Swear On This Life

A breathtaking story within another breathtaking story, what could be better?



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?

4.5/5 Stars!

Swear On This Life is as amazing as it sounds. Emiline is a struggling writer with an even more struggling relationship with a washed up college football boyfriend named Trevor. The last thing she wants to do is read the debut bestselling novel that her friend Cara won’t stop talking about from the new Author J. Colby.

“I swear on your life,”

The book is set in a rural Ohio town and from the very first page it sounds so familiar. Emiline quickly finds out that the book is about her childhood and instantly starts breaking down. J. Colby had to be Jase, And she was Emerson and he was Jackson. She was the least bit flattered though, she couldn’t believe he was selling the crap out of the story of their dark pasts. A past that she spent years in therapy trying to work through.

Jase was Emiline’s first friend, her first love, her first everything. Although she thought at first it was wrong of him to write a book about their life, I honestly thought it was the most lovely thing I have ever read about.

The book that Jase wrote was amazing. Emerson and Jackson grew up as neighbors very secluded from the rest of the town. Walking miles back and forth from the bus everyday, they became great friends. Learning they both had addict parents and living in poverty together made them best friends. Jase wrote the book in Emerson’s (Emiline’s) point of view which was fantastic. It went through all of their hardships growing up, and everything they endured being young kids.

“There was nothing we could do; we were just a couple of powerless, poor kids, so desperate to find a way to be together.”

Soon they weren’t kids anymore, they were fifteen and learning about their bodies and even more about themselves. They always loved each other, but you know when you’re young it always takes a while to figure it out. Especially with first love because you don’t know what you’re doing or what it’s supposed to feel like. Soon everything was being ripped apart.

I loved reading about Emiline reading this book about herself, because you know there’s always two parts to every story. It was amazing to me how Jase wrote this book in his perspective but from Emiline’s point of view. I just can’t emphasize enough how great that was.

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

In present day, Emiline and Jase haven’t seen each other in twelve years. Emiline finds herself wandering into his book signing to give him a piece of her mind, but through this all she just finds herself needing to do some soul searching. She finds herself healing, something therapy could never give her.

Every word was so beautifully written. It’s emotional, it’s romantic. You will be captivated with the story of Emerson and Jackson but you will fall in love with the reality of Emiline and Jase.

“I thought loving someone meant letting go, but by the time I learned that loving someone means fighting for them too, it was too late.”

I love a good romance story, you all know that but sometimes they just get to be the same story line. I was so surprised and happy to find out just how different this book really was. I knew it wouldn’t be a normal love story, but I didn’t know how different it really would be. The only thing that didn’t put it at a 5 star rating was the fact that I felt we didn’t get enough of Emiline and Jase in present day. I wanted to watch them fall in love all over again, I wanted to feel their passion like when they were younger. I just wanted more from them towards the end of the book.

I reccomened this book to anyone, it’s a beautiful story and I devoured it in one day. I love Renee Carlino’s writing, I always have. Her book Before We Were Strangers is one of my favorites of all time. If you are looking for a different kind of romance, but with just as many feels as the rest of them then you should defiantly read some of Renee Carlino’s books! She has a beautiful way of telling a story and Swear On This Life was no exception!


23 thoughts on “Swear On This Life

  1. I’ve had this one sitting on my Kindle shelf for a while and really hope to be able to get around to it before the end of the year. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it but the way you highlighted the characters in your review makes me want to read it even more! I also want to pick up Before We Were Strangers because that’s another one I’ve heard a lot about too. Great review! I really enjoyed reading it. 😊♥

    1. The characters are so great! Just everything about this book especially how it’s written is fantastic! You have to read Before We Were Strangers soon, it’s soooo amazing!! Renee Carlino is super good at second chance love which is one of my favorite book topics ☺️

      1. I plan on it! I need to go add it to my ‘read before the end of 2016’ list I started. Which is surprisingly only 22 books long (minus the Throne of Glass books)! I love second chance romance novels ♥️! I have a feeling I’ll love both of them. 😄

  2. A different romance? I’m in! I don’t read much romance because it often feels like the same story, so I’m glad to know there are authors willing to try something new. I love the contrast between the characters, the people they were, and Emiline and Jase as they are now, I felt from your review that the characters were written well enough for it to work in a realistic way. Great review!

    1. Yesss, the story line is so different and great! I don’t know how to explain it but I thought it was different. I think because it showed the love between Emerson and Jackson and then Emiline and Jase which are the same people but still! You’ll just have to check it out and let me know what you thought 😃 thanks girl!💕

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