The two trad pub romances I read last month just happened to be Avon books. I was an Avon Addict years ago and I don’t think I’ve read much Avon contemporary romance since so it feels like time to jump back in.
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Reluctant witch Rhys Penhallow begrudgingly returns to Graves Glen, Georgia with one goal; recharge his family’s ley lines and get out. But it turns out his college ex-girlfriend, fellow witch Vivienne Jones, accidentally hexed him and now his hexed magic in the ley lines is wreaking havoc on the small town of Graves Gleen. As Rhys and Vivi run around town putting out magical fires they reconnect and create their own magic.
If I could describe this book in one word it would be…cheugy. From the near-constant Harry Potter references to the heroine’s affinity for polka dot dresses to the Buffy Speak there was just something kind of cheesy about this book
Still, this was a cute story, I have a soft spot for these magical adventure rom-coms because they remind me of the paranormal sitcoms in the 90s and early oughts that I devoured.
The romance itself left me kind of cold because I didn’t feel like I knew the characters all that well but I liked being along for the journey.
I’m not sure Caitlin Davies was the best choice for this audiobbook. She doesn’t do accents and Rhys’ Welsh identity is central to his character. I’m assuming his brothers are sequel bait so it’s odd to me that when Avon cast the audiobook they were like….nah, they can all have American accents.
So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park
After an unceremonious firing from her Wall Street job, investment banker Jessica Kim returns to her hometown of Nashville to figure out her second act.
Not much has changed in her hometown–except for Daniel Choi. The obnoxious preacher’s kid is now a strapping lawyer with a wry sense of humor and reminds Jessie of everything she’s lost…but he also seems to be interested in her ?
So We Meet Again is a triumphant story of second acts in life and love. As Jessie throws herself into starting a cooking business she not only finds herself but also a greater connection to the people around her. This book reminded me a lot of the “chicklit” I loved in high school.
Not that this book is chicklit. I saw a lot of reviews for the first book in the series calling it women’s fiction but this one feels very much like a romance. The romance between Jessie and Daniel has a lot of enemies to lovers vibes with Daniel slowly winning Jessie over. The steam level is fairly low. It reminded me a lot of what you would see on a basic cable show–lots of innuendoes and Interrupted Intimacy
The audiobook is narrated by Emily Woo Zeller,who is the only reason I even picked this book up. Zeller is a reliable, auto-buy narrator for me and I’ll listen to just about anything she narrates.
There is an extensive scene in this book about Korean mandu and I totally went out and bought some beef bulgogimandu after reading it! It was really good. (yes, yes it was the frozen kind from Costco)