I have gotten into the habit of checking out what signed books The Ripped Bodice has for sale. If you aren’t aware of it, The Ripped Bodice is a Los Angeles based bookstore that sells only romance novels. I cannot wait to be able to go there one day! Since I’m currently on an opposite coast though, I will continue to support them from a distance. Their romance book subscription is also amazing!
Anyway, I was not familiar with Amy Lea, but I saw one of her books was signed and available on The Ripped Bodice’s website and thought it sounded amazing, so I bought it. And it was incredible.
Exes and O’s is technically book 2 of a series, but you don’t need to have read the first to enjoy it. (Though I loved this one so much I am looking forward to going back and reading the first book!)
Tara Chen is a nurse working long shifts in the hospital. She has just gotten out of a bad relationship- one her ex broke off because she was “too much”. She was “too much” because she noticed him pulling away while she planned their wedding and started questioning what was going on. When the book starts, Tara is trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. She moves in with her sister’s fiancée’s former roommate, firefighter Trevor Metcalfe.
Trevor is a dreamboat, and the first time Tara walks into the apartment to move in, Trevor is having sex with another woman in the kitchen. (I DIED LAUGHING). The scene in which they meet is one of my favorites ever in a romance novel. It’s embarrassing but also humbling in a way. Trevor and Tara have their first real conversation with a bathroom door diving them, and a bag of cheetos passing back and forth between them.
What starts as a slightly awkward relationship quickly blossoms into a beautiful friendship. Trevor and Tara have a lot of differences, but a lot draws them together, too. He likes the apartment neat. She likes to leave piles of books everywhere because she is a bookstagrammer with a popular BookTok page where she talks about books, most of them romance. Many of her posts and videos are about popular romance tropes- such as second chance romance, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, etc. When discussing her Grandmother’s second chance romance on her BookTok, Tara has the idea to try for her own second chance romance by attempting to reconnect with one of her exes. She has nine. Sort of.
Tara is super hopeful about her new plan, but Trevor has a lot of doubts. Exes are exes for a reason. But as Tara begins to share her stories of her ex dates (and Trevor gets pulled along), the two grow more closely into something resembling more than friendship. But while Tara is ready for a serious relationship, Trevor wants nothing to do with one. And he has his reasons which are mysterious and will drive you a little crazy trying to puzzle them out.
This book is EVERYTHING. I loved it so much. I had a really funky, tough week and this book really pulled me out of it and got me through the week in the best way. And while I read what I consider a lot of romance, it has been awhile since I fell so hard for a book boyfriend. Trevor is seriously amazing and such a sweet, perfect human.
Amy Lea is now on my auto-buy author list! I highly recommend this one. It is a perfect, lovely story with a lot of romance and heart. I really think this story will appeal to a lot of readers, and if you’re a big fan of bookstagram and BookTok, this is definitely a great book for you!
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