7/21/15

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: RACING THE SUN BY KARINA HALLE!

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

SYNOPSIS:
From the 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.
It’s time for twenty-four-year-old Amber MacLean to face the music. After a frivolous six months of backpacking through New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia, she finds herself broke on the Mediterranean without enough money for a plane ticket home to California. There are worse places to be stuck than the gorgeous coastline of southern Italy, but the only job she manages to secure involves teaching English to two of the brattiest children she’s ever met.
It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, Italian ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, Derio tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones.
But when her position as teacher turns into one as full-time nanny at the crumbling old villa, Amber finds herself growing closer to the enigmatic recluse and soon has to choose between the safety of her life back in the States and the uncertainty of Derio’s closely guarded heart.
PURCHASE HERE:
Of all the stories from all the genres I've read by Karina Halle, there's none I love more than when she takes us on a journey of the heart across the globe through stunningly beautiful foreign lands. Falling in love with her characters is an adventure in and of itself, but Halle ensures the reader falls in love with travel, with other countries, with the tastes and smells and heat of a beautiful space just as much. Racing the Sun takes us, along with Amber MacLean, to Capri, Italy, a rock in the middle of the sea where she finds herself thrust into the home and life of Desiderio Larosa, a sexy but troubled Italian man raising his young twin siblings. Amber set out to escape her overbearing parents, to find herself and to see the world... what she didn't count on was having her's tipped upside down by this family, this country, and most importantly, this man.

Every time I read a Karina Halle story that takes place in a foreign country that I'll likely never visit myself, I find myself stopping every few pages to Google the locations she so eloquently illustrates with her words. Her stories awaken a hunger in me to see those glorious views with my own eyes, even if it's just through someone else's snapshot. Not only does it give me a concrete backdrop to imagine these beautiful characters falling in love against, but it confirms for me every single time how superbly Karina Halle paints a picture with her words. Her descriptions are souvenirs, hand delivered to the readers that will never see Italy or New Zealand or Spain themselves, but can feel like they've touched a piece of it through Halle's exquisite words. She illustrates the majesty of Italy in these pages, but more importantly, I think, she captures raw emotion. The gravity of falling in love, of blind fury and anger, brutal heartbreak and longing, empathy and sadness. She delivers every emotion so starkly, it's impossible not to feel consumed within these pages. I'm such a huge fan of her writing style because she consistently delivers a layered, well developed plot, but she does it so effortlessly. It's never overly wordy, overly metaphorical, or fraught with overused word choices. She writes like an artist paints.

I'm a huge fan of everything this author dishes out, but I have to admit that there's something extra delicious about the kind of romance I can just sink right down inside of. I love the suspense and the thrill that comes along with some of her other books, but I have to admit that I crave the sweet, sexy, angst-ridden contemporary romances like this one most often. Racing the Sun has such a different vibe than Halle's previous travel-romances. This book feels almost gothic in a way, with the story evolving in a mysterious, somewhat spooky villa on Capri. The tenants are orphans with secrets, their old nanny disappears without a trace, the children are at first wicked and mischievous, the man of the house is a brooding loner keeping doors locked and secrets caged. It feels creepy despite the grandeur of the cliffs, the beauty of the beaches, the serenity of the landscape. In this emotionally abandoned house where the landscaping has been ignored and the mysteries of the past are locked tight within the walls and it's inhabitants, the story takes on a somber, ominous tone. It's addictive and mysterious and completely unpredictable.

Racing the Sun is very much a story about conquering fears, chasing dreams and falling in love. This story is a journey of two beautifully layered characters, two lost souls, finding themselves and finding each other amidst an array of tragic circumstances. There's a realness about this story, a believability that is often lacking within contemporary romance. This road isn't easy, but it's an honest one. The characters aren't perfect, they're flawed and they do and say the wrong things, they make mistakes. Halle perfectly captures the monotony and the emotionally and physically taxing reality of child rearing, especially when one person is essentially going it alone without the emotional support and understanding of a partner. Unsurprisingly, the reality of the romance between Amber and Derio is also perfectly imperfect, something Halle nails consistently. I love getting lost in fiction, in a sugary, flowery romance... but I much prefer an authentic plot with real characters navigating an imperfect path and Racing the Sun is precisely that. From start to finish, I loved everything about this story. Halle delivers a passionate, sensual, heartbreaking romance against the backdrop of stunning, sultry Capri in Racing the Sun and I could not put it down. 

Jessica's Rating:


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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