Book Review: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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Title: 
Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Publication date: May 3, 2016
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

About the Book:

“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.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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I had such high hopes for Love & Gelato, but in the end the story did not win me over. I really had a hard time connecting with the characters and story plot. In general, I found this story predictable and I was not swept up by the love connection between two of the characters. This story takes place in a matter of days, but I honestly felt like the plot was scattered and dragged over an entire summer. 

Yes, the book does have some great scenes focused on delicious food and beautiful Italian landmarks, but overall Love & Gelato did not have me swooning and I was very agitated by the lack of communication among a majority of the characters. COME ON, TALK TO EACH OTHER. Listen, ask questions, but more importantly stop ignoring the obvious!

Maybe I’m in a contemporary-book reading slump, because I really wanted to love this story after reading all the raving reviews, but I felt no love connection with any part of the book except for one. The best thing about Love & Gelato, the number one person that won me over and had me enjoying each chapter, was Lina’s father Howard. I loved that unbeknownst to him, he instilled a little fear in Lina’s friends and potential boyfriend, hahaha. Howard was so heartwarming, caring, and funny, and he definitely made the book worth reading.  Overall, even if this wasn’t one of my favorite books, it’s still a light and fluffy read that I think other contemporary readers might enjoy. 

1 star rating

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Added to My TBR Because of the Title

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish


This week’s (hiatus) topic is…

Books I added to my TBR because of the title.

(CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER TO BE LINKED TO ITS GOODREADS’ PAGE)

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What books have you added to your TBR because of the title?

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats by Carla Rehse

Title: Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats
Author: Carla Rehse
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Gracie Mason is homecoming queen, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and a member of the student council. She’s also a budding burglar. While attempting her inaugural break-in, Gracie blacks out and wakes up far away from the scene. It turns out she accidentally intruded on a male witch’s “circle of power,” and now she’s bonded to him for life. To break the bond, Gracie must delve deeper into a society of witches that involves a secret club, a shadowy council, and all sorts of magical mischief.

Gracie quickly learns that dissolving the bond with Asher, admittedly a very handsome and charming witch, is more complicated than she initially thought. And right when it seems things can’t get any worse, witches start turning up dead. It’s clear that Gracie is out of her depth as her quest to sever the bond magically turns into a murder investigation.

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EXCERPT:

New Hobbies

Daddy told me years ago that to succeed in life I need a strong plan, the right tools, and the gumption to follow through. His words of wisdom helped me get elected homecoming queen, become co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and voted on the student council. Now I plan to use them to help me pull off my first burglary.

My plan is solid. I’ve also never backed down from a challenge, not even last year when Brittany Thomas became overly friendly with the entire football team in a sad attempt to deprive me of my crown. People say I started the rumor about the rash of STD cases spreading through the boys’ locker room faster than a brush fire. I didn’t, of course. Why start gossip when the squad of doctors from the local Health Department did it for me?

I take a deep breath as I enter the Trinity Building. At almost four o’clock on a Friday before a three-day weekend, the place is deader than a PTA meeting. It helps that today is the hottest July first on record for Central Texas and the air conditioning in this building is dismally subpar. The Trinity Corporation may claim to have the most upscale rental space in town, but one look at the gold leopard granite floor paired with peach-painted walls shows that’s a downright fib.

The only guard on duty leans back in his chair and sucks down a Sonic Route 44 Coke like his life depends on it. I wave as I pass the security desk, wearing a megawatt smile and fully confident in the strength of my lavender-scented Lavanila deodorant—vegan, of course. Deputy Dawg gives me his usual perv stare before returning to the comic book balanced on his knee.

Centex Therapy, LPC occupies most of the first floor office space. A small bell tinkles when I open the frosted glass door. What decorum the overall building lacks, the waiting room has in spades. Brown leather chairs sit on a bamboo rug and pastel paintings from local artists brighten the walls. A tall grandfather clock in the corner softly chimes four times. This late on a Friday means the room is empty of other patients. Perfect.

Jane, the receptionist, fans herself with a copy of Country Living. “Cutting it awfully close, Gracie. Go on in.”

Dr. McDozzle gives me a pained smile as I enter the room.

“Good afternoon, Miss Mason. Have a seat.” For a head shrinker, he’s incredibly formal. And a non-Texan, who hates football and sweet tea. I haven’t learned much more about him in the last month, but that’s enough to get him tarred and feathered if word got out.

The leather recliner squeaks when I sit down. “Thanks for seeing me on a Friday, Doc.” I twirl a strand of newly highlighted platinum hair around my finger. It goes wonderful with my bubblegum pink manicure. “Mr. Anderson, Daddy’s new lawyer, is now insisting I have two sessions a month with you. Of course, Mama’s lawyer says once a month is just fine, seeing how I’m such a well-adjusted high school senior and all. Almost a senior, I guess, since school’s not started.”

Dr. McDozzle straightens his glasses. “Yes, well, your parents do seem to have quite the barrage of attorneys involved in their divorce. Have you worked on the homework I gave you during our last session?”

This is such a waste of time. My parents have spent the last five years embroiled in a divorce dirtier than a greased pig-wrestling contest. Both sides of the family have more money than sense, much to the delight of every lawyer in the tri-county area. Not that I want my parents to get back together. Anytime they’re within spitting distance of each other, the tension between them gives me a migraine. Besides, if they hadn’t split up, I never would’ve met Ben.

Ben’s the son of Daddy’s ex-girlfriend. Until four months ago, they all lived together in Daddy’s condo. Ben is a sophomore at the local college and is truly hot, in a geeky, stud muffin, save-the-world, kinda way. Crushing on my almost stepbrother might seem a bit sketchy, but it’s legal—I Googled it twice.

Which means it’s time to start step one in my Get Ben Plan.

I toss my hair over my shoulder before pulling out a pink glitter notebook from my Eiffel Tower-shaped mini-purse.

“You wanted me to write down my feelings about my parents’ shared custody thing. Honestly, I don’t understand why the lawyers are so panty twisted about me spending a week with Mama and the next with Daddy. It means I get double the wardrobe. Hello? What girl would say no to that? It’s way better than Heather’s situation. I told you about her last time, I think. The girl with the hideous frizzed-out curls but drives a cute BMW Z4 roadster? Anyway, her parents are insane.” I continue a steady stream of babble until Dr. McDozzle’s eyes glaze over.

There’s no clocks in the room, but Dr. McDozzle keeps checking his watch. I’m sure the poor man created a nice therapy plan for me, but I’ve completely derailed it. Mama always says a girl has many tools to choose from in her arsenal—perfectly curled hair, well-placed boobs, and endless chatter are my faves. Besides, Daddy’s been paying therapists a fortune for years to show the divorce court how concerned he is about me. Dr. McDozzle’s earning his car payment today.

Author Bio:

Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of “y’all” and “bless your heart.”

Carla is owned by a persnickety kitty, who rules the computer keyboard and only allows Carla to write when demands for cat treats are met.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

Title: Wesley James Ruined My Life
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis: 

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo


First, how adorable and perfect is the cover? Wesley James Ruined My Life is definitely the definition of COVER LOVE. And like the cover, this book also has it’s adorable moments. The main character may be over-dramatic in some scenes of the novel, but overall this story is quick-paced and the perfect summer read. 

In reference to the main character, I found Quinn sometimes irrational and quick to judge. By the title, we acknowledge that Quinn has something against Wesley. Communication, or the lack of communication, definitely plays a high role in Quinn’s reasoning of why Wesley ruined her life. Even though I may not 100% agree with Quinn’s dislike for Wesley, I understand why she needed someone to blame for the unfair circumstances that happened in her life years ago. But you guys, this book gets more funny and swoony as the story unfolds. And I could not put this book down once Quinn started opening herself up to truth, honesty, and forgiveness.

In a nutshell, this is a story about revenge, but it’s so much more. In the end, Wesley James Ruined My Life is a story about maturing, accepting the past, and moving forward. It definitely has it’s swoony moments and a romance that I kept rooting for. I enjoyed the historical references often portrayed in the restaurant scenes, but most of all I really loved how positive, lively, and approachable Wesley was throughout the novel. Wesley was definitely my favorite part of the book, and I highly enjoyed his determination and fun-loving personality. I think I might have a new book boyfriend. *swoons*

About the author Pearl Thief

Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. Wesley James Ruined My Life is her first novel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Giveaway Pearl Thief

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TOUR SCHEDULE PEARL THIEF

July 17th
Writing My Own Fairy Tale  >> Excerpt
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Review
The Avid Reader >>  Guest post
Fic Central >> Review
Mes Livres >> Review

July 18th
Tales of the Ravenous Reader >> Interview
The Bookish Thought >> Review
Writing Pearls >> Review
Rolling with the Moments >> Review
Here’s to Happy Endings  >> Review

July 19th
Book Briefs >> Review
Girl vs Books >> Review
A Dream Within A Dream >> Excerpt
Beauty and the Bookshelf  >> Review
Never Too Many To Read >> Review

July 20th
blogs and coffee  >> Guest post
The Heart of a Book Blogger  >> Review
Padme’s Library >> Interview
The Reader and the Chef  >> Review

July 21st
Dog-Eared Daydreams >> Review
Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile >> Review
To Be Read  >> Review
The Bookworm Central >> Review
Wonder Struck >> Review

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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About the Book

Title: Black Bird of the Gallows
Author: Meg Kassel
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing/ Entangled Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes & Noble

RAVES

  1. First, I am huge fan of books with black birds on the front cover.
  2. Plus, this cover is creepy and beautiful!
  3. I am sucker for any story that is dark with a supernatural twist. According to the synopsis, Black Bird of the Gallows is filled with secrets, tragedy, harbingers of death, and a brooding male character. *SIGH* My English Literature heart is pining for this book! 

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Doesn’t Black Bird of the Gallows sound like the perfect book to read on a rainy day?
What do you think? Is this book on your TBR radar?

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Chasing Eveline by Leslie Hauser

CHASING EVELINE BLOG TOUR

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Title: CHASING EVELINE
Author: Leslie Hauser
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Pen Name Publishing
Pages: 300
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & Noble, TBDGoodreads

Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel Heights High School who listens to cassettes. And her binder is the only one decorated with album artwork by 80s band Chasing Eveline. Despite being broken-up since 1989, this rock band out of Ireland means everything to Ivy. They’re a reminder of her mom, who abandoned Ivy and her dad two years ago. Now the music of her mom’s favorite band is the only connection she has left.

Even though Ivy wavers between anger and a yearning to reconnect, she’s one-hundred percent certain she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. But the only surefire way to locate her would be at a Chasing Eveline concert. So with help from her lone friend Matt—an equally abandoned soul and indie music enthusiast—Ivy hatches a plan to reunite the band.

The road to Ireland won’t be easy, though. And not just because there is no road. Along the way they’ll have to win over their Lady Gaga-loving peers, tangle with some frisky meerkats, and oh yeah, somehow find and persuade the four members to play a reunion gig. It’s a near-impossible task, but Ivy has to try. If she can’t let go of the past, she’ll never be able to find joy in the present.


My Rants and Raves of Chasing Eveline

WOW, you all, my 1980s loving-heart is fully in love with this book. Chasing Eveline may take place in our world of skyping and cellphones, but this book definitely has all the best elements of a 1980s movie: teen melodrama, an underdog theme, great music, and a feel-good ending. This coming-of-age story will definitely fill your soul with nostalgia, warm fuzzies, and the appreciation of great music.  


As the main character, Ivy, is highly focused on her mother abandoning her family. And instead of accepting that her mom is truly gone, Ivy sulks, which then dominoes into other people in her life fading away. Luckily, Ivy finds a way to keep the memory of her mom anchored to her, which is rediscovering the 80s bands and music that her mom once shared with her. One of these beloved bands is Chasing Eveline. 

As a band with strong and heartfelt lyrics, Chasing Eveline becomes the catalyst and glue to Ivy’s story. They influence Ivy in the most positive ways–leading to new friendships, crazy ways to raise money, and adventurous traveling plans. I love that this band fills Ivy’s grief-filled heart with hope, peace, and willingness to try new things. In Chasing Eveline,  Ivy sometimes comes off as stubborn and naive. But even though she hates letting go of the past, I appreciated that Ivy also has the most heartwarming and hilarious ways of approaching life and moving forward.


Chasing Eveline is littered with 1980s movie references, which made me love Ivy and her story even more. When Ivy thinks she’s being innovative and creative, her love for Chasing Eveline often leads to the most awkward and funny scenes. I love that Ivy is passionate about music, but more importantly that she appreciates lyrics as the blood that keeps the song pumping. If you love a little teenage angst, 1980’s pop culture, and a beautifully executed ending, I highly recommend that you read Chasing Eveline ASAP! 

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

About the author Pearl Thief

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I am a YA writer and middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.

When I’m not living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances, torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service.

My debut novel CHASING EVELINE releases in 2017 from Pen Name Publishing.
Website |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Giveaway Pearl Thief
3 Winners will receive a finished copy of CHASING EVELINE, US Only.

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TOUR SCHEDULE PEARL THIEFWeek One:

7/17/2017- Novel Novice Excerpt
7/18/2017- Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile Review
7/19/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post

7/20/2017- Book Princess Reviews Review
7/21/2017- Bibliobibuli YA– Interview

Week Two:

7/24/2017– Bibliobakes Review
7/25/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Excerpt
7/26/2017- The Pages In-Between– Review
7/27/2017- YA and Wine Interview
7/28/2017- Book Briefs– Review