Friday, October 27, 2023

Book Review: Next-Door Nemesis

By Sara Steven

Two rival candidates for a homeowner’s association presidency are about to find out how dirty suburbanites fight in this steamy new romantic comedy from Alexa Martin.

After years of hustling, Collins Carter has finally made it...back to her parents’ house. Between tending to the compost with her newly retired dad and running into her high school nemesis at the only decent coffee shop in town, Collins realizes this subdivision from hell she swore she’d never return to is her rock bottom.

Then the homeowner’s association complaint arrived.

Nathaniel Adams always dreamed of a nice, quiet life in his suburban hometown. Or at least that’s what he thought until Collins moved back and sent his quaint, organized life into a tailspin. He thought Collins was infuriating ten years ago, but when she announces she’s running against him for HOA president, all bets are off.

From secret board meetings to vicious smear campaigns whispered over backyard fences, Collins and Nate sink to levels their sleepy suburb has never seen before. But as hate turns into lust, these two enemies are forced to reckon with the feelings they’ve ignored for years. If only there were bylaws for real life. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

I love it when an author can take a more benign topic idea like a homeowner’s association, and turn it into a magnanimous experience! I really had so much fun reading Next-Door Nemesis. The banter alone between Collins and Nate could not have been any better. They have the added benefit of knowing each other for decades, which means there is familiarity there, blended in with the surprise factor of coming together again after not seeing each other for a decade, plus some serious misconstrued situations that had prematurely ended the friendship, leaving both characters with unresolved issues. It made for some explosive experiences and moments.

Collins originally had no intention of running for HOA president.  But after dealing with Nate and his passive-aggressive behavior, she decides to run against him, which only infuriates Nate all the more. The synopsis indicates that the hate they have for one another turns to lust, but I think the lust factor has always been there, lurking beneath the surface, just waiting for its moment to shine. I appreciated the realism behind such moments, too. At one point, Collins reflects on how Nate looks like your average guy, without the six pack abs or giant guns for arms you’d come to expect from the typical love interest found in most other rom-com novels. Nate is a “real guy,” which endeared me to him even more, and the same could be said for Collins, who wants the real guy. 

Sometimes a change of scenery is what is most needed in order to move on and heal from certain events in our lives. That’s the feeling I got from Collins and her experience of being back in her hometown, living with her parents. She discovers that in some ways, Nate is working through that, too. It was nice to see it unravel a little at a time, with the truth about why they are there and in the situations they’ve found themselves in, a revelation much-needed in order to try to salvage their friendship and the possibility of going beyond that.   

Ultimately, who is going to win the race for HOA president? And, how will that factor into repairing their relationship? I loved finding out the outcome while envisioning Collins’ eye rolls when Nate says something she deems obnoxious, and Nate’s heavy sighs when Collins does something to annoy him. So much banter and humor. It was a well worth it five-star read!

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Alexa Martin:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

Listen to this book on Speechify!

No comments: