Sunday, August 5, 2018

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Narrated by Rebekkah Ross
Synopsis (via Goodreads): “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.
“Turns out there's a reason they call it falling in love, because when it happens - really happens - that's exactly how it feels. There's no doing or trying, you just let go and hope that someone's going to be there to catch you.” 
This was the perfect summer read! Lina's story really resonated with me, and I could definitely see myself doing the things that she did. I wanted to both speed through this one and savor the experience, so it's a good thing I listened to the audiobook with a set pace. I think I might have devoured it too quickly on my own and it would have been over too soon. (Also, the narrator was phenomenal!)

Lina lost her mother and was tossed into an unfamiliar world with a father she didn't know, a country she had never been to, and a culture she was unprepared for. I enjoyed watching Lina navigate her new life, and the journal she inherited from her mother was just icing on the cake. Lina's mother was a prominent character, and we mostly only see her through journal entries. Despite that, the author makes Hadley (her mother) stand out and claim part of this story as her own. I loved listening to those entries and trying to solve the mystery along with Lina and Ren.

Ren was the sweetest guy and was eager to help Lina find her footing in Italy. They ran into each other on accident, but their relationship made me believe in fate. They were meant for each other, and I liked watching their relationship grow despite some obvious problems. I'm happy Lina decided to share her mother's journal with him, because adventures with Ren were infinitely better than sulking solo.

I also adored Howard (her father). He didn't know Lina existed until shortly before she came to live with him. He did everything he possibly could to make sure she felt welcome and was comfortable. He didn't try to force her into conversations she wasn't ready for, or try to be an overbearing parent, but simply let her live and gave her room to breathe. Howard knew she was hurting and needed time to adjust before they tried to move forward.

Lina keeps in touch with her best friend by making random phone calls and video chatting. Again, the author brilliantly portrays a secondary character with very little information. It was like we'd all been friends forever.

It was such a wonderful reading experience on so many levels. I've never had a strong desire to visit Italy, but now I have an itch. Jenna Evans Welch has successfully made me want to traverse Italy and see every site mentioned in this book. Love & Gelato is my own version of Lina's mom's journal. It will be my map to secret bakeries, interesting sculptures, and the best gelato in the world. I cannot recommend this one enough!

“So... Italian gelato. Take the deliciousness of a regular ice-cream cone, times it by a million, then sprinkle it with crushed-up unicorn horns.” 

“A life without love is like a year without summer.” 

48 comments:

  1. I just added this to my wishlist so dang fast - hopefully my library has it. It sounds perfect for me right now; totally something I'm in the mood for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you love it as much as I did! I really enjoyed the audiobook, but I'm buying a physical copy for my shelves. It's definitely a book I will re-read in the future. <3

      Delete
  2. oh that's great! Ilove your enthousiasm for this one and now I'm so curious too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard not to get enthusiastic about this one! The story and characters are infectious.

      Delete
  3. I have a blogger friend, Sam, who *loves* this book so much. It sounds like it has so much going for it. I like the fact that her mother is such a presence in the story, even though she's not really present. And her father sounds wonderful - supportive and caring. And Ren sounds like the perfect book boyfriend. :) I'm so glad this was a hit for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I DO love this book! I was so happy to see Lindsi liked it too. And yes Tanya, Ren was a beautiful soft boy, just the way I love them.

      Delete
    2. Tanya, I'm surprised you haven't read this one! It seems like something you'd really enjoy. The romance is subtle, but meaningful. They're both dealing with separate issues that sort of get in the way, but their feelings are always there. Her mother was a force, and I hate that she died when she did. It opened up an entirely new world for Lina, but it was still a world without her mother. I also wish her mother had made some slightly different choices. Beautiful story with wonderful characters!

      Sam, I LOVED it! I thought Ren was adorable, caring, and thoughtful. I really loved that he was afraid of Howard (who is just as sweet) because Howard thought he was one of the guys that chased her down in the car, haha. He never got over that! Then the coins, the scooter rides... ahhh it was perfection.

      Delete
    3. Lindsi - Sam's review was convincing but I'm reading less and less YA (just feeling more inclined for adult reads) but now with your review on top of hers... I'm caving! LOL I'll add it to my library list and try to get to it sometime soon(ish).

      Delete
    4. I cannot wait to see what you think! I don't read as much YA as I used to, but there are still certain titles that I cannot resist! The premise for this one was just too enticing. <3 I've started reading more and more NA/Adult books, too.

      Delete
  4. I need to read this one. Everyone is loving it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! And now you have a lovely backyard with a pool to read beside. ;)

      Delete
  5. That sounds good and like everyone else said, I'm seeing it all over and everyone is loving it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I already want to re-read this one! I still have the audiobook checked out from my library, so I might do just that... <3

      Delete
  6. Oh this is such a lovely review, I'm really happy you enjoyed this book so much! It's been on my TBR for a little while now and it sounds like the perfect summer read indeed, I'll have to get to it at some point :)
    Wonderful review! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope you're able to get to it soon! It was such an amazing book that really fit my current mood. :)

      Delete
  7. I've been meaning to pick this book up since it came out, I just haven't gotten around to it. It sounds like such a perfect book for summer. I really need to get to this one. Thanks for your review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I'm so happy I read this book when I did! It was perfect for summer, but I think it would be lovely to read during the winter, too. It would add a little warmth and sunshine to the colder months. ;)

      Delete
  8. I remember reading reviews for this one :)
    Also...never had gelato

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've never had gelato? It's basically edible magic. <3

      Delete
  9. This sounds like an wonderful story set in an amazing place! I'm always on the lookout for a great audio book, so I'll have to check this out! Fab review, Lindsi! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The narrator was lovely! She really complimented the story and brought it to life. I could definitely see Lina sounding just like that! Let me know what you think whenever you decide to read it. :)

      Delete
  10. The cover of this book has me MELTING. Get it ;D *wink, wink, nudge, nudge.* I'll have to check out this book eventually! Great review :)

    Elle Inked @ Keep on Reading

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Try not to drip all over the pages when you have a chance to read it! ;)

      Delete
  11. Glad to hear you really liked this one! It does seem like a lovely summer read.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was absolutely perfect! It was everything I wanted in a book and more. <3

      Delete
  12. I liked this one so much! And I agree- makes you want to visit Italy! I can't wait to read her next one and see how she handles Ireland. I liked Lina and Ren as well- they made an awesome couple, and Howard was great too. I really had no complaints about this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm starting to think I was one of the last people to read this one! Why did I wait so long?? Like you, I cannot wait to read Love & Luck! I liked her Addie/Addy in this one, even though she's only mentioned when they video chat and talk on the phone. Her personality seemed so big and like she'd be a lot of fun to read about.

      Delete
  13. I just finished this book last week too and adored it! I've been to Florence once and I think she just captured it so perfectly. Now I really want to go back, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After reading this one, I know I'll have high expectations when I visit Italy for myself, so I'm happy to hear she captured it perfectly! I've been to Germany, but none of the places she mentioned in the book. How was Florence? Have you had gelato? My experience was pretty magical as well, lol.

      Delete
  14. This sounds like a fun summer read. Love the foreign setting and the role family plays in this. Adding this to my TBR!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful! I enjoyed everything about this book and cannot wait to read more by this author. I believe Love & Luck was published in May, so I'm probably going to read that one really soon! :)

      Delete
  15. I've heard literally nothing negative about this book, only that it was cute and everyone loved it! (But I still haven't read it yet, Lol)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love & Gelato was everything I wanted in a book (and more)! I hope you're able to get to it soon! It's amazing when a single book can be loved by so many people. <3

      Delete
  16. Replies
    1. One of the best books I've read all year! It's easily a new favorite. :)

      Delete
  17. I have this on my shelf. Sounds like I should get to it sooner rather than later!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would highly recommend reading it as soon as possible. <3

      Delete
  18. I like how the MC's mother, even though she isn't around, is still a big part of the book, through her journal entries. And an Italian setting is always good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved the setting!

      Yes! I felt like Lina's mother, Hadley, was another character. It was interesting to learn about her college years and first experiences in Italy. It was like Lina got to experience those things with her mom and learn a little more about the person she used to be. Her mother never spoke about her time in Italy, or the things she did, so it was new information for everyone.

      Delete
    2. I guess I should say another prominent character, because just being in the book makes her a character, haha.

      Delete
  19. I had no idea there was a death in this - good to know. Maybe since it happens before the book starts I'd be okay with it. I do love Italy so there's that...
    Jen Ryland Reviews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't happen before the book starts, but right at the beginning. You see Lina with her mom (briefly) before the story skips ahead to the summer. There are a few references to that time, but mostly her mother's presence is just from the journal. Do you not like books that have death?

      Delete
  20. It's definitely not summer in my country anymore, but I just absolutely LOVE it when books make you believe in soul mates. I can't wait to meet Ren, and see him help Lina with her little adventure. And I really hope that I can resonate with Lina as much as you did. Fantastic review, Lindsi! ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been in the 100's for the last two weeks here. I would probably bathe in gelato at this point. Do they make vegan gelato? I tried gelato when I went to Germany, but that was before I became a vegan. I guess it's something I'll need to Google later, lol.

      Yes! There are actually two soul mate scenarios in this one. ;)

      I cannot wait for you to meet Ren and Lina, too. She's a little pessimistic at first, but running into Ren was probably the best thing to happen to her. He made her get out and see the city, meet new people, and really experience Italy and what it has to offer. She did the same for him when she shared her mother's journal. It was such a sweet romance despite its complications. I cannot wait to see what you think! <3

      Delete
  21. This is one of my favorite books and I love reading this in the summer. I've been to Florence and Jenna definitely transported me back to Firenze.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm happy to hear it felt authentic! It's always lovely when a book can transport us places we've been to in the past, or want to visit in the future. I may never visit Italy (even though I want to), but Love & Gelato gave me an experience I will never forget. I can definitely see myself re-reading this one every summer. <3

      Delete
  22. I just saw this on one of the Goodreads YA lists and realized that it really hasn't been on my radar. Glad to read a review---you've made me want to read it!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! It's such a wonderful book! The authors second book came out in May. I cannot wait to read it -- different perspective and set in Ireland (if I'm remembering correctly). I hope it's just as great! Love & Luck just so it's on your radar, too. <3

      Delete

Comments are like buttons on a shirt, you don't want to miss one! Please check the "notify me" box at the bottom so you don't miss my response.