Racing the Sun: Photo Spotlight & Giveaway

Posted July 21, 2015 by Karina Halle in Blog / 0 Comments

My assistant Stephanie from No BS Book Reviews recently posted pictures from our trip to Italy last year. She highlighted some of the places you’ll see featured in Racing the Sun, which releases in 7 days! Check out her post below, and be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a paperback copy of Racing the Sun! (The giveaway ends on July 28th.)

Originally posted by Steph on No BS Book Reviews


As many of you know, back in October 2014 Karina Halle and I traveled to the Amalfi Coast in Italy to research her novel, Racing the Sun (out 7/28). Throughout the course of 10 days, Karina and I visited Sorento, Positano, Ischia, and Capri (as voted by her readers). As you can imagine, Italy was a gorgeous place, and I managed to fill 2 photo cards with hundreds of pictures. Some of these I wanted to share with you so that you’ll get an idea of some of these amazing sights that will be featured within the pages of Racing the Sun.

Oh, and also, Atria Books is generously providing a finished paperback copy of Racing the Sun for you to WIN!

Check out the photos & giveaway below, and I hope you’ll fall in love with Italy (and Derio) as much as we did!


First off, you’ll see that Karina dedicated the book to me and my 2 suitcases.

Mine are the two colorful ones. (In my defense, I didn’t know any better, mmkay?) I ended up regretting this decision, as Turkish Airlines effed them up by the time I got home to the U.S..

Karina flew down to meet me in Maryland, and the two of us embarked upon our journey to Italy. Our trip consisted of one flight from the U.S. to Paris, then Paris to Naples.

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Once we got to Naples, we took a 45-minute bus ride across steep cliffs and coast to our final destination: Sorrento!

IMG_8052-1024x428Sorrento was such a beautiful place, with gorgeous views of the water (including amazing sunsets), cute little shops, and of course, delicious food.

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Within our first few days in Sorento, we traveled to Pompeii & Positano. (Which became 2 of my favorite places on our trip.)



For those of you who had been following along our #HalleInItaly hashtag back in October, you’ll remember that Karina and I were on a quest to find the stone penises that were rumored to point visitors in the direction of the brothels in the red-light district in the city of Pompeii. We were riDICKulously (see what I did there?) determined to find the stone marker, and after almost an hour of hardcore searching in the blazing heat, we were victorious. (Thanks to the help from a very helpful site worker, and Karina’s keen eyes!)IMG_8093-1


AKA: The place with the CLIFFS.


This trip was vomit-inducing. There’s actually a scene in the beginning of Racing the Sun where Amber talks about taking a cab to Positano that weaves precariously on cliffside roads. THIS IS REAL. We lived this. But the trip was worth it. DSC_1712Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 11.51.57 PM1508202_10154675900920282_3571070712298084959_nScreen Shot 2015-07-14 at 11.54.49 PM

This bar is featured in the book. It was a cute little wine bar that we were able to sit outside of, and enjoy the views. :) (AKA, people watch.)
This bar is featured in the book. It was a cute little wine bar that we were able to sit outside of, and enjoy the views. 🙂 (AKA, people watch.)
Positano at night.
Positano at night.

Oh, and all the noms in Positano:


After 3 glorious days spent in Sorento, Pompeii, and Positano, we took the ferry to the island of Ischia!

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Ischia was where we ate the most amazingly delicious tomatoes (and believe it or not, the BEST Caprese salad).

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In Racing the Sun, Amber becomes the nanny to Derio’s younger (twin) siblings. She goes on a day trip to Ischia with them, and they visit a castle on the island called Castello Aragonese. Karina, Pocket Jamie, and I had a BLAST there. It is old and historic, with amazing views of the island. IMG_8255_210620665_10154711031000282_6702879462401272949_n1912161_10154710544715282_478037885880500196_n1385481_10154711033885282_4923747695313012716_n1796569_10154711035585282_5683091544373268120_n10665671_10154711034040282_5089952986799045195_nIMG_8282_3Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 11.48.37 PM10644516_10154711032495282_7520729227357562392_n10679_10154711037190282_9182625438142054232_n1618324_10154711032625282_5048717804364236103_oIMG_8346_2_2IMG_8331IMG_8286_210557161_10154711038425282_4455740212294757553_nIMG_8272Here’s a 15 second video of us goofing off…


After an amazing couple of days in Ischia, we once again packed our bags for our final stop: Capri!Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 1.32.47 PM

The gorgeous island of Capri is where Amber meets Desiderio (Derio) in Racing the Sun. He and his siblings live on Capri, and Amber describes just how ridiculously beautiful this place is.

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In Racing the Sun, Amber talks about taking the Funicular de Capri as a way to get to the top of the mountain from the Marina Grande (the main port in Capri). Here’s what it looks like:

Photo from
Photo from

As the Funicular arrived to take us to the top of the mountain, we were careful to heed the warnings…IMG_8369IMG_8371

But this didn’t mean we didn’t have fun along the way…10387554_10154686785605282_1084931321904974253_n

Amber also describes another way to get around the island: taxi.

But not just any taxi…A CONVERTABLE taxi!IMG_8565_2

This is as cool as it looks, but if you’re taking it up the mountain, it can at times be slightly terrifying.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 11.46.23 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-14 at 11.44.28 PM

A more scenic way to explore the island of Capri is to take a boat tour.

Yes, like Gilligan.

No, I didn’t like it.

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But alas, I couldn’t NOT do it. So I strapped up with two Sea-bands, a Dramamine or two, and subjected myself to a 2-hour tour in VERY questionable waters. (The water was so choppy, they considered canceling the boat tours that day.)

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Below is the Punta Carena Lighthouse, which is also featured in Racing the Sun!10534771_10154690366385282_3411151014171222770_n

Toward the end of our boat tour, we made a pitstop over at a world-famous place in which a very special scene happens in Racing the Sun: The Grotto Azzura (the Blue Grotto)! I refused to get out of the boat until we reached the marina, so Karina was the only one to actually go in. But thankfully there are pictures, right?

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As you can see, Karina made it out in one piece. -_-1234632_10154690371295282_8707288522819952435_n

Trust me, just looking back at these pictures make me feel seasick.

Thankfully, we made it back to the marina without incident.10685577_10154690375850282_4200474305817273970_n

We only spent 2 days on Capri, but we were still able to fall in love with everything about it. (Minus the Caprese salad. Trust us on this.)

Capri was the final stop of our Italian adventure, and after our second day, we took the ferry (which almost capsized) back to Naples to head home. I was lucky enough to have a 20-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey, which was totally amazballs. (The food there is DELICIOUS!)

Italy was nothing short of breathtaking. The sights, sounds, tastes, and yes, smells were tantalizing. (Minus the cigarette smoke. Everyone smokes, lol.) I fell in love with Italy in the same way that Amber does in Racing the Sun–deeply, and passionately. I only wish I could’ve found a sexy pro-motorcycle racer to fall in love with too. *sigh*

Better luck next time, I suppose.




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