Review: All I’ve Wanted All I’ve Needed by A.E. Valdez
All I’ve Wanted, All I’ve Needed is an enjoyable read. Harlow Shaw is a relatable character, and her journey of self discovery and empowerment is relatable. Rating: 4/5
Harlow Shaw feels naïve for believing in happily ever afters, but she craves a love that lights her up.
She thought she had it all with her boyfriend. Until his promising baseball career overshadows their relationship and he asks her a life changing question. It causes her to wonder if what they have is all she ever truly wanted.
Harlow is yearning for more than the curated life she is living.
A trip to Bali, a move to Seattle, and a “burned” cup of coffee lead her to a friendship she didn’t know she needed and a love so deep she can feel it in her bones.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to read a book in one sitting, and that’s exactly what happened with All I’ve Wanted, All I’ve Needed. It was an easy, enjoyable read, and I was really drawn in by the author’s voice. Reading has been getting harder and harder for me during the pandemic, my focus level has just been way down and I tend to gravitate towards shorter activities. That’s just how good this story was, though. I was able to really settle in to read.
I felt like each of the characters were unique and also relatable. There was no shying away from missing an ex, smoking a joint, or struggling with indecision. I loved how supportive the people were around Harlow. I feel like a lot of stories will force conflict with characters for some drama and sometimes it’s just nice to see what healthy, supportive friends and family are like. While this did have some “enemies turned to friends turned to lovers” trope energy, I think it was done in an authentic way. Even the drama that happened felt authentic. I know some might say “just block your ex!” but that doesn’t always work out in real life, not even when we tell our friends to.
There’s only a few small things keeping this from being a full 5 star review for me. I really have a hard time reading books that go back and forth between two different characters. I loved Acyn, but I would have preferred if Harlow was the main voice from start to finish. I also didn’t like just how easily everything came to pretty much everyone. Her ex is a Major League Baseball player, she has 1 million instagram followers, everyone is just strangely rich and unconcerned with money. A surprise, unplanned trip to Bali turns into a surprise work offer that results in a cross-country move that needs to happen IMMEDIATELY. It was all too fantastical for me to fully appreciate, similarly to 50 Shades of Grey where everything just magically works out all the time and everyone has insane amounts of money.
None of this was enough to pull me out of the book in a negative way. I fully enjoyed the read and the characters, and this was a phenomenal debut novel. While some of it was too easy for me, I did like the idea of a character having to make some life changing decisions and moving away and dealing with a new life. I think it’s something we all have experienced, or hope to experience, and I love the new beginning that Harlow got!
A.E. Valdez discovered her passion for writing when she was given a journal by her 5th grade teacher and has been creating poetry, works of fiction, and gaming narratives ever since. As a child, she wanted to read more stories with people that looked like her.
She loves all things romance, from heartbreak to happily ever afters. She pours her own heart and soul into the stories she brings to life. Causing readers to fall in, and sometimes out, of love alongside her characters.
Amanda currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two sons. Most days you can find her sipping on an iced latte while she writes or enjoying time with her family.
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