Ali Daniels has achieved exactly what she always wanted in her career: she’s a New York Times Best Selling author with several books behind her and more on the horizon. She’s learned to stay away from romance, though. She hasn’t been able to make a relationship work long-term in her own life and she’s sure she wouldn’t know where to begin in a book. When her best friend suggests she delve into why her relationships have never worked out, Ali is understandably hesitant. But when margarita-induced bravery sets in, Ali sends out a questionnaire to her long-term exes, including her first love, the one who broke her heart: Madison Parker.
Twenty years ago, Madison thought she’d never recover from the loss of her first love. Now, she’s moved on. She’s still in her hometown and is a successful business owner with her sister. They run her dad’s old diner, serving up donuts, delicious food, and hometown connection. Madison is happy with her close-knit family and small-town connections. Her comfortable world is turned on its axis when she receives an unexpected questionnaire from Ali, the lost love from all those years ago. She tosses the letter and tries to forget all about it.
Ali has heard back from several exes, but nothing from the only one she can’t forget about. When Madison doesn’t respond, Ali decides to go back to their hometown for the first time in two decades. How will she move forward if she can’t figure out where she went wrong?
Madison has no intention of talking to Ali, despite her persistence, but when a surprise injury leaves the two of them in close proximity, Madison and Ali must face what happened all those years ago.
With new revelations for the both of them, the two women have to decide where to go from here. Are the feelings between them just residual from the heartbreak before? Is twenty years too long apart to have a future? Do they even want a future? As they get answers about their past, Ali and Madison have a lot to decide about their future..
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I really appreciated the new take on a burned lover in Ali. Instead of pushing love away forever, she decides to actively seek out what has gone wrong in order to do better in her future.
I also enjoyed how the story focuses on what a healthy relationship should be and how to get to that. It was refreshing.
Lastly, I enjoyed the age of these characters. Their age isn’t hidden or brushed away – in fact, it’s highlighted in the growth of these two women.
Cons And Heads Up
If you’re in the mood for a gentle second-chance romance that has just enough angst, great character development, and will have you dying for a donut, run for this book!
TLDR (too long didn’t read)
After an abrupt ending to their high school romance, Ali and Madison go their separate ways. Twenty years later, they come face to face with their history and get to decide now… is there a future ahead?
Excerpt from Exes and O’s by Joy Argento
“You seem to have so many emotions tied up in this woman that you don’t have any left over for anyone else. If nothing else, baby, you need closure, even if she refuses to give you any answers.”
Charley’s words were like a hammer slamming into the fragile wall that she had built around her emotions, and the truth of them struck her like a fist. Without her realizing it, she had given Madison control over her. It was damn well time to get it back. If Madison didn’t have answers for her, at least she would be able to give Madison a piece of her mind. Let her know just how much she had hurt her.
“I hope I don’t live to regret this, but I’m going to admit that you may be right. I think I need to take a trip to my old hometown and talk to Madison face-to-face.” Even as she was saying the words, Ali was afraid she might be making the biggest mistake of her life.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781636790183
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
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