First Loves in Firenze (Love + Gelato – A Book Review)

Love + Gelato
Author: Jennifer Evans Welch
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

Love and Gelato

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt



I made the wrong choice.

Carolina “Lina” Emerson is staying in Italy this summer with her father who she just met for the first time. It leaves her distracted from the wonder and magic of Italy. How did she not know about him until just recently?

While settling into her new home at an American cemetery for WWII soldiers, she tries to understand why her mother sent her here, but more than anything she just wants to go home. Then she meets charming Ren, her neighbor behind the cemetery.

After being given a journal, her mother’s, Lina and Ren begin an adventure to visit all of the places her mom did, experience art, find a secret bakery, all hoping to recreate the best summer of her other’s life as well as understand why she had Lina come here. However, Lina didn’t expect to be shell shocked by its contents that change her life forever and the residual emotions of loss. With Ren, she figures out some things she’s not sure she wanted to know. And as she tours Tuscany, she finds that people come from all around for the art and gelato. Sometimes they find so much more.

Lina, think. You’re alone in a foreign country, a certifiable giant has just stepped forward as your father, and your home could be the setting for a zombie apocalypse movie. Do something.


This book marks 4 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. This isn’t my typical book since I’m really into the Paranormal genre, but I couldn’t help myself because I love Italy.


This book was so sweet and beautiful so so pure. This book began on such a sorrow filled note, but I really loved that it turned into something more, something that could spring a new beginning with opportunities for newness and renewal. Handling the grief of losing a loved one is hard. You’re losing a part of your being, but this isn’t the focus. Lina is given the chance to understand and walk in her mother’s footsteps and keep a part of her close while discovering new things about herself.

Italia. Firenze. I spent Spring Break in Florence during my Senior year in college and I loved every second of it. From The Duomo to the Boboli Gardens to the Ponte Vecchio and SO MUCH MORE. It was all so splendidly placed throughout the story, really creating Florence and the rest of Tuscany. The shared history of the places wasn’t forced at all either. And the bright and lively color from the city to the sunsets to the food and the people of the country truly brought it to life. It was like I was back in Florence all over again and my heart just swelled with longing.


Lina isn’t some rebellious teenager. She’s just a girl who’s hurting, confused and feeling really lost. Ren helps her find her way, which is great because it can be scary being in new place you don’t want to be with no friends. He’s goofy, kind, and adorable that you can’t help but fall in love with him. He introduces her to new possibilities and of course, gelato. And let me tell you, you’ve never had gelato if you’ve never been to Italy. There is a difference between what you find at the supermarket versus what you get at a gelateria. It’s the air and the place and the feeling that surrounds you.

Lina’s adventures with Ren isn’t all that I got to experience during the book. There were also her mother’s adventures from her journal too. The journal entries were sprinkled throughout as Lina adjusted to her new life. Each one pulled me in deeper and deeper and I was completely captured, just like Lina, with how wild and spontaneous the woman was. I really loved getting this peeking at her mother’s life. We always wonder if we’ll follow in our parents’ footsteps and doing so by this journal felt good. Felt right.

Italian Hillside

There were many parts that I teared up at. There are discoveries that will pull at your heartstrings. I didn’t non-stop cry here, but I was feeling pretty shaky by the end. Family triumphs and first love finds always do that to me! Both are so special because they hold such a dear spot in your heart. So, no tears. But A LOT of heart pounding.

Every once in a while, I love reading a book like this. It’s special. There’s a purity and proof that there’s light in life. There are no major plot twists or major danger on the horizon. It’s just growing up and first loves and wonderful innocence.

Do I recommend this book? Si!



“From here on out there will only be before and after today.” (Lina, p. 2)

“My life was about to change. Again. What happened to normal, boring days?” (Lina, p. 272)

“The ring. The denial. The lie.” (Lina, p. 312)

“A life without love is like a year without summer.” (Howard to Lina, p. 376)


Below are a few other photos from my trip back in 2015. Such a beautiful country.  A week in Florence was too short.

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More to come soon…


P.S. Song today? Run Away with Me by Carly Rae Jepson


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There Once Was a God…Then He Fell into a Dumpster (The Hidden Oracle – A Book Review)

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2016

HIdden Oracle

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

My name is Apollo. I used to be a god.

There’s nothing worse than getting punished for something that wasn’t your fault, kind of not your fault. Zeus casts the god of poetry, music, and prophecy down from Olympus as punishment. Apollo crawls out of a dumpster to discover he’s no longer a god. What’s worse? He’s a teenager named Lester Papadopoulos with acne and *shiver* flab! With the help of his savior and master (and yep, you heard that right, master), Meg McCaffrey, they go to Camp Half-Blood to seek safety. Turns out that the camp isn’t as safe as it used to be. Demigods are missing and all forms of communication are on the fritz, even the Oracles.

Everybody looks to the great, err, Apollo to fix all of these problems. The utterly mortal and powerless Apollo, who—as he points out—can die now. They can’t expect him to fix all of this? How can he? With an old adversary following him, Apollo and his new enslaver, Meg, go on a quest so they—mostly Meg—can save the camp.

I had a lot of fun with this book. I really needed a book to make me laugh and this did the trick. Having read the Percy Jackson series, I’ve always been curious to see a god be brought down to the mortal playing field. It really pushed the series to a whole new limit because it seemed so unthinkable that a god would be the next to go on a world saving quest. Apollo was the perfect choice to be the one turned mortal. His vain arrogance made for a fun, raucous adventure. I snaughled so many times at Apollo. His expectations versus reality was Kool-Aid nose-spray worthy.

While this new series is a part of the Percy Jackson realm, it doesn’t make you feel alienated whatsoever. You’re given information regarding the previous books of the Percy Jackson realm when you need it. The story was fast, going from instant to the next at the snap of your fingers, so it made for a quick read. One bit that I found to be amusing, yet a wonderful emphasis on this series being done from Apollo’s POV, are the haikus at the beginning of every chapter. They act as humorous, mini prophecies for the chapter. Almost like when you hit your funny bone. You hit it and it’s not funny, but other people find it hilarious.


What was really eye-catching was seeing some of the old characters I know from earlier in the series like Percy Jackson and Nico di Angelo. Bringing them into the story, even though it’s brief, was nice because it showed that this Greek world remains all interconnected. I love when a series remains as such. That way we don’t forget the past adventures. Seeing how their lives were fairing was delightful, as it showed time moving forward rather than standing still.

Apollo Trials

This series is a good time. With pop cultural references and a god that believes the solar system revolves around him, which I guess it did at one point, there is a story about redemption. The journey is nowhere near close to being finished. I’ve started the second book already and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Rick Riordan must be a scribe to the gods because he does a splendid job writing stories of mythical proportions with the fluidity of moon water.


“If I’m being honest, I have to confess something else: all gods fear death, even when we are not encased in mortal forms.” (Apollo, p. 62)

“Oh, why does college have to happen to perfectly good people?” (Apollo, p. 139)

“I was a dramatic god.” (Apollo, p. 201)

More to come soon…


P.S. song today? Walkin’ On The Sun by Smash Mouth.


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From the Wrong Side of the Tracks (A Bad Boys Book List)

Hello, my lovely and beautiful bookworms.

Not long ago I posted a book list for those readers out who may be craving the bad girl. Now I present to you a book list for those of you craving a bad boy. Let’s’ be honest. Every once in a while…okay a lot. We enjoy our dangerous and daring and rebellious and seducing bad boy, not because they’d hurt us, but because they’d reach out to our deepest desires to reach out of our comfort zone and tap into the wild parts of us. And every once in a while we wish we were just as bold. Maybe it’s just a fantasy, but fantasies are a beautiful thing and we need them from time to time get the hell out of our lives.

Below I present a list and you may know a few of these already, but nonetheless I have books that present all kinds of bad boys. Some are supernatural and some are just down right dirty. While others touch on that sweet part in our hearts.

Some of these have already been reviewed here, on my blog. So take a peek.


Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire

BD - amazon

Travis Maddox, world renowned ass-kicker. Okay, not world renowned, but renowned in the small college town of Eakins, Illinois. Known for his fights and one night stands, he doesn’t do relationships or any kind of attachment. At one of his fights, he sees Abby Abernathy and she’s not like the usual girl. Though she wears the good girl cardigans, there’s something about her that isn’t goody two shoes at all. Determined to know her, they make a bet he knows he’ll win: if she loses she stays with him in his apartment for a month and if he loses he doesn’t get to have sex for a month. This new friendship is put to the limits when it extends to something more that neither of them were expecting.


Paper Prince/Broken Prince
Author Erin Watt

PP - Hypable

Reed Royal gets what he wants when he wants and rules don’t mean jack, but when his dad brings home a girl, Ella Harper, he’s stricken with odd feelings. It’s bad enough his dad is dating the gold-digger, Brooke, but now this? He isn’t sure if he likes Ella or hates her. Either way, his guard is up and he’ll be damned if it comes down. Like Brooke, he’s sure she’s here for Royal money. According to Dad, she’s here because of a promise. Whatever the case, Reed’ll do just about anything to see her gone, regardless of her being just as stubborn, sarcastic and feisty as him. That is, until she leaves and then he’ll do whatever it takes to get her back.


The Picture of Dorian Grey
Author: Oscar Wilde

Arkham cover D final

Young and narcissistic Dorian Gray is young forever thanks to a special painting of him. All of his years go into it and as long as he never looks at it he’ll be young forever. A heartbreaker to no end, he cares not for others’ lives, even those he drives to kill themselves. Guilt follows him everywhere though and he isn’t sure if he can escape it or the painting.



The Vampire Diaries
Author: L.J. Smith

TVD - PopSugar

Two brothers, vampires, fall in love with the same girl. Elena Gilbert, who looks strikingly similar to Katherine, their maker and the first woman they both fell in love with long ago when they were human. Stefan Salvatore, the sweet and caring brother, can’t stay away from Elena and needs to know her. Damon Salvatore, the eldest brother, is bent on revenge and won’t let the look-alike stand in his way of that…until he falls in love with her too. Could she redeem his dark years of bloodshed and hatred?


Fifty Shades of Grey/Grey
Author: E.L. James

Grey - Twitter

Christian Grey, CEO, rich, handsome and secretive. Anastasia Steel walks in to do an interview of him and his walls begin to crumble right then. He invites her into his world, reluctantly, of BDSM, a way he’s learned to deal with his past. While Anastasia is curious and wants to be with him, she’s unsure how far she can go. Christian doesn’t mind guiding her. In fact, he thrives on breaking her. Then suddenly he begins to worry for the first time in his life that he could lose her. Can he change? Can he come to terms with his past for Ana?


A Walk to Remember
Author: Nicholas Sparks

Walk to Remember - iDiva

Enter, Landon Carter. Bad boy of the town, he never expected to fall in love with Jamie Sullivan, the town’s minister. They’re thrown together through a thread of events. She gets to him in a way that nobody else has. She expects great things out of him when everybody else sees him as a delinquent. After meeting her, life will never be the same and will guide him to decisions he never imagined before her.


Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Oblivion - amazon

In LUX: Obsidian we saw through Katy’s POV how it was to be around the sarcastic, annoying and dangerous Daemon Black, a Luxen. An alien. In Oblivion, discover the world from the day Katy moved into the house next door from Daemon’s POV and delve deeper into what makes him tick, which just happens to be her. He can’t help but get under her skin just as she does to him.


Author: Lauren Oliver

Delirium - Epic Reads

Alex, a boy from the ‘Wilds’ falls in love with Lena. That’s not good since love is now considered a disease by the United States. But he doesn’t care. Breaking the rules of the dystopian society, he falls in love with her and doesn’t care if that means they’re infected. The government thinks otherwise.



Blood + Chocolate
Author: Annette Curtis Klaus

B+C - Chicken Smoothie

Vivian is young, wild and for the most part free, especially in her wolf skin under the sweet moon. Gabriel sees this and she knows he does. It disgusts her with the way he saunters about, acting like he’s the alpha when in fact he isn’t. Staring down badass bikers and any wolf that crosses his path, he likes it best when she’s around. There hasn’t been an alpha in a long time, since her father. When the time comes to choose one, can she stand behind someone so dangerous or will she stay with her safe, human, boyfriend who may be even more dangerous than him?


Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

A forbidden love. Nora Grey doesn’t go looking for it. Never has. Then comes Patch and something about him is off. After terrifying encounters and him knowing more about her than anyone, she isn’t so sure she wants to be around him anymore, no matter how drawn to him she is, especially after she discovers what he really is. A fallen angel. And though he’s in love with her, he’s there to kill her. Again, forbidden love. She didn’t go looking for it. Complicated and dangerous, it ran right smack into her.

Fallen Angels - tumblr


Got a favorite? Share in the comment section!

More to come soon…