New Release: Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino

You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks. 

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse. 
Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment. 
Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom. 

“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said. 

“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?” 

“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” 

“Don’t forget about sex,” he said. “Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we were practically naked every second of the day.” 

“I like that.”  

“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.” 

“What are they like? Our children.” 

“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.” 

Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children? 

His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things. 

“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be." 

I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”      

Don’t let the flowery cover fool you into thinking this is going to simply be a sweet, feel-good summer romance. This book is jam packed with some serious feels that made it something truly special. This is the kind of story that has deep messages swirled into the narrative. The writing was rich, and the storyline unique. The characters were so real, engaging, and filled with intensity that allowed for incredible growth. Charlotte was such a strong and brave, young heroine.

This was such a refreshing read in a romance world being continuously filled with more erotic and sexy stories. I haven’t felt like this over a Carlino book since her release Before We Were Strangers. This was another book that leaves your world rocked, and you wanting more; not because the story lacked anything, but because you don’t want to say goodbye. I loved the message of learning how to live life to the fullest and not take what you have for granted. Follow where your heart leads and don’t overlook the simple, every day things. A heartbreaking, yet romantic story of second chances and love, this will be an unforgettable read.

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