Read Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino Online

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From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.To the Green-eyed Lovebird:We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at SFrom the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.To the Green-eyed Lovebird:We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?M...

Title : Before We Were Strangers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781501105777
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Before We Were Strangers Reviews

  • Amy Harmon
    2018-12-23 07:48

    I got a chance to read an ARC of this book. I had never read anything by Renee Carlino before, but I have admired her from afar and had heard nothing but good things. I LOVED this book. And it made me cry. That rarely happens to me. I read with half my brain in critique mode. I can't help it. It must come from writing novels myself, but I can't ever turn off that part of my brain when I read anymore. But my brain was quiet and my heart was heavy in a lovely fat way. I highly recommend.

  • Christy
    2019-01-02 12:58

    4 stars!To the Green-eyed Lovebird: We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House…. I love stories about first loves. I love stories that go from past to present. And we all know I love Renee Carlino’s writing. I read Sweet Thing when it first came out and have been a huge fan ever since. This book had so many elements that I loved (view spoiler)[ and if it wasn’t for my HUGE issue with one bit of miscommunication it could have easily been a 5 star read for me: I’m sorry, but Grace… I’m not buying that you couldn’t get ahold of him for 15 years. I know you tried, but you knew his mom’s name, number, and address. And his father and brother were attorneys with their own practice. With news that dire, there would ALWAYS be a way to get info to him. And I felt like he was robbed… and it hurt my heart. Rant over ;) LOL(hide spoiler)] and even with the issue I had, it was still a beautiful, emotional and captivating read that I would recommend. Grace and Matt’s story spans 15+ years. I would say close to half the book is written from the past, and the other half, the present. I’m not going to lie- I loved the past chapters. Watching Matt and Grace fall in love, seeing their younger, free spirit and artistic selves made my heart happy. All the past scenes were fantastic. Matt and Grace became ‘fast friends’ their senior year at college. Matt is a photography major, and Grace majors in music where she plays the cello. Their fast friendship quickly turns into more. Their breakfast for dinner, impromptu photoshoots, concerts, and all around fun times show a happy and completely in love couple. When it comes time for graduation, things become difficult. Matt has a once in a lifetime opportunity to intern with National Geographic for the summer. And be away from Grace for months. And Grace has an opportunity to travel with an orchestra for a year and a half. Their lives are going in different directions, but both are determined to stay together. Fast forward 15 years…. Time passes, life goes on, places change, people change. And still, I couldn’t get Grace off my mind after seeing her… Fifteen years is too long to be holding on to a few heart-pounding moments from college. There were things I loved about the present as well. Aside from the miscommunication, it was great to see Grace and Matt reconnect again. They are both endearing characters. I love how they both never had anything like their first love. Their love for each other. It’s a romantic concept. Falling fast and hard and never truly moving on from the first love, the love of your life. Throughout the book, I rooted for these two. I desperately wanted them to have their happy ending. If you’re looking for a fantastic first love story, a second chance romance story, a friends to lovers story, or a beautifully emotional story- Before We Were Strangers is the book for you. Renee Carlino’s writing and character development is wonderful. The end left me with a happy heart and a smile on my face.“This is our time. You’re the love of my life. I fucking love you, Grace. I’ve always loved you. I loved you when I wasn’t with you, and before that, and right now.”["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Angela
    2018-12-31 09:56

    "she was perfect... poetry in motion- the evidence of a life burning well and bright." I do not say this lightly... This is one of the best contemporary books I've ever read. If you know me, then you know contemporary is my least favorite genre. There are some thing I'd like to clear up right away though. BWWS isn't an action packed book with a massive slap you plot twist, and for some reason it is classified in the YA section of the book store. This novel is simply what it says it is, a sweet feel good read, which is one of it's best qualities. Second in my opinion it should be filed under New Adult. It does straddle the line of Ya and Na, but to me it falls into the latter. This is also a plus for this book.BWWS is a novel following two main characters. Matt who is a photography student and Grace who is a music major. Matt is really starting to discover who he is as an artist when Grace falls into his life. Matt is perfection when it comes to leading males. He is everything we want in a lead while bring something new to a protagonist. He is confident, charismatic, and so sarcastic. Completely loved everything about his character. I liked his charm and was consumed by his thoughts. I loved how he never second guessed who he is as a person. He has easily became one of my all time favorite leading males. Grace however was his opposite. She is confident, but is so clearly closed off. She is broken and lost. The way Matt knows who he is, is the way Grace struggles to feel herself out. As their relationship grows so does both their personalities. They're relationship y'all, is perfection. It feels so real. You will really feel like you're going through everything with them. They're ups and downs will feel like yours. You will be experiencing all the emotions and pain right along with them, and it's flipping fantastic. The way these two feed off each other is amazing. They had me laughing, grinning, blushing, and breaking my heart. Sometimes all those feelings were happening at the same time. I probably cried ten times while reading this book. I wasn't even half way through and I had cried at least four. These two are a couple from the moment they meet you'll want to have a happy ending. I'm a sucker for books that the couple are friends first (legit friends) then turn into something more. Carlino makes this process seem effortless... Like she was born with a laptop in hand to deliver us friend first romance. The plot is as I said above, steady. It's not a book where something is just going to jump out at you. This is 100% okay! The pacing was completely fine for me. I usually hate the mild speed of contemporary books, but not with BWWS. Their journey is sweet and perfectly timed. I was super worried reading because the first half the book was so strong, I feared the last half wouldn't live up. I thought the jump from past to present would do the same. I was taken back when neither of these things turned me off. I wont however lie to you... YOU WILL KNOW WHAT IS COMING!!! I saw it coming the moment it was winked at, I thought this would in the long run make me lower my rating. NOPE. When it happens and everything comes to light I was still (continued to be) a big blubbering mess. Not exaggerating at all... mess like-sitting in the middle of my bed, wrapped up like a burrito, using the bottom of my shirt as a tissue with no shame-mess.Before We Were Strangers was a very pleasant surprise. I definitely under estimated how much this book was going to effect me. A book I simply thought would be a fill-in read till I figured out what I wanted to really dive into next. Turned out to be a huge punch to my heart. Anything that might be considered a "flaw" is wiped away by the pure beauty of Carlino's writing and by the way she will pull you into this love story. A book where the romance scenes are soul warming and the love feels authentic. Carlino takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of a read, and doesn't miss a chance at pulling at our heartstrings. Before We Were Strangers is the definition of "all the feels". READ THIS REVIEW AND OTHERS OVER ON OUR BLOG: SBSR SBSR SBSR SBSR SBSR SBSR SBSR SBSR SBSR Just a little side-note too, I thought the cover and title of this book were gorgeous but after reading it realize just how amazing they really are.

  • Aj the Ravenous Reader
    2018-12-30 10:07

    ""From the time you’re born, you have no control; you can’t choose your parents, and, unless you’re suicidal, you can’t choose your death. The only thing you can do is choose the person you love, be kind to others, and make your brutally short stint on earth as pleasant as possible."After this first Renee Carlino read, I’m an instant fan! Grace and Matt first met as senior university students- best friends turned lovers. Each a perfect half of one perfect heart, torn apart by time and fate but chanced upon each other by the same twisted fate fifteen years later! Does this mean a second chance for “the one that got away “or just a long overdue closure?Oh my feels! Read the book! Read the book! Read the book! You hear me? READ.THE.BOOK!Matt and Grace are adorable people. Matt’s unrelenting love and beautiful personality with his incredible talent in creating photos that have a story telling quality is impressive. Grace’s selflessness is endless and awe-inspiring. Her passion for music and devotion for her family (no matter what the cost) will make your heart burst. It’s really hard to point out flaws. It’s hard to tell which of them was wrong because really, they’re both just victims of wrong timing and an evil scheming witch named Elizabeth. The story, written with comfortable ease and gracefulness is like the perfect blend of the most wonderful elements taken from books I adore without coming off as an imitation. The younger version of the characters reminded me so much of the adorable Dylan and Gray of First Comes Love series. The plot kind of reads a little like that of Love, Rosie only so much better and the element of music made me think of Where She Went. In short, it’s an unforgettably beautiful book you won’t be able to put down once you’ve begun.The story broke my heart in the most beautiful ways (if that was possible) without being mean or tragic or dramatic. It’s raw and natural and true, it hurts. Somebody, please gag me now before I spill the entire story.Thanks for the wonderful, wonderful recommendation, Arch. You can read his beautiful review here.

  • Arianna✦❋SteamyReadsBlog❋✦
    2019-01-16 09:45

    3.5 Stars!!“Before We Were Strangers” is a sweet, emotional story about two individuals who fall for each other two times. It’s a story about falling in love for the first time/finding second chance at love. Intense and heartwarming, but also heartbreaking at times, this story is told both in the past and in the present from both MC characters’ perspective. You certainly will enjoy this story if you’re a fan of missed connections listings. "To the Green-eyed Lovebird: We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House…"Matt and Grace meet each other in college. Matt is a photography student and Grace is a music major. Matt has good reasons from wanting to escape LA. While his family has money, Grace’s family is poor. She’s struggles to pay her tuition and she’s trying really hard to get good enough to be a studio musician. Matt is mesmerized with Grace from the beginning. She seems shy, but she can also be brazen. He is drawn to her like a moth to a flame and Grace seems to be intrigue by Matt as well. They start to hang out every day and soon they become more, but fate intervenes and they somehow are split up. “I just met her at the wrong time. Fifteen years have gone by and I still think about her.”Fifteen years have passed and Matt still remembers Grace and how good they were together. He never forget her smile or how talented she was with her cello, he never found a way to let her go. He recently divorced, so he’s not looking for a relationship. But when he spots Grace from across the subway and she seems to recognize him, he knows he has to find her. He posts a missed connection add on Craigslist and hopes that somehow Grace for a second time will find her way to him.“We were victims of bad timing. But here we are again.”“Before We Were Strangers” was a sweet, enjoyable read, well written for the most part and while I didn’t love it, I liked it. Honestly I enjoyed the past more. IMO was written better and unlike the present nothing was rushed. At least for me. I love first love romance novels, so I really enjoyed this aspect here. I loved how Matt and Grace started a tentative friendship that blossomed to something more. Their relationship development was really well done. You can actually figure out when exactly their feelings for each other start to change. Matt and Grace were great, endearing characters. I liked them separately and I loved them together. They were sweet, they were fun and they warmed my heart with their antics and interactions. “No one could change the past or give us back the time we had lost, and there were no words to make everything better. We just had to accept the present for what it was.”The past had some enjoyable moments as well. It was great seeing these characters trying to reconnect. Both Matt and Grace from the past were likeable and I liked the fact that their voices felt different from the ones in the past. I liked the fact that they never forget each other, but I would have a liked to feel a more powerful connection between them. What it didn’t work for me in was the miscommunication between these two characters and of course the drama that fallowed. Also, I think both Matt and Grace didn’t try finding each other hard enough. I won’t go into details about what actually happened, but for me the whole situation they were in wasn’t so believable. The ending was sweet and full of hope, but was too rushed for my liking. Everything has been resolved too quickly. But this is just my opinion. Overall, this was a nice, enjoyable read, but obviously not my favorite second chance romance I’ve read so far.

  • Hulya Kara Yuksel
    2019-01-02 12:02

    The End and I'm crying so bad.. :( My God, It was phenomenal. This book gave me a lot things to think about. <3 I felt every sad and happy moment while I was reading it. I loved it so much... :)Please just read this amazing book and don't forget to listen Jeff Buckley's Grace album while you're reading it. Link is below. :)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bawbk...-------------------And Renee, thank you so much for this story. :)-------------------“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-­consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t love another or move on; it just means that the one spontaneous moment, the split second that you took the leap, when your heart was racing and your mind was muddled with What ifs?—that moment—will never happen the same way again. It will never feel as intense as the first time. At least, that’s the way I remember it. That’s why my mother always said we memorialize our past. Everything seems better in a memory.” “The present is our own. The right-this-second, the here-and-now, this moment before the next, is ours for the taking. It’s the only free gift the universe has to offer. The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, and the future is just a fantasy, never guaranteed. But the present is ours to own. The only way we can realize that fantasy is if we embrace the now.” “And in that moment, you realize how little control you have over your own destiny. From the time you're born, you have no control; you can't choose your parents, and, unless you're suicidal, you can't choose your death. The only thing you can do is choose the person you love, be kind to others, and make your brutally short stint on earth as pleasant as possible.” "Like nothing else in life, sex is perfectly selfless and selfish all at once. Hot and cold, yin and yang, black and white, and all of the shades in between.” “It was like the universe was teasing us; we saw each other just a second too late.” "Once there was a you and meWe were loversWe were friendsBefore life changedBefore we were strangersDo you still think of me?"

  • Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤
    2018-12-28 08:48

    IT'S LIVE Amazon: http://t.co/kIjeEcUqA6B&N:… https://t.co/7GjkrjEVR85 BEAUTIFUL STARSSuch a beautiful,sweet,heartbroken,intense and emotional story!!I didn't want to finish it!It felt so realistic and unique and I had so many feelings while I was reading it!This story touched me in so many ways that there are moments that I was crying and other moments where I was smiling and swooning because I was so happy!The story is told both in the present and in the past and this made me feel so inside the story,like I was with Grace and Matt! We see how they became friends in the past when they were still in college.How they slowly developed a passionate and intense relationship!And soon this developed in something more,an epic love.But sometimes people have dreams and love isn't enough to keep people together.Now after 15 years they meet again and love is still there.But nothing can be easy,they have to uncover secrets to finally have their second chance..I loved Matt and Grace so much!They are one of these couples that you wish they have their happy ending!!There is something special in their relationship, there is love,passion and intensity.I fell in love with Matt immediately!I loved him so much especially the moments he was crying because this made him real!You don't read often about men crying in books.Grace is sweet,funny and kind.I can see why Matt fell in love with her!There are moments where she talked about her family and I feel sorry for her!Close to the end around 80% , we have a twist which I didn't see it coming!This book was a surprise for me since I have read a book from this author before and I didn't like it a lot!But with this one she goes on the top of my favorite books and authors!If you are looking for an emotional story this is exactly what you need!!I highly recommend it!!ARC provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • ♥~♥Geri Reads ♥~♥
    2019-01-01 10:11

    This book sort of sneaked up on me. Despite the fact that it used one of my least favorite plot devices in romance ever, I still ended up liking this a lot. Matt and Grace met during their senior year at NYU. Grace is a music major while Matt is photography. They immediately bonded from the moment they met through their mutual love of the arts and Jeff Buckley. Slowly but surely their friendship evolved from friendship into something more. They became inseparable but the end of college, miscommunication, and misunderstanding brought an end to their relationship. Their break-up had far-reaching implication on both of them. While they moved on with other people, they never really got over each other.Fifteen years later, Matt saw Grace and everything came rushing back. But picking up the pieces of their relationship was harder said than done. And both Matt and Grace had to deal with secrets and resentments and a whole slew of other issues. Before We Were Strangers was told in dual POV and is set in the past and the present. Renee Carlino slowly unravel the threads for her readers in her trademark prose, which I find really engaging. Grace was a free spirit and Matt is desperate to prove to his father that he didn't make a mistake in choosing photography instead of law.The first part was a bit slow but since I don't mind slow, it wasn't an issue for me. The only issue for me was the plot device used to break them up. I truly loathe (view spoiler)[the big misunderstanding/miscommunication (hide spoiler)] plot device simply because it brings too much unnecessary drama and assumption that usually don't end well for the characters and me as the reader. But like I said, despite that I felt for both Grace and Matt. They suffered the consequence of their actions. I didn't mind the other plot device since I felt it was handled well. But again, the involvement of another character which I felt added to the length of their separation was grating. Ugh. Also, Matt was a wet noodle for not trying hard enough. I'm pretty sure we already have Internet in the late '90s but he didn't really try very hard to find Grace. Which was disappointing. Still, this book tugged at my heartstrings. Plus the writing was stellar. I loved Renee Carlino's voice. So despite my issues with the plot and the characters, this book touched me. I was rooting for the characters to get their HEA, and once my feelings get invested, those little annoyances usually fade into the background.ARC provided by Atria via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • London
    2019-01-17 12:58

    I need a good hour to sit down and vent everything that was wrong with this book. That fucking pathetic excuse for a hero that I would have loved to punch in the nuts! Ugh don't even get me startedI had fallen in love with him at the beginning only for everything to go completely downhill after 25%! The book starts out in his POV and for the first 20 some oddd % into the book I was thinking "omg finally a 5 star read!" I was so sure that this was going to be an epic love story but it all went down hill after that.STRIKE ONEMatt & Grace aren't officially together for the first several months into their friendship, however, to me they were basically together. They spent all of their time together and they were completely inseparable. At one point in the book some people mention to Grace how the dark room where Matt goes to print is film is known for having raging parties and people hooking up. She considers how this might be true because every Friday when Matt would come home from the dark room he would be a bit tipsy. They weren't officially together and hadn't even kissed yet but it was easy to understand how she might assume it could be true.She goes to dinner with a professor that she has a feeling might be into her but it was totally platonic. She sees Matt on the way to the restaurant but she's so hurt by what she heard that she tells him to go and brushes him off. When she gets back to the dorms from dinner Matt is sitting on the couch with a girl on his lap and taking body shots off her tits and making out with her right in front of Grace.To me this was A COMPLETE 180 from the Matt we get when we read the book in his POV. It just felt so out of character and quite frankly incredibly cruel. What bothered me the most is that when she tries to get him jealous too by saying okay fine I'll hook up with a guy there.. he stops here. And that's it.The subject is never brought up again and he never even apologizes for his behavior. That was one major strike against him for me. It was just insensitive and incredibly immature. STRIKE TWOOnce the two are finally together everything is smooth sailing but their relationship is kind of in limbo. He accepts a National Geographic photography internship out of the country for 3 months and never even considered her at all when saying yes. At this point they are in love and he claims to be so in love with her. Wtf?However, when the heroine is offered a wonderful opportunity to travel for a year in her professors orchestra, she says no. You know it's because she loves the hero so much. The topic of what's going to happen between them comes up but not once during the conversations does he ever consider or bring up not going or what will happen between them.A while before he is set to leave she asks him what he would say if she were to ask him not to go and he gets PISSED. Not only that but when she's asking him why he doesn't just leave his belongings in her dorm rather than send them back to his mom in California if he's only going to be gone for three months he says "right, but you never know." He didn't even think of her and would have obviously stayed longer and not even taken her into consideration. It just broke my heart to see him hurting her and he didn't seem in love with her AT ALL.He jerked back and crossed his arms over his chest, cocking his head to the side. “Would you ask me to?” Frustration could be read in every line on his face.Lying there beneath him, I felt more vulnerable than I ever had before. I wanted to ask him to stay, but how could I be so selfish? If I asked him, would he love me less, if he even loved me at all? I couldn’t take his dream away to make mine better. I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t destroy what we had created.“Answer me. Would you fucking ask me to turn this down?”I didn’t want him to, but I just needed to know if he would. “Would you stay if I asked you to?”His jaw clenched. He was breathing heavily. Through gritted teeth, he seethed, “Yes, but I’d hate you for it. So ask me. Go ahead.” It felt like he was taunting me. I began to cry. “Ask me to fucking stay here and work at the PhotoHut while you go to grad school. Do it.”I shook my head but couldn’t form the words.He bent over and gripped my face hard, glaring into my eyes. “Fucking Christ, Grace, this isn’t good-bye. This is ‘see you later.’ Tell me you can handle that, please. Say that you can handle that.”I was hyperventilating now. He was angry but his expression revealed love beneath the ferocity.“We made no promises to each other,” I whispered. “I’m sorry I brought it up. We’ll just see how things go, okay? This is just a ‘see you later.’ ”He nodded. “That’s right.”WHAT AN ASSHOLE!STRIKE THREEDon't even get me started on when he gets pissed at the heroine when he finds out something that HIS EX-WIFE caused NOT THE HEROINE.He finds out that his ex wife is the reason that he didn't end up with grace and that she had in fact been trying to reach him for years. And yet when the cock sucking asshole finds out about the daughter he never met he has the audacity to get pissed at the heroine? You stupid fucking dick she had still been trying to reach you after she thought you dumped her for another woman! How dare he get pissed at her and say she didn't try hard enough!? How he fuck was she supposed to know the letters that your ex wife wrote pretending to be you weren't actually from you. And then the son of a bitch dead beat asshole (sorry but I'm so angry I have to curse to vent it all out) immediately runs out the door and leaves her standing there. He then accepts a job out of the country because he's so upset. You stupid ass fucking worthless piece of garbage! You don't even think "oh shit maybe I should meet the daughter I'm allegedly so upset I've never met?" Fuck this piece of garbage book.Not only that but when he reads one of the letters she had written him (his ex wife had kept them from him) HE STILL DOESN'T APOLOGIZE!!! They don't get back together and he sees her crying and how sick she feels over the whole situation AND DOES NOTHING! THE LAST 30% OF THE BOOK THEY STILL AREN'T TOGETHER !! He doesn't pursue anything with her or apologize and tell her how thankful he is that she raised such a wonderful daughter. The cock sucking mother fucker didn't love her he was a pathetic little dick that only thought of himself! He sleeps with her twice but never considers something more with her when she DID NOTHING FUCKING WRONG! She wrote letters for years even after she thought he was with someone else just to let him know about his daughter.If I was were I would never have written him fuck all. I know he didn't know he had a daughter but WHY WAS HE CONTINUING TO PUNISH HER FOR SOMETHING THAT WASN'T HER FAULT? Instead of taking it out on his whore of an ex wife he takes it out on the woman that he CLAIMS to love?They spend the next few months alternating weekends or nights with their daughter and never once does he try to make things right with her. He should have been worshipping the ground she walked on for raising their daughter. She could have easily had an abortion, she was young and had her whole life ahead of her and yet she kept her, loved her, and raised a wonderful child.I hated the heroine for loving such a pathetic excuse for a man. He had no backbone and was such a selfish bastard. He didn't love her enough to stay and he didn't love her enough when she DID NOTHING WRONG. This book needed major groveling and all we got was a shitty second change romance.Then out of no where they finally get together and a few pages later they get married. The end.For the few people who mentioned that he takes his rage out on the bitch of an ex wife... NOPE! He never confronts her about the letters or fucking rips her a new one. No, he saved all his anger and asshole behavior for the mother of his child. The only innocent one in the whole situation. I wanted him to go after the ex-wife and rip her to shreds but it's just glossed over!Fuck this book. complete and utter garbage.

  • Michelle
    2019-01-13 06:42

    This blurb was probably one of the most intriguing and captivating blurbs I’ve stumbled across. The moment I read it, this book became an obsession. I needed to read it, I had to. Matt has the career most photographers would kill for. Fifteen years, an esteemed position working for National Geographic and a Pulitzer Prize photo adorning his wall. But a career isn’t everything. Divorced and standing still in a city that moves at the speed of light, Matt is lost. Then one day it happens. He sees her. Grace. It has been fifteen years since he said ‘see you later’ and she’s just there. But then she’s gone. A moment where their eyes lock, recognition strikes and old feelings being to stir. Suddenly Matt’s world goes from gray to color.When the idea of placing an ad in the Missed Connections section of Craigslist, Matt figures, what does he have to lose? Now, for anyone who has ever been bored and read through these, you know how addicting they are. I do this. Often. I can’t help myself. The one romantic post is so worth reading through all the sexual propositions and just dirty, dirty posts. So months pass and Matt hears nothing from his Green-eyed Lovebird, until someone shows her the ad and she responds.But this love story isn’t just as simple as that. Fifteen years have passed. A love that existed was lost somewhere, somehow along the way. And before we can get to the finish, we must first go to the beginning.The past is revisited from the first day when Matt meets Grace, through their friendship and ultimately as they fall in love. But as often with young love, ambitions dictate decisions. You’re young, there is always more time to love but you only get one chance to live. So circumstances separate these two just as they are discovering how much their hearts belong to one another. Watching these two fall in love was a thrilling experience. I fell head over heels with these two characters. They were so well written, complex and carried such depth. There was this whimsical feeling that made you feel just as carefree as these two souls as they had the world at their feet. A young love, rich in feeling even if they were managing to get by with just the bare essentials.From his constant need to capture her on film to the moments he listens to her play her cello through the dorm walls; these two were perfection. Absolute perfection. And although you know that they spent the last fifteen years apart, your heart still breaks when it all falls apart. I was so lost in this story that everything outside of the words right in front of me just did not exist. My heart ached for the loss that these two must have felt. The loss of all those years, all those experiences. Everything that they could never get back. As they reunite they talk about the lives they lived apart, reminisce on the days they spent young and in love and ultimately how they both still feel for each other now. But a lot happened in those fifteen years and the devastation as to what eventually led to the split is revealed, leaving you absolutely gutted just as your heart started to smile again.I was all over the place while reading this book. The highs were utterly fantastic and the lows, well those stole my breath and left a trail of tears in their wake. This was my first read from Renee Carlino although she’s a name that has been on my list to read for some time. If this is the style of writing and storytelling I have to look forward to, I know it won’t be my last. Before We Were Strangers hits all the spots in a second chance romance. This is a beloved storyline in the romance genre and this book is the perfect example to showcase why that is. A stunning love story exists inside these pages, one that became so vivid that it was as if it was leaping off the pages. I was a voyeur into Matt & Grace’s world for a few hours and I can say that it a place I’d love to visit again and again.

  • Jaidee
    2019-01-11 13:52

    4.5 "over the moon with swoon!" stars 2015 Honorable Mention Read I cannot believe how much I cried and smiled with this sweet contemporary romance.This book came in my e-mail box last week from my first love when I was sixteen. She wrote some very sweet words and ended by saying that this book made her feel so young and in love (which we were for the year she was visiting from Czechoslovakia). We are still the best of friends and have been there for each other through severe illnesses, divorces and other heartaches. My first love became my best friend.This book took me back to those carefree teenage days. The heady intoxication of care, passion and the belief that the world was a wondrous place. Gracie and Matty in the book "was us" and also anybody that has been in a loving and compassionate relationship.I loved Ms. Carlino's easy breezy writing style that felt so light yet so full of genuine emotions. I cried with much joy thinking of my beautiful girl from Prague that shared herself with me for a year of pure joy, fun, intense conversation and adolescent lovemaking. The sweet blonde pixie who loved her teddy bear (her nick for me) and continues to do so.Most importantly though this book brought gratitude to my heart for the life I have now. My boyfriend said I have not kissed him this often in the past week (while reading this book) since we first met six years ago. I am grateful to that pretty pixie girl who taught me how to love at the age of 16 and now to the beautiful man that loves me unconditionally at my old age of 44.Ms. Carlino thank you for this lovely romance.

  • Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️
    2019-01-09 11:42

    4 Second Chance Stars!To the Green-eyed Lovebird: We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House........Before We Were Strangers had a book blurb that captured my attention immediately. What a unique spin on a second chance romance...Missed Connections on Craigslist. Couple that with the fact that this is written by Renee Carlino, the author of one of my favorite NA romance novels, Sweet Thing, I couldn't wait to dive into it! Before We Were Strangers is divided into then and now. I'll divide my review as such because my opinion is split almost as if it was two different books with two different sets of characters. THENMatt and Grace meet while in college. Matt is a photography student and Grace is a music major, a gifted cellist. Grace comes from almost nothing and struggles to pay her tuition, much less afford food. She fast learned how to make very little go very far. Matt is attracted by her inner strength, her positive attitude and they become fast friends. Matt's father is very wealthy so he doesn't much struggle for the things that Gracie does. He wants to help her...her pride be damned. I LOVED this aspect of the book. NA is definitely hit or miss for me but this was PERFECTION. Ms. Carlino built their relationship one step at a time. It was realistic and I grew in love with their connection as two unique, fun college kids. It wasn't rushed. It wasn't insta-love. Those days hanging out in the dorm room, Grace practicing cello, Matt photographing Grace in every imaginable situation...it was innocent and sweet. Did I also mention Matt was perfect? Well, all good things must come to an end, maybe. Matt is offered a huge opportunity to go overseas for the summer after they graduate. Just for a few months and he will be back for Grace while she prepares for graduate school.....NOWThis is the aspect of the book that somewhat failed for me. We see from the blurb that Matt spots Grace from across the subway platform but she's gone before he has the chance to catch her. They both set eyes on each other. He SAW her whisper his name. He HAS to reconnect with her. What is this Missed Connections on Craigslist? It's a venue for people to post messages for missed connections with people they may or may not know. "To the woman I saw running down the street today at State and Eisenhower. You're beautiful..." Posted such as that. I had no clue such a beast existed. It's strangely very romantic to me. I found myself looking online to my area Missed Connections. Some are SO sweet and romantic, some weirdly sexual and stalker-ish. But I digress...This is an example of where time jumps fail me. I really didn't mind all the events of NOW. My issue is more with what happened BETWEEN the then and now. My mind is still a little befuddled and I feel the author didn't 100% clear up why they fell out of touch while he was overseas. And, let's face it, that's a huge premise of the book! It just didn't make sense to me. Do not click the spoiler unless you've read this book or don't plan to- (view spoiler)[ So Matt goes overseas and suddenly stops calling Grace. Then Grace reads articles about his blooming career and how he's teamed up with Elizabeth, planning to extend their trip to go here, there and everywhere. Matt calls his mother weekly because 'she can take collect calls?' Really? Then why didn't he pass on a message thru her to Grace telling her that? Why would he call his mom and ignore Grace? I get the collect call thing but I don't understand why he didn't want Grace to be assured he was okay and would call ASAP. Why not write her? It was never really explained what he was doing those months. Then he returns and Grace is gone with Dan and Tati in a traveling orchestra? I just don't get it. This is such an epic event in their relationship and it just fizzles out like there was nothing between them? But when they reconnect 15 years later, that spark is sizzling hot again? Do they have this consuming love connection or do they not? I know Elizabeth wrote a letter to Grace. I know Elizabeth hid letters from Grace to Matt but I'm under the impression this happened later when she and Matt were actually together, not during this brief summertime internship with National Geographic.(hide spoiler)] So, because of this giant question mark for me, I had to deduct a solid star. I really liked their reconnection part of the book yet my mind kept going back to the questions I had during the 15-year time gap. Aside for my inner questions, this is a great book by Renee Carlino. She has the ability to create characters I immediately fall in love with. You can completely picture each person, envision their personalities and interactions. This quote is while they were giving blood platelets for money during those poor days in college. Talk about endearingly cute...“You come here a lot?” “That’s such an old pickup line, Matt. I think you need new material.” “I’m really into girls with big platelets.” “Much better. Now you have my attention. You’re in luck, because I’m really into guys named Mathew.” “It’s Matthias, actually.” “No shit?” She cocked her head to the side. “I’ve never heard that name before. Is it biblical?” “Yep. It means God-like.” “Stop.” "No, I’m serious. It means God-like appendage.”Before We Were Strangers is a great second chance, friends to lovers, romance that, for me, was both tragic and endearing. Characters both intelligent and so very stupid. Mature beyond their years yet immature in their own relationship, budding-life ways. I can see how events in this book may bother some readers. It didn't bother me to the point of not enjoying the book. It just gave me the lingering "huh?" through till the end. And I'm still kinda befuddled...I'd still highly recommend this book for those who loved Sweet Thing. The character of Matt is so stinking endearing. I loved him. And I commend Ms Carlino for creating a NA book twice now that I truly enjoy!I had to include this excerpt only because it's written so perfectly, describing that first feeling of falling in love. I just thought Ms Carlino hit this interpretation of first love right on the mark-You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t love another or move on; it just means that the one spontaneous moment, the split second that you took the leap, when your heart was racing and your mind was muddled with What ifs?—that moment—will never happen the same way again. It will never feel as intense as the first time.Well said!Advanced copy received by Atria Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Quotes are taken from pre-published version and may change in final product. 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  • Judith
    2018-12-23 06:46

    *** JUST AMAZING... ***This book had me feeling all kinds of emotions...it totally captivated me.Just a wonderful piece of writing.It's a story of the beautiful thing that is first love and second chances.First love...all the tangled emotions that come with it.The hopes,the dreams,the insecurities but because you love so hard you firmly believe in the future...Second chances...how mistakes and misunderstanding can shape the pattern of your lives...The story starts in the present day where Matt is evaluating his life.One day on the subway platform he has an encounter that brings memories flooding back...The first half of the book goes back to the past.Matt and Grace meet when they have rooms next to each other at college.They discover they have a lot in common and quickly become friends and are inseparable.You called us fast friends.I like to think it was more._MattI loved Grace,she had such spirit and a fierce determination to be independent as she struggled to put herself through college with no help from her family.Matt is captivated by her and they eventually become lovers.After graduation Matt leaves for a summer internship for a few months while Grace stays in New York preparing for Grad school.The plan is to meet up again at the end of the summer...The story then moves to the present day where they have not seen each other or had any contact for 15 years....until the encounter on the subway.Matt cannot stop thinking about her and puts a post on 'Missed Connections' in an attempt to reach her.She sees the post and they meet up again.I don't want to give too much more away but there are secrets revealed as we find out about the last 15 years of their lives.This is just a beautiful story that I cannot recommend highly enough......

  • Catarina
    2018-12-27 12:48

    4 Second Chance Stars. Matt and Grace fell in love during college and they thought it would be forever. Unfortunately life got in the way and for the next 15 years they didn’t see each other and their lives moved on in different directions. In only took one random morning for them to see each other again in the NY subway in a way and life bring them together again. But 15 years change a lot of things, so can this be their second change of re-kindle their love or sometimes life is too different to fall back in love? Second change romances are my favorites, I’m a completely goner for them, and despite not being big fans of convenient misunderstandings, I like them so much I really don’t mind. Join a first love romance, nice characters and a sweet, emotional and romantic background and you have a winner for me. There was some aspects within the plot that I really didn’t care much for, but in overall this was a great reading. A great second chance love story that proves that Renée Carlino sure knows how to write a good story and captivate the reader. If you’re in the mood for a good and solid romance, this is a good choice. Rating:4 Stars. Characters Development:I like how realistic the characters are. Regular jobs, some curveballs in their life, but regular people with normal dreams to whom life gave a second chance. Matt was a good guy, Grace was sweet and they together were a really nice couple. There was a character that I hoped that something bad happened because it deserved a good dose of bad karma, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. (And I had to take brownie points because of it.) Steam:Some heated scenes. Sensible Subjects:(view spoiler)[ No.(hide spoiler)]Love Triangle:(view spoiler)[ No.(hide spoiler)]Cheating:(view spoiler)[ No.(hide spoiler)]HEA: (view spoiler)[ Yes. With a sweet epilogue.(hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Aestas Book Blog
    2019-01-11 09:57

    Once there was a you and meWe were loversWe were friendsBefore life changedBefore we were strangersDo you still think of me? This is a book that grabs your attention from the first few pages. There’s an air of excitement to it — the twist of fate, the second chance, the luck that reunites these two lovers after a fifteen year separation. It’s a feeling that makes your heart race and your palms tingle, it begs you to turn the page, and Renee Carlino’s beautiful writing keeps you lost in the story from start to finish.As we are told, this is ‘a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City’ and even though I sometimes try to describe the books I review for you myself, I have to say that this particular blurb was just so unique and intriguing that I don’t think anything else I say will do it justice so, here it is:To the Green-eyed Lovebird:We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more…Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?MGah. Don’t you just love that?? It certainly grabbed my attention!“Three seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you’re gazing into someone’s eyes, it’s long enough to make a silent promise.”My book is full of highlighted quotes — it’s written in a way that makes you care on a very deep level for these characters. Once I’d started, I just didn’t want to stop reading. I needed to know what had happened to them in the past to both make them fall in love and tear them apart, and then I was so curious to see where their future would lead. Without a doubt, this is a story that tugged all of my heart strings.It begins in the present day, then takes us back to the past when they met in college, before catching us back up to the current day and then the story even takes us beyond that into the future. It’s told in dual POV so you really get a very complete look at the whole story.I did however have a frustration with the book, but I’d like to be clear that this is due to a long-standing, very personal pet peeve… which has to do with characters choosing their careers over their relationship after they’ve fallen in love. I know there’s no right or wrong way to handle this situation, but my personal belief is that, no matter what your previous priorities in life were, after you fall in love, you adjust them to allow room for your relationship to be a priority. Otherwise, it’s a clear choice: which do you value more? I will always choose love, and I have a hard time reading about people who either don’t choose love, or choose love but don’t take care to go the extra mile to maintain trust during a work-related separation. And this book is a prime example of the very painful result of what happens when a couple doesn’t do that.I got to a point where I was pretty mad at them. This wasn’t a scenario of life dealing them a bad hand of cards that led to their 15 year separation, rather their misery was the direct result of multiple poorly made decisions on their respective parts. I could literally give you a long list of things that I personally (if I was their friend) would have strongly advised them against doing that, in the end, was what led to their separation. It was miscommunications, wrong priorities, and the consequence of not thinking about what the result of your actions would do to someone else. I don’t like blaming it on their ages either because tons of people that age can maintain functional relationships. So I just found it frustrating because I was literally watching them mess up their own lives, even though they both did have very good intentions.But dammit, I CARED. I really did. So freaking much. And that gorgeous extra twist towards the end of the book definitely brought out all the feels in a big way. I loved seeing the way that whole scenario played out and, no matter how frustrated I was with the characters, I loved the writing so much and felt for this story so deeply that I couldn’t help but be swept away. This was definitely a great read. And I do think anyone who isn’t as sensitive to this particular issue as me would LOVE it. The reality of life is that a lot of people do make wrong choices in life (myself included) and there may naturally be painful consequences to those actions. I guess I just generally prefer to read stories where it’s more “them against the world” not “them causing their own problems”. Ultimately, this is a story about two people who chose wrong (each in their own way), but in the end were given a second chance to make things right. It’s heart warming to think that despite everything, they were still able to have their chance at a happily ever after.And I feel it’s worth mentioning again, that the writing is beautiful!!“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life.”Rating: 4 stars. Contemporary romance standalone._______________________________________ For more of my reviews, book news and updates:✦ Main blog: Aestas Book Blog✦ Facebook Blog Page✦ Twitter ✦ Subscribe by email

  • Jennifer Kyle
    2019-01-14 11:58

    4.25 "Make me Believe" Stars

  • Wendy'sThoughts
    2019-01-10 09:44

    4.5 To Reclaim What Was Lost Stars * * * * 1/2There are times in our lives we wish we could do over...have different outcomes...But to do them over would mean other, wonderful other things would not exist. So, we think about the past and then put it away and appreciate all the good we have now. Because the past is the past, right...But what if you had the opportunity to reconnect with the one who meant the most to you...The one who showed you the best of yourself and you truly loved...The one who was not where she said she would be when you came back from being away....What limits would you go to find her if all you had was a fleeting moment in time when your paths crossed from a distance...Renee Carlino used this premise and wrote the hell out of it. She saw the section of Missed Connections on craigslistand let her imagination fly. She used New York City as her backdrop and secondary character to surround and ground us in the real...in how life travels at the speed of light and every moment is weighted in something important and never repeating. She gave us a fun-house mirror of our own lives, in a way... a story which, if we wanted, we could take it and substitute our own with whatever missed opportunities or lost connections and ponder what if or what now.I will try not to give anymore of this story than the blurb...I went into this with only that...I immersed myself into the story and was captivated by so many emotions. The set up is perfection with the present day, our guy and what his life is with all the undercurrents of dissatisfaction. This leads us to the moment reflected in the blurb. We then are taken back to where everything began... to two people who meet and learn of each other... who do the human dance of communicating, sharing, waiting and hoping, being patient when it is necessary and just being as they should. Life happens around them... they are ambitious in their own way. They each have families which impact them with what decisions they make...And they are young, fresh and not always clear in what they mean when communicating...a by product of youth...We are then taken back to the present...what happens when you are face to face with what you dreamt of...Will you feel what you thought you would...what do you learn when questions you asked yourself over and over again are finally addressed...and will learning those answers only lead to more questions...I loved how imperfect this story was... because life is imperfect...It is good and we live it... but we have to earn and make our happiness after experiencing the tough stuff. This story was full of tough stuff and although I did not like it while reading it... I appreciated the author giving it to me. Because no one is perfect; because perceptions can be false and when we learn they were...it is up to us to decide what to do next.So, I hope this causes some interest in this book. You can be rest assured there will be reviews which will give you all kinds of wonderful moments to tantalize you.This review was to tempt you to throw reading caution to the wind and just dive in...for the reading was good. ~~~ Before Reading ~~~ What if a time in your life meant everything and years later, for a fleeting moment...you saw the reason it meant so much just out of reach...What would you do to get it back...How would you find her....and if you did...oh, if you did....What would come next....Renee Carlino... I love how your mind works...Reading this now.A gifted copy was provided by NetGalley for an honest review.For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  • Jenny••Steamy Reads Blog••
    2019-01-02 10:49

    I’m late to the party on this one.Keeping it short. This book tugged me in different directions. I loved it, I liked it, and I wanted to throw the book. This book starts in the present, Matt & Grace seeing each other for the first time in 15 years. It’s a glimpse of each other that ignited unresolved feelings. From there the book goes back to relive their past up until the current future. So many regrets, so many lost opportunities, so much lost love, the amount of hurt, so much unresolved.... I have always loved this author, I enjoyed this book, just wasn't my favorite by her.. I wish we could have seen more searching, more fight within each of these characters to locate each other. In the end, I liked this. It’s that simple .

  • Ramona
    2019-01-10 15:02

    Renee Carlino where have you've been all my life? This was my first book from her and I loved it to pieces. What an original and sweet book it was..The plot runs throughout a long period of time, beginning with Matt's and Grace senior year at NYU. Grace is a talented musician and Matt a photographer. From the moment they met, a lot of things binds them, like the passion for art and music. Around each other they could be themselves and be happy, despite having difficulties in other aspects of their lives.I loved Grace's crazy way of being, she was like a breath of fresh air for Matt and made him more adventurous and aware of the this surrounding him. Although the sexual tension was palpable, Grace was guarded and put other thing on her priority list, thing that bothered me a little, because she had to figure out faster how perfect they could be as a couple. Matt was a very sweet and gentle hero, I liked the way he treated and helped Grace in her problems. He was always there for her, being the person she could count on. His patience was a bonus for me and made me admire him even more. He was the perfect fit for her and I enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed into something more. Despite that, the trust issues were a strong barrier between them, especially coming from Grace. Her background problems and uncertainties made her afraid to take chances and love openly. Her impulsive attitude combined with those above caused a break in their relationship, which caused me a lot of grief and sadness. It was like destiny was stubborn into separating them and It teared me apart. The book is divided in 2 parts. The first one is describing their loved story while young, and in the second one we get to know the characters after 15 years of separation. I enjoyed reading this part and hoping they will get the happy ending they deserve. It will take a while for them to reconnect and try to forget each other's mistakes, but in the end love always comes first and fixes everything.I enjoyed the dual point of view and made me more connected to the characters. The "then and now" description of the story and of Matt and Grace relationship made my understand completely the plot and form an opinion regarding it. From my point of view there were mistakes from both sides: Matt didn't insist enough in his search for Grace and lost himself in another relationship that didn't brought him happiness. Grace on the other hand had a lot of trust issues and couldn't let her guard down enough to completely love him and built a life together. In consider that their love was overwhelming and worth fighting for, despite the young age in which they met it. They should of fought harder, they deserved not to wait so much time being apart.The ending surprised me but filled me with such joy that I almost forgot how much I've suffered reading this book. It will definitely surprise you and bring you joy in the same time, realizing that Renee couldn't tough of a better ending for Grace and Matt. To conclude with, " Before we were strangers" was very touching and beautiful book about second chances. I adore books that bring up this subject, that make me swoon about meeting again the one that got away. This was my first read from Renee and I'm looking forward to more books from her, because the writing style was for my liking, a sweet mixture of hot, funny and enjoyable scenes. I also enjoyed the chemistry between the heroes, the intensity of their relationship and their evolution throughout the plot. 4 musical stars for this one!

  • Melissa (Ever So Mela)
    2019-01-07 14:42

    Sometimes time is just something, no matter how hard we try, we can't get right. We meet this person. They're peculiar in their own way, having this uniqueness to them that we can't help but befriend. This person that’s able to bring out the very best in your overly complicated and dynamic personality. Who’s able to see through all the BS, who understands you, and not in that superficial kind of way, but the very core of your essence. And sometimes that friendship turns into something so much more. They're captivating and addictive. They're sweeping you off your feet and blowing to pieces everything you thought you wanted. Heck, they're completely brilliant in every way imaginable while at the same time being breathtakingly imperfect. But as we know, timing tends to be that third person in the relationship, the little conniving witch bent on picking apart everything we've built up. If we let it, it makes us doubt ourselves, turning what we know in the deepest corners of our hearts we've found, and drowning it with uncertainties. It turns the good we have into a mess of insecurities. It makes us waver. We start to distrust our instincts and overthink every single detail. We’re overwhelmed by “what ifs, buts, and maybes” …and then we hesitate. We forget what brought us together in the first place. We put aside our strengths while magnifying our flaws. We stand aside as we watch everything we’ve put our souls into, crumble to the floor, leaving only dust in its wake. Yes, timing is a witch. But what if we said no? What if we took a stand and not let timing play such an immeasurable role in our life? What if we took it by the horns and made it our bitch? You’ll never meet the right person at the wrong time because the right person is timeless. The right person comes at a time where maybe not everything is where you’d like it to be but where its supposed to be. You won’t have to worry about fitting them into your heavy schedule because they just become the backbone of it. They’re not the ones who would stand in the way of the things you’ve always wanted and make you choose them. No, the right person is the one who motivates you to dig a little deeper and work a little harder cause in their mind you’re made for greatness. They make you reach farther, try harder, dream bigger, and be better. They’d believe there’s no limit to what you can do and are prepared to tackle the mountains by your side. They become your rock while you become their home. When you’re with the right person, time falls away.Do I sound naive? I might...but oh well.No, the book is not perfect and yes, it's filled with cliches. A lot of them. But when a book makes me contemplate or it hits a soft spot, then it becomes a winner. And this one became a winner. P.S. I do have to say the last 20% was not of my liking. Kinda peeved but I refuse to let that hinder my enjoyment for the book. Also, I agree with every freaking single decision Matt made.P.S.S This does not sound like a review but I don't care ^_^Pre-reading...I don't care if I'm headed straight for disaster but the blurbThe feels man, the feels! I need this in my life. Like yesterday.

  • Ninoska Goris
    2019-01-02 13:57

    Es la historia de Grace y Matt, los cuales están destinados a estar juntos, pero no se encuentran en el momento correcto. Captura la magia del primer amor y de cómo puede superarlo todo. Encontré un pedazo de mi alma en este libro y lo terminé con lagrimas de felicidad. A veces necesitamos un recordatorio de que el verdadero amor lo puede todo. Definitivamente uno de los mejores libros que he leído.✨✨✨This is Grace and Matt’s story, destinated to be together, but the time is not right. Didn’t find each other in the right time. This capture the first love magic and how it can conquer everything. I found a piece of my soul in this book and finishid it with happy tears. Sometimes we need to be reminded that true love is everything. Definetely one of the best books I had read.

  • Akanksha❤ Søren♰
    2018-12-24 10:11

    Loved it. This book was...BeautifulAmazingHeart WarmingLovelyAdorablePerfect!The authors writing style is so beautiful, simple and yet amazing at the same time. I loved the story.A must read. :)

  • AJ
    2018-12-25 07:53

    A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME LOVE, AND AN AMAZING STORY OF RECONNECTION.5 ‘ALL THE FEELS’ STARSI loved this book! It features two of my favourite kinds of stories - a gorgeously sweet NA romance, and then an amazingly beautiful reconnection between two people years after they parted but who have never been able to let each other go. This story is written so beautifully, I was immediately sucked in, I went on an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and my heart was pounding the whole way through. So standby for lots of quotes and epic gushing. Matt is 36 years old. He has achieved huge success in his career, but his personal life is a mess. When he sees a girl from his past (the one that got away) in the subway one day, they aren’t able to talk to each other but their brief moment of eye contact and recognition is intense and brings his old feelings to the surface, sparking a need to see her again. So he posts a message in the ‘missed connections’ section of Craigslist - the epically intriguing synopsis for this book that says it better than I ever could:To the Green-eyed Lovebird:We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?MOMG! Goosebumpy, right?The story then shifts to 15 years earlier and we get the full story of Matt and Grace’s past together. Grace is a wonderful character. Wild and free, but also a bit innocent, she and Matt share an immediate bond, becoming the best of friends, and they spend their year together living in each other’s pockets, exploring the city with excitement and enthusiasm and figuring themselves out along the way. They are both very focussed on their studies so the shift from friends to lovers is slow coming, but the build-up is fantastic – full of flirting, banter, UST and a great sense of anticipation. I felt it for Grace before I even had a name for it. I might have said the word a million times, but it sounded different now that I meant it. When I thought about what we had, it didn’t matter that it was just friendship. I loved her. Renee Carlino puts SO much heart into this story. I felt everything right alongside the charactersWe stood there, so young and so sure about each other. The cold, dank room suddenly filled with light. Matt’s eyes twinkled and I felt dizzy as warmth spread from my head to my toes. His hands were open, reaching out to me, inviting me in for a hug, but I couldn’t move; I had been reduced to a puddle of emotions just from the look on his face. You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t love another or move on; it just means that the one spontaneous moment, the split second that you took the leap, when your heart was racing and your mind was muddled with What ifs? – that moment – will never happen the same way again. It will never feel as intense as the first time. Matt and Grace’s coming together is natural and beautiful. Fun, passionate and totally enthralling, full of sweet moments and lots of romance, it’s exactly the kind of relationship that people dream of. They are so amazing together that it seems impossible for anything to tear them apart, but it happens and it’s devastating. The story then switches back to 15 years later in the present, where Grace sees Matt’s message and decides to get in touch. Their reunion is exciting, emotive, and full of anticipation. The chemistry between them is still electric, and more importantly, the feels are still there. Though they have lived without each other for 15 years, there is still love between them and that is evident from the first moment of reconnection. But so much has happened in their time apart, and they have to unravel it all and deal with the consequences before they can find their happy ending. OMG, this book tore me apart! The feels! I rode the emotional rollercoaster of this book right alongside Matt and Grace. I laughed, I loved, I cried, I got so mad I wanted to throw my kindle, and my heart broke for all that they go through. But there is a happy ending, and it is stunningly beautiful. And I need to declare undying love for Matt. The man is so, so amazing! The way he loves Grace and the way he handles himself through everything is incredible. He is strong, he’s sweet, he’s not afraid to share how he feels and he’s the perfect combination of romantic and sexy. Through the whole story he absolutely OWNED my heart.“You were always with me, Grace. I never found a way to let you go.”SWOOOOOOOOOOON!I love a second chance romance, they are some of my favourite stories, but as much as I loved this book and the incredible, incredible love story, this one gutted me, and honestly, I’m still upset at parts of it. Warning, massive spoilers ---> (view spoiler)[Honestly, I’m still pissed at Grace. Sure, their situation was messed up, but she could have made more of an effort to find Matt. She knew him! She knew him down to the soul, and I can’t reconcile that she believed the worst of him so easily. And the consequences of her decision shattered me.I feel like I’m living in a nightmare, like I’ve just woken up from a coma to discover that fifteen years of my life have gone by. Everything went on without me. I missed everything. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIL!!!!!Bottom line – this is not the story that I wanted for them. I am broken hearted at all that they went through. It actually hurt to read at times, and I teared up more than once. Yes, the resolution is gorgeous, it brings them to a very special place, and it should be enough for me but it still feels tinged with regret and sadness at the missed opportunities. (hide spoiler)].The fact that my feelings are still running so high the day after I finished this book just reinforces that this is a story that drew me in and touched me deeply. I loved these characters, I love how strongly they feel for each other, and even though it’s a hard read at times, there is no denying that this is an absolutely incredible story and it’s definitely one that will stay with me for a long time. This is my first book by Renee Carlino, and she’s done an amazing job. She told her story brilliantly, giving us a unique relationship with lots of emotion that left me hugging my kindle and grinning like an idiot. I’ll be very excitedly diving into more of her work very soon.I loved it – 5 stars.An Advanced Reader Copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • KAS
    2019-01-07 09:09

    I FELL IN "WUV" WITH THIS BOOK!!!Let me introduce you to .......Graceland Marie Starr & Matthias William Shore (aka, Matt & Grace)Their's is a love story that was interrupted by lies and deception. Regret, manipulation, and raw pain tore them apart in the past and threatens to keep them apart in the present.Let me begin with ....... The Present, after Their Past .......Matt is thirty-six, divorced and his life is stuck in neutral. He works for National Geographic and for years traveled the globe as one of their top photographers. He requested a year ago to come in from field duty and work in their NYC offices, where he is currently "trapped in cubicle hell." He regrets his decision and desperately wants to get back out with a film crew. Scott, his boss and friend invites him to go for pizza across town. While waiting at the subway station, he spots a woman whose back is to him, and for some reason, he is drawn to her. She steps into the crowded train and just as it pulls away, she turns around and her eyes lock with Matt's. It's Grace! His Grace! Grace, who long ago, got away! For weeks, totally consumed with thoughts of Grace, Matt rides the F-train hoping to see her again. He hopes finding her will give his life a purpose, a desire for the future. You see, over fifteen years ago, Matt and Grace met and fell in love their senior year of college. But right after graduation, Matt left for South America to intern with National Geographic for the summer. He asked Grace to wait for him because he will only be gone for three months, and this once in a lifetime opportunity, will be great for his career. Although Grace is devastated he is leaving, she tells him she will wait, because she knows they love each other and belong together.But ..... THINGS. DID. NOT. WORK. OUT. AS. PLANNED. He has not seen Grace since the day he kissed her goodbye at the airport fifteen years ago.I loved how this author started with the present, returns to the past and comes back around to the present. I always enjoy a dual POV and this one did not disappoint.This was my first time reading Renee Carlino and I was duly impressed by her writing style and in her ability to weave seamless dialogue between these charming characters. Beautifully written and timeless. I am now compelled to devour all by Ms. Carlino!

  • Natasha is a Book Junkie
    2018-12-30 15:04

    FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED:“You were always with me, Grace. I never found a way to let you go.”It only takes one visit to New York City to understand why so many timeless works of fiction happen to take place here, why so many unforgettable love stories are inspired by this city, and just how many recognizable icons of this great metropolis are now reminders of some of the greatest books we’ve ever read. And we can now add another one to that list of greats. A love story spanning over more than a decade, this is the tale of two young people who simply met too soon in life to truly appreciate what they had found in one another, whose lives take off in different directions, but eventually bring them back to each other again, where they belonged all along, because their hearts would and could never love another. It’s a story that shows us that some loves have no expiry date, that some people are meant to be with one another no matter what, even when time is stolen from them, even when they are robbed of memories that could never be replaced, even when nothing could ever make them forget the bitter taste of regret from losing one another for so long. This was one of the most heartwarming romances I have ever read, a story I adored, and it made me miss the bustling streets of New York City even more, but knowing that next time I’m there, I’d be seeing it through these characters’ eyes too.“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t love another or move on; it just means that the one spontaneous moment, the split second that you took the leap, when your heart was racing and your mind was muddled with What ifs?—that moment—will never happen the same way again. It will never feel as intense as the first time.”Matt Shore and Grace Starr met on their first day of senior year at college, and from the moment they laid eyes on one another, they became inseparable. Both creative, strong-willed and independent, their shared quirkiness makes them perfect partners in crime, always encouraging each other’s artistic affinities and ambitions, and becoming each other’s muses and greatest fans, until the connection between them inevitably outgrows the bounds of their friendship and transforms into a romantic one. But as their final year of college comes to an end, their relationship all too quickly falls apart, leaving them heartbroken and mournful of all they had lost, forever wondering if they’d ever find such happiness again as the one they had found in each other’s arms.“We were victims of bad timing. But here we are again.”Fifteen years later and now both in their mid thirties, they see one another again for just a moment in time, and suddenly nothing can stop the memories of their time together from invading their every thought. But when they finally find each other and all the lingering questions about those missing years are answered at last, they are left with even more resentment and regret, their love having survived it all, but once again put to the test as their hearts struggle to forgive for all that was stolen from them.“I missed everything, Gracie. I missed everything.”A heart-wrenching, truly unforgettable tale of second chances at love, of two people whose love never died, never even dimmed, even though what was taken from them could never be given back. I rarely connect with two characters this way—I loved their every quirk, their every imperfection, their every insecurity, but I loved loved loved the way their hearts loved each other the most. Ms Carlino has a flair for dreamy, passionate love stories that warm our hearts and feed every romantic bone in our bodies, but this time around, she has given us a true gem, a timeless tale of a never-ending love set against the backdrop of a magical city she captured oh-so perfectly, a tale that I suspect will become a favourite for many.“New York has an energy that takes root inside of you. Even a transplant like me gets to know the different boroughs, like they’re living, breathing organisms. There’s nowhere else like it. The city becomes a character in your life, a love you can’t take out of you. The mysteriously human element about this place can make you fall in love and break your heart at the same time. When you hear her sound, when you breathe in her scent, you share it with all the people walking beside you on the street, in the subway, or gazing from a tall building across Central Park. You know at once that you are alive, and that life is beautiful, precious, and fleeting.”See this review on my blog! | Follow me on Facebook! | Follow me on Twitter!

  • Jiana
    2019-01-05 12:01

    This book has been on my TBR for a very, very long time. I kept on postponing reading it for no reason. I only decided to read it now because I'm in a very strong slump and I think I needed a contemporary/NA binge to get out of it. And you guys, I binged it alright! I read it in one sitting. It took me 3 hours. Never in my life have I read an entire book in one sitting and never in my life have I read a book in 3 hours. That's how addictive and amazing this book was. On top of that, giving contemporary/NA novels a full 5 stars is very difficult for me. I have read over 40 contemporary/NA novels this year and only 4 of them are at 5 stars; my last 5 star contemporary/NA read being back in March. I'm beyond happy this book got a full 5 because I had the highest expectations. This book is both second chance romance and friends-to-lovers tropes. This book had me smiling, laughing, and almost crying. Renee Carlino created wonderful characters; Matthias (Matt) and Graceland (Grace) have easily made it on my favorites list. And if you know me well, you know I love the name Matthias (because of Matthias Helvar from Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo; as he's my all-time favorite male character) and I literally screamed when he revealed his full name. I won't lie, I fell in love with him the minute he revealed his name. Matt and Grace are a beautiful couple. They were best friends turned lovers. Their friendship was beautiful and so was their relationship. Then they became strangers for 15 years and after that reunited. 15 years is a lot of time and a lot of things happened and they had to deal with it all. I shipped those two so hard and there was so much angst and slow burn and aaaaaaaaaah, I just love them! There was so much depth in their relationship. It was real. I felt with them. When they were happy, I was happy. When they were devastated, I was devastated. “The present is our own. The right-this-second, the here-and-now, this moment before the next, is ours for the taking. It’s the only free gift the universe has to offer. The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, and the future is just a fantasy, never guaranteed. But the present is ours to own. The only way we can realize that fantasy is if we embrace the now.”Matt is a wonderful male character. He's flawed but he's wonderful. He's genuinely great and he's literally all I want in an contemporary/NA male lead! Same goes to Grace. I don't always like female leads in books, but Grace was just lovely. Matt and Grace are total opposites. Matt openly charismatic, Grace more closed off, but together? They were great. They mature and grow together and oh man, I'm about to start discussing their relationship yet again. I'm gonna shut up.The pacing was great. I was hooked from the start. I wasn't bored, not even for a single page. Carlino's writing is so simple, yet amazing and addictive and I literally could not stop reading. The book starts with present events, then shifts to the past for a very big portion of the book then goes back to the present. I honestly love books like that. In addition to that, it had a Colleen Hoover vibe to it, and CoHo is one of my all-time favorite authors!Definitely, definitely recommended! I'm lowkey this close to binging all of Carlino's books now.

  • Kim Bailey
    2018-12-20 12:57

    4 STARSThis book is so perfectly sweet.I absolutely adored the way this book started, with a missed connection. I've always loved reading missed connection ads ... something about them just makes me feel like there's hope for love and second chances. I love second chance romances ... this one was no exception.Ms Carlino does a wonderful job of taking the reader back to witness the development of the sweet friends to lovers tale of Matt & Grace. Their playful banter and youthful optimism is authentic and fresh. Their re-connection also felt very realistic. Even though the twist in this book didn't surprise me at all, I still appreciated the way that it was depicted. Normally I'm not a big fan of books that are overly sweet. Perhaps I'm just jaded and cynical. But this book really worked for me. A great read for those who like young love and second chances.*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

  • Beverly
    2018-12-30 12:05

    4 - 4.5 StarsTime passes, life goes on, places change, people change. And still, I couldn’t get Grace off my mind after seeing her… Fifteen years is too long to be holding on to a few heart-pounding moments from college.This story, the heartbreak and utter devastation I felt for these characters. For real, my heart just broke for them! The story is told in three parts: Present, Past, Present.The first present shows where Matt is now, he is working for National Geogaphic, divorced and pretty miserable for the most part. Despite his career success he is not happy with how his life has turned out. When sees Grace, the girl that got away, getting on the subway the light turns back on. Despite it being fifteen years he cannot stop thinking about her.The story then leads us into the past, from here we get to see Matt and Grace. They met at the beginning of their senior year of college when they became neighbors. They had this immediate connection and became best friends, eventually lovers. I loved young Grace and Matt. Their love for each other was so apparent I was heartbroken for the time they spent apart.The second present shows when Grace and Matt reconnect. I loved how things unfolded, but again my heartbreak was just too raw for the things that happened from here. I wanted more during this part. I wanted less problems and more connection. I know that is probably just me being greedy, but my heart, the feels, I could barely handle it!I highly recommend this read and most of my friends have given this story 5 stars and I can completely see where they are coming from. However, I can handle miscommunications, but this miscommunication was too huge. I found it unbelievable that some things would be kept secret in the real world. I am also torn because I don’t love when people try to make my books like real world, I read fiction because I love the fantasy world. However, the rest of the story just felt too real, so I have to take into account how unrealistic this one part is. So while I love this story and do recommend it, that’s my only reason for the 4 stars vs 5.ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

  • Masooma
    2019-01-05 06:53

    This one's for you AJ Happy Birthday, darling <3All love that has no friendship for its base is like a mansion built on sand.Matt and Grace meet in their senior year and become fast friends. Matt as a passionate photographer and Grace as an ardent musician. They play and photograph their friendship into strong bonds until they realize that their friendship has started to build a strong castle of love. It's real. It is passionate until 'Life' happens.At the age of 21, both are young and enslaved by the reins of art, in pursuit of bright careers. A small grain of miscommunication can grow into a massive ocean of misunderstanding and that is what exactly happens.A decade and a half later, the inseparable love birds stand lonely and broke. Their timing wasn't right which costs them greatly. A beautifully written novel, Before We Were Strangers narrates a heart-touching story, one you wouldn't want to miss. Both the characters are amazing in their capacities though I felt Matt was a bit too perfect. But l loved Grace, she was perfect with all her imperfections-bold, beautiful and sacrificing. The last 20 per cent wasn't to my liking but that doesn't ruin the novel. Anybody looking for a good love story is in for a treat! Here's is Aj's captivating review which convinced me to read this lovely book.

  • Angela (Reading Frenzy Book Blog)
    2019-01-11 09:03

    Let me just cut to the chase. I freaking loved this book! The synopsis sounded unique and, given my weakness for second chance love stories, I knew I had a potential winner on my hands. Well, it delivered all that and a bag of chips! I absolutely devoured it. Before We Were Strangers is easily one of my favorite books of 2015.The book is divided into two sections: Then (15 years ago) and Now.Then Matt, a transfer student from California, meets Grace, a gifted cellist, when he moves into her dorm their senior year at NYU. Matt is a talented photography major and Grace is majoring in music. Matt is determined to succeed without any financial help from his disapproving, affluent father. Grace is desperately poor and struggling to put herself through school. She hardly has enough money for food. When Matt and Grace meet, they immediately discover they have the same taste in music and a similar appreciation for the arts. Grace is fun and quirky, and Matt is captivated by her vivacious spirit and positive outlook, despite her dire circumstances. Grace is drawn to his intrinsic kindness, self-confidence, and artistic ability. They quickly forge a friendship and are soon inseparable. This section of the book is expertly paced as their friendship evolves and Grace and Matt eventually become lovers. Renée Carlino perfectly captures the feeling of youthful exuberance: their carefree exploits throughout the city; the joys of self-discovery; and the wonder of falling deeply in love for the first time.You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life.I love how the story is thoughtfully balanced to show the complexity of these likeable characters. Yes, Grace is a free-spirited soul, but she is also weighed down by financial burdens and insecurities; she is both strong and fragile. Matt embraces his individuality yet he craves acceptance. He’s self-assured, but he is still attempting to define himself. Although they love each other, they lack effective communication skills, and their naiveté causes them to make mistakes that have lasting consequences.After graduation, Matt leaves for a summer internship with National Geographic in South America while Grace stays behind to prepare for grad school. They intend to meet back in New York at the end of summer—at least, that was the plan.Now Matt and Grace haven’t seen or spoken to each other in 15 years and Matt is unsatisfied with his life. He is standing on a subway platform one afternoon when he sees Grace boarding a crowded train. Their eyes lock seconds before the doors close and the train departs. Frustrated by his inability to locate her, Matt’s friend suggests placing an ad in the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist.If, like me, you’ve never heard of “Missed Connections,” I’ll save you the Google search. “Missed Connections” really exists in major cities. It’s a forum for missed opportunities to connect with someone—likely a stranger—to whom you’re attracted, often because you were too shy to approach them. People place an ad describing the location and experience on the off chance the person they are trying to reach sees the post and gets in touch.So, Matt places a “Missed Connections” ad that hit me right in the feels:To My First Wife, the Green-Eyed Lovebird:We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the dorm room next to yours at Senior House.You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music and photography, lounging in Washington Square, and all the interesting things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.We lost touch in the summer when I went to South America. I came back and you were gone. There was nothing left in your empty dorm room but the old guitar and just a hint of your perfume. What was it? Lilac?Our RA, the one who looked like David Bowie and smelled like fish sticks, said you went to travel the world. I hope you got to see the world. I hope life has treated you well. I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?MGrace sees Matt’s post and the two reconnect. I don’t want to say much more because I found the joy to be in the discovery of the unfolding plot.Renée Carlino’s writing is effortless, and the story is engrossing and intensely poignant. Even the chapter titles, such as “ I Looked for You Inside of Everyone Else,” “I Needed to Know You,” and, “We Made Unspoken Promises,” moved me. This book is so skillfully crafted it can be considered both a New Adult and an Adult Contemporary novel. It’s a friends-to-lovers story as well as a second chance romance. I think Before We Were Strangers will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered if their life might be different—better—if they had chosen another path.The present is our own. The right-this-second, the here-and-now, this moment before the next, is ours for the taking. It’s the only free gift the universe has to offer. The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, and the future is just a fantasy, never guaranteed. But the present is ours to own. The only way we can realize that fantasy is if we embrace the now.This is the first book I’ve read by Renée Carlino but it certainly won’t be my last.** ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes have been taken from the pre-published version and may vary from the finished book. **