Book Review: Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino

Posted January 16, 2017 by Melissa in Book Review | 12 Comments

Book Review: Swear on this Life by Renee CarlinoTitle: Swear on this Life
Author: Renee Carlino
Publisher: Atria, Simon and Schuster
Publication date: August 9th 2016
Target Audience: New Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 Pages
Source: My Personal Bookshelf
Format: eBook
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|Book Depository
My Rating:

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?

Book Quotes

“Jason Dean Colbertson, how’d you get so great?” There was silence. He kept his eyes closed and said, “You made me this way, Em.”

“You’re all I have left. You’re holding my whole world together, Em.”

“I love you, Emiline. I loved you before I even knew what it meant.”

My Thoughts

I’m almost at a loss as to where to start with this one. The premise behind Swear on this Life sounded so fantastic that I knew I could not postpone reading this one any longer…and then it just didn’t live up to that premise…

I love second chance romances..but to be honest…this really didn’t even feel like a romance to me.

I loved the half of the story that was made up of the content of J Colby’s bestselling book. The story of these two youth and what they went through and how they fell in love was so completely raw and beautiful that it just blew me away.  Renee Carlino did an amazing job of bringing their childhood to life. Em and Jason’s story was everything I could have hoped for and really touched me on a deeper level.

That said…it did not at all read like a “bestselling novel” so I really had a hard time believing that aspect…much as I loved reading this part of Swear on this Life.

I wish I could say that I enjoyed the present day half of the story just as much…but I didn’t. Em and Jason just confused and annoyed me. I could not for the life of me sort out any of their feelings or motivations and therefore, I could not at all connect to their adult selves which was a real problem for me. What in the world was going on with her relationship with Trevor? Does she really even want to be a writer? And why did Jason take so freaking long to publish the book and try to reconnect with her? I just don’t buy any of it….

I really wanted to be sucked in and to fall along with them…but there was no real “falling” here.

They both just seemed so immature that I lost most of my interest while reading the present day sections of the novel. I kept pushing on…hoping for a turn or some resolution that would better explain their actions…but I didn’t really get one and was left feeling pretty unmoved by the conclusion of the book.

I will say that a few secondary characters in the present day helped me push forward including Em’s aunts & her roommate.

All in all what started as an amazing idea would up being just an OK read for me.

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About Renee Carlino

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.

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