Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Red Rain by Lara Bernhardt

Title: Red Rain
Author: Lara Bernhardt
Publisher: Admission Press
Publication Date: August 30th 2022
Print Length: 304 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction

A bittersweet story of friendship and overcoming grief from a critically acclaimed author.

Olivia Montag is a professor who doesn’t have all the answers. The devastating loss of a child ended her marriage, and she’s been overlooked for a job promotion one time too many. Not sure what comes next, she leaves it all behind and volunteers to teach English to schoolchildren in India.

Ten thousand miles away, she connects with fellow volunteers and finds purpose in teaching. Until one by one the girls in her classes stop showing up. Then she meets Mukesh, an Indian man with a heart for invention, who may be the only one who can help her students. This is her chance to impact real change, even if that means trusting new friendships and her own instincts.

It turns out, there might be strength in asking for help, and embracing a painful past may clear the way for a brighter future. Sometimes in the darkest storms, you can choose to dance in the rain.

Eat, Pray, Love meets Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in this poignant but uplifting story of finding your purpose.

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A loud booming noise startled her so badly she jumped and dropped her chalk, which broke to pieces on the floor. She spun around to find twenty pairs of frightened eyes looking to her for reassurance and guidance. She stared back, no idea what they’d just heard.

“What was that, Auntie?” The fear on Aditi’s face rallied her, forcing her to maintain a calm demeanor.

Some of the boys stood, but no one knew what to do.

She took a deep breath and went to the window, trying to keep her voice steady. “Goodness. What was that? I think I felt the building shake.” Could it have been an earthquake? The ground wasn’t shaking. Other voices in the building indicated she wasn’t the only one confused and alarmed.

Heads swiveled to stare outside with her. No additional noise assaulted her straining ears.

Darkness rolled over the school, thick clouds blotting out the sun’s bright scorching rays. The sky opened up and torrential rainfall pounded against the buildings and parched dirt courtyard. Rain was good, surely, but this had blown in so suddenly. And the noise she’d heard had sounded like an explosion, not thunder.

Something seemed off about this storm, about the rain itself. She couldn’t pinpoint what it was but felt certain something strange was happening. She walked along the entire length of the wall, staring out the windows, transfixed by the storm. The outside world appeared discolored by a filter, strange hues twisting into shadows while the rain tapped on the roof and windows. When she got to the door, she saw other teachers amassing in the hallway.

“What’s happening?” she asked.

Tisha shook her head. “That’s what we’re wondering.”

“Did you hear that noise?”

Melanie nodded emphatically. “Crazy, right?”

Mrs. Gupta appeared. “Is everyone okay?”

“Yes. Just shaken,” Delilah said.

Chris joined them, forehead creased in confusion. Aubra hurried to his side. “What’s happening?”

“Come on, guys.” Chris gestured outside. “We’ve all seen storms before. It’s not monsoon season, but a tropical storm can happen out of season.”

“But that noise,” Aubra said. “That sounded like an explosion.”

“And maybe it was. A transformer blew once, and I remember it made a loud noise.” Chris spoke with such authority. Olivia wondered how long he’d been here. She would have to remember to ask him.

“Not like this,” Mrs. Gupta said. “Not like this.”

“‘And in that moment, like a swift intake of breath, the rain came,’” Delilah said.

“What’s that one from?” Chris asked.

Other Voices, Other Rooms. Truman Capote.”

“Strangely applicable,” Melanie muttered.

The children, apparently unable to control their curiosity and excitement, streamed from the classrooms in wiggling, giggling torrents, bobbing and jockeying for position to peer out the doors. Eventually one of them burst through the door and stood in the rain, holding his hands out. The others followed.

Olivia stared hard at the water. Something was off, something . . .

A tub sat outside the buildings, intended to collect rainwater. Though she and the other teachers didn’t drink anything but purified bottled water, she knew the staff used rainwater for cleaning and for laundry. The water collecting in it wasn’t right. She bent low, trying to determine what she was seeing. She glanced up at the children playing chase in the courtyard as the rain continued to pelt down. The children’s uniforms included white shirts—white shirts currently turning red.

“What in the world?” She ran out into the tumult, droplets pelting her skin while wind whipped her hair violently. She grabbed the first boy she encountered, Dev, by the shoulders. No question. The rain was staining his shirt red.

Dev held out his hands and grinned at her. “Teacher! It is raining. It is raining red!”

The children laughed and joined him. “The rain is red!”

That’s what was off, what was wrong with this storm. The rain fell blood red. She turned to the other teachers. “It’s red! The rain is red! What is this?”
Lara Bernhardt is a Pushcart-nominated writer, editor, and audiobook narrator. She is Editor-in-Chief of Balkan Press and also publishes a literary magazine, Conclave. Twice a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Fiction, she writes supernatural suspense and women’s fiction.

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(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Xpresso Book Tours and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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  1. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

  2. The book sounds interesting, and the cover is beautiful. Best of luck with the success of the publication.

  3. Sounds really interesting and now I have to read it to find out why the rain is red lol

  4. This sounds like a very interesting book.

  5. Sometimes in the darkest storms, you can choose to dance in the rain. This may be one of my favorite quotes ever

  6. sounds like an interesting book, thanks

  7. I love this kind of book. Great cover too.

  8. Sounds like a good book. I like the cover and excerpt.

  9. David HollingsworthAugust 31, 2022 at 4:27 PM

    This sounds like a great book!

  10. Sounds like a fascinating book. Adding to my TBR list.

  11. Do you have any advice for new writers?

  12. I enjoyed reading this well done excerpt!
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  13. Red Rain by author Lara Bernhardt sounds like a fascinating and unique tale.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  14. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.


  15. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

  16. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

  17. I can't wait to learn more about Olivia Montag, this seems like an amazing book.

  18. What is your favorite movie of all time?

  19. The book sounds very interesting. Great cover!

  20. looks like a fun one

  21. I cant wait to read this it looks so good!

  22. Sounds like a great read! I can't wait to read why the rain is red??!!

  23. I would love to read your book and love your cover.