Published by Atria Books on August 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance
Source: Blog Tour, NetGalley
My content rating: Adult (Or New Adult? Sexual content)
You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.
Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.
Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.
Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.
I don’t know how to talk about this book without spoiling things (you really need to go in as blind as possible), so I’m afraid my review might be brief. Suffice it to say Carlino put me through an emotional wringer that I won’t soon forget!
What Fed My Addiction:
- Charlotte getting her life together. Charlotte feels like a screw-up who just can’t seem to get life right—whether it’s work or romance or family … she just can’t seem to make everything work. Eventually, she comes to realize that a lot of her issue is just confidence, and I loved seeing her find herself and learn to take chances. The romance in this book is almost less about romance than it is about Charlotte coming to realize that she can make her way in the world—and finding a partner to do that with.
- Focus on family and friends. Charlotte’s relationship with her best friend and with her family take center stage in this book. They don’t feel like extras tacked onto the romance, but they’re a major part of Charlotte’s personal transformation. Her brother is annoying in the way that brothers are, but he grows on you as you get to know him. And Charlotte’s best friend is a true gem.
- The emotional impact. I had no idea I was going to be so profoundly moved by this book. It had me in tears and I certainly didn’t want to put it down. It’s been a while since a book has broken my heart so thoroughly.
- Lots more! There’s so much more I wish I could say, but every time I try to construct a sentence, I feel like it’s giving something away. Just trust me that there were lots of reasons to love this book!
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Instalove. If you read my reviews regularly, you know that I have a pretty low tolerance for instalove, so the fact that I loved this book despite the instalove is pretty high praise. And, honestly, it’s not like I was blindsided by it (the blurb itself tells us that Charlotte falls for Adam after a one-night stand)—still, I couldn’t completely ignore the fact that Charlotte was so completely hung up on a guy she knew for an evening. And it was compounded a bit by the fact that Seth seemed to fall for Charlotte almost as quickly (and for no real reason that I could see—he was endlessly patient, and I wasn’t quite sure where it was all coming from). Oh, and then Charlotte’s best friend found instalove too. For the first half of the book I was somewhat hung up on all of this, but once things (I can’t talk about) started happening, I totally got over all that and just let go and enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster!
This is a book about living in the moment and finding love and happiness when and where you can. Be prepared to be sent on an emotional journey! This was the first of Carlino’s books that I’ve read, and I’ll definitely be reading more!
I went back and forth between 4 and 4.5 stars for this one, but I eventually landed on 4 (maybe 4.25?) simply because of the instalove, which felt pretty unbelievable to me in the first half of the book (until Carlino brought out the big guns and made me forget all about it—almost.)
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley and InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.