Author: Karina Halle
Series: Where Sea Meets Sky #2
Published by: Atria Books
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
It’s time for twenty-four-year-old Amber MacLean to face the music. After a frivolous six months of backpacking through New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia, she finds herself broke on the Mediterranean without enough money for a plane ticket home to California. There are worse places to be stuck than the gorgeous coastline of southern Italy, but the only job she manages to secure involves teaching English to two of the brattiest children she’s ever met.
It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, Italian ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, Derio tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones.
But when her position as teacher turns into one as full-time nanny at the crumbling old villa, Amber finds herself growing closer to the enigmatic recluse and soon has to choose between the safety of her life back in the States and the uncertainty of Derio’s closely guarded heart.
I swear, I will read anything Karina Halle writes, but her books that involve traveling are my favorite. I was so excited to read Racing the Sun, because I just adored Amber in Where Sea Meets Sky and so badly wanted her find her happiness. Halle did not disappoint. Not one damn bit! I love this book so much, and I had a major book hangover when I was finished. I couldn’t even bring myself to read anything else for a couple days afterward.
I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous of Amber. Not necessarily regarding the romance aspect, but the traveling. To get up and just backpack all over the world … my dream. Even when she starts running out of money but isn’t ready to go home, instead, gets a job as an English tutor in Italy. What an amazing experience that would be! Of course, finding a hot Italian man would be a total bonus.
The main reason it takes me awhile to recover from these books, is because I get so absorbed in them. With Racing the Sun, it felt like I was right there in Italy with Amber. The author has an incredible talent for truly taking the reader there, allowing them to feel and experience everything the characters do. I got so swept away that I didn’t even notice anything else, and it was glorious!
The characters have such depth and feel so realistic. Like I said, I adored Amber already going in to the book, but I ended up loving her even more by the end. She’s a wonderful mix of sweet, caring, and tough. I mean, she’d have to be in order to be able to take on two slightly troubled children and Derio. Plus, some of the stuff she thinks and says had me laughing and shaking my head.
Then, of course, there’s Derio. He’s one fine Italian specimen! Derio has been the guardian of his two much younger siblings for over a year since their parents died, but he’s also been dealt other blows in his life. I was prepared to be annoyed with his character, because I thought he’d be super broody and his issues would make it angsty, but that wasn’t the case. Yes, he’s broody, but it’s done very well, and there a lot more to him. He’s actually a wonderful guy.
The chemistry between Amber and Derio is meravigliosoa! Seriously, I love how they grew closer, both pushing and supporting each other in certain area’s in their lives. It wasn’t always easy between them, and that’s a big part of why I love Halle’s romances so much. The relationships always feel authentic, the good and the bad, so there’s so much more depth to them. This is definitely the case with Amber and Derio. In addition to the romance, the relationship that developed with the children was very touching.
I do want to point out that Where Sea Meets Sky and Racing the Sun can be read as standalones, but obviously I suggest reading both. Also, this is a companion series that stems from Love in, English, which rocked my world. Even though they all involve traveling to different countries and finding love, they each have a very unique vibe and storyline.
So do I even need to say it at this point? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes … I love Racing the Sun! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to book my flight to Italy.