Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review: Fallen Angel by Lisa Swinton and a GIVEAWAY!

I first met Lisa almost 3 years ago at the LDStorymakers writer's conference. I was fortunate enough to be put at the same table as her for boot camp. I was five months pregnant with the twins at the time, and TOTALLY miserable. My brain was gone. So gone, in fact, that when I ran into Lisa at Storymakers the following year, she had to remind me where I knew her from. *facepalm* I was like, "I know we've met...where did we meet?" And she said, "Boot camp!" and I immediately remembered Fallen Angel. The story came rushing back to me. At boot camp she had shared with us the first few chapters and the story captivated me right away. I have eagerly cheered her on and waited to see the full story published so I could read the entire thing. I am so excited to share Fallen Angel with you today! Bonus: there's a giveaway at the bottom of the page.
Back Cover Blurb
genre: contemporary romance
Antonio does not believe in love at first sight until he sees her fall into a street in Milan and get hit by a motorcycle. Compelled to know if she can return his affection, he becomes Renatta’s hospital volunteer only to learn that the accident erased her memory. Together they must discover her past, present and future. In the way of happily ever after stand her opera career, tyrannical mother, and fiancĂ©.  Antonio must win Renatta’s heart before she bends to the will of her mother and marries Marcello.  Failure means a lifetime of loneliness, for love at first sight never happens twice.   

My Review
Do you love all things Italian? I certainly do! And this book gave me a more than generous dose of it. Fallen Angel is set against the rich backdrop of Italy. From the Italian words to the Italian names to the Italian cooking, the setting added a unique flavor to this romance that I loved. (Side note: I'm now fantasizing about a trip to Italy. A girl can dream, right?) I get the feeling that the author has either completed a lot of research on Italy, or spent time there, because she certainly immersed me in the setting.

Renatta's amnesia made for interesting, if not especially original, conflict in the story. Her memory lost created a unique dynamic in her relationships with other characters, especially her family. I liked seeing what changed--and what remained the same--in those relationships, given that she had no memory of the past.

The story has a typical love triangle, but what felt atypical was that neither love interest was a clear "no." Antonio and Marcello were both adorable, and even though I was pretty sure who Renatta would end up with--it is a romance, after all--I felt like she could go either way and still be pretty happy.

I think one of the strengths of this story were the secondary characters. I loved Chiara! I would be really interested to read more about all of Renatta's siblings, actually. Speaking of family...Renatta's mother is a horrible human being. I loved to hate her throughout the story. She was almost unbelievably cruel at times. Are people really that heartless? She made me so angry! Even though I had a hard time believing the mother's character, I was really pleased with how Renatta's family issues were resolved in the story. I won't give the ending away, but let's just say I have a feeling the author has been heavily influenced by Jane Austen's works.

I did think the dialogue was stilted in places. The characters spoke like Italians speaking English, in that stilted way people who haven't grown up with the language often speak. On the one hand it helped keep me immersed in the setting, but on the other hand it grew very distracting. I had trouble with the multiple viewpoints in a single scene as well, but overall this was a solid effort by a first-time author and definitely worth a read. I'm eager to watch her writing progress over time (and I'm sure it will), and can't wait to read her next release. I'm so happy to have another clean romance author I can recommend to fellow readers!

Buy Links
Amazon * Goodreads

Author Bio
Lisa Swinton caught the romance bug early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it since. Instead, she feeds her addiction with romance novels and films. In between being a doctor’s wife and mother of two, she occasionally puts her B.A. in Musical Theater to good use via community theater, church choir and teaching the art of singing. In her elusive spare time she enjoys researching her family tree and baking (especially with chocolate). She loves to travel, Jane Austen, and all things Italian. In her next life, she plans to be a professional organizer

Social Media Links
blog * Facebook * Amazon author page

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Lisa Swinton said...

Thanks for your honest review. I'm glad you finally got to read it all. I'll keep your notes in mind for my next work. There is always room for improvement as a writer.
:) Lisa

Lindzee said...

I can't wait to read your next one! :)

Renae Mackley said...

I actually enjoyed the Italian that was thrown in. It worked for me in this book--maybe because I've been to Italy. I so wanted to stay in that setting.

Valerie Steimle said...

Italy would be a fun place for a romance... Can't wait to read your latest story.