Tuesday 28 July 2015

Review - Racing the Sun by Karina Halle

Title: Racing the Sun 
Author: Karina Halle 
Release Date: July 28, 2015

From the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky comes a new adult novel about a young woman who becomes a nanny in Capri and falls for her charges’ bad-boy brother.

When I’m traveling, I feel like the secret to my life, to myself, to really becoming, is one step ahead. It’s in the next destination, the next town I get lost in, the next stranger I talk to. It’s always next but never here . . . 

After six months of backpacking and soul-searching across the world, Amber MacLean is flat broke. There are worse places for a twentysomething to be stuck than the Amalfi Coast, but the only way she can earn enough money for a plane ticket home to California is to teach English to two of the brattiest children she has ever met.

It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, the young master of the crumbling villa tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones.

When her position turns into a full-time nanny gig, Amber grows dangerously closer to the enigmatic recluse. But can she give up the certainty of home for someone whose closely guarded heart feels a world apart from her own?

Oh, this book! My heart! I am in love with this couple. 

"My heart is swooning a little, like it’s about to faint."

That is how I felt through the entire book. When I would put this book down at night, I couldn't stop thinking about them, so I would pick it back up! This Italian Stallion and adorably tough "lioness" haired American are so perfect. 

In the beginning Derio is broody, mysterious and standoffish. Amber (and I) are "not sure whether to be scared or turned on. Or both." The build-up to opening Derio up and falling for him is like a rich Italian meal. With beautiful descriptive writing, I want to book a trip to Capri! As long as I can ogle at Derio in his perfect red Speedo, that is. Yeah, Karina Halle made a man in a Speedo swimsuit look hot. He is a "bronzed, dark-eyed, Italian sex machine..." *melts*

Amber is just as lovable. She has been traveling for months now, over many countries, and because nothing is cheap, is in need of money. She starts working for Derio as an English tutor for his twin seven year old siblings. To see Amber grow and become so loving was powerful. I would find myself holding my breath every time I THOUGHT she and Derio would finally fall for each other. When they did...WOW, such passionate love scenes!

This story, a sort of Beauty and the Beast love, would not be complete without some angsty drama. But thankfully, it is not for long. I loved this book. There is nothing Ms. Halle could have done to make it better! 
~ Review by Krissy

Out of money and out of luck, American tourist Amber MacLean must come up with a way to fund her airfare from Italy back to the States. It is an act of desperation when she answers the ad seeking an English tutor for young Italian twins. It is an act of fate that she lands the job.

As the new tutor for the Larosa twins, Amber moves into their villa on the island of Capri. The setting of this book has a very gothic feel to it. Even the name of the villa – “The House of Sad Lemons” – affords the book a sort of eerie, spooky feeling. You’re immediately given the idea that something is not quite right. The Larosa family has suffered a series of tragedies and their grief has led to bad behavior and reclusiveness. The twins are under the care of their older brother, Desiderio (Derio) – who is himself suffering from a lack of social graces. Amber walks into a family full of lives, interrupted.

Amber herself is running from her life back home. Her parents are overbearing and insufferable. Against all odds, the Larosa family finds their way into her heart and she makes it her mission to breathe life back into the sorely neglected house, and each broken person inside of it. 

Ms. Halle handled these complicated relationships with great care. This book was by turns laugh out loud funny, heartbreaking, and chock full of those rollercoaster-ride swoony love feelings (that is the technical description). It doesn’t take long for Amber to fall in love with both the misunderstood, grieving twins and their handsome, surly, reclusive brother. Amber draws Derio out of his shell and once connected, they heal each other. The relationship they form is passionate, tender, and intense. 

Amber, for all her insecurities and misgivings is full of such pluck, determination and good humor, that it’s impossible not to like her. Derio is the ultimate sexy, brooding bad boy. An air of mystery surrounds him until Amber cuts through right to his soft underbelly and then we discover that he is deeply romantic in that way you always imagined an Italian lover would be. He says all the right things with just the right intensity - you wonder how Amber possibly keeps her clothes on for as many hours in the day that she does. 

Everything about this book was gorgeous – the setting, the broken but fiercely loyal family, the hesitant friendships that blossom into richly nuanced relationships. This story is so robust, I struggle to get my arms around it – how to describe the beautiful, complicated layers and still convey how lighthearted and sometimes hysterical this book was. The fire and explosive passion between Derio and Amber stuck with me long after I turned the last page.

~ Review by Shelly

Karina Halle is the New York Times bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, The Pact, Love in English, and other wild and romantic reads. A former travel writer and music journalist, she lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails, and devours a lot of books.

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