Heather K (dentist in my spare time)'s Reviews > Swear on This Life

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
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Swear on This Life already has a lot of hype and a lot of 5 star reviews, so I know I'll be in the minority with this one. That's okay. This book isn't a bad book by any means, and I read it all in one sitting, so it certainly has that readable quality to it. However, I don't think it delivered on the emotional intensity that I was expecting.

When I read the blurb of this story, I was immediately intrigued. I mean, what a cool concept, honestly. The long lost love of your life publishes the story of your childhood and profits off of it? I loved that set up. However, the execution left a lot to be desired. The story is basically a book with pieces of another book inside of it, one that tells the childhood story of Emi and Jase/Jax. Renee Carlino spends a lot of page time on the book that J. Colby (the grown up pen name of Jase) wrote, putting whole chapters of it within the story. It gives the book a feeling of being told in flashback, which isn't something I usually enjoy.

Swear on This Life is not a YA book or a new adult book, but it reads like one. A lot of that has to do with the fact that a lot of this book takes place in flashback, in the past when Emi and Jase were young children, but a good amount also has to do with the immaturity of the characters. These characters are supposed to be in their late 20s, but they easily read as older teenagers. They are self-absorbed, impulsive, and lack that feeling of maturity. The writing was also told in an easily digestible way, without a ton of depth to it. It certainly didn't feel like an adult book to me.

My biggest issue with the story, however, is how anticlimactic the whole thing was. This book is VERY angsty, with a lot of build-up to a big, emotional confrontation with Emiline and Jase, but when these two meet again, it just fizzles to nothing. I just didn't get the author's reunion vision between these two. I simply didn't understand why Jase didn't contact Emi eons ago. Why did he let all that time pass??? He had ample time and opportunity to reunite with her. It just didn't make sense. And Emi's very bland reaction to seeing him again and their falling into step with each other like no time had passed... no sense. It just felt very unrealistic and forced.

I also didn't love the love triangle aspect. First of all, a love triangle only really works for me if I actually have no idea who the MC will end up with. In this case, Emi's boyfriend was just filler-fluff, and it got annoying how long they let their relationship drag on.

There is also a lot of time where Emi wanders off and tries to find herself, but that felt... empty. There was one scene that moved me a little, but most of the other scenes with Emi confronting her past felt hollow and lacked emotional intensity. Emi's reactions felt off to me, and I didn't connect with her in those scenes.

The ending of the book that J. Colby wrote was supposed to be this mind-blowing conclusion that was going to make everything make sense to Emi, but when I got there I though, "This is it?" It was very predictable, and I didn't see how that would have so thoroughly changed Emi's mind. Why wouldn't these two just communicate about their feelings before? Why all the hoops? Why not just talk to one another?

I know many people will love this story, and I truly get why. I love second-chance love stories as much as the next person. I also love a "rising from the depths"-type of story, where people succeed against all odds, and Jase and Emi had every odd against them. However, I think that this story just didn't quite work to deliver on those themes, which is a shame.

**Copy provided in exchange for an honest review**
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Reading Progress

May 16, 2016 – Started Reading
May 16, 2016 – Shelved
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: romance
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: read-to-review-arc
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: m-f
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: little-to-no-sex-content
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: losing-the-v-card
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: full-of-angst
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: everyone-else-loves-it
May 17, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
May 17, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 71 (71 new)


message 1: by Ally (new)

Ally Yiiiiikes. That does not bode well.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Ally wrote: "Yiiiiikes. That does not bode well."

I'm sure everyone will love it but me ;) This is my first book from this author.


Anne I am sad to see you give it such a low rating, I was so eager to read it.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Anne wrote: "I am sad to see you give it such a low rating, I was so eager to read it."

I always think people shouldn't go by just me. Soooo many people have enjoyed this one. It just didn't quite work for me.


message 5: by Ally (new)

Ally Heather K (dentist in my spare time) wrote: "Ally wrote: "Yiiiiikes. That does not bode well."

I'm sure everyone will love it but me ;) This is my first book from this author."


I get what you are saying, however, there are so many great books out there waiting to be read that have come highly recommended. I shall stick with those. And I shall trust your judgement on this one.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Ally wrote: "Heather K (dentist in my spare time) wrote: "Ally wrote: "Yiiiiikes. That does not bode well."

I'm sure everyone will love it but me ;) This is my first book from this author."

I get what you are..."


:) I agree!


message 7: by Jill (new)

Jill The premise does sound interesting and I thought about trying this....thanks for your review, Heather, I'll pass.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Jill wrote: "The premise does sound interesting and I thought about trying this....thanks for your review, Heather, I'll pass."

It's on Net Galley if you are still curious!


message 9: by Jill (new)

Jill Heather K (dentist in my spare time) wrote: "Jill wrote: "The premise does sound interesting and I thought about trying this....thanks for your review, Heather, I'll pass."

It's on Net Galley if you are still curious!"


Nope. :))


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Jill wrote: "Heather K (dentist in my spare time) wrote: "Jill wrote: "The premise does sound interesting and I thought about trying this....thanks for your review, Heather, I'll pass."

It's on Net Galley if y..."


;)


Paula I felt conflicted over this one too, Heather. I've actually thought about rating it differently, mostly because I hated how their wasn't much page time with these two to rekindle their romance when they see each other again. It just happened so fast. Great review!


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Paula wrote: "I felt conflicted over this one too, Heather. I've actually thought about rating it differently, mostly because I hated how their wasn't much page time with these two to rekindle their romance when..."

Thanks! I also liked it, but when I thought about it, it made me more upset than happy. but I get it!


message 13: by Wminbc (new)

Wminbc I hate books where I am yelling at them...TALK to each other!!! Have a great great day!


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Wminbc wrote: "I hate books where I am yelling at them...TALK to each other!!! Have a great great day!"

I hate that too!


message 15: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara Evans Love your review. I totally hate it when the MC don't communicate with each other , I mean how hard can it be to just talk. I'm gonna skip this one thanks for the honest review. :)


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Sara wrote: "Love your review. I totally hate it when the MC don't communicate with each other , I mean how hard can it be to just talk. I'm gonna skip this one thanks for the honest review. :)"

Happy to help :)


Lezel Malazarte I fet the same. I was expecting a lot from this book since I totally loved Before We Were Strangers.


Jenni Excellent review Heather. I was strolling through reviews of this book hoping I would find a reader that feels the same way I did. Thank goodness I found yours. I was feeling lonely. lol.


Ivusha (Tenebien) My thoughts exactly! :)


message 21: by Vasso (new) - rated it 1 star

Vasso Spot on !!!!!! Exactly !!!!!!!


Melissa i couldnt have said it better myself. Left me unfulfilled and a bit cheated. The epilogue was like the final nail in the coffin. Amazing writing, but crash and burn plot. Bummed


message 23: by Leslie (new)

Leslie I love reviews like this because they help me weed out the books I know won't work for me.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Thanks, everyone! I posted my review on Amazon and it suddenly got like 50 down-votes overnight. I think critical reviews help me make wise decisions too. I always look at the negative reviews!


message 25: by Sunny (new)

Sunny I appreciate the "alternative" perspective.


message 26: by Tracie (new)

Tracie Payne Excellent review.


message 27: by Misa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Misa Thank goodness someone agrees with me. I just didnt enjoy Em at all, the conversations she had with her boyfriend were so stilted and forced. Jax was cocky and annoying. I agree that they both lacked a certain level of maturity which the book "told" us they had yet "showed" us they disny.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Sunny wrote: "I appreciate the "alternative" perspective."

Mwah!


Tiffany absolutely 100% agree with this review! Good book but had the potential to be so much better.


Michaela Miller I thought I was the only one who felt this way! I honestly thought something was wrong about me. Everyone I know who've read the book was so in love with it and then there's me. Oh well


message 31: by Mary (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mary I don't think this book is this author's strongest work, although the book-within-a-book parts are extremely well written...to me it was "the present" that didn't live up to the wonderful angsty childhood scenes. She needed to spend a lot more bandwith developing Jase and Trevor in "the present" scenes. Trevor's addiction was thrown in as an afterthought...Jase was too busy on his booktour to devote significant time to reconnecting with Em...She was too busy moving to NY (WTF?)...etc.


AddictedToEscape Oh my god yes. After seeing all the 5-star reviews, i thought i was the only one who didnt like it much
But you absolutely nailed my view.


message 33: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz This is the most accurate review! Congrats, dear! :) How much potential this book had..


Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ Is this the street team one?


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ & MANTIES Champion wrote: "Is this the street team one?"

Yup! You got it!


Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ This really is a great & objective review. So ridiculous for people to get so bent out of shape over it. Sorry Heather.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ & MANTIES Champion wrote: "This really is a great & objective review. So ridiculous for people to get so bent out of shape over it. Sorry Heather."

Thanks, hon!

It happens, but I'm pretty surprised it happened to this review, which is pretty even, IMO! I don't care if people don't like my review, I just don't like gaming the system on amazon. But if I stressed out about every review it would drive me crazy!


Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ True but it's still unbecoming behavior & I'd be side eyeing the author. That's not what a "street team" is supposed to be for last time I checked.


Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ & MANTIES Champion wrote: "True but it's still unbecoming behavior & I'd be side eyeing the author. That's not what a "street team" is supposed to be for last time I checked."

Agreed!


Tmara I just read the book and have a hungover...I loved it but I'm a sucker with second chance romances and then again, I felt the same way about your points;
Jase never did answer why he waited so long, if he was waiting for Em, why was he hooking up with Andrea? Not enough present time scenes and most of the book were about the flashbacks...huh...I have to revisit and revise. Great review!


Robyn D Yes yes yes.


message 42: by Mariana (new)

Mariana Thanks for this review! I saw this book, loved the blurb...but when I saw the name of the author I started to doubt. I read "Before we..." and I nearly hated it, so I wasn't sure about this one.


message 43: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Hernandez These are exactly my thoughts after reading the book. Thanks for expressing them into words for me. Still appreciated the novel though. It just needed more depth and I don't know...Actual Climatic Scenes? The build up to that book ending was killing me and when it came...UGH.


message 46: by Mia (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mia Great review, heather! Well said and I agree on it all. Hope your next book is a winner.


Shaley Renée I totally agree. It's a shame.


Chrissie the Reformed Book Hoarder And I was wondering why all this time, I haven't felt ANYTHING while reading the book. Glad I have someone on the same page.


Nayab Sana excellent review. Thank you for it. While reading this book all i thought was ... 'what has the writer done?' it could have been such a good book that would have headed somewhere, but to me it was destroyed and was made senseless, pointless and nothing. Like almost it got to much and so was clustered and rushed by the end; couldn't be handled. There was so much important stuff that should have been discussed and was whole point of the novel. i was waiting for something better as Em was asked to read book till end. was hopeful some wow factory would come for it all to actually mean some thing. left me disappointed because was hopeful. Could have turned out be one of my best novel list..


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