Release Day + Double Review + Excerpt: WISH YOU WERE HERE by Renée Carlino

8:00 AM

You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.  Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse. Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment. Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.  

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    “You’re making love sound tragic,” I said. “No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?” “Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said. “Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we "We were practically naked every second of the day.” “I like that.” “When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.” “What are they like? Our children.” “Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.” Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children? His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things. “I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be." I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”  
After just finishing this book, I sit here trying to find the write words to describe this book. While trying to keep the words at bay so that I can see the keyboard long enough to write.'s a tear jerker but tear jerkers are always the best books. You can never fake feelings when tears are streaming down your cheeks. 

This book is about love, loss, pain, and life. Nothing could have described life better than this book. I was caught in the waves of this book and it wanted me to drown before letting me come up for air. Carlino is one of my favorite authors and this didn't change. She pulls me in and leaves me reeling after every book. And I'm always like yes this one is my favorite with each new book but now I feel like I have a new favorite. 

Charlotte lives a very dull life. She works many sucky jobs, lives in an okay apartment with her best friend, and has no idea what she wants to do with her life. That's why she keeps going to college for what she thinks she wants but knows she will never follow through with it. And serving tortilla soup is definitely not what she wants to do with the rest of her life. 

But one day she mets this man. A strange but beautiful man. She feels like she knows him but she knows she would never forget a face like his if she had met him before. She winds up spending the night roaming the streets and getting to know this stranger...Adam. Charlotte is enthralled with his way of thinking and viewing of life. He seems to grab life by the horns and run with it. 

One night with this man and she's lost to him. To his smile, his view of the world but that all changes when he kicks her out the next morning in a not so kind way. She's never had the best of luck when it came to the opposite sex but she was so sure something was special about him. 

Months later she still hasn't forgotten the mysterious man but he's no where to be seen. And she quickly finds herself in a growing relationship with a baseball player named Seth. He's crazy about her but she knows she won't be able to fully commit to him and to stop thinking about Adam until she gets some answers. 

Quickly things turn out to be not as they seem and Charlotte finds herself in for the ride of her life. Something that will be written down in history books, talked about in romance novels, and painted on walls. 

Love, loss, pain, and life. 

This book is one of my favorites of the year and something that I see myself re-reading for years to come. These are my favorite kinds of books. I live for the feels and this book will have you grabbing the tissues, eating the chocolate, and the wine right out of the bottle. But you wouldn't have it any other way. 
This was only my second novel by Renée Carlino. When I first started reading it I really felt like something was off. I wasn't connecting with the story or characters. I couldn't place my feelings on the book yet and wasn't even sure I was enjoying it. But right around the halfway mark the whole story turned around, things became clear and I found myself devouring every word!

"This is the part about one-night stands that I hate. In the end, everyone is just pretending."

WISH YOU WERE HERE starts with a one night stand and a cold shoulder. Charlotte feels rejected and used. What she thought was something special turns into something that could possibly be her biggest regret. Despite her hurt feelings and his strange behavior, she finds herself still thinking about him almost a year later. Can she get past this one person who left such an impact on her and move on? You'll have to read to find out.

"I was in love with his spontaneity. I envied it."

Like I said, once I hit about the halfway mark in this story I couldn't stop. I was so invested in the story, these characters lives and what would happen next that I found myself up into the wee hours of the night finishing the book. I went into reading this book knowing basically nothing about the story. The synopsis doesn't give much away so I want to try and do the same but I will leave you with this: my eyes were leaking without my permission by the end of this book. I. Don't. Cry! Books never make actual tears fall but this one did. I wasn't expecting to have these kinds of feelings when I picked this one up. I really enjoy her writing style and will definitely be reading more of her work.

"It was the first time I’ve ever really been scared to die. I think because it’s the first time I’ve ever really wanted to live." 

Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at 

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