karina halle

Review and Blog Tour: Racing the Sun

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Karina Halle’s new novel, Racing the Sun, set to release on July 28th from Atria Books!

racingthesun RACING THE SUN

Karina Halle

From the New York Times and 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.

When I’m traveling, 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 . . . 

After six months of backpacking and soul-searching across the world, Amber MacLean is flat broke. There are worse places for a twentysomething to be stuck than the Amalfi Coast, but the only way she can earn enough money for a plane ticket home to California is to teach English to two of the brattiest children she has ever met.

It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, the young master of the crumbling villa tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones.

When her position turns into a full-time nanny gig, Amber grows dangerously closer to the enigmatic recluse. But can she give up the certainty of home for someone whose closely guarded heart feels a world apart from her own?

My Review:

Karina Halle’s Racing the Sun is a lush and atmospheric romance, not just between two people but between those people and the place they live. The island of Capri is a character in and of itself; it shifts and changes and reflects the moods of the characters as the story progresses. Halle has done her research well – I could see each detail of the island clearly, from its crowded docks to its winding streets. I could smell the hot citrus and the salty sea air, and the scent of garlic wafting out of a restaurant window. I could feel the sun, sometimes oppressive and sometimes sweet. Having traveled to Capri myself last October, Halle’s writing made me ache for the island. She got everything right.

Amber MacLean is an intriguing narrator, and I found her voice to be breezy and oftentimes very funny. Her sarcasm – and her internal monologue about Derio’s hotness – had me laughing on the subway during my morning commute. Amber, like so many twentysomethings, wants to “find herself.” Her wanderings have taken her to Capri, where she accepts a job as a tutor for Desiderio’s twin siblings, Annabella and Alfonso. The task proves harder than it sounds. Annabella and Alfonso clearly affected by their parents’ tragic deaths, are moody and quick to upset. Desiderio (Derio) is short with Amber and prone to dark moods and drinking binges. And Felisa, the no-nonsense nanny, has up and quit.

But Amber can get through anything in two months, right? She just needs to get through two months of working for the Larosas in their villa so she can save up enough money for a plane ticket home, and then she’ll figure out what to do next. But as Amber spends more time with the reclusive Larosa family, she finds herself questioning what the next step in her life should be.

The relationship that blossoms between Amber and Derio is electric and exciting. Halle does an excellent job of drawing these two individuals together and giving us reason as readers to root for them. Derio is tragic and complex, and his physical description does not disappoint. Amber’s giddiness over Derio’s good looks is infectious.

Racing the Sun is not just a sweet summery romance, however. This is a story about broken people, yearning to connect with one another. This is a story about new beginnings, and acceptance, and beauty in all of its forms.

This is my first read by Karina Halle, and I already have plans to read some more of this author’s work. But first, I’ll probably give Racing the Sun another read, because I can’t leave these characters just yet.

(I received an e-galley from Atria Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

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Atria Indie Authors and Karina Halle are giving away: (1) grand prize of a $50 AMEX Gift Card + 1 signed copy of RACING THE SUN and 1 copy of WHERE SEA MEETS SKY….PLUS: (6) Runner Up Prizes of 1 signed copy of RACING THE SUN. Enter to win here!

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and she is really glad you’re here. Learn more on the About page.  Tweet @daniellevillano.