Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Love & Gelato

 

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Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch ~ 389 pages ~ published 5/3/16 by Simon Pulse

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

 

What I Thought:

**Warning: Some mild spoilers are in this review!**

I have always been, and will always be, in love with Italy. I have been there twice. The first time was in high school with my choir program, and we took a tour of Venice, Florence, Rome and other assorted towns. Then I went to Venice on my honeymoon five years ago. I am part Italian, so any book or movie that takes place in Italy immediately has my attention! I gave you all of that backstory to make the point that I am basically pre-disposed to love any media that takes place in Italy!

I absolutely loved Love & Gelato! I thought that the story was precious, the love story was adorable, and the descriptions of Italy were vivid (and accurate!). I went into the book, as stated above, fairly sure that I would at least enjoy it, simply because it was set in Italy. While that certainly made me happy, I really was completely drawn in by the storyline.

I liked Lina, although I did find her a little bit annoying at the beginning. I think that this was intentional though, as the things I found annoying were the immature things she said and thought at the beginning of the story, especially in regards to the cemetery and Howard. She slowly grew up as the story went along, so I was able to forgive her early annoying-ness 😉 I have seen a few reviews criticize “how quickly she fell for Ren”, but I felt like it was a fairly slow burn. She might have used the “L-Word” a little quickly, but that is also very true to the fact that she is only 16. I found their love story to be charming and believable.

The storyline with Lina’s mother and the journal was great and well thought out, in my opinion. It really did have me going about who the identity of “X” was. I did find her mother’s reasoning for not telling Lina about her father to be a bit thin, but other than that, I enjoyed this plot device.

If you read this book and don’t immediately want gelato (or at least ice cream), something is wrong with you my friend! 😉 I will say, that is one of the things that I still miss the most about Italy! Can I go back now, please?!

 

My Rating:

5.0/5.0

I gave Love & Gelato 5 STARS! I loved the romance, character development, and the descriptions of Italy! If you love a good, clean, contemporary romance set in an exotic locale, then this is the book for you!!


Are you interested in learning more about this book/series? Check out the links below! 

Jenna Evans Welch’s Website

Jenna Evans Welch’s Twitter

Love & Gelato on Goodreads

Purchase Love & Gelato on Amazon


Have you read this book? Have you read the sequel, Love & Luck? Are there any other cute, contemporary romances set in exotic settings that I should pick up? Let me know down in the comments! 

Love and happy reading,

Posted in Book Reviews, Subscription Boxes

Book Review: Olivia Twist + Once Upon a Bookclub Unboxing

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Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon ~ 328 pages ~ published 3/6/18 by Blink/Harper Collins

Goodreads Synopsis:

​Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.

Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.

Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.

What I Thought:

I’m going to be honest with y’all, I’ve never read Oliver Twist. But, when I saw that this was a retelling with the opposite gender, I was immediately intrigued. I was so excited when I saw that this was the book that came in my May Once Upon a Bookclub box, and I couldn’t wait to get started on it.

First, I want to just sing Lorie Langdon’s praises. I absolutely loved her writing style. It was so easy, effortless, and had such a wonderful flow. I really was going to stick with the reading schedule suggested by the people over at OUaB, but it was too good! I had to keep reading! I love reading books where it just feels like a joy to read, rather than an exercise in forcing myself to do something that is supposed to be good for me. Also, the research that Langdon obviously devoted so much time to was so appreciated!!

I absolutely loved the character of Olivia. I found her charming, witty, and strong. She is such a great role model for young girls. I really hope that this book will get into so many teen and pre-teen hands if only so that these girls will see (1) that you can be smart and beautiful and strong, all at the same time, and (2) that historical fiction is so much fun!!

I also really enjoyed the gender reversal of making Oliver into Olivia. I honestly could see Dickens’ original Oliver being a girl in disguise. That is how great this book was. ❤️

And, the relationship between Olivia and Jack. 😍  I just wanted more. More of Jack. More of their relationship. I would totally read a sequel (hint, hint, nudge, nudge Ms. Langdon 😉 )

My Rating:

5.0/5.0

I gave Olivia Twist 5 STARS. It was such a cute retelling – thoroughly engaging and heart-warming. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and a sweet, clean romance.

***I originally gave this book 4 Stars…but I’m not sure why. In the process of writing this review, I kept thinking, “Why did I only give this 4 stars?” So, I changed it!!***


Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!

Lorie Langdon’s Website

Lorie Langdon’s Twitter

Olivia Twist on Goodreads

Purchase Olivia Twist on Amazon


I received my copy of Olivia Twist from the May Once Upon a Bookclub box! I had never tried this particular subscription box before, but I found the concept to be incredibly intriguing. The idea is that you read the book and, on specified pages, you open the gifts included in the box on the pages they correspond to. Each gift is something that will go along with the story at that particular point in the book. I thought this was brilliant, and a great way to make you feel even more involved in the story you are reading.

Once Upon A Bookclub: Young Adult Box – May

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So, once I unboxed everything, I started reading the book on the schedule that the people over at Once Upon a Bookclub suggested. This proved to be too slow for me, so I went at my own pace. But, I still opened each gift on the specified page. It was definitely a more immersive experience, which I enjoyed. I will be honest though…the quality of the gifts was a little bit disappointing. The quality was pretty cheap. While they went along with the story very well, they were not items that I would have ever picked up and chosen to bring into my home otherwise.

I did enjoy the reading experience that the Young Adult Once Upon a Bookclub box afforded me, but I’m not sure if I would get another one. I might potentially try out the Adult version at some point though, just to see if the quality is any better.


Have you read Olivia Twist? Are you a fan of historical fiction? Have you ever received a box from Once Upon a Bookclub? What did you think of it? Let me know down in the comments! 

Love and happy reading,