is away at college. And she is not quite sure how that all happened so fast).

She writes books to entertain young and not-so-young readers as well as herself. She believes tacos are magic.

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Poppies for Christmas Blog Tour + Giveaway

Poppies For Christmas
Stacy Keywell
Publication date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

A celebration of love without labels. It’s easy to be brave with you by my side!

Popular DJ Dexx finds himself positively smitten by the precociously pristine Poppy Paris. Too bad she’s already taken by an older boy, Declan Davies, a beautiful model with a thriving career, and a perfect family. By a dreamful stroke of chance, Dexx finds himself invited to spend Christmas at the Davies home by a gorgeous girl, granting him the opportunity to pursue the precious Poppy. But in his quest to win her over, he unlocks a world of imperfection and insecurity, where people are picked on for their disabilities, speech, appearance, and eccentricities. For Poppy and her friends, love trumps labels, and everyone deserves a brave friend to stand by their side. What gifts will Dexx discover this Christmas? Will he ultimately find true love, or will he discover something even greater?

You are invited to read a powerful story about living with autism, but not letting it define you, about being bullied, but carrying on with determination and grit, and about having dreams, but not giving up in the face of adversity. Come celebrate something beautiful with Poppies for Christmas.

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EXCERPT

The Science of Baking

I read somewhere once that cooking is an art. It takes imagination and flare. But baking? Baking is a science. It takes exactitude and precision. It requires patience. It requires dedication. It requires love. A whole lot of love. And well…that’s what I’ve got…love…love for a girl, a special one, one who deserves dedication. So what do I choose to prove my love? I choose baking.

Chapter One

Lenn

Deep inside my tote, my hand grazed against my faithful sketchbook before I removed it. The metal spirals comforted my fingers as I dragged them across the row of sharp-edged rings. Firmly gripping the book, I flipped it open to a blank page near the middle. I smoothed out the slightly texturized, eggshell white page. I bent down and buried my nose in the crease, inhaling the faint lead pencil scent. It calmed me, readying me to add another chapter to my visual saga.

Spreading my tools around me, hard and soft pencils, a ruler, several firm erasers, and a small metal sharpener, I steadied my hand and cleared my mind, inviting in only the most blissful images of my fantasy. With a soft lead pencil, I constructed an oval blank for the face. Art classes definitely assisted in perfecting the technique, but dedication and talent trumped instruction.

I used the ruler to estimate the proper dimensions. I added eyes, a nose, some crazy-hot lips, all his beautiful features. I gave him expressive brows. I sketched his glossy dark brown hair, shaggy bangs flopping over to the side, covering his ear, exposing that sarcastic, twisted grin on his lips, the same way he looked when he joked around with his friends in the corner of the library during study hall.

A trusty eraser mopped up all of the stray, miscellaneous marks. I blew away a couple gummy shreds before I shaded in his taut jawline. I wiped up the last scattered pieces left behind on the page before I started on adding myself to the portrait. Duplicating the process, I gave myself a hipper, manga-esque look, allowing for a more whimsical likeness of myself.

Poppy and Kit sat at the same long, wooden table, on the opposite side of me. Kit swiped through the pages on her tablet, desperately trying to find the right page number, since she had neglected to tap the bookmark before closing out her chapter the previous night. Nervous oohs and aahs escaped her lips. Poppy, sitting with her legs crossed, jiggled her feet beneath her chair, shaking the table, creating a rattling earthquake under my artwork.

I shot a glare in her direction. “Would you please stop? The both of you! You are driving me crazy, and ruining my picture.”

Poppy and Kit stopped suddenly. They looked at each other, wide-eyed and innocent, two does in the midst of a meadow. Unaware! Clueless! Oblivious!

“I can’t think when you moan that way,” I snapped, addressing Kit. She squirmed underneath her oversized flannel shirt and baggy jeans.

“And, you,” I turned to Poppy. “You are going to smudge my drawing with all of that wild motion going on underneath the table. Can it!”

Their jaws dropped. They both stared at me, wordless.

“Please.” I hugged my journal protectively. Softening my voice, I turned to Poppy and asked her again. “Please?”

“Sorry,” they announced in simulcast, sighing, shrugging their shoulders, lost together in the great woods of their minds.

They looked back down at their own musings. I continued to draw.

In this picture, the two of us relaxed together on a chaise lounge, him with his large, bulbous headphones, and me with my skull and crossbones ear buds. Our eyes drifted in the opposite direction, lids almost closed, in a sleepy trance. My arm draped across his chest until our fingers entwined, intimately. We zoned out to his simpatico beats.


Author Bio:

Stacy Renée Keywell enjoys spending time misusing, mispronouncing, and misspelling languages, especially in her native tongue, English. When she is not stargazing or daydreaming she creates adventures for her family to conquer. Besides following her whimsical dreams, Stacy likes to sing to the music in her head, dance poorly, and compose non-sensical words. She is also the author of Forbidden Sky- Book One of the Dark Wing Series. Stacy resides in Michigan in a little house in the woods with her husband, and two daughters.

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Book Blitz: The Decision by L.K. Kuhl

The Decision
L.K. Kuhl
(Everlasting Trilogy, #2)
Publication date: October 20th 2016
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

The guests are invited. The cake is all set. In just a few short hours Sophia Bandell will be saying “I do” to a guy she isn’t sure she loves. But where does she go from here? She feels her life is headed in a downhill spiral. Her first and real true love, Tate Forester, is a ghost. But he’s the man she wants to be with…the one she can’t live without. Sophia is faced with the toughest decision of her life. Does she forget about Tate and marry the egotistical lawyer, Aaron Stuart? Or does she take the plunge and join Tate to be with him for eternity?

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EXCERPT:

I turned again and caught a glimpse of Aaron coming into the backyard, dressed to the nines in a black tuxedo, his arms splayed wide. He advanced toward my sister-in-law Kristy, who had just come out the backdoor, his voice tight and full of despair. “No sign of her. I’ve looked everywhere. I don’t know what to do next.” His arms flopped down to his sides, and he slumped into a lawn chair on the deck. “This is so unlike Sophia to do something like this.”

Just then, all of my bridesmaids, my best friends—Claudia Bunker, Jenny Staid, and Laura Anderson—came out of the house to join them on the deck. All three of them, along with Kristy, were dressed in their lacy purple bridesmaid dresses, long diamond earrings, and flattering braided up-dos.

“Sophia, you’d better go break the news to them now. Don’t put them through this any longer.” Tate gave me a gentle nudge, urging me to put an end to this.

My chin trembling, I answered him with a small nod. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t answer, my mind tossing a stormy chaos of what to do next. Did I go break the news to everyone that the wedding is called off? Everyone go home. It’s over. There will be no Mrs. Aaron Stuart today. My eyes slanted back to the yard again. This time Aaron sobbed into his hands. I blinked, then blinked again, my vision blurry.

My chest ached, and I shivered as though the wind had shifted, wind that carried in cooler air— air consumed with an acidic premonition and a feverish guilt. My hands fell limp and I sagged against the tree, sliding down the length of the trunk to deposit my butt on the ground, too weak to stand.

I rubbed my face, trying to come up with the right words, words that wouldn’t disintegrate me— kill us. There were none. This was going to be the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life, but I’d been weighing the consequences since early this morning. Ever since Tate told me there was no possible way there could ever be a future for us, not in this life anyway. Carrying out this agonizing feat would mean shredding my existence, tearing every piece of livable being out of me and turning me into a hollow shell. But I saw no other way.

My breathing picked up pace, amped, making the dizziness spin my world out of control. I was losing it. It got so bad I could no longer breathe. I gasped and wrenched my body, reaching for the sun— grasping, grabbing, trying to save my life. But the air was gone. Nothing to sustain me.

Tate knelt beside me and clutched my shoulders to keep me sitting upright. “You going to be okay, Ladybug? I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t think it would be this difficult for you.”

Finally, my voice spewed the bitter, vile words out like a hot rush of lava. The knife had already sliced its way through and gutted me, my heart pierced to the end of the blade, long before they spilled forth. I was too debilitated to even clear my throat. I gurgled out. “I’m letting you go, Tate.” The repugnant, volcanic ashes floated to the ground in a hushed whisper, singeing the ground as they lit.

Tate tipped his head, his mouth falling open. His eyes wouldn’t move, they drilled into me. “What are you saying?”

The tears… I couldn’t stop them. They surged forth like a rapid river, spilling down my face. “I’m so in love with you and… and I know that this time… this time I’ll never be able to forget you. And I know what that means. It means that in six weeks you’ll be going away. But I can’t fight it anymore. My love for you is too strong, and I’m too tired.” Now that I said the words I knew there was no going back for Tate. He would be gone.

Tate lowered his head, his lips pressed into a thin line. He swallowed twice, a small sound escaping from the back of his throat like something wanted to burst forth but couldn’t quite get the job done, caught somewhere between hurt and anger. He sat back on his heels, looking at his hands that trembled on his thighs, then finally whispered. “Do what you have to do. For as much as it hurts both of us, I think it’s for the best. You’ll find someone besides Aaron and move on, and we’ll be together in eternity.”

 

Author Bio:

L.K. Kuhl lives in Nebraska with her husband Gene of twenty-nine years, young son, Nathan, and Greg, their Black Lab dog. She has two older daughters, Morgan and Brittani and son-in-law, Trevor. L.K. has been writing for over twenty years. She first began writing children’s books and poetry, moved on to writing music, and is now writing Young Adult and Adult novels. She loves spending time with her family, vacationing, writing, reading, and taking long walks. It’s the characters who write their own stories in her novels, and she is just their messenger, sharing it with the world.

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Usually, I am not that into Paranormal books, but gah! The summary and the excerpt made me feel like reading the book.