BOOK REVIEW: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

BOOK REVIEW: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans WelchLove & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
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Synopsis:

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

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 Lina 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 from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and ever herself.

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

 

Sonia met my eyes in the mirror. “You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”
“What?”
“Love and gelato.”

I know I say this a lot, but seriously-What a pleasant surprise!! Seriously. There are few books that manage to surprise me, and it’s even rarer that I fall for a book set overseas. Don’t ask why and I won’t explain-Just know that there are really only two books that have successfully stolen my heart that take place outside of the US…and they are Anna and the French Kiss and The Fever series.

I will say this, though; I was MOMENTS away from DNF’ing this. Yup, you read that correctly: A book that turned out to be absolutely adorable almost slipped under my radar. I had been avoiding it for a while, but even when I did give it a try, I almost gave up on it. In the beginning, there was just too much of her alone, her with her sadness, her mourning her mother’s loss…now, come on, I’m not heartless-I realize she had to feel helpless and sad and lost, but I’m already finicky, so I was drowning in those pages.

But, right when I was about to give up, something happened. Something big. Something HUGE-Lorenzooo started sniffing around…and my heart couldn’t take it. I was hooked. Oh, did you think it was actually something huge? Pshh. Y’all know me better than that. Give me a good boy, a quirky little adventure, and some swoony moments and I. Am. All. In.

“Did I dress up enough?”
“What?”
I repeated my question. He slowed for a red light, then turned to look at me. “You look great. We’re wearing the same thing.”
“Yeah, but you look . . .”
“What?”
“Cooler.”
He tipped his head back so our helmets clacked. “Thanks.”

And that’s another surprising thing-I don’t much like frolicking. Like…scavenger hunts, mysteries, journal entries from anyone other than the two lovebirds. And, if I’m being honest here, I didn’t fall in love with it here, either. But I honestly truly loved how her and Ren found each other through her mother’s journal. I loved the places they saw, the things they did, the way they bonded and became closer because of the vivid picture her mother’s words painted. Where most stories find their momentum through all the romance, this story found it’s rhythm in a young girl’s grief. And, frankly, I think I respect this book for that.

Yadda yadda of COURSE I wish there had been a little more romance-sure. But it was all the more special as the romance built and built, giving us spurts of butterflies throughout the entirety of the story, all leading up to an explosion of adorable jealousy and feels that leaves you so happy you’re breathless. Or was that just me?

And, okay, I so wasn’t going to say this, but when I read L&G, I really and for true had Anna and the French Kiss type feels. Yeah. So….this book, while adorable, had a lot to live up to even from the start. And, I admit, this did put a lot of pressure on an otherwise light book that I normally wouldn’t have put so much stake on. But, back to my point: I had read reviews prior to buying this story that said it was similar to AATFK, and those are huge shoes to fill, I’m sorry. Yet…and yet.

“Thinly sliced ham. You’ll love it.” He sat down next to me and I unwrapped the sandwich and took a bite. Of course I loved it. But it was nothing compared to how I felt about Ren. And yes. I’d totally just compared the only guy I’d ever felt this way about to a ham sandwich.

In all the ways that counted, I felt like I was back to my darling Anna and St. Clair’s world, and it felt tremendous. Ren was light-hearted, cute, witty, fun…and just absolutely adorable. He was funny and he made me laugh in the most innocent ways-he was flirty without being smarmy, he DID have a girl…but I can’t say what went on. All I can say is that he didn’t cheat. But, you know, I know some people that are bothered by that fine line…spoiler alert: I AM NOT ONE OF THEM. HA. Anyway, back to Ren’s perpetual allure: He could make me smile with the smallest ‘facial expression’, making for a scene that filled my heart with joy while being so simple. And I think that’s missing in books these days, for me. I just want a simple, cute, breezy YA contemp. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is: but this book delivered in spades [for me].

And, just like with Anna (Again with those pesky comparisons), I loved our MC. I mean to say: She didn’t annoy the shit out of me-which, honestly, is becoming an increasingly familiar trend. But not here-Lina was sweet, kind, and respectful of Ren’s ‘kind of’ girlfriend. I even liked a certain club scene (Tehe-I love these…) where the knight in shining armor didn’t save the day…but a more unlikely ally shone. I was a bit like pfft WTH! I. WANT. REN…but was immediately satisfied after. Eh. You’ll see. Whatever ha. (It’s getting late, if you can’t tell-since I can’t write reviews during the day anymore and only after little girl is asleep)

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

So…I don’t know. I don’t like making comparisons where I don’t feel comparisons are due, but I also can’t deny I had a lot of those same feels. Maybe it’s the foreign aspect? The having a significant other? A group of friends? Either way, they are each their own individual story with their own individual storylines, they just have some of the same fun things. Like, for instance, one centers solely on the sordid (though I SEVERELY disagree with that word) romance and school while L&G is after a girl’s mother passes and she gets a journal from her mother’s younger years where she was a student in Italy and how she fell in love…and made the wrong choice. It’s about a girl trying to figure out her mother’s story and finding a fast friendship with a boy who wants an adventure, as well, and them following her mother’s footsteps. I don’t know. Perhaps its as simple as Paris and Italy being places I’ve always wanted to go to and these stories transporting me there with fun journeys, vivid story-telling (whether inaccurate or not, I do not care-again, I’m side-eyeing you, Bug. Just…don’t lol), love and romance, and, of course, Gelato. I mean really…what else could a girl ask for? What else do you need? The answer is nothing.

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2 Comments

  1. Wonderful review! I haven’t read this book but it really sounds like an adorable read and the cover looks so cute. 🙂
    Raven recently posted…Last Star Burning (Last Star Burning #1) By Caitlin Sangster [Review]My Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      October 27, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Ahh thank you! I adored it! I loved Anna and the French Kiss way more but this was such a wonderful surprise….I hope you give it a try 🙂

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