Friday, August 29, 2014

Blog tour: (Excerpt) Next To You by Claudia Y. Burgoa

My stop in this tour is a tasty excerpt. Enjoy reading and don't forget to check out the book summary below!

For now, I’m wandering through the place, checking that security is in place and the bar is working smoothly. Like old times, back when we started opening our own clubs. The difference between now and then is that we do this—manage the place—only on opening night and for a couple of hours. At least I do. Buddy still enjoys staying the entire night at one of the locations and making sure everything runs as he likes.
“Nick,” I bump into him as I entered the +25 V.I.P. section, “I didn’t know you’d be coming. I thought you said you had a busy day.”
“Yes, I’m working,” he says. “Tony is in the field and the decision for her to come was made only an hour before we arrived here.”
I scan the room that only has about twenty guests—mainly friends—and find a curvy hot item wearing a barely there skirt and an open back blouse talking animatedly to…Blaine Frank. Who the hell invited him?
“Did she come alone?” I ask before jumping the macho wagon and breaking the fingers of my architect, as he’s touching Becca’s arm. Nick shakes his head. “She came with Frank?”
“No, with the Sanders,” Nick tells me. “They’re at the bar.”
That’s an open invitation to act somewhat possessive, isn’t it? The jury—my dick—agrees and as a judge it dictates the procedure to follow. Walk to her and let Frank know that he needs to back off.
“Hi, beautiful,” I whisper in her ear and make the mistake of touching her silky skin with the tip of my fingers. Becca tenses and by instinct, I kiss her naked shoulder. “Let’s get a drink and dance.”
I don’t wait for an answer, instead I grab her hand and pull her toward the private room, which will remain closed for today.
“What the hell was that?” she asks after I unlock the door, let us in and close it behind us. “Did you lose the memo where it informs you that I’m not yours?”
“You’re killing me here, Becca,” I say as I try to tamp down the jealousy running through my body. “Fuck, you know I can’t resist when you show that much skin. Then he’s touching you and…”
“He wasn’t touching me, Dan. The exaggerating much file is taking a hit again. You’re making a light brush on my arm sound as if he was mauling me right in front of all the guests,” she shrieks, not a Becca like behavior. “And what if he was, we are over. O.V.E.R. So stop kissing my back as if we’re together. If you need to get laid, there are plenty of women that will be willing to do it. We’re not even friends and you’re taking way too many liberties.”
“We’re not friends because you won’t let me get close to you,” I automatically respond, then I rethink what I just said since I’m guilty of the same charge. “We haven’t even tried to close that gap, Bex.”
“Fine.” She crosses her arms. “So when did you move to San Jose, Dan?” she questions, as if we’re retaking some random conversation. Instead of letting me answer, she speaks again, “Never mind, I apologize if I’m not willing to play the game of twenty questions with you.” She raises her hands toward the ceiling and shakes her head. “We both know I’m the only one who’s going to keep the conversation going while you give me monosyllabic answers.”
I want to ask my own question, PMS or just bitchy? but I abstain.
“Bad day?” Bad question, I tell myself, after she growls. “Bex?”
“It’s hard you know.” The head looking down and lip biting posture isn’t a good sign. No I don’t, I want to say but choose to listen. “Trying to behave friendly, but not too friendly, making sure I don’t overstep because I’m not your person anymore and…I resigned to all my rights. But then you behave like this…” She gestures with her hand, as if speaking of the stupid scene I just made outside this room. “Or when I moved to my new place and you kicked across the street guy out of my house. I can’t remember his name, nor do I care much, but he avoids me now. You’re hitting on me one moment and the next you look at me as if I’m contagious and of course you avoid me at all times. It’s crazy, confusing and dumb, you know.”
“I know,” I respond and match her sigh. “We could start again, as friends if that’s what you prefer. As you previously established, we aren’t going to be out of each other’s lives any time soon—if ever.”
“Then there’s that, your family is mine too.” She looks around the room. “Friends, I guess, Dan, I like the sound of it better than being nothing.”
I nod and check my surroundings to verify that the silence that usually follows her is not taking over, because it’s infuriating to be with it and Becca inside the same room.
“But be aware,” I tell her as I reach the door handle so we head back to the VIP room, “that’ won’t last long. To be blunt, I want more, including getting in your panties, Rebecca. Not long ago I discovered that you and I are vined together, branded and there’s no way in hell I’m spending the rest of my life feeling like I’m missing a part of myself. Don’t try to confuse me with your brother this time, because I don’t need more siblings.”


Where Life Takes You by Claudia Y. Burgoa
Publication date: July 31st 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Becca Trent lived her childhood next to a cruel woman—her mom—who lived to torment and neglect her. During her high school years, her mother married; bringing home not only a new husband, but a step sister her same age. The latter took over her Mom’s role—making Becca’s life miserable. Including stealing Ian—Becca’s best friend and boyfriend—Lisa treated her worse than her mother had for the previous fifteen years. A couple of years later, things ended up in tragedy.

Becca buried that part of her life in the deep corners of her psyche, but that only work during the days when the nightmares didn’t come back to haunt her. Her best friend, Dan gives her that family love she always lacked. Everything was close to perfect, until everything and everyone from her past came back. Now, she’s trying to figure out how to survive and keep that bond which seems now to be held together by a thread.

Note: This is the first part of a two book novel.

Next To You by Claudia Y. Burgoa
(Life #2)
Publication date: June 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

…I need time. Time to heal those wings and learn to use them…
Was part of the letter Rebecca Trent, Daniel Brightmore’s fiancĂ©e and best friend left when she ran away. The person he trusted the most for the past decade disappeared without giving him a second glance. She taught him how to love, believe in family and that everyone deserves a happily ever after. Now he’s struggling between wiping any traces of her from his life and drowning his sorrows away with the help of his new best friends—Don Julio and Jack Daniels.
Rebecca’s past suffocated her to the point of not wanting to continue, her lifeline and the only reason to live began to withdraw from her. She wished it had been her imagination, but heard it loud and clear: “If not, there’s always a divorce, nothing is forever.” This time it became a leave or die situation. Something has got to change—she had to change. Packing light and leaving a letter behind, she takes a journey that can help her find herself through the shards of her painful childhood.
As letters, memories and stories are exchanged, two once inseparable people reconcile what’s left of their relationship. Beyond the confines of everything they built together, they’re left with two lonely people searching for what it means to be whole. Will they find meaning under their bruised psyches or will their pasts get the better of them?

Claudia lives in Colorado with her family and three dogs. Two beagles who believe they are human, and a bichon who thinks she’s a beagle. While managing life, she works as a CFO at a small IT Company. She’s a dreamer who enjoys music, laughter and a good story.

Author Links:


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book review: Paris Cravings by Kimberley Montpetit

Can life really turn on a dime,
a missed bus—
or a stuck pastry shop door?

Chloe Dillard’s life has always been complicated. Her mother is a neurotic romance novelist and her boyfriend, Mathew, has been pressuring her to go “all the way”—even as one of her own best friends offers to accommodate him.

But after The Worst Night of Her Life, Chloe escapes on her Senior Class trip to the swoon-worthy city of Paris which takes her mind off her troubles—temporarily. On the final leg of her dream trip, Chloe squeezes in one final run for a last-minute box of decadent pastries. Add a stuck door, subtract a broken four-inch heel from her cute strappy sandals, and Chloe ends up one stuck girl on the bakery shop floor with a sprained ankle.

Rescued by the shop owner’s dreamy son with chocolate-syrup eyes, the beautiful city of Paris suddenly becomes Chloe’s personal secret adventure. And even though Jean-Paul, the oh-so-kind La Patisserie shop boy is the gentlemanly guy Chloe has always dreamed of, even he has a girlfriend.

The police are tracking her down as a run-away, Mom’s having a nervous breakdown over her daughter’s “disappearance”, and Chloe’s just trying to have a Happily-Ever-After even as her dreams with Matt are swirling down the drain.

Could being lost in the city of Paris be just what the doctor ordered? What’s a girl to do in the most romantic city in the world?

NOTE: I received the novel in exchange for my honest review.

I was hooked on this novel right away. When i started reading and all the French pastries were being described, I felt in awe and in total envy. I think I'm as much a fan of pastries as Clare, although I don't think I'd miss my tour bus just to put my gluttonous thoughts at rest.

Anyway, i was actually expecting a bunch of pastry recipes in the back of the book, but was very disappointed when I found none. Pray tell, why would you tempt a person when you can't provide a recipe, eh?

Writing style:
It was told in an engaging, first person POV, with a fresh narrating voice. The research is obvious in Paris lifestyle, tourist hangouts and French pastry cuisine. I liked how each chapter had before and after parts, where Claire got to explain what had happened before her trip to Paris, and what was happening at the moment.

Story line:
Romantic and quite simple, it grabs the attention quite easily. But there is one drawback that I can't not mention. It reminded me way too much of Anna and the French Kiss. Sure, it isn't the same story, and all the Parisian references couldn't be helped... But the boy drama? The dropped girlfriend? The cheating boyfriend? The sudden attraction and jealousy? I really couldn't help comparing it to Anna's story.

-Being stranded alone in a foreign country
-Trusting total strangers-when could it be a wise thing to do?
-Love at first sight/long distance relationships. (btw, how could a relationship be labeled 'long distance' when one party has gone on a vacation for a week?)
-Coincidences-do the really happen and how to make the most of them

Jean-Paul was just a random French guy, whose family owns a Patiserie (pastry shop). He's kind and I guess we could call him a gentleman as he always seems to be helping Claire. I liked his determination to figure out his dream and to follow it. I felt sad because of the loss he had indured and was amazed at his will to live life with full force, but also being smart about it.

Claire was a reckless American girl, who was sent to spend a week in France. Yet, instead of enjoying all tourist attractions, she seemed to have a heart and mind for one thing only - and I'm not talking boys here. I'm talking French pastries. Being a beginner chef herself, Claire was dying to taste every pastry she could buy at the Patiserie. Then her little accident happened and voila - she is suddenly given the chance to indulge in pastries. And not only that, she actually finds her heart fluttering in the direction of a cute French boy.

In Conclusion:
When mother America calls, what will Claire do? Can she leave the enchanted French world in the past and return to a very much uncertain home and boyfriend situations?

My rating is:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book review: Camp Boyfriend by J.K.Rock

They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school half-way across the country. Amazing what losing your braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies. But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?
NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I saw this series going around the blogosphere and got intrigued, so I thought I'd check it out. It didn't turn out to be the super awesome contemporary story that I'd anticipated, however. It wasn't a sweet romance to cherish, it was more like a coming-of-age kind of thing. The romance that was supposed to be there was completely unrealistic and felt forced more often than not.
On the other hand, I can't say it was an awful story either. Sure, it didn't focus on a purely romantic story, but it did raise some valid questions about consequences, choices, change, peer pressure and growing up.

Writing style:
Fairly good and clean in writing. But I didn't feel captivated and there was no urge to finish the book in one sitting. It took me a while to get to the end, which is only a sign that I didn't enjoy it all that much.

Story line:
I suppose it was well thought out, but it was way too slow paced and uneventful for my taste and I felt like some scenes could've been taken out. There was some drama going on between 1)cabin crews, 2)Lauren and the guys she liked, 3)Lauren and her friends, 4)Lauren and her family. Yet, even all this drama felt a bit boring and dry.

- Growing up, fitting in, being yourself
- If you don't know who you are, how can you know what you want?
- The importance of friends and family
- Love: how do you know it's real and true?

Lauren, the protagonist who told the story, was at large a confused girl who had a lot to figure out all of a sudden. Questions like "Who am I?", "What do I want out of life?", "Who should I love?", "Who are my friends?" plagued her mind all through summer camp. Some things change in her life, others remain the same, as she figures out the answers.

Matt was Lauren's jock of a boyfriend. She dated him through the school year, but as she came to realize, she never really got to know him until he decided to join her at summer camp. He was a good guy, slow to anger, but still strong in his male possessiveness. He came to be the only constant person in her life, who didn't really push her to make decisions before she was ready. He cared for her and wasn't afraid to show it.

Seth on the other hand... To be honest, I didn't see what Lauren liked about him. He wasn't serious about her, didn't fight for her, had trust issues and abandoned Lauren the moment she walked in camp witth Matt. Seth never really gave her a chance even though he claimed he had feelings for her.

Hannah was the chief mean girl who was actually quite lonely and just didn't know how to show her need for true friends. I think she's a character i'd like to read some more about.

Kayla, in my opinion, was the most likeable of all characters. She not only befriended Lauren but was also nice, helpful and quite friendly.

In conclusion:
Camp Boyfriend was a very slow read and couldn't win me over as much as I hoped it would.

My rating is

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book review: These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar

Sometimes I wish I’d lost a leg or something. Everyone can understand that. They never get it when what’s been broken is inside your head.

Five years after an unspeakable tragedy that changed him forever, Gordie Allen has made a new home with his half-brother Kevin. Their arrangement works since Kevin is the only person who can protect Gordie at school and keep him focused on getting his life back on track.

But just when it seems like things are becoming normal, Gordie’s biological father comes back into the picture, demanding a place in his life. Now there’s nothing to stop Gordie from falling into a tailspin that could cost him everything—including his relationship with Sarah, the first girl he’s trusted with the truth. With his world spinning out of control, the only one who can help Gordie is himself . . . if he can find the strength to confront the past and take back his future.

NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Judging by the cover, I didn't think this book would be something so spectacular and full of meaning and emotions. I guess that's one more reminder that covers aren't to be trusted.
Anyway, I do not regret reading These Gentle Wounds one single bit. What I do regret is reviewing it so late, but life is busy. I just want to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the narrative and the story. There was nothing average or cliche about it.

Writing style:
These Gentle Wounds was a story of intense emotions - fear, passion, doubt, love - all in extreme quantities. Written in 1st person POV it had a way to draw the reader in and to keep them there, fully emersed in the story of Gordie, his past, his present and the hope for his future.

Story line:
Gordie has suffered through a horrible childhood. Now, in his teen years, he's haunted by the past and by a man who wants to claim his future. With the help of his half-brother, Kevin, and a stubborn girl (Sarah), Gordie has to figure out how to keep his mind in the present and not lose his sanity and everything he's fought for.

-Parental abuse
-Psychological trauma and how it influences child mind
-Having hope for a love and a future against all odds
-The strength of sibling love
-The faults in the child protection system

Gordie's character isn't easy to talk about. He was such a nice boy, but so traumatized by the past (his Mom's actions and the Night Before) that he hardly had any hopes for a normal future. It is largely thanks to his half-brother Kevin that Gordie's even alive. Yet, it isn't until Sarah entered his life that Gordie realized mere existence was not what he wanted. He wanted to live to the fullest, to feel the spark of life that Sarah kindled and turned into a blazing fire inside his soul.
Kevin always seemed to be the stronger brother. The pillar of support that held Gordie together. The person Gordie always went to for help, for peace. But it was completely clear to me that the same was true the other way around. The two boys had each other's backs at all times, because that's what real family does. There was fear in Kevin too, he just managed to hide it better - the brokenness, the hopelessness - and to turn it into anger instead.

Sarah was the light at the end of the tunnel of Gordie's dark thoughts. Like a pure, perfect vision of hope, she clung to him and brought him relief from the constant fear. With her love of photography and all things new, she was a fresh, unencountered beginning for Gordie's abused heart.

Jim was Kevin's dad. He was the only resemblance of a father Gordie ever knew. He wasn't exactly kind, per se, but that's only because when things went down, he hadn't been prepared to be taking care of two emotionally (and not only) scarred boys.

Gordie's father was a monster in every sense of the word. He was psychotic, selfish and violent and I hated his guts. Not to mention that social services should've checked on him before giving him any rights to even see Gordie, let alone spend time with him.

In conclusion:
These Gentle Wounds isn't a light, easy read. It's full of emotion, pain and struggle to find sanity and normalsy.

My rating is:


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Doomsday and other unimportant stuff

Okay, so this isn't a post about The doomsday that you probably thought of when you saw the title. It's not about a comic, or a movie.. it's about my impending first author interview that I'm planning to do over Skype.

Yeah, if you're following this blog, you've read my previous post about the new feature I'm offering to authors. Honestly though, this would be a huge challenge for me. Why?

Because I'm an introvert.

Whatever, right? But this is a huge deal for me. I hope I don't start stuttering or something. Then I'm gonna have to upload that embarrassing interview for all of you to listen to. I bet y'all would laugh over my failed attempts at sounding cool.

Or not. I don't really think my audience is made of bullies, so let's hope I'm right.

This post is so that I get you updated on how I'm planning to record the interview. Like I mentioned, I'll be using Skype, so I had to go look up any info on Skype call recorders. And you know what? There are very great apps out there! Thank you tech people!

Here's a great site to reference, if you'd like to know more.

I don't think you care which app I've chosen to use, but let me tell you anyway. I'll either go for the Pamela app or the MP3 Skype Recorder. If they work fine, then I'll be very happy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book review: This Is Now by Maggie Gilbert

 A gritty, urban New Adult Cinderella story where the princess can do her own rescuing — she just needs someone to believe in her.

Sister to car thieves, ex-girlfriend to a drug dealer, high school dropout, no-hoper and loser — Jess is on the sidelines, watching her life become one epic fail. Her dreams of university are fading fast, as the people in her life fight to confine her to their own expectations.

Then she meets Sebastien, a gifted cellist from a very different walk of life. Sebastien is clean and strong and talented. He likes and respects her, but he too has expectations. Sebastien seems to think she can do anything, and Jess, despite her fears and the secrets she hides, is starting to believe him.

But just as Jess dares to hope, the secrets in her past and the lies in her present catch up with her. All seems lost and she has to make a choice. Between past and future. Between home and hope. Between now and never. And this is now.

NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I must confess I expecting more from this novel. True, it wasn't horrible, or anything like that, but it definitely wasn't great either. It didn't leave me with a feeling of contentment as I wanted it to and that was disappointing.
Some of the scenes and dialogues were a bit out there in the realm of surrealism. Jess's random hookups with Jay were unconvincing, to say the least. I really couldn't put myself in her shoes and understand why she would pretend she wasn't interested in him, when clearly she was and he was. Or shy she was so stuck up on hiding her background when there was nothing to be ashamed of.
The romance itself developed kind of fast for my taste and I'm not entirely sure it worked all that well.

Writing style
It was engaging, but there was some need for editing. It didn't bug me all that much, though it did make me flinch from time to time.

Nothing really original in this novel. Perhaps the cello music could count as the original part, but nothing else struck me.
A girl from the slums falls for a rich guy who turns out not to be a snob and is also smitten by her. Some trouble arises between them but the ending is happy.

-Family & how it shapes you as a person
-Dilemma: to fit or not to fit with the people around you
-Jealousy and how far it can take you
-Love at first sight - is it real? Is it worth fighting for?
-Is it possible to fight for your dreams when they seem impossible?

Jess was weird. I couldn't understand her character, her reasoning and her confused thoughts. She was so unsure of herself, so ashamed of her family, that she pretended to be someone else entirely. She always assumed that people thought the worst of her. The had a trust issue with everyone and I got it to an extend. But she overdid it at times and that annoyed me. I hated how many times she repeated she was a slut for having slept with a couple of guys. She seriously believed she was worthless and I hated that her family was too broken to attempt to fix her.

Sebastien had a cool name and played a cool instrument - the cello. He had a great talent and was one of the people who dared to get close to Jess. He treated her with kindness even though he knew nothing about her and then when he learned more, he cared for her despite it. I understood his jealousy too, after all, he was left to make his own conclusions.

Anna, Sebastien's sister was mean, jealous of Jess. And unsure of herself to the extent of doing everything she could think of to harm Jess. And her family. And to think she pretended to be friendly. It was obvious she would never fit in Jay and Jess's social circles.

Jay, Jess's ex-boyfriend and sometimes hook-up, turned out to be a good guy who didn't hold a grudge. I respected him for that in the end.

Bryan, one of Jess's brothers turned out to be caring and a person to count on when difficult times came.

In Conclusion
A novel to pass the time, This Is Now could've actually been something spectacular.

My rating is: