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New Release Review! HER BIG CITY NEIGHBOR by Jackie Lau (Cider Bar Sisters #1)

Her Big City Neighbor cover

When small-town engineer Amy Sharpe inherits a house in Toronto, she decides it’s the perfect opportunity to start over and go back to school. Away from the family that takes her for granted, away from the ex who expected so much and gave little in return.

The new Amy enjoys wandering around the city and frequenting bubble tea shops, German beer halls, dim sum restaurants, and coffee bars serving Japanese pastries. She has a roommate with the same name as her favorite fictional character, and a group of friends who meet at a cider bar every couple of weeks.

The new Amy is also in lust with her brooding, tattooed next-door neighbor, Victor Choi, who is far from friendly but looks really hot cutting the grass without a shirt. Too bad the grass doesn’t grow faster.

As she starts telling him about her daily adventures—and as a little kissing in the garden becomes a regular activity—Amy begins to feel more than lust. But she fears she’s falling into her old patterns in relationships and refuses to let herself be underappreciated again.

Is Victor really more than a hot fling? And what’s he hiding behind that grumpy exterior?

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Such a sweet story!

I’ll admit to quite a bit of delighted cackling as I read–especially in the beginning, when Victor was at his grumpiest. The sunshine/grouch dynamic here was a lot of fun, and that (along with needing to see what Amy would find to eat next) kept me turning the pages.

The focus of the book is really on “new Amy’s” life in Toronto, its contrast to what she left behind, and her growing relationship with Victor–his job and her life as a student definitely take a back seat to their personal lives. I was 100% there for Amy’s emancipation from her family, and wanted to stand up and cheer her mom’s Thanksgiving proclamation.

For the most part, Amy’s new Toronto life felt extremely low conflict, which was fine–I actually had begun to wonder when/if there was going to be a relationship issue with Victor or not (he gets over his omg-she’s-so-sunny-I-can’t-stand-it feelings pretty early on, honestly, which I was there for)–so when it does happen it feels a bit tacked on. It wasn’t totally outside the realm of possibility, though, and was resolved nicely, so–all’s definitely well that ends well here 🙂

But be warned: if you’re even a *tiny* bit hungry, you might want to grab a quick snack before picking this one up. Amy essentially goes on a book-long Toronto food orgy that left me super bummed that the border between the US and Canada is still closed because OMG I need to try at least half of what she eats here, like, yesterday.

Now I’m anxiously awaiting the stories of the rest of the “Cider Bar Sisters”–I can’t wait to get to know Amy’s new friends better!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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