You may have seen that this book is getting a lot of buzz on the blog lately, and we are so excited that as of TODAY, Racing the Sun is finally here!
Check out another glowing review below (by AJ), and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for your chance to win a SIGNED copy of Racing the Sun, or a $50 AMEX Gift Card!
Also, ICYMI, you can check out Steph’s photo post from her Italy trip with Karina, where you’ll see pics of places featured in the book!
Published by Atria
Published on July 28th 2015
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
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From the New York Times 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.
Karina Halle + Romance + Travel = WIN!!!
“You feel everything. You make me feel everything.”
Once again Karina Halle has delivered, giving us a gorgeous love story featuring a wonderfully relatable heroine and a dark and broody but swoonily romantic, fuckhot Italian. Add to that two precocious kids, and set against the stunning Italian coast and you have the set up for a fantastic story that completely swept me away.
I love books that involve travel! I love the descriptions of the countryside, the wonder of exploring something new, the ‘feel’ of being somewhere incredibly special and the sense of adventure of it all. Karina has a gift for this kind of writing, and she does an amazing job at bringing all of that to life and making you feel it. I’m a traveller myself and have recently returned from a trip to Italy, and when I picked this book up I was instantly transported back.
This book technically follows on from Where Sea Meets Sky (which follows on from Love in English), but it is easily a standalone. Amber is introduced in Where Sea Meets Sky as the cousin of the heroine, and she joins in the New Zealand roadtrip with Josh and Gemma, although we don’t really get to know her very well in that book. This book is all Amber’s, and apart from one small mention of Josh, it sits completely independent from the earlier books.
Amber is six months into a world trip. Unhappy with her life at home in California, she packed up and decided to see the world all on her own. She has had good times and some not so good times, but she is loving the journey and searching for the happiness which has thus far eluded her.
When I’m travelling, 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…
I like having hope. And I hope I find what I’m looking for before I have to leave.
She is in the south of Italy when she finds herself dangerously low on funds. Desperate for money (if for nothing else, then at least a ticket home), she accepts a job teaching English to 7 year old twins who live on the island of Capri. Following the tragic death of their parents, they live under the guardianship of their broody, reclusive older brother, Desiderio – an ex-professional motorcycle racer who is rocking a whole lot of demons. Straight away you can see where this story is going, but the journey is fantastic and I read with a great sense of anticipation, and loved watching it all unfold.
Amber moves into the crumbling family villa on the historical island, struggling with her bratty charges, a bossy housekeeper/nanny and her broody asshole of a boss. But she soon adjusts to her new situation and finds her place within the family. The children start to warm to her, she’s feeling comfortable in her new role, loving her new home, and she’s developing some serious feelings for Derio. Still all mysterious and reclusive, Derio runs hot and cold when it comes to Amber, sometimes completely ignoring her, only to then share a heated look, but there are lots of those special little moments between them that romance readers such as myself love, and the chemistry builds beautifully!
Derio is clearly still mired in the grief of all that he has lost, but Amber awakens something in him and their coming together is beautiful!
“Did you feel anything?” I ask softly, hopefully.
He shakes his head ever so slightly, his forehead damp against mine. “No,” he murmurs. “I felt everything.”
It’s natural and honest, with no stupid or game playing, and it’s a total swoonfest!
“This is not just a fling.” He pulls away and peers at me intently. “I am not that kind of man. You make me richer, you matter to me. I want us to be together.”
It’s all very functional, but it’s gorgeously romantic and so, so passionate! Karina always writes a great love scene, but with Amber and Derio it feels like more than just sex, and there is SO much emotion packed into each and every encounter. Deep and meaningful, there’s a real sense of intimacy between them, and it adds so much to their relationship. They have a partnership and are there there for each other – he encourages her to embrace her life and find what she wants, and she helps him to heal and move on from his past, and they find something amazing together.
“If I see you be brave, I can be brave, too.”
But Amber’s seemingly idyllic situation isn’t quite as perfect as she had hoped. Derio is still a bit of a wildcard, and with the pressure on to return home (from both her family, and the Italian government), and her own dreams to chase, she needs to figure out what it is she wants, and what she really needs.
I loved this book. I fell in love with Amber right from the very start, and feel like I went on her journey right alongside her. Of course the love story is gorgeous, but I also really enjoyed the times she went off exploring on her own. She’s brave, and she’s living life, and I really admire that about her. And I love the addition of the twins – precocious but sweet, they have an important part to play, and I thought they brought something really special to the story.
I admit there were a few moments towards the end that I wasn’t a fan of, but it all ends really well. It’s funny, romantic and sexy with moments of heartbreak, but it’s ultimately heart-warming and is a really enjoyable story.
Spoilery quote, but too gorgeous to leave out –> View Spoiler »“You were supposed to teach the twins, but you ended up teaching me.”
“About what?” I whisper as his lips come closer to mine.
“About love,” he says, gently tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “About life. About dreams and fears. And family. You taught me about everything I had forgotten and things I’d never known. And the only way I can repay you is with my heart. You one hundred percent have my heart. It may not be worth much coming from a troubled man like me, but it’s real and it’s yours.”. « Hide Spoiler