Spotlight Review: EXES AND O’S by Amy Lea

The Influencer Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

A romance novel-obsessed social media influencer revisits her exes on her hunt for true love in this romantic comedy from the author of Set On You.

Romance book connoisseur Tara Chen has had her heart broken ten times by ten different men—all of whom dumped her because of her “stage-five clinger” tendencies. Nevertheless, Tara is determined to find The One. The only problem? Classic meet-cutes are dead, thanks to modern dating apps. So Tara decides to revisit her exes in hopes of securing her very own trope-worthy second-chance romance.

Boston firefighter Trevor Metcalfe will be the first to rush into a burning building but the last to rush into a relationship. Love just isn’t his thing. When his new roommate Tara enlists him to help her reconnect with her exes, he reluctantly agrees. But Tara’s journey is leading him to discover his own new chapter.

The more time they spend together, the more Tara realizes Trevor seems to be the only one who appreciates her authentic, dramatic self. To claim their happily ever after, can Tara and Trevor read between the lines of their growing connection?

One of Amazon’s Best Romances of January · A January LibraryReads Pick · One of Buzzfeed’s Romance Books To Look Out For In 2023

“The resulting romance is as sensitive and swoony as it is self-aware, playfully engaging popular romance tropes. This is a winner.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Lea’s follow-up to Set on You (2022) is a hilarious, relatable exploration of life and love, filled to brimming with soft moments, small gestures, and a clear love of the romance genre itself…A comically delightful romance about how the best love stories are found where you least expect them.”—Kirkus (starred review)

https://amzn.to/3QN9OfL

This was my first book from this author, but I will be looking for her first book, Set on You for sure. This one reads fine as a standalone; I didn’t realize it was even part of a series. What this book really is is an homage to the romance genre, and I loved that!

Tara is a romance book YouTube/TikTok influencer. She loves all kinds of romance, and even though her romances haven’t worked out, she is eternally positive that the right “one” is out there, just waiting for her. When her roommate gets engaged, she ends up swapping apartments with the fiance – he moves in, and she moves into his old apartment with his old roommate.

This is one the funniest meet-cutes ever! Tara is moving in while Trevor, her new roommate, is at work – he’s a firefighter and they work opposite shifts. Or so she thinks. Instead, she opens the door to find him banging someone on the kitchen counter. She ends up hiding in the bathroom and once he gets rid of the girl, they talk through the door until she feels like she can comfortably come out. Turns out that Trevor is a bit of a man whore with no interest whatsoever in any kind of relationship. He’s all about the one night stand – something that Tara has never had. As she points out, she doesn’t sleep with a man unless she knows his middle name.

Tara and Trevor are firmly in the friend zone, despite how attracted to him that she is. Tara is still recovering from a bad breakup; she was engaged to a doctor in the hospital where she is a nurse, but he dumps her shortly before the wedding. It’s taken her months to get over it, especially because there is no avoiding him. And of course, he’s already seeing someone else.

One of Tara’s favorite romance tropes is the second chance romance. In fact, her grandmother just got married to her childhood sweetheart, giving Tara the idea that maybe she should revisit her exes and see if anything can be rekindled. Trevor becomes her confidant and wingman, and he stops bringing random women home. They hang out a lot, watch TV and share meals and confidences. She learns about his background and why he is so gun shy of any kind of relationship. He bails her out of one bad date after another, and her feelings for him continue to grow. When he finally admits that he has feelings for her, too, they both find their happy ever after.

This was a really fun, fast, unputdownable and thoroughly enjoyable read. There are a lot of laughs, a bit of heat, and the characters truly come to life on the page. If you love rom-coms, don’t miss this one!

1/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

EXES AND O’S by Amy Lea. Berkley (January 10, 2023). ISBN:‎ 978-0593336595. 400p.

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