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review 2020-05-24 08:57
On the Corner of Love and Hate - Nina Bocci

Initial thoughts:
I walked into this series already knowing I would love it. Nina’s ability to create a character with richness and realness, build them a world you could live in, and make it all feel important to you — it really is a gift. 

 

Having made the rookie error of reading book three in this series first, I had a good idea about how some things were going to end up — but I loved getting there. 

 

What I loved:
First, I loved learning more about the town of Hope Lake. Seriously, I wanna go there, maybe move there. (Ok, not move there, I don’t do snow, lol!) Kinda like the fans in the football stadium are sometimes called the “12th man” at a game… supporting their team and influencing the process, I feel like this town is another character in the story. There are some things that happen in the story ONLY because they’re in a town like Hope Lake. 

 

I loved the families and friends of the main characters. They all contributed so much to the entire feel of the story. The scenes with Emma and the other two parts of their “friendship quartet” were really great, and I loved seeing how close they all still were, even with the rift between Emma and Cooper. The elderly ladies group cracked me up and made me cheer.  

 

I loooooved every time Cooper called Emma “Emmanuelle”, even though it drove her nuts. I loved that even though he made her crazy now (for any number of valid reasons), she still allowed herself to remember some of their happier times. She didn’t shut herself off from those memories. I loved Cooper’s steadfast belief in the town, and his interactions with the residents during his campaign. Even when he wasn’t 100% sure of himself, his genuine dedication to them never wavered. 

 

As far as the conflict with these two — this mashup of  “second chance romance”/”friends to lovers”/”enemies to lovers” tropes — I was worried that it would get to me, but it didn’t. At each point I could see something happening that, in other stories would get dragged out too long, or handled badly, but this author just nailed it! Yes, I cried when things got mucked up, and that sucked cause I don’t like to cry, but I didn’t spend page after page feeling gutted and horrible about the situations that were happening. I SO appreciated that! Then — when it was time for the happy — I was ALL ABOUT THE HAPPY!! 

 

What I didn’t love:
This is the second time that I feel like the leading lady “got off easier” in the responsible for the pair’s conflict. Yes, Cooper broke her heart… and yes, when you’re young, you don’t always handle that in the best ways. But there were circumstances in both pivotal moments of their younger years that *could* have been handled differently — on both of their parts — and I feel like Emma blamed Cooper for all of it, and he just took on all of it. She could have done things differently, too. Having said that — everything was written realistically — I can easily see exactly those situations happening, and them going exactly as they were written. 

 

Final thoughts:

Of course I loved this book. I was thrilled with my HEA, and I can’t wait to get to the next in the series. 

Source: funknfiction.com/2020/05/24/review-on-the-corner-of-love-and-hate-by-nina-bocci
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review 2020-05-06 11:02
Review | Funk-N-Fiction: THE INGREDIENTS OF YOU AND ME by Nina Bocci
The Ingredients of You and Me - Nina Bocci

Initial thoughts:
I’ve been following this author for many years, and have been rooting for her through several stages of her writing journey. She’s a joy, and her stories are filled with heart and laughter. I walked into this one, fulling expecting to love it.

 

What I loved:
This story is a picture perfect HEA. Parker and Nick fit into those “small town romance” boxes, yet they’re both still full of interesting layers and quirks. The story is lighthearted in all the right places, funny, heartwarming, and hopeful. The two leads definitely have some things to get through… things that are hard and uncomfortable. But Nina gets us to those conflicts, and gets us through them, with genuine emotion and just the right amount of levity.

 

I love how much the how a place can almost become a part of the cast of characters. Hope Lake is a perfect example of this. The residents include a few groups of friends who’ve been through a lot together. I really enjoyed the way the town’s “Golden Girls” were brought into the story, how they interacted with everyone, and the part they play in the growth of our leading lady and leading man.

 

What I didn’t love:
There was a pretty important conversation I felt should have happened much sooner in the story. I kept waiting for the moment to happen, and while it did – eventually – I would have liked it to be earlier. I also didn’t love that Parker didn’t seem to take much of the (deserved, I felt) blame for her role in the major conflict she and Nick had to work through.

 

Final thoughts:
I made a rookie mistake with this one. This is book three in the series, and while I do own the previous two books, they’re still resting on my TBR pile. (insert facepalm emoji here) I definitely recommend that a) everyone read this book… it really is SO good, but b) read the rest of the series first.

 

It’s funny to me, since I *have* been following Nina for so many years, that I can actually see quite a bit of her in some of the situations and ideas in this story. I’m pretty sure it made me love the story even more.

 

If you’re a fan of  second-chance romance, THE INGREDIENTS OF YOU AND ME is definitely a book for you. This was such a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to go back (to ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE, and MEET ME ON LOVE LANE) to get to know the rest of the “hopeless romantics.”

 

Source: funknfiction.com/2020/05/06/the-ingredients-of-you-and-me
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review 2019-12-10 06:42
Real
Meet Me on Love Lane - Nina Bocci

This is book #2, in the Hopeless Romantics series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment, and understanding of this amazing series, I recommend reading these in the order intended.

 

Charlotte comes back to Hope Lake after some serious disappointments.  She figures spending the summer with her Dad and Gigi, that she will have a brighter future.  Then she gets back with most of her childhood friends and finds out that all is not what she thought.

 

While hot men abound in this small but very active community, she has the hearts of two men somehow intertwined with her unknown future.  On one hand, she has Max - who is actively pursuing her.  Then there is the sweet Henry, whom she is trying hard to remember from her days of living here before.

 

This story was just bold and lovely.  I loved the characters.  I love the interaction.  I also have come to love the little community in the small town.  While this author always takes me places, she also gives me a riveting story about someone who must learn to come into their own.  Never fails to bring me to my knees with all the surprises you never see coming.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2019-08-28 05:19
Hopeless Romantics #1
On the Corner of Love and Hate - Nina Bocci

On the Corner of Love and Hate felt more like women's fiction to me than romance except that it's more fluff than fiber where the storyline and characters are concerned. That's not necessarily a bad thing, we could all use a little fluff from time to time, but the romance here is a slow burn - like the flame is barely there type of slow. I expected an enemies to lovers story, but I never really got that from Emma and Cooper. They do have some fun banter, and we're told that there were some sparks in the past, but I just didn't see much chemistry between them. They could've ended up just good friends, and I would've been fine with that. I do like small town stories and on that, this one delivers. The town is charming, and the characters are quirky and fun. I even enjoyed the politics and Cooper's double-dealing opponent made for an interesting bit of trouble in the mayoral race. I did have one pet peeve with this book, and that was the random 'Emma thoughts' that would pop up. At first they were amusing and even cute, but after so many, it was more distraction and started to wear at me. Fortunately, those do fizzle after a while and they don't happen as often in the last half of the book. In the end, this one wasn't quite what I expected or hoped for, but I did enjoy meeting the characters of Hope Lake, and I will check out other books from this author.

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review 2019-08-13 12:30
Connection
On the Corner of Love and Hate - Nina Bocci

Emmanuelle AKA "Emma" is just offended when her father tells her he wants her to help her co-worker campaign for his job as mayor.  Not only is he a playboy, lazy, and childish but she has no extra time in her life already.  Where does she fit this extra work in?

 

Cooper already has a plan.  He is loved by most everyone in town already, and he has a good work ethic when motivated.  Why can't Emma see he is still the same man?

 

This story reminded me that when men and women fight - and they do - it can be war.  The characters were interesting, and actually have a lot of depth.  The pacing in the story could have been a little faster, but we may have lost some of the charm.  Overall I think a good stepping stone for this new series and I cannot wait to read the next installment!  I give this a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.

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