🥃 Q: have you read any romance novels set where you live?
Max Abbott is a bit taken aback when Quinn Bazemore, the woman he fell in love with 13 years ago & then DUMPED, matter-of-factly strides back into his life like the Business Queen she is & says hi, everyone, I’m working with you on a new product roll-out.
Max and his family own King’s Finest Distillery & they’re going to use fruit from Quinn’s grandfather’s orchard to produce fruit-flavored brandies. As a PR pro Quinn’s got a lot to add to their initiative...even if Max doesn’t want to bring her on-board.
But Quinn’s determined to ignore the memories of their one summer, even if that’s proving impossible for both of them.
This second chance romance is a scrumptious, dishy treat with lots of layers. Reese Ryan crafts a story that feels complex despite it’s shorter length—there’s the history between Quinn & Max, their efforts to roll-out their product, & a family rivalry that I think will get more air-time in the next book.
There are some elements of Quinn & Max’s story that feel a little thin to me, but for the most part I felt satisfied by the emotional depth of A Reunion of Rivals, particularly after Max starts opening up.
That guy took a little while for me to warm up to—until his secrets started spilling out. Then I discovered he was mushy soft on the inside & as emotionally devastated by Quinn as I had hoped.
And Quinn—what a woman. I love her professionalism, her confidence. There are a couple of times where she puts Max in his place & I was so happy to see her standing up for herself and for the younger woman whose heart had been broken.
A Reunion of Rivals is a great intro to the Abbott family and their distillery. I’m definitely coming back for more (ya know, at some point. Anyone else’s TBR getting out of control?).
CW: the heroine was previously harassed & lied about at work and resigned (off page)
A Reunion of Rivals is available now. Thanks to Harlequin Publishing and Netgalley for my complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Like many of you I’ve changed the genres I’ve been seeking out during the pandemic because my emotional state already seems a bit wobbly. I've read Abby Jimenez’s The Friend Zone and, since that book had me in knots, I was kind of dreading this one tbh, especially at this moment in time. But for much of the book The Happy Ever After Playlist is a freaking delight, crackling with humor and devotion of all kinds, giving me enough drive to get through the heavy parts because I knew there would be even happier stuff on the other side.
We met Sloan in The Friend Zone, where she encouraged her BF Kristen to accept true love and where she suffered the tragic loss of her own fiancé. Set two years later, THEAP opens with her stuck in a pretty stagnant state. A dog—someone’s lost pet—helps pull her out of it.
Sloan eventually learns that the dog’s owner’s name is Jason and he’s a musician currently traveling in Australia, and before she knows it they’re texting and then eventually, finally meeting in person.
Even when Jimenez has held my heart crushed between her fingers I’ve never doubted her characters’ love for each other. It sings. It dances. In this case, I felt Jason’s love like it was a tangible thing & that made what was to follow a little easier to bear. This book is INTENSELY romantic and gives me some major flutters.
As much as I appreciated how THEAP is lighter in angst than I had anticipated, I was kinda surprised that Brandon—and Sloan’s feelings about moving on from him—didn’t take up even more of the story. There’s also a scene with Jason when he’s initially processing that her fiancé died and his reaction is a little off-putting. To be clear, Sloan is definitely devastated by Brandon’s loss but I expected even more introspection, maybe even more guilt, about dating someone new...although maybe I’ve just read too many books like that and that’s just my problem ;).
There are a couple of things about the plot that I was somewhat resistant to but overall this book is a joy...with some heartache thrown in. It’s sooo funny—there’s one line from Kristen I’ve been wanting to share with people so badly haha—and I stan a creative, talented couple who care about their careers...and making it work with someone very special.
I felt the love in this one, people!
The Happy Ever After Playlist releases on April 14th. Thanks to Forever Pub & Grand Central Pub for my complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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