(Jenna Evans Welch, 2016)
“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.
You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things. Love and Gelato.
What I Liked
- Exactly what I wanted
- I wanted fluffy and light. I wanted a travel novel. I wanted something that I could fly through and still enjoy, something I couldn’t put down. Check, check and check! It wasn’t a whirlwind romance with a European dream boat. But it had some rich Italian history, beautiful descriptions of the food, and lots of travel for sure. It was cute, and perfect for my current slumpy struggles. I am dying to get my hands on Love & Luck now!
- I LOVED the bit of mystery this book had. I wasn’t really expecting it, but it really acted as a nice focal point, pulling us through to the end. I had my predictions, but it was still fun watching everything come together for the characters. Very tastefully done.
- I loved that this book sparked a real desire for me to look up things that it mentioned. IDK that may be the Ravenclaw in me, but I really love books that describe a real place or thing to the point where I want to experience it too, so I look it up online. I know a travel novel is a good one if I look up at least two of the places/things mentioned in the story.
- Journal entries
- I know, how cliche. But I am a serious sucker for diaries/journals in books! I just cannot get enough of that and I really liked how it played into the story for this one. If I were Lina though, I don’t know that I would be able to read it in parts. I would probably binge the whole thing and then just be a mess afterward. I mean, if she just read the whole thing, a lot of time and guessing would have been saved but I get it. Grief materializes in many different ways and she just couldn’t handle it all at once. Either way, I really loved the journal entries. It felt like were were getting a second perspective.
- The art on both Love and Gelaton and Love and Luck are simple, but so dang cute. It just drew me in and put a smile on my face before I even opened it. Bravo to the person who designed these covers. They are so cute.
What I Disliked
- It took a little while for me to get into the writing for this book. I originally thought that it may be a bit simple and after reading two books that packed a bit more punch in the words department, but ended up not minding as much as the book progressed.
This is why I don’t really read descriptions anymore. I didn’t read this one until I was writing this post, and I am glad I didn’t because it would have taken some of the whimsy and fun out of the novel before I even opened it. I heard about this book because Hailey from Hailey in Bookland had mentioned it a number of times, particularly when she talked about travel novels. That’s all I needed to hear. Love and Gelato was the perfectly fluffy read I have been looking for. I really loved whipping through Florence with the characters, even looking up several of the locations so that I would have an accurate visual to go along with the author’s description. I actually even thought about printing out some of the pictures and inserting them into the book for an enhanced reading experience next time around. While the writing felt simple at first, it definitely lent itself to progress the story at a reasonable pace. The book as a whole, read very well. It was cute and fast paced, and everything I wanted.
This was the first book I actually “tabbed” meaning, I used sticky notes to bookmark certain parts of the book while I read it. I ended with a total of 5 tabs- two for quotes, two for research and one for characters. I think I am going to mention this new system in either an updates post or maybe even turn it into a discussion. Either way, it is a new system I am testing and will most likely alter as I go along.
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee