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  • A love story that made me swoon!

    Izadora “Izzy’ Veracruz is the manager and vintner of Stackhouse Winery. She loves her job and had even forsaken her father to be working for the competitor. Because of Izzy’s dedication and love for the winery, Myrna Tabor, Stackhouse owner with no heirs to help her, bequeathed half of the winery to her and Zayn, her nephew. Zayn Joffman is a successful businessman who left his family’s winery business to find his way and later did well for himself. After his aunt’s passing, he inherited his family’s vineyard. He had many thoughts and proposals to reinvent the winery and elevate Stackhouse Winery to fit the global arena. One thing was stopping him, and it came in the form of a woman from his past. Too bad it comes Izzy, a co-owner, as a package, who cannot be bought out and is making sure that Aunt Myrna’s legacy continues (status quo). The story is from both Zayn and Izzy’s POVs. They have a long history together – childhood sweethearts, to be exact. They grew up together in the winery, but Zayn, one day, left for no reason. This devastated Izzy, who thought they had “something” together, even if they were still so young. It is only after Aunt Myrna’s passing that Zayn steps back into his past and to face his “sins.” Izzy and Zayn’s chemistry is striking in that they both do not see how well they can work with each other versus against – to better the winery. They need to sort out their pasts to run the winery effectively together. They are as complicated together as individually. Zayn is a man, riddled with much self-doubt that his frustration floored me. He is far from perfect based on his troubled past, though he tries his best to change for the better. Thus, there is still lingering trauma within Zayn; he does not trust people easily, even when they prove to be, and is critical of anyone who may show care and understanding towards him. Bottom line: he DOES NOT DO relationships. Period. The only relationship he considered was a long time ago, and it was with Izzy, which did not turn out well, and he had to leave her for her own good. With Zayn coming back to Stackhouse, his well-kept “secrets” starts seeping out and will make him question the decision he took five years ago. Readers will see his “vulnerable” side wherein he gets triggered more by his past and the consequences of his choices. There is one point in the book that I felt heartbroken for Zayn. He was misunderstood and judged based on his past, making him believe that he could not return and continue his family’s legacy through Stackhouse. Something else bothered Zayn that he chose to ignore instead of taking action to correct the problem. Like myself, Izzy was sad to see a successful businessman still have this guilt haunting him. When readers find out what he has kept hidden and rationalize everything, I changed my mind mid-way because his reasons for just keeping things status quo was the best action he could have taken. It is rare for me with a character, and I wholeheartedly agree that Zayn did right. (Crazy, I know.) Izzy also has her share of issues to sort out. She worried about Aunt Myrna and the vineyard, her family’s wishes for her, and the heartbreak Zayn left her. Izzy tried her best to balance everything. But with Zayn ignoring her brought up some abandonment issues thinking that he left because she was not good enough for him. She slowly got over Zayn and focused on her passion for the winery until Zayn came back and insulted her by doing something crazy (as expected) that made things much complicated. On the whole, I would recommend this book for readers who love enemies-to-friends, second chances, and redemption/healing stories. It is a story about a series of misunderstandings, unresolved issues (until the end), rehashed mistakes, and later, healing as the truth comes outs on why things turned simpler (if they did it right, the first time) in the end. No matter how late in the game, being honest is always the best, and it showed so well in this book. It is an easy read for readers and captivating enough not to put down the book until the end. I enjoyed it a lot.

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  • Second chance romance + winery = fun read!

    I'm a sucker for second chance romances, especially around the holidays. And the bonus to this one is that it also takes place in a winery. It's a very formulaic plot that I have read many times. But the nuances of the journey make reading it quite a lovely adventure. Zayn and Izzy were a thing back in the day. They have a long history that extends back into high school. But then suddenly, Zayn disappeared with no explanation, completely devastating Izzy in the process. Fast forward 5 years and they have both inherited this winery, but have completely different visions of how it should be run. Being at odds over the winery, compounded by their mutual attraction that has never died over these years, plus complications from deep-seeded family issues that still have not resolved, makes for a volatile situation. It's a second chance romance, and the two of them find themselves trying to rekindle that romance before they ever reconcile the past break-up, which surprised me a bit because especially Izzy was in great need of closure. At the same time, this allows for a bit more drama as they navigate their reconciliation, those aforementioned family issues, and trying to figure out what to do with the winery. (Side bar, I really feel like I need to get back to Paris, preferably with an attractive male companion!) So again, it's an enjoyable second chance romance that kept me occupied on a rainy weekend. I don't think I have read any of Nina's books before, but she is an author I will keep an eye out for in the future! Thank you to the author, Harlequin, and Prism Book Tours for providing me with a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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