BLOG TOUR: REVIEW, EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY: The Surviving Trace by Calia Read

Happy Release Day to Calia Read and her new time travel/romance—THE SURVIVING TRACE!

This is one you don’t want to miss!!

Will is my fiancé. The shy man I met years ago in college. The person I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with.

This is the life I’ve always wanted until finding a picture of four men changes everything…

Etienne says he’s my husband and the year is 1912. He can’t stand the sight of me, but I don’t know why.

Oh, and he’s one of the men from the picture.

I’ve done the impossible and have become trapped in time and I know Etienne is my key to going home.

The more time I spend with Etienne, the further I fall for him, until I’m questioning which time I belong in and if the life I left behind is the one I truly desire.

All I know for certain is I need to survive time.

I need to survive love.

And I need to make it out on the other side alive.



The Surviving Trace is available on Kindle Unlimited.

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My Review

Calia Read’s new release, The Surviving Trace, is quite a unique story, partly because of its time travel story line, but mostly because of the timeless love that seems to exist between two people who had never met until the heroine is transported back to 1912, immersed into a life that is completely foreign to her, and forced to make decisions that will not only alter the lives of the hero and the heroine but of everyone else involved in their lives – in both the hero and heroine’s eras.

The Surviving Trace is the idea that despite events that happen that take the hero and the heroine away from each other…that force the past to be rewritten and the future to look unlike anything it once was, what they leave behind is what’s most important, and for Serene and Etienne, that means that despite their lost connection due to time, their feelings, their attraction, and their love seems to remain behind and make them yearn for another chance to stop time and bring them back together.

Serene’s love of old photographs definitely plays into the story line because they literally are ‘portals to the past,’ but for Serene, it’s so much more than that, and it seems like the four males in the photograph she becomes obsessed with all play a part in her mission…a mission that is not completely clear to her or to readers, which means that the journey is slowly unraveling instead of revealed all at the same time, and that is what will keep readers invested until all the facts are laid out and clearly understood.

Even though Serene may not truly understand why she’s been transported to 1912 and may seem quite out of place in the new world she finds herself in, she does find her footing in that era, and it’s almost as if she was meant to be there and meant to be with Etienne, Nat, and Livingston…meant to help them in some way while also helping herself with the realization of what a timeless love looks and feels like. And while there’s still a plethora of questions that have yet to be answered by the end of the book, I’m anxious to continue Serene and Etienne’s story because I was completely captivated with the relationship that developed between them and what that bond means for their two worlds.

I get that some readers may take issue with the time travel aspect of the book; in fact, I’ve read reviews that question the believability of it, but that’s the thing about fictional stories, liberties can be taken, which means that realism doesn’t need to be a factor, so as I headed into The Surviving Trace, I gave myself up to the love story that begins as anything but, but then turns into something truly beautiful and truly timeless, which is a good thing due to the nature of Serene and Etienne’s lives and the years and distance between them.

The Surviving Trace is an exceptionally well written story that transcends eras and provides detailed accounts of what each time period is about, and as Serene learns to live in 1912, readers get to witness her come into her own and realize where she truly belongs. Now, we’ll have to wait and see what time decides because it’s clear that time is the thief – time is the antagonist – time is the culprit that seems to cause everything, both good and bad, and it has to be the one to make things right for both Serene and Etienne.

4.5 Poison Apples

“You have questions,” I say flatly.  

   “If the roles were reversed, what would you do?”

   I glance at him from the corner of my eye. “I’d be demanding answers to the thousands of questions running through my head.”  


   “So ask,” I say slowly. “But don’t stare. The people around us are doing enough of that.”

   “Let me tell you a well-known fact about yourself, Mrs. Lacroix. You and I are hardly ever seen in public together, and the times we are, we barely look at each other.”

   “Should I push away from you and tell you I hate you?” I ask innocently.

   He snorts and, still staring straight ahead, the smallest of smirks graces his face. “It might make me feel better.”

   A beat of silence passes by.

   “I have a question.”

   Étienne lifts a brow.

   “When was the last time you were seen with… her?”

   He goes silent for a few seconds. “Two months ago?”

   “Good Lord. Why are you two even married?” I blurt before I can think twice. Almost immediately, I want to take the words back, but it isn’t as if Étienne cares.

    He remains stoic as ever and shrugs a shoulder. “I ask myself that every day.”

    His words spark a series of new questions. I have to remind myself I need to pace myself and not ask everything all at once.

   “Also, it may benefit you to know that people might be starin’ because you’re walkin’ down the street in the middle of the day.”

   My head whips in his direction. “Did your wife break one of her legs or something?”

   Étienne gives a hearty laugh. It’s loud enough to earn the stares of people walking past us and powerful enough to make my heart speed up. God, when he smiles, it’s something else.  

   “No, not at all,” he eventually replies. “People of wealth don’t walk unless it’s necessary. They take cars or horse and buggy. In fact, you see the buggy across the street?”

   I crane my neck and see a buggy with a pale face staring out the back window. After the woman inside sees me staring at her, she moves away from the window. “Yeah?”

   “That’s Lailah, one of your dearest friends. She probably thinks you’re gravely ill and have no idea what you’re doing right now, walkin’ down the street. I’m sure she’ll make a call to the house to see if you’re all right.”

   “I can’t wait,” I say, deadpan.

   Étienne stares at me with his brows furrowed as if I’m a puzzle he’s painstakingly putting together and he can’t seem to find all the pieces. I clear my throat and look away. The way he’s watching at me is unnerving.

   The two of us become silent again. Fine with me; my eyes are drawn to the window display to my right. I slow down and watch as two women walk into the general store. There are handwritten signs in the window, and I stop long enough to read them. Coffee is only fifteen cents a pound, and eggs? They’re fourteen cents for a dozen. Another sign promotes a new toothpaste. The most prominent sign is for Coca-Cola that says, “Relieves fatigue. Drink Coca-Cola.” In a smaller font beneath, it says it’s sold everywhere for only five cents.

   Cupping my hands over my eyes, I press my forehead against the window pane and peer inside. I can’t help myself. A huge part of me wants to go inside, but if I did, I wouldn’t be content until I’d looked at each item. This is the second-best thing.

    “Serene? Are you coming?”

    I turn and see Étienne impatiently waiting a few steps ahead. Reluctantly, I look away from the display and walk toward him.

    “What was so fascinating?”

    “I was looking at the display.”

    “You don’t have Coca-Cola in your time?” he asks.

    “Oh, we do. Just not for five cents.”

    “How much?”

    My eyes slide to Étienne; he stares at me with open curiosity.

    “I don’t know how much a single bottle is,” I confess. “I usually buy a twelve-pack, and that’s about four dollars?”

    For once, it’s Étienne’s turn to look shocked. I smile because I recognize the hunger in his eyes. He has thousands of questions that demand answers.

    He opens his mouth and idly looks to his left before he does a double-take and abruptly stops and gestures to the door next to him. “Here we are.”

    We stop in front of a door with textured glass. Embossed on the spotless, large window are the words E.A.L. Corporation.     

   “Obviously you remember where I work from the last time you were here,” he remarks dryly.

    I nod. “I thought your family owned a shipping company?”

   “We do. Livingston works in the main office near the docks. I started my own company three years ago strictly for investments and real estate ventures.”

   “Are you any good at what you do?” I challenge.

    Would I typically be this blunt? No. But things between Étienne and me didn’t change overnight. I see the mistrust in his eyes. When he looks at me, he still sees his bitchy wife. And that’s okay, because I have a fiancé back home, waiting for me. Being polite is a pretense that neither one of us wants to use right now. Saying precisely what’s on my mind is a bit liberating.

   “I like to think that I’m mildly successful at investing.”

   I narrow my eyes at him. He’s being modest, and I don’t know why.

   Étienne goes to open the door. I place my hand on his arm, stopping him in his tracks. He looks at my hand, then my face with curiously.

   “Before we go in, I wanted to talk to you about something.” He says nothing, just stares at me with those whip-smart eyes. I take a deep breath and drop my hand to my side. “I can’t be like her all the time.”

   “How so?”

   “Oh, come on, you’re not blind. You saw how people were staring at us! It’s obvious that the two of you can’t stand the sight of each other.”

   He reluctantly says, “Yes.”

   “I know it’s probably in my best interest to keep up appearances, but I have no desire to go out of my way to be extra bitchy to you. I hope that means you won’t be a huge asshole to me.”

   “Extra bitchy… has anyone told you that you have an amazing way with words?”

   “I’m serious.”  

   His eyes rake me from head to toe in that ruthless, cut-throat way of his. “You understand that a decision like that will make people talk. Some might think we’re… happy.”

   “Let them talk.” I shrug. “I want to go home. And I know you’re the key. Consider me your new shadow. Where you go, so do I.”

   Étienne looks at me for a moment longer before he nods. “Very well. We shall be kind to each other from here on out.”

   I hold out my hand. “Let’s shake on it.”

   He stares at my hand warily before his hand curves around mine.

   It would be cliché to say that the minute our hands connected, I became frozen in place or a shock of awareness rushed through me. But something did happen and it was none of those things. It started with a small twist in my gut that traveled up my body, grazed the delicate edges of my heart before it seized it all together. The feeling came out of nowhere. I look at our connected hands. His is large and calloused, swallowing mine whole. As tall as I am, dainty isn’t exactly the first word I’d use to describe myself, but that’s how I feel right now. I jerk my hand back.

   Étienne’s hard and unyielding face makes it impossible to tell if he felt the same way. He clears his throat and wordlessly holds the door open for me.

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Calia Read lives in Texas with her husband and their five kids.

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