One special summer.
The one thing Bliss had lost herself in when the fear and sickness were too much, moments never to be damaged by the harsh reality that followed… until now.
Bliss York didn’t live a normal teenage life. She didn’t go to Friday night football games, walk the halls with her friends every day, go to her prom or even walk to receive her diploma. It had all been taken from her the fall that she was fifteen years old and she was given the diagnosis no one ever wants to hear.
She had leukemia.
Seven years after spending a summer with a girl who he knew would always be his first love and the one who got away, Nate Finlay returns to Sea Breeze to help his fiancé open her new boutique clothing store. When the new employee walks in Nate is taken back seven years to the girl he thought he’d love forever. The one who never answered his calls or returned his text. The one who shut him out completely with not even a goodbye and broke his heart.
They’ve each become someone different. No longer the young teens with stars in their eyes. But does that matter when your heart still says that’s the one.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
Like a Memory written by Abbi Glines. Check it out on Goodreads!
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Like a Memory is a crossover between two previous series by Abbi Glines. Rosemary Beach Series and Sea Breeze Series. Both series are in my top 25 favorite books. Which can be viewed here. Or check out my article about top favorite authors and books here! Each series has 9 or more books, and I can honestly say I love every single one of them. I started the first book in each series almost 3 years ago, and hopefully one day I will re-read them soon. If I do, I will make sure to post a link to those reviews here.
I want to start by saying I am so beyond excited for this book. The crossover is from a child in the Rosemary Beach books and another child from the Sea Breeze books. I am looking forward to reading more about the parents of those kids, and see if they will have them all meet and mix. I am overly crossing my fingers that we get more books from the spawns of couples from previous books and get to meet new characters as well.
I have basically read almost everything written by Abbi Glines. She is definitely in my top 5 authors list. I highly recommend of course the Rosemary Beach series and the Sea Breeze series. For more young adult types The Field Party series and Once She Dreamed series. I loved the Vincent Boys series, I believe there is a 3rd book coming out for that sometime. If you’re into love and mystical books the Existence Trilogy is pretty good. I unfortunately am not a mystical book reader so I only read the 1st book. I did enjoy it, just not my normal cup of tea. Abbi Glines also wrote under the pen name Effy Vaughn and wrote two books in the Boys South of Maxon Dixon series.
Rosemary Beach series comes knocking on Sea Breeze series door. And that door came falling down with such a force of some amazing people knocking on it. I love both series, I gush about it to my friends. Hell all my friends have read these series. If they actually enjoy reading romance novels and have not read those 2 series, then we could not be friends. If they did not like the books, I would hate them for all eternity. I love these books. So I had high standards for this new book. Let me promise I was not disappointed. Now I do have to state that these two Nate Finlay and Bliss York are young… and dumb. So the writing is perfect for them, but it was not my favorite book by Abbi Glines. Did I still enjoy it. YES. Both hands up, yes. But I felt weird reading about two different couples kids that are from other books falling in love and doing the nasty. It just felt weird because I feel in love with the parents romance. But beside knowing all about how their parents got on from here to Sunday, I enjoyed the book. I am overly pegging for another book like this crossover, and I almost feel like there will be. Just by the way Abbi Glines explains things about other characters. Almost too much details to not expect a book about the other kids.
I do want to state that there is a lot of characters in this book, and most are kids from the parents that are from the Sea Breeze series or Rosemary Beach. So if you have not read those books first and you don’t want to be confused. Do not read this book. Hell I read those books, and I had a few moments of confusion just because I could not remember who was who and from what parent.
Nate Finlay and Bliss York, have met before. 2 years prior then when this book starts. We read about it at the end of the last book in the Sea Breeze series, and my heart dropped. Just dropped when we read about Bliss walking around the beach talking to a guy she finds hot and he tells her his name. The idea of two great series being mixed into a new one was the best thing that happened to me that day, hell even that week or that month. They met when she was 13, then again when she was 15 and then after some unfortunate events not again until she is 22.
Bliss is on her own for the first time. Her parents are over protective, and they have certain rights too be after the things someone should never go through, especially so young. She gets a job for a women named Octavia who owns a new clothing store in SeaBreeze, Alabama. Octavia has the money to travel often, leaving her fiance at home and someone to hire to get her store ready for grand opening. Imagine the surprise when that fiance is Nate and the hired girl is Bliss. Except Nate pretends to not remember Bliss. He’s engaged to be married, she is great at her job. To tell Octavia that they have a past might ruin that for Bliss.
Will Nate’s engagement to the bland and high maintenance women last once Bliss York’s free spirit walks back into his life? Or will all the memories of the things they had or could have been come crashing down on Nate to make him realize that maybe a drama free loveless marriage is not what he wants. Maybe he wants what his parents have, even though that’s never the life he ever imagined since he was 15 years old and he saw beautiful bliss everyday that summer.
There is laughter, sadness, awkward times, steamy moments and heartbreak all mixed into one great book. Do yourself a favor as I have said over and over again read the two series leading up to this book. You won’t be let down.
Check out my review on Goodreads or check out my longer review below
Long review with all the spoilers so SPOILER ALERT!
Bliss York. 15 years old and working on the farm with her dad. It’s summer, she rather be somewhere else with her friends. Preferably on the beach. Thankfully her friend Eli has an Aunt Larissa that has a gorgeous house in Sea Breeze, Alabama. She’s laying on the beautiful sand when over walks Nate Finlay. She saw him 2 years prior at 13 years old. (Which btw you can read that at the end of Until the End the last book in the Sea Breeze series). He has been looking for her since then, and even remembers her name. They spend the summer together, although he don’t have any details on what happens since it jumps to 7 years later.
Bliss missed most of her high school experience, including her senior prom. Hell, she didn’t even go on her first real date until she was 19 years old. All thanks to the cancer – leukemia. She was diagnosed right after she returned the summer she spent with Nate. Causing her to distance herself from the boy she thought she loved. She stopped responding to his calls and texts. She was a teenage girl going through chemo and losing her hair, not something you want a sexy guy to see. Thankfully Bliss had beaten cancer!
Throughout those years before the cancer was gone, her parents and her basically lived in Atlanta at the hospital. Causing her 3 youngest brothers to stay with her parents best friends Willow and Marcus Hardy. Yet, her brothers did not get upset when their parents missed their birthdays or big events because Bliss was getting chemo or in this hospital. So now that she is better, and her family is back together. It’s time to move out, I mean she is 22 years old.
Nate Finlay. 23 and engaged. His parents dislike her, for many reasons. One she is not Lila Kate. Who they pinned him to marry since basically birth. But also because Octavia and his relationship was nothing like what Nate’s parents had or all their friends had. Which Nate didn’t really believe in, considering the only girl he told he loved was Bliss York. Yet she left after that last summer and he never thought he’d see her again. So when he did finally see her again, it was not how he expected it, especially 7 years later. His fiance is opening up a clothing store in Sea Breeze, and is in Rome getting stuff for the store for the next two weeks. So Octavia has Nate and a girl she has hired help get the store ready for opening. Imagine Nate’s surprise when that help is Bliss York. He recognizes her, she recognizes him and he knows it. Except he pretends that he doesn’t know who she is, and introduces himself as Octavia’s fiance.
Bliss had no idea how to act around Nate, since well he didn’t remember her. Which kind of hurt. But she was on her own and had things to look up too. She had her first job, and was sharing an apartment with Eli, her best friend. Honestly, he was just her best friend. When she was younger, she thought maybe something could develop, but as soon as she met Nate at 13, that all changed. Eli was just a brother, and she even told Nate that all those years ago. So when Nate overhears them talking when Eli brings Bliss lunch, he knows that they are still just friends. At first he thought he was her boyfriend, and he also heard mention of something happening to her 4 years ago, but has no idea it was the cancer. It’s not his business, and he has no place to be jealous.
Nate avoided the store as long as he could, up until he ran into Bliss and her friends at a local bar that one of Bliss’s friends dad’s own. (Great bar and great owner. You should read the Sea Breeze series to read more about them). They kept staring at each other but kept their distance only after a brief conversation. She asked if he could come into the store because she had questions about a shipment that came in.
When Nate comes in, Bliss doesn’t realize it. She is too busy dancing, and Nate doesn’t want to interrupt, so he just watches until she realizes it. He takes her out to lunch, at his grandpa’s place. Which read the Rosemary Beach series to hear more about him. If you haven’t got my hint already just read the damn two series by Abbi Glines. PLEASE. You’ll thank me. Anyways, Nate’s grandfather recognizes Bliss, and Nate asks him to keep it quiet. Which is where his grandpa tells Nate that she had cancer the summer after he last saw her.
Nate runs into Bliss’s best friend Eli at their apartment. Nate’s Grandpop just so happens to live there as well. Nate is still so caught up in finding out about the cancer that he asks Eli about it. Which is giving up his secret. That he remembers Bliss. Which causes Nate to finally confess, he needs to know about the cancer. Bliss doesn’t tell him much, and isn’t really interested in talking about it or being his friend like he wants.
After Bliss had some time to think about it, she agreed to be his friend. I mean she was working at his fiance’s store. They would have to get along in front of Octavia when she came back. Except they didn’t realize that would be so soon.
Octavia was gone for a month, and the first words out of her mouth are about Bliss and her store. Nothing about missing him or anything else. When Nate suggests they go to his Grandpops restaurant for lunch, she refuses. She hates that place, it’s for simple people. Which she is not.
Bliss invited Octavia and Nate to the local bar, and it was awkward as you would think. Especially after more and more of Bliss’s childhood friends recognize Nate or his name. Keeping the secret of their summer from Octavia is harder than they thought. But Bliss needs this job. Which is why when Octavia asks Nate why he was staring at Bliss all night, he had to lie. He said it was because he was measuring her up for Octavia. During lunch she mentioned that she will be going to Spain sometime soon and that she needed someone to run her store while she was gone, would even hire 2 other people to help Bliss. So Nate told Octavia that Bliss is just a farm girl from Alabama, low class and she would be great at this job for that reason. But everything Nate said was a lie, to keep Bliss her job. Yet Bliss did not know that when she happened to over hear Nate say those things. Lol surprise surprise, that is a common thing. I am pretty sure if this ever happened to me in real life, that I would have to let the person explain themselves before I jump to conclusions. This happens so many times in movies, tvs and books lol. So when Nate says something about the wonderful idea Bliss had for the store, she says well something along the lines of well of course, I am not just some farm girl from Alabama. Then she walks off to the back where she knows Nate won’t follow her. Well yeah he didn’t follow her then, but he for sure did later when he is waiting at her apartment.
He almost walked away. He almost didn’t knock on her door. She wasn’t alone, sounded like there was a party going on. Yet he couldn’t leave without talking to her. When she answered and said they could talk, he apologized. Told her he didn’t mean it and he said it to help her keep her job. Which is when Bliss told him she quit. Told Octavia she heard what they said about her and could not work with people like that. Octavia didn’t even bat an eye. Nate realized that now he will likely never see her, and that thought scared him. So he pulled her by the waist and kissed her until they were both breathless. It took a lot for Bliss to push him away, she didn’t want too. After telling him she can’t do this, can’t be the other women. She went inside.
The next day we find Nate Finlay drunk as a skunk. Where he sent a text to Octavia saying “Why are we even engaged? I don’t want to be married and either do you” then he pressed send and Bliss and Eli found him outside of the bar. He told Bliss that he is pretty sure that he broke up with Octavia, and had no place to go right now. So Bliss drove him to her and Eli’s apartment to sleep it off. Meanwhile Eli is being all big brother, but Nate is pretty sure is actually love and telling Nate that he can’t hurt Bliss that he already is and he is no good for her. Sorry Eli, but I am pretty sure this book is going to end with you still being the best friend. Maybe Abbi Glines will feel sorry enough for you and give you you’re own book to fall in love, but I can almost promise you, this story is not it.
When Nate woke up, he didn’t remember most of the night before. Was actually surprised that Bliss helped him out. Apparently he told Bliss that he didn’t want to marry right now, unless it was to Bliss. So when Nate rushed out of the apartment, after saying thanks but he needed to talk to Octavia, Bliss’s heart went with him. She was crushed, but needed to move on. Nate didn’t need to talk to Octavia to fix it, no he wanted it to be over. So when he read his texts and Octavia’s response to his from last night was “Glad you figured this out sooner, rather than later”, it really didn’t come as such shock. After sitting in his Grandpops condo for 3 hours, Bliss shows up. Telling him he needs to leave, needs to stop hurting her. She is not the same women she was before. Nate said nothing to fight back, nothing to make her not leave that door. So when he realized he would never be good enough for her, he decided he should just leave. As he was doing so, Bliss was outside. Bliss the confusing women that well all us women are, she tells him she wanted him to fight for her, and since he’s not and really leaving to go back to Rosemary Beach, that she want’s one last night with him. Because when she was sick with cancer and going through chemo, the only thing that got her through that was the memories of her and Nate that summer.
Date night came, and it was perfect. Telling stories of first dates, which turned into Bliss finding out that Nate’s first real date was also the time he lost his virginity. Bliss got bold and all of a sudden they were making out, taking off clothes, both giving oral and then boom sex. Nate didn’t have a condom, but Bliss didn’t want to tell him that because of the cancer she can’t have kids, also she was a virgin. So when they started having sex, he was not gentle at first, until he realized that she was, once he hit that barrier. Bliss was perfect, he wanted her to be his, but he knew that he had to leave after this. That Bliss would never be his, he was not good enough for her.
Except that all changed the next day. She came over for lunch, and they spent way too many hours fucking. Which turned into him asking her to come home with him next week, and him calling his Grandpop about finding a job and a place to stay. His Grandpop offered him a job at his diner, and he was excited to hear that Octavia was out of the picture and Bliss was now in it.
Octavia tried contacting Nate that day, saying they needed to talk but Nate kept pushing her away and finally ignored her. He went off to see Bliss at work. Things were great, he was hanging with her friends. Kissing her in front of them. Then all of a sudden Bliss noticed he was gone.
Nate was standing with a duffel bag, telling Bliss he needed to go. That he got a phone call. Nate was fighting the demons in his head, that what he was about to tell Bliss was all his fault. That he doesn’t deserve Bliss, that he could never be with her. He would fail her like his did Octavia. Octavia killed herself… she was also 4 months pregnant. It was a boy. His son. He lost his son, a son he never knew he wanted. His father and uncle Grant came and picked Nate up. The last image he had of Bliss was her crying, asking if he was leaving for good. All he could say was yes, before he walked away.
The next few days blurred together for the both of them. Bliss for feeling like this was all her fault. She was to blame. Nate for also feeling the same thing, but mostly for losing a child he would never get to hold. They had a funeral for the child. He wished Bliss was there next to him. Everyone knew he left Octavia for someone else, which is why she ended things. No one in his family knew who it was though.
Octavia’s stepmother came and visited Nate and his family with news. Octavia has been seeing a psychiatrist. She was molested very young until a few years ago, where she paid a hit man to kill her “Uncle Vincent”. She felt blame and depression because of that guilt, even though he did terrible things to her. She knew she was pregnant, and was never going to get the baby. Had an abortion date set up, and was never going to tell Nate about the child. This opened Nate’s eyes. That this wasn’t in his control. He realized that he wanted what his parents have (which once again READ ROSEMARY BEACH and while you’re at it SEA BREEZE) so he left, and he drove to a familiar place. Which ended up being exactly where Bliss was.
It has been almost 2 months since Nate left, and even though she had a new job, and a co-worker that was attractive and could of been a guy she could of hated if it wasn’t for Nate. She still loved him, will always love him. No one would compare. SO imagine her shock when she finds him standing outside her work by her car.
He tells her what happened with Octavia, that it was neither of their faults, that she was fighting inner demons that neither could fix. That Nate Finlay loved Bliss York with all his heart, and Bliss told him she loved his as well.
Bliss told Nate that she was unable to have children. Nate took it well. And for a man that never wanted kids, he said that they could adopt. That their child doesn’t need to grow inside Bliss’s belly for it to be their kid.
Nate met Bliss’s family. Her parents and 2 brothers, and although they gave him a hard time, he got the seal of approval. Nate looked at Bliss and knew that he wanted forever with her, that he wanted to raise kids with her and also propose to her soon. And hopefully we’ll get to read more about that in another book that Abbi Glines writes about in which she makes a new series out of the kids from Rosemary Beach and Sea Breeze. I’m crossing my fingers real hard on this one.