Thank you to both Atria Books who sent me a copy to review as well as TLC Book Tours who also sent me a copy to feature! I love Renee Carlino so I was so so excited to get my hands on her newest book, unfortunately this one was not for me and it really bummed me out. I ended up giving this 2 stars.
Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio… Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.
The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.
For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection.
Before I really get into this I want to say I think many people will love this book and maybe it just rubbed me wrong. It could be a love it or hate it type read too, or I’ll just be an unpopular opinion. That said I do enjoy Renee’s writing and just because I didn’t like this particular book doesn’t mean I won’t continue to read her stories. Or that you shouldn’t try it if it sounds like something you’d really enjoy! It wasn’t poorly written, I still finished it quickly and enjoyed parts of it, it just didn’t end up being my cup of tea. ok, ok ramble ramble here goes my review:
I don’t know how to write this with out ranting, and I don’t really enjoy ranting in my reviews but I will do my best. This may also contain spoilers since I’ll probably be ranting about tons of different parts so just a heads up! This story was ridiculous. Its a second chance romance which I have no problem with except that this whole story felt unnecessary, like why the heck did it take 14… no 17? years for these two to finally get together when they acted in love the entire time even when Penny was married. These characters were just selfish to me. More so Penny than Gavin but they weren’t flawed, they just weren’t good characters. For the entire story Penny tries to explain her and Gavin’s intimate relationship off by saying no one understands their relationship, including her HUSBAND, and its not something she could explain other then they’re just really close, good friends. No, everyone understood your relationship, you two are in love and act highly inappropriate with each other for being a married woman. But sure no one understands.
I get the idea of getting pregnant and getting married because of it. I just think that stringing along a guy who actually loves you and seems like a genuinely good husband for that long and lying to him constantly about your relationship with another man is unkind. Penny would often say that her husband was controlling. It seemed like this was meant more for the reader so that we disliked the husband and wanted to root for her and Gavin instead. But she also would say how much her husband loved her and took care of her and their kid and the only time he was actually controlling was when it involved her hanging out with Gavin, who she emotionally cheats on her husband with. So, understandable that her husband may be controlling? And then her husband ends up ending the relationship, which is something Penny should have done YEARS ago, and he’s deemed the bad guy by her family and friends. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? He loved her and still ended it because he knew she wasn’t truly happy and he wanted her to be happy. Penny is all “I don’t want to be with Gavin I promise” month later is with Gavin. Penny just had zero character development.
I can’t tell you how many times I face palmed through this book. I just think it could have been done so much better. It didn’t need to be 14 years later. It could have built to them ending up together more naturally then feeling like she was just stringing her husband along for years while emotionally cheating on him the entire time. I enjoy second chance romances, but this one wasn’t done well to me. The only parts of this book I liked were the “14 years ago” parts. I liked reading how Gavin and Penny started out. Everything else just infuriated me. Gavin wasn’t as bad to me as Penny either, but the constant “I can’t be around you it hurts too much” then comes back five minutes later and always hitting on her when she’s with someone annoyed me. Also, Penny is finally single and the same thing that happened to her happens to Gavin, yea ok that was necessary you’re right, now lets stretch them out being together a few more years. UGH.
Overall it was a quick read, I didn’t enjoy it, but like I said I do think some people will love it. Renee is still a favorite author of mine I just couldn’t get on board with this particular story. Give it a try and let me know how you felt about it, I may just be very alone in this opinion haha!
I will be hosting a Giveaway of this book next week starting 8/17/18 on my Instagram @Katyslibrary so be sure to enter and then we can chat on your opinion!