I received this book for free from From Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Self-pub on November 7th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Source: From Author
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College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.
To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.
Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?
Filed with friendship, romance, and gorgeous faraway settings,The Key to Everything is a book for anyone who's ever dreamed of finding love when (or where) they least expected it.
Message from Paula Stokes:
Hello and welcome to another fun blog tour 🙂 THE KEY TO EVERYTHING is both my first new adult novel and my first self-published novel. I got the idea for the book in December of 2014 when I was on a cruise with my sister. We had traveled to Thailand together several years ago and I loved the friendly people and beautiful country. For years, I had wanted to set a story there, but I hadn’t come up with the right idea.
Then Oakland and Morgan popped into my head—best friends who are a lot alike, but very different when it comes to relationships. Morgan is practical and believes the world is full of possible romantic partners. Oakland is all about finding her soul mate, her one true love. And that difference leads to an exciting Christmas vacation adventure for the girls, where Oakland explores the ideas of fairytale perfect romance vs. love that’s messier and more inconvenient. I have personally traveled to every place that is mentioned in the novel, and several of the mishaps/adventures that Oakland and Morgan have are based on my own experiences. (Sadly, the romance part is completely fictional.)
The story practically wrote itself—I started the first draft on Christmas and finished it on Valentine’s Day of 2015. But then I got bogged down in promoting LIARS, INC. and writing/revising two books for 2016 and two books for 2017. And so THE KEY TO EVERYTHING had to wait until I was caught up to be revised and edited and proofread and revised some more. Then with the help of my agent I navigated the murky self-publishing waters for the first time. It feels like it took forever to get everything set up, but I am so happy to be bringing you this book set over Winter Break now, when so many of you are probably snowed in and/or exhausted from the holidays and could use a vicarious vacation to a sunny and gorgeous place.
Right now you can buy a Kindle version of the book for the introductory price of $2.99. The price will go up after this week. A paperback version will be available soon (if not already.)
Here’s a mood board to show you some of the sites Oakland, Morgan, and the US soldiers they meet in Thailand end up visiting. Over the span of two weeks they’ll go from Bangkok, to the beaches of Phuket, to the jungles of Chiang Mai, to the ruins of Sukothai, and then back to Bangkok for more romantic drama. I hope you check out this story, and I hope it makes you smile.
Be sure to stop by Adventures of a Book Junkie tomorrow for an excerpt from Oakland’s time in Bangkok and a chance to win an amazing handmade souvenir sent directly to you from Thailand!
Paula Stokes wrote a New Adult novel, y’all! I’ve been reading her YA books for years and she has grown to be a favorite author of mine so when I heard something a little spicier with college age characters was on the horizon I jumped at the chance to read it.
I found the writing to be very comparable to her YA works. The author is excellent at creating these characters that are quite flawed but very likable. Characters you can’t help but to root for and that’s exactly the type of character Oakland is. After a few lackluster relationships throughout college, she becomes obsessed with the idea of ‘The One’ and feeling like she already had her chance at true love in high school and gave it up before leaving for college, an idea only made worse when a fortune teller encourages the thoughts in her mind by declaring him the ‘key to everything’. She tries relentlessly to find her old boyfriend Seth but strikes out at every turn. In an effort to distract her from the obsession, her best friend Morgan offers up a trip to Thailand for the Holidays.
Once again Stokes magically transports her readers to such vivid and detailed settings. So rich in detail that I found myself wishing I was right there with the characters during all of their excursions. It was on this trip that Oakland meets Tyson, an American soldier on vacation with his friend Jed. Morgan and Jed hit it off instantly, leaving Oakland and Tyson to their own devices. But Oakland is quite standoffish, her mind fixed on the idea that Seth is her destiny and closed to the thought of anything else. Their romantic interactions were quite casual, almost awkwardly so in the beginning. Admittedly, I didn’t really feel the connection either at that point, well besides all the very spicy and hot sex they were having. But things slowly start to change as Oakland gets to know Tyson. I think my feelings evolved at the same pace as Oakland’s and I really appreciated how honest it all felt. Tyson was such an understanding and sweet man, and oh so patient. Even when fate has a funny way of messing with Oakland and Seth shows up in Thailand too…
Despite Oakland’s often misguided actions, she was still a character I easily connected with and I grew to love the romance hanging in the air of Thailand. I am so very happy the author decided to try out New Adult and hope she writes more in the future. Definitely check this one out!