I approach this novel like it was another diverse read with a distinct voice from an Asian American author. What I got was a heck of a lot more. I’ve also got a cute trailer for the book I want to share. Check it out below!
A little side note: I didn’t know that Christina Lauren was two people! This was such a well written book knowing that two people contributed to the story. I kept trying to think about how they each contributed to both. Other books I’ve read written by two authors usually have two main voices. For this one, it was so consistent that you can’t even tell.
This took me a little bit longer to read than I’d like to admit. I don’t think it has anything to do with the story itself, but with me being so busy with work and living that I don’t have time to read. I can’t believe I’m admitting that.
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com) – When her mother’s incessant matchmaking hits an all-time high, Georgie Archibald does what any sensible woman would do: she flees the country.
Seeking refuge in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, Italy, Georgie’s only plan is to lie low, gorge herself on gelato, and let the wine and waves wash her troubles away… that is until she wakes up in a bed that belongs to the most romantic-looking man she’s ever seen.
After going out of his way to rescue her, the former London financier turned mysterious recluse makes it clear that despite acting as her white knight, he has no plans to co-star in her fairytale.
But Georgie isn’t asking for his heart—she’s merely intrigued.
After all, Gianluca isn’t just gorgeous—tall and tan from days spent in the sun—his touch sets her world on fire. With him, Georgie experiences the most intoxicating passion she’s ever known, and it only takes a few steamy nights for her to realize that sometimes running away from trouble is the best way to find it.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My thoughts – I love R.S. Grey. I could probably read anything by her and enjoy it. Why? Because it’s like reading a little snippet into someone’s life without it being ridiculously tragic or overwhelmingly anxiety inducing. You read because you want to know that love is still a possibility in the world. You want to know that sometimes you can have your Happily Ever After.
This one is no exception. As we journey off to Cinque Terra in Italy, our girl Georgie experiences some once in a lifetime views, beaches, food, and men. However, the one she chooses is sort of a dud. I’m talking about heartache to the extreme.
However, what I love about R.S. Grey is that you’re not reading some sexy romance where all you want to do is get to the good stuff. No, you invest your time into knowing whether or not Georgie and Gianluca actually get together in the end.
I think the only thing I wanted to fault here (and basically the only reason why it got a 4.5 rather than the full 5 stars) is that the language and dialects didn’t seem accurate to the place they were in and the people they were encountering. Yes, Georgie is British and there were enough “blokes” and “mates” and “bloody hells” to really enforce that. However, I wasn’t sure of Gianluca’s character. He’s originally from Italy, but he lived in England for quite some time. Now he’s back in Italy and I couldn’t really imagine the right accent with his dialogue. It almost just felt American?
Anyway, that could just be a symptom of my brain and not something you all will face when reading this. I strongly suggest it especially in these cold months when all we can do is dream of a warm summer day in Italy.
If this can afford me anything, it’s the feeling I had when I was younger and believed that he was my true love.
Summary (from Goodreads.com) – In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?
Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My thoughts – I love, love, love this book. If you’ve ever experienced heartbreak and sadness, you will know that feeling from this book.
I’ve never experienced the loss of a husband or a spouse or a boyfriend to something extremely tragic. I’ve lost them because they wanted to lose me. And even though that sadness of not being wanted is different than that of being wanted but completely impossible, you still feel the loss in the same way. Pain is pain. I’ve dealt with that kind of pain before, but my favorite part of it (if you could have a favorite part) is that I learned from it.
“Good things don’t wait until you’re ready. Sometimes they come right before, when you’re almost there. And I figured when that happens, you can let them pass by like a bus not meant for you. Or you can get ready. So I got ready.”
Taylor Jenkins Reid lovingly wrote a story of both being lost and then being found. It’s not just about who you love and that defining you, but how you can shape yourself through the process. Her character, Emma, is an insecure high schooler who through the process of being loved found a secure place to be in her life, Then through the process of falling out of love, found the person that she wanted to be. If you could learn any lesson from a book like this it’s that the loss of love isn’t the end of life.
I think the only flaw to this book (and honestly, a personal preference) is that it got super sappy at the end. I love love stories, but I think the lesson was learned before the final page:
“Maybe, if you’re the kind of person who’s willing to give all of yourself, the kind of person who is willing to love with all of your heart even though you’ve experienced just how much it can hurt . . . maybe you get lots of true loves, then. Maybe that’s the gift you get for being brave.”
Reading this book was like watching the final rose ceremony on the Bachelor or the Superbowl. You have your favorites and you want one of them to win. But who will Emma choose? My money was on Sam.
The reason being is that Sam is a new chapter of her life. She had lost Jesse, endured that pain, and through that struggle she found herself. Circumstances would have probably been different if Jesse was alive, but sometimes life can throw you into the lion’s den to see if you’ll survive.
“When you love someone, it seeps out of everything you do, it bleeds into everything you say, it becomes so ever-present, that eventually it becomes ordinary to hear, no matter how extraordinary it is to feel.”
Sam represents the new life she’s built for herself post-Jesse. He was familiar in that he reminded her of the person she was in high school, but also different because they created a life together. Like soldiers returning from war, some people are changed for good and Jesse and Emma were both different. That life they had died when Jesse was presumed dead.
I keep rambling, but the ultimately moral of this story is that sometimes you can’t go back home. Time moves on and if you don’t move with it, you might just miss everything.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has lost love and then found love again and those who are hopeful that love will eventually find them.
As I may have mentioned in a post a few weeks back, I’m slowly introducing myself to Romance novels. I haven’t decided what exactly I’m interested in, so I’m trying a little bit of everything. Mostly, I’ve read contemporary romance; where the story is set sometime in the present. There’s less heaving bosoms and quivering members as I recall assuming when I was a kid. I started with Colleen Hoover (which I can’t tell is either New Adult or Romance, but that’s OK) and now I’ve moved onto the subject of this review.
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com) – As an Olympic rookie, Andie Foster has spent far more time in her cleats than between the sheets. For 21 years, her Friday nights have consisted of blocking shots rather than taking them. But now that she’s landed in Rio, she’s ready to see for herself if the rumors about the Olympic Village are true:
• The athletes are all sex-crazed maniacs…
• The committee passes out condoms like candy…
• The games continue long after the medals have been handed out…
As Andie walks the line between rumor and reality, she’s forced into the path of Frederick Archibald, a decorated Olympic swimmer and owner of a sexy British accent–too bad he’s unavailable in a way that “it’s complicated” doesn’t even begin to explain.
In other words: off limits.
It doesn’t matter that he has abs that could bring peace to the Middle East and a smile that makes even the Queen blush; Andie fully intends on keeping her focus on the soccer field. But the Village is small. Suffocating. Everywhere Andie goes, Freddie happens to be there–shirtless, wet from the pool, and determined to show her a whole new meaning of the phrase “international affairs”.
Rating: 4/5 stars
My thoughts – When I heard that R.S. Grey was coming out with a new book this summer, I figured I’d start from the beginning of this series (even though each book is standalone and you don’t have to do that, but I’m that kind of person). Little did I know that I would be reading this while watching the actual Olympics taking place in Rio. It was extremely serendipitous!
What I loved the most about this book was that it wasn’t forced. Yes, there was some controversy and maybe you’ll feel that falling in love during the Olympic games is difficult, but when I see some of the real-life couples in the Olympics, I guess it’s definitely possible to fall in silly love with someone so quickly.
“I liked peanut butter. Peanut butter never got another woman pregnant. Peanut butter never made me cry. Nobody cared if you were photographed in a club with a jar of Jif.”
The story’s description doesn’t drag or have lulls. Honestly, it felt like a cohesive story from beginning to end with details that make sense with what is going on. I’m happy to finally start reading a true romance with a real plot and what feels to me like real people. I really don’t like it where everything just conveniently comes together because the author pushes the story forward. R.S. Grey takes her time to ensure that there’s a good plot, good characterization, and a sexy story to keep you warm on these hot summer nights.
“She was already gone though, weaving through the party as fast as she could. She was putting as much distance between us as possible, building on don’t until it wasn’t just a word, it was a wall.”
I don’t really have a lot of negative things to say about this book. If I could say anything, I think the only unbelievable part has got to be that Freddie is both an Olympic swimmer AND some sort of royal in England. One or the other is believable, but to me maybe both is a little overkill?
I know I’m harping on the reality of this book when I read high fantasy and science fiction, but even in those stories, there needs to be this humanizing aspect. Doctor Who even has a humanizing aspect making his companions human and keeping him accountable for the drastic decisions he makes.
Other than that, beautiful story and it ends with such a happy ending. Well, there are some other happy endings throughout the story, but you got to laugh.
If we’re going to kiss, it has to be book-worthy.
Ok, so maybe I was a little bit hasty to write about my first impressions on romance novels before reading this book.
Plot Summary – Fallon and Ben meet each other on the anniversary of an accident leaving Fallon scarred on the left side of her body. It’s the eve before Fallon moves to New York to pursue a career in theater despite her looks.
In a serendipitous meeting, Fallon and Ben fall in love. Sadly, it’s not the best timing. These two agree to meet every November 9th in the same location at the same time and recount their growth over the year. Of course, truths are revealed and hearts are broken.
But do they end up loving each other? Stay tuned.
My thoughts – I can’t tell if this is the story about love at first sight, or love conquering over anguish, or love can heal all wounds. But I can tell you it’s about love. And like the most purest love that you’ve ever thought about that it almost doesn’t feel real love.
This book was like romance-ption (see what I did there?). It was a romance novel including a main character who loved romance novels. If more romance novels were like this one, then I’d definitely apologize for my last post as well as read more and more of these novels.
There weren’t any throbbing members or quivering bosoms. The book felt like a good-hearted story of a boy and girl who happen to fall in love. Their emotions felt real. Their decisions felt real. This whole book felt like something I wish was real and it’s definitely something I look for when I read.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Confess when it came out. I thought that the story didn’t move in an eloquent way. It seemed clunky stuck with random things that I didn’t anticipate to happen. I was worried November 9 would be the same way.
However, November 9 really had me walking through the city and not paying attention to what’s happening around me. While the rest of America is head down entranced by Pokemon Go, I’m getting hurt in other ways. I walked into a pole this book is so good.
Whether or not the couple ends up together at the end of a book doesn’t determine whether that book has a happy ending or not. As long as the two people end up happy, it doesn’t really matter if they end up happy together.
While I want to give this book five stars, there were two things that I agonized over and wish didn’t happen.
- The explanation – Every book has that scene where the main character needs to start from the beginning and explain their reasoning behind things. Without providing too many spoilers, the main character in this book provides their novel. While it’s fun to read a novel within a novel, it was a little bit tedious. I think that Colleen Hoover could have achieved the same effect if Fallon and Ben were talking to each other and the reader was reading a flashback to the beginning of their story. Then, it would feel more like a flowing story than abruptly halted by reading another book.
- The ending – Again, without giving away too much about the book I was not happy about the ending. It was oozing with cheese! I’m happy that the ending the way it did, but I’m just not a fan of endings such as this.
However, don’t let these two points deter you from reading the book. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I couldn’t put it down and other cliched phrases to describe how great this book was.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely and especially so if you have a soft spot in your heart for love.