Archive for May, 2022

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Genre: Romance

Lina is spending the summer in Italy with the father she’s never known after the tragic death of her mom. Howard, her father, seems eager to please and although he wants to explain why he hasn’t been a part of her life Lina puts him off because she’s not ready to hear it just yet. Meanwhile, she receives the diary her mother kept the year she went to art school in Italy and she slowly begins learning what happened to her mother the year before she got pregnant. Lina also meets a local boy named Ren who agrees to show her around Florence and introduce her to other students of the American high school, a place Lina still isn’t sure she wants to go in the fall. As Ren and Lina become friends she allows him to read her mother’s journal and the two of them decide to start retracing her mother’s footsteps. Can they get to the bottom of why Lina’s mom left Italy and Lina’s father behind when she clearly loved it there? Will she ever learn why Howard was never a part of her life? Will Lina and Ren become more than friends?

This romance story has a beautiful setting in Italy and Lina does visit everything from famous landmarks to local restaurants, which makes for a fun journey. Lina’s grief for her mother is very clearly illustrated with her words and actions, but it is still frustrating to watch her struggle to find the truth when it could have been so much easier if she had trusted those around her. At times, both Lina and Ren act in ways that don’t seem to fit with their character up to that point, but as everyone knows, sometimes you can’t help how you feel. Recommended for audiences that enjoy romances.

Remember Me Gone by Stacy Stokes

Genre: Mystery/Fantasy

Lucy was born and raised in Tumble Tree Texas where her father has continued his family legacy of being able to take people’s sad memories away from them. People come from all over to have their memories taken and put into jars so that they can feel unburdened and Lucy was raised to believe this was a good thing her father does. Lucy has always harbored a desire to travel like her mother, but ever since her mother died those plans have been put on pause. It’s only when Lucy runs into the mayor’s nephew that she begins to realize that she thinks her memories of him are mysteriously gone. Something about him is familiar, but she can’t put her finger on it like the memory has been wiped away. Is it possible that her father would take her memories without her permission? Why would he want her to forget a classmate? Or were they more than that? Also, why does her father sneak out at night to go to the nearby mines? What is the mayor hiding about the mines that employ most of the town and how is her father involved? Can she ever recover what she lost? Will she ever really leave this town or is she trapped?

This unique story follows a girl who is trying to decide who she is and what her family does. The idea of memories is especially interesting because there are so many things tied up in memories that even though it might sound like a good idea to have things that are painful removed, it is never really that easy. It also does a nice job of showing how people with too much power and ulterior motives can absolutely influence a large number of people into doing their bidding. The story starts slow as it sets the scene, but is well worth the intricate plot and surprising twists as the story really takes off. The ending is very satisfying and believable, which is impressive with so much to resolve.