Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Review: Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale (audio)

Title: Side Trip
Author: Kerry Lonsdale
Narrator: James Patrick Cronin, Sarah Naughton
Published: July 2020, Brilliance Audio / Lake Union Publishing
Length: 9 hours 53 minutes / 334 pages
Source: Audio - Brilliance Audio / Print - ARC Paperback via Kathleen Carter Communications

An unforgettable and breathtaking novel of love, loss, and the unexpected routes that life takes from Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kerry Lonsdale. 

With her deceased sister’s Route 66 bucket list in hand, California girl Joy Evers sets out on a cross-country road trip to meet up with her fiancĂ©, checking off the bullets along the way.

Singer-songwriter Dylan Westfield has a serious case of wanderlust and a broken-down car. Stuck at a diner between LA and Flagstaff, he meets Joy, his complete opposite. She’s energetic. He’s moody. She’s by the book. He’s spontaneous. She believes in love at first sight. He thinks love is a complicated mess. But Joy has a brand-new convertible.

They strike a deal. She’ll drive him to New York. He’ll pay for gas. Only three rules apply: no exchanging of last names; what happens on the road, stays on the road; and if one of them wants to take a side trip, they both must agree.

A heart-stirring love story that spans a decade, Side Trip explores what-if. What if Joy and Dylan had exchanged last names? What if he’d told her she made him believe love was worth the risk? And what if they hadn’t made that second deal when they couldn’t say goodbye?

My thoughts: Kerry Lonsdale is back with another new stand-alone that will keep you hooked from start to finish. I have loved her previous books, including her Everything series, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to read this new book and I definitely was not disappointed.

We all live with regrets. We all find ourselves asking that dreaded question, what if? Joy made a bad decision at the age of 13 and has been living with the grief and consequences ever since. Wanting to somehow make amends, if only to herself, she decides to fulfill her deceased sister's bucket list. And so begins the road trip that throws Joy's carefully planned world upside down.

It was so easy to end up caring for these characters as we get to know them. Both Joy and Dylan are at crossroads in their lives and are both carrying some heavy burdens. I loved that the story alternated between both their perspectives so we really get to know and understand both characters and why they are on their respective journeys. I loved the dynamics, and chemistry, between these two. Even though Joy had a carefully mapped out plan, life happens when we are busy living it and that could not have been more true on this road trip.

This book is all about forgiveness and learning to let go of what is beyond our control. I loved how pieces of the past from both characters are given out bit by bit at just the right times. It isn't revealed all at once, but rather piece meal so that we are eased into it and can see just how much these events have shaped our characters.

This book was great. As I've come to love, and even expect, from Kerry Lonsdale's books, this book was emotional, relatable and completely addicting. Even on audio - once I started listening, I could not stop! This book will definitely tug at those heartstrings for sure but will also have you laughing a few times, too. I cannot recommend this book enough - it's a great book to add to your summer reading or listening list!

Audio thoughts: I had the opportunity to listen to this book and it was so delightful. Both narrators really did a fantastic job with their sections and made this book come to life! Their attention to the feelings and emotions of the characters and their pacing was spot on and it really made for a great audio book. This story really lent itself quite nicely to audio and I enjoyed it very much.


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