Racing the Sun, by Karina Halle

racing the sun

Grade: A+

Doing it at: 53%

Catnip: Italian Stallion, A Foreign Affair, The Nanny, Jane Eyre, Italian Pillow Talk, Banging the Boss, Lady Boner, Motorcycles, Sexual Healing

Shame Scale: Zero. Zero shame.

Fantasy Cast: All the people we were thinking of for this one came up shy. But this all pretty much nails it.

What do we taste like?: So sweet. Dolce.

What does he taste like?: Like the honey tones of scotch and of faded smoke and mint

Book Description:

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.


CleoneWe love Karina Halle. Mary and I think she’d be fun to get drunk with and *semi* stalk her on social media. So, we’d been greatly anticipating this release.

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Mary: I have the hugest fantasy friend crush on Karina Halle. She has a gorgeous instagram feed that’s a joy to follow, and it’s nice to feel like you know something about the person writing the stories you love. And her books sound like love letters to places we really want to visit. The travel writing is incredibly evocative, and this one transported me straight to coastal Italy.

Her heroines are the most relatable women ever, they remind me of some of my closest friends – with the lusting and the swearing, and their life choices in general, and Halle manages to capture the feelings of being in your 20’s like no one else. And Christ, she writes the hottest men. Karina – I love your taste in fantasy men! We’d have so much fun texting each other! Do you want to join mine and Cleone’s group text? We send each other funny screen shots, and creeper pics of hot meter men and kindergarten teachers and playground dads. I think you’d love it. Also – I feel like I can say this Karina, because I don’t know you IRL: your husband is kind of a fox.

C: Karina, if you’re reading this and Mary’s fangirling is creeping you out, I can promise to keep her 100 feet away from you at all times.

M: I was really looking forward to this book. It’s the follow-up to Where Sea Meets Sky, which was fantastic (emphatic recommendation from the Bookshame Ladies). This book picks up with Amber, after she leaves Josh and Gemma in New Zealand.

C: Amber has been backpacking across Europe, staying in hostels and keeping a travel blog, trying to prolong returning to her life in the states for as long as possible. She’s made it to Positano, Italy (google it, Italy is beautiful and we should all move there), where due to funds she finds she can travel no more. She doesn’t even have enough money to buy a plane ticket home. Amber is spunky, and funny, and hapless at times. I liked her immediately:

And so here is Positano. I’d been so busy closing my eyes and praying that I’d never really gotten a good look at the town.

It’s fucking charming.

C: Girls who swear copiously are girls after our own hearts.

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Knocked Up by the Bad Boy, by Vanessa Waltz

Knocked Up by the Bad Boy

Grade: C+

Doing it at: 23%

Catnip: Mafia; Motorcycles; He’s Basically A Criminal; Italian Pillow Talk; Accidental Pregnancy; Papa Don’t Preach; Sex at the OB’s; #LikeABoss; Dick-Dazzling

Shame Scale: Pretty high shame. Can you picture yourself reading this one at your in-laws, and having to answer someone who asks what you’re reading?

Fantasy Cast: Vincent Piazza; Nina Dobrev

Book Description:

The last thing I need is a wife and kid.

The only settling down I do is at night, when I take a girl home to f*ck. I get laid to unwind from the chaos in my life. I live to hear them scream my name, but one night is all they get.

One night was all I needed.

Until I knocked up Maya.

It was supposed to be one night. But one wild night made me want another, and another. I’m addicted to every inch of her body. Now that I have her, I can’t let her go. I thought I never wanted a family, but now I can’t imagine life without one.

Only, there’s a problem.

Her father wants me dead.

I didn’t know she was his daughter.
I don’t give a damn.
She’s mine. Our child is mine. I protect what’s mine.
Even if it means war.


Knocked Up by the Bad Boy is just the kind of book I needed to accompany my last day of work/frantic vacation packing. The kind of book where there might be a few surprises, but the title gives you all the major plot points. There’s a bad boy, and he’s going to get someone pregnant. Odds are excellent that there won’t be any emotional hangover, and you probably won’t have to pay attention too hard to follow the story. Bonus: books with the best titles usually have some of the best trash lines. In that respect, this book did not disappoint.

When I read this book, I had just finished watching The Wedding Planner (Find me a woman who didn’t like this movie and I’ll show you a liar), so I couldn’t get the image of Justin Chambers’s ridiculous Italian accent out of my head when I was trying to picture our hero, Johnny. Johnny is a mafia boss. The mafia of Montreal. Totes not joking. I love the idea of there being a big powerful Italian mafia in a French-Canadian city.

I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse, eh? 

Or maybe, Leave the gun, take the Tim Hortons. 

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