Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Keep Me In Mind Tour: Whispers of Home by April Kelley ~ (ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Keep Me In Mind Tour: Whispers of Home by April Kelley ~ (ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Book Information:
Book Name: Whispers of Home
Series Book One in The Pickleville Series
Author Name: April Kelley
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Cover Artist: Carmen Waters

Buy The Book:

All Jaron McAllister wanted to do was get out of the small town where he grew up. After being bullied all his life for being gay, that’s exactly what he does. He loses all contact with everyone in the town of Pickleville, including his emotionally distant mother and the only true friend he ever had.

When his best friend and mother of the child they share, get murdered he knows he must ask for help in the one place he thought he would never go back to. Coming back home isn’t easy and finding himself attracted to the town man-slut spells disaster. Travis Heath isn’t at all what his reputation suggests though.

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

Jaron looked through the window of the diner from across the street. His mother’s hands gripped a mug, probably full of coffee. Jaron thought he was meeting Brian but apparently Brian had other plans. Brian always did think he knew best, the bastard. Jaron was fully aware his oldest friend had set this up, probably getting in touch with Gloria McAllister right after Jaron had called the first time, telling her when Jaron would be here. Brian had never understood that the relationship Jaron and Gloria had wasn’t like the relationship Brian had with his own father.

Looking at his mom through the glass was like watching a movie of her. He had never felt the connection with his mom that he thought he should, even as a small child. Maybe that had been his fault. That he wasn’t quite what she wanted in a son and therefore kept just enough distance to make it seem like miles. Which was why he was confused she had come instead of Brian.

When he was eighteen years old he had thought he left because of a burning desire to fit in somewhere, because he certainly hadn’t fit in very well in Pickleville. He needed that connection to another human being, that knowing he was so important to another human being they just couldn’t live without him. Ironically, it was a five year old boy he felt unconditionally connected too. Now that he knew the unconditional love a parent felt for their child, he wondered at his mother’s parental instincts.

He stood on the sidewalk in front of what used to be a place called the Hobbyist’s Dream but was now an Asian market. He noticed the place was empty when he had arrived but his back was turned now, his complete attention on the woman in the window. He thought the Asian place probably wouldn’t have lasted long back in the day. Who knows now? The diner was the only one in town, or was until they put in a McDonald’s by the highway. Jaron hadn’t realized that things in this town could change until the bus passed by the fast food restaurant. Somehow he expected everything to be the same, as if time would stand still just because he didn’t feel any different now that he was here.

Standing here, he felt that maybe he left to put the physical miles between himself and the only parent he had ever known. He had never fit in with her either.

He felt a tug on his hand and looked down at sweet blue eyes. This small boy was as dependent on the next few minutes and the woman in the window as he was. “I’m thirsty,” Bobby said, around the thumb in his mouth.

“Me too. Let’s go.” Jaron stepped off the curb and onto the street, gripping onto Bobby’s hand just a little tighter, pausing for a car, and then continuing until he came within inches of his mother, the glass the only barrier now. She looked directly at him, showing more emotion in those few seconds than he had ever seen from her during his entire childhood. He looked away and walked through the door of the restaurant.

Pages or Words: 44,597 words

Tracy's Review:

4 Stars

*Copy provided by author/publisher via Pride Promotions in exchange for an honest review*

I did this backward. I read book 2 first, and then I read book one. They can be read as a standalone, so it wasn't a huge problem.

Jaron leaves home a week after graduating HS, and moves to the big city. He has to get out. As the only out gay kid at school he is picked on and bullied. He is ignored by his mother and only has one true friend. After moving to the city he finds a job and a place to live. He stays there for 6 years until, the mother of his son is murdered. He heads back home to Pickleville with a toddler in tow.

This book had a good story. The plot was good and it had a lot of potential, but it moved too fast. The author needed to slow the story down and move it at a more realistic pace.

The relationship between Jaron and Travis moved at warp speed. I think I have whiplash from how quickly I love you was said. I wanted a slower burn. I wanted them to actually get to know each other before they got together. I know they went to HS together, but they didn't know each other, they just knew of each other. They needed more time for a believable relationship to develop.

I loved the relationship between Jaron and his son Bobby. The relationship was well built and Jaron was an excellent father. They were sweet together. The scenes between them brought a smile to my face.

This book also left with some unresolved issues. I think the author should have added about 5 more chapters to give the MC's time to get to fully know each other, and to resolve some of the unresolved issues.

This author really has a good writing style. She writes interesting books, with good plots, but she needs to slow down. Not everything has to happen so fast.

Author Interview:
What inspired you to write this book?

My good friend was dating this man, who dressed like a cowboy. The cowboy inspired the character Travis Heath. He was a real player and ended up breaking my friends heart. I wanted to give my friend a happy ending, so I wrote Whispers of Home for him. I let the story sit for years before picking it back up again. I decided to do some rewrites on the story and send it in last fall.

Is there a message in this book you would like readers to grasp?

Message? Not really, no. I just want readers to enjoy the story. That's why I read to escape for a few hours into a good story. I hope my readers do the same thing.

What was the most challenging thing you faced while writing this story.

I think the relationship Jaron has with his mother was challenging for me to write. It was challenging to write about the misconceptions both him and his mother had about each other. At the same time I really enjoyed finding out each of their truths.

Do you pay attention to literary criticism?

If literary criticism is constructive then I love it. Constructive criticism is a learning opportunity and can only get better. Growing in my writing is the most important thing at this stage in my career.

What is your all time favorite book?

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman is my most favorite book ever. I have two hard copies of the book and an ebook copy. I like the book because Walt Whitman, first of all is a literary master and because he talks about things in that book that were controversial back then. We're still struggling with some of the issues now, actually.

About The Author:
Born and raised in Southwest Michigan, April lives with her husband and two kids. She has been an avid reader for several years. Writing her first story at the age of ten, the characters in her head still won't stop telling their stories. If April isn't reading or writing she can be found outside playing with a farm full of animals or taking a long walk in the woods.

Where to find the author:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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