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Wish You Were Here

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Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.

320 pages, Paperback

First published August 15, 2017

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About the author

Renee Carlino

17 books7,046 followers
Renée Carlino is a bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including Cosmopolitan Magazine, InStyle Magazine, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, Publisher's Weekly, Redbook, Sunset Magazine, Coastal Living and the Union Tribune. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com

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5 stars
4,340 (37%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,566 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
3,755 reviews32k followers
August 5, 2017
5 + Stars!!!

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“Your art, our memories, the memories people have of us...it makes us immortal.When you love someone, whether it be your family, friends, partners, whatever, it's like planting a little seedling of yourself inside of their hearts.”

I can always count on Renee Carlino to write stunning stories. Wish You Were Here is an emotional, poignant, and beautiful story of love, loss, and soul mates. This is one of those books that rocked me to my core. I started reading it, and to be honest, it didn’t’ hook me at first. The more I read, though, the more I loved it. It affected me so much towards the end, I had to leave my bed and go read on the couch so I didn’t wake my husband up with my crying.

Charlotte is in her mid-late twenties, but she still doesn’t feel like she has much direction in her life. She lives with her best friend, Helen, works as a waitress full-time, and is in school… again. This time for cosmetology, which she learns she doesn’t really have a knack for. Along with being a little lost on the career front, she also has a bad picker. Her last few boyfriends have been less than stellar. Then, one night, she meets Adam. Charlotte has never met anyone like this man. He enamors her from the start and she knows it’s only one night, but she’s never felt like this before about anyone.

One night is all Charlotte and Adam have, but it’s an unforgettable night. No matter what happens or who comes into her life the next few months, she can’t forget him….

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There is so much more I want to say about this story, but I loved being surprised by certain things so I’ll keep quiet about the plot. This book, it moved me. It made me think, made me feel, and really got to me. It’s been a few days since I’ve read it, and it hasn’t left my mind. I love books that have that type of impact on me. They seem to always end up on my favorites list, as I’m sure this one will.

Adam is such a beautiful soul. He is an unforgettable character. Charlotte is one of those heroines who I wasn’t sure if I loved at the beginning. She really did change and grow though, and I ended up adoring her. I was blown away by how selfless she was.

Wish You Were Here is a story that touched my soul. Carlino’s writing is flawless. If you’re looking for an emotional read with lots of heart, don’t miss out on this book. It’s a top favorite for 2017.

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Profile Image for Karen Mc .
931 reviews731 followers
August 16, 2017

Have you ever read a book that has moved you so much and means more than you can pen into words? I'm still MESMERIZED—so UNEQUIVOCALLY MOVED—by Renee Carlino's words in Wish You Were Here, a story that STUNNED ME SPEECHLESS. A story that made me melt...made me break...made me think...made me feel. Wish You Were Here made my HEART BLEED and my SOUL SOAR, and I can't stop feeling this romance.

I knew right away that this story was SPECIAL. I knew that Wish You Were Here is the kind of story that sticks, the soul-stirring type that stays long after the last page is turned. I knew this tale would hold my heart in its hands forever, and I would let it take my heart as its own because Wish You Were Here OWNED ME and MY HEART FROM THE START.

This is a romance you have to experience and wholeheartedly feel for yourself—preferably blindly—as I did. Wish You Were Here is not a story but an adventure, a romance that is so much more: love but mostly life. This story, along with its hero and heroine, is strength in spades. Wish You Were Here is a journey of love and life; happiness and heartbreak; and so much strength.

It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life.

After a magical night together, Charlotte and Adam felt the force of fate, as if they were soul mates. I MELTED from the MAGIC of this couple. I felt their SPARK too. Together, this hero and heroine were the sun amid the storm.

"Love is a wordless secret; it's an inside joke. Only the two of you have to understand it."

I lost myself in Wish You Were Here, vanishing into this life-altering story, SPELLBOUND, as it seized every part of me: body, heart, and soul. Wish You Were Here is HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL, a book bleeding with feels. Oh did my heart break, shattering into pieces!!! Tears flowed like a river and I didn’t try to stop them…could not stop them. I UGLY CRIED, and it was catastrophic yet cathartic. The feels flowed feverishly where I FELT EVERY WORD ON EVERY PAGE. I felt every drop of sunlight, every drop of rain, every pull of my heart, and every slay of my soul. I FELT EVERYTHING!!!

The first thing I noticed about this story besides its stunning cover is that Renee Carlino weaves her work with detail, incredible descriptors that transport you right into the story. I was immediately thrust into the world of Wish You Were Here. This is my first Renee Carlino romance but I can feel how this incredible and new favorite author of mine poured her heart, blood, sweat, and tears into a breathtakingly beautiful and brilliant book. This PERFECTLY POIGNANT LOVE STORY is one that remains for a lifetime like that epic love we all seek.

Wish You Were Here is a story that is SO MUCH MORE than a romance. Wish You Were Here is taking that leap and living life to the fullest. Wish You Were Here is love against the odds. Wish You Were Here is happiness, hope, and heartbreak in a book bathed in beautiful words.

Devastatingly beautiful, passionately poignant, and life-changing, Wish You Were Here is a book that bleeds LOVE and LIFE. You can't help but become touched by this love story and FEEL Wish You Were Here word-for-word and cover-to-cover.I'm still being touched by this romance. Tears are etched in my eyes, ones that still feel fresh from feeling so much. My HEART IS WIDE OPEN as it sits—SHATTERED yet SOARING—from this soul-searing story. Wish You Were Here is a romance I wish everyone would read. I'll forever feel this masterpiece in vibrant color.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 but worth all of the stunning stars


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Profile Image for Deanna .
655 reviews12.4k followers
September 29, 2019
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

3.5 Stars

This novel didn't turn out to be what I was expecting. I'm not a big romance reader and when I started reading this I started to get a bit worried. However, I ended up getting carried away with the story and quite enjoyed it.

Charlotte is in her twenties, lives with her bestie, Helen and has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up. She's had many odd jobs and just as many odd men. No really......very odd men. One who freaked out every time he saw an El Camino, another who liked to wear her underwear, and another....well you get the gist.

Then she meets a handsome stranger roaming around the streets late at night, with a bag of Chinese food. Charlotte has never been into random hook-ups but she feels like she's known Adam forever. After an amazing night with the mysterious painter, she starts to wonder if her luck might be changing.

However, the next morning things take a turn...

Charlotte's feelings and her pride are hurt. Then Helen makes a shocking decision that leaves Charlotte feeling even more adrift. And she is still having a hard time putting Adam out of her head....or her heart.

When she finally does meet another guy she's leery of getting involved. But the handsome baseball player doesn't give up and just as her heart starts to thaw...

Suddenly EVERYTHING changes.

I usually have a hard time with romance and insta-love. I think I need to stop being so cynical. Charlotte was a great character and I enjoyed seeing her grow and change. I loved the relationship she had with her family, especially her brother. Her best friend Helen was a blast. I wondered about a couple of her decisions, but I told my cold heart to be quiet and just enjoy.

A romantic, heartwarming, and sexy story with many laugh out loud moments. However, this was also a very powerful and moving story with heart wrenching moments that hit me right in the gut. This was my first read by Renée Carlino and I really don't think it's going to be my last.

Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,926 followers
August 8, 2017
*****FOUR STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

”I promise to love you forever. As long as there is love in this world, we will be a part of it.”

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Renee Carlino takes us on another emotionally charged and utterly heartbreaking journey in her latest novel, ”WISH YOU WERE HERE”. I get why so many people love this story and have cried their eyes out, but I felt a little let down because I didn’t have the same experience. My heart was definitely broken but I think the fact that I loved both men in this story prevented me from having the ugly cry. This book is about life and how precious it is, and that we all should make the most of it because we only get one--well that’s if you don’t believe in reincarnation. It’s also about love and how it comes in so many different forms and if you are lucky enough to experience it, then embrace it and give it your all.

Charlotte Martin is a young woman who is still so incredibly lost as she nears the end of her twenties. She lives in a rundown apartment with her childhood best friend and has a dead end job as a waitress in a local diner. Charlie has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has quickly lost interest in almost every career she has tried her hand at. She also has quite a few failed relationships in her past as well. Charlie is a relationship type of girl but she always seems to choose men who are emotionally unavailable. Deep down she’s not really ready to take life seriously, that is until she meets a gorgeous and charismatic stranger out on the street while on her way home from a night out with her bestie, Helen. Adam and Charlie hit it off almost instantly and their banter is easy and even a bit comical. He helps Charlie walk her inebriated friend back home and then somehow he convinces her to go and have a drink with him. She’s not the kind of girl who goes out in the middle of the night with a total stranger but something about Adam has her gravitating towards him. His company is intoxicating and she is curious to see where things go.

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Somehow the two end up back at Adam’s loft where we learn that he’s an artist and he has some odd quirks. Adam seems to have bad memory retention and so he has post it notes all over his place that are filled with written reminders for him. While she never expected things to get too serious, Charlie and Adam share an amazing night filled with profound introspection and mind blowing sex. She’s knocked on her ass the next morning when Adam’s entire demeanor changes and he’s quite rude and standoffish towards her. Though they only shared one night together, her heart had already gotten attached to Adam and she’s overcome with sadness for nearly six months afterward.

After wallowing in self-pity for far too long, Charlie tries her hand at online dating. She ends up meeting another gorgeous, charming, and incredibly sweet man. Seth is a minor league baseball player who is on his way up to the major leagues. From the moment he walked into the story, my heart melted for him. I really loved this guy. So he may have fallen a little too fast for Charlie, but there was a lot of that insta-love going on in this story and it never bothered me in the slightest. I just really disliked how Charlie treated him at times. Honestly, I didn’t warm up to her until I was almost to the end of the book. While Charlie really likes Seth and they have incredible physical chemistry, she can’t help but compare her feelings for Seth to her feelings for Adam. Every day it seems things pop up that are constantly reminding her of Adam and she finally decides to find him and get the answers she needs to find closure. She will get answers but they aren’t what she ever would have expected.

Adam comes back into her life and while I admit, I was happy to have him back, I felt so bad for Seth. I wished that one of these men had been a self-absorbed douchebag so that I could pick one guy to root for but they were both amazing. I knew that it would be impossible for the Heroine to ride off into the sunset with the both men.

I really wished things transpired differently in this story but I understand why the author took us down the path she did. It was a journey the Heroine had to take to ultimately find the strength to make changes in her life and to stop living in a constant state of limbo. But I’m greedy and so that’s why I couldn’t rate this book a full five stars--I wanted to but I’m still a bit upset over how some things transpired in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the writing was superb and I did like this book quite a bit!

I’m positive that readers are going to fall in love with this story and that it will haunt many! It’s definitely worth one-clicking! Renee Carlino has become an automatic must read author for me.

WISH YOU WERE HERE releases on August 15th!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vdGiYu
Nook: http://bit.ly/2fnzPoi
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2nNqvsD
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2q5AQ5T

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Profile Image for Gabby.
1,209 reviews26k followers
April 16, 2019
I love Renee Carlino, Before We Were Strangers is one of my favorite books of all time, so it kills me to say I really didn't like this book. A one star review might seem extremely harsh, but I honestly couldn't think of one thing I actually liked about this story. This book follows this girl named Charlotte who is a waitress in Los Angeles, randomly one night she meets this guy named Adam who recently quit his job as a lawyer to paint full time. They share one night together, and then he acts weird the next day and they lose touch. Seven months later, she is still hung up on him (even when she casually starts seeing someone else), and then she finds out why Adam was acting so strange with her.

Charlotte is one of the most obnoxious, judgmental, selfish protagonists I've read about in a long time. She was constantly bitching about something, and her attitude and judginess really got on my nerves. She judges people over the stupidest shit all the time: for example, she's always judging "dog people" and she does it more than once. Like excuse me, what the fuck is wrong with liking dogs? She also judges someone for still being in college at the age of twenty-five. She judges her best friend for wanting to do something spontaneous and romantic even though she LITERALLY DID THE SAME SHIT WITH ADAM. She only thinks about herself, and is constantly bitching about how hung up she is on Adam and treats Seth like shit. She bitches about how much it sucks to be rejected by Adam and then literally does the same shit to Seth all the time. I just couldn't fucking stand her.

Not to mention, Adam and Charlotte's first night together was totally cringe-worthy and ridiculous and he was giving off so many red flags and he was way too forward for a first date. I didn't think he was "charming" he was actually giving me really creepy vibes but of course our protagonist thought he was just so cute. Charlotte keeps commenting on it too, in her inner dialogue, she's wondering why he's so strange but she just chooses to ignore it and have sex with him anyways because that is totally the right thing to do if someone is acting strangely.

This book tries to be like I skimmed from the halfway point to the end because I honestly couldn't give two shits about Charlotte and her dramatic life, so I skimmed to the end and I was not shocked to see the story line just get even worse towards the end.

It fucking sucks because this was one of my most highly anticipated books this year and Renee Carlino is one of my favorites, but this book was a fucking mess. I could not stand any of these characters, especially Charlotte. I am so disappointed, I never thought I would hate a book from this author, but I do.
November 12, 2017
****4.25 STARS****

For my unfiltered reviews, giveaways and more, check out my blog www.prettymessreading.com

Wish You Were Here took me on an emotional and wonderful journey of love, loss, and healing. I do hope you get a chance to read it for yourself to see if you can the same fulfillment as I did. This books makes you question if you can really fall in love with someone in just one night.

I normally don’t feel the authenticity of insta-love in books but I felt it here. Renee Carlino betrayed it beautifully.

Charlotte is gorgeous but she doesn’t even know it. She is also kind, sweet, and loyal. She is the true definition of what a friend, sister, daughter, woman is. You can see her as your friend or loved one easily. She had this ADHD thing about her and I fucking loved it because she reminded me of me. I would most likely still be all over the place if I didn’t have children.

Adam. Oh, Adam. He was different to say the least but the was also something magical about him. He had an old soul, one that has been here before. I found myself intrigued by him. I wanted to learn more about him from the moment he was introduced to me in the book. I could tell early on that there was something major going on with him but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

After a beautiful night together, questions are asked and answered. Some we want to see and others that hurt us to read about. No matter what does or doesn’t happen, Adam made me fall in love with him in just one moment.
“You’re stunning and beautiful and I loved every second of it. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. Did I hurt you.?” – Adam

“No, but are you going to pain it?” – Charlotte

“Paint what?”

“Us, what we just did?”



“No. I don’t need to. I’ll never forget it and it’s sacred.”

Unfortunately, Charlotte and Adam’s time is cut short early on so we never get a chance to figure him out completely. As the the story goes on we eventually learn Adam is so much more complicated than anyone could have expected. This unexpected turn make Charlotte and Adam’s love story one of the classics.

Now, Seth is a whole different story. He’s the guy that comes along after Charlotte’s magical night with Adam. Don’t get me wrong, he was a sweetheart but he was no Adam when it came to the connection Adam and Charlotte shared. If there really is a thing called, soulmates, it would be Charlotte and Adam. But, if there was a thing called, um…this could work, it would be Charlotte and Seth. It wasn’t like Seth was a bad person or that Charlotte couldn’t love him, it was more like Adam already owned her heart whether she wanted him to or not. This puts Seth in a really funky position.

Is Seth man enough for the job of capturing Charlotte’s heart for his and his alone? I guess you will have read the book to find out. Did you really think I was going to tell you? Y’all should know me better than that by now!

So, here is Adam and. . .here is Seth and. . .there goes Charlotte. You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean with that statement.

…I promise to be the best husband I can. Until death do us part.” – Adam

“Till death do us part is for quitters. I promise to love you forever. As long as the is love in this world, we will be a part of it..” – Charlotte

This book made me wish I had my own Adam. I have my own real life Seth, so I don’t need to wish for that. Adam takes life by the balls and lives his life to the fullest even though he has his own shit he’s going through, it never takes away his ability to love.
“Life went by fast. That’s what happens when you live it well, right? When you have someone to love? It goes by fast. You blink and it’s over” –Adam

“You’re making love sound tragic.” –Charlotte

“No. I wouldn’t want it any other way.” –Adam

As I wrap up my review, I want you to know that this book just might leave you a tad bit emotional but it will be worth it. Hopefully. . .

Do I recommend this book? Yes, for those who are into romance novels that touch your heart.

Will I read another book by this author?Duh! Of course I will. Fingers crossed I love the next one or I will be sorely disappointed.

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Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,358 reviews4,605 followers
August 16, 2017
4.5 Stars

"How long have we been in love?"

I was completely in love with the story but I'm still not sure I liked the unexpected turn the story takes at the halfway point. Regardless, Renee Carlino did a wonderful job with the characters, the humor, the love, and even the sorrow.


"Love is a wordless secret; it's an inside joke. Only the two of you have to understand it."
Profile Image for Pearl Angeli.
622 reviews946 followers
August 15, 2017
4 Stars!

“When you love someone, whether it be your family, friends, partners, whatever, it's like planting a seedling of yourself inside of their hearts.”

I was downright emotional after reading this book. Wish You Were Here was so deep, so heartbreaking and powerful. The plot wasn't what I expected to go but it completely surprised me and it turned my world upside down.

The story centers around Charlotte Ann Martin. She's someone who doesn't seem to have a sense of purpose. Along with her other jobs, she works as a waitress at Blackbird's Café but she doesn't love what she's doing. She also sucks when it comes to relationships as she was always attached to guys with issues. Then she met a high-spirited stranger named Adam Bramwell, a rich lawyer who quit his job to pursue his interest-- art. They instantly connected. When she spent a night with him, they acted like they're a couple who had been together for years. However, the next morning, Adam kicked her out. She spent a lot of days wondering why he never reached out to her again. Just when she gave up and moved on with a gorgeous baseball player Seth Taylor, Adam came back into her life and that time, she found out the real reason why he disappeared.

“You brightened the darkest time of my life.”

The storyline actually reminds me of the book that I've read before, When It Rains. They have a lot of similarities. However, the romance and the drama in this book were portrayed differently. I could say it really affected me on so many levels. I guess what truly made this book stand out was the unpredictability of it. I felt a little shaken by how unexpected the twist had been. It broke my heart!

This book isn't just a romance story but it also teaches life lessons to the readers. Making the most of your life and doing exactly what you love is its real message. It also reaches out to people who do not feel like they're worthy to be loved. Those who do not value themselves.

What made me feel attached to this book was the impact it gave me. I became lost in the story because the characters are just worth caring about. They're well-built out and well-developed. The ending wasn't what I hoped to happen though, but I knew that it has to end that way. Overall, this was a beautifully woven, tear-jerking story. Renee Carlino has done it spectacularly!

“Till death do us part is for quitters. I promise to love you forever. As long as there is love in this world, we will be a part of it.”

(An ARC was provided by Atria Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

Pages of Pearl

Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
August 13, 2017

“I promise to love you forever.
As long as there is love in this world, we will be a part of it.”

OMG. OMG!!! I'm wiping tears as I write this review. This book was amazing and I honestly did not expect it to take the direction that it did and my gosh ... HOLY FEELS. I mean, that epilogue especially was so emotional!!

To give you a quick idea of what this book is about, the heroine bumps into a complete stranger on the street one night and they just connect. After an amazing night together though, something about him changes in the morning and he breaks her heart. But in a way she doesn't understand and that just doesn't quite make sense. For months, she can't get him out of her head. She wants to move on, but can't let go of the memory of the mysterious man who stole a piece of her heart that night. And when she finds him again, she realizes just how big a secret he had...

I'm also going to share the blurb with you here:

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.

Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.

Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.

However, the one thing I would strongly like to emphasize is that I do NOT consider this a love triangle even though there are technically two male leads. I'm trying hard not to specifically spoil anything, but I do want to say that, as many of you know, I'm a reader who usually strongly dislikes triangles, and I was fully fine with everything that happened in this story. It all made complete sense and really felt true to the characters.

It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.

I smiled at him; he smiled back. There was some sort of affinity between us, but I didn’t know where it was coming from, exactly. I didn’t know this guy half an hour ago, but now I needed to know him.

This book has everything -- it's part love story, part life story. It's about learning to live life to its fullest and not being afraid to follow your heart when you find true love. It's about appreciating each and every moment we have -- and not taking any time for granted.

“I want you to know that I am grateful to you. I’m grateful to you now. I got to experience IT in this life, and I don’t think it’s measured with time.”
“You don’t think what’s measured with time, Adam?”
“Love, Charlotte.”

I don't know why, but I kind of just expected a sweet summer romance when I started reading this. I didn't expect such an emotionally charged story. I loved its intensity. The writing was strong, the characters felt real, and the story tugged all my heartstrings.

“Have I asked you to marry me?” he asked sleepily.
“Every day,” I replied.
“I always say not yet.”
Adam was dozing off and slurring when he said, “Why?”
I’m certain he was asleep when I finally replied, “Because I don’t want you to stop asking.”

Over the years, I've loved many of Renee Carlino's books and what I appreciate most about the stories she tells is how I can always count on her to step outside the box with a unique story. Its a very comforting feeling as a reader knowing that authors like her are continuing to write books because I'm always searching for stories that are just a little bit different and so I always know that every time she releases a new book, I will definitely want to check it out.

I wanted you to know that when people talk about “the one,” you were my “one.” Is that crazy? I know I’m not that for you because you have your whole life ahead of you and we only spent one night together, but I still had to tell you.

On an emotional level, this book was like a cross between Me Before You and A Thousand Boy Kisses, but with it's own uniqueness. And the more I think about the story, I realize just how perfect both the title and cover are for it.

When I opened my eyes finally, he was holding himself above me, staring down.
“What?” I said.
He squinted slightly, as though he were trying to recall something. “How long have we been in love.”

Love. Loss. Hope. Healing. Heartbreak. This is a story that reminds you to treasure every moment of life. Something as simple as just being here - alive, with a loved one - can be the most powerful and precious gift in the universe.

Wish You Were Here is a heart-breaking, romantic, and beautiful story. It's one of Renee Carlino's best books yet. I read it in one sitting and absolutely loved it. If you loved Me Before You, then you have to read this book!

Rating: 4.5 stars. Standalone.

Buy WISH YOU WERE HERE (Paperback)


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Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,417 reviews77.6k followers
January 30, 2018
1.5 STARS rounded to 2

Well, no one is more bummed than I am that I didn't love this like everyone else did. I think it just came down to personal preference and what I could and could not overlook in the plot. I couldn't connect with Charlotte which I think made the rest of the book feel like a dud. Not here to bash, so I'll end on a positive note that I did appreciate the author's sense of humor and compelling style of writing. For that, I'll go ahead and try her other books that I have on my shelf.
Profile Image for Andie .
259 reviews373 followers
July 2, 2017
4.5 bittersweet stars

It's not everyday a story comes along, sweeps you off your feet and then completely wrecks your soul. Wish You Were Here took me on a very emotional journey, all the while teaching me some very important lessons in love, life, loss, and finding yourself through the ashes. Definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year!

Carlino is an auto-buy author for me so I didn't even have to read the blurb to know I had to read this book. Going straight in without any pre conceived ideas is just the way I like it, but whatever I may have been subconsiously expecting, it sure as hell wasn't this. I was not prepared for the range of emotions my poor heart would go through.

I loved the characters in this book. Charlotte is someone who I could relate to and I think a lot of other people will be able to as well. She's just been kind of floating through life with no real direction or sense of self. That's a really hard place to sit, believe me I know! One night with a complete stranger changes her life, for the better, forever. Said stranger, Adam, was my favorite character. His outlook on love and life and living in the moment was so contagious. Adam you wonderful, beautiful soul, I love you to pieces. I also really enjoyed the family dynamics. Charlotte and her brother represented sibling banter so realistically. Their parents were also a hoot! The plot flowed so smoothly it seemed effortless. There were times when I wasn't quite sure which way the story would go and appreciated that tiny bit of unpredictability.

I could probably go on and on all day about how epically wonderful this book was but I don't want to give anything away. I read this book within two sittings, it was THAT good. Carlino's writing is as beautiful as ever and completely draws you in, I couldn't tear myself away from it. She delivers a gut wrenching story with a reminder of how precious life is and to live your life to the fullest. I know I evaluated my own after finishing.

For all the Renee Carlino fans, I can't wait for you to read and fall in love with this story. For those who haven't yet picked up a Carlino novel, I urge you to take that plunge! Just make sure you have tissues on hand ;)

*Thank you to Netgalley and Atria Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Shannon.
373 reviews142 followers
August 18, 2017
Some books you pick up because they sound entertaining, and some books you pick up because you're already a fan of the author. I'm a relatively new reader to Renee Carlino, have been curious about her writing and kept seeing all of the buzz for this book, so it was definitely on my radar. But then I started and was granted so much more than just a story about two people falling in love. It's about finding yourself, even when you don't know where to start looking. It's about embracing life with a sunny outlook, no matter the amount of rainy days. It's about stealing Chinese food from a stranger on the street at midnight and discussing the merits of dancing wolves. It's about love, life, hope and happiness. Acceptance, perspective, and the importance of dreaming about, and creating your future.

There are some authors that come along and you fall into reading them by happenstance. You are entranced not by their fancy words or worldly plots and characters, but their tone and their voice. The realness that they inject into their writing and the vivid imagery that they can create. This is exactly with Carlino and Wish You Were Here. Her voice was what drew me in, the story was what kept me. It's an extremely visceral feeling to read a book like this with such potent intensity. This story can, and will change someone's life.

I went in to this story completely blind and I seriously suggest you do the same. I didn't look at any other reviews, I didn't ask friends that I know have read it, I just turned to page one and dove in. Having no idea why to expect, I didn't even read the blurb. Isn't that part of the fun of reading though? Experiencing a story as it was meant to be read, not by finding hints or seeing biased reviews beforehand. Though who am I kidding, this review is biased. But I'll also do my best to not actually tell you anything about the story other than how it made me feel. We read books to escape, don't we? To meet other people and places and see the stories that we might not get to see. To feel. This book accomplishes all of those and more.

Wish You Were Here swept me up in such a whirlwind of emotions, it was anything but what I expected. I had no clue how this book would go but I never could've imagined what we actually got. I don't know how I would've felt if I knew any details going in, and it was so raw and powerful to experience all of this without any outside whispers of what was happening. I feel like this book changed something in me. Even two weeks later, I can't even reread my notes and highlighted quotes for this book because I FEEL ALL OF THE THINGS that I previously mentioned. I fell in love while reading and embraced the emotions as they came. I only hope that you can do the same.

I've had several people ask me about certain content in this book, but I really don't want to tell you much about it. Just read it because this hurts so good. The only advice that I can give though is that with everything you read, file that away. Once you finish, think about the different perspectives that this gives you. Step back from the book and look at the bigger picture of everything you just read. THIS, in my opinion, is how I think the story is meant to be experienced.

Ultimately, I agree with this story and love how it was done. I thought that there was 10% near the end or so that I wasn't totally sure on, it almost felt a little bit callous to me, but by the time we got to the epilogue, there was a giant lightbulb that went off in my head. I had a quiet, "I understand now" moment, and just had a minute of calm and reflection for what I just read once that happened.

So with that being said, I'll leave you with this little sound bite: Beautiful Life by Nick Fradiani was on repeat in my house for several days while I danced, sang, and lived with these characters in my heart.
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,562 followers
August 15, 2017
live https://www.amazon.com/Wish-You-Were-...

4.5-5 Unique Stars

"Your art,our memories,the memories people have of us...it makes us immortal.When you love someone,whether it be your family,friends,partners,whatever,it's like planting a little seedling of yourself inside of their hearts." <3

Omg this book ruined me, I finished it two days ago and still thinking about it!Wish you Were Here is an unforgettable,emotional,intense,heartbreaking and sweet story.When it comes to Renee I can't pick which book is my favorite because all of them are fantastic.Her stories are unique and original.


“Do you believe in soul mates, Charlotte?”
“I think so.”
“Do you know what I think?”
“I think we have soul mates but I think we can have more than one ….”

I felt so connected with the characters while I was reading it,I could feel whatever they were going through and this makes the story even more intimidating for me.

Renee Carlino did an amazing job, the story was beautiful and the writing flawless.I'll never forget Wish You Were Here!!!I highly recommend it to everyone!


Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,414 reviews7,411 followers
December 5, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

This is yet another book with a fairly high rating that I found to be “meh” so I’m going to channel my inner Old Man Potter before I even start . . . . .

In the land of Goodreads 2 Stars means “it was okay” and that’s exactly what this was to me. I didn’t hate it, so I can’t give it 1 Star, and I started reading with my morning coffee on Sunday and was finished before lunch (while also doing all of the chores I hate and cooking muffins for my growly children) so, if nothing else, it was a quick read. It’s also one that if I say too much I will spoil, so I’m simply going to say when it comes to the storyline . . . .

There was also ZERO character development or feeling in the writing. It was like listening to a record at the wrong speed – it went too fast and had no depth. YMMV, obviously. This was my first experience with Renee Carlino. It appears I might have better luck Swear On This Life so I’ve put that one on hold and will get to it whenever my turn comes around.
Profile Image for Shaya.
249 reviews314 followers
February 19, 2022
با چه داستانی اینجا مواجهیم؟
یه داستان عاشقانه که تا حدودی اشک آور.
شخصیت داستان که یه آدمی هست که هیچ دستاوردی تو زندگیش نداره با یه نفر اشنا میشه و اون اشنایی مسیر زندگیشو عوض میکنه. توصیفات شبی که با ادام بود رو دوس داشتم یجورایی میشد حسش کرد.مثلا با کسی روبرو بشی ولی تا حالا ندیدیش ولی حس کنی که تمام عمر میشناختیش. حس قشنگی نیس؟؟
اما روز بعد ادام رفتار متفاوتی با شارلوت میکنه و باعث میشه اون شب رویایی زیر سوال بره؟
چرا چنین رفتاری با شارلوت شد؟ شارلوت در ادامه میخواد چیکار کنه؟؟


شارلوت چندماه بعد میفهمه که ادام تومور مغزی داشته واس همین روز صبحی که بیدار شده اونو یادش نبوده ولی با یه نفر دیگه وارد ارتباط شده و کتاب به این میپردازه که شارلوت چیکار میکنه و چه رفتاری در پیش میگیره؟
آخر سر ادام میمیره و پول واسه شارلوت به ارث میذاره باید بگم که اونا با هم ازدواج کردن و روزای اخر عمر ادام باهم بودن بعد شارلوت تصمیم میگیره قایق بخره و بره روی قایق زندگی کنه و با دوس پسر قبلیش کع بعد ادام باهاش بود اشتی کنه و کتاب تموم میشه.
خداییش واسه اینجور کتابا ادم چه نقدی باید بنویسه؟؟؟
Profile Image for Tina.
494 reviews770 followers
August 29, 2017
I so wanted to read this book and was disappointed that NetGalley did not give me access. To my delight I saw it was only $2.99 on my kindle app. I'm so glad I read it.

What a story!! I loved Renee Carlino's writing. It was not quite what I was expecting but surprised me in a good way. Such a touching story...I was sobbing in parts (you might need a few tissues) but it really made you think about relationships and love. The story is about finding love and losing it. About resilience and new beginnings.

Charlotte meets a man (Adam) one night under odd circumstances. They have a one-night stand but feel a real connection. She constantly thinks about him and wants to find him.....but tries to go on with her life and eventually meets someone else (Seth). Until one day she finds out where Adam is and why he never called her after their one night together.

It's my understanding that the author is a screenwriter. I think this book could make a really good movie! (with some tweaks)...really pulls at the heartstrings.
Profile Image for MELISSA *Mel Reader*.
1,335 reviews1,396 followers
August 15, 2017
4 Stars!

-"As long as there is love in this world, we will be a part of it."

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Charlotte Martin is a 27 yr. old woman living in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles with her best friend Helen. She's been through many career choices & is still finding herself. She's currently working as a waitress at a cafe & hasn't had any luck finding her Mr. Right.

One evening she randomly meets a man named Adam & the feeling is almost indescribable. She feels such a strong connection to this man & an intense need to know him. He's funny & sweet, and his joy for life is contagious. He's spontaneous & lives life in the moment. She's completely enchanted by this gorgeous stranger and they end up spending one beautiful night together. She felt they shared something unique & rare she couldn't explain, but the next day he acts rude, and blows her off. She feels rejected, and figures it's not meant to be & moves on.

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-He was spontaneous and fun. It excited me.

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

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Some time goes by, and Charlotte is still thinking about Adam & still hung up on him. She's confused because he seemed so sincere & genuine. He made her feel special & she's never felt so connected to anyone, but something was off about him. She sensed he was undergoing some sort of change in his life. Even though her experience with this man was a bit weird, she can't get him out of her head. He messed with her self confidence & made her question her judgment.

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Months later Charlotte meets another man that helps take her mind off Adam. His name is Seth Taylor & he lives in San Diego. He is a really great guy & she enjoys spending time with him, but she still can't fully move on from Adam. He's a mystery & she realizes she fell for him. She decides to try & contact him to at least get some closure, but finds out everything is much more complicated than she realized. She's now left with the decision does she continue on with her new relationship with Seth or see if there is anything to salvage with Adam?

It's hard to say much about this book and not have spoilers so I'll just say it is deeply emotional. Be prepared to shed a few tears. The book has a lot of great messages. It is about love, self worth, taking chances instead of living life on the sidelines, & soulmates. Some of us are lucky enough in this life to have more than one. This book has a bit of a love triangle & I adored both Adam & Seth.

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Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,802 reviews2,159 followers
August 18, 2017
Swear on This Life is one of my all time favorite books, and I was very much looking forward to reading this one. I really didn't like this book, mostly because of the characters. I felt they were severely underdeveloped.

Charlotte was supposed to be so insightful, yet behaved like an oblivious child most of the book. Adam reminded me of the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie discovered she was dating a man with ADD (even though I completely understand why his behavior was erratic). And Seth came across like a rapey asshole. I didn't like anyone, and I wasn't rooting for anyone to end up together.

Carlino is capable of great stories and unforgettable characters, this book just didn't work for me.

An an arc was provided by the publisher via netgalley.
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,269 reviews337 followers
August 5, 2017
An ARC has been provided by Atria Books via NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest opinion

4,5 “no tissues left” stars.

Image result for gif emotional

This book was so emotional that I want to write a different review...

What you’ll get is my own interview while reading the book. I think it will be the best way to convey the many emotions I went through.

- What made you request this book?

“I always wanted to read one of Renee Carlino’s books but never had the opportunity. When I learned an ARC of her latest novel was ready I read the blurb and…crossed my fingers!”

-What were the first thoughts crossing your head when you began reading?

“What have I done?” “That was my first thought as I did not love Adam at all that first night. I could not connect with him and found him too peculiar for my personal taste. Why was he acting so erratically? And why did Charlotte find his behavior acceptable?
I also thought Charlotte was a fluke. She never finished anything, was adrift in life, without solid plan or goal. I’m the polar opposite of Charlotte and I must reckon that I was judgmental.
As you can see I was really regretting my choice.”

- What was your reaction when Charlotte met Seth? Did you root for him? Understood Charlotte?

“I loved Seth but as I hate love triangle I also feared where this was headed to. As much as I did not understand Adam I still felt some kind of loyalty for him. I could also feel that Charlotte was not over Adam and she kept Seth at arm’s length. It did not help of course. On the other hand I wanted to kick Charlotte’s behind so bad as she had a perfect man pinning for her and yet she was quite standoffish. I must confess that I was no better than her family.”

- What was the tipping point for you?

“When Charlotte learned the truth about Adam. I was warming up to Charlotte and began to understand her. I even wished her to live happily ever after with Seth and then BAM! I discovered Adam’s secret and I never saw it coming.
From that moment on I had a tissue glued to my hand and running eyes.
Charlotte’s evolution impressed me. She had an inner strength I never imagined and … yes I was in awe and in tears.”

-Did this book meet your expectations? Did it surprise you? How would you describe Renee Carlino’s penmanship?

“This story surpassed my expectations. I never expected that level of emotions neither this turn of events. I did not expect to love Adam so much when I began despising him in the very beginning. I did not expect to get not only one but two perfect men in this story. I don’t know how Renee Carlino managed this high feat but she has created two exceptional heroes, different from each other but both extraordinary. Renee’s writing is astute as she slowly but surely sucked me in her story and made me fall hard for her characters.”

- Would you recommend it?

“A thousand times!”

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Profile Image for Bex | TotallyBex.com.
508 reviews181 followers
August 16, 2017
Beautiful. Absolutely, stunningly beautiful. And spectacular, and powerful, and heartbreaking... I just don't have enough adjectives to describe my feelings for this book! I've only read one other book by Renee Carlino, and I enjoyed it, but she brought everything to the table with this story. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with these characters, and the story left me bereft (yet hopeful and happy—the hangover is real, y'all!). Wish You Were Here is a gorgeous must-read and one of my favorite books of the year!

Charlotte is like a lot of twenty-somethings these days. She's searching for her life's purpose through lackluster jobs and even worse boyfriend prospects. Her aimless wanderings steer her into the path of an enigmatic stranger who inadvertently changes the course of Charlotte's stagnant life. Nothing is the same after seeing the world through Adam's eyes.

I devoured this story in one sitting, and you could blow me over with a feather once I finished. Wish You Were Here is one of those books that you just sit and stare off into space for a while after setting it down. There is so much to appreciate and absorb and adore about the intricacies and the outcome of the journey Charlotte, Adam, their friends and their families go on thanks to Ms. Carlino's skillful storytelling.

So many passages were highlighted to reread later (when my eyes aren't so misty), and I had even planned to share some here, but I've decided that I want everyone to read this book and enjoy those passages organically and within the context of the story. No matter what I share, it would never capture the perfection of the epic love story I just experienced. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up as soon as you can. I promise you won't regret it!

ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.

▸ Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Kobo | iBooks | Nook | Book Depository

▸ For more reviews, visit http://www.nightowlreader.com
Profile Image for FMABookReviews.
635 reviews392 followers
July 13, 2017
❝Love is a wordless secret; it's an inside joke. Only the two of you have to understand it.❞

Absolutely stunning and tragically beautiful, 'Wish You Were Here', is an emotion-filled love story that will hold your heart captive and make you question your thoughts on life!

This is by far, my favorite Renee Carlino book. It was poignant, it was daring and it was beautiful! I cried buckets of tears, my heart ached and I laughed a little, too.

THIS is what true love is; finding your soul mate and caring for and loving them while you live your life to its fullest.
❝The world came to life around me. I could see people for who they were, not what they had. And when I was with you, I felt more alive than ever before.❞ When we reached the car, he wiped tears from my face. ❝Because you are good, Charlotte. You're a good person and you see the good in other people. You care. You brightened the darkest time of my life.❞

Two soul mates meeting by chance. Sparks instantly fly and a connection is made - a match made in heaven. We never know what life will throw at us, but the question is, what do we do with the hand we are dealt?

Can there be second chances?

This story had so much heart and love and held so much promise despite its sadness. The lessons learned were to trust others, to love others, to lean on others while learning to trust, love and lean on yourself. But above all, being grateful for having had love.

Adam and Charlotte's story was touching and certainly not one I will forget for a very long time. Wish You Were Here is a top favorite of the year!

**I received an Advanced Reader Copy. This did not influence my opinion of the book, nor my review.**

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Profile Image for ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰ .
2,136 reviews1,188 followers
September 1, 2017
hm ...
this is what I did while reading this book - during the WHOLE book!!!


I loved the story.
At first I was scared that it was going to be a love triangle thingy - and I hate those. And yes, there are some triangly things, but it's not a triangle at all.
I loved it. I loved both guys and I cried a lot.
Read it! Don't be afraid!!!!
It's an amazingly beautiful love story. It's so heartbreakingly sad and moving and sweet and funny and ugh - just read it!


Smokin Hot Book Blog Email
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,377 reviews373 followers
February 28, 2019
DNF @40%

I don't know if this is just me but I found the writing hugely chaotic. Clearly there was some cognitively degenerative condition going on with Adam. I didn't like Charlotte at all, nor Seth. I found the Helen/Roddy storyline ridiculous and I'm not of a mind to continue. What do you do when you don't like even one character?
Profile Image for AC Book Blog .
930 reviews117 followers
July 20, 2017
5 Tear Jerking Stars!!

“Nothing, I just wish…I wish he were here.”

Oh boy! I’m a hot mess right now. I didn’t expect this book to be everything that it was. I love Rene Carlino’s writing because she has a way with words that creates these epic love stories that are raw and real.  This story far exceeded my expectations.  It’s a story with layers and it was thought-provoking. It not only kept me thinking about Charlotte and Adam for days, but it kept me thinking about life, friendship, relationships, and how most of us take it all for granted.

“That’s what happens when you live it well, right? When you have someone to love? It goes by fast. You blink and it’s over.”

This story will touch the hearts of all romance readers, but also those who love seeing a woman come into her own. The core of this story is love, but also Charlotte’s growth and journey. This book is the perfect blend of women’s fiction and romance.

Charlotte is the main character; she’s in her twenties and she’s lost. She unexpectedly meets Adam and has this perfect whirlwind night with him. It’s love at first sight; it’s soul mates meeting.  The next morning is plagued with miscommunication and there ends their short love affair. Only Charlotte can’t get Adam out of her mind and eventually discovers the truth.  Sometimes love at first sight stories can feel rushed or too cheesy, but this was done perfectly. Each word, each page captivated me and I couldn’t stop falling in love with Charlotte and Adam.

I don’t want to give spoilers because part of what kept me reading was the unknown answers regarding Adam. I had a few theories that were wrong, so I felt some shock in learning the truth.  My hope was the cause of my heartbreak in this book. I’m not a crier, but I was sobbing my eyes out in this book. I carried out my hope until the very end and even then, I was hoping.  Adam has this light that shines so bright; it was contagious on and off the paper.  There was no doubt why Charlotte was drawn to him.  He helped Charlotte grow so much. He saw what lied beneath and helped her shed her fears. She transformed into a completely different person by the end of the story.   I was inspired by both Adam and Charlotte. I wish they had more time; such wasted time on their trivial miscommunications. They have the type of love movies get made about (hint hint…I think this would make a beautiful movie).  I was inspired to be more, to love more, to feel more, and to live more.

Lastly, without being obvious in how the story ends, I do want to comment on the idea that there is more than one person for us. I’m the ultimate romance girl so soul mates are black and white for me, but this story was done in such a way where I do believe there is more than one person for us. I think there is the ultimate soul mate who will trump all others. It’s the strongest bond and if we have a choice it will always be the soul mate. I think Adam is the ultimate soul mate for Charlotte. However, it’s comforting to know that if we never meet our soul mate or if they leave us one day, there is still hope for love.

“I’m writing because I wanted you to know that when people talk about “the one,” you were my “one.”

Ok, I promise I’m ending this review. Please read this book! Open yourself up, take it all in, and come out on the other side ready to live life a little more. Happy reading!!!
Profile Image for Jacqueline's Reads.
2,751 reviews1,471 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
August 21, 2017
DNF at 50%

I was really nervous starting a Renee Carlino book. I have given this author raving reviews and I have given this author poor reviews. I noticed the reviews of this book split between two sides. You either liked it A LOT or you didn’t A LOT.

I am in the latter. I did not like this book at all. I should have read the blurb and realized what I was getting myself into. ALSO. When people tell me that That is a spoiler in itself and I realized what was going to play out into the book real quick.

The book starts off with an interesting start. I already know I don’t like the Heroine. She’s too flighty and her sense of self isn’t my cuppa. She’s kind of a **insert really bad language**. I don’t know, I just can’t find myself befriending her or even understanding her.

I get the whole “finding yourself” thing, but I didn’t agree with a lot of her actions. I’ll get deeper into the book..

Gah, I don’t get it. I didn’t see any connection with ANY of the characters. I felt like the Heroine treated everyone like complete shit and she was REALLY REALLY REALLY selfish. She acted like a teenager.

I think I would have liked this book better if it had more meat to it. I was speed reading this book and I read half of it before my morning even started. I wanted more connections between everyone, instead I got choppy parts with forced dialogue and a forced plot.

No thanks.
Profile Image for Angela (Reading Frenzy Book Blog).
932 reviews440 followers
August 5, 2017
4.5 stars

I love it when I come across a book that pulls on my heartstrings in the best possible way. I know when I pick up a Renée Carlino book that it will have the perfect blend of inspiration and suffering.

I easily related to Charlotte and her uninspired, directionless life. She has changed college majors and career goals several times. Even her love life is stagnant since. Her lack of confidence causes her to sabotage relationships, although she freely admits she has crap taste in men.

Adam is instantly likable, and I can see why Charlotte would be drawn to him despite his confusing behavior. He’s spontaneous and always joyful. He recognizes the goodness that she can’t see in herself. Despite the fact that they’re strangers, their connection is inexplicably familiar and it moves their affair along at warp speed.

There is a love triangle, and I have to say that Seth, the baseball player, is one hell of a catch. The patience and love he lavishes on Charlotte makes her one lucky lady. Adam is equally devoted. My only issue is the way in which Charlotte handles the conflicts resulting from her relationships with both men.

At one point, I felt the story was heading into tearjerker territory. While it is emotional, I think it would have been more impactful for me if the pace slowed a bit so I could more fully appreciate the experience. The last quarter of the book, in particular, seems rushed.

Charlotte’s evolution is still fascinating, though, and I cheered her on every step of her journey. This is a beautiful story that encourages you to prioritize your life and live without fear of others’ approval..

Recommended for fans of:

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.**

Reading Frenzy Book Blog
September 1, 2017
4 - 4.5 ★'s

I have to admit this book was a little awkward in the beginning. The characters are awkward, the dialog is awkward and the plot felt awkward...it sure didn't feel like a Renee Carlino story. But then something emotional happened and I was sucked in...thank goodness.

Charlotte or Charlie is a free spirit trying to find her way in the world. She's tried a few different careers but nothing seems to fit. Her history with men is the same way but one night she meets Adam and at least that changes.

But again...there's something weird about Adam. One moment he is right there with her and the next, he's not sure what's going on. This ends up leading to a bit of a fall out between the two, or so Charlie thinks, and they don't see each other for several months.

I had a feeling about Adam but it also left me confused especially when Charlie's brother sets her up on match.com and she meets Seth. Not that the "meeting" happens right away because, again, awkward, and then he doesn't show up.


It only takes six months for them to get in contact again and luckily, Seth had a good excuse. They start seeing each other but Seth's not Adam and Charlie can't stop thinking about him and wondering what happened. She decides to look for him...unfortunately, she doesn't like what she finds.

And of course, it's right at the time when her relationship with Seth has actually evolved quite nicely. However, she has to put that on hold.

This is the tricky part. I can appreciate where the author went with this but I hated seeing it coming. What I did like was the journey that Charlie made...figuratively and literally. I loved how she grew as a person but I really liked how her relationships grew with the people she loved.

If you're interested in this story, I sincerely hope you can make it past the awkward/weird parts because believe me, it will be so worth it!
Profile Image for Alexandra Elend Wolf.
533 reviews252 followers
June 3, 2020

“Love is a wordless secret; it’s an inside joke. Only the two of you have to understand it.”

Ah, so many emotions are tangled in this book. Isn't that delightful?

Wish You Were Here follows Charlie a girl in her mid-twenties who lives with her best friend, has had three different jobs in a year, changed as many careers, and hasn't been in a stable relationship that lasted more than a year. You could safely say that she is a little lost.

That is until she meets Adam, a mysterious painter that will show her another way to live life and put her world upside-down.

With the help of her best friend Helen and family, Charlie will have to learn who she really is and what she wants out of life while also discovering what love truly is.

“Your art, our memories, the memories people have of us… it makes us immortal.”

I started the book looking for something easy to read, fluffy and adorable that could turn my heart into mush and dissolve me into a puddle. Sure, I also expected something... tragic to be lurking somewhere because, after all, the title does suggest something on that matter.

Sadly, for the most part, I was greatly annoyed with the MC.

Charlie is just... such a mess of a person. It got on my nerves. I would be reading and I may think something is actually quite cute but her sole presence and how she was dealing with what was going on made me want to scream, shake her, and throw the book against a wall.

As much as I was annoyed at her I must admit that it plays interestingly with the ending of the book. We have quite a bit of character growth and it's actually inspiring to see her get her bearings and start to put her life in order.

I can appreciate that.

“Promise me this is the last moment in your life that you will let fear stop you from doing what you want.”

More than a romance I would say this story is all about the family and growth.

We have this lost and unmoored girl and all her relationships -familial, friendly, professional - that are just messy and imbalance. Both because she believes she deserves to have those kinds of relationships and because she is doing nothing to get to a better place.

So, yeah, seeing her get from point A to point B was the real beauty of the book. It was really satisfaying.

“We’re forever, you and me. Okay? I get you and you get me more than anyone, BFF.”

The familial relationship was so realistic. At times awkward, exasperating, and overbearing but also sweet and supportive.

I loved that they weren't there just to fill the page or establish something about her but to actually weight into the story and make an impact.

The moments between them all were arguably my favorites of the whole book. I was always content and satisfied with those exchanges. Even if they weren't always happy-go-lucky because neither is a family. Not all the time.

“My own voice should always be the loudest.”

Something true for all the characters is that none of them was introduced just for the heck of it. No, Carlino utilized her characters consciously and carefully to make each and every one of them count. And, boy, they counted.

My favorites without a doubt were Helen and Roddy. I just wanted to get them every single page and know more about them.

I would not complain if there ever was a novella or another book with both of them as the protagonists. Not at all.

Still, in general, all the characters were precious in their own ways.

“Eventually one of you takes care of the other until the end, but the one who is left will follow soon, and you’ll meet up in the same place you’ve been meeting all these years, which is ‘somewhere in the middle,’ with a memory of youth close by.”

This review wouldn't be complete if I didn't get to the thick of the matter.

The romance.

I'm of two minds in this one. For one, I thought it was kind of cute. For another, well, I just didn't really like them together.

That first meeting was chaotic and not in the best of ways. I'm not saying that feeling a certain connection with a person upon first meeting isn't possible but to stretch it to the levels these two professed, seemed to me, too much.

Sure, everything didn't happened between the first 10 days of the meeting -thank goodness for that because I would have DNFed it if it had - but it's still happening at such lighting-fast pace that really appreciating anything is difficult.

It also raised and hackled my morality as to the rightness of what was going on and I just couldn't accept it for the majority of it. It wasn't until the very end that I accepted it because it finally made some sense though I still felt misgivings towards it.

Oh! and let's not forget the tiny-little fact that he basically saves her... because, yes, the right man is all you need to put your life in order.

I think not.

“That’s what happens when you live it well, right? When you have someone to love? It goes by fast. You blink and it’s over.”

As a whole, the book was a real rollercoaster of emotions for me. And I really wish I had skipped half of it. Like, read the first third, skipped/skimmed the second third, and read the last third. It would have been much more enjoyable.

Therefore, it really is funny that the book left me with a feeling of... rightness and that I had discovered something about myself between its pages.

No, that's not quite right. It was as if the book put into words a feeling, and idea, that I had already felt and had between me a hundred times but never externalized or quite understood and at the moment of seeing it on the paper it became a reality.

It was as if I saw a little new piece of the world and now I will never be able to not see it again.

I don't know. It's complicated.

“We have right now and yesterday and the night we met. That’s all real to me, and it’s enough.”

As I said, the real power of this book is the character growth, and that was what really sold me at the end.

I don't really think I'll remember much of this book in a year but I know that I'll carry that feeling and that knowledge that it gave me forever.

Now, that is not something I say every day.

“It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.”

This was... a lot more different than anything I ever thought.

I'll need a bit of time to mull it over and decide what I feel but... Well, I did see that plot twist and I'm very satisfied with it.

All I'm sure right now is that this book is a story about growth and viewing life in the most beautiful way.

... It may have been exactly what I need right now.

I'm finally getting to that romantic/fluffy kind of books that I have been meaning to read... mostly because my soul needs some fluff to recover.

My greatest hope for this book is simply that it can be a balm to my shattered heart... and be actually cute in a not-dumb way.

So... here I go, I guess.
Profile Image for Jenny Vee.
260 reviews15 followers
August 16, 2017
I wanted to like this story, I really did. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t like any of the characters and it is plagued by inconsistencies. I’ll admit, I teared up while reading it, I’m not soulless after all, but I wasn’t able to allow my emotions to shield me from the structure and content issues. Ignorance would have been bliss.

I’m not going to summarize the story for you because there’s a perfectly fine synopsis here on Goodreads. If you don’t want spoilers of any sort, stop reading now.

How can someone as dense as Charlotte be so spontaneously insightful at times? Charlotte often comes across as naïve or selfish (admittedly) but then she’ll have these moments of profound wisdom that just doesn’t jive with how she is portrayed for most of the story. I’m also not comfortable with the fact that she seemingly has unprotected sex with two men within a short amount of time, mainly because she doesn’t inquire about their health status. Risky sex for the sake of…whatever you want to call it, doesn’t fly with me. I’m not factoring it into my rating but wanted to mention it because it bugs me.

Seth…oh, Seth. Seth is a douche bag, not a hero. He’s like a less-severe Jekyll and Hyde. He forces himself on Charlotte, makes her feel bad about wanting to wait to have sex, and we’re supposed to find him attractive? At one point he says, “I want you and I’m tired of waiting.” He gets quite pushy about it. He’s domineering and controlling one minute and then sweet and unconditionally understanding the next. No thank you, I’ll pass.

Both Seth and Alex tell us why Charlotte is so great, kind, funny, thoughtful, etc., but we don’t really see much of it. We see an immature girl stuck in her own head who can’t commit to anyone but her best friend. We don’t see these moments of “Awesome Charlotte” and that’s too bad; it feels like a big missed opportunity. I believe it is Seth who says, “I can tell you’re smart and savvy and know a lot of things about the world” but we never see anything to back that up, especially the worldly bit. There are two big pet peeves here: Telling instead of showing, and a female author writing what women “want” to hear in order to induce swooning instead of how men talk. Real-life men are perfectly capable of saying wonderful things, and I’m not selling them short, but this book reads like a woman talking and I don’t appreciate that. Both male leads are inauthentic because of these things.

I could honestly keep going like this for far too long but that would be silly. Overall, I found Wish You Were Here to be inauthentic, inconsistent in regard to events discussed versus what we witness (Adam is weak and dying but can manage to move his wheelchair by himself with Charlotte on his lap?), and a whole lot of telling instead of showing. If you can allow your emotions to pull the shade over these things, by all means, pick up this book. There have been plenty of times I’ve been able to manage that and have been blissfully unaware. I just couldn’t block the bad out this time. This book will tug on heartstrings if you have them and probably make you tear up. Just don’t expect great structure or storytelling. Many people (a ton, really) have loved this story so the odds are, you will, too.
August 1, 2017

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One word for this book- breathtaking. Breathtaking in its beauty, emotions, and hidden lessons on life and love. Perfection. This book evoked so many emotions for me, I can't begin to verbalized them. It's a journey in life for our heroine, Charlotte (aka Charlie, or Fatbutt).

Renee Carlino has the ability to build such endearing characters, I never seem to forget them. Her stories are sometimes quite heavy on emotions, but she truly lessens the load with her humor. One of my favorite heroes ever is Will in Sweet Thing. His humor while they met on that fateful airplane ride has stuck in my head for years. We get that quick wit and dry humor with several characters in I Wish You Were Here. It's her perfect way of balancing an otherwise heavy-on-heart plotline. I have to admit, I prayed so damn hard for a happy ending, too.

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Charlotte and her brother Chucky (aka Chuck the fuck) were hilarious. In all their banter calling each other Shitbag and Fatbutt, I loved their sibling relationship. Whenever they had a scene together, I found myself grinning with her perfect capturing of sibling rivalry and love.

I'm not going to say this book won't rip your heart out at times but rest assured, it hurts so good in the end. Pack tissues because you'll definitely feel a bit bipolar with all the emotional highs and lows this story will take you on. I have a new favorite book by Renee Carlino AND this year. Sheer perfection. Bravo!

Advanced copy received by author in exchange for my honest review.

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