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Ratings & Reviews for

Swear on This Life

5 stars
20,681 (44%)
4 stars
15,713 (33%)
3 stars
7,235 (15%)
2 stars
2,253 (4%)
1 star
676 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,299 reviews
Profile Image for Colleen Hoover.
Author 76 books678k followers
May 25, 2016
I received an early copy of this book mysteriously in the mail. I read it in one sitting. Okay, two. I have a small bladder.
When I was finished, I messaged the author to let her know how much I loved this book. Then I ripped out all the pages that had the number three in the page number. Page 3. Page 13. Page 23. Page 33 (my fave). Page 43. Page 53. Page 63. Page 73 and so on and so forth.
Once I had all the pages successfully torn out of the book, I proceeded to write on each of the pages in blood-red sharpie. For example, on page three I wrote "This is how many months we were together, you jerk!"
And on page 13 I wrote, "This is how many times we fought!"
And on page 23 I wrote, "This is how many times you held my hand!"
And on page 33 I wrote, "This is how many consecutive days I cried after you broke up with me!"
Once I had successfully written something on each page I had ripped out of the book, I stapled them all together and mailed them to my ex-boyfriend.
I was arrested a week later, but I don't think that had anything to do with this book. I'm still giving this book five stars because it was really good.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,800 followers
May 30, 2016
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**
Profile Image for Angie - Angie's Dreamy Reads.
689 reviews13.5k followers
August 1, 2016
This is one of those reviews where you just don't know where to start. There's so much right with this book. Honestly, I'm hungover. It's possibly the worst book hangover I've ever suffered from. I woke up this morning, after dreaming of these characters, achy and tired, but also content and I'll admit, a touch sad. Sad, because I had this desperate need to read this book again for the first time. Very few novels have done that to me. And I have to say that I had a visceral, full body reaction to Swear on This Life.

This will probably sound insane, but I literally felt fevered by this novel within the first 30 pages. I couldn't get enough. I couldn't get the words in fast enough. And I inhaled them as if I needed them to survive. It was a physical, emotional, soulful reaction that I felt EVERYWHERE. I don't know how else to say it. It sounds dramatic. But this book affected me so deeply, so quickly, it because an instant addiction.

I needed to know these characters. Inside, outside, all around, I needed their story. I needed to LIVE it. And I could not, would not, do anything until I had read that last page. It became everything. My absolute everything. And I was consumed. Utterly, breathlessly, wholly devoured and completely smothered, by the intensity of the story.

It wasn't just PHENOMENAL.
It was more.
So much more than any one word could ever describe. Just powerful.

"It was about you... what I wrote. It was all about you."

Renee Carlino is a new to me author in the sense that I've only read a little bit of her debut novel, but nothing else. When I went into Swear on This Life, I was intrigued by the cover and the buzz around the book. There was a lot of buzz. But at that point, I had only skimmed the blurb and I had no preconceived notions, no expectations. Like I said before, it took less than 30 pages for this book to take root inside me. The writing is extraordinary. The plot unique in a way that not only captures your attention, but holds it and demands it. It's the single most intoxicating reading experience I've ever had.

Renee essentially tells a story within another story. We meet Emiline, our heroine, who's an adjunct writing instructor struggling to write herself. She's in a long term relationship with her boyfriend Trevor, an ex football player. And things are overall okay for Emiline. She thinks she's happy but is frustrated by her inability to carve her own path, to write something she can get published. She feels as though everyone is miles ahead of her, getting things done, and she can't even figure out how to get a short story right.

Cara (Emi's roommate) ends up bringing home a book called All The Roads Between. It's a bestseller, garnering awards and accolades all over the darn place. Cara is freaking out over it. She insists that Emiline read the book. At first Emi is reluctant, but then she decides she needs a break, takes the story and begins to read. This was the first time I cried. The first of many times that I felt my heart bleed as it broke in two.

Emiline is destroyed as she realizes that the story she's reading is her own story. Her own STORY of a past she so desperately wants to forget with a boy she loved so very dearly. Jase was her first love, her first everything, her entire world. He was the one who got her through her most horrific days. And she hasn't heard from him in many, many years. Yet, here he is, the J. Colby, writing her story without her permission.

This book flashes between past and present. It's a riveting experience and utterly compelling. As Emiline reads Emerson and Jackson's story (the protagonist's in Jase's novel) her life is exposed, her past shown in the most vivid, heart breaking and raw way.

There is so much here, so many layers, upon layers to this story. It captures young love as it grows from a friendship into something so much deeper. It shows how that love can survive with an astonishing intensity and innocence even as its surrounded by the most dysfunctional of environments. It shows the beauty, the essence, the sincerity of a pure love. An untainted love. Utterly breathtaking. Reading about Jase and Emiline (Emerson and Jackson) as they traversed growing up, as they navigated the pitfalls of a bad hand that life gave them was devastating yet somehow beautiful too.

I'm in awe. Really. Love is such a crazy emotion. It's simple yet it's not, it's complex. Jase and Emiline's love was pure and inspiring and I'm barely hanging on as I think of them today, as I think of all that was written in this novel.

Swear on This Life is a second chance romance with a unique premise that stole the show. Exquisite and extraordinary, it's one of the most, if not THE most, powerful, heartfelt and gripping romances I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

I can't get over it.
I can't get past how magnificent it was.

Every word, every line, every sentence and paragraph, owned me with a fierceness I can't even explain. It literally stole a peace of my heart that I don't ever want to get back. Swear on This Life can have it, can have my ENTIRE heart it was so perfect. Honestly my FAVORITE read of 2016 hands down. MY ABSOLUTE TOP FAVORITE read of the year. And in my top FAV reads of ALL time. PHENOMENAL!

ARC received in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Christy.
3,917 reviews33k followers
June 6, 2023
5 stars!

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I’ve read all of Renee Carlino’s books, and Swear on This Life is by far the best one. This author always has a way with words, but she truly outdid herself with this story. I am not always a fan of second chance romances. There always seems to be something that doesn’t work for me, but this one was written perfectly. There is nothing I would change. I loved every word!

Emiline picks up a debut novel by J. Colby and her life is forever altered. This story takes us through Em’s childhood and present in the most unique way. Every time I was in the present I needed to get back in the past and read about Em and Jase. Every time I was in the past, I had to know what was going to happen in the present. I couldn’t stop reading this book!

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Reading the events of Emiline’s childhood wasn’t always easy. In a lot of ways, her childhood was pretty awful. She didn’t have a lot of love, a lot of money, or a lot of much of anything. What she did have is a best friend that meant the world to her. He was everything. And he made her life bearable. Together, they each had a person to lean on. Someone there for them and always in their corner.
"We can't always control our circumstances, who our parents are, where we live, or how much money we make, but in those rare moments when we can shape our fate, when we do have the power to make our own happiness, we can't be scared to do it."

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I can’t explain to you how reading Em and Jase’s past affected me. It broke my heart and moved me to tears so many times. Their story was heartbreakingly beautiful and reminded me that when you have someone who truly loves you the way they loved each other, you really do have it all.

Leading up to Em and Jase seeing each other again for the first time, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t know how this was going to go. Emiline is such a different person than she was as a child. Her past shaped her and changed her. I was sure it would be the same way with Jase. I couldn’t wait to see how they connected.

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Jase and Emiline were both characters I completely adored. They shared a connection and unbreakable bond. I rooted for these two to be together so hard. I loved Em’s strength and Jase’s beautiful heart. They were both such wonderful characters.

I especially love the way this story was told. I can’t imagine a better way to tell Em’s past than through this novel. It was a brilliant way to let us see it through her eyes as well as Jase’s. I think Renee writes so beautifully and it really shone through with this story. It was such a special book to me. It’s one of those stories that will stay with you and imprint on your heart.

Swear on This Life is one of the best second chance romances I’ve ever read. It’s a captivating read that will suck you in. I couldn’t wait to see how this story would unfold. If you’re looking for a beautiful, emotional and stunning story about first loves and second chances, I highly recommend this! A 5-star favorite!

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Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
August 19, 2020

me: wow, i havent had a good cathartic cry in awhile. guess its time for a reread. 🙃


my heart cannot handle what i just read. this book destroyed me and then gave me life again. from now on, i will now read every word renee carlino ever writes and will swear on it for as long as i live.

5 stars
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.9k followers
July 29, 2016

"His name is Jase Colbertson. He and I used to finish each other’s sentences.”

WOW!! What a stunning book! From the first few pages, I was captivated by the story and I could not put it down even for a minute. It was a unique, intense, all-consuming second chance romance story, and easily one of the very best reading experiences I've had all year. I absolutely loved every word and highly recommend it to everyone!

When I look for a new book to read, what I hope for is always something EPIC. Something that takes over my life, something that draws me so deeply into the story that I can't stop thinking about it and certainly don't want to ever stop reading. With this book, I found exactly that. After only a few chapters, I immediately cancelled all my plans just so that I could keep reading. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The way the story developed just kept pulling at my heartstrings until every part of me was right there needing to know what happened next and desperate to see how it would end. As as I got closer to that ending, I'll admit that I was seriously freaking out but then BOOM -- I read this one particular line and just totally started SOBBING!!!! Happy tears sobbing!!!! THE FEELS!!! MY HEART WAS RACING!!!! And it was just so beautiful and fulfilling that I was overwhelmed with emotion. This book was truly everything I was searching for.

Now, what's it about?? Well, here's the blurb...
When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. Yet from the very first page, she is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life... 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?

So really what we had was two parallel storylines -- Em's present day when she discovered this book that so clearly was written by the boy she'd loved and lost, and also the actual story she was reading in that book. As she reads each chapter in his book we get to read it too, allowing us to see and experience the book alongside her and also immediately understand up close and personal exactly how reading this story -- their story -- was affecting her. I was equally enthralled by the story of their past as I was eager for them to find each other in the present day. My heart raced. My eyes filled with tears. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. And I just needed to find out what happened next. The past and present storylines were perfectly balanced. And the more I read, the more intense the story got. Especially because we knew that he'd somehow finished their story despite their separation -- so what had he written? How had he ended their story?
"Would you ever have thought we'd be like this? Grown-up and wanting nothing more than to be with each other every second of the day?"
"I always knew."
I laughed. "You're lying."
He was impassive. "No. I did. I swear to you. I always knew we would be like this one day. I think you always knew too."

There was such a feeling of intense longing and desperation for their situation -- these two kids from impoverished lives and abusive homes had found something beautiful, binding, and healing in their love for each other. They had such a strong connection to each other that it was heart-breaking to inevitably watch them be torn apart -- because given their separation at the beginning of the book, you knew it's was coming, but then it was equally heart-warming seeing them slowly be pulled back together as the story unfolded. It kept me glued to the page!
I was breathing hard as I lay the book down on my chest, right over my throbbing heart. I remembered that moment when everything started crumbling down around us. There was nothing we could do; we were just a couple of powerless, poor kids, so desperate to find a way to be together…

But I'll be honest with you, reading this book was definitely one of those situations where my heart was in my throat in the last quarter because I swear it did not seem like there were enough pages left to finish the story and as I hurtled full tilt towards the end, I was so scared that there wouldn't be time to resolve everything between them. But then IT HAPPENED. A purely cathartic reading experience. You know the kind I'm talking about. It's rare and precious and with ONE LINE I was crying. Tears pouring down my cheeks from how much I loved it. That line, and everything it represented for the characters, was GOLD. It brought every single thing that had happened in the book up til that point together -- with ONE LINE. Seriously just brilliant. I can't tell you how perfect that moment was.

Renee Carlino truly outdid herself. I've read every book she's written and this one is my favorite. In fact, it's also one of the best books I've read this year! It's captivating and intriguing, utterly addictive, and filled with the emotional intensity that comes with a heart-wrenchingly powerful love that's been given a second chance. I absolutely loved it!!

Rating: 5 stars! Standalone romance.

Buy SWEAR ON THIS LIFE (Paperback)


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Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,530 followers
August 15, 2016
4.5 Stars!!


'Swear on This Life' was consuming, though-provoking and such an emotional read from the very beginning until the end. I loved the title, the premise of this book and even the simple, yet meaningful cover. This story was equally heart-breaking and heart-warming so be prepared to be emotional exhausted at times, to smile and most of all, to feel. I love the concept of a story within another story and Mrs. Carlino did a fantastic job with both stories, both of them being so well written and so gripping.

"It's easy to let yourself become the burden of your own life, especially when you were given the label of being a burden before you could even reject it."

Emiline is a young writer who is struggling to find her voice. When she picks up a debut novel “All the Roads Between” by an author named J.Colby she realizes she reads her very own story and the author J. Colby is her childhood best friend, her first love, Jase, the boy she never forget, the boy she hasn’t seen in over a decade.

“Jase had planted himself inside of my heart so deeply that when we parted he kept growing there.”

Emiline is shocked and angry Jase told her story in such a way, that he has taken the liberty to reveal her tragic past. On top that the story is written from “her” point-of-view, so needless to say she’s not very thrilled.

Reading Emerson’s story or more exactly her own story, Emiline is forced to deal with some aspects of her past. While reading the story, she learns to forgive, learning that is okay to let go of the past and eventually she starts to heal from everything she has been through more than ten years ago.

”We weren’t together, but he was always there, like a part of my soul. I tried desperately to deny it and to forget…"

'Swear on this Life' was such a wonderful second chance romance. One of the best I’ve read this year. The story was beautifully written, layered and like I mentioned above so gripping. Emiline/Emerson’s story was heartbreaking and really hard to read at times. Her childhood truly made my heart ache and I’m so glad she had Jase as a friend and later as something more. The way Emiline struggles with her past was wonderfully done. You can feel her pain, how much she still suffers for everything that happened years ago and of course how much she still loves Jace.

"I love you, Emiline. I loved you before I even knew what it meant."
"I love you too, Jase... I'll love you forever."
"Swear to me."
"I swear I want this."

I loved the relationship between these two main characters. They were great together as friends, but as lovers they were simply wonderful. I loved the way they cared for each other and the way they supported each other no matter what. Their bond was fantastically written and so unbreakable. As the story progresses you can feel how strong the connection between them is and how much they still love each other.

”I loved you before I even knew what it meant.”

Both Emiline and Jase were wonderful, well-developed characters. Both of them were endearing and I have to say I really sympathize with them at some point into the story.

Overall, this was a wonderful second chance romance story that will make you think, feel and fall in love with two amazing characters!

”Our story is great, maybe not all the other shit, but the story of us is perfect Em.”
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,288 reviews3,231 followers
April 19, 2020
O boy, I have a feeling that I'll be eviscerated for this review, if you do have to, please be gentle.


Swear on This Life had so much promise but the execution was, at best, lackluster.

The premise is a second-chance love between Jax and Em who, during their teenage years, were best friends turned lovers. A tragic situation caused Em to move into Foster care and this signified the beginning of a separation that would span 12 years.

At 27, Em is an adjunct professor/uninspired writer who lives with a roommate. Anyways, imagine her surprise when her roommate comes home with a book she insisted Em had to read, only for Em to discover the book-"All the roads between"- was a semi-memoir, chronicling hers and Jax's childhood, which Jax had written.

Carlino proficiently intersperses parts of that book within this, and we get to read it with Em, concurrently.

Well, of course, Em knows the book is not all fiction and while she gets increasingly upset that Jax would profit from "their" story luckily, she discovers he had a book signing scheduled to occur within days at a location that was conveniently within reach.

At this point, my heart was palpitating as I expected a swift escalation of events and was eager to witness an emotional "reunion" between these two star-crossed lovers, however, what I got was infinitely too lacklustre to even reference as anti-climactic.


THAT moment.

With him staring at the love of his life and she bristling with righteous indignation will go down as the worst second-chance book reunion of all time.

I could have forgiven the lack of character development, the immaturity of the protagonists, even the predictability of the plot; but the absolute mismanagement of such a fundamental moment soured the remainder of the book.

In addition, Em's indecisive post-reunion actions, the dubious "love-triangle" with Trevor-the-boyfriend (who, IMO, was just filler) and, Em's slow paced read (despite everyone telling her to just finish the book already) of Jax's book, were so unbelievable that I was not in the least interested about their HEA.

Overall, it was a pleasant but extremely slow-paced read, the conflict was contrived and their adult relationship lacked the requisite emotional intensity.
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,413 reviews4,662 followers
November 13, 2021
5 “Keep Reading” STARS


Renee Carlino delivers an EPIC love story and one of my favorite reads of the year.

”If you can surrender to the idea that there might be a plan, instead of reducing every magical moment to a coincidence, then love will find you. He found me.”


This story hooked me with the heartbreak and pain of two wonderful characters’ traumatic childhood and unbreakable bond.

”I loved you before I even knew what it meant.”


The story is layered and brilliantly told as the heroine, Emiline a struggling writer who is given a bestselling book titled All the Roads Between by her roommate to read. It turns out to be her very own story written by her first love Jason Colby.

”We weren’t together, but he was always there, like a part of my soul. I tried desperately to deny it and to forget…"


Though the names have been changed and Jason has taken liberties with where they are in the future and how their story will end it's their story. The heroine takes forever to finish reading it which gave me anxiety that you can’t possible imagine until you’re immersed in this story. Yet, in her not rushing to finish the story she slowly starts to heal from the pain of her past and fix what isn’t working for her in her present.

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


This is hands down this author’s best work to date. It was such a truly beautiful story even through the tears and pain of this amazing couple’s past, the anger of how things ended, and the walls that have been built up over the years that have passed. A romantic reader will hang on every word of this book and embrace and swoon for days to come. I can't even put in my favorite quotes because it will spoil the story but it's all in the writing and for me those last few lines.

"I guess it’s like reading a good book. The kind where you don’t want to skip pages to see what happens at the end. Each moment is a story in itself.”

Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,312 followers
February 10, 2017

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❝It's like reading a good book. The kind where you don't want to skip pages to see what happens at the end. Each moment is a story in itself.❞

Well... sadly, this didn't work out the way I had hoped. Renée Carlino stole my heart with Before We Were Strangers but Swear On This Life felt really weak in comparison. The premise was kept me interested enough but the way that it was carried out was just wrong and done very poorly in my opinion. :(

Long story short, we spent too much time in the past. Our main character, Emiline, literally spends majority of the story reading a book, a book about her past but still a book nonetheless. I knew that the book in the story, All the Roads Between, would play an important role but I didn't expect the whole story to depend solely on the past.

It got to the point where it felt like Emerson and Emiline were two different people even though they are one and the same. But because we were constantly thrown into the book within the book, I knew Emerson more than Emiline. I knew Jackson more than Jason. I knew the fictional characters in All the Roads Between but not the real characters they were based off of. I knew how they were as children but not as they are as adults.

I just felt really disconnected with Emiline and Jason and because of that, I couldn't buy into their relationship. Not in the past, and certainly not in the future. Emerson and Jackson's puppy love was mediocre to say the least. That's what I thought it was all along: puppy love or childhood sweethearts. They weren't cute. They weren't anything special. They weren't swoonworthy. Reading about their relationship in the past was like reading about obnoxious teenagers thinking they're madly in love with their first boyfriend/girlfriend and that they'd die if they were ever apart. To be honest, that's actually how it went down in the story.

Emiline and Jason's relationship in the present day/real life wasn't any better. In fact, I think they're even worse. They were separated for twelve years with no contact whatsoever in between and we were just expected to accept them as a couple when they don't even know anything about each other as adults. Their relationship survives solely off of their past and their childhood. On top of that, Emiline and Jason were just eh. Emiline was pitiful and Jason was just cocky. They acted immature for characters who are supposedly almost in their thirties. I preferred their teenage counterparts in the past as Emerson and Jackson but even that's not saying much.

Don't even get me started on the whole Trevor thing either...

Overall, I think this book would've just done better if it was set in the past. The story based in the past had more potential and a lot more to work with. The author tried to juggle between the past and the present but it fell really short. Going into this book, I thought we would focus more on Emiline's life as an adult with the book and the past playing an important background role but instead the past dominated most of the book and the real story with our real characters were just left neglected.

Unfortunately, I was very much disappointed in this book. After reading Before We Were Strangers, Renée Carlino automatically became one of my favorite romance authors. However, Swear On This Life has left me questioning whether or not I labeled her too quickly as a new favorite author based on just one book... :/ After all, I've only read one other book by her, Swear On This Life being only the second. Renée is an amazing author, don't get me wrong, but this book does her no justice! Swear On This Life did very little to showcase the talent that Renée has. Though this book fell terribly short for me, I'm still a huge fan and will surely pick up Renée's future books.
Profile Image for lena.
34 reviews39 followers
August 21, 2016
2.5 stars!

Me before the book:

Me after the book:

Once I finished this book, I was very disappointed. This could've been so much better! There was so much hype surrounding this book and I remember reading the blurb and I was fascinated. I gave it 2.5 stars though because I loved the idea of it and the writing wasn't bad, but this book just missed out on so many major points!


The first problem I had with this book was Trevor. To be honest, he annoyed the shit out of me and I feel like that one incident with him towards the middle/end of the book came out of nowhere. He felt so unreal, but maybe that's just me.

I said that Trevor felt unreal to me, but I never did really connect with any of the characters as much. This book may be adult, but, trust me, the characters act like lovestruck teenagers. Yeah, I understand that their past means a lot to them, but, come on, the way they acted was immature or I'm just an insensitive ass.

The book is basically told from the past and flashbacks. That's not usually my sort of thing, but if that's what you’re into, then, this is the book for you. Since most of the story was told in the past, I felt like I knew the child version of Emiline better than the adult version. I wish that we could be able to truly know who the adult Emiline is, the aspiring author who we don't know shit about.

There wasn't the emotion feel that I expected. Before reading the book, I was telling myself “Lena, be prepared to ball your eyes out,” but I didn't even shed a tear. Actually, I didn't feel anything at all during this book. I wanted to love this book so bad because I saw a bunch of five star reviews! Unfortunately, I couldn't because there was a substantial amount of missing aspects!


I thought the ending was going to be this immense event, which would make up for the whole book, but nope. When I read that ending, I'm surprised I didn't chuck my book out the window. THIS IS WHAT I MEAN WHEN I SAY I EXPECTED SO MUCH MORE! But, I'm not going to give up on Renee yet!
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,867 reviews2,240 followers
August 20, 2016

5 stars!!!

"It's easy to let yourself become the burden of your own life, especially when you were given the label of being a burden before you could even reject it."

Swear on This Life is about Emiline, a young writer struggling to find her voice in her work. When a friend hands her a bestselling novel from a new author, Emiline is shocked to discover this author has written her life story, from her perspective. The only person who could have known all of this about her is one boy from her past, one she hasn't seen in years.

As Emiline reads the book, it drudges up feelings she thought she had locked away. Emiline is angry that he wrote the story from her perspective and wants answers as to why he wrote it the way he did.

"The past would only fester and eat away at us if we tried to hold on to it too tightly."

First off I have to say what everyone else has been saying... I've never read a book quite like this one. It's a story that's so unique and I think Renee Carlino was the perfect woman to write it. I regret to say this is my first book I've read by her, and I've met the woman twice! I'll be reading all her books as soon as I can because this one blew me away. It took me a while to write this review because I was processing so many of the feelings this book invoked in me.

From the first page I was utterly absorbed in the story, I couldn't put the book down because I wanted more of Emiline and Jase. Reading about their journey from childhood to teen years, and eventually to present adulthood is a journey I would happily read over and over again. Even with all of the dark spots in their lives, it was quite simply, beautiful.

"We can't always control our circumstances, who our parents are, where we live, or how much money we make, but in those rare moments when we can shape our fate, when we do have the power to make our own happiness, we can't be scared to do it."

This book isn't just a romance, it's about a complex main character struggling to deal with the pain of her past and the woman she became because of it. I liked the idea that J Colby's book helped her revisit her past and challenged her feelings about it. At one point while reading this book, I burst into tears. In public. On a freaking airplane. And believe me I have a heart of ice so this kind of thing happens.... never. That's how powerful this book is.

Anyways, if I haven't been clear enough, you need to read this book the moment it comes out. Do whatever needs to be done to get your grubby hands on it, because this book is something special and I honestly think anyone could read and enjoy this story.

"I love you, Emiline. I loved you before I even knew what it meant."
"I love you too, Jase... I'll love you forever."
"Swear to me."
"I swear I want this."

ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews796 followers
August 12, 2016
OMG, I swear on my life this book. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing. It’s EPIC LOVE at it’s best. I swear, for reals, this book! I love an epic love. It defies time and circumstances and always prevails. This is the kind of book that makes you feel everything and has you falling more in love with the story with every page.

I started this book with high expectations, my bestie loved it and went on and on about how uniquely the story is told, so I was very curious by what she meant. Furthermore, she said it was a second chance love story. This girl, me, not a fan of second chance love stories. I mean, hello, I just went on and on regarding my love for EPIC love. So yeah, not a fan, so even with my bestie's huge endorsement I had my doubts.

Like I said this is a story of second chance love, but told like I have never read before. Emiline's life is just getting started. She has graduated college and is working as an adjunct writing instructor when her roommate recommends a fantastic new best seller. Within pages of the book, Emiline realizes the story is following her own childhood.

Emiline is desperate to learn more about the author, since there is only one person that could write her story, her best friend and first love, Jase. O.M.G cue the goose bumps! That is how I legit felt and from that moment on I needed more. This story owned my Sunday afternoon and my thoughts since finishing it. I was desperate for more with the turn of every page. I wanted to know everything about these two, their past, present and what their future could hold.

People, don’t have any doubts, read this book! Trust that the story will more than deliver, because it will. I am coming off some pretty fantastic reads recently, but this book is holding its own. It is easily one of my favorite reads of 2016. It made me feel and it made me fall in love over and over again. This book made me cry, gave me butterflies, and even had me gushing to my husband. Swear on this Life is a 2016 must read!

ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
965 reviews1,248 followers
August 3, 2016

Title: Swear on This Life
Series: Standalone
Author: Renée Carlino
Release date: August 9, 2016
Cliffhanger: No

This is one of those stories that will leave its mark on many readers. I thoroughly consumed this book, not in several mini-meals, but in one huge satisfying bite. Once I started, I was pulled in so completely that I didn't want to set it down. I couldn't set it down. Renée Carlino has a way with words that really reaches down deep and grabs you.

It's a story about a boy and girl both living in a dark and bleak reality, who found friendship and a deep and powerful love. Theirs was a love that transcended poverty, abuse, and years of separation. Nothing could dull the strength of what they felt for one another, and no one else could ever come close to making them forget the immensity of what they lost.

Jase had planted himself inside of my heart so deeply that when we parted he kept growing there.

Her past was off-limits, even to her long term boyfriend. The was so much resentment, hurt, and shame from her upbringing and the events that led to her leaving her small town for good. All she wanted to do was move on and fulfill her dreams of being a writer, but suppressing her emotions was causing her dreams to be unreachable. That long dirt road where hunger, fear, and loneliness overwhelmed her was a road she no longer wanted to travel. She escaped and made a life for herself, a life she was just going through the motions in now.

Even through years of trying to bury the importance of her feelings, one moment brought a flood of emotions back into her neatly ordered life. Emiline's discovery of her life fictionalized and exposed for the world to see left her raw and wounded.

My heart was growing right alongside the pain, and I didn't know what to do with myself.

I really loved the story within a story that we're given. If was such a unique reading experience to view the flashbacks as Emiline was viewing them. As a novel that she was reading and interpreting. What was Jase's motivation in airing all of her most hidden hurts? Was it purely selfish, or something more? These were all questions that spun around in her head and she wasn't going to leave them unanswered.

They made a promise to one another, in another life. But they hadn't seen each there in twelve years, so why drag everything out of the dark, why now? Emiline's turmoil was heart wrenching, but something told me that Jase wasn't the self-serving person whom she believed him to be.

"Jason Dean Colbertson, how'd you get so great?" There was a silence. He kept his eyes closed and said, "You made me this way, Em."

Revisiting her past through her readings opens your eyes to how desperate their situation was. Their last day together was the culmination of a series of misfortunes. An impossible choice had to be made, and that decision altered the course of their lives. At this point in the book, I was desperate to find out Jase's motivations, where his heart lay. I needed to know the ending of their story. Was it a closed door in the past, or were they heading toward a window of opportunity in the future? There were no easy answers. Emaline had a lot of soul searching to do and allow forgiveness to lift the burden on her heart.

For me, Swear on This Life was emotion-packed and beautifully written. Though it falls into the common categories of second chance romance and friends to lovers, nothing about this story is standard fare. It explores several heavy topics but manages to hold that weight without pulling you down along with it. The love that they shared was unquestionable, leaving no doubt in the mind that these two were meant to be. If only they could finally shape their own fates.


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Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,593 followers
August 9, 2016


"There once was a boy and a girl..."

Words cannot describe how I feel about this story! Swear on This Life simply blew me away.The story is unique, captivating, emotional and sweet. I was completely drawn into the story as well as the characters stories and I couldn't stop reading wanting to know more and more. I have never read anything like this, I find the story line brilliant and original. Renee takes the reader on a journey about second chances, forgiveness and love.


Jase and Emiline are two unique and interesting characters. Both having spend their childhood together being raised by a single parent. Emiline is the one with the troubled past, with a father who abused her and Jase is the one who had a mother who loved him but not as much as his brother. But what they knew is that whatever it happened they always have one each other. Now after years life will bring them together in a way that I have never experienced before in a story and this is what makes the story unique. The story unfolds with Jase and Emiline's past to be protagonists through the pages of another book, Through the Roads Between .And believe me when I started understanding what was really happening I was fascinated and amused! I continue reading the story feeling lie I was a part of all this. And I cried many times because it touched me so deeply! This story will stay with me and I'll read it again many times! I loved the writing, it's beautiful and poetic. Renee is simply a brilliant author!

"I guess it’s like reading a good book. The kind where you don’t want to skip pages to see what happens at the end. Each moment is a story in itself.”

Everybody should read it! I highly recommend it to everyone!

ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,548 reviews3,982 followers
July 31, 2017
2 Stars

Overall Opinion: This is a really tough one for me to rate. I really liked this one for the first 85ish% of the book, but sadly the writing style and the events that took place in the last part ruined it completely for me. I was left with a pissed off feeling about the end. I felt like it just had so much freaking potential!!! So frustrating.

Here are some BIG SPOILERS to break down my biggest issue...

I also had big problems with the super abrupt ending with the joke of an epilogue! Total crapilogue here ;) It was maybe 1 full page long. Why even bother! We NEVER get any time with them as an adult couple, and after all that angst we needed some type of a good ending! It felt like a big waste tbh.

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Emiline and Jase's story. Emi is told by her roommate that she needs to read this new best-selling book, and when she does she is shocked to find out that it is a retelling of her own childhood in her POV! The story is of two children that grow up in really unfavorable environments, and find happiness in each other. As they grow up their friendship turns into a strong love, but there are major obstacles that they face and are separated for many years. Emiline struggles with the book, and she also struggles with her reality crashing around her. They reunite and after dealing with some major baggage left over from the past, they get a HFN ending.

POV: This is told in Emiline's POV.

Overall Pace of Story: Good until the last 15ish%. I felt like things were really rushed to get cleared up, and then I was given a half-assed ending. I never skimmed, and the rest of it flowed well.

Instalove: No. They develop from childhood friends to something more.

H rating: 3 stars. Jase. He was amazing as little kid/adolescent Jase, but I didn't really like him as an adult. He was just too cocky, he brushed off his manwhore type behavior, and he seemed to be really focused on innuendo and sex instead of his serious feelings.

h rating: 3 stars. Emiline. She was ok. I felt bad for all that she went through, but she was kind of a "whoa is me" type character. I did appreciate that she pulled up her big girl panties and addressed her past to get over it all, but I hated the way she was with the OM.

Sadness level: Low/moderate. I teared up a few times, but I never needed any tissues.

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Low. There aren't that many scenes, and they are more about the emotional connection than the physical act.

Descriptive sex: Yes

Safe sex: Yes. Mentions of condoms being used. I don't remember any mention of STD statuses or previous practices.

OW/OM drama: Yes

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: Yes

Separation: Yes

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: The ending totally ticked me off!! It was a really abrupt ending, we never get to see them as an adult couple, and the epilogue was a one whopping page long!! I would call this a HFN ending

How I got it: I got it on loan through my public library (thank God I didn't pay the $7.99 on Amazon!)

Safety: I'd say that this should be Safe with exception or Not Safe depending on personal preferences.
Profile Image for Michelle.
2,082 reviews861 followers
March 24, 2017
I wanted to hold off on reviewing this since the release is still months away, but I honestly need to get all these feelings out or I am going to combust. So please forgive me. But I HAAAAAVVVVEEEE to.

Swear on This Life is an EPIC love story told in the most unique way. Emiline is struggling with her writing and the last thing she wants to do is read the bestselling debut novel by J. Colby that everyone is talking about, but once she reads the first page everything clicks. She is the main character, the past she’s tried to bury is bleeding out on every page. The boy that was her best friend, her only friend and her first love has written her story.

For the last twelve Jace has been nothing more than a memory, she held out hope until she had no other choice but to move on. Now stuck in a relationship with Trevor that seems to be going nowhere fast after seven years, Jace is returning to not only her thoughts, but her life. How does the man you think you love but can’t see a clear future with compete with your first love and the boy that has held your heart since you could remember?

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SoTL was the combination of two stories that were woven together flawlessly by Renee Carlino. The story jumps from moments of Emiline’s present day life to falling back into her past through the story of Emerson and Jackson. The tragic life of growing up in a poverty stricken town, the neglectful parents of two neighbors who found friendship, love and a place to belong. As life moves forward for both Em and the characters in the book, Emiline is forced to face parts of her past that she never dealt with. But still struggling with the fact that Jace has told her story – without permission or without considering that she’s never wanted anyone to know.

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Through the back and forth story telling you gain insight into the friendship turned love of two young kids that although is fictional, is oh-so real for Em. What began as a story about a bookworm, giving in and reading a book turned into a journey of self-discovery and forgiveness and realizing what really matters in life. And although the flashes into J. Colby’s book reads like a flashback of sorts, it is still fictionalized to a point. I loved how the author used this to move the story forward and to give us the glimpse into their childhood and their feelings. The way that aspect of the story was so much more than just a way to showcase the past, pure genius. I felt like I was right alongside Emiline as she was seeing what Jace was trying to show her.

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I knew this book was going to be great when I started it. I knew within the first ten pages that I was in utter love with the story but I never imagined that it would pack such an emotional punch. Glimpses into the past were heartbreaking at times, but what really did me in was the moments of hope amongst the desperate times. There are a few times when a book can draw out emotions of such pure joy that you’re leaking happy tears all over the screen of your kindle. This was that book for me.

It made me long for a love story just as epic to call my own. It made me wonder what time I had lost and what I’ve taken for granted. How has my own past stopped me from experiencing something. It just made me think. And feel. Oh, boy did it make me feel.

I adored Jace and Emiline. I loved how he there, just waiting for her to catch up. Not pressuring, patient and confident in what laid ahead for both of them. I even felt Trevor grow on me a bit by the end and adored Cara’s antics. I don’t think there was a single thing about this book that I did not love - that did not reach me or speak to me on every level. Another stellar novel by Ms. Carlino who has mastered the art of writing a love story. A world is created within her books that I want to get lost in.

A breathtaking love story that is not always pretty, but it is perfect. A million stars is not enough for this book, I can easily say that this book will make my top ten of 2016. I can’t wait for more books from this author, I still kick myself that I took so long to start reading her books, but she has a fan for life now.

Profile Image for Michelle.
2,101 reviews1,263 followers
August 9, 2016
ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Absolutely brilliant!!!! Renee Carlino continues to amaze me with each new release and in her latest, Swear On This Life, Carlino has truly captured reader’s heart with her stunning prose. This book has to be hands down my favorite Renee Carlino book and my top summer reads of 2016. If there was a book that truly deserved to be in the spotlight, this book right here has to be it. Her words, characters, and stories are the epitome of why readers like myself continue to fall in love with her stories. Carlino doesn’t give you a story, she delivers and paints a literary masterpiece that you will hold dear to your heart.

 photo 693eea7fda90d16a02725208282a79_zps6cgl3ov8.gif “There once was a boy and a girl... ”

Swear On This Life is a story within a story. When Emiline reads J. Colby’s bestselling debut book, she is entranced with the story of Emerson and Jackson. These fictional characters are no longer fictional in her eyes since they were based on her and friendship with Jase. Every facet of her past is laid bare. Every pain, hurt, and happiness are captured in the words of J.Colby. And so what happens when Emiline confronts the author whom she knows is Jase? Can Emiline and Jase rewrite their own literary ending?

Renee Carlino is truly a gifted writer. Every word, detail, and raw emotions held you hostage. Carlino didn’t just write an ordinary love story but she wrote a story that had meaning, depth, beauty, pain, friendship, and love. She brought her characters to life and in such allowed her readers to feel every gamut of emotions from loss, anger, heartache, disappointment, and most importantly love. Carlino’s raw prose was consuming. Her words were bleeding through the pages as we were entranced with the story of Emeline and Jase.

This book was everything. Yes, it was everything that you would want and need in a second chance romance. Swear On This Life was poetic, beautiful, stunning, poignant, and raw. It was a book layered with friendship, forgiveness and a magnitude of emotions. This book was a journey where the past and present collide. And most importantly, this is a story that reminds us that the self growth, understanding and love transcends. All there is left to say is go read this book. I beg you to get lost in this gripping and heart-tugging read and understand why I love and adore Renee Carlino. Yes, her stories carries the sentiments of love but most importantly her stories are the apotheosis and embodiment of a literary masterpiece that is full of heart.

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Review can also be found on Four Chicks Flipping Pages: http://fourchicksflippingpages.weebly...Renee Carlino
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
855 reviews453 followers
August 16, 2016
Unfortunately, this was extremely disappointing for me.


I hoped that the present storyline would be handled more maturely and with more feels than the past storyline, but it wasn't. Those last 20% of the book just left a bad taste in my mouth. Neither did I connected with the characters as adults, nor did I felt the tension of that ending. From the moment they meet again on the book signing, everything went downhill. I loved the premise of this book, I was so sure I was going to love it but everything was very anticlimactic and I wasn't fan of the writing style as well, unfortunately.

Also, what was the point of that weird love triangle that was included in this book? I felt like that part of the novel was delivered rather poorly and was annoyed most of the time while reading about it. And the relationship between Jason and Em was even worse. You can't base your relationship on the past. They literally don't know anything about each other as they haven't seen each other for 12 years... God forbid that people actually change, you know.

I might give Renée a second chance because she seems like someone who has very original ideas. I hope that she delivers them better than this one, though.
Profile Image for Ninoska Goris.
269 reviews162 followers
April 2, 2017
Emiline es una escritora de veintisiete años que no encuentra la inspiración para escribir, que está en una relación para nada apasionada con su novio de hace siete años.

Su amiga le recomienda leer la novela de la que todos están hablando y desde el principio ella encuentra su propia historia trágica y de su mejor amigo y primer amor Jase.
Profile Image for Wil Loves Books!.
1,166 reviews480 followers
August 11, 2016
Let me first say that this was a great read. I had huge expectations for this book based on the premise of the book. This is my first Renee Carlino book so I have no comparison when it comes to her books. I have to say I really, really liked it for the most part. The writing is really beautiful and I was engaged the entire time. However, I was not blown away, even though I loved many things, at times I was frustrated and at times even indifferent to what was going on.


Swear on This Life is definitely different and I did love that. It has a book within a book concept. The main character Emiline is an aspiring writer that teaches writing at the college level, yet struggles with her own writing and finding herself. She’s overall not happy with her current life and she also has a boyfriend she clearly doesn’t love. She hears from her roommate about this amazing book by this young up and coming writer that is soaring in the best-selling charts. When her roommate begs her to read it to maybe find some inspiration, she agrees. While reading the book, she realizes that this book is about her and her childhood and that the up and coming author of the book is her best friend and first love Jase.

“It’s like reading a good book. The kind where you don’t want to skip pages to see what happens at the end. Each moment is a story in itself.”


The book, although fictionalized in parts, explains the trials and tribulations that Em and Jax (book names) had to endure as kids, both with a single addicted parent, both in extreme poverty and both in somewhat abusive households. The book also highlights how their incredible friendship grew into beautiful, pure first love. And up until the part where they got separated, the book is an accurate picture of Emi’s life and childhood. I have to say that I absolutely loved all the parts where she’s reading the actual book. The story is amazing and the writing is superb. I loved the retelling of their story from Jase’s perspective but though Em’s POV. Up to that point, I was blown away by this book.

“People call teenage relationships puppy love, but what Jackson and I had was far beyond that. We had a lifetime of moments that were meaningful, spiritual, and transcendent. We refused to reduce our love to some flippant expression based on our age. We were mature enough to know that our actions, in that moment, were selfish. He didn’t say it, but the impending doom was palpable for both of us. And he was right: we were smart for our age. We both knew that one of us would have to make a sacrifice.”

Back in the present, the main couple hasn’t seen each other in 12 years and there’s all of these other things happening and issues unresolved between them. Through reading the book, Emi is forced to relieve parts of her past she had just buried and resolve all her issues. She was able to heal and find the closure she needed to move on with her life.


Where I felt I lost connection with the story was in the present, especially the last chapters of the book. Not only did I have a hard time connecting with Emi and her decisions, I also had a hard time connecting with Jase. There was this huge build up to their eventual reunion and when that happened there was zero spark. Like all the intensity, passion and chemistry from when they were kids was just gone, and I just expected so much more. There’s also the issue that the heroine has a boyfriend for most of the story, which just delays the eventual reunion even more. The ending, although it felt rushed was pretty great and the epilogue was perfection, it just left me wanting more of this couple!


So, overall, this is a beautifully written book with a great premise and great characters. This is my first Renee Carlino but it definitely won’t be my last and I absolutely recommend it.

We can't always control our circumstances, who our parents are, where we live, or how much money we make, but in those rare moments when we can shape our fate, when we do have the power to make our own happiness, we can't be too scared to do it.

**AN ARC was generously provided by Atria Books in exchange for an honest review**


Profile Image for Andie .
267 reviews375 followers
February 16, 2017
Less than 24 hours later and I have finished Swear on This Life . My butt has been planted to my couch every spare moment I had today because putting this book down for anything was unacceptable. Before We Were Strangers was one of my favorite books of 2015 and I was hesitant to believe that Renee would be able to deliver another all consuming, soul crushing, second-chance romance. Shame on me for doubting!

I loved the way Renee wove the present and past together so brilliantly, not just with mere flashbacks, but through a book within a book. We jump back and forth from Emilene's present day self to her childhood told through the story of Emerson and Jackson. During these flashbacks we're shown the struggles of two children who have grown up in poverty with neglectful and sometimes abusive parents. Through all the tragedy and hardships they are able to find a friendship and love that resonates deep within. Present day Emilene struggles with facing the past that she never let go of and the feelings of betrayal toward Jace for telling her story to the world. How dare he publish all the gritty details of her childhood and profit from them!

Swear on This Life is a unique and beautifully written second-chance love story. The story gripped me from page one and kept me hanging by a thread through the entirety of it. Renee perfectly captures heartbreak and the impact of a first love. I loved this book immensely! If you're ready for a heartfelt and emotional journey then make sure to grab yourself a copy!

*Thank you Netgalley and Atria Books for providing me with an ARC*
Profile Image for ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰ .
2,176 reviews1,234 followers
June 18, 2022




Emiline dreams of being a famous author. But she's stuck teaching writing to other aspiring writers at a San Diego college. Her roommate and best friend Cara tells her to write about what's in her heart and in her past. Things that mean something to her. And her boyfriend of seven years, Trevor, tells her the same. But she's just not ready to face her sad past yet.
But that past suddenly appears in her life in the most unexpected way.

Her room mate gives her an amazing book, to inspire her, or to make her think about something else for a while - the debut novel of this new, but already mega famous, young author:

J. Colby - All the Roads Between


Emiline only has to read the first few lines before she knows that it's Jason who wrote this book. Jase, her childhood best friend. The first boy she ever loved. The boy who went through all the painful things in her past with her - and the boy who she helped get through his painful moments too.

And now he has the nerve to write about their history for all the world to see????
And from her perspective too!!!!
After 12 years not caring about her? He never even tried to find her after they were torn apart.
And now he expects her to... what?? ☺☺☺

What will happen with Emiline & Jason???
Will there be a HEA??
Will everybody survive the book?


I'm not telling you that of course ☺





Such a beautiful book!

How can you not love a book that already makes you cry during the first 10%? And the crying didn't stop there. I think I cried here and there all through the book. It was just so heartbreakingly sad and beautiful!

We are in the present with Emiline and her life - but as soon as she starts reading Jason's book, we're right there with them in their story.
And I loved that. We read a chapter about Emiline's present life, and then go back to a 'fictional' time in Jason's book.

It was such a moving and sad and hopeless but still hopeful story that Jason wrote about them. But of course it's not really a story - it's been their lives! They lived all the things he wrote about.
The happy childhood and first-love moments and the sad and heartbreaking losses no child should ever have to go through. Not everything really happened the way Jason wrote about it. He writes from her POV, so he doesn't know everything. And he knows nothing about what happened in her life once she left Ohio.

And all through the book - both Emiline's present and Jason's fiction, you just want them to meet again and to get to the end of their story, to see if there's still a chance for them. After all those years... Ugh, just beautiful!

SWEAR ON THIS LIFE was such a heartbreakingly beautiful second-chance love story! About two kids who show us, that no matter where and what you come from, you can still make life beautiful, you can still have hope and love and dreams! And sometimes those dreams really do come true. I loved Emiline & Jason's story! Run to your nearest amazon asap ... you need to read this book!!!!

If I had to find something I didn't like?
Hm, the 12 years they've been apart. I think I would've been happier with seven years. 12 years is just too long in my opinion.
And the sexiness is missing a bit for me. I like my romances sexier, but of course they're not together most of the book to be sexy together ☺ Maybe they could've met earlier or hm I don't know, I just wanted a bit more of them together. Even the end was a bit rushed... BUT I still loved this amazing book!!!!


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Profile Image for celine (celinereads).
68 reviews282 followers
February 7, 2017
THIS BOOK IS SO DARN GOOD. i finished it within four hours and i couldn't put it down!! I need to collect my thoughts before giving it a more in depth review but for now, CAN I JUST GIVE THIS BOOK 10 out of 5 stars??
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,255 followers
July 14, 2016
4 Accepting, Forgiving, Loving Stars
* * * *
Renee Carlino and I have had had a reading relationship since her first book, Sweet Thing. I was new to this community, not reviewing yet and took it upon myself to write a email sharing my love of the book. She was a class act, responding with a sincere recounting of how there had been positive and negative reactions and she appreciated the words I sent. I mention this because in our correspondence we both agreed that a book cannot be loved by all and it was the reading of it that was important. I continued to read Ms. Carino and each time she has touched me.

Swear on This Life
was a unique experience for me. For as much as I was captivated by the premise, the intense writing and the "feels" of it all....I was also very aware of how I wasn't connecting to the main character Em. I am stating this because never have I been so interested in a book, wanting to finish it and see how it all came together... and feeling so distant to the woman it was focused on...

Now a lot of my personal take had to do with her relationships and how closed off she was in her current life. It was understandable... once we read about where she came from, what she had endured... yet as understanding I was...the way she was working through all of it did not make her my favorite person.

My favorite person was undoubtedly Jase. However, older Jase wasn't perfect in my mind either...
But oh, the love story he held and gave to us. It was truly something.

So, although I may have felt a bit distant to Em... this book has so much to behold....and is in keeping with the the talent of Renee Carlino...It has such depth of feeling and observations...It touches all the wrongs of society and how they turn a blind eye to the horrors happening down the street...How lost children can be at the hands of adults who are supposed to be there for them...and how these children can become their own superheros just by raising themselves up all on their own. It also spotlights how others can see the good in us... when we are blinded by how harsh, horrible words have been drilled into our young mind...causing a distorted idea of who we are...

Which highlights the need to take all of these things and reflect back to all of our own childhoods... and think...ponder and forgive ourselves for all the things we think we messed up...We are who we are willing to strive the end it is always up to us....and with this story....that is what I took away.

There was much touched on... take the time and I truly believe through the crafting and depth of writing you will receive a take away which will touch you.

~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~
Been waiting to start this...
Have cleared the deck...and now to dive in...
March 16, 2016
When is your life not just your own life...
Could it be when you discover someone from that past has co-opted everything
you felt...
has taken it from you...claiming it as a work of fiction for their own...

Trying to find the one you shared everything with will be the challenge...
For the one you remembered, cared about...
Is now who took it all...

Finding him won't be easy...

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
August 2016

A gifted copy was provided by Atria Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Mali Mor ❤️ The Romantic Blogger.
433 reviews542 followers
January 3, 2021

Re-read this book recently (this time, I listened to the audio version 🎧 - I really enjoyed it, but it took me a while to get used to the narrator's voice) and FELL IN LOVE all over again! 😍💛

📚 “𝐢𝐭’𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐩 𝐩𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐝. 𝐄𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐭𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟.” 📚

I swooned, I laughed, I shed a tear... and fall in love!!! 💘💘💘
Highly recommended.


📖 ᖴOᒪᒪOᗯ ᗰE Oᑎ IᑎᔕTᗩGᖇᗩᗰ:

📖 ᐯIᔕIT ᗰY ᗷᒪOG ᖴOᖇ ᗰOᖇE ᖇEᐯIEᗯᔕ:

Profile Image for Jen.
700 reviews127 followers
January 7, 2017
Well this was new for me all around. First, this was my first Renée Carlino book. Yes, I know I'm so far behind but I can't wait to read more of her books after this one. Second, the concept of reading a book inside another book...LOVED IT! I can honestly say this was a new, refreshing yet unique read for me.

Emiline and her roommate from college, Cara are both teaching writing courses at UCSD. While Cara has been published twice already, Em is struggling to write something that she wants to have her professor review, much less publish. People keep telling her to write what she knows, maybe her own memoirs, but it seems someone beat her to it. When Cara raves about a book and new author, she gives the book to Em to read.

"We can't always control our circumstances, who our parents are, where we live, or how much money we make, but in those rare moments when we can shape our fate, when we do have the power to make our own happiness, we can't be scared to do it."

Reading this book, Em felt like someone had taken her childhood and written it for her. Granted the names were changed, but still it's her story. It touches on the good and the bad. The good being her time spent with the boy next door, Jase. Growing up with him, spending all of their time together and eventually falling in love. The bad would be all of the times when they didn't have money for food, an alcoholic father and eventually having to leave Jase behind.

Em never really dealt with her past, but as she reads more of this book she is forced to relive some of those moments. When she finally does some research on the author, J Colby, she finds out it's really her first love, her childhood boyfriend. The guy who promised he would find her.

"Jase had planted himself inside of my heart so deeply that when we parted he kept growing there."

This angers her at first because she didn't want her story just put out there like that. She stops reading the book for a while, but does go to one of the author signings just so she can give him a piece of her mind. Instead, just seeing him reminds her how much of him is still in her heart.

Okay, so I'm a huge angst and second chance lover. To have both in this amazing story was a guaranteed love for me. But the angst really got me in this book. I think in any other story I probably would have been jonesing for Em to hurry up and finish the book, but that wasn't the case this time. The closer I got to the end of the book the more I caught myself holding my breathe because I wasn't ready. Overall, I was actually happy she took her time to get to the end. I think she needed to deal with everything first before she would have been ready for the end. And let's not lie...I needed the time too. LOL.

Renée Carlino did a magnificent job with this story. I loved the story. I loved the characters I loved the angst. I loved it all! It's definitely going on my favorites list.
Profile Image for Jenny••Steamy Reads Blog••.
987 reviews1,850 followers
September 16, 2016
"Our story is great. Maybe not all the other shit, but the story of us is perfect, Em."

I'm sitting here begging for more to this story. Good lord, please give me more!!! I am in complete love with Jase & Emi!!

This book stole my breath, it was phenomenal. Totally epic. It was so much more. The way this author tells this story is brilliant, it is so unlike other books, it's told completely different. It captures you and puts a tight hold on you, not letting you go.
I was literally turning the pages to get to the next word, I couldn't wait to see what happened and how it happened. The FEELS this book brings out, lordy, did my heart race. I smiled, I laughed, and yes I cried. And reading the last 20-25% of this book I was like, no way is there enough time to end, the way I figured it would. Oh heck no, it literally took one line, one friggen line to make this one of my most favorite books this year!!!!!
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