Hello everyone! Today we have another book spotlight. A book spotlight is an interview done about an author’s current or soon-to-be-released book. It includes information about the book, its genre, where to buy it, and more. Now without further ado, let’s get to the Book Spotlight!
Is paradise a place or a feeling? This is a question 22-year-old Savana Deans struggles with when she discovers an extraordinary world, Paradise, through a portal.
It’s a land that lacks imperfection. Money doesn’t matter, pollution and climate change don’t exist with the magical methods of transportation and neither do diseases.
She begins to realize that nothing can lack imperfection when her world had to fall apart for her to find Paradise while pregnant with her toxic ex’s child and looking for love that understands her. Reuniting with her brother who was reported missing would have done just that, but this world has much more planned for her than she expects.
She has two men interested in her romantically despite her situation. There’s the sweet and charming bakery owner, Aidan Benson, who checks off all her boxes in the prince she dreamed of finding after reading so many fairytales as a child. Not to mention, her first love, the reckless, kindhearted, Caleb Daniels, who left her without an explanation when they were only kids.
With so many secrets, exes, baggage, much sabotage, and jealousy, this world is deemed to be anything but perfect with people full of flaws. After all, these aren’t two random men but ex-best friends for very good reasons. Savana is given less than a week in her time, a year in this world, to not only find the love she is missing in her life but to decide if this is a world she wants to live in permanently.
She must decide if this is a world to raise her child in, possibly leaving the father back home. Will she find all she is looking for in a world that might not even be real or go back home feeling more damaged than ever before?
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Snippet from the book:
CHAPTER ONE: BUNNY LOVE
Paradise. Is it a place or a feeling? That’s one of life’s biggest questions. No, I’m not referring to the afterlife, just the complete opposite; fulfillment on earth, in your first life, to be more precise.
If you are able to undergo childbirth with no spouse or boyfriend by your side and still stare at your beautiful baby girl that is all him in nothing but love and astonishment towards her, then you know the answer.
How does one get to this point? Well, it all started with Calvin, my brother’s best friend from childhood. He was the reason why I was brought there. He was the reason I needed to feel real, romantic love. But nothing is perfect; something Paradise taught me, a place that showed me fulfillment is a feeling, not a perfect world.
No world will ever be perfect with humans existing in it, humans full of flaws, imperfections, beauty. But humans are also full of hatred, greed and lust. It is up to you if that is good enough or if humans and the world we inhabit or even imagine is a lesson itself.
Calvin and my older brother, Joshua, were friends since kindergarten; inseparable everyone in the playground would see them as. They didn’t even know what a friendship was at that age. They only knew that no matter what happened, what mistakes they made or tantrums they had, one thing always stayed the same, the fact that they were a huge part of each other’s lives.
From soccer, basketball, any sport imaginable really that two people could play, to sleepovers, double dates when they got older, being roommates during college and even after, were they together. Nobody ever got in the way of their strong, brotherly bond because they wouldn’t let them. They did have other friends as after all, their lives are separate. Yet nobody came before one another, along with family, of course.
That’s why I was the exception to all of this, the one thing Joshua didn’t mind them having in common as I was just as important to both of them as their bond. I would join their games whenever I could, but with the three year age gap and me starting things just as they were finishing them, finding common interests, common ground that was tangible became more difficult.
Joshua and I were closer than most as we shared our secret dreams with each other and crushes, well, mine at least. My brother chose to keep that more to himself since I tended to tease him about those things and because I wouldn’t have known the girl while my crush never changed, although I dated far too many douches to count as I grew up.
“Calvin? You like our Calvin?” I remember him questioning me in his childish voice that hadn’t deepened much but still sounds like an adult man. He questioned me when he attempted to guess my crush when I was seven and he was ten once the door slammed shut. He caught me practically drooling over Calvin as he left our house and even during a boardgame where each tile was some illustration of candy, I was so far off into my fantasy land that I had to constantly be reminded to take my turn.
“Be quiet! I don’t want mommy and daddy to hear!” I whined in a whisper as our parents were in their offices upstairs, prepping for big cases as they are both criminal defence lawyers.
“So, it is true? My sister and my best friend, you know how great that will be! I won’t be losing either of you and get to see you happy together!” he exclaimed in complete happiness, smiling a full smile which he had braces on at the time with navy blue elastic bands to correct his underbite. His friendly freckles, glowing bronze skin and curious ocean blue eyes never changed, although his teeth, short height and mid-length, tawny brown curly hair that was snipped to land just above his ears did.
“Don’t get excited! I hear how he talks about Hillary to you. He doesn’t like me but is still a friend, so I’m okay with it,” I tried to convince myself and Joshua brushed it off as usual by telling me that Hillary was just the girl in Calvin’s life now and that I was in his life forever.
Joshua would tell me that with every new woman in Calvin’s life because unlike the shy, awkward girl I was, Calvin was confident and could make anyone around him feel comfortable with one look into his special and soothing, emerald green eyes. He was much more athletic than Joshua and I who would play sports with him for fun, not because we were good at it. He was an incredible artist and even had the cocky guy hair flick down pat as his hair has always been short and straight but with many longer, messy pieces in the front.
I tried to believe him until my eighth grade grad came and a boy that asked to borrow a pencil from me once asked if I’d be his date to grad. That was when I decided it was time to move on, especially since Calvin had more than enough women interested in him, likely for the same reasons I was or because they were really into music and art as he was.
However, it turned out that boy pranked me and actually got me to stand under a ceiling tile he managed to launch a massive, plastic bucket of fudge from and stain my ocean blue dress with the flowy bottom, which brought out my eyes and humiliated me on what should’ve been the best day of elementary school.
When I called my brother to pick me up since our parents were always busy with work, Calvin arrived in his mom’s bright red car along with her as he wasn’t legally allowed to get behind the wheel without an experienced passenger.
“Thanks for coming but where’s Joshua?” I asked the sweet boy with the cinnamon brown hair with dirty blonde highlights who brought many towels so I wouldn’t dirty the car and then let me get clean and relax in his hot tub, borrowing his 10-year-old sister, Kara’s, violet and white, polka dotted swimsuit.
“He had a big test tomorrow and I had a date. His was more important,” was all he said to me that night as we didn’t even talk in the hot tub, just gazed into each other’s souls in silence while chatting and playing with Kara between, the silence that said so much.
For my high school grad, I spent most of it in the bathroom, giving myself to my boyfriend at the time, Brad Givens, who unfortunately shared the pictures of me in lingerie I wore as a surprise for him, to many friends to basically brag that he was getting it on. My friends were as out of the loop as I was, being more reserved and nerdier than most students there. I wouldn’t have found out if it wasn’t for Calvin, who knew enough people to see it leak on social media and was enough of a tech whiz to take it down without their permission, got the police involved and even stole Brad’s phone to get rid of traces of the original picture.
It was as if Calvin was destined to save me from my falls. After all, when my brother first brought him over to our house, I tripped over my own feet because of the clutz I am, and he was there to catch me when I was two, and he was five. This was when I didn’t even know what romance was.
One can only assume something disastrous happened at my graduation from teachers college that he saved me from, but things change when two begin to mess around. Once you fuck, there’s no going back. He may help you remove your clothes but never helps you put them back on. He allows you to lie in his warm arms under the covers of his bed but doesn’t do much more than that, especially if he has a lot going on that day, even with your own brother living with him.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Joshua would ask me far too many times to count when Calvin went off to work at an art studio as a tour guide in his attempt to eventually get his own art pieces in there, while Joshua didn’t have a class until one in the afternoon as did I.
“What do you mean?” I asked him one morning, actually listening to him for a change as my long, curly, tawny brown hair dangled past my shoulders in a messy, bedhead like way, over Calvin’s white T-shirt with paint splatters all over it that was like a nightgown on me due to him purchasing oversized T-shirts to make his short self feel taller. This was so his T-shirts looked large on taller women, including myself who is several inches taller than him.
“Savana, you always wanted the guy who would bring you flowers on a first date, the guy who opens the door for you every time you exit the car or pulls out your chair, a gentleman really. And I don’t think Cal is that for you. It’s been six months of basically bunny love! He hasn’t even asked you out on a date,” Joshua sighed. “I love him like a brother but you are my actual sister and I can tell you right now he doesn’t love you because he’s dated women before, called women who have been with him for shorter than you, his girlfriend,” he confessed the tough truth to me, looking out for me as he always had. “Has he asked where you want this to go?”
“I know I wanted that but he is the guy who would catch me when I fell, pick up my pieces and finish the puzzle, hold me in his arms, let me wear the T-shirt he’d wear when creating masterpieces, say our life together is our own masterpiece. We’d even have so much pillow talk, most of it about our hopes and dreams and futures…,” I began to say, and my brother looked as if he believed there was some hope for something with a label, to tell the world about our relationship that was kept on the down low until a woman entered the unit that Calvin forgot to lock and we both knew exactly why Calvin and I discussed separate futures and dreams, not one together.
“Is this Calvin Pines’s place?” she asked as she stared at the two of us with a neutral expression present in her almond brown eyes as she knew my brother and I weren’t a couple and kept staring at the T-shirt I was wearing that was my favourite one at the time but didn’t seem to care.
“Yeah, he just left. What did you need?” Joshua asked her curiously as she unbuttoned the long, baggy, camouflage green coloured jacket she was wearing in the middle of May due to her sweating to reveal a baby bump that looked to be at least seven or eight months.
“I’m Camille, Calvin’s wife of five years. I know he sees other woman for pleasure in the bedroom area. He doesn’t keep anything from me and I want a sexless relationship, don’t feel comfortable with it but love him and he loves me, so we make things work and we wanted a baby, so we inserted his sperm into me and did it that way. Half the time when he says he’s at work, he’s really at our apartment where he’ll be moving permanently, not moving back in with his parents in two weeks to help with his grandma,” the Korean woman who looked to be a couple of inches shorter than Calvin’s five foot four self, admitted in her formal voice as she finger combed her short, jet black, wavy hair and fixed her round glasses with large, metal frames to not go past her nose.
“He can leave today. Grab all of his things because I’m getting a locksmith and blocking his number,” Joshua grumbled but chose me, the thing that they had in common, the thing that tore them apart for good.
It’s tough when you feel as if you knew someone so well, their intentions and all to only be left crushed by them, feel smaller than ever before, weaker than all of your weakest moments combined. But when one wears a baggy T-shirt that didn’t even fit its owner, one knows that a guy with more confidence, self-worth and comfort within themselves will find them soon.
My brother found it difficult to cut Calvin out of his life, and so did I as he did leave several voicemails to promise me an explanation, yet I didn’t desire a guy with an explanation. I desired someone I’d never have to question because the trust and communication would be as perfect as it can get. Joshua desired the same thing in a best friend and got just that once he began conversing with the man who sang before him in the local coffee house, Cartier Barnes. That man made Calvin’s desperate attempts to track him down and talk shit about him in front of everyone all the easier.
Joshua’s dream since he was 12 and sang at the school talent show was to be a famous singer. His internet videos and several bands he joined didn’t help out much with it because viewers only watch stupid videos, not those with the most angelic voices. My parents were fine with him attempting to pursue it but still made him take the required courses to be a lawyer as a backup option since it is a great career and their cases always fascinated him as a child.
He still performed at local coffee houses for pure enjoyment during the weekends when he wasn’t in class. It was obvious where his heart belonged but my parents didn’t see a point in him wasting his time and their money on a music college, so he didn’t. He just wasted his heart and passion on what didn’t matter to him as he began to see their point of how unrealistic his dreams were.
It wasn’t until my graduation from teachers college, which was only a few weeks later, that something terrible did happen, not to me, but Joshua and Calvin couldn’t save him or the pain inflicted on me. Joshua ran away from his life, his friends and his family, didn’t show up to my graduation or even answer his phone. He had been missing for an entire week, but it was Cartier who informed us because we were so distracted by my grad that we assumed Joshua was busy with his life and should call or check in with us by the end of the week. That unfortunately never happened. The police found no evidence and noticed all his music stuff was gone. We only expected that he took off without a note or any reassurance because he was done living a life that wasn’t his, and watching me go into a field my parents approved of was too much for him to take.
I had a summer school job lined up for the following Monday at a high school my elementary school placement helped me in obtaining. All that happened made that transition and enjoyment for my grad ceremony all the more difficult, especially with all of this blame going around. My parents didn’t blame themselves for not encouraging him to pursue music; they blamed this incident on his best friend being out of his life. Due to this, they blamed me for him running off and disappearing into thin air.
Sometimes people try to blame anybody but themselves in their desperate attempt to feel better, find peace and carry on with their lives. Still, I couldn’t take it anymore and moved into Joshua’s place temporarily, which wasn’t the greatest move since so much trauma with Calvin lied there. Left there with me was so much wasted time and energy, wasted memories on a man who just fancied me for my body, didn’t see a future with me past his lustful desires. Why do men have to be so attractive physically with their toned bodies and attractive with the mental image we create of them to describe the emotional aspect of things? Why can’t their inner selves match what we create? Why do we give them masks and not see them for the scum they truly are?
Being in his place provided me with some tranquility as I really felt Joshua’s presence as I dropped my phone in surprise as I began to hear and see things that one would never believe were really there. But it was in some way or another, and I made the risky move of hopping into find him or what found him, to be exact. Family love is stronger than one may think, especially if you are tight and your love exceeds the fact that you share the same blood. Your love exceeds what the universe promises to offer with this so-called fate of meeting the one or so one thinks. What I hopped through was a portal that showed me the equivalence between the two kinds of love, that the one is really out there for each and every person.
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Thank you all for reading and remember:
Live. Love. Laugh.