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Thursday, May 23, 2013

On Tour: Appetites by Karen Frankola - Review + Excerpt

Karen Frankola is now on tour with CLP Blog Tours with her book, Appetites. Please visit her tour page on CLP Blog Tours for more blog stop and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

by Karen Frankola

Genre: Adult, Chick Lit
Format: Kindle
Connect with Karen: Amazon, Twitter
When Sarah suddenly hears from Harry, the Brit she almost married twenty years ago, she decides now is the time to change her life. Sarah has a great job in Manhattan, but she considers herself too fat to have a boyfriend. Harry is visiting New York in four months and she wants to turn back into the girl he fell in love with. Since she can never stick to a diet, she comes up with a drastic solution.

Sarah asks her sister Max to lock her up in her basement and feed her nothing but healthy meals. Max, a struggling waitress, agrees begrudgingly. She's skinny, but has her own set of appetites—for drink, drugs, and great-looking losers.

Sarah thinks a summer in Max’s basement will give her a new body, a chance to reconnect with Harry, and the friendship she’s long craved from her sister. But things quickly go wrong. Max's drinking leads her to neglect Sarah, who figures out how to get out of the basement. Sarah develops an obsession with Max's boyfriend and manages to fulfill a sexual fantasy by pretending to be something she's not.

Can Sarah turn back time with Harry or will she and Max kill each other first? Can either sister ever learn to say no?
I received a copy of Appetites by Karen Frankola from CLP Blog Tours as part of the blog tour.

Sarah and Max, two sisters were coping with their own addiction. Sarah was a binge eater, and Max was an alcoholic. When Sarah heard from her ex fiancĂ©, Harry, who told her that he was coming to visit, Sarah decided it is time for her to lose her weight. It wasn’t very easy. After all, the temptation to eat something was very hard to control. Sarah came out with a drastic plan—to live in Max’s basement and she will be locked in the basement for months so that she won’t be able to go out. This will force her to follow her diet plan. The sisters weren’t exactly in a good term. They got into arguments a lot! But that doesn’t stop Sarah to fantasize about Max’s boyfriend. When Max’s drinking problem led her to forget about Sarah, Sarah figured out a way to escape the basement. Will her diet plan works?

Wow! I just couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know how Sarah and her diet will turn out. I understand that it was hard to control eating with all the temptation around. But later, I found myself cheering for Sarah with her plan to lose weight. I wanted her to succeed with her diet even though her plan sounded bizarre. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between two sisters. While they are mostly fighting, I could see that they cared for each other. I wanted their relationship to get better because families are the one you can always turn to whenever you needed someone to rely on.

Appetites by Karen Frankola was definitely an interesting read. It tackled the issue of food and alcohol addiction, sisters’ relationship and how a long lost love can be a great motivation. What I didn’t really like was the graphic sex scenes. I think the book would be as good without the romance part getting too graphic.  But still, I couldn’t deny that Appetites was a great read. I definitely recommend any chick lit lovers to read this one.

Appetites Excerpt

Fridays were Sarah’s favorite day. She was the kind of person who counted down her vacation. Once she hit the halfway point, she would start to get depressed about running out of time. She could barely enjoy Sunday evenings because Monday was just hours away. So Friday was the only day she could really luxuriate in because the whole weekend lay ahead of her.

Friday was her easiest day, too. She almost always worked from home, like nearly everyone else at F&T. It didn’t mean you could goof off entirely, but Sarah was usually able to crank out most of her work in the mornings. The emails from Europe would stop by noon, and especially in the summer, the U.S. ones would slow to a trickle, meaning that an email check every 15 minutes provided the illusion of work. Usually at F&T, it was considered rude if you didn’t answer an email within the hour, and God forbid you didn’t get back to your boss within five minutes. And now there were those horrible instant messages that demanded a nano-second response, blinking at the bottom of your screen, like a too friendly waiter who kept interrupting your dinner. But they were much rarer on Fridays. At six, Sarah was able to power down and unplug.

The problem was, she hadn’t made any plans—not tonight, or Saturday, or Sunday. Most of her friends from work lived nowhere near her. It was one thing to get together for happy hour, but if someone in Manhattan had a weekend party, the thought of driving through the tunnel was exhausting. Adele, her best friend from F&T who lived in New Jersey, was busy this weekend. And Sarah didn’t have any non-work friends. When she’d moved into the condo, she’d imagined getting to know her neighbors and perhaps even finding someone to date. But when she went to the gym on weekends or the pool during the summer, no one ever seemed interested in exchanging more than a quick hello.

She also had to admit that she had a weekend full of nothing ahead of her because all she really wanted to do was stay horizontal in front of the TV and eat. She had never gotten back on her diet after her session with Barbara two days earlier. Just before she turned her laptop off, she decided to make one of her very sporadic Facebook visits. She had a friend request—probably one of those idiots from high school who had been pestering her to connect, even though they hadn’t exchanged more than two sentences at school. But when she clicked on the icon, a jolt ran through her body. The request was from Harry Jones.

She didn’t think she would ever see that name again. Confirm or Not Now? She took her hand away from the mouse and beat a rhythm on the desk with her fingers.

How often had she imagined hearing from him? Every few years, she would re-read his old letters, thumb through all the photos of their life together, and look yet again at the faded newspaper clipping announcing their engagement. She looked more closely at his profile photo. He was at the Great Wall of China and she could barely make out his face. But it was definitely him.

She had met Harry the summer after she went to London for a semester abroad. She signed up for a three-week archeological dig on the border of England and Scotland, looking for bits of Hadrian’s Wall. Five minutes into their first conversation, she knew they would soon be naked.

Maybe it was the long wavy brown hair, the mustache, or the soft brown eyes. No, she thought, closing her eyes for a moment. It was the smile that came so easily, complete with straight, white nice teeth—so rare for an Englishman. Then there was the way he spoke—like he was dictating a book, using long words she had never heard anyone say aloud before, in a Masterpiece Theater accent, minus the stuffiness. And then there was his body—he was a little shorter than what she typically liked, but he had a soccer player’s build, with just the right amount of muscle and an absolutely perfect bottom, as they called it. Confirm or Not Now? She got up from the desk and walked out onto her second floor balcony. There wasn’t much of a view; just a few trees sprinkled around the condo complex. She stared into the bright blue sky and thought about how perfectly their bodies fit together from that very first time.

The first night of the dig, everyone sat around the fire drinking beer. Her flirting with Harry had grown so intense that everyone else gradually moved away from them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t like either of them had a hotel room, or even a dorm room where they just had to get rid of a roommate. The organizers of the dig had brought three trailers for everyone to sleep in—the guys in two and the girls in one.

When the sky finally began to darken, Harry leaned in and whispered in her ear. “Let’s find a place we can be alone, alright?” She nodded. He grabbed the blanket they had been sitting on and they walked a quarter of a mile from the trailers, past where they had begun the dig, to a flat, grassy area behind a small stand of trees. He began kissing her, dropping the blanket. His tongue was firm and probing, but his lips were soft. She could stand there forever in the moonlight kissing him.

Author Bio:

Karen Frankola wrote Appetites to explore the hard choices women make in love and work. Karen spent much of her career writing very short stories at news organizations like CNN and MSNBC, so creating a novel was challenging. She now does a variety of writing for corporations and nonprofit organizations. Karen is lucky enough to work mostly from home, with her dog Rascal curled up under her desk.

Karen grew up near Pittsburgh, where she spent much of her childhood reading books in the cemetery that bordered her family’s backyard. Karen moved to nine different states and England. Some of her favorite jobs were teaching journalism at the University of Missouri, working as a television news director, and handling video shoots for Deloitte around the world. She also spent a summer repairing motors at a steel mill and hopes to soon publish a coming-of-age memoir about that experience. Karen and her husband Troy now reside in Durham, North Carolina, where they enjoy watching deer in the woods behind their house, lots of live music, beautiful biking trails, and great neighbors.

Karen is working on a sequel to Appetites and would love to hear what you think of it.

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