Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blog tour: Finding It by Cora Carmack

FINDING IT Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong...

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.

It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

4 star review by Jen Hagen

This is the 3rd book in the Losing It series, but can be read as a standalone as it is about a secondary character.

Kelsey has just graduated from college in Texas and is set to have a good time and give herself an adventure in Eastern Europe before she finds herself having to live a life of lies with her parents.  When Kelsey was 12 years old, an unfortunate incident occurred and when she confronted her parents, she was told that it didn’t “count”…it didn’t happen.  Since that incident, Kelsey has made it her personal mission to be in control of her own choices.  Kelsey’s choices are sometimes not the best or wisest, but at least she made them herself.   Most of these choices while touring Europe involve one night stands.    Kelsey’s childhood, and now even has an adult, has been all about how others perceive her and her family.  Her parents turn a blind eye towards each other as long as their friends see a happy couple and a happy family.  Kelsey struggles with letting go of the past and living in the present.   She’s hoping that this trip to Europe will shed some light on who she is and where she belongs.

“…there comes a point when you’re so far down in the pit that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, not a pinprick or a soft glow.  There is black and more black pressing into you, choking out the world.  And asking how you got there and why you can’t get out is a pointless exercise because you’re too deep to do anything about it.”

Hunt is trying to move forward in his life after suffering a devastating loss.  He had struggled to find purpose for his life in his late teen years and when he finally found a place that he was comfortable, it was tragically taken away from him.  Hunt and Kelsey  happen to find themselves in each other’s presence on more than one party occasion.  From the few times that Hunt has seen Kelsey, he can see that she is heading down the same path of self-destruction that he was on.  He wants to help her see that there are other ways to experience fun and excitement that do not involve parties and one night stands.  He has asked that she give him one week to prove to here that life can be fun and exhilarating without the hangovers.

“The best parts of life are the things we can’t plan.  And it’s a lot harder to find happiness if you’re only searching in one place.  Sometimes, you just have to throw away the map.  Admit that you don’t know where you’re going and stop pressuring yourself to figure it out.  Besides…a map is a life someone else already lived.  It’s more fun to make your own.” – Hunt

Hunt and Kelsey embark on a week-long journey that takes them on several trains, finds them climbing 300 steps, being lost, and enjoying each other’s company.  Little touches here and there show that there’s something else going on between them, but Hunt has a secret and he needs to not fall for her.  From the first time I met Hunt, I knew he was holding something back.  He gave off a strange vibe and throughout the book I couldn’t figure out what he was holding back.  Yet when they were together I resorted to being teenager again feeling the butterflies in my stomach when he would reach for Kelsey’s hand and keep it there or softly stroking her back.  The subtle touches were meaningful and beautiful, expressing words that Hunt couldn’t say.  But Hunt needs to use words, as he does need to tell Kelsey the truth.  Kelsey also begins to feel that something is off with him, and when she figures it out, she is devastated.

“It was just another thing that doesn’t count.”

Kelsey still has not found where she feels comfortable and where she belongs, her dad wants her back home for appearance only, and now her heart has been crushed and she has been deceived.  Another tally mark for a bad choice in Kelsey’s life.   Continuing on her self-proclaimed adventure agenda, Kelsey finds a place that holds no memories of her time with Hunt and is able to stay in one place for a length of time.   Kelsey finally seems happy and has a sense of belonging.  What will happen to her resolve once Hunt makes an appearance in her life again and offers his apology one more time?

“Every day.  I will prove every day how much you mean to me.  How real this is.  You told me once that history matters, but it’s frozen, set in stone.  This is part of our history.  I can’t change it or undo it.  But it doesn’t have to dictate our future.” – Hunt

A Look at the Locales of Finding It (Part Two)

In the first part of this series of Guest Posts, I talked about Prague and the impact it had on me and Kelsey’s story.

Today I’m here to talk about Italy. In my own time backpacking, we spent a significant amount of time in Italy. We started with an afternoon in Milan before moving onto Venice, then Florence, Certaldo, Volterra, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Bari.

My boots were all over that boot. 

But today I’m focusing on the time I (and Kelsey) spent in Cinque Terre. Basically this post is going to be a lot of pictures and gushing.

So Cinque Terre is made up of five villages, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The villages are largely untouched by the modern world, so it was such a refreshing place to visit, like stepping backward in time. Add to that the beautiful landscapes, colorful buildings, and the smell of the sea and gah-- *starts looking at flights to go back.*

From the minute I stepped off the train, I was entranced (and coincidentally, Kelsey is too). 

                                             (This is me being entranced… with terrible hair). 

This is the entrance to Via Dell’ Amore. There’s a pretty pivotal scene that begins on this path. If you’ve read the book, you might recognize this tunnel… 

                                                                  Which leads to this… 

The Lover’s seat! Check out all the locks, and the gorgeous water behind it. I was just enamored with this section of the path that I could have stayed there for hours, and the memory of it has stayed fresh even years later. Kelsey and Hunt visit this chair and place a lock of their own in the tunnel. 

Cinque Terre is the backdrop for the point in the story where things begin to fall apart. I knew I wanted to juxtapose some darker, more angsty scenes against this gorgeous setting. In some scenes Kelsey feels completely at peace, possibly the happiest she’s ever been. And her rock bottom moments hit while in Cinque Terre, too. Even the lover’s seat became an important image. The idea of love being a lock is at first comforting to Kelsey, and then later terrifying and constricting.

Maybe it’s the nostalgia in me, but I wanted the places I loved not just to appear in the book, but hold a significant place in the story. Cinque Terre made me fall in love with Italy, more so than any of the other places I visited. So, it only makes sense for Jackson and Kelsey to fall in love there, too.

To close, just a few of the moments that made me fall in love with Cinque Terre (trust me… I could post a bazillion pictures. I actually calculated. I took an average of 63 pictures per hour during my stay, and that includes time spent sleeping).

How gorgeous is this? We actually found a way to walk down there, and it was possibly my favorite moment of the entire stay. It was a bit on the cold side, and the wind was strong. So the waves crashed and curled. The sound and the smell of that little cove combined for one of the most peaceful, beautiful moments of my life. 

                                       The view of a village we’d left as we hiked to the next one. 
Speaking of the next village.  There it is! That’s Vernazza, where I had some amazing pesto and too much limoncello. 

Took a hiking break to hang out with some (possibly feral) cats. You guys know they’re one of my weaknesses. 

Our Cinque Terre trip happened about halfway through our backpacking trip that had taken us from the Netherlands to France to Spain to Italy and ending in Greece. It was at about the halfway point of the trip, and I left feeling rejuvenated and excited. I like to think I looked as chill as this dog I made friends with in Manarola.

To this day, thinking of Cinque Terre puts a smile on my face. Are there any places in your life that have had a profound effect on you?

Cora Carmack Bio:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to everything. I love everything from Cora!


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