Friday, January 12, 2018

Blog Tour: The Key to Everything by Paula Stokes and GIVEAWAY!

Dear Readers:
I'm so thrilled to host one of my favorite authors of all time, Paula Stokes, for her new book The Key to Everything, which I loved-- such a fun, fluffy ride and makes me want to visit Thailand more!

Book Description: 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.

Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious, Ferocious, and This is How it Happened. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at or on Twitter and Instagram as @pstokesbooks.


Paula: One of my favorite places in Thailand (and in the world, really) is Sukothai Historical Park. Oakland and the entire tour group end up stopping here for a day after their adventures in Chiang Mai.

Here’s a mood board full of gorgeous Thai ruins. Some of these are from Sukothai and others are from the nearby city of Ayutthaya.

Here’s an excerpt from the historical park:

            “Check that out, y’all.” Jed points at a high wall of red and black brick with a doorway cut in the middle. The white face of a huge stone Buddha peeks out at us.
            We hurry toward the opening in the wall. When I step through, I raise my hand to my mouth. It’s more of the same ruins as outside the wall, but somehow being enclosed by them makes it feel even more like I’ve gone back in time.
             The Buddha is maybe fifteen feet tall, its pale stone darkened in places by age or perhaps water damage. It sits on a raised platform. Carvings of people, their hands folded in supplication, run the length of it.
            “What do you think that’s for?” I ask.
            “Human sacrifice?” Tyson suggests again.
            I slug him in the arm. “You’re all about the human sacrifice today, huh?”
            “I could go back to thinking about what I usually think about.” He arches an eyebrow at me.
            I blush. This does not go unnoticed by Morgan, whose eyes narrow as she looks back and forth from Tyson to me. She doesn’t say anything though, instead motioning for me to pose with the Buddha so she can snap my picture.
            Clive and Virginia appear through the opening. Virginia mops some sweat from her forehead. “Brilliant,” she murmurs, pointing her camera in all directions.
            We leave the walled enclosure and see Pracha and the guided tour group across the clearing. He’s gesturing at a small lake. Flowering lily pads float in it. Beyond the group an even taller Buddha stands between a pair of pale brick towers.
            “Let’s check that one out,” I say.
            We cross the clearing and photograph this newer, bigger Buddha. There’s a stairway beyond it that seems to lead to nowhere. I turn toward it.
            Morgan waves a hand in front of her face. “I think I’m going to grab some shade,” she says. “I feel myself starting to burn again.”
            “Good idea,” Jed says. “Let’s go crash out by that pond for a bit.”
            They turn back toward the rest of the group, but Tyson has designs on climbing to the top of this staircase.
            “Wanna go up?” he asks me.
            My turn to arch an eyebrow. “Want to race?”
            He smirks. “Oh, someone’s got game all of a sudden?”
            “I’m better at stairs than swimming,” I say.
            We both take off up the steps and Tyson ends up winning—just by a little—but I don’t mind. At the top of the stairs is another platform, this one small and flat.
            “I’d ask what you think this was for,” I say. “But I know what you’ll say.”
            Tyson smiles, but doesn’t respond. Instead, he takes my hand and we both look out across the enclosure. Frederik and Staffan are snuggling on the grass near Morgan and Jed. Clive and Virginia are posing in front of a cross-legged Buddha while Mr. Chu takes their picture. The rest of the oldsters are sitting on benches or on the grass around the lily pond. None of them seem interested in ascending a hundred stairs just to sit on a flat platform that probably once held a temple or altar of some kind.
            The wind finds us up here, drying my sweat and whipping my hair around my face.
            “You’re beautiful, you know it?” Tyson says. “You look like you just conquered an entire civilization.”
            I turn toward him. My heart beats funny in my chest. I realize I’m nervous, but I don’t know exactly why. “Time for my human sacrifice,” I joke.
            Tyson shakes his head. “Not this place. This place is for something completely different.”
            I start to speak but my mouth has gone dry. I lick my lips, swallow hard. “Oh yeah? What’s that?”
            “This.” Tyson lifts one hand to each of my cheeks. He tucks sweaty clumps of hair behind my ears. Bending low, he presses his lips to my forehead for a second. “I’m glad I met you.”
            I don’t know if it’s the strangeness of this place or the redness of the falling sun. I don’t know if it’s the softness of his touch or the peace behind his eyes. I don’t know what it is, but I throw my arms around his neck and pull him tight against me. Between us, a heart pounds, thick and fast. His, mine, ours together. I don’t know that either. But I know that I don’t want to leave this moment without kissing him.

Thanks for joining me on this blog tour! Experience the beauty of Thailand through the eyes of a tourist in THE KEY TO EVERYTHING. Right now you can get a Kindle copy for the introductory price of $2.99, but the price will go up soon. If you like romances that bring the heat, best friends who have each other’s backs, and main characters who grow and become better people, then you’ll love my first new adult novel.

ICYMI: I wanted to give away something authentically Thai to promote this book, so enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to choose between a wooden spirit shrine and an elephant print tote bag (or choice of purse up to $16.99 price from veradashop), both handmade in Thailand.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. So is this NA? And how come I didn't know about this book until now?!! I love her YA books, so I'm definitely gonna grab this while it's $2.99.

    1. It is very definitely NA and has the sexytimes. Don't be scandalized ;) And you probably didn't know because it's self-pub which means I've only been able to promote through my newsletter, website, Twitter, FB, and Instagram. Join my mailing list for info on all my books and lots of exclusive subscriber contests :D

  2. My favorite vacation was to Scotland! I loved everything about it, the people, the food, the gorgeous scenery! It was the perfect trip! :)

  3. I haven't traveled that much, but one place I loved was NYC. It might be a cliche, but I loved it. Loved the noise, the people, the life that was everywhere. I went there with two friends and we walked everywhere and stayed checking things out until 2AM in Times Square. I loved that there was still life at that hour.

    I guess, all in all I just loved the life that the city exudes.