Category Archives: Renee Carlino

WISH YOU WERE HERE by RENEE CARLINO :: REVIEW

Standalone story of soulmate love and second chances.

SYNOPSIS

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.

WISH YOU WERE HERE is available to purchase below

                    


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

“Love is a wordless secret; It’s an inside joke. Only the two of you have to understand it.”

Beautiful and heartfelt, and once again, Renee Carlino has delivered the touching prose she does so well! Wish You Were Here is a thought provoking, poignant, and remarkable story about self-discovery and love. At its essence, this is a story about love. Whilst this isn’t a gut wrenching sob your heart out story, there were certainly times we read through tears, courtesy of some very moving moments in Renee Carlino’s latest romance.

“Do you believe in soul mates, Charlotte?”
“I think so.”

This author cemented our belief that people come into our lives for a reason, that each person we meet, be it good or bad,  becomes part of our fabric. Each person we give our hearts to leaves a footprint on our lives, responsible for how we live and love, and for Charlotte Martin, this couldn’t be more accurate when she meets Adam. Charlotte could never imagine the impact this man would have on her.

‘You broke his damn heart.’

There are those who will arrive in a blaze of glory, unsettling our foundations, forcing us to see inside ourselves, and for Charlotte, that person was Adam, and it was because of Adam that Wish You Were Here had us hooked  from the outset.  Adam was such an intriguing character and the way Renee Carlino set up this story, dangling those little emotional carrots, preparing our hearts, repairing our hearts,  left us breathless.

“Different people connect to different parts of our souls.”

Adam and Charlotte had a true connection and we felt it. It was as though they’d crossed paths in a previous life and found each other again. That sort of soulmate love, but the planets weren’t aligned and Adam and Charlotte part ways, though Charlotte never forgot the man who impacted her so deeply.

Time goes by and Charlotte meets a soulful and beautiful man named Seth Taylor, and oh boy did this man steal our hearts. Seth is the sort of man a girl dreams of and we loved him deeply.

And here is where Wish You Were Here lost us in some ways. Charlotte’s treatment of Seth was awful. Seth was such a sweet  character, that Charlotte’s actions towards him incensed us. There were times we felt as though Seth was merely a distraction for Charlotte. A means to while away the time while she secretly hoped her path would once again cross with Adams, and Seth didn’t deserve that. We felt Charlotte was insincere to Seth and it was as though Charlotte was continually on the defensive. Always quick with a hurtful jibe or bratty pout,  not only towards Seth, but towards her friend Helen also. When reading, we always put ourselves in the heroines shoes, to try and relate to her, to understand he feelings and action; sadly in this case, we couldn’t. 

Now, that being said, we did love this book. We did become swept up in this story, which in itself was heartfelt. The two men in Charlotte’s life were divine, and there’s no doubt Renee Carlino kept us on our toes wondering how this story would play out. The writing was stunning, with Renee Carlino delivering a love story with warmth and honesty and two men our hearts ached for . And each made moved us for very different reasons.

“Your art, our memories, the memories people have of us. It makes us immortal. When you love someone, whether it be your family, friends, partners, whatever, it’s like planting a little seedling of yourself inside of their hearts.”

Renee Carlino certainly tugged at our heartstrings, but she also provided light relief courtesy of some fabulously witty secondary characters. The insulting banter and witty sibling rivalry between Charlotte and her brother Charles was priceless! Chuck needs his own book!  So whilst we did have issues with the heroine, there’s no doubt the story itself and the characters reminded us why we continue to pick up this authors books time and time again, and why we always will.

4 stars


TBB RENEE CARLINO RECOMMENDED READS
“CLICK ON BOOK COVERS FOR REVIEWS AND PURCHASE LINKS”


SWEAR ON THIS LIFE – 5 STAR STANDALONE 
Searing second chance love story.

When we say that every single emotion came into play, we mean Every. Single. Emotion. It was utterly captivating and stunningly beautiful. This is without question one of the most intense and complicated second chance romances we’ve ever read.

‘She sat there holding her smooth legs to her chest, staring out the window, popping her gum, bored, and saying inconsequential things. But still…she was the center of the universe. She could make the whole world go around without even breaking a sweat.’


BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS – 5 STAR STANDALONE  
Second chance love

What an utterly beautiful story!  A breathtakingly moving story of an intense first love, of searing second chance love, and one of missed connections, miscommunication and wasted opportunities that spanned fifteen years with a love between two people we felt deep in our hearts.

‘You can’t recreate the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life.’


SWEET THING (Book #1) and SWEET LITTLE THING (#1.5 Novella) – 4.5 STAR STANDALONE
A beautiful, angsty romance with a music theme

A story of love, friendship and self discovery.  We shared every heart-breaking moment and you will live every warm, tender,  angry and funny exchange.  The author brings the world of music into this story in such a way it almost sings to you and offers you the ability that makes you feel you can almost reach out and touch it.

“I wanted him to own me. I would nourish his body with mine. I would feel his heart; his mind…his soul”


LUCIEN DIVINE – 4 STAR STANDALONE PARANORMAL

Lucian, our guardian Angel is not only super swoony, he’s funny, caring and a ‘man’ with a big heart. He loves and loves hard to the point of no return. He looks controversy and rules straight in the eye and shows it his middle finger, because he wants and craves Evey. The connection was strong and believable and we swooned alongside our beautiful and sweet heroine who’s had a run of bad luck in boyfriends….until her Angel.

“Did I not make it clear? I’m in love with her. The crazy kind of love that you and I have seen over and over…in them, not us. It’s the rip-your-bleeding-heart-out-and-step-in-front-of-a-speeding-train kind of love.”


 

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LUCIAN DIVINE by RENEE CARLINO :: REVIEW

Standalone Paranormal Romance. Emotional and beautiful.

lucian-divine-9th-jan

SYNOPSIS

From USA Today Bestselling Author, Renée Carlino, comes a totally unique love story that is sure to make you question what’s out there . . . or who.

“My guardian angel is a drunk.”

Evelyn Casey’s life is at a standstill. She’s in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It’s absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.

And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he’s a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he’s brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he’s brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as —-. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.

For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.

Yes, God as in God.

Lucian Divine is available to purchase below

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lucian-divine-review

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

4 Angelic stars!

“Angels can be obnoxiously self-righteous.”

We love our ‘Angel’ books….LOVE them! So, we started Lucian Divine with excitement and a girly giddiness. We immediately fell in love with the humour, the writing and the characters. But then again, we love Renee Carlino’s work, always have done. Whilst we didn’t find it particularly unique we fell in love with everything it stood for and the quirkiness of it. Who doesn’t love a cheeky bad boy Angel who loses his heart to the one he’s meant to watch over?!

‘I’m on the other side of life, Evey, existing where death belongs and yearning to be with you. Yearning in brief moments to bring you here, into the darkness. When my thoughts are so painfully selfish, I cannot breathe you in at all. I cannot love you when I hate myself. Don’t say my name. Don’t think about me. Don’t imagine how we can be together.’

Lucian, our guardian Angel is not only super swoony, he’s funny, caring and a ‘man’ with a big heart. He loves and loves hard to the point of no return. He looks controversy and rules straight in the eye and shows it his middle finger, because he wants and craves Evey. The connection was strong and believable and we swooned alongside our beautiful and sweet heroine who’s had a run of bad luck in boyfriends….until her Angel.

“You do not get to leave me, Lucien.”

“We were made for each other, Evey. I believe that.”

‘It never felt wrong to me.’

Halfway through we started wondering where this story was going as it felt as if it had almost lost its momentum, despite us loving the beginning, but let us tell you it suddenly completely pulled the rug from under our feet. We have to admit we found it a tad slow and stilted in the middle until it became very fast paced and changed in atmosphere entirely. Partly, this caused us to feel like this was two separate books as one half had such a different feel in comparison to the other. Yet we were once again utterly riveted and spellbound. We had tears threatening and we began to pray that love would conquer all, no matter what. We felt it, we believed in it and wow did we need to see Lucian and Evey get their much deserved happiness. How it all came to be in the latter part completely turned everything around and we ended up undeniably loving it once again.

“Did I not make it clear? I’m in love with her. The crazy kind of love that you and I have seen over and over…in them, not us. It’s the rip-your-bleeding-heart-out-and-step-in-front-of-a-speeding-train kind of love.”

 

lucian-divine-teaser

 

For more Renee Carlino TBB Recommendations click below

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SWEAR ON THIS LIFE by RENEE CARLINO


5+ STAR REVIEW :: SWEAR ON THIS LIFE by RENEE CARLINO

Standalone – original, moving and beautiful second chance love story


9th

SYNOPSIS

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?

Available to purchase below

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✲✲✲✲

Swear on this Life

Reviewed Gitte & Jenny

‘She sat there holding her smooth legs to her chest, staring out the window, popping her gum, bored, and saying inconsequential things. But still…she was the center of the universe. She could make the whole world go around without even breaking a sweat.’

Wow….this book…..THIS BOOK was everything we could’ve wished for. It was breathtakingly unique and overwhelmingly addictive. We could not put it down. When we say that every single emotion came into play, we mean Every. Single. Emotion. It was utterly captivating and stunningly beautiful. This is without question one of the most intense and complicated second chance romances we’ve ever read.

‘Our innocence was beautiful, impossible to capture again, impossible to re-create.’

Swear on This Life is one of those stories where as a reader you felt the Author’s soul like a breath on your very being for every page turned. It was quite simply magnificent in its message and true meaning. The way in which the story unfolded was an intense journey of forgiveness, love, healing, discovery and understanding.

“This could be the best thing for us, after it stops being the worst.”

Swear on This Life is a story within a story, within a story. How utterly brilliant and powerful. Her words hit us with such an incredible force they demanded to be felt. From harrowing and tragic childhoods where wounds are opened, continuously weeping into adulthood. Denial, avoidance, absence and indifference. All barriers masking a wound that can only be healed by its creators and circumstance.

“Most of the time people who are lost don’t ever find their way back.”

Emiline and Jase; childhood friends who forge an unbreakable friendship and find a love that’s all encompassing. A true soul mate love that no matter the obstacles, distance and years can unravel. Where one knows the path that must be taken in order to heal the other. We felt them, we lived their journey, and we were them.

“Our story is great. Maybe not all the other shit, but the story of us is perfect, Em.”

Renee Carlino blew us away with this story and we cannot recommend it highly enough. It was utter perfection in its originality, its complexities and the depth of her characters. What could’ve been, what should’ve been. What in actual fact was- when facing the past, the truth and the future of what’s right in front of you. Outstanding!

“We can’t go backward. There are too many regrets. Please just move forward with me?”

✲✲✲✲


TB also recommends by Renee Carlino

Sweet Thing

SWEET THING 
Standalone romance with music theme
Available to purchase below:

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Standalone

BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS
Standalone searing second chance romance
Available to purchase below:

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BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS: A LOVE STORY by RENEE CARLINO

before we were strangers

SYNOPSIS


From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.


To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M

before we were strangers

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

✯✯✯✯✯ stars

“You remember?”
“How could I forget?”

What an utterly beautiful story!  Renee Carlino delivered a breathtakingly moving story of an intense first love, of searing second chance love, and one of missed connections, miscommunication and wasted opportunities that spanned fifteen years with a love between two people we felt deep in our hearts.

‘You can’t recreate the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life.’

We meet Matt in present day sharing his loneliness and despair at how his life has turned out. At 36 career wise he’s had a good run, however personally life hasn’t been all Matt had hoped for. He’s divorced and reflecting on life when he spots Grace, a woman from his past standing on the platform about to board a train. In the blink of an eye she’s there and then her train passes and once again Grace vanishes from his life. Her reappearance has Matt reminiscing about the woman who had always remained in his heart and igniting a fierce determination to find her once again.

‘Three seconds doesn’t seem a long time, but when you’re gazing into someone’s eyes, it’s long enough to make a silent promise.’

It is at this point we’re taken back to where their relationship began and the ease and effortlessness with which the author slipped us back in time was perfectly and wonderfully timed.

‘I could see the beatific expression on his face. It reminded me of the way I felt when I played music. It was like something transcendent happened to him when he took pictures.’

Thankfully, Before We Were Strangers is told through both Grace and Matt’s pov’s so we’re able to experience firsthand what had transpired all those years ago and how these two became so disconnected and lost and as we hear it through their words we felt everything with them. We were with them through the complexities and newness of first love, feeling butterflies as their love intensified and their dreams and aspirations didn’t seem to be in sync. We ached with them as they maneuvered their way around their feelings and we cried with them as their lives took a different turn.

“Would you stay if I asked you to?”
“Yes, but I’d hate you for it. So ask me. Go ahead.”

Renee Carlino allowed Matt and Grace to become friends first, thus delivering a slow burn and believable build to their relationship, so much so our hearts were rejoicing, wallowing, tattered and soaring right along with the characters.

We loved every minute. From the fun, flirty young Matt and Grace discovering love and each other for the first time, to the older world weary Matt and Grace who realise the years they’ve missed and the love they once shared. Theirs was a beautiful, tender, passionate, loving and at times turbulent love, and it was one that stole our hearts completely.

We shed a few tears and cheered this couple on every inch of the way. Renee wove the arts and in particular music through this story which is an aspect we really loved and resonated with, particularly the relevance of Jeff Buckley to Matt and Grace’s story, what a beautiful touch that was.  Another aspect we loved was how New York wasn’t simply a backdrop to their story, it almost became another character and it was exhilarating!

‘New York has an energy that takes root inside of you. There’s nowhere else like it. The city becomes a character in your life, a love you can’t take out of you. They mysteriously human element about this place can make you fall in love and break your heart at the same time. When you hear her sound, when you breathe in her scent, you share it with all the people walking beside you on the street, in the Subway. You know at once you are alive, and that life is beautiful, precious and fleeting.’

We do love a second chance romance and Before We Were Strangers brought forth those moments as feelings are rediscovered and memories resurface, as the process of sorting true feelings from memories begins  and it’s one we’ll be recommending in heartbeat!

**Reviewed from an ARC copy provided by Atria Publishing, with thanks** 

 ♥ 

BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS : A LOVE HATE LOVE STORY
By RENEE CARLINO
amazon us || amazon uk

before we were strangers

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SWEET LITTLE THING (Sweet Thing #1.5) by RENEE CARLINO

sweet little thing

SYNOPSIS

Ever wonder what happened after the final pages of Sweet Thing?

From his candid and sometimes neurotic point of view, Will tells all in this musical and sexy follow-up novella to Renée Carlino’s USA Today Bestseller.

Life is pure bliss for Mia and Will. They have a puppy, a loft in Brooklyn, and a new music studio on the rise. It seems things couldn’t get any better for this talented couple when life decides to throw them a sweet little curve ball.

They quickly learn that things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes happily ever after is one giant leap of faith away.
With the help of good music, good friends, and one eccentric old lady, they overcome a few of life’s little bumps to find the sweetest thing of all.

Watch this duo grow in more ways than one in SWEET Little THING.

sweet pic

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

J&G: 4 Stars

Jenny:  I’ve missed Will Ryan Gitte, he’s so adorable and wow! I think I fell even more in love with him in this sweet little novella.

Gitte: Yeah me too Jenny, I love him and this novella just reaffirmed just how much! He’s gorgeous, funny and so passionate in everything he does….sigh….

Jenny:  I’m not always a fan of going back to characters that I’ve said goodbye to but I have to say, I loved revisiting these two and reliving moments with them, seeing how life treated them etc. Did you G?

Gitte: Absolutely, it was like getting a glimpse into their life. Like visiting friends you haven’t seen in a while I suppose, and getting caught up in their news, excitement and love.

Jenny:  I was completely swept away by Sweet Little Thing and thoroughly enjoyed this sweet and swoon worthy instalment. Will certainly is such a caring and beautiful man and he’s head over heels in love with Mia, and how beautiful is the love they share for one another? These two are true soul mates that’s for sure.

Gitte: Oh wow are they ever Jenny, they have a relationship that feels so real and honest. The passion, the adoration, the complimenting personalities, the shared humour; it’s all there. They just fit! I think one of the reasons I love Will so much is the fact that he’s just such a genuine guy, someone you could know in real life. Besides the fact that he’s bloody gorgeous and a musician; he’s also funny and actually so affable that you can’t help but fall head over heels.

“…the beauty and wonder that I see in you every day colors each page of my life and makes it more vibrant.” – Will

Jenny:  So, this was the conclusion to their story, a conclusion to a love that had seen many ups and downs and had us wanting to throttle Mia in Sweet Thing. Mia has really grown in character in this book and isn’t as intense as she once was.

“Wilbur, you are so sexy when you’re not pretending to be an eighties butt-rocker.”

Naaaw I love eighties butt-rocker Wilbur!  I love this chilled, sexy and beautiful Mia. Did you love the change in Mia in this novella Gitte?

Gitte: Yes I did, because she really pissed me off in Sweet Thing hahahaha. But, she’s really grown and her head is sorted. Her love for Will is unquestionable and she’s so obviously settled and happy with this stage in her life and what’s to come. And I have to say what really had me this time round was the banter. Mia had me in stitches at times as did Will.

“Surrendering to this crazy thing called life is hard, but we don’t have to be the soulless sheets of paper tarrying along in the wind.” – Mia

Jenny:  Will really shone for me in this novella. He’s matured (to a degree lol) and we know he will make a great Dad and husband. Mia’s certainly in good hands with Will.

Gitte: Is she EVER Jenny!!! This guy is GORGE!!!!! I’m glad he still wears geeky t-shirts and loves his eighties rock!! Sigh…..I love him so much!!! The scene with him reading the pregnancy books had me in tears of laughter!

‘All the sounds around me went away…I strained to listen to the sound I’ve heard so many times before when I’m in Mia’s presence….It’s the divine sound of my soul. It’s the sound I hear when I know everything is right in my world.’ – Will

J&G:  Mia and Will are without a doubt soul mates. They’ve gone through a lot of self-enlightenment through their journey, they’ve experienced heartbreak and they’ve found a love that is everlasting and we’ve both enjoyed every minute.

‘I was convinced we had lived twenty thousand lives, and in each one, we had found each other, like two tiny magnets in a drawer the size of the universe. She and I fit and moved together with such ease, I couldn’t’ imagine ever being with anyone else.’

This novella gives us an insight into how Will and Mia have moved forward and taken the next step in life and there were some real moments of emotion, humour, passion, love and emotion. Yep, we found this novella fulfilling and we’re more than satisfied with leaving Mia and Will to enjoy the rest of their seizing every moment and sharing a love that has left us enraptured.

ARC supplied by author in exchange for an honest review.   

See where it all began for Will and Mia in SWEET THING

sweet thing

 

SYNOPSIS

“You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together…then you’ll hear the sound of your soul.”

Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She’s an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use and exploring music, her true love.

When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father’s café, a treasured neighborhood institution that plays host to undiscovered musicians and artists. She’s denied herself the thrilling and unpredictable life of a musician, but a chance encounter with Will, a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist, offers her a glimpse of what could be. When Will becomes her friend and then her roommate, she does everything in her power to suppress her passions-for him, for music-but her father’s legacy slowly opens her heart to the possibility of something more.

 

Check out and purchase Sweet Thing Series here

Sweet Thing: A Novel

Sweet Little Thing: A Novella (Sweet Thing)

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