Book Reviews: Our Last Days in Barcelona, Comfort Book & It Happened One Summer

Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Goodreads blurb: When Isabel Perez travels to Barcelona to save her sister Beatriz, she discovers a shocking family secret in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s new novel. Barcelona, 1964. Exiled from Cuba after the revolution, Isabel Perez has learned to guard her heart and protect her family at all costs. After Isabel’s sister Beatriz disappears in Barcelona, Isabel goes to Spain in search of her. Joining forces with an unlikely ally thrusts Isabel into her sister’s dangerous world of espionage, but it’s an unearthed piece of family history that transforms Isabel’s life.

Barcelona, 1936. Alicia Perez arrives in Barcelona after a difficult voyage from Cuba, her marriage in jeopardy and her young daughter Isabel in tow. Violence brews in Spain, the country on the brink of civil war, the rise of fascism threatening the world. When Cubans journey to Spain to join the International Brigades, Alicia’s past comes back to haunt her as she is unexpectedly reunited with the man who once held her heart. Alicia and Isabel’s lives intertwine, and the past and present collide, as a mother and daughter are forced to choose between their family’s expectations and following their hearts.

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book comes out May 24, 2022

my take: 4.75 out of 5. I love Chanel Cleeton’s books and this book keeps me in the fandom. I think her books are a perfect blend of romance, female centric stories and wonderful historical fiction. This is still the case here. The story, centering in two timelines and three characters, gives you not only dual perspectives but so many people to root for that you kind of want more book. I was very excited that in this book, we go back to the original Perez sisters, getting the Isabel story, after hearing about Elisa and Beatriz, now I cant wait for the Maria Saga (i know I’m greedy, I just want more). I also though the love stories where handled beautifully and its interconnectedness with the historical realities so well managed. If you love Next Year in Havana, please run to read this book as soon as it is out on the 24th of May (in the meantime read Beatriz’s book: When we left Cuba as well just to prevent any spoilers 😉 although it is not 100% needed I would recommend it )

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Goodreads blurb: Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face. Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

my take: 2.75 out of 5. I had much higher expectations of this book, as i had quite a bit of buzz. It is a cute romance, but it is was way more raunchy than it needed to be. This is not only an open door romance, its an open door, window and back door romance which was a bit much. I think it could have been dialed down somewhat. I did like the redeeming Schitts creek of it all, but the story, albeit engaging, was more predictable than a Hallmark movie (and I love me a Hallmark movie). I am way more interested on the next book that has to do with her sister, as she seems way more interesting.

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

Goodreads blurb: “It is a strange paradox, that many of the clearest, most comforting life lessons are learnt while we are at our lowest. But then we never think about food more than when we are hungry and we never think about life rafts more than when we are thrown overboard.”

The Comfort Book is Haig’s life raft: it’s a collection of notes, lists, and stories written over a span of several years that originally served as gentle reminders to Haig’s future self that things are not always as dark as they may seem. Incorporating a diverse array of sources from across the world, history, science, and his own experiences, Haig offers warmth and reassurance, reminding us to slow down and appreciate the beauty and unpredictability of existence.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5. I was obsessed with the midnight Library and it was my top book of 2020. I also really enjoyed the audiobook so as soon as I could I gravitated to this audiobook. First and foremost this is not one you should listed in an audiobook. This is one that if you are going to get you should get it in physical copy to revert to. Kind of like a book of affirmations and quotes. Although I really enjoyed it and I agree with a lot of what he said, i missed a lot on audio ( for example, i want his book list and song lists but really in audio its hard to revert to). It also has no story, so it doesn’t lend itself to the linear reading. It works more as a pick up and read something inspirational ever so often book. There were however some thoughts I loved (and that i actually wrote down whilst listening to them).

  • “words are seeds, language is a way back to life”
  • Hope and fear coexist, they both stem from uncertainty
  • There will be other days and other feelings
  • If you feel hope you can have change

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