Friday, January 19, 2018

The Key To Everything by Paula Stokes

The Key To Everything by Paula Stokes
Release Date - January 9, 2018
Publisher Website - self published 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  328 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.

Contains explicit content. Recommended for ages 16 and up. 
Paula Stokes has more than proven herself capable of writing within various genres so I was intrigued when I heard she'd be writing her first New Adult novel. The Key To Everything ended up being a read that, along with being sexy, ignites your travel lust. It also showcases Paula's versatility as an author along with being a quick, fun read.

The travel parts of the novel are incredibly appealing. They read as more realistic than some of the other novels that have I've read with travel elements in them. The characters have to use frequent travel points, more economic means of travel, and stay in more modest accommodations in order to make their travel plans happen. It made the story feel more relatable, and made the travel seem more accessible than it has in previous novels I've read. There is still that element of wanderlust and wish fulfillment but it is painted in a more accessible way. I wish the culture and history would have been explored more, but it just entices me to do some of my own research on the locations mentioned.

The romance is both a huge part of the character development that Oakland goes through and smoking hot. There is scorching chemistry between the characters that is evident in every interaction they share. Those who read the synopsis may think that there is a bit of a triangle, but it really is not one. At least, not in the way you might think or expect. It's really more about Oakland's character arc and how she grows as a person due to the experiences she is having. The connection between the characters is just a cute bonus that adds to the novels charm.

The friendship in this novel between Oakland and Morgan is just as important as the romance. Morgan and Oakland balance each other and push each other in a lot of ways. Oakland's journey would not have been complete without Morgan. Even when there was friction in the friendship, I always felt like they would be there for each other. It was nice to see this kind of friendship and have it take such a vital role in a New Adult novel.

The real heart of this novel is Oakland's journey. She has to reconcile some things about herself and have some self discovery while on this trip. She becomes so fixated on what she thinks she should want that she ignores what is right in front of her. This fixation makes her act recklessly but I think the fact that she wouldn't make my choices is what I loved most about this novel. They choices she makes on her journey felt right for the character and that, for me, made all the difference.

I hope that this is just the beginning of Paula Stokes writing New Adult novels as I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I highly recommend The Key Of Everything for anyone who wants a New Adult read with a strong character arc. It's a perfect book for those wanting a little New Adult sexiness but still want a great plot that focuses on the characters.

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