Monday, July 31, 2017

"Sublime Karma" by Peyton Garver

Sublime Karma
by Peyton Garver

Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver

This review opportunity for Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver is brought to you by YA Bound Book Tours.

When Brie’s stepfather moves the family for what he calls a new beginning, it’s not the new beginning the beautiful, yet guarded, senior would have hoped for. Brie is instantly targeted by jealous girls at her new school, and the only available seat on her bus is next to the school’s star wide receiver, Jake, who for some reason, finds her offensive. After a humiliating article and picture of Brie is posted in the online school journal, a demon she thought she’d overcome resurfaces, and her life unravels. A newly compassionate Jake has finally taken an interest in her, but can Brie learn to trust her heart, or will she miss out on the best thing that ever happened to her?
Jake has his own secrets and has built his own walls, but eventually his curiosity about the new girl gets the best of him. Unfortunately, now there is competition: the captain of her cross-country team. Jake’s romantic histories with the girl next door and the school’s queen bee, adds tension to a simmering tempest when all he wants is Brie. Is he strong enough to help the one he loves weave sense into her crumbling new reality while overcoming his own tainted past?

The bus snaked its way through the country roads and then to the lavish development that backed up to the woods behind his house. Upperclassmen from this neighborhood had their own cars. This bus collected the underclassmen: those few who weren’t chauffeured, as minions of the privileged.
Jake leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest, not looking at the kids coming down the aisle. None dared to ask if they could sit in the empty space next to him. They’d sit three to a seat rather than make that request. Just the way he wanted it.
The over-filled bus pulled to a stop midway down Belmont Circle. New stop? Jake looked out his window at the estate with a circular drive. Huh. It finally sold. He watched as a single figure headed toward the bus. What, so now they get door-to-door service? He rolled his eyes.
Seconds later, she stood in the aisle waiting. From his seat, his eyes skimmed up passed her faded jeans and plain, loose sweater, and his breath caught in his throat. Her long blond hair was pulled to the side in a loose braid. Her face? Ethereal. But then, his flustered gaze became an annoyed glare.
Her bleak gray eyes seemed to look right through him before they darted to the space next to him. Did she even register his indignation? She must have. Yet, she stood there in the aisle twisting the loose adjustment strap on her backpack tightly around her fingers.
“May I sit here?” her meek voice broke the silence that had fallen around them.
Noticing the hush of conversation, Jake’s eyes skimmed the crowded bus. There was no doubt he and this new girl had an audience. Not something he relished.
His eyes swept back to her. He could tell she was nervous. He heard it in her quavering voice and saw it in the way she avoided his eyes. He could just say no. But, as long as she was standing, the bus wouldn’t budge. Becca looked at him from her seat across the aisle then whipped her phone out and started her eager texting. He narrowed his eyes at her, and then with a smirk, he stood.
“Really?” he bit out at her under his breath, leaning close so only she could hear. He grabbed his backpack from the seat and football bag off the wheel well and then moved his six-foot-one frame into the aisle. With a jerk of his head, he directed her to the space by the window.
She slipped by him with lithesome poise, maneuvering in the small space without so much as brushing against him. He watched her settle into the seat with perfect posture, even though her feet were raised up on the wheel well. Her vacant eyes never returned to his. So, why was his heart suddenly beating faster? Was it because of his rudeness and the fact that she ignored it? Could it be remorse? She didn’t seem to have that presumptuous, stuck-up attitude that so annoyed him. She looked almost . . . empty.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Not a dull chapter whether for the romance reader, suspense fan, or drama-mystery aficionado. This might serve as a good read to better understand a friend with an emotional issue. The action is a bonus. Very well written and looking forward to reading another by Peyton Garver." ~ Livio C.
"I really enjoyed this book! I loved the complexity of the characters, the real-life problems characters faced and the unexpected twists and turns in the book. I think that adolescents would really enjoy this book and relate to trying to balance your academics with having a social life and the emotional struggles of being a teenager. I really hope to read more from this author!" ~ Larin
"I thought this book was very engaging with interesting characters and plot. I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it!" ~ Mary L.
"I really enjoyed this book but it does deal with some super heavy subject matters that not everyone may be comfortable with. [...] A great book about dealing with difficult situations and having the courage to overcome them." ~ Rebecca A
"Excellent read! I got hooked and couldn't put it down. The twists and turns of the story kept me fascinated. Helped me identify with some of the issues high school kids are facing." ~ Sunshine

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
When Brie starts at a new school in her senior year, she very quickly attracts the attention of two very different boys. But, between her troubled home life and the jealous girls at school making her life a living hell, Brie turns to her secret coping mechanism. Misunderstanding after misunderstanding will lead to a ton of teen drama and might just result in tragic consequences.
This book provides a realistic portrayal of teens, their attitudes, speech, and behavior. However, there are too many minor characters to keep track of. In addition, too much unnecessary detail takes place on the page, while a lot of the important action takes place off the page. A sense of foreboding pervades the whole book, and you just know that something really bad is going to happen. The book title refers to Jake's band, and while I get the double meaning, I'm not sure it's the best title for the book. Maybe if the band featured more heavily? *Spoiler* It's fun watching Jake and Brie fall in love through texts.
Be warned, this is not a light read. While it's a sweet romance, it also deals with a lot of serious issues.
Warnings: self-harm, sexual assault, sexual references, suicide.


About the Author
Peyton Garver
As a child, Peyton called places like Livorno, Italy; Orléans, France; and Augsburg, Germany home. She has since settled in Maryland, where she earned her degree in education at Towson State University, married her sweetheart of two years, and became an instant mother to three spirited young boys before adding another son to the brood. And, with their yellow lab George, it's no stretch to say she's outnumbered.
When not writing, Peyton is a full time teacher. Inspired by the individual spirits, heartaches, and triumphs of her students, Peyton has developed characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues: relationships, jealousy, bullying, and depression. Her newest novel, Sublime Karma, is a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense. Sublime Karma was be published in the fall of 2016 by Soulmate Publishing.
When asked if she actually involves her students in her stories, Peyton answered that her stories are completely fictional, but then admitted to an activity in which she does involve them. "One quirky, fun thing I like to do with students who have read my book is develop a dream cast for my characters. That all started when a group of girls were arguing over which actor they thought best fit the character Four in Veronica Roth's novel Divergent. They then turned their efforts to my manuscript. I've since added those dream casts to my website."
When she's not teaching or writing, Peyton enjoys traveling. The Caribbean Islands have become a favorite vacation getaway for Peyton and her husband. "Nothing is better than sitting on a beach, in front of the crystal clear sea, enveloped in the warmth of the tropical sun with a frosty piña colada and a good book that I just can't put down."


Saturday, July 29, 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 29 July 2017

This Week on Books Direct -
29 July 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 29 July 2017

Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

5 Very Effective Journaling Methods You Should Give A Try by Nicole Gulotta for Positive Writer

5 Very Effective Journaling Methods You Should Give A Try by Nicole Gulotta for Positive Writer

Will Facebook Become The Ultimate Online Book Club? by James Wallace Harris for Book Riot

Will Facebook Become The Ultimate Online Book Club? by James Wallace Harris for Book Riot

10 Best Organizations For Writers by Every Writer

Don’t Build A Business Because You Want Freedom by Jeff Goins for Goins, Writer

Don’t Build A Business Because You Want Freedom by Jeff Goins for Goins, Writer

Should I Review Your Novel If You Review Mine? by Anne Montgomery

Top 10 Female Detectives In Fiction by Kristen Lepionka for The Guardian

Top 10 Female Detectives In Fiction by Kristen Lepionka for The Guardian

Polarities Of Book Marketing. Where Do You Sit On The Scale? by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn

6 Keys To Writing A Compelling Historical Novel by Sofia Grant for Writer's Digest

6 Keys to Writing a Compelling Historical Novel by Sofia Grant for Writer's Digest

Quiz: Find Your Austenian Boo by Jenn Northington for Book Riot
I got Mr. Darcy! Who did you get?

Quiz: Find Your Austenian Boo by Jenn Northington for Book Riot

When Reading Isn't Enough: Book-Adjacent Hobbies by Maegan Donovan for Book Riot

When Reading Isn't Enough: Book-Adjacent Hobbies by Maegan Donovan for Book Riot

How Creative Journaling Encouraged My Novel Writing by Shayla Raquel for Positive Writer

How Creative Journaling Encouraged My Novel Writing by Shayla Raquel for Positive Writer

If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Friday, July 28, 2017

"The Second Cup" by Sarah Marie Graye

The Second Cup
by Sarah Marie Graye

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye

Author Sarah Marie Graye stops by today to share an excerpt from her debut novel, The Second Cup. Keep an eye out for my review coming later this year.

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide?
University was years ago, but Faye's heart still belongs to her first love from student days. She knows Jack might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he's taken his own life.
With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything - including why Jack's death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

Today’s the day. I’m going to do this.
That’s what I say to myself over and over in my head as I pull on my leathers, fasten the straps on my boots and pull on my crash helmet and adjust the chin strap. Actually, I’m mumbling to myself, saying it out loud: “Today’s the day. Today’s the day.” I take a quick look round to make sure there’s nobody around to hear me. Not that it would make much difference. I’m so focused on today I have no space in my thoughts for other people.
I walk up to my bike. She’s a beauty. I think bikes are female, like ships are. There’s something enslaving about her curves, the way she calls me. I’m addicted to the buzz I get when I ride her. I don’t even need to be going quickly. I like to think she responds to my every move, but I’m also conscious of the sliver of fear I get whenever I twitch the throttle and her engine growls.
I put the key in the ignition, climb over her, then put my gloves on, taking time to pull my jacket sleeves over the edges. There’s nothing quite like the pain you feel deep in your bones from riding a bike in the cold when you’ve got a draught between your layers. I’ve got a patch of skin on my lower back that I believe has been damaged from my early days of riding when my trousers and jacket didn’t zip together. The nerve endings on a 10in-by-2in stretch of skin have never fully recovered, not even after hour upon hour of hot baths.
Kicking up the stand, turning the key, pulling in the clutch, putting her in first, I’m a conductor in front of an orchestra playing his favourite piece of music, I know every move. I pull down my visor, my final move before I pull of from the kerb and join the living.
“Today’s the day.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Following the twists and turns of four friends’ lives as they deal with divorce, self-esteem issues, mental health challenges and, the trigger incident, an ex-boyfriend’s suicide, The Second Cup is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever been bullied (at school or work) or felt like an outsider in their own life. [...] I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from this new author!" ~ Amazon Customer
"Emotionally challenging and highly original, The Second Cup proves a powerful debut for Graye and a hard book to put down." ~ Book Viral
"The writer has a very creative way of writing and will keep you going if you admire the 'art of writing' when reading a book. This book is for those who like stories related to human struggles and emotions in day to day life." ~ La Kayshal
"The author’s writing is brilliant and beautiful and I hope to read more from her soon. She has a way of turning the simplistic things in life into elegant pieces of artwork. I know, I will be thinking about this book for some time to come because of the heart that went into the plot." ~ Chelsey McQuitty
"This story will make you look again at your life and the emotional struggles and trials that everyone goes through. Great story that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens to each of the well developed characters. Great book and I would recommend reading this one." ~ Jimmy ray

Guest Post by the Author (originally featured on Ask David)
Why I Wrote This Book
Suicide is a difficult subject to talk about. And although writing a novel isn't an easy task, writing about suicide - putting my thoughts into the heads of my characters - was far easier than talking about my mental health.
With The Second Cup, I hope to capture what it's like to not feel as if you fit into the world - to feel uncomfortable in your own skin. I've written it for all the people who, like me, wonder if they tick half a second out of time with the rest of the world.
Faye, Beth, Abbie and Olivia come from different family backgrounds, they are successful in their careers and in their love lives to a greater or lesser degree. What they have in common is they are all struggling with mental and emotional issues.
When Faye discovers Jack - her ex and the love of her life - has killed himself, it brings life into sharp focus for all four of them.
A cup of tea does not cure everything.

About the Author
Sarah Marie Graye
Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie's childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing ... until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression. It's a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision. Now in her early 40s, Sarah Marie has published her first novel The Second Cup. The novel explores how unhappy childhoods lead to unhappy adulthoods and affect the friendships and relationships people build.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

"One Broken Day" by Melissa MacVicar

One Broken Day
by Melissa MacVicar

One Broken Day by Melissa MacVicar

One Broken Day by Melissa MacVicar is currently on tour with YA Bound 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.

After a notorious school shooting leaves her a shadow of the girl she once was, seventeen-year-old Lizzie Beringer moves to Nantucket Island. There, Lizzie vows to hide her identity as the shooter’s sister. All her efforts to fly under the radar, however, are complicated by her P.T.S.D. and the attention she receives from two competing boys. While fending off the not-so-subtle advances of popular athlete Michael Wickersham, she must also deal with her growing feelings for her shy lab partner Gage Pike. Gage may act like he’s all wrong for her, but the pull between them is undeniable.
Under the threat of discovery and the possibility of testifying in a televised trial, Lizzie fights to keep her secrets and start her life over.
One Broken Day is a brilliantly imagined story exploring the ways we are all broken and at the same time, offered redemption in the most unexpected of places.

My brother should be dead. Death was what he wanted, and his death might have made everything that came after that day less painful. After succeeding in so many terrible things, however, he failed to complete this one final act.
Despite these harsh words, I do not take the possibility of his death lightly. Even now, when the thought of it enters my mind, I resist it, and immediately following the shooting, I hated myself for it. My insides ached, and my head throbbed. He was my brother. My baby brother. I was supposed to love him, not wish him gone from the planet.
Standing in his room before we left for Nantucket, I considered what to take. I wanted something of him. A talisman. An object from the scene of this crime, my own personal family tragedy, that would allow me to remember him as the boy he was before. The boy who laughed at sitcoms on Nickelodeon and swam in the pool with neon green floaties. The boy who called me Wizzie. The little brother who couldn’t possibly be locked up in a jail cell for murdering four people.
The room itself was not special—double bed, blue walls, built in book shelves stripped of their contents. Boxes littered the floor, filled with the personal items that populated Thomas’ life.  Out his windows, the picturesque view of the pool and the fir trees beyond was still lovely.
I forced myself to try to see it as a stranger, like someone who only heard about Thomas on the news. Were there clues in the paint color? The books he read or the framed poster of Tony Hawk? No matter how hard I searched, no answers to my infinite questions were revealed. Nothing there explained what happened to us.
I spotted it then, atop a pile of books in a still open box. The horseshoe. I forgot all about it until that moment, but I knew instantly it was what I’d been looking for. We both received one on the vacation at the dude ranch with Dad although I had no idea where mine was anymore. On that trip, we rode horses and square danced and ate all our meals together.  Good times. We had some good times. The rust speckled piece of metal, satisfyingly heavy in my hand, was my proof.
Turning to leave, I caught a glimpse of Thomas’ cork board. Removed from the wall, it leaned against the side of a box near his old desk. Weird drawings of scary faces, death metal concert leaflets, and a few pictures of a scowling Thomas were pinned haphazardly across it. In one corner, however, an unexpected pop of color peeked out.  Without thinking, I reached to expose it.
Thomas—a four-year-old Spiderman, me—a six-year-old Cinderella. We both smiled as we clutched our bags of trick-or-treat candy. With a little effort, I unpinned it from the board and gazed down at our grinning, childish faces. When exactly had Thomas stopped smiling for pictures? When was the precise day and time that occurred? That was the day I should have known. I should have noticed. I should have realized that something was not right with my baby brother.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"One Broken Day uses an original point of view to tell the story of a tragic event and its devastating effects. The author has clearly done extensive research to create an authentic plot and characters. She demonstrates familiarity and ease in portraying teen relationships and struggles, and there are no easy solutions to complex problems. Strongly recommended for high school libraries and young adult collections in public libraries." ~ Maggie Sullivan, Librarian, Nantucket High School
"I feel the strength of this novel lies in the characters - and the different ways they grow and shift throughout this journey. However, there's a sense of mystery and suspense woven through every page - a motivation that kept me trapped, unable to put the book down. While we don't necessarily get handed all the 'answers,' I feel Melissa MacVicar did this with a purpose - life, after all, doesn't always just hand us a reason or justification for why people do the things they do, or why things happen the way they do." ~ Elizabeth Mathis, Betwixt These Pages Blog
"This is a great story dealing with sensitive issues. It is thoughtfully written with relatable characters. I found it hard to put down and was sorry when it ended!" ~ Ackreader
"This is a beautiful, touching novel and a lovely romance. The teen voices rang true. I really felt for Lainey. She had a perfect life--except for the horrific crime her brother committed, shattering her life forever. But Lainey gets a second chance at happiness with Gage. I rooted for these two and enjoyed watching Lainey work toward healing." ~ Kayla S.
"This author has a wonderful writing style that pulls the reader along through the story. Her characters are intense and fully realized. Each one grows and changes throughout the story and I especially liked what she did with Wick. The courtroom scenes were very well done as well , and the romance was achingly real. I highly recommend for a great reading experience!" ~ Knitting Lady43

My Review
Lizzie Berringer's younger brother Thomas is in jail, awaiting trial for killing four people in a school shooting. One of them was Lizzie's best friend Hannah. Four months later, Lizzie moves from Los Angeles to Nantucket where she starts school under the assumed identity of Lainey Darwin. But, suffering from depression and anxiety, she is having trouble adjusting to the normalcy of school life. And with rivals Wick and Gage both vying for her affections, she's getting more attention than she ever wanted. What will happen if her secret comes out?
The story is told from both Lainey's and Gage's points of view, interspersed with passages written in italics, detailing the events leading up to the shooting. The book explores how a school shooting affects the family of the shooter. While We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver focuses on the shooter's mother, this book focuses on the effects of the shooting on the shooter's sibling. And it does a great job. This book is not only a family drama and romance, but it is also full of all sorts of complex characters and relationships. It's nice to see Wick grow through the course of the story. I especially love his exchange with Sybil and his wrestling match with Gage.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, drug use, violence, underage drinking, school shooting.

About the Author
Melissa MacVicar
Melissa was born and mostly raised on Nantucket Island, and she currently lives there with her husband and two teenage children. When not being a wife and mother and teaching writing to seventh graders, she enjoys binge watching shows like Big Little Lies, House of Cards, and Outlander. Despite the rumors to the contrary, she does not actually wish she was a teenager again, nor does she see ghosts like the main character in her first novel, Ever Near. She does, however, love to hear from readers

Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win an autographed paperback copy of One Broken Day by Melissa MacVicar (US only, ends 28 July).
Enter the Amazon giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle copy of One Broken Day by Melissa MacVicar (US only, ends 28 July).