Monday, July 27, 2015

Love Transcends Language // Racing The Sun Blog Tour

"Fear that I'll never find someone to love who will love me in return, 
that I'll never really grow up."
--Karina Halle, Racing the Sun

Genre: NA Contemporary
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 336
Publication Date: July 28th, 2015
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
Previous Books in Series: Love, in English & Where Sea Meets Sky
Goodreads Description

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.

*sigh* I love these books. I'm not even sure I can verbalize the feelings I get when I read these books. You can totally tell that Karina Halle used to be a travel writer because her stories have always instantly transported me to whatever locale she chooses to write her breathtaking love stories. This book takes us to Capri, Italy on the Amalfi Coast, and yes I already looked up plane tickets as well as added it to my top ten travel destinations and we all know Kelly's Top Ten Travel destinations is not an easy list to make. This point leads me to my first 'Belle.'

The Writing
As I said above, the writing of Karina Halle is visualization at its best. I can see Capri in my mind, the water, the houses, the scenery, all of it. It is one of those reading experiences that when I pause and look up I get pissed I'm not at a cafe drinking a shot of espresso. Real talk. I love that feeling when a story completely transports you and this one definitely did. Further than that, the felt the characters' plight. Amber's thoughts and feelings felt to real and her actions so on point with everything we know about her. One of the things I love about Karina's characters are that they are consistent. Everything we learn about our characters and their thoughts and values are consistent when the conflict arises. I hate when somebody acts out of character in the height of the conflict that makes no sense toe everything we know about them. The very real conflict that her characters face feel so organic not only to the story but to real life. I can see her stories, as amazing as they are, being acted out in real life. I just love how she writes her characters and her stories so real.

The Characters
Speaking of the characters, they are in a league of their own. Amber and Derio are two complex characters who find strength in one another. They have a great hate-to-love situation going on and, of course, I loved it. Derio has a past of so many different kinds of pain and loss and he is adrift. He is closed-off, private, and 100% standoffish. Amber...well she takes zero shit. And that's also 100% of her charm. She's not abrasive or rude, she's just very tell it like it is. She doesn't lie, she is honest about her abilities, to the most part, about being able to take on the role of teaching Derio's younger brother and sister English. In addition to taking zero shit, she is still vulnerable and strong. She takes her job seriously and wants to help these two kids who she can see are in pain from losing their parents. Obviously, I also loved Amber's sense of adventure what with her traveling solo for 6 months. My kind of girl.

The Romance
With Derio's very private nature, almost that of a recluse, combined with his superb ability to insult people just by looking at them, it is not easy for Amber to find her niche in this household. However, circumstances obviously continue to bring them together and Derio makes a few efforts to make sure Amber has fun. More than a few disasters occur but through these, Derio and Amber realize their feelings towards one another...eventually. The tension between these two is as thick as the heat during this summer in Capri. We work for every nice gesture and heated glance, and the payoff is huge. Their chemistry is electric and I did not want to put this book down at any time. I had plans to see a movie and I legit thought of these characters during the movie. When can I get back to reading? What are Derio and Amber going to do next? I was this invested.

The Conflict
As with almost all of Karina's stories, the conflict feels natural and instrumental to the story. Amber and Derio's situation is not an easy one. She is a foreigner and he is guardian to two young children. Many things can get in their way, but the climax of the conflict brought on the feels  you guys. Tears. Chest hurting. It hurt so good. I could totally empathize with Amber's predicament and feelings and pain. I loooooooved how the story came to a close and everything that led up to it. Cue the happy tears. But for real, I love that her stories make me root for not only the characters and their happiness, but the conflict that brings it along. We cannot coast and blindly accept things the way they are if they are not working for us. Communication needs to occur and when both partners needs cannot be met, something's gotta give. I love the kissing but I also love the give.

The Story
This book was such an amazing reading experience that I know I will be re-reading it in my future. I'm slightly biased because it took place in Italy but I loved the setting. I loved the characters. I loved the story. It all came together in such a beautiful tale of falling in love while abroad and...well, I also might be biased on that, too. Can I just live a Karina Halle book out in real life, please? Pretty please?

If you love travel, realistic characterizations, and love itself...this book's for you.
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1 comment:

  1. I fell head over heels in love with Racing the Sun as you know! I really love how Karina brought Italy, particularly Capri, to life, and I really enjoyed reading about Amber and Derio. Your review kind of just makes me want to go back and read it all over again!


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