Thursday, January 21, 2021

Review: THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST by Abby Jimenez


THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST
by Abby Jimenez
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Published by Forever
Pages: 401
Source: Netgalley | Purchased

Synopsis

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone comes an adorable and fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog who brings together two perfect strangers.

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can't seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a "take me home" look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker's owner reaches out. He's a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan's not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can't deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There's no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

My Thoughts

THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST has a permanent spot on my bookshelf. There isn't a way to share my love for this book without sharing how I connected to it personally after losing my husband, the love of my life, at the beginning of 2020. But first and most importantly, I want to thank Abby Jimenez for writing THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST and for helping and entertaining readers like me who are on our way to healing and happiness. 

I've read THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST twice. The first time was during the week of my husband's birthday, just four months after his death. The second time was during the week of the anniversary of his death. This wasn't intentional, but the timing of wanting to read, and later, reread this book wasn't lost on me. This has happened before - a book calls to me to be read, and it's after I've read it that I realize it was the book that I needed at that moment. 

What I need to say about starting to read this book:
I was nervous to read it. I was afraid I would get triggered and my grief would overwhelm me leaving me spiraling for days. So, like with any book, I gave myself permission to stop reading if it becomes too much for me. I cried early on, possibly from the anticipation of knowing part of Sloan's story from THE FRIEND ZONE. But when TUCKER arrived I just knew that it would be OK. Tucker, the name of the dog who jumped into Sloan's car and into her life, is also the same name that my husband would use for his Southern alter-ego. He used it when he mocked my accent and spoke like me to be silly or make me laugh. And in my mind, it felt like my husband was telling me "I'm here. I'm with you. It's OK. You're going to be OK."

I loved the romance between Sloan and Jason and the way that he wanted to love her, to take care of her, and the way he wanted to let her love him (at least until his career made it complicated). I continue to read romance because we had our own true-life romance. And sometimes when I read it in stories, it feels as though I can continue to live in that love. And while our love wasn't perfect, it was real and it was true. Books like THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST help me to remember that.

Sloan's story is heartbreaking and I saw too much of myself in her grief. Sloan had lost her love, she'd lost her passion, and didn't even recognize who she'd become. I thought the author shared an accurate portrayal of what it's like to lose your love, to lose the life you had with this person, and to lose the future you planned with them. It was difficult to read, but I also found comfort in the acknowledgment that this was her reality and she was struggling. The quote: "I missed myself. I missed being happy," really hit home for me. Yes Sloan, I know exactly what you mean.

THANK GOODNESS for the friendship between Kristen and Sloan - a best friend who remembers the anniversaries of important dates and anticipates her friend's needs. She's the friend to make Sloan laugh when she's not sure if she'll ever find anything funny ever again. I loved Kristen in THE FRIEND ZONE and she is a stellar BFF in THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST.  I'm honored and beyond grateful to have a few Kristens of my own. 💜

This book did make me cry, but it made me laugh so much more. And it reminded me of what I'd already come to realize - sadness and joy can exist in the same space. And you can let it. THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST will go on that special shelf of "Books of my Heart" that let me know that I'm going to be OK. And one day I'll be better than OK.

I loved it!



Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. I've also purchased a finish copy for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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