Review – Leave the Lights On by Karen Stivali

Leave the Lights OnPublisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: eARC from publisher

Parker Wood’s dreams of becoming a professional baseball player are shattered when he’s injured in a devastating car crash. After two years in hospitals and physical rehab facilities, he’s ready to move back to his childhood home and take over the family landscaping company. The house and business are his, now that his father has passed.

Sophie Vaughn has suffered through a hellishly public divorce from a husband who couldn’t manage to stay faithful for two months of marriage. Determined not to let her personal drama impact her successful wedding and party planning business, she buys her parents’ old house, hoping the comfort of familiar surroundings will help her heal.

When Parker and Sophie discover they’re neighbors once again, it’s as if time has stood still. Their friendship is quickly rekindled, along with the decade-long crush neither of them ever admitted having. Then the heat between them exposes a long-held secret that threatens to tear them apart…unless they can detach from their painful pasts and move forward-together.

Warning: Contains sultry summer nights, steamy pool-side encounters, and you’ll never look at a jar of peanut butter the same way again.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I’m a big fan of both second chance love stories, and friends to lovers stories. After reading this blurb, I knew this story would be right up my alley.

Sophie and Parker are both moving back into their childhood homes after the lives they thought they wanted fell apart. Picking up their friendship is just another natural thing for them, and they both quickly realize the crushes they had were mutual. Acting on those feelings is more intense than either Sophie or Parker realize, and things quickly get serious.

But issues arise from their pasts, namely Sophie’s ex-husband: the cheating bastard, as well as Parker’s ex high school sweetheart who broke his heart. But their friendship is stable, and although the budding relationship isn’t nearly as strong, both Sophie and Parker know what they want, and they want one another.

I thought Parker and Sophie had a great connection. It was so sweet to see them both picking up the pieces of their lives, and each others lives as they became best friends once again. I know that I have friends (sorta) like that. Where we can drift in and out of each others lives and know that we are still there 100% when the other needs us. Seeing that bond between Sophie and Parker, so strong to start, was special. I love when romance books take the time to really focus on the friendship between the hero and heroine.

I also liked the way they each had some HUGE relationship hurdles to get over. Between Sophie’s cheating douche bag ex-husband, to Parker’s high school and college sweetheart who broke his heart, they were both pretty emotionally scarred when it came to relationships. Those emotional scars were enough to send them both into a tailspin at times, but I liked the way that Stivali gave them a lot of chances to talk and work it out.

One aspect of the book that really didn’t work for me was Sophie’s relationship with her family. I have such a hard time understanding why any family member would be such a jerk to their own child. The way that Sophie’s father talked to her was just annoying and hard for me to believe, especially after everything she went through. I also felt as if there was just something missing. While all the right ingredients were there for a wonderful romance, there was just something in the execution that didn’t work for me.

All in all I enjoyed my first Stivali read. I thought the hero and heroine were great characters, and their romance was such fun to read. (PS: VIRGIN HERO ALERT!) However, there was a spark of that something special that felt missing in their romance. I wanted and needed more to really commit to them fully, and I never really felt like we got that.
I give Leave the Lights On a C.

2 thoughts on “Review – Leave the Lights On by Karen Stivali”

  1. Nice review, it started out good, as I also love both those tropes, but then you make me a bit more doubting this book. They both moved back home, what happened to their parents? Did they start living with them again?

  2. @aurian: Heroine’s parents moved to Florida to retire and because they were “disappointed with the scandal surrounding her divorce,” Hero’s father died right before start of the book. Heroine bought her parents house, and hero inherited. 🙂

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