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.
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.”