Monday, August 8, 2016

Early Review: Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino

Title: Swear on This Life 
Author: Renée Carlino 
Publisher: Atria 
Source: Publisher 
Expected Publication: August 9th, 2016 
Pre-order: Amazon  |  B&N 

Summary: 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? 


Swear on This Life is Renée Carlino’s best work yet. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, then you know I have adored all of this author’s previous novels; and while it would be difficult for me to pick a favorite, I have to say she knocked it out of the park with this one.

Can you imagine sitting down with a brand-new best-selling novel from a mysterious debut author and realizing from the first page… this story is your story? And the only person that knows it besides you is your best friend, your first love… the one you haven’t seen in over ten years. And he’s not only sharing your painful past with the world – he’s telling it from your point of view. That’s exactly what’s happened to Emiline, and she knows without a doubt that author J. Colby can only be Jase. Facing Jase will be the hardest thing she’s done in years, but a local book signing with none other than “J. Colby” himself may be the only way to get the answers she needs.

I love that we get a book within a book. It’s such a clever way to tell Jase and Em’s story – to blend past with present so flawlessly. The adversities these two faced growing up broke my heart, but there were some wonderful and tender moments along the way that were absolutely beautiful. I read this book in one sitting; and because it’s been months since I’ve read this genre, I thought it would be difficult to switch gears. But my favorite thing about this author is that no matter how different the story is from my current genre obsession, she captivates me from the first page and doesn’t let me go until the last. 

A huge thank-you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
© at A Belle's Tales



  1. I just love love love the sound of this one! I definitely am interested in it being a book within a book! Plus, I've read one of Carlino's books before and I adored it, so I really want to pick this one up and meet the characters within! Lovely little review *Huggles* Hope you are well!

  2. What an interesting concept. I have never read this author, but I am wanting this one right now.

  3. I'm curious to try this! I've read two of her books I think, and while I wasn't a big fan, I really am looking forward to this.

  4. I have got to read this book soon! I know I am going to absolutely adore it and it is mocking me from my bookshelf. Great review!


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