Blog Tour: Before I Break-Alec John Belle

cooltext1889161239 copyWhen religiously raised Cyril Hayes begins his junior year at East Hill High School, every choice he makes suffers a greater consequence.  While facing challenges of friends, family, and love, he learns that hate and intolerance are also a very large part of our world today.

Cyril Hayes is seemingly just like any other male his age. He has the perfect girlfriend, Melissa Summers, his best friend, Jake Rivers, and a lawyer father who brings home enough money to support his family and then some. When Cyril begins his junior year, he doesn’t expect his life to spiral out of control when he meets Avery Branson, the new kid in school who has a big secret: he’s gay. At first, Cyril doesn’t handle this truth well, due to the way he was raised, but as the story progresses, he ventures deep into the reality of homosexuality and begins to accept Avery for who he is.

Not everyone is happy with Cyril’s new friend, including Jake, who believes that homosexuality is a sin and is refusing to budge his beliefs. But Avery isn’t the only one at East Hill with secrets. Soon a tragedy will strike, knocking Cyril’s world completely off balance and leaving a scar on his heart that will change his view of humanity all together. cooltext1889178114 copy

Alec John Belle is an online high school student that resides in the state of Massachusetts. At the age of 16 he wrote his first novel, Before I Break. His hobbies include reading, writing, and obsessing over Pretty Little Liars. He writes about tough topics that many are too afraid to talk about like suicide, homosexuality, self harm, cyberbullying, anxiety disorders, addiction, among other teenage issues, and he often blends these ideas with the paranormal
“Alec John Belle’s bold debut novel, Before I Break, introduces a courageous new author with a voice unafraid to tackle tough social issues.”
Alex Sanchez, author of Rainbow Boys and The God Box
Happy reading,
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Cover Reveal: Before I Break-Alec John Belle

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Release Date: August 7, 2015
cooltext1889161239 copyWhen religiously raised Cyril Hayes begins his junior year at East Hill High School, every choice he makes suffers a greater consequence.  While facing challenges of friends, family, and love, he learns that hate and intolerance are also a very large part of our world today.
 
Cyril Hayes is seemingly just like any other male his age. He has the perfect girlfriend, Melissa Summers, his best friend, Jake Rivers, and a lawyer father who brings home enough money to support his family and then some. When Cyril begins his junior year, he doesn’t expect his life to spiral out of control when he meets Avery Branson, the new kid in school who has a big secret: he’s gay. At first, Cyril doesn’t handle this truth well, due to the way he was raised, but as the story progresses, he ventures deep into the reality of homosexuality and begins to accept Avery for who he is.
 
Not everyone is happy with Cyril’s new friend, including Jake, who believes that homosexuality is a sin and is refusing to budge his beliefs. But Avery isn’t the only one at East Hill with secrets. Soon a tragedy will strike, knocking Cyril’s world completely off balance and leaving a scar on his heart that will change his view of humanity all together.
cooltext1889178114 copyAlec John Belle is an online high school student that resides in the state of Massachusetts. At the age of 16 he wrote his first novel, Before I Break. His hobbies include reading, writing, and obsessing over Pretty Little Liars. He writes about tough topics that many are too afraid to talk about like suicide, homosexuality, self harm, cyberbullying, anxiety disorders, addiction, among other teenage issues, and he often blends these ideas with the paranormal.
  
 
“Alec John Belle’s bold debut novel, Before I Break, introduces a 
courageous new author with a voice unafraid to tackle tough social issues.”
 
— Alex Sanchez, Author of Rainbow Boys and The God Box
 
 
Pleasant reading, 
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Release Day Blitz, Review & Giveaway: What’s Left of Us-Michele Tucker

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What’s Left of Us-Michele Tucker

Genre: Christian Romance / Coming of Age

cooltext1790897456 copyA year ago their lives were changed forever.

Calla Jensen, a college freshman at University of Alabama, can’t move on. Her loss of faith in God, and in herself, has her frozen and stagnant. But time doesn’t stop for any one, and no matter how much she fights it, making new friends and leaving her past behind is inevitable.

When her college roommate drags her to an event on campus, she doesn’t expect to come face to face with the person whose life she almost ruined. Old wounds open up and together they must come to terms with the events that led to three best friends being torn apart. 

But Calla has been keeping something back, and it could destroy the fragile ties she is slowly building back with the people she loves. Can faith be renewed and can God help her heal?

What happened the day everything fell apart?

cooltext1790896132 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this tour.

PROS:

  • Mystery and questions drive the plot. What was so horrible that it severed the bonds of a friendship a decade strong? Subtle hints provoke more questions and deliver few answers until the truth hits with a force as powerful and brutal as a landslide.
  • Calla’s grief is a raw and open wound. Mixed with memory and longing, she clings to the past in order to function. It’s unhealthy and turns her into a recluse. Calla has serious regrets and places the blame on her shoulders but what’s the most heartbreaking is her loss of faith. Calla is angry with God and furious with herself. Michele Tucker does a beautiful job capturing the warring feelings within Calla as she struggles to forgive herself and to regain faith in God again. Calla’s messages to Asher are child-like and almost like diary entries. Everything she’s feeling is displayed honestly in those pure, open confessions.
  • Beck is hotheaded and makes reckless assumptions. He’s hot and cold, his forgiveness is hard to come by but once he decides to move on it’s fast and with an open heart. Beck is a genuinely nice guy; he helps those in need, has a steady faith in God and loves sweetly.
  • Parker is adorable. He’s compassionate, silly, flirty, and goes out of his way to be there for Calla. He never pretends their relationship is something it’s not. He helps Calla, no questions asked, is the warm arms to hold her and the muscular shoulders to cry on. Their relationship is an easy, perfect friendship.
  • Together Beck and Calla are made of nostalgia and new beginnings. Their lives will always revolve around Asher and the happiness of their childhood but together, they can build a brighter future laced with lessons from their mutual past.

CONS:

  • The big reveal was kind of a letdown. It seemed really pointless that Calla spent all this time in a spiral of horrible depression and grief that could have easily been lifted had she just confessed. Sometimes keeping a secret is detrimental and in this case, it didn’t help anyone.
  • Repercussions from the night in question were minimal. There should have been more to it, at least some sort of investigation. Details were sparse in terms of the aftermath. Beck gets over it too fast.
  •  It was bizarre that the story was told from 2 imbalanced perspectives. There were more told from Calla’s POV than Asher’s. Because of how the story is structured, focused on a trio friendship, it felt like Beck was missing. Views were from an outsider so the reader never got into Beck’s head or to experience what he was feeling other than what he said to Calla or Asher. The absence of Beck’s internal dialogue took away from the romance. The additional element of Beck’s emotions would have made for a sturdier foundation for their relationship and been made of stronger stuff than inference.
  • Delilah and Asher’s relationship was undeveloped and had large gaps. Their story shifted the overall arch.  Delilah’s parts were sporadic and there wasn’t enough to build an opinion of her or connection to her.

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Picnic TeaserWalking away teaser1trust in god teaser

cooltext1790890114 copyWith every mile I was more relieved to finally get away from Acworth and all the memories here. But with every mile, it also felt as if my heart was being ripped from my soul all over again. Like I was leaving a piece of me behind, a piece I needed to survive. I pushed down the panic that started to arise in my chest at the thought of being alone. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

We should have stuck together. We had a pact.

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If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this book:

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Cover Reveal: Soulspark-Eliza Tilton

Soul SparkGoodreads

cooltext1889161239 copySOULSPARK is YA Contemporary Romance sure to rip open your heart and stitch it back together.

Dealing with the loss of her mother, seventeen-year-old Jessica Stone tries to find an escape from the pain by secretly medicating herself with Xanax, but the anxiety increases, crushing her and her grades.

Then she meets Caleb Jonas, the pastor’s son at her mother’s church. Between his cute dimples and love of fast cars, Jessica is completely smitten, and the feeling is mutual. But dating a Christian boy isn’t easy. He doesn’t party, and he never goes past first base. Jessica struggles with his faith, since it makes her question her own, but for the first time since her mother’s death, she can breathe. Life is finally shifting into a state of happiness.

But that happiness shatters when Jessica catches Caleb kissing her ex-best friend—and step-brother’s girlfriend—Rachel, the girl who used to be like her sister, and the same girl who betrayed her once before.

While her stepbrother hints at a deeper connection between the two, Caleb insists it was a one-time mistake and begs forgiveness. With contradicting stories coming at her, Jessica isn’t sure who to believe, but sometimes the truth is better left undiscovered and she’s about to find out why.

SOULSPARK is scheduled to release this spring!

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Author pic 1Eliza graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull. Her YA Fantasy series, The Daath Chronicles, is published by Curiosity Quills Press.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Sanctuary-Pauline Creeden

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“Left Behind for the Hunger Games
Generation”
In a heart-racing thriller described as Falling Skies meets The Walking Dead, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?
Advance Praise
“Pauline Creeden managed to mix more genres into one book than I could possibly imagine. The overall concept, aliens attacking the earth, is straight out of Science Fiction, but then you throw in a few zombies and post-apocalyptic fiction with how the dead/sick humans are acting. Overall, the entire story was charged with the adrenaline and thrills of a suspense/thriller novel, but the mood was terrifyingly eerie like a Horror story. There was almost too much sensory information for my primitive human brain to handle. Still, all of these genres combined made for one unique and fascinating story. This kind of book is of the same flavor as The Hunger Games with its originality, which I really appreciated.” 
~Katelyn Hensel for Readers’ Favorite
“Sanctuary is a fast-paced Christian fantasy thriller that is original and quite entertaining. The story revolves around Jennie and her family, Pastor Billy and his wife, and two brothers who are polar opposites of each other. Each chapter is presented in the point of view of Jennie, Brad or Hugh (the brothers), which gives Pauline Creeden’s Sanctuary, a multidimensional feel. The three different story-lines merge into a full-fledged fantasy/horror novel that never sags or lets up on the action. While there are Christian themes present in Sanctuary, and Jennie’s faith is an important part of who she is, I, a non-Christian, did not feel I was being preached to or proselytized. I recommend Pauline Creeden’s Sanctuary — it’s well-written and a lot of fun to read.”
~Jack Magnus for Readers Favorite
 
 
 
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In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. It is also the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Winner in Historical Fiction.
 
Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Readers’ Choice Gold Award for Best YA Horror Novel.
 
A NOTE FROM THE
AUTHOR:
Why on earth did I write a Christian novel that has both
aliens and zombies in it?
 
When I was a teen/young adult and my faith was wavering at
best, there were several movies out with the likely design to shake faith even more.
End of the world movies were in their hay day. Alien invasion was another big
one. And I couldn’t help but wonder. If something like this actually happened,
would anyone be able to maintain their faith?
 
And now today, Zombies are on the rise.
 
Could aliens be reconciled with the Bible? Zombies? This is
the purpose of Sanctuary.
 
Because of its poetic nature, the book of Revelation lends
itself to a plethora of interpretation. I am not saying that my book is the
only true possibility, but it could be one. Could not demons be misinterpreted
as alien life forms? Might not Satan use this mirage to his advantage to
explain the bitter water or the blotting out of the sun, moon, and stars?  And then there’s Revelation 9:6 – “And
in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to
die, and death shall flee from them.”
 
Zombies?
 
If anyone reading this book at least opens themselves up to
the fact that yes, a biblical interpretation could resolve the problems between
faith and an apocalyptic reality, then Sanctuary has completed its purpose.
 
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When Jennie reached the back door, she saw them. Four large dog-like creatures with pinched faces like bulldogs and lion-like manes. They snarled, and one of them leapt at the window on the top half of the door when it saw her. Jennie jumped back and fell hard on the cold tile floor. The bottle of painkiller bounced across the kitchen tiles. The creature slammed against the window a second time, cracking it. She blinked hard. Her heart sunk, and the hairs on her arms stood on end. A horrendous gargling howl rent the air, causing a shiver down her spine. She held her breath and waited for the creature to slam into the door again.
“What on earth?” she whispered to herself.
When the third attempt never came, she scrambled toward the door. Blinking hard, she used the door knob to help herself stand. Out the cracked window, her mother was still out of sight, but the last of the dogs headed across the field behind her backyard.
“MOM?” Jennie called out.
The rumbling faded, and the vibrations in her chest receded with the dogs. She pulled open the door and rushed onto their back deck. “Mom, where are you?”
When she reached the banister, she looked over the side. Her mom lay sprawled with one hand on the lattice. Blood gushed from Mom’s leg and her opposite arm. Jennie’s ears rang and flooded with every beat of her heart.
Jennie didn’t know how she got to the second floor of her house, but she found herself shaking her sleeping father. How had he slept through the rumbling? “Outside, it’s Mom…”
Her father leapt from the bed. Mickey, her little brother, lay asleep and undisturbed. Dad ran down the stairs and outside in his flannel pajama bottoms and white t-shirt. He scooped Mom up to his chest and carried her inside. Blood stained his shirt in crimson.
“Jennie, call 911!”  Her father had said it at least three times before it finally registered in her brain.
She pulled the cell phone from her pocket, but it refused to connect. With a groan, she grabbed the cordless from the wall receiver, glad her heart stopped pounding in her head so she could hear.
“All operators are busy at this time,” a mechanical voice deadpanned, “Please stay on the line, and the next available operator will take your call.”
“They have me on hold, Dad. Should I hang up and try again?” She held the phone in both hands away from her face.
“No, just stay on the line.” Her father lifted the shredded jeans from Mom’s leg. “It looks like a shark bite. What on earth happened?”
Jennie took in the damage through tear-filled eyes. A huge chunk was taken from her mother’s calf, exposing the fibrous tendons that covered the bone in her leg. A bloodstain grew on the beige couch. Was she going to die? Panic rose up.
“What happened, Jennie?”
“I…I…They looked like lions, or dogs, or something. The rumbling shook the whole house…I tried to go outside to get Mom, but—” A sob blocked her throat.
Her father grabbed a throw pillow and held it against the leg. Mom’s exposed forearm laid across her chest in much the same condition as her calf.
“Grab me the duct tape.”
Jennie suddenly remembered the phone, put it back to her ear, and headed to the hall closet. She reached for the shelf above the jackets and grabbed the junk basket next to the toolbox.
“Please stay on the line. An operator will be with you shortly.”
She shoved the phone in the crook of her neck and fished through the box.  Half the contents dropped around her feet. Who cares? When her fingers wrapped around the silver duct tape, a short-lived relief sent prickles down her arms. But the urgency gripped her chest in less than a heart beat, and she threw the junk basket on the ground with the rest of the items.
“Hurry, Jennie!” her father called from the living room. “And turn on the TV. Maybe they’ll have something about what’s going on.”
She handed her father the tape and turned toward the TV. The mechanical voice on the phone came through again, followed by more easy listening.
When she clicked on the TV, the shouting and wailing began before the picture warmed up on the screen. A sidewayspicture of New York City broke
through, with the shaky voice of the newscaster voicing over.
“What we are watching now – I can’t believe it – is live footage of
Times Square,” the newscaster’s voice paused for a deep breath. “We’ve lost our
man on the scene and his camera man to what appears to be some kind of new
alien creature. Just a short half-hour ago, the doors to the ship that hovered
above Central Park opened and these dog-like creatures flooded out.”
     Jennie couldn’t pull her eyes from the screen. She straightened and dropped the phone on the hardwood. The battery popped out and skidded across the floor.
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