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Book Review: Second to None

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

I have a confession to make. I love billionaire romances. I especially love billionaire romances with non-alpha male pricks. I also am a sucker for cute dogs, cute kids, and cute second chance romance. So it’s a good thing this story has all of the above.

Second to None tells the story of Emily and Max, two former friends who’ve lost touch thrown back together through need. However, this isn’t the typical Second Chance Romance or Friends-to-Lovers fare. Emily is the widow of one of Max’s friends and Max deliberately distanced himself from Emily because he didn’t want to act upon his feelings. While Emily liked Max as a friend, she never saw him as romance material until she needed his help to save the charity she’s working for.

Did I mention that there were cute dogs? Because there were cute dogs.

I liked that this wasn’t typical. The right beats were there. But the tropes were played with just enough to feel fresh and new. I loved Emily’s daughter, Izzy. She was a neat and fun kid with just the right amount of innocence and wisdom. Emily herself was a fun character. She wasn’t afraid to admit her weaknesses but she also wasn’t willing to be bulldozed. I loved that she stuck to her guns especially in the face of some pretty daunting odds. I liked aspects of Max. I liked his science background and his understanding of himself. What I didn’t like was that Max fell into the trope of “throwing money at the problem until it goes away" which is often overused in billionaire romances.

The problem with this is the implication that money can solve all problems. And while it certainly makes misery more comfortable, it doesn’t solve things like being an asshole. It also removes some of the tension and creates imbalance in the relationship. The one with the money has the power. And it takes some serious writing to make up for that.

I also wasn’t overly fond of a few of the dog related events which happened. I’ll be up front, a dog gets hurt. It gets better. But it’s there and it’s played for drama. Also later something happens at the very end which had me yelling “That’s not how this works!!! No Shelter would do this!!!” I had a few concerns about "white savior” in regards to the center. Which ended up with me knocking this down a star. However the good definitely outweighed the bad and I walked away satisfied with the story. So this is a solid Four Stars.

***I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley***

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