Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
If Love Duet
Synopsis for If We Ever Meet Again (from Goodreads):
One year, two opposites, and a love that will blindside and, ultimately, shatter them.
She’s an aspiring interior designer who dreams of falling in love.
He’s an ex-football star who thinks love is a con.
She’s a virgin, and he doesn’t do virgins.
He’s cocky, infuriating, and not her type.
She wants the fairytale.
He wants freedom.
Blake and Farrah shouldn’t have fallen for each other the way they did: totally, completely, and irrevocably.
Because they’re studying abroad in Shanghai, and they only have one year.
Because forces at home threaten to rip them apart, even if they don’t know it yet.
And because, eventually, they must face the most heartbreaking lesson they’ll ever learn: sometimes, even the greatest love can’t conquer all.
Series: If Love
Author: Ana Huang
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 30, 2020 — December 2020
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thank you Ana Huang!
**This post was originally published as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
When Ana asked me to review her newest novel, I easily accepted for a few reasons. First, I loved the premise of a year abroad in Shanghai. Second, I liked that this is a duet of books about the same couple. I find we rarely get those series about the same couple anymore. We tend to get a single book and then the next book is about a different couple. But this one has somewhat doomed start so I was eager to see what she had in store for us!
What I Liked:
–The Setting of Shanghai–
A lot of novels that have the year abroad or the expat premise to it tend to take place in European countries (or at least the ones I’ve come across are). So I was excited to explore this new setting. I’ve always wanted to go to Shanghai but this has me really dying to explore it!
–The Bittersweet Tone of the Romance–
The story starts with a bang by showing the relationship’s eventual demise. Knowing that things aren’t going to end well for these two gives this story a bittersweet tone when we start to see their relationship from the start. But the “sweet” outweighs the “bitter” if you ask me and I was totally in love with these two.
–The Struggle With Intimacy–
I just loved how real their romance was. They struggle a little with their intimacy and I really appreciated how that was all handled. I thought that was a real approach for a character like Farah who really hasn’t had that stronger physical intimacy before. I find a lot of romances portray the virginal heroine as some one who is immediately great in bed in all aspects so it was refreshing to watch these two explore that deeper connection together and talk about it.
What I Didn’t Like:
–Almost Too “Hot and Cold” At the Start–
The first few chapters were a little bumpy for me. I thought their hot and cold attraction was a little too cold on Farah’s end; I didn’t really see how she would be attracted to Blake besides his physical appearance. But once those deeper feelings started to come to the surface as they spend more time together, I was really onboard with their romance. It kinda went from 0 to 100 though and I would have liked another chapter of them hanging out as friends to really cement their connection.
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
I will admit, I shed a tear or two near the end even knowing how it would end early on still didn’t prepare me for how much I would feel for their inevitable breakup. I can’t wait to see their second chance!
–July 14, 2020– Book #2: If the Sun Never Sets (*copy provided*)
This was SO good! The chemistry these two have–even when they try not to–is so palpable. I really loved the character growth here and how they not only evolved in the 5 years since they broke up, but how they grew once they reunited. Yes, there were a few frustrating moments but I think that’s because as the reader, you see how obvious it is that these two belong together. It’s a solid sequel and conclusion to this second chance duet.
I really hope we get to see some of these characters again!
–October 26, 2020– Book #3: If Love Had a Price (*copy provided*)
This was great and unexpected in a lot of ways. Ana has managed to blend genuine characters and drama together in a way that seems like this could happen to anyone, anywhere. And this is a book packed with a lot of aspects to it in terms of the characters and their drama.
I really loved Kris when we first met her in the series, so it was nice to uncover her character a little more.
–July 9, 2021– Book #4: If Love We Were Perfect
I’ve wanted this book since the first one in the series…and I couldn’t imagine a better way to wrap up this great series.
I loved how these two talked to each other. Yes, they were reactive but they always took a breath and looked at it rationally. It helped stop some of the useless drama other contemporary romances seem to thrive on.
But it was a second chance romance where you knew how they felt and why. I fell in love with their story all over again.
My Rating: 4/5
If We Ever Meet Again 4/5 | If the Sun Never Sets 4.5/5 | If Love Had a Price 4/5 | If We Were Perfect 5/5
This was a great read! As I read more and more about their story, I was super invested and addicted to finding out what happens next. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for future releases by Ana.
Read if You Like: love stories, set aboard, New Adult Romance
Avoid if You: want erotica, dislike romance
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