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

Friday, November 16, 2018

"Gap-Toothed Girl" by Ray Harvey


REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Gap-Toothed Girl
by Ray Harvey

Gap-Toothed Girl by Ray Harvey

Gap-Toothed Girl by Ray Harvey is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
“Tournament night in a sweltering Las Vegas stadium, and the girl with the gap-toothed smile stood bleeding in her ballet slippers.”
So begins Gap-Toothed Girl, the story of Dusty May, a Lakota orphan with a radiant smile and an iron will, who runs away from the horrific circumstances of her foster home and her foster father - a man of beast-like brilliance and power - to pursue her dream of lightness and ballet, even as her foster father unleashes an army to bring her down.
Part literary fiction, part thriller, part dance story, Gap-Toothed Girl is at its core a tale of human joy and freedom of will - a “fast-paced novel combining the surreal imagery of Nabokov with the psychological complexity of Dostoevsky” to more thoroughly investigate the depths of the human psyche and the indomitable will to succeed, ultimately drilling down into the very nature of happiness, art, and the human soul.

Excerpt
Chapter 1
Tournament night in a sweltering Las Vegas stadium, and the girl with the gap-toothed smile stood bleeding in her ballet slippers. The sodium lights of the arena lay upcast on the low-hanging sky above. An electrical charge hummed through the air: a crackling undercurrent that came neither from the lights nor from the distant heat lightning, but from the galvanized excitement of the crowd.
Before her, some twenty feet away and elevated four feet off the ground, there stretched a long green balance beam, atop which, at the southernmost end, stood eight empty whiskey bottles. The bottles were perfectly upright and in single file. A small springboard crouched in front.
High above her floated a long banner which said, in shimmering red letters:
A CONTEST OF MOTION
She closed her eyes and inhaled. The air was dry. She stood alone upon the stage. She was dusky-limbed, Lakota. She held her breath a moment and then she released it.
When she opened her eyes, her gaze settled on the objects before her: the springboard, the balance beam, the whiskey bottles. The heat hung heavy. A rill of sweat slid between her breasts. She didn’t see the tiny camera-flash explosions igniting everywhere around her from within the darkness of the stadium. She forgot that there were thousands of eyes fixed upon her. She forgot also the pain in her toes and was unaware of the bleed-through and the blood leaking like ink across the entire top part of her slipper.
Offstage in the shadows, a lanky youth in a baseball cap gave a thumbs-up, but it wasn’t directed toward her.
A man with a microphone emerged on stage. He was thin and well-dressed and darkly complexioned.
A hush came over the crowd. The man held the microphone to his mouth. His voice came booming through the speakers with great clarity.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “ladies and gentleman. May I have your attention, please. Thank you. We are finally at the end of the night, and — my Lord — what a night it’s been. What a competition.”
The crowd erupted.
“We have seen — excuse me, please — we have seen tonight some of the very best dancers in the world, and I’m sure you know this is not an exaggeration. We have only one more to go. Did we save the best for last? Need I remind you that there’s fifty thousand dollars at stake here?”
He paused.
“Now,” he said, “now, then. Do you see this young woman up on the stage with me? I’m told she’s about to do something that only one other person in human history is known to have done, and that was Ms. Bianca Passarge, of Hamburg, Germany, in 1958 — except Ms. Passarge, I am told, was not mounting a balance beam when she did her routine. Can this little girl — all 115 pounds of her — I say, can she do it? Can she steal the money from these big city boys and girls, the Bronx break dancers and West Coast B-Boys and all the others who have astounded us here tonight with their strength and agility and their grace of motion? Folks, we are about to find out.”
The crowd erupted again. The MC turned and looked at the girl on stage behind him.
He winked.
He lowered the microphone and said in an unamplified voice that sounded peculiar to her:
“Are you ready?”
He smiled kindly.
She nodded.
He gave her the A-OK sign with his fingers and nodded back. Then her lips broke open in return, disclosing, very slightly, her endearing gap-toothed smile.
He brought the microphone back to his mouth and turned again to the audience.
“Here we go!” he said.
The crowd went dead-silent in anticipation.
“Okay, okay!” she thought. All ten of her fingers wiggled unconsciously and in unison.
Abruptly, then, the lights above her darkened while simultaneously the lights behind her brightened, and then the music began: fast-paced and throbbing and happy.
She bolted forward.
She sprinted toward the balance beam and with astonishing speed executed a back handspring onto the springboard, vaulting into a full fluid backflip on one foot upon the beam — which in the very same motion turned into another back handspring, and then another, all to within inches of the bottles at the far end of the beam. This entire process took no more than five seconds. Here she paused for a fraction and then performed a half turn. From there she leapt lightly onto the first upright whiskey bottle, which wobbled only slightly under her weight. She placed her other toe catlike upon the next whiskey bottle, and then she raised herself en point to great heights…
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Dusty May won my heart, and so did this story!” ~ Amazon Customer
“A beautiful and beautifully written novel which I loved.” ~ Roberto Munoz-Alicea
“I loved the first part of the story. I'm happy to say the rest of the book is even better. It's genuinely thrilling, edge-of-the-seat, and inspirational. It's the best book I've read so far this year.” ~ C-Lee J.
“An incredible story and must read! My favorite of Mr. Harvey's work to date. In fact, my favorite read of the year! Ray has a unique voice that brings Dusty May to life in this beautiful story of a young woman with a determined will.” ~ TRunn
“You have to experience this wonderful book to believe it.” ~ Lauren Fillmore
“This is by far the best book I've read in a year or more.” ~ Pakeha

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


By Lynda Dickson
Dusty May falls in love with gymnastics when she is eight. At sixteen, she runs away from a bad situation in her foster home to achieve her dream, but she must overcome even more harrowing obstacles along the way.
The book begins with a great opening line: “Tournament night in a sweltering Las Vegas stadium, and the girl with the gap-toothed smile stood bleeding in her ballet slippers.” From there, things just get better. The story is populated with intriguing characters and riddled with interesting philosophical discussions. The author has a wonderfully rich and poetic vocabulary, and I was glad for the dictionary function of the Kindle app.
Dusty’s gap-toothed smile doesn’t appear very often but, when it does, it’s glorious. Utterly charming.
Warnings: rape, violence.

About the Author
Ray Harvey
Ray A. Harvey, novelist, essayist, published poet, athlete, and editor, son of Firman Charles Harvey (RIP) and his wife Cecilia, youngest of thirteen half brothers and half sisters, was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. He’s worked as a short-order cook, copyeditor, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, pedi-cab driver, bartender, and more. He’s also written and ghostwritten a number of published books, poems, and essays, but no matter where he’s gone or what he’s done to earn a living, literature and learning have always existed at the core of his life.




Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card OR an ebook copy of Gap-Toothed Girl by Ray Harvey.

Links

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Star Spangled Second Chance" by Christie Logan


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Star Spangled Second Chance
(Holidays in Applewood Book 4)
by Christie Logan

Star Spangled Second Chance (Holidays in Applewood) by Christie Logan

Star Spangled Second Chance, the fourth book in the Holidays in Applewood series by Christie Logan, is ON SALE for only $0.99 for a limited time. Also available: A Real Christmas, Dear Acquaintance, and A Gentle Heart.

Holidays in Applewood by Christie Logan

This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader.


Description
They were best friends before he left town without a word. Now he’s back. Will her heart be broken again?
Good girl Portia Phillips always followed the rules, colored inside the lines and walked the straight and narrow. Only her best friend Raymond Alessio could ever get her to quit being “perfect Portia” for a minute and take a risk.
Portia fell in love with Raymond way back in fourth grade. That love only grew stronger as years passed, but she kept it hidden, until one Fourth of July when she finally had the courage to share her feelings.
That was the night he broke her heart. Since then she’s kept it safe, under lock and key.
Now, eight years later, he’s back in town with his young daughter. His life’s a mess, but his love for Portia never changed. Can Raymond convince her to give him another chance? Will Portia find the courage to risk her heart a second time?

Excerpt
A sharp cry followed by a high-pitched wail jerked Portia out of her reverie. Underneath the monkey bars, Serena was helping the blonde child up from the ground. The little girl cried loudly as Serena propped her up with an arm around her shoulder.
“Oh, no.” Portia rushed over to them. The little blonde’s face was bright red, her face streaked with tears. “Sweetie, are you all right?”
“Her name’s Lily. I know her from the afterschool program.” Serena looked stricken. “We were just playing, and she fell.”
“It’s not your fault, Serena.” Portia looked the other child up and down and saw no blood. “Did you hurt yourself, Lily?”
“I want my dad!” The child wailed. “Where’s my daddy?”
“Okay, honey. We’ll find him.” Portia quickly scanned the area. Her gaze flew past the faces of a few adults who had stopped to stare at the spectacle, but no one came forward.
Suddenly a man’s voice sounded behind her. “Lily!”
Portia turned toward the sound and froze. Her heartbeat thudded to a crawl and her tongue glued itself to the roof of her mouth as the man raced toward them.
For an instant, his eyes connected with Portia’s as he swept by her to comfort the little girl. His child.
Suddenly everything around Portia went blurry, as though she were seeing the world through a smear of gel. What kind of crazy hand had fate dealt her, bringing her face to face with Raymond Alessio, after all this time? Here, where she first fell in love with him—and where he later broke her heart.

Praise for the Book
“This sweet, clean, contemporary romance is well written. I love the way the author used flashbacks to fill in the history of the couples previous relationship and things that happened to it. The characters are so likable. I look forward to reading the rest of the Holidays in Applewood series.” ~ Kathy
“Wow, what a second chance story! There are quite a few twists and turns in this story, but it is all worth it.” ~ Salutemel02
“If you love this genre this is a must read.” ~ mima48
“This is an interesting romance. It is a second chance romance in a small town. […] It is a well written story with believable characters.” ~ GranJan
“An enjoyable and entertaining second chance romance. If you like second chances give this book a chance!” ~ Jen

About the Author
Christie Logan
Christie Logan writes sweet romance straight from the heart. She lives in upstate New York with too many pets, too many dust bunnies lurking under the bed, and too many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She thinks everyone deserves a happy ending and, in her books, everyone gets one.



Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Just a Name" by Becky Monson

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Just a Name
by Becky Monson

Just a Name by Becky Monson

This book blast and giveaway for Just a Name by Becky Monson is hosted by I Am A Reader.



Description
Holly has a plan for everything. But she never could have planned for this.
If there’s one thing Holly Murphy loves, it’s a solid plan. She has her entire life figured out - or so she thinks. But when life pulls the rug out from under her, she’s left to deal with a canceled wedding - hers, to be precise. And the promotion she’s worked toward for years is now in jeopardy because the team she supervises doesn’t like her management style.
Thinking that Holly is too tightly wound and needs a break from everything, her boss demands she take a vacation. But how can she take a vacation when her promotion is on the line? Trying to help out, her best friend, Quinn, suggests she still go on her honeymoon and conduct a nationwide search to find a man with the same name as her ex-fiancé to use his plane ticket. Leaving Holly to wonder if she’s the only sane person left on the planet.
Yet when her boss gets wind of the idea and loves it, Holly finds herself in a corner she can’t get out of. And when handsome Nate Jones from Newport Beach gets picked to go with her, she wonders if this whole thing won’t be so bad after all.
Can Holly learn to let go? Or will this crazy adventure send her running right back to her safety net?

Excerpt
“Holly?” a deep voice says from behind me as I wait for my order at the Lava Java, a quaint coffee shop across the street from my office building.
Oh, please not now. Not now. Not. Now.
What’s next? A rainstorm? Actually, that’s highly likely with the smell of rain in the air, the rumble of thunder in the distance, and the ominous clouds I saw as I walked over here. Typical springtime in Orlando.
I turn around and find Logan Palmer standing there in dark jeans, a fitted black T-shirt, and flip-flops. Or, in other words, his standard outfit. The T-shirt color can vary from day to day, but that’s about it. His light-brown hair is disheveled, and the beginnings of stubble appear around his jaw.
“Logan,” I say, feeling like a big chunk of ice just landed in my belly.
So far this morning, I’ve found out my team hates me—and I could miss out on one of the biggest opportunities of my career because of it—and my boss wants me to run away on some crazy trip before I can even fix it.
And now? Now I run into Nathan’s best friend, roommate, and business partner, who has never liked me, and I’m quite sure is one of the reasons things ended like they did. The way Nathan broke it off wreaked of Logan, actually.
“How ... are you?” he asks, his fingers extending and then clenching into fists at his sides. Even with my average height and three-inch heels he has to peer down at me, his sea-blue eyes searching my face as he does. He looks ... nervous.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
Just a Name is a delicious escape! I devoured every character, every moment, and every quirk and couldn’t get enough. This book is Becky Monson at her finest!” ~ Author Whitney Dineen
“Becky Monson has outdone herself with Just a Name. It’s FANTASTIC! I’m still swooning.” ~ Author Jennifer Peel
“Fans of romantic comedies should grab a copy of Just a Name; it has the perfect balance between sweet and sassy.” ~ Readers’ Favorite
“Full of fun, swoon, and humor, all topped with unexpected twists. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in these pages!” ~ Katie’s Clean Book Collection
“I loved it. Becky Monson is so good at writing humor into her books. Sarcasm and wit reign supreme right along with a slow growing romance.” ~ Aimee Brown from Getting Your Read On

About the Author
Becky Monson
By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. An award-winning author, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last … but it probably won’t.

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"The Art of Hero Worship" by Mia Kerick

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Art of Hero Worship
by Mia Kerick

The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick

The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Weekend Bucket List, my blog post on My Crunchy Life, and my blog post on Love Spell.


Description
Saving the one who once saved me.
College junior Liam Norcross is a hero. He willingly, even eagerly, risks his life to save a stranger as a murderous, deranged shooter moves methodically through the darkened theater on the Batcheldor College campus, randomly killing innocent men, women, and children.
The stranger he saves is college freshman Jason Tripp. Jase loses everything in the shooting: his girlfriend, who dies on the floor beside him, and his grip on emotional security. He struggles to regain a sense of safety in the world, finally leaving college to seek refuge in his hometown.
An inexplicable bond forms between the two men in the chaos and horror of the theater, and Liam fights to bring Jase back to the world he ran away from. When Jase returns to school, they’re drawn together as soulmates, and soon Liam and Jase fall into a turbulent romantic relationship. However, the rocky path to love cannot be smoothed until Jase rescues his hero in return by delving into his shady past and solving the mystery of Liam’s compulsion to be everybody’s savior.


Excerpt
I have no doubt who’s on the phone when he allows his trademark sigh. “I’m, uh...just calling to...to...”
“To check in on me?”
“Well, yeah. I guess...something like that.”
“I’m still alive and kicking. And no crazed gunman has taken me out since we last saw each other.” I hope he can hear the smile in my voice, even if it’s fake.
“Well, that’s a step in the right direction.” I’m pretty sure he doesn’t buy my happy-go-lucky tone.
“I want to see you, Jase. And I’m going to Massachusetts on Friday, for a weekend on Cape Cod. I want you to come with me.”
Liam Norcross is the most direct reminder of the worst two nights of my life. “I...I’ve got to work.” It’s not easy to lie to him.
Silence.
“And I don’t think my mom is ready for me to go anywhere yet.”
“’Kay.”
“Plus, I...I don’t think I’d be too much fun to hang out with. I’m not exactly a barrel of laughs these days.”
“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?”
I want to see him. I need to. I wish he’d plead with me, or insist that I go with him. Order me to do it, the way he did when he forced me to stay safe on the nights we were in so much danger.
“I need to see you, Jase. This...this visit is really more about me than you.” Again, he sighs, and it sounds more pained than I remember. “Will you come with me? Please.”
“When will you pick me up?” All I can see in my mind’s eye are Liam’s arms. So strong and protective and everything I needed...everything I need. For months, all I could see when I closed my eyes was Dom. And now I see Liam.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“… even though this was my first MM I didn't feel out of my comfort zone at all, it was so beautifully written, I might even go so far as to say that I'd read something else of this authors. Its emotionally raw, dark, gritty, and a book that will stay with me for a very long time.” ~ KAT, Kitty Kats Crazy About Books
“This is an emotional read and both characters have a lot to overcome. They need each other more than they realise.” ~ D.M.
“The writing made it easy to love the characters. Liam was the strongest one, always being there for Jason and others, while Jason purely adored the ground Liam walked on. […] Both characters take a journey in self-discovery and I simply loved how their story turned out. If you are a fan of the genre, then you will love this one. Do not miss it.” ~ Lina’s Reviews
“Mia Kerick is the Mistress of writing damaged characters who are faced with very real and very heartbreaking challenges. This book tackles the increasingly common occurrence of mass shootings in places we once thought we were safe and puts Jason, a young man paralyzed with fear, in the hands of one who has a bone-deep need to save.” ~ Jessie G.
“This is an excellent book that drew me in and didn't let up until the last page. Jason and Liam have a untraditional story where two straight men fall in love, it is also unique because they meet during chaos and tragedy while at a theater and a mass shooting takes place. […] I recommend this book highly and all of Mia Kerick's work - her books will take you beyond the typical m/m romance and broaden your understanding and appreciation for the concept of ‘love is love’.” ~ Jaime


About the Author
Mia Kerick
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children - a daughter in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son off to Syracuse. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said 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 her wonderful publishers for providing alternate places to stash her stories.
Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly First Place Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly First Place Award for YA Fiction, among others.
Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. 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