Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino


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? 

I needed this book. I did. I feel like my whole life is now changed. What a breath of fresh air. With books by published authors I tend to wait until hype dies down. Mainly because I like going in blind. I don’t like tarnished ideas and thoughts. I don’t like to read the teasers or early reviews. So I’m a little late to the game for this one but you know the saying. Better late than never. Make sure you go read the damn thing too!


“Come let me love you.”

You know what? Feelings suck. They do. But when a book provokes them, it’s the best kind of vulnerability there is. This book drug it all out of me. The being lost. The fate. The yearning. The questioning. The hurt. The love. Whatever. I felt it. And it was weird to me and now I’m a mumbling mess. I swear Renee summons all of these emotions out of her readers with ease. Like, it’s her second job or something.


The opening paragraph for me was hook, line, and sinker. I was a goner. When does that ever happen? Let me answer that for you. Never. It doesn’t. And you know what? There wasn’t a heart-wrenching twist. No, this book didn’t need that forced or added shock effect. It was just raw and unnerving. It moved me and I felt this story to my core and that’s scary to me. So I embraced it.


I couldn’t decide which story I wanted to stay in. I couldn’t decide what character I loved the most or even hated the most. I couldn’t decide why Renee would want to make feel such things. What did I ever do to her? The writing is so poignant and it flows right off the pages. There is no lulls. There is no skimming. I devoured this book.

So Renee, come let me love you, baby cakes.



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