Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: The Storm Before the Calm by Cate Ashwood (ARC Review+Excerpt+Giveaway+Interviewing the Author)

Author Name: Cate Ashwood

Book Name: The Storm Before The Calm

Release Date: June 5, 2015

Charlie has one passion in life: dancing. It’s his salvation when it feels like the world is swallowing him whole. When his mom secretly secures him a spot in the summer intensive at the Free Rein Dance Company in New York, he is thrilled. He knows that once the summer ends, he'll have to return to Beacon to get a job and help support his family, but for those two months, he can spread his wings.

In New York he meets Max, a junior instructor who is everything Charlie wishes he could be. Bold and self-assured, Max radiates pride in who he is. As they spend time together, Max shows Charlie what life can be like past the walls of his closed-minded home town. But Charlie doesn’t know if he’s ready to show the world who he truly is when standing in the spotlight is the last thing he wants.

Pages or Words: 62,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Gay fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

My fingers tugged at the edge of the cardboard cozy wrapped around the cup as I waited for him to speak. The silence between us felt heavy, and the awkwardness settled in around me as he stared at me, his mouth quirked in a playful expression.
“What?” I asked finally.
“Nothing,” he replied, smiling. “So I guess we should get started.”
“I think maybe just one, two songs at most. The festival isn’t until the end of the summer, so we have lots of time.”
“What festival is it again?” I asked.
“OutShine,” he responded.
“What kind of festival is that?” I asked.
“It’s a big arts festival that takes place throughout the city, mostly in parks. There are exhibits and performances, and a huge celebration at the end. It was started a few years ago to raise awareness and money for gay rights.”
“Oh. Are you… I mean….”
“Gay?” Max supplied.
“Yes. Are you?”
“I… no, uh I…,” I stuttered. I was stunned by how nonchalant and completely unapologetic he’d been about his sexuality, as though admitting to me he was gay was the most ordinary thing in the whole world. A part of me wished I could do that. I could nod and say the words like it was as natural as telling him I was blond or I liked chocolate ice cream.
“It’s okay, Charlie. No big deal. You don’t have to be gay to participate. Originally, all the artists were gay, but it has grown and evolved now to include everyone, which is how it should be,” Max said, shooting me an understanding look.
I should have corrected him. I should have told him, but I’d never said the words out loud. Hell, it was hard enough for me to form that three-word sentence in my head. Even as I sat there, my brain rebelled, doing its own version of sticking its fingers in its ears and humming. So instead of being honest with him about who I was, I let him assume I was something else.

Tracy’s Review:
*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher via Pride Promotions in exchange for an honest review*

I LOVED this book. It was sexy, sweet, and a little angsty. I love when an author can make me feel, and I felt this book. I felt Charlie's emotional turmoil of coming to terms with being gay and his attraction to Max. These young men were just perfect together. The chemistry was off the charts, and the sexual tension was palpable. I loved watching them fall in love.

I. Couldn't. Put. It. Down. It was an amazing book. Sometimes you just connect with a set of characters, and I definitely connected with Charlie and Max.

I love to watch dance, but I don't know a lot. The book is centered around Charlie and Max's dancing, but was not extremely technical, and Cate never made me feel like I was lost. What Cate did do was rip my heart out of my chest, and made me sob like a baby. I don't cry often while reading books, it's rare, but this book broke my heart.

Thankfully Cate was kind enough to put it back in my chest and mend it for me. She wove a beautiful, heartwarming, sensual, sweet and sexy story. She took me on a very vivid tour around NY, and I felt like I was there. I explored the city through Charlie and Max's eyes. I could see the sites, hear the noises, smell the smells and almost taste the food.

I highly recommend this book! Pick it up you won't be disappointed!

Rating: 5 Heart tugging stars

Sales Links:

Interviewing the Author:

1) What inspired you to write this story?
There's a lot of me in this story (not Charlie's experiences, but part of his character). I was a dancer, and although I haven't been to class in over a decade, it holds such great memories for me. I've always wanted to write a story about a dancer, and I think male dancers are incredibly underrated. When I saw a video of Magnus Labbe on YouTube, the idea sparked in my head, and I started to write.

2) What are your favorite qualities about each of these characters?
I love these characters for how opposite they are. Charlie is quiet, reserved, unsure, insecure. Max is so confident and he knows who he is. I think he brings out the best in Charlie and helps him figure out who he is. 

3) Do your friends or family members ever end up between the pages of your books?
Not really. I've used a couple of little stories or mannerisms from the people I know (and if I told you which, I'd have to kill you), but my characters aren't consciously drawn from anyone specific. 

4) Besides writing what else do you enjoy doing?
Reading (obviously) and I love photography. Recently, I have a new photography subject that keeps my camera clicking. A lot. Really. So many photos of Nugget. When I'm not taking his picture, just hanging out with him is pretty spectacular. Now that he's gotten a bit older, he's getting to be a lot more fun. 

5) A night spent out on the town or cuddling in front of the T.V.?
Definitely cuddling. I would much rather spend the evening in pajamas than heels and makeup. 

Thank you, Cate, for answering our questions!!!

About the author:

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot-pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.
Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, her brand new little boy, and her two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Where to find the author:

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

Tour Dates & Stops:










Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘The Storm Before the Calm’ by Cate Ashwood

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