Reviews: WHEN IN ROME and WHERE WE END & BEGIN

 

Happy Friday everyone!  I’m back today to share my thoughts on two wonderful romances I read recently. Those who enjoy rom-coms will definitely want to check out the first one, while those who prefer more of a tearjerker read will want to check out the second.

 

Reviews:  WHEN IN ROME and WHERE WE END & BEGINWhen in Rome Goodreads

Author:  Sarah Adams

Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Publisher:  Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

 

I’ve been wanting to read something from Sarah Adams ever since her novel, The Cheat Sheet, generated so much hype on social media.  I’m a big Audrey Hepburn fan too, so when I saw Hepburn and Roman Holiday mentioned in the synopsis for Adams’ new book, When in Rome, I couldn’t resist reading it.

Amelia Rose, or Rae Rose as she is known to her legions of fans, is a pop princess on the verge of burn out.  Years of cultivating her onstage persona, obeying her manager’s every command, and following a rigorous tour schedule have taken their toll and Amelia desperately needs to get away from her life for a while.  Inspired by Roman Holiday, her favorite Audrey Hepburn film, Amelia takes off in the middle of the night for a quick vacation before her next tour starts.  Unlike Roman Holiday, however, Italy is not the destination.  Amelia needs somewhere closer and more discrete so she heads to a different Rome…Rome, Kentucky. Luck is not on her side though as her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere just on the outskirts of Rome.  Her rescuer appears in the unlikely form of a grumpy but sexy baker named Noah Wilder.  Amelia has no idea how life changing this little trip to Rome is going to be.

This was such a fun read! I adored both Amelia and Noah and especially loved watching Amelia break through Noah’s gruff exterior to see what a sweet, big-hearted guy he really is under all that grumpiness.  There are some laugh out loud moments, lots of flirty ones too, and so much witty banter that had me chuckling through chapter after chapter.  Amelia and Noah are clearly attracted to one another, but neither is looking for a relationship.  Then there’s the added twist that Amelia is only in town for a couple of weeks anyway and then she’s off on tour again for months.  Neither wants to get into a relationship that is destined not to last, but it gets harder and harder to fight their attraction to one another.  I loved how that tension and conflict contrasted with all the fun, flirty moments and added that extra layer of very realistic depth to the story.

All of the secondary characters in the book were fabulous too. Rome is a small quirky town filled with equally quirky characters. It was clear they all loved Noah and considered him family and equally clear that they were rooting for Noah and Amelia to get together just as much as I was.  Noah also has sisters who live in town and they were also fabulous. I loved how Noah and his sisters have a standing “date” every Saturday night where they all get together, play games, and tease each other mercilessly.  Their close-knit family just gave me warm fuzzies.

Overall, When in Rome was just an all around delightful read for me.  If you’re in the mood for a fun and heart-warming small-town romance filled with lovable quirky characters, this is the book for you!  4 STARS.

 

Reviews:  WHEN IN ROME and WHERE WE END & BEGINWhere We End & Begin Goodreads

Author: Jane Igharo

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

 

I loved Jane Igharo’s first two books so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest one, Where We End & Begin and was especially excited to see it was a second chance romance since that’s one of my favorite tropes.

Set in Nigeria, the story follows Dunni and Obinna, high school sweethearts who are deeply in love but come from very different backgrounds.  Dunni’s parents don’t think Obinna is good enough for their daughter and so, against Dunni’s wishes, they send her away to university in America and they tell Obinna to stay away from their daughter. Twelve years later, Dunni returns to Nigeria for a friend’s wedding and it is there that she and Obinna are finally reunited.  Can they pick up where they left off or has too much happened since then for a second chance to even be possible?

The story is presented through two timelines, one in the past that shows us when Dunni and Obinna first met in school and fell in love, and then one in the present that shows them getting to know each other all over again as adults.  I loved the contrast of the sweet, youthful scenes of a first love in bloom versus the intense and sensual moments of two former lovers rediscovering one another.  Ultimately, both timelines converge in an emotional roller coaster as we learn not only the exact details from the past surrounding the cruel and heartless way Dunni and Obinna were separated, but devastating secrets are revealed that threaten to once again tear Dunni and Obinna apart.  My heart just broke for these two over and over again.

Dunni and Obinna are very easy to root for.  They are both very likeable as individuals, but they definitely shine as a couple.  From the early days of their relationship to the chemistry they still clearly have as adults, there’s no doubt that they are meant to be together if they can overcome the obstacles that threaten them.

I also very much enjoy this author’s writing style. She fleshes out her characters and makes them feel so real, like I truly know them and their history, and I love the way she depicts the heart-wrenching scenes between Dunni and Obinna in such a way that they are intensely moving and realistic, but never melodramatic.

Where We End & Begin is an angsty, heartfelt romance that is perfect for fans of star-crossed lovers and second chance romances.  4 STARS

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