Sunday, January 12, 2014

Seasons in the Sun (The Night Songs Collection .5) by Kristen Strassel Review, Excerpt and Giveaway ~Kami


Seasons in the Sun (The Night Songs Collection .5)


14-year-old Callie, short for Calliope, immediately falls for 17-year-old Tristan. Callie is a sheltered good girl living on Martha’s Vineyard and Tristan is a hurricane of sexy California boy trouble. He is a rich self-destructive, heavy drinker, who likes to party hard and Callie is sweet, naive and pure. I was worried about Callie a lot. While reading it, I was wondering how far she was going to fall and if he was going to use her and set her aside. There is an unexpected twist at the end that I didn't see coming at all. I thought that was interesting. This was a pretty good little young adult summer romance. I am interested to read the continuation of this story. 4 stars.

Summer has finally arrived, along with a boy who will forever change the life of fourteen-year-old Callie. After growing up hearing stories about Tristan Trevosier and his famous family, Callie finally meets him when he spends the summer on Martha's Vineyard. Seventeen-year-old Tristan is a hurricane of destruction and rebellion, and he quickly blows a hole right into Callie's sheltered life. Callie sees a side of Tristan that he doesn't show anyone else. She's determined to make everyone see what she sees in him.

Callie defies her parents by leaving the island with Tristan. But when his ugly habits rear their head, Callie realizes maybe she's the one who's wrong about him. He's beyond her help. But it's too late for her to walk away. This summer, she learns that love can be stronger than reason.
Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She's worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world's worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. Kristen is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.
         Twitter @kristenstrassel

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A day to myself. I wasn’t scheduled for work, but Keisha was. For the first time in a long time, I was alone in an empty house.
What do I do with myself? Even on days off, we were up early to tend to the animals. We kept chickens and a goat too, for eggs and dairy for The Magnolia. By midmorning, I’d run out of ways to entertain myself. I decided to grab my book and sunbathe in the yard. I would have rathered go to the beach, but it was just too much effort to bring all the usual equipment down there alone.
“Hey,” The unexpected interruption sent me inches off of my seat. Tristan had made his way in to our yard without me noticing. He laughed when I jumped. I settled myself, heart pounding, as usual, and looked up at him without saying a word to see what the reason was for his visit.
“What are you doing?” He continued.
I looked down at the book which was now laying open on my stomach and back at him. “Reading.” I said slowly, since it was totally obvious what I was doing before he scared the crap out of me.
“Day off?”
Was he going to ask me any questions that he didn’t already know the answers to? “I hope so, or else I’m in big trouble. You?”
“Yup.” He pulled up a chair beside my lounge chair, flipped it backwards, and straddled it. No invitation needed. “Aren’t you bored?”
“No, not really.” Truth be told, I was dying of boredom. I wasn’t used to being by myself. I hated it. So why didn’t I admit it? Just for once, I wanted to have the upper hand with him.
“I think we should get out of here.”
“And go where?
“It’s my turn to teach you something.” He grinned. My heart clunked in my chest.
“What?” I tried to keep my composure.
“Surfing. You can’t be a real island girl unless you know how to surf.”
“Okay.” It did sound fun, I admit it. Actually surfing sounded pretty bad ass and I was excited to try it. But a part of me was disappointed that he just meant surfing.
I kept my voice steady. “What do I need to bring?”
“Just you…and a towel, I guess. Unless you have a board, which I doubt.”
“Nope. Do you have an extra?”
“No. We can share.”
How was that going to work? I folded my towel and shoved it into my bag. I went back in the house for my sandals and keys. After I got into Tristan’s jeep, I realized I probably should have left a note saying where I was going. Chances of anyone getting home before me were pretty slim. I almost went back, but I didn’t want him to think I was more of a little kid than he already thought.
“So you’re really going to try this?” Tristan asked as he pulled on to the main road, his GPS leading the way.
“Why would I be going if I wasn’t going to try it?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t know if you’d wuss out.”
“How hard can it be?”
He laughed. “I like you. You march to the beat of your own drummer.”
“Are you calling me a freak?” I tried to laugh it off, but I was really a little worried.
“No, Callie. It was a compliment. You’re not afraid to do your own thing.” He paused while he waited for traffic to clear for a left turn. “Why, do people say you’re a freak?”
I swallowed, feeling a bit self conscious, and twisted my fingers in my lap. “Well, kind of—I mean, I’m home schooled, and my mom hates anything normal.”
“Taryn and I are homeschooled, sort of. We have tutors on set. Normal is over rated.”
I relaxed when he said that. “What’s that like, being on a movie set?”
“Honestly, it’s kind of boring. You wind up spending most of your day in a trailer in the middle of nowhere. Then if you go to set, they do the same thing over and over again. You have to be quiet and still. It goes on forever.”
“Oh. I thought it would be so exciting.”
“It’s cool to go to some of the locations. If my dad has a day off, he’ll take us around so we can check things out, but other than that, it’s pretty dull.”
We pulled up to the parking attendant and Tristan paid for parking. I felt a little guilty that I didn’t bring any money to chip in, but then I thought back to the other day when he wouldn’t take his tips.
Once we got out of the car, Tristan pulled his surfboard from the back of the jeep. It seemed more formidable than I expected. It was longer than I was tall and it had some weight to it. I started to doubt how well I was going to do at this, but after being challenged not to be a wuss, I couldn’t possibly back out.
The beach was surprisingly quiet for such a beautiful afternoon. Visitors dotted the sand only in the distance. Thankfully, my inevitable eating of ocean water wouldn’t be witnessed by a crowd.
Tristan stopped where the sand was still powdery. The tide never came up this high. He dropped the board in front of him and looked at me. “You ready?”
“I’m not going to get any more ready.” What had I gotten myself into?
“All right, stand on the board.”
“Here?” I was so confused.
He looked around like he was lost. “This is a beach, right?”
“Yeah, but the water is over there,” I said, pointing at the ocean.
“You’re not ready for water yet. Trust me.”
I rolled my eyes and stood on the board, feeling stupid. It rocked back and forth under my feet and I had to steady myself to keep from falling over. Great. I couldn’t even surf on sand.
“See why I started you here? Not so easy, right? What you want to do is position your feet sideways, use your back foot for balance…okay, use your arms to balance the top of your body…”
I swayed back and forth on the board and Tristan grabbed me by the waist to steady me. “Move your feet like mine are.” He stood with his feet spread apart as he instructed me. I mimicked his stance. It was hard to concentrate on anything but the feel of his hands on my stomach. “Use your arms. Don’t be shy. No one is watching you.”
Determined, I looked up from his feet and steadied myself with my arms. Once Tristan was satisfied I wasn’t going to take a header off the board, he let go of my waist. I was almost tempted to lose my balance again. I could still feel the heat from his hands on my skin.
“So that’s your main stance. Let’s go to the water.”
“That’s it? You expect me to be able to surf now?”
“For that. Follow me.”
He picked up the board and headed to the water. It didn’t make sense for me not to follow. Tristan walked straight in to the surf and stopped when he got hip deep. The water temperature could still be described as shocking, and I did my best not to cry out as I joined him.
“I’m going to hold the board, and I want you to lay on it, on your stomach.” It was a bit of a struggle to get on the board, as the water was much deeper for me. He moved in a few steps to accommodate my shortness. “Now paddle.”
“Like a dog?”
“Like a surfer. Paddling is how you get out to the waves.”
I practiced the motion, with my head up, as he instructed. He was still holding onto the board, in case I got washed out to sea I guess. It felt weird not to go anywhere.
“Okay, now try to stand up.”
“Are you kidding me?” How was I ever going to do that?
“No. You surf standing up.”
I braced myself, thinking of the best and most graceful way to get into a standing position. I placed my hands under my shoulders and my knees under my hips.
If surfing on sand was hard, doing it in actual water was nearly impossible. I toppled off the board in an uncoordinated heap right on top of Tristan. I knocked us both under water. He was laughing as he came up, shaking the water from his hair. He pulled me up above the waves and close to him as I caught my breath.
“You look so exotic,” Tristan still had his hands on my arms, and his face was closer to mine than it had ever been.
I sighed, looking down at the water.
“Look at me, Callie.” He paused until my eyes met his. “I keep trying to pay you a compliment, and you keep taking it the wrong way. Why does it bother you so much to not be like everyone else?? They’re boring. You’re not boring.”
I didn’t have an answer for him. I don’t know how long we stood there, eyes locked, with the waves gently crashing against us.
He continued since I couldn’t. “And you don’t mind getting your hair wet.” He pulled me back down into the surf.
Coming up for air, I pushed my wet hair out of my face. “It’s a lost cause, anyway.”
“There you go again. Stop it. Guys hate that. Or at least I hate it when a girl is constantly down on herself.” Again he was staring at me.
“Your board is floating away.” It was a stupid thing to say at that moment, but I wanted to change the subject away from me, and if he didn’t get the board soon, it would never be seen again.
“Oh.” Tristan dove in the waves and swam after the board. I watched his shoulders, slick and shiny with salt water, work against the tide.
“I think we should head back,” he announced when he returned from the board. I didn’t want to go but I knew he was right.
We didn’t say much as we headed back. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the afternoon. Making a fool out of myself was frustrating. I couldn’t even stand up on the board. Tristan was just maddening. I could never quite get anything right when he was around.
I looked over at him, singing softly along with the radio as he drove. “I had fun,” the words sounded thin cutting through the awkward silence. We were almost home.
“I did, too.” Tristan answered in stride. “We’ll have to do another lesson soon.”
“I’m not a lost cause when it comes to surfing?” I asked and he glared at me. “Sorry.”
“It’s not easy. It takes a couple of times to get the hang of it.”
“Good. I don’t want to feel like a—” He gave me that look again as he pulled into his aunt’s driveway. “Never mind.”
“Never mind is right.” He winked at me. “See you tomorrow?”
“Bright and early.”
Again we looked at each other for too long, doing nothing. Without saying anything else, I opened the door and got out. I looked back as I reached the path that lead me home. Tristan was sitting in the driver’s seat, watching me go.

“Meet me in my aunt’s driveway tonight,” Tristan whispered into my ear just before we left work for the day. His warm breath tickled my skin.
“Later on. Like midnight.” He raised his eyebrows at the suggestion.
I stared at him open mouthed, not sure I understood what he said. “How is that going to work?”
“You’re a smart girl, you’ll figure it out.” Tristan squeezed my hand before he walked away.
I had a hard time concentrating on my routine for the rest of the afternoon and evening. How was I going to pull this off? Was I going to be able to sneak out when I shared a room with someone? I toyed with the idea of telling Keisha about Tristan’s proposal, but I decided against it.
Since I was useless anyway, I went to bed early. Or so everyone thought. I laid awake, watching the clock. It was so hard not to drift off to sleep. I couldn’t set my alarm, I’d wake Keisha. At 11:30, when I was satisfied Keisha was down for the count, I quietly slipped out of bed, washed the sleep from my face, got dressed, and began my journey.
Every floorboard creaked as I crossed the living room. At first I took slow deliberate steps, but I felt like that only amplified the noise, so I changed my pace to a quick tip toe. The kitchen door caught in the jam, swollen with humidity. I pulled as hard as I could to free it, jerking back with its force when it opened. I had to close it just as hard. In my nervousness, the forgotten screen door slammed door behind me on the porch. I squeezed my eyes shut, knowing I must be caught for sure. I was relieved to find that my actions seemed to have gone unnoticed. I tip toed gingerly down the stairs of the deck and sprinted towards Tristan’s house. I slowed up my pace when the driveway came into sight. Running the whole way would have been nothing short of pathetic.
Tristan sat on the rear bumper of his jeep, throwing his keys up in the air and catching them. I don’t think he heard me approach. I sat down next to him and he jumped. Finally, I caught him off guard. I laughed as he fumbled on the dark ground for his keys.
“You made it. I wasn’t sure if you’d do it or not.”
“You thought I’d chicken out?” He wasn’t the only one.
“You were wrong.” My eyes were adjusting to the light, and I met his in challenge. All this defiance made me brave.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he suggested.
“Where to?”
“I don’t know. You’re the one who lives here.”
“Well I usually don’t wander around in the middle of the night. But I guess we can go down by the beach.”
He took my hand and we set down the rocky road that led to the ocean without saying much of anything until we reached the sand. The only sound was the waves lapping against the shore. And my heart thundering in my chest.
“You can see so many of the stars out here.” Tristan declared, looking skyward in appreciation.
“How is that different than usual?”
“The city lights are too bright, they don’t stand out as much. It’s just so peaceful to look up at them all. See, there’s the Big Dipper.” He pointed skyward.
I nodded. “Can you see Orion’s Belt in it?”
“I can.”
Tristan sat down on one of the rocks that formed a breakwater. I climbed up next to him. I felt small next to him, with my legs dangling off the giant rock and the sky so huge above us.
“I’m having a really good time here this summer.” His arm made its way loosely around my waist.
“I am, too.”
“I’m going to hate going back to California.”
My heart twinged in my chest. I knew all along the day was coming soon when the twins would leave the island and normal life would resume, but not thinking about it made it less real.
“Maybe you don’t have to go,” I offered, softly.
He pulled me in closer to him and sighed. “I do. What am I going to do here?”
He was right, but I hated it. I hated myself for thinking I’d be enough to make him stay. It wasn’t like he was even my boyfriend. “You’re right.”
“What do you want to do, Callie?”
“What do you mean?” I pulled away from him nervously, heart pounding even harder.
“About everything. What do you want your life to be like?”
I knotted my fingers in my lap as I thought about his question. “I don’t know. This is my life.”
“There’s a whole world out there, you know. But it is nice here. It’s simple. No drama. “
I tried not to feel simple myself. “What’s California like?”
Tristan leaned back on his hands and looked up at the sky. “Right now it’s a hot mess. My parents hate each other. They’re trying to work things out, but I know they’re going to split. That’s why we got shipped here.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. Honestly, it’s probably better. They’re always fighting, and using me and Taryn to get back at each other.”
“That’s awful.”
“Whatever. The peace and quiet is nice.” He pulled me back in. “And I like hanging out with you. It’s nice to hang out with a girl who doesn’t want anything from me.”
“What do you mean?” I wasn’t offended, just genuinely confused.
“I’m sick of all these chicks, sorry, girls, who just want me to buy them things, or want to be with me because of who my parents are. But you aren’t like that.”
“No.” Who knew I was getting it right?
“It’s a nice change.”
“So what do you want to do?” I asked.
“About what?” His eyes burned into mine, only visible by the light of the moon reflecting off the ocean.
My breath caught in my throat. “Same thing. Everything.”
He sighed. “Honestly, I don’t have a clue. I could probably act, but I don’t want to do it just because my father does it. I’d love to have a band.”
“Why don’t you?”
“I don’t know. I never thought I was any good, but being here, my head’s been so clear. I’ve even worked on some songs.” He said the last part quietly. The way he said it, I was pretty sure I was the only one who knew anything about this.
“I’d love to hear them sometime.”
“I don’t know. They’re probably crap.”
“You always tell me not to be down on myself, and here you are, doing the same thing.”
“I know,” He leaned in, so his face was very close to mine. “I know what I want to do right now.”
“What?” I could barely speak.
“Kiss you.” He leaned in closer, his lips grazing mine.
I panicked and pulled away.
“What’s the matter?” Tristan seemed alarmed.
“I don’t know what to do.”
I couldn’t see it, but I could feel his smile. He ran his thumb softly along my jaw line, his fingers snaking into my hair. “You’re doing just fine. Just relax.”
That seemed impossible. “Okay.”
His lips parted mine gently. I simply followed Tristan’s lead, mimicking his actions as I curled my fingers around his arms. He slowly nipped my upper and lower lip, almost teasing me, before unwinding his fingers from my hair, sliding his hands down to my waist, and pulling me up into his lap, against his chest. I could feel his heart thundering in unison with mine. I moved my hands up into his hair, pulling him close to me as he placed his lips over mine.
I don’t know how long we stayed there, locked together like that. One of us would pull away, just enough to breathe, and then be drawn right back in.
Finally, Tristan slid me down off of his lap. I could feel the chill immediately being separated from his body. If I looked at him at that moment, we’d be right back where we started, so I looked up at the stars. They were even more beautiful than I ever remembered them being.
Everything was so right, with just us sitting out here, no noise but the lapping of the waves and the beating of my heart.
“I have to get you back,” Tristan’s voice was husky.
The sky had brightened. I prayed it was just lights from the town and not sunrise. No one in my house waited for the sun to be up to get out of bed. I needed to be safely back in bed before anyone’s feet hit the floorboards for the day.
We started to make our way through the sand, and back to the rocky road that led back to Beach Plum Lane. We held hands, not leaving enough space for one another.
I wasn’t ready to part ways when we reached my porch. I don’t think Tristan was either, he took my hands and pulled me close to him.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“For what?”
He shook his head against my forehead. “No,” he said, just as softly. “Thank you. For everything, Callie. I mean it.”
I looked up at him, puzzled, but didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what to say.
“Will you be my date at the President’s party?”
“Of course.”
He squeezed my hands and leaned in for one last kiss. I could feel his smile against my lips. “Sweet dreams, Callie.”

CH 1
My bike skidded into the alley beside the café. I knew I was late. I leaned it up against the building, pulled my damp braid away from my neck, and fanned out my shirt.
“Where have you been, Callie? Your shift starts at nine. No excuses. I’m not going to treat you differently than anyone else on the staff. It sets a bad example.” My mom was rolling out dough on the table. There was flour on her apron and in her hair. It had obviously been a busy morning. She barely looked up from her work as she acknowledged me.
I looked at the clock on the wall. 9:15. “Sorry.” I mumbled as I grabbed my apron. “Where do you want me today?”
Mom sighed, pausing for a minute to think strategy. “Barista station.”
Not so bad. I figured she’d give me something I hated to punish me for being late. My mom ran a tight ship. The Magnolia Café was her dream in action and she wasn’t about to let anyone, including me, screw it up. But I loved making the coffee. It was what we were known for. I liked helping the island wake up. The regular faces became more recognizable each day.
This was my first summer as an official employee. I’d worked behind the scenes for years. I was thrilled to be old enough to be a real part of the team. Even if it I was working for my mom, I wanted to make a good impression.
“Guess what? I met the twins.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Caroline’s niece and nephew. Taryn and Tristan.” We rented the guest house on Caroline’s sprawling property. I’d been hearing stories about Caroline’s family my whole life. Her sister was a model, married to a movie star. Did it get any more glamorous than that?
“Oh.” Recall was written all over her face. My mother found Caroline’s family less impressive than I did. We didn’t even have a TV in the house, that’s how much she cared about Hollywood. “Were their parents there as well?”
“I don’t know. I just saw the twins.”
“Did Caroline say anything about the party?”
“What party?” I had no idea what my mother was talking about.
“Never mind. She wouldn’t say anything to you, anyway.” I felt like a little kid for the second time this morning.
I headed out front to relieve Olga, the early morning barista. Keisha, my cousin, was tidying up behind the counter and restocking the muffins and bagels. She came every summer from Jamaica to work with us at the Magnolia.
“What’s going on, girl? You’re late.” She hip checked me playfully as I walked passed her to the coffee station.
“So I hear. Good morning to you, too.”
“Ha! You were fired, you know.”
“Yeah I’m sure.” Where else was my mother going to find such willing, well trained, underpaid labor?
“You missed the hot Australian dude. That man can eat his croissant in my bed any day….”
I giggled and swatted at Keisha. “Oh! That reminds me. I met the twins.”
“What twins?”
Apparently I was the only person who was excited about this. I was starting to feel a little foolish telling everyone so enthusiastically about my meeting. “Caroline’s niece and nephew. Tristan and Taryn. From California.”
“Oooooh, the movie star kids.” Now I had Keisha’s attention.
“Tell me all about them.”
“I don’t know, it was quick. We didn’t say much. But Tristan is really good looking.”
“Oh yeah? How old are they?”
“Gosh, I don’t know…Caroline said they weren’t much older than me, but they looked like they were about twenty five.”
“All those famous people have botox and nose jobs and boob jobs…did the girl have a boob job?”
“I didn’t know I was supposed to check out her chest for you.”
“God, I’d love a boob job. Instead I got a big ass. So how good looking are you talking?”
I blushed a little bit as I started making a nonfat caramel latte for Janis, one of the regulars. “Really good looking. Like I didn’t know it was possible to be that good looking.”
I could still feel where Tristan squeezed my hand while he looked me right in the eyes, making my knees knock. I could still smell the spiciness of his cologne.
“He must be gay then.” I was a little mortified by that. I shot a quick look at Janis, who was smirking at our conversation. I added her extra whipped cream before she even asked.
“Anyone from California who’s that good looking has got to be gay, girl. Get used to it.”
“How many people have you met from California?”
“None. But I know. I read Perez Hilton.”
Who? “Is he on NPR? Because that’s all I ever get to listen to and you know it.” My mom ran a tight ship at home too. We didn’t have cable and I got homeschooled. My pop culture knowledge was embarrassingly nonexistent.
“Oh yeah, I forgot I was back in the stone ages for a minute.” Keisha rolled her eyes. “I’m just saying, that’s how it is.”
It was just easier to agree with her. “Whatever. He didn’t seem gay. Not like I’d know if he was anyway. But I don’t think so.”
“I guess between the two of us, we’ll find out, right?”



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  2. Looks good would love to read. Thank you :).

  3. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

  4. Thanks for the giveaway!!
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