- Author: Thien-Kim Lam
- Genre: Romance
- Publication Date: May 18, 2021
- Publisher: Avon
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily.
CONTENT WARNING: mention of cancer, mention of death of a parent
With her debut novel, Thien-Kim Lam serves up a sexy second-chance romance about exes with unfinished business. When working together reignites their passion, will these former flames sizzle or get burned all over again?
Trixie Nguyen is determined to make her sex toy business a success, proving to her traditional Vietnamese parents that she can succeed in a nontraditional career. She’s made a fresh start in Washington DC, and her first pop-up event is going well—until she runs into the ex who dumped her. With a Post-it note.
The last person Andre Walker expected to see in his soul food restaurant was the woman he left behind in New Orleans. Their chemistry is still scorching, but he’s desperately trying to save his family restaurant from gentrifying developers. The solution? Partnering with his ex to turn Mama Hazel’s into a vibrator pop-up shop for hungry and horny clients.
Thanks to their steamy truce, both businesses start to sizzle and their red-hot desire soon reignites deeper feelings. But when Trixie receives an incredible career opportunity, will pride ruin their second chance at happiness?
Trixie is a tough, confident, and highly motivated Vietnamese-American woman who is striving towards making her dream a reality, without letting anyone holding her back. This includes her traditional parents, who want her to follow their career trajectory, and a major motivating factor for her is to show them that she can be a success without having to be a doctor, lawyer, or pharmacist. Trixie just wants to help people, and for her, that route involves selling sex toys. I loved seeing her express her confidence and share it with others, no matter their age. Her character also portrayed the fine line that children of immigrants often walk, especially when their parents hold tightly to traditional values.
Andre was a difficult character. I got the impression that he really did mean well, but he went about everything the wrong way. So often, he tried to fix everything on his own without even considering any input from others, or how it would affect them. He was endlessly frustrating, although I did understand that his heart was in the right place.
I was able to empathize with the emotional components of this story. There were parts that made me laugh and cry, and I was truly invested in the outcome of the story. However, the romance aspect was the weakest part in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong — the sex scenes were incredible and had my Kindle practically melting, but I struggled with the actual romance. Trixie was able to communicate her emotions with everyone in her life, except for Andre, it seemed like. And Andre, for his part, didn’t really seem capable of sharing much of his emotions with Trixie. He didn’t respect boundaries and she was far too willing to disregard red flags that they were on different pages. I liked seeing how things changed between them through the course of the book, but initially, I wasn’t as caught up in the romance between them as I was in the rest of the story.
Overall, I liked the story, how everything unfolded, and the diversity in the story. The way the characters needed each other to make their own goals possible made things feel more believable, and the pace was perfect. I was able to get into the story, and the writing flowed naturally. This was an enjoyable debut, and I am really looking forward to more from this writer. Especially if it includes more recipes at the end, which I thought was a particularly nice touch. I can’t wait to try Vietnamese iced coffee!
Categories: Book Review