Friday, June 27, 2014

"Where Life Takes You" by Claudia Y. Burgoa

Where Life Takes You
(Life Book 1)
by Claudia Y. Burgoa

Where Life Takes You is the first book in Claudia Y. Burgoa's Life series. Coming soon: Next to You.

Where Life Takes You is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please make sure you visit the other tour stops as well.

You can read about another of Claudia's books, Getting By, as well as an interview with the author in another blog post.

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, caught between sanity and nightmares. Between therapy, work, and her constantly looming past, she can't seem to find room to breathe. The memories of her late step-sister, Lisa, are her closest company.
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.

My anti-fairy tale began like any other Telenovela. Thanksgiving was the first time Ian and I had seen one another in months. When Lisa came into the picture, he sank into the background of her demented fantasy—the one where life was a fun house and we were all her carnies in a three ring act that was sure to end in a bang. Ian tried to stay with me for as long as he could. In the beginning, he still climbed the tree house in the old oak next to my room every night, as if nothing had changed.
We would lie on my bed and talk, even if it was three AM when he rolled in from the latest party. Nothing was off limits between us. He knew all my thoughts, secrets, and fears. He was the ghostwriter to the memoir I would one day write about our lives.
There was far too much pressure on him to become the beacon of light for our sad little town, to make a name for himself. Everyone was counting on him to be the one to beat the odds, and to hand life and hope back to us on a silver platter. I was guilty of adding to the heaping pile of desperate dreams thrust at Ian. I knew that now.
Ian was the hunky blockbuster action hero, he was the dopey best friend, and the only family I had since Grandma’s death. He was my everything, and maybe I told him that one time too many times. I knew about the partying—he stayed out past curfew almost every Friday night—but it was just a little harmless fun, right? What was important was that he was there for me. I needed him; he cradled my heart whenever I couldn’t hold my own. He was supportive and gentle and kind.
Until Lisa stepped in and withered Ian, along with everything else decent in my life. I never knew the specifics of how their relationship began, but from what I gathered it was fairly simple. He was the boy next door and she was the new, exciting thing that had drifted into town. He liked to party, and funnily enough, so did she. Lisa’s idea of a party, however, was vastly different from everything I knew about Ian. Her favorite pastimes included binge drinking, smoking, and injecting anything she could get her hands on. Considering her ample funds at the time, this included most, if not all, drugs.
She propositioned him with a world where everything was pure. With all that Ian had on his plate, an “escape” must have been enticing. The temptation of lawlessness spread to other aspects of his life, however, and soon he was spending more time with Lisa and her narcotics than he ever had on his studies, activities, or me. At some point, he stopped hiding his newfound hobby of toking it up with that bitch. The boy I knew, the boy I’d loved since childhood, didn’t see the light of day anymore, even though I still saw Ian often enough. He and Lisa clung to each other like survivors of a shipwreck. It made me curl into myself further, knowing that I was losing him and, worse, that there was nothing I could do.
Senior year had found me alone on Thanksgiving. Mom, Greg, and Lisa had flown to Phoenix to visit relatives and celebrate the holiday together. That was when, for the first time in what felt like ages, I heard a familiar tapping at my window.
The sound startled me into semi-consciousness. It woke me up just enough to instinctively unlock the window and open it for him, but not enough to remember that this was no longer normal for us. He had no place coming to see me anymore, and especially not in the dead of night when I was home alone. Only when I turned to face him and looked into his glazed and bloodshot eyes did I realize my mistake. He was intoxicated, and in my bedroom, and I had no clue what was running through his mind.
“What are you doing here?” I whispered harshly, avoiding his gaze.
His voice was raspy and distant. “I miss you, Becky.”
I took a deep breath, trying to keep my tone even and clinical. I couldn’t be vulnerable; he wasn’t being fair or rational. “How can you miss me? You abandoned me.”
Ian didn’t respond. His mouth twitched in displeasure with a hint of earnest confusion. It made my blood boil a bit to have him barging back into my life, bent on fixing things between us, without the faintest idea why we’d been so broken lately.
“You left me for Lisa, just like everyone else,” I continued. He needed to know how much he had hurt me. It was my only real opportunity to speak my mind without the evil stepsister lurking in the shadows.

Featured Review
Absolutely fascinating story! I just finished reading this and I wanted more. I need to know if these two characters will be able to deal with their demons and learn to show their affection for each other.
Dan is so controlling. His life has been so out of control in the past that once he was on his way to success all he wanted was to be able to control his surroundings. He cannot fall prey to the chaos he has experienced growing up.
Becca is just the same. She never had any control over her life. The abuse and neglect at her mother's hand did not make life any better. All her life she has had to what she can to make her circumstances bearable while not being able to control how people treated her. After all that she has been through, this book deals with her impending melt down. How will she handle it?
I love Claudia Burgoa's writing. She has the gift of expressing her prose a range of emotions that feel true to life. The sequel to this book should be coming out soon and sure don't want to miss how this story will end.

About the Author
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.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle HD or $140 PayPal cash (open internationally).