Review: Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: Keep Forever
Author: Alexa Kingaard
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: March 28, 2020
Genre: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 5 stars

Paul O’Brien’s idyllic childhood in Southern California comes to a halt when his mother dies in the summer before his senior year of high school and a very different persona of his father emerges – isolating himself inside the house, turning to alcohol for comfort, and barely noticing his only child. Simultaneously, the war in Vietnam is sending shock waves around the world and young men from one coast to the other are being called upon to serve. Paul enlists in the Marines before receiving his draft notice. 

Elizabeth Sutton is eager to gain some independence from her father’s old fashioned notions and looking forward to her first year in high school.  At fifteen years old, tragedy strikes with the loss of both parents in an auto accident, turning her childhood into one of responsibility and worry overnight.  The four siblings are scattered when her nine-year-old twin sisters are sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle on Nantucket Island, and Elizabeth is left behind in Boston with their grandmother.  Her older brother, Sam, enlists in the Marines, eager to join the conflict a world away as opposed to dealing with the one unfolding at home. 

A bond develops between Paul and Sam in Vietnam, and both are injured in a bloody battle that costs Sam his right hand and sets the stage for a lifetime of nightmares and sleepless nights for Paul.  Matched by similar tragedies at a young age, Elizabeth and Paul’s first introduction by Sam upon their return from Vietnam is the beginning of friendship and love that survives five decades. 

After marrying, welcoming their first child, and inheriting a small beach house, the couple adapts to their new surroundings, but distant memories of Vietnam continue to haunt Paul.  In an era when veterans refuse to speak of their pain and the government denies that thousands of soldiers are coming home irreparably damaged, he is left to deal with the challenge of caring for his loved ones amidst his his erratic flashback episodes and moods. As their lives unravel from the lingering effects of PTSD,  Elizabeth learns to accept the burden that Paul brought home, and together they make their own memories to keep forever.

Inspired By A True Story

Review:

Keep Forever was a poignant and gripping novel about the aftermath of the war in Vietnam and the struggles faced by its soldiers and their families. It was insightful and honest and powerful.

I could not put this down. The story of Elizabeth and Paul was so raw and real. The representation of the PTSD Paul had was absolutely heartbreaking. My heart broke for the struggles he faced and the fact that the mentality then was “we’re manly soldiers and we don’t talk about our pain” made it all the more sad to read. About halfway through when Paul had a sort of breaking point with his PTSD/depression, I was on the verge of crying like a baby because it hit so close to home. She could not have painted a better picture of the sadness and the fear from both the person suffering and the family members who love that person with their whole heart.

I wish this book was 600 pages. There was so much life between Elizabeth and Paul to be explored. Some moments were explored more and others were glossed over. But considering this is coming from Alexa Kingaard’s own personal experience, I can accept that. She’s chosen to highlight what she felt was important through the life she experienced with a husband home from Vietnam with PTSD and to me that made the book even better. These emotions were truly felt by her at one point or another in her life and she really hit the nail on the head with how much it can hurt to see the one you love suffer and there’s not really much you can do to help.

I loved this book so much and I really hope you guys will pick this one up.

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prize: $50 Amazon gift card
  • International
  • Ends: May 13, 2020

About Alexa Kingaard:

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Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of a son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders.

Her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, was inspired by her late ex-husband who batted the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return. The burden he brought home is shared by combat veterans of all conflicts, and her fictional account highlights the collateral damage encountered by family members and loved ones living with PTSD in their midst.

Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, departs from her personal experiences and focuses on the collective memories of her generation. She loves writing about nostalgia and the human condition, the common denominator of our lives.

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After All by Heidi McLaughlin – Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

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Title: After All
Author
: Heidi McLaughlin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 24, 2020

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Amazon

Brooklyn Hewett hasn’t stepped foot in Cape Harbor for fifteen years—not since an accident claimed the love of her life, Austin Woods. Desperate to move forward, Brooklyn has focused on raising her daughter for the past fourteen years. But when the opportunity comes along to renovate, and possibly buy, the old Driftwood Inn, Brooklyn knows it’s time to go home.

But it won’t be easy. For one, Austin’s best friend, Bowie Holmes, still lives in Cape Harbor. Brooklyn hasn’t quite been able to forget him: not since the night they spent together—the same night they both lost Austin. Separated by tragedy and guilt, they’re brought together by the Driftwood project. And as they rebuild the inn, they discover they’re also rebuilding something else.

Brooklyn’s always been desperate to move on, not knowing that she first needs to reconcile past transgressions. She can’t forget, but she can forgive—Austin, Bowie, and herself—on her way toward long-awaited happiness.

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prize: $100 Amazon gift card
  • International
  • Ends March 30, 2020

About Heidi McLaughlin:

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Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.

Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband, two daughters, and their three dogs.

In 2012, Heidi turned her passion for reading into a full-fledged literary career, writing over twenty novels, including the acclaimed Forever My Girl.

When writing isn’t occupying her time, you can find her sitting courtside at either of her daughters’ basketball games.

Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe, and opened in theaters on January 19, 2018, and is now available on DVD & Digital.

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Wicked Liars by Laura Lee – Cover Reveal + Giveaway

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Title: Wicked Liars
Author
: Laura Lee
Series: Windsor Academy #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 3, 2020

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Liars.

Every last one of them.

The kings and queens of my new high school.

The father and stepmother I never knew.

Each has more wealth and privilege than I could’ve ever imagined.

Each has a pile of wicked dirty secrets they’d do anything to protect.

These people have grown accustomed to getting what they want, and what they want is to make my life a living hell.

Too bad for them, you can’t break someone who’s already broken.

Too bad for them, I won’t give up without a fight.

Too bad for them, I’m going to make them pay…even if it’s the last thing I do.

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prize: $20 Amazon gift card
  • International
  • Ends March 27, 2020

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About Laura Lee:

Laura’s passion has always been storytelling. She spent most of her life with her nose in a book thinking of alternate endings or continuations to the story. She won her first writing contest at the ripe old age of nine, earning a trip to the state capital to showcase her manuscript. Thankfully for her, those early works will never see the light of day again!

Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wonderful husband, two beautiful children, and three of the most poorly behaved cats in existence. She likes her fruit smoothies filled with rum, her cupboards stocked with Cadbury’s chocolate, and her music turned up loud. When she’s not writing or watching HGTV, she’s reading anything she can get her hands on. She’s a sucker for spicy romances, especially those involving vampires, bad boys, or cowboys!

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Shameless by Sybil Bartel – Cover Reveal + Giveaway

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Title: Shameless
Author
: Sybil Bartel
Series: Alpha Bodyguard #8
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 18, 2020

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Bodyguard.

Shadow.

Warrior.

The Marines trained me to be a weapon. Tactical warfare was in my blood. I didn’t think twice when I was deployed for the fifth time because I was born battle ready. Then a mission went south and left me with a medical discharge.

Too many years downrange, I didn’t fit in the civilian world. Taking a job with the best security firm in the business seemed like a solid plan…until I was assigned babysitting duty for a spoiled little rich girl. The only thing worse than the assignment was the client’s smart mouth. She thought she could run it—all over me—and not suffer the consequences. She was wrong.

Now she was about to find out how shameless a bodyguard could be.

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prize: $50 Amazon gift card
  • International
  • Ends March 25, 2020

About Sybil Bartel:

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Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.

Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…

But Seriously?

Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.

She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.

To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.

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Calypso by Ebony Olson – Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

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Title: Calypso
Author
: Ebony Olson
Series:
Eleri Royals #1
Genre: Romance, Suspense
Release Date: February 14, 2020

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In my town, there are two kinds of people; those from the sophisticated Eleri, and those from the gang-run Riverside.

The natural divide is the Eleri River.

The human divide is money.

 

 

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prize: Signed copy of Calypso
  • U.S. only
  • Ends March 19, 2020

About Ebony Olson:

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Ebony lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, daughter, and six cats. She loves to read fantasy, thrillers, and paranormal romance, spending most of her free time with her nose in a book or writing.

Having always possessed an over-active imagination she spent her younger years regaling friends with fantastic stories, holding her audience captive with the passion and suspense of her characters plights.

Now in adulthood, she has numerous published works and shows no signs of stopping her imagination from spreading across as many pages as it can find.

 

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