Cover Image: One Last Gift

One Last Gift

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Member Reviews

THE GOOD:
- I really should start paying closer attention to the synopsis before reading the book because this was not at all what I expected.. BUT IT WAS SO GOOD. 
- Main character Cassie was a strong, smart and brave girl despite not feeling like she could tackle her fears. She showed such strength through numerous life changes. 
- Hazel as bff to Cassie was a gem of a supporting character, but the real mvp was Tom as Cassie’s big brother.
- The annual scavenger hunt Tom created for Cassie’s Christmas gift was so sweet and thoughtful. Everyone needs a big brother like Tom looking out for them. 

THE BAD:
- Pacing? If you can call it that. There were a lot of inconsistent time jumps. Five years here, three months there, etc. Giving a then vs now structure would have been a better reading experience. 
- Ditto to the dual pov. I spent the first chunk of the story living in Cassie’s head and then bam, all of a sudden we got a Sam POV. It didn’t feel meaningful. 
- Sam. I just didn’t like Sam. I kept wanting him to just speak his mind. 

Verdict: still very much worth the read! 

Read this if you love:
♥️ romance / women’s fiction genre
♥️ second chance love
♥️ slow burn
♥️ friends to lovers 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This review will be posted on @booklovingtaylor on IG 9/28/22.
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The timeline was a bit jumpy, but overall this was an emotional and well thought out story about grief and going after what you want in life.
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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Steam Level: 🔥🔥 (kissing and closed door sex scenes)
Trigger Warning: death of a loved one

Cassie and Tom Rivers lost their parents when they were both young, so Tom and his friend Sam always looked out for Cassie. In fact, every year at Christmas Tom created a scavenger hunt that led Cassie to her gift. When Tom tragically dies in an accident, Cassie and Sam are left behind to deal with their grief. But they haven't been close for years after they tried, and failed, to be more than friends. Now, Cassie has one last treasure hunt that her brother had set up before his death. As she sets off to find the last gift from her brother, she and Sam will have a chance at fixing the mistakes of the past and being brave just like Tom had been.

This was a beautiful story about dealing with the loss of a loved one and finding yourself in the process. While it does include a romantic storyline, it's definitely more women's fiction as Cassie and Sam's grief over Tom's death is the central focus. If you have recently lost a loved one, I think this will be an extremely emotional read, and you'll definitely want to consider that before starting it. I really did love how Tom was remembered and how the scavenger hunt he left behind allowed Cassie to get one last moment with him and heal in the process. The romance between Cassie and Sam left me a bit conflicted at times. Sam does some things in the beginning that made it a little hard to root for him. I liked the You've Got Mail vibes in the middle, but then it felt like things progressed really quickly between them. I loved the ending, but I still wish the journey these two took to be together had been a bit less bumpy. Overall this was a very heartfelt read that will most likely have you in tears and feeling deeply for the characters.

Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Cassie and Tom lost both of their parents in an accident when they were younger.  Losing their parents so young, Cassie and Tom became the best of friends.  Tom decided after their parents died to start doing a Christmas day scavenger hunt that he kept up when they were adults and it is something both of them look forward to yearly..  Cassie also as an adult starts to grow feelings for Tom's best friend, Sam.  There is much more to the story, but I went into it without reading the description fully first, so I want to do the same here.  I will in a nutshell say this book covers loss of loved ones, family dynamics, relationships, and community.

I read Emily Stone's book last year, Always in December, and it was not an upbeat holiday book .  This one is no different.  If you are picking this up thinking "this will be a fun holiday book to read", you are wrong...very very wrong.  This isn't a Hallmark channel book, it's much deeper.  I did enjoy it, but will say I saw everything that was coming many many chapters ahead.  It was predictable in every way, but still enjoyable.  Part of me wishes the love story didn't exist as I loved Cassie and Tom's story so much more.  Overall I enjoyed it, but wouldn't personally classify it as a Holiday time read.  There was a little bit of holiday sprinkled in, most of the story was not related to Christmas though.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dell for this e-Arc.  One Last Gift is available on 10/11!
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This is a lovely book with a compelling story and well written characters. I truly enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to my family and friends.
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This will probably a massive hit, come Pub Day!

I never really connected with Stone's other book, Always in December and unfortunately I feel the same way about this one. While it was enjoyable and something I think most people will really like, I just felt OK with it.

I think this is a Hallmark movie in book form, but definitely with more depth, and it was good. It just didnt resonate deeply with me to be great.
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I cannot describe how much I loved One Last Gift.  The characters are all so relatable - flawed, yet oh so likeable.

Cassie & Tom lost their parents young and were raised by their aunt.  They lived in a small village where the pub was like a second home and the pub owner was like a second mother.  Cassie, Tom, and their best friends - Hazel and Sam spent happy times together in the village.  As the foursome got older, they went on holiday together.  Cassie always had a crush on Sam growing up and while she suspects Sam might feel the same, she knows he does not want to risk his friendship with either her or Tom.  The characters are human and while we may not like them at times, the motivation behind them is fascinating.

Tom has always been there for Cassie and while she was so young when her parents dies, she always had Tom and that was enough.  Until she unexpectedly loses Tom too.  Cassie is lost until she finds an envelope with her name on it in Tom's handwriting.  It is a clue to the scavenger hunt he did for her each Christmas.  Tom had already put it together for Cassie when he died.  As Cassie starts to complete what she knows will be her last scavenger hunt from Tom, we see how fear can shape lives and how letting go of fear can make all the difference.
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2.5 

So this book was to sad to be a Christmas book, in my opinion. There were a lot of time jumps in this book and I really didn't enjoy that. It through off the pacing of the book for me. I felt like this book was not put together that well. I am happy the main character was able to find love and happiness after all she went through. But I just think there is to much trying to happen with this book, and it is hard to keep up. I didn't really feel connected to the characters like I was hoping to. I don't think this is the type of Christmas book you should read if you want those happy cozy Christmas vibes. 

Thank you Netgalley, Emily Stone, and Dell publishing for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
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All of the beauty and Christmas magic of “Always in December” with a new story. I loved how beautiful the author speaks about grief, and how she ties it in with the holidays  Cassie is such a sweet soul that so many can relate to. She has dealt with imaginable loss and is given the chance to be courageous and start a scary but dream life. Following her character development was such a joy. The most beautiful Christmas book of the year!
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Emily Stone always gets me with her emotional stories. Cassie loses her brother in an accident and has to deal with the grief of moving on. I love how close Cassie and Tom was and how he created a riddle chase for her every holiday. I love that the book continues with Tom's last scavenger hunt and how it helps Cassie moves on. 

I enjoyed Sam's story and how he because reconnected with Cassie and rekindled their relationship. 

Thank you to @netgalley @prhaudio for a copy of the book.
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Oh my goodness, my heart!!! This book was amazing!! The writing, the character, the plot. I simply loved everything about this book and can say it’s become a new favorite. I will now be reading the backlist of Emily Stone- she is extremely talented and this book was absolutely precious.

I highly recommend this book to others. All the stars.

Many, many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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This was a pretty intense book.  Tom and Cassie relied on each other for comfort and companionship.  Sam was Tom's best friend and Cassie was very drawn to him.  When Tom died, both Cassie and Sam were adrift.   They didn't know how to handle his passing.  When one of Tom's Christmas clues showed up, it started a change reaction that would steer both Cassie and  Sam on a new path in life.  The story was touching and sad in a good way at the end.  I started and stopped several times reading it but was so glad I finished it.
I got this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review
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I received an electronic ARC from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through NetGalley.
A touching story that is a romance and a story of healing. I read this in one sitting into the night. Cassie and Tom are siblings orphaned when their parents died in an accident while they were children. Sam is Tom's best friend and, as you would predict, Cassie's crush. Readers meet them as young adults starting their lives. Each is damaged though that is not always apparent. We follow their journey over several years as each moves into their careers and adult lives. Cassie and Sam have a falling out after a first kiss so avoid each other. Sam also is caught up in the life he thought he wanted. Tom does work hard to keep the friendship going but is facing a crisis of his own. Cassie is miserable in her job but afraid to take a leap of faith and become who she wanted to be. Tragedy reconnects them briefly when Tom dies in a climbing accident. This drives Cassie farther in her refusal to take risks, and Sam into a spiral of depression, guilt, and finally self discovery. Both continue to live their lives and mess up opportunities to truly share their feelings because they are afraid to be hurt by love again. In the end, as expected, they do find their way to each other and do set up lives that mesh well.
I appreciate the secondary character development too. Readers connect to so many of those who are part of the three main characters' lives. She offers depth to them and creates full lives for them - not just supplemental figures. 
Though there are deep emotional wounds to heal, Stone keeps the book on a lighter tone. Readers can delve as deeply as they choose in reflection while reading and afterward. A definite holiday read.
NOTE: My Goodreads review is also live as of 9/15/2022
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EMILY STONE WILL MAKE YOU CRY! Two books in and I can say that no one writes a holiday tear jerker quite like Em.
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Entirely for personal reasons, I couldn't finish this Christmas story. I'm very close with my younger brother and the plot made me a bit too emotional.
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One Last Gift by Emily Stone is a wonderful story of love and finding yourself through grief.  Cassie and Tom were raised by their aunt, after losing their parents when they were young. Each year since their parents death, Tom has created an elaborate scavenger hunt for Cassie at Christmas. After a tragic accident and losing Tom, Cassie finds the first clue in the final scavenger hunt. While completing this hunt over the next several months, Cassie reconnects with people from her past and rediscovers herself to go after what she truly wants in life. 

Emily Stone creates characters you’re rooting for the entire story. I couldn’t stop reading and processing this heartwarming book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Dell for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This book was a pleasant, slow burn romance that was written like a Hallmark movie. Based on an interesting premise, the story was engaging with well-rounded and flawed characters. 

Cassie and Tom lost their parents at a young age, leaving them in the care of their aunt. They ended up caring for each other and provided emotional support for one another as they grew up. Every Christmas, Tom would create elaborate scavenger hunts for Cassie. However, when Tom dies a tragic death, Cassie is left on her own. Before he died, Tom ends up leaving her an envelope with this year’s Christmas scavenger hunt. While coping with her grief, Cassie embarks on this scavenger hunt and uncovers more about herself and her family in the process. Along the way, she becomes closer to Sam, her brother’s best friend, and their romance unfolds. 

Overall, I liked the dual perspective from Cassie and Sam, which added some depth to their story. Stone writes about grief in such a palpable and real way. However, I wanted more from the writing. It felt like the writing was more tell than show, like we get more of the Cassie’s thoughts than actual dialogue between her and the other characters to further the plot. Additionally, the pacing felt slightly off with some months dragging on and others being too fast. It was also difficult to gauge what time of the year it was at time, which was integral to parts of the story. I wish it was a bit more clearer rather than just fast forward a couple of months. Finally, there was some added drama with Tom and Amy that felt a bit contrived and out of Tom’s character. It felt like it was added in just to add drama rather than advancing the plot in a meaningful way.

Overall, this book goes the line between woman’s fiction and romance, which made for an interesting read. While I wanted more, it was still a nice read and feel good story. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Dell/Random House books for the advance copy!
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I really related to Cassie with this story as I also lost my parents when I was young and I wish I had a brother like Tom!  What a sweet relationship they had!

While this is a somewhat sad book I really enjoyed getting to know Cassie and Tom and loved the scavenger hunt that he set up for her!  

Sam was more of an afterthought to me as I wish there was more about Tom but he was fine I suppose lol.  

Overall I just really loved reading this story and rooting for Cassie!

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine for the eARC copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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This is a sweet and sad story of family, friendship, grief and love. I read it in 1 day.

Thanks #RandomHouse and #NetGalley for the ARC e-book
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Dive right into the holidays with One Last Gift by Emily Stone but you can read this anytime or the year. I was expecting a typical romance but that wasn’t the true feel of this book as it was a sad, yet sweet read. This book truly gave you the feeling and understanding of grief and how people handle it.  Although it was an easy read, it was hard to relate to the main character, Cassie, as she was grieving throughout the entire book but ultimately learned to navigate through life.  One Last Gift provided a range of emotions such as love, anger, and forgiveness.  This wouldn’t be my first recommendation from Emily Stone as I enjoyed Always in December a bit more. 


ARC was kindly provided by Random House via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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