Tag Archives: Renée Carlino

Book Review: Swear On This Life – Renée Carlino

Swear On This LifeDate of Publication: August 9, 2016
Genre and Themes: Romance, Contemporary
Format: 320 pages, ebook
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN: 9781501105791
Cover Artist: Rodrigo Corral Design Inc
Characters: Emiline, Jase, Trevor, Cara

Blurb: When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

◊◊◊

This is going to be a very quick review because I just don’t want to say things this and that mightily justifying my reason for giving this book such a low rating. There, low rating so I didn’t like it.

Below are a ‘number’ of reasons why it just didn’t work for me.

1. Promising start but when she started reading ‘the book inside this book, ‘ it became increasingly predictable.

2. Jase – seriously? That’s your lame-ass way of reuniting with Em?

3. That reunion? I mean, that’s the reunion? Like seriously, THAT’S IT?

4. Em unable to finish the book like a normal book geek – jeez, this isn’t Lonesome Dove or House of Leaves love’.

This isn’t the Lord of the Rings trilogy either…ugh.

I mean, I get that she’s emotional and shit because that’s her life story but seriously? Again – awfully predictable and annoying AF.

5. Staying with Trevor is cruel, tbh.

6. Jase is nothing like the ‘book inside the book’ – Well, Em said it best – it’s not them.

This is the author’s most YA’ish work and it just didn’t work for me. It’s nowhere near the Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain and that super lovely Before We Were Strangers…

One star for the story and another star for that awesome cover.

I feel bad for giving the story a single star but that’s just it…it’s a totally one star story.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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About The Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels and new adult fiction. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Book Review: Before We Were Strangers – Renée Carlino

Before We Were StrangersI’ve been a fan of Renée Carlino since the first time I’ve read Sweet Thing and through her succeeding novels, you can easily see how she has grown exponentially as an author and this new book makes me love her even more.

The story is about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives Matthias and Graceland their second chance at love a decade and a half after they got separated in New York City.

The first met in college during senior year, became BFFs and eventually a couple, each with dreams and aspirations to become successful. Matt loves photography and was granted internship with National Geographic. Grace on the other hand was musically talented, but her family situation leaves her with no choice but pursue her graduate studies to earn money the soonest. When Matt returned from his internship, Grace was gone without a trace. Fifteen years later, they finally saw each other at a subway station. Now, it’s up to Matt and Grace if they’ll be up to relive the past and give their love a second chance.

I actually read this non-stop until I was about to fall deep into dreamland and slept with a smile on my face. It was just so engrossing and the characters are very engaging. I usually do not like very long separation like this with my “couples” because when I get invested with the characters, I am the one who feels the regrets of those lost years that should’ve been spent just loving each other but it does happen right? We cannot always predict the future so we just have to try to move on and that’s what Matt and Gracie did, though they know that they’ll each have a special place in their hearts.

I’ve always question the concept of “The One That Got Away.” We all have that don’t we? I find it really sad because it feels to me like a bit of a betrayal somehow especially when you’re in a relationship and at the back of your mind, whenever you get reminded of that person ‘that got away,’ you always ask yourself the ‘what ifs.’ I guess, that is how love works. It works differently and feels differently for the one in your present and the one from the past. It may be easy to move on but it’s more than hard to forget. However, can you really say you have moved on if you have not totally forgotten that person from the past?

Before We Were Strangers puts good emphasis on these questions. The writing was fluid all throughout. It was a bit predictable – yes – but I have always said that there’s a ‘good and bad predictable’ and this is definitely a good one. I loved that it doesn’t feel that long because of its continuity. People would love Matt and Gracie onset of the story and they will ache for their losses. I know I did.

This is such a beautiful story about letting second chance at love swept you off your feet until you realize what you have been missing all your life and finally have the will to chase it.

I am very much recommending this to everyone who are longing for “the one that got away” and would like to imagine how love truly is a magnificent thing the second time around.

Again, bravo Renée Carlino!

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Expected publication: August 18th 2015 by Atria Books

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About The Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

An ARC of this book was given in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

Pre-Order Renée Carlino’s New Book – “Before We Were Strangers” out on August 18, 2015!

When We Were StrangersAfter the successful release of After The Rain last November, Renée Carlino is back with a new book called “Before We Were Strangers.”  This is a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M

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About The Author
Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies starring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Book Review: After The Rain – Renée Carlino

After The Rain“But then again, everything reminds me of you…”

There are authors who write stories and authors who tell stories. The latter is where Renée Carlino falls under. In After The Rain, the author enthralled us once again with her ability to weave characters that will stay with us long after reading the whole story. I read the book almost non-stop and had to stop every now and then to really ponder upon what I just read on a particular page or chapter. This book centers on Avelina Belo and Nate Meyers – living worlds apart, both young and full of hopes and dreams. Avelina is an eighteen year old woman who falls for a handsome cowboy and settled into a married life in a ranch in Montana full of hopes for the future until a freak accident halted this dream leaving her unable to move on with life and mend her heart. Nate is following the footsteps of his father who is the best cardiothoracic surgeon in Los Angeles but when he found himself being sued for medical malpractice, he began to doubt himself and relented to take some time off to clear his head and headed to a ranch Montana. There, he meets Avelina and began the journey of healing and understanding the way the heart truly works.

I’ve read all of Renée Carlino’s novels and I am always in awe on how her works influenced the way I appreciate reading a romance novel. This book isn’t just a romantic novel – it’s more profound than that. Avelina and Nate’s story is the testament of how short life really is; how an instant could change everything. This is a book that delivers hope, inspires forgiveness and gives us a guide on letting go.

I adored Mia and Will in the Sweet Thing, I loved Kate and Jamie in Nowhere But Here but Avelina and Nate took me into a deeper journey where you realized that there’s always second chances if you allow your heart to feel and be open about what its saying. It may not always be right but if it feels right, why not take the risk? Let it hurt, let it bleed, let it break because one way or another – someone or something will be able to fix it or put the broken pieces altogether. Avelina and Nate lets their heart be free and somehow, they found each other at the end – rebuilding their future, feeling the beat of their hearts that will only beat for each other – because for me, that is what love is. And yes, sappy as this may sound but there’s a rainbow always after the rain…

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Published November 11th 2014 by Atria Books

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About The Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Book Review: Sweet Little Thing – Renée Carlino

19507801Sweet Little Thing gives us a glimpse of Mia and Will’s life as a couple starting out a new journey and pursuing their dreams in music. This, hands down is one of the best novella sequels ever! I love that Renée Carlino gave us a chance to see how Mia and Will’s adventures in life panned out as they also start creating a family of their own. It’s a beautiful, beautiful journey and reading it made giddy with happiness. Thank you Renée for this wonderful novella!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Sweet Thing – Renée Carlino

sweet thingI’ve been meaning to read this one earlier this year but I got soaked up with a lot of fantasy and sci-fi reads. The first book I’ve read by Renée Carlino entitled Nowhere But Here was released earlier this year and I totally loved it. Now Sweet Thing was actually her debut and it’s just up there! It’s crazy good and it’s the kind of story that I’d die to see in movie (I already have Anna Kendrick in my mind playing the lead role lol).

Sweet Thing centers on Mia Kelly landing in New York to start out a new life after the untimely death of her father leaves her with all of his assets and a café to run. Then he meets Will Ryan, a struggling musician who ends up renting a room at her father’s house. From there, their friendship blossoms and any tinged of romance was easily killed off by Mia fearing the involvement with Will would result to the destruction of all her carefully planned goals. As usual, life would keep getting in the way and Mia needs to figure things out and rearrange her plans before truly losing her dreams and the love of her life – that is if she’s not already too late.

The characters of Mia and Will here just have this unbelievably great book chemistry leaving us readers rooting for them from start to finish. Mia seems like a real 25 year old woman who’s still searching for her place in the real world. Will meanwhile is a heartachingly beautiful guy that readers would totally fall in love with – I know I did. *blush* Aside from being beautiful, he’s also smart, funny and very talented. ‘such a perfect book boyfriend. With these two entangled in a journey of finding themselves and finding their way through love – things couldn’t get any better.

I said it before and I’m saying it now – Renée Carlino writes with passion and this book is a clear testament on how really good a writer she is.

Bravo!

Rating: 5 out of  5 stars

Published May 5th 2014 by Atria Books

About The Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Book Review: Nowhere But Here – Renée Carlino

Nowehere But HereAlthough predictable from the very start, the book was enticing enough for me to read and actually enjoy the whole thing. It’s a feel good read and after finishing it, I just feel totally rejuvenated for some reason.

Kate and Jamie’s love story is a tender story of love, loss and living life at the moment.

Kate’s a Chicago reporter in her mid-twenties who was given an assignment to interview the elusive R.J Lawson, a tech billionaire who disappeared in the public eye until he recently emerge as an owner of a successful Napa Valley vineyard. Here, Kate met the handsome and charming Jamie who showered her with attention and made her feel like “worth coming home to” but at the end of the week, Jamie disappeared from her and she was left heartbroken going home – that is after realizing that she didn’t really know who the man really was. Now, once the truth surfaced – will their love conquer everything or will this end all of the dreams she’s started to build in her head and in her heart.

I’m glad that I was able to get hold of this beautifully written love story. Renée Carlino writes with passion which I could tell from merely reading the wording of this book. It’s the first book I’ve read from her and it actually says on her bio that she’s got this series (a bestselling one called “Sweet Thing”) like seriously – I enjoyed this book so much and I’m actually very excited to read some of her works (which I’ve already purchased by the way *grin*.) Reading this book was rather a pleasant surprise and I’m just so happy that I stumbled upon this one at the right time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Published May 5th 2014 by Atria Books

About The Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.