The Second Chance Year
Grade : B+

I was quickly caught up in this fun, lighthearted story about Sadie, a pastry chef who, after having a very bad year, is given a second chance to do it over. This is a slow burn time leap romance and I really enjoyed it.

It’s New Years Eve and Sadie is feeling like she totally messed up the past year in which she lost her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, in part because she was loud and outspoken. She is currently sleeping on Jacob’s--he is her brother's best friend--couch when her best friend, Kasumi drags her to a New Years Eve party with a carnival theme. It’s there that Sadie meets a fortune teller and she makes a wish for a second chance to make things right.

She is surprised the next morning when she wakes up in bed next to her old boyfriend, Alex. Once she realizes she is reliving the past year, she is thrilled to have a chance to do it over. She tells herself she will not make the same mistakes as she did last time and she vows to think before she acts instead of speaking up whenever she feels she’s being wronged.

Sadie works as a pastry chef at an elite restaurant that is managed by Xavier, a famous chef who is very critical of his staff. Sadie hears there will soon be an opening for a head pastry chef, which is her dream job, and she decides to keep her head down, keep her opinions to herself, and make beautiful pastries. The only problem is there's sexual harassment at the restaurant and she is trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. I wondered how this would play out and I was surprised by the outcome; the author handled this part really well. The story follows Sadie in her redo year, with a few chapters for each month, as we see how her new approach at life affects her job and relationships.

I especially enjoyed the scenes in the redo year when Sadie and Jacob visit their favorite coffee shop with its sweet, memorable characters. Sadie starts making some pastries in her spare time for the coffee shop and the way they were described in the book made them sound mouthwatering and delicious. I would love to visit this shop!

It is wonderful to see Sadie’s growth in the story, especially when she begins to question her relationship with Alex. He is moving up in the world of finance and when they are out for drinks with his coworkers and she hears them make sexist comments, she wonders how much she and Alex really have in common anymore. Meanwhile, the more time she spends with Jacob, who is a shy, music prodigy, the more she realizes how special he is and we see how he has pined for her for a long time. This is a slow burn romance with a few passionate kisses sprinkled into the story.

The ending felt a little rushed and I would have liked to see more of Sadie and Jacob together. I enjoyed the theme of figuring out what you want and going for it! I recommend this to readers looking for a quick story with lots of charm and a little magic.

Reviewed by Kayne Spooner
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : December 4, 2023

Publication Date: 12/2023

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Kayne Spooner

Kayne Spooner is a retired science teacher, dog owner, and proud grandma who lives in beautiful Colorado. While she's an avid reader of all genres, romances have always swept her off her feet. Kayne gravitates toward stories with humor, swoon-worthy love interests, and memorable furry sidekicks, although really, if there's a happy ever after, she's here for it! She loves sharing her passion for books with the romance community and connecting with fellow readers.
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