Book Review

People We Meet On Vacation and Rosaline Palmer Takes The Cake {Combi Mini Book Review}

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Title: People We Meet On Vacation
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher:
Berkley Books
Release Date: May 11th, 2021
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Adult – Romance – Contemporary

My rating in stars: 

Rating: 4 out of 5.


My rating in words: 
I really liked it

Check it out on Goodreads

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.

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MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):

“Vacations always end. It’s the very fact that it’s finite that makes traveling special. You could move to any one of those destinations you loved in small doses, and it wouldn’t be the spellbinding, life-altering seven days you spend there as a guest, letting a place into your heart fully, letting it change you.”

Last year, I read Beach Read by Emily Henry and it became one of my favorite reads of the year. So of course I had super high expectations for Emily Henry’s new novel, especially once I read the synopsis and discovered it had so many elements I love. Though overall, I didn’t love it as much as Beach Read, it was still an amazing read. Here’s everything I loved about it:

  • Friends to lovers.
    There’s something about the friends to lovers trope that is just so comforting. I love when two people love each other platonically before they ever fall in love with each other. It makes it feel more real somehow. And the love between Poppy and Alex felt so palpable and real throughout every phase of their friendship/romance.
  • Intense chemistry and great banter.
    These two characters were such polar opposites and yet every time they were together, they sparked. The banter, the humor, the teasing, the real talks. Ugh, I loved every minute of it.
  • The dual timeline
    The story is told in a dual timeline, meaning we see Poppy and Alex both in the present, when they are trying to reconnect their friendship after something happened two years before that broke them apart, and in the past, when we get to learn how they met and go on their vacations with them. This was such a nice way to get to know them and it keeps the mystery going, because you’ll be dying to find out what happened to break up their obviously powerful bond!
  • Travels, all the travels and wanderlust.
    I love travelling, and since Poppy is a travel writer this book gave me so much wanderlust. It was just a blast going on all of these vacations with Poppy and Alex.

So why not the full five stars?

  • Maybe I’m falling into the millennial stereotype of needing immediate gratification here, but the thing for me about these friends to lovers type of stories that take place over years and years is this: they take too long. I do love a good slow burn but if it’s so obvious that the characters love each other and it still take ages for them to get over themselves? I get just a tad annoyed. I love it, but I’m also annoyed. Does that even make any sense?

Overall, don’t let my impatience keep you from reading this, as it was a truly amazing, slow-burn friends-to-lovers read!

Four Stars
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Title: Rosaline Palmer Takes The Cake
Author: Alexis Hall
Publisher:
Forever
Release Date: May 18th, 2021
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Adult – Romance – Contemporary

My rating in stars: 

Rating: 4 out of 5.


My rating in words: 
I really liked it

Check it out on Goodreads

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory.  Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.

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MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):

“And that’s what life’s all about at the end of the day. Doing something you’re okay with that pays enough that you can take care of the people you want to take care of.”

Rosaline Palmer Takes The Cake is a book that came onto my radar because it was by the same writer of Boyfriend Material, another one of my favorite 2020 reads. So of course I picked it up as soon as I could and I’m happy to say I really enjoyed it as well! Here’s what I loved:

  • A reality baking show setting.
    Honestly, I’m not into reality baking shows. I’m also not really into baking (eating baked goods though, that’s an entirely different hobby). BUT reading about a reality baking show setting? That was just so, so much fun! I loved all the behind the scenes tidbits and I loved getting to know the other participants. Definitely a unique experience.
  • Great bisexual rep.
    Our main character Rosaline is bisexual and I love how the story really focused on her bisexuality and all the biphobia she has to deal with. It’s a part of who she is and I love her confidence in herself, whether she’s telling off her daughter’s teacher for being biphobic or telling of her parents. Also, I do really appreciate that this book explicitly made two of Rosaline’s love interests male, because the fact that she’s not romantically involved with someone her own gender does not in any way make Rosaline any less bi, and in this often biphobic world, that’s a statement that can’t be said enough.
  • A shy, cinnamon roll hero.
    Harry is the absolute best love interest ever. He’s shy, kind, helpful and always thinking about others but yet not afraid to stand up for himself. I also loved how well he got along with Rosaline’s daughter Amelie.
  • Personal growth
    Perhaps even more so than the romance and even the baking, this really was a story about Rosaline coming to terms with what she wanted and deserved out of life. And I was rooting for her every step of the way.
  • A great cast of secondary characters.
    Though they are her competition, the cast of Bake Expectations was such a fun bunch, and I especially loved Anvita, Nora and Ricky. And of course, Amelie’s best friend Lauren and her daughter Amelie are big parts of the story as well, and they all mix together in such a nice, fun way.

So why not the full five stars?

  • Alain. Ugh. I’m sorry but I hated him from the very start, and I just couldn’t see what Rosaline saw in him (I mean, I understand her thought process, but still, ugh). And then he just stayed around for too long and I wish Rosaline had seen through him a little earlier.

Overall, I highly recommend this story if you’re looking for a fun romance with a lot of baking, reality show shenanigans and a lot of humor.

Four Stars
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Tell Me:
Have you read People We Meet On Vacation or Rosaline Palmer Takes The Cake? What did you think about them?

Lindsey xoxo
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8 Comments

  1. Both of these sound like such great reads! Can’t wait to read them myself!

    1. Hope you’ll enjoy both of these too!

  2. Glad you enjoyed both of these overall. I hear you on Alain though. I wanted to just punch him in the face, lol.

    1. OMG yes, Alain could use some punches haha 🙂

  3. I’m looking forward to both of these – glad to hear you enjoyed them!

    1. Hope you’ll enjoy both of them too!

  4. Lauren Becker says:

    Glad to hear these were both enjoyable! I do want to read them at some point. I own Rosaline Palmer though, so I’m sure that will be the first one I get to.

    Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    1. They were absolutely enjoyable 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy them when you get to them!

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