Sunday, August 9, 2020

One Hot Italian Summer by Karina Halle: A Much-Needed Escape for Summer 2020

One Hot Italian Summer
by Karina Halle
Published: July 30th, 2020

Publisher: Self-published

Tropes: Forbidden romance, single dad, forced proximity, holiday romance

Heat level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

# of pages: 382

My rating: 4 stars

Acquired this book: From Valentine PR in exchange for honest consideration

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Buy or read in Kindle Unlimited: Amazon Canada || Amazon US


After the death of her best friend and writing partner, Grace Harper is struggling both with grief, and with her next novel, the first one she’ll have to write alone.


Fortunately, her new powerhouse agent, the formidable Jana Lee, has a solution for her. She can stay at her villa in Tuscany for a month, soak in the sunshine, relax, and find her confidence again. After all, Jana has a lot riding on Grace’s next book, and the last thing she wants is for her reputation as a “super-agent” to be tarnished.


At first the villa is a dream come true for Grace – that is until Claudio Romano shows up one day with his ten-year old son, Vanni, in tow. Turns out, this is Claudio’s house, and Claudio happens to be her agent’s ex-husband from long ago. Thanks to their annual father and son bonding trip being cancelled, Claudio and Vanni are here to stay.


So is Grace.


With the three of them sharing the same house, Grace’s writing plans are thrown out the window. But even if she’s not pounding the keyboard, she’s still finding beauty and inspiration... in none other than Claudio. He's unlike any man Grace has met before. He’s smart, charming, and wickedly sexy, plus a great father to Vanni. He’d be the perfect summer fling – if only he wasn’t completely off-limits.


But as the hot Italian summer wears on, Grace and Claudio are destined to succumb to the heat, no matter how hard they try to resist each other. One steamy encounter with Claudio could affect Grace’s chances of starting her career over.


Or he could be exactly what she needs.


The books of Karina Halle’s I’ve read typically fall into one of two categories: romcoms or super angsty contemporary romance. One Hot Italian Summer was somewhere in between - it was emotional without being angsty or dramatic, and it had Halle’s signature super-hot sexytimes. Add in a beautiful Italian setting and you have the perfect summer escape while the world is still in lockdown from the coronavirus.


Seeking inspiration and a break from rainy Edinburgh with its painful memories, Grace accepts an offer from her agent to spend a month at her villa in Italy. Grace has a lot of inner obstacles to overcome; she lost her best friend and writing partner, Robyn, a few months before, and hasn’t fully allowed herself to grieve yet. She's also afraid her inspiration and success came from Robyn and that she’ll have neither without her. She expects a quiet, solitary month in a beautiful, sun-drenched setting, but her plans are quickly derailed when the actual owner of the villa - her agent’s sexy Italian ex-husband, along with their son - return home unexpectedly.


As a writer myself, I love books about writers. It’s always interesting to get an inside look at how people work and the different processes they have. I related a lot to Grace’s feelings of self-doubt, her procrastination and distractions, and her search for inspiration. I loved that Claudio was an artist too - a sculptor - and that he encouraged Grace to own her art and her talent.


The sexual chemistry - and sexual tension - between these two was scorching hot, and I appreciated that it was a slow-burn romance where the pair had a chance to get to know each other and start to develop feelings before falling into bed together. Claudio was so passionate and romantic, and I enjoyed watching him helping Grace with her grief and also her uncertainty surrounding her career. He saw her potential and wanted her to see what he saw - that she was amazing and capable and could have and do anything she wanted. Grace really needed someone like Claudio who wanted to bring out the best in her, and she was able to do the same for him, even if she didn’t realize it. I also really enjoyed Claudio’s son, Vanni. He was hilarious and precocious, and he helped Grace in his own way too.


Full of romance and passion with a gorgeous setting that will make you feel like you’re really there, One Hot Italian Summer is a must-read this summer. 

Have you read One Hot Italian Summer? Have you read any books this summer that provided a much-needed escape from our current reality?

*Please note I'm an Amazon affiliate, and some of the links in this review are affiliate links. All income made through affiliate sales goes directly back into maintaining Ramblings of a Daydreamer. Thank you for your support!



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